The announcement yesterday of the imminent closure of the Rhino Bar means that come March, there will be no more “college bars” left in the heart of Georgetown. Just ten years ago, such an outcome would seem impossible, but after a few years of relentless closures, the inevitable has come about.
Just think back a few years ago and list the rowdy bars that almost exclusively attracted college-aged (or very recently graduated) patrons:
- Third Edition: This one was legendary among GU students for its lax entry policies. And, of course, it was partially the model for the St. Elmo’s bar in St. Elmo’s Fire. It closed two years ago and became El Centro.
- Garrett’s: GM spent many hours at this bar in his early 20s. He’s not sure why. It closed in 2011.
- Mr. Smith’s: This piano bar abruptly closed last year, it immediately reopened in the space that Chadwick’s occupied. Which brings GM to:
- Chadwick’s: GM can speak from a brief personal experience that this bar was popular with GU students (at least in the late 90s) and that its entry standards were largely to blame.
- The Guards: This one was more popular with the post-collegiate set, particularly in W. Bush’s Washington when the formerly scuzzy basement became the still scuzzy Gryphon Room. There were lines of boat shoes out the door every Friday night.
- Champions: This sports bar at the end of the alley next to Benetton entertained drunk college kids for years before it briefly became the upscale Blue Gin. That didn’t last long, and the old Champions returned for a little while longer before closing a few years ago.
- Georgetown Billiards: GM loved this place. And it was popular with college kids primarily because you didn’t even need a fake ID to get in; it was 18 and over. This became the preppy list-restricted George-more popular with a slightly older 20-something crowd of transplant Southerners-which itself recently became Chinese Disco.
That’s just from the last couple years. Go back further and you add a string of legendary bars from Georgetown’s 80s heyday, like Charring Cross, Pall Mall, the Bayou, etc.
What’s a Hoya with a fake ID to do these days? There’s still Tombs (the other inspiration and filming location of St. Elmo’s Fire) and Chadwick’s under a new name is still basically Chadwick’s. But those are off the main drags. For the two spines of Georgetown-M and Wisconsin-the era of college bars is now closed.