Official Georgetown University Course, Literary Representation: The City, Proposal

City: Washington D.C.–focus on the Georgetown neighborhood.

Themes: Culture/social life of a neighborhood and its evolution. The different types of individuals (students, homeowners, tourist) and their shaping of their city. The shopping of cultural, focusing on the development of representations of bar culture.

Questions: What roles do bars play in cities/neighborhoods? How does Georgetown’s changing bar history, focusing from the 1980s to present day, track the evolution from college town to gentrified wealthy neighborhood?

Purpose or contribution – What is the goal of your project? How does it add to the existing body of representations about your city or about your theme?

The goal of this project is to not only make people aware of and document the changing landscape of the Georgetown neighborhood, but to also study how these changes either shape the residents or are shaped by the residents of Georgetown. Additionally, I hope to further examine the role of the bar in city culture and neighborhood life.

There are many websites and media representations that already work to document the past culture of the Georgetown neighborhood. These representations range from popular movies such as St. Elmo’s Fire, an 80’s movie depicting young graduates of Georgetown and their struggles which they share at their beloved bar St. Elmo’s, which is supposed to be the Tombs, to websites, blogs and forums such as the Georgetown Metropolitan. I believe  my research and website will bring together and synthesize all this information in one convenient place. Additionally, this website will work to document imagery of Georgetown from the 1980s to now which will allow Georgetown students, alumni, visitors, neighbors and scholars to understand the changing landscape of Georgetown’s M street and what it means.

Audience – Who do you hope to reach? Why would they be interested in your project? What does your project need to do to meet your audience’s needs?

My audience and the people I would hope to reach would be current Georgetown students, alumni, professors, past and present neighborhood residents, politicians, business owners, prospective students, tourist, historians, and DC history buffs.

These people would be interested in my project because it would not only be informational but also focus on shared memories, history and nostalgia. It would also allow current, prospective students and visitors to catch a glimpse of old Georgetown and understand why things have changed. For business owners, tourist and historians the website would offer key information on how changing laws, policies and social pressures can change a neighborhood. This information could better help these individuals think about their investment in M street, visitation of M street and policies that effect M street.

In order to reach my audience my project needs to have a section where viewers can comment or add their own thoughts and experience. The website also needs to have entertaining details such as past and present pictures, media and videos. My website needs to be easy to understand and navigate. Lastly, my project needs to have descriptions of how and why things changed, that means breaking down laws and policies so they are easier to understand.

Form – What kind of project will you create, and why use that form?

I will make a website because it is a great platform that can reach many people. People who are interested in the subject can easily research it on the internet. Additionally, a website can be easily shared with others. I can also update or add new information to a website and I can showcase videos, images and other media. Lastly, a website offers a great forum for others to comment and share on the subject. This way the impact of a city on individuals and individual’s impact on the city can be discussed.

Representations of your city or theme, such as literary texts, videos, songs, images, websites, media reports, and maps.

Attached below in my research section I have many different literary text, poems, websites, media reports, images, interviews and video representations. The literary text representations provide information on what roles bars play in cities in general and how bars have played a role in Washington D.C.’s past. The websites also listed below are sources of information for tourist, visitors, or DC historians/nostalgia. These websites work to convey information or identify D.C’s past and present identity. The nostalgia websites really help provide the core information of what M street use to look, sound, and feel like and inform readers of first person experiences in Georgetown. The media reports consisting of mostly Washington Post, The Voice and The Hoya articles are another great source of information on the changing landscape of Georgetown. These articles also provide information on how people felt or reacted to these changes while also working to document them. The video representation, mainly focusing on St. Elmo’s Fire, represent the mass media or pop culture of the 80’s and the ideas about bar/ young adult life in Georgetown (or what was supposed to be Georgetown) in the 80’s.


Ripper, (kc). “City Of Music.” N.p., 26 May 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Music is like a city
The genres are the suburbs
The bands, the streets
The albums, the buildings
And the songs, the apartments
The streets get inspiration from other streets
They duplicate then alter them slightly.
The city is very busy and there are always
People driving through looking and listening
The city is growing every day.
The suburbs larger and larger
And some join together.
The streets longer and longer
And some old and tattered.
The building will always stay the same
But they will always be new.
The city will always keep growing
As the music goes on.
  •  Not exactly about bars but alludes to the general theme of change and the pulse of the living city. The poem discusses the daily pulse of the city, but is the bar not the midnight pulse that keeps the city alive during the dark hours? This poem describes how the city grows and changes. It declares that the buildings will be the same but they will always be new because they are filled with new businesses and people. This is  Georgetown exactly, as the buildings are historic and preserved but the people and institutions in them have changed dramatically over time. Like the music, this change will continue to happen and the city and its inhabitants will continue to dance to its rhythm.


