New York City

DC Officially Has a New ‘Night Mayor' to Oversee Nightlife

The new "night mayor" will act as a point of contact for nightlife establishments

What to Know

  • On weekends and between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays, the new nightlife director will work when most of the Wilson Building is empty.

Washington, D.C. has a new mayor for the city's nightlife. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday that Shawn Townsend, a former investigator with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, will become the director for the District's new Office of Nightlife and Culture.

Bowser's office announced the "night mayor" opening last month. 

Much of Townsend's work will take place after-hours, when most of the Wilson Building is empty. He will act as a point of contact for nightlife establishments, handling consumer complaints, issues with D.C. government agencies and other pertinent issues.

"That office is to promote our nighttime economy, to help deal with any conflicts that arise in the nightlife economy and to make sure we're looking at all the different ways that we can think differently about attracting people and visitors to support what happens in D.C. after dark," Bowser said during Wednesday's announcement. 

The Office of Nightlife and Culture was created through a bill introduced last year by Ward 4 Council member Brandon Todd.

The District has seen a huge boom in nightlife in recent years, with the number of bars, clubs and restaurants jumping from 800 to 1,300 from 2008 to 2016, according to data published last year by the D.C. Policy Center.

D.C. is not the first city to create the position of "night mayor." A former bar owner was hired as New York City's first nightlife mayor earlier this year, The New York Times reported

Contact Us