All images are attached in the research section. These images document what and where Georgetown’s old bars used to be. Also really great way for visitors to learn and understand what I am trying to convey with this website without having to do a ton of reading. This may lead to more popularity and the ability to reach more people as people are more likely to look at pictures than read a long article.


Reached out to the Tombs in order to get in contact with a long-term employee to discuss the Tombs role in shaping the Georgetown experience/ the neighborhood. In addition to gaining information on how that individual has seen the bar culture/ bars have changed on M street and in Georgetown.

Reached out to Laura Brienza, an alum of Georgetown, and author of Discovering Vintage Washington. I hope to gain information on how to research vintage locations and her personal experience at Georgetown. 


Videos act as a fun source of imagery and look into pop culture of the time. This culture, represented by St. Elmo’s Fire, really captured the idea of the young graduates trying to figure out life and relying on the social network/forum that bars provided them.

Attached below:

Cinematictrailers. “”St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)” Theatrical Trailer.” YouTube. YouTube, 26 Aug. 2010. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Heil, Emily. “Georgetown-set ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’ Turns 30.” The Washington Post. WP Company, 29 June 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Discusses the movies long history with Georgetown and how Georgetown has actually diverged form what the movie represented since the 80s.

“Making of the Film of St. Elmo’s Fire.” YouTube. YouTube, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Newspaper Articles 

Newspaper articles provide the most varied and detailed information. Not only do they contain public opinion and reaction but they also work as time capsules to capture the past and to compare it to the present. Newspaper are also easy to navigate as the Washington Post, The Hoya and The Voice have great archives. 

Brown, David. “M Street’s Retail Takeover.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 29 Aug. 2014, business. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Documents the closing, relocation and replacement of some of Georgetown’s popular bars in 2014.

Burgoa, Lisa. “Georgetown’s Liquor License Ban Under Consideration.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 18 Mar. 2016, news. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Discusses the ban on liquor licenses and the effects on business and Georgetown’s M street. Then dives into the lifting of the ban on alcohol served in restaurants, but mentions the constraints of high rents.

CARYLE MURPHY Washington Post,Staff Writer. (2000, Jun 19). Underage, underenforced. The Washington Post (1974-Current File) Retrieved from

  • Discusses the underage drinking and arrest that spurred police and neighborhood residents to encourage more heavily enforced liquor licenses laws.

Fedor, Kristen. “Rhino Closes, Ending 63-Year Bar Legacy.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 10 Feb. 2015, news. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • The negative effects on student’s social life with the closing of a “Georgetown institution” bar. The closing citied as a result of rents being too high and the owners not being able to keep up.

“From Dry to Debaucherous: Georgetown through the Ages.” The Georgetown Voice. N.p., 20 Dec. 2009. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

  • Discusses the evolution of the Georgetown party scene whether it is off campus or on campus. Mentions some old-school Georgetown student conduct rules. Really discusses how Georgetown administration hoped to make policies that moved partying onto campus and away from bars and the neighborhood.

Karkal, Sheena. “Bars.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 16 May 2014, guide. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • A guide that provides descriptions of popular student bars vibe, prices, clientele and scene.

Kaufman, Hannah. “Forging a Social Life.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 31 Oct. 2014, guide. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Discusses Georgetown’s party culture and changing relationship with the neighborhood, and the forcing of students back on campus. Describes the fake ID culture and its effect on Georgetown students. Also mentions new on-campus drinking policy, neighborhood policies, and police departments policies and how to forge a social life amongst all the rules.

“M: Past and Present.” M: Past and Present. N.p., 14 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Great interviews with local business owners who were actually forced to close their doors. This offers a really great business-owner perspective. Discusses the last day of 18-year old legal drinking age in 1986 and the “Georgetown’s moratorium, the first of its kind in the District, created a constraint on the supply of licenses, driving up their prices. Bars looking to open in Georgetown, therefore, continue to face entry costs more significant than those in other areas of D.C., such as the U Street corridor, that don’t have moratoriums in place. These caps also hurt restaurants, which are also customers for liquor licenses, as they face similar barriers to the bars the moratorium was supposed to deter.” Also discusses the bind Georgetown is currently facing in its identity crisis, to either continue with large national retailers or to encourage the rebirth of the trendy 80s vibe.

“McCooey, Tombs Founder, Dies at 83.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 26 Aug. 2014, news. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Founder of the bar the Tombs, Richard McCoy, dies at 83 and his life and contributions to the Georgetown community are discussed and shared.

Monyak, Suzanne. “As Storefronts Close, Piano Bars Flip-Flop on M Street.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 19 Sep. 2014, news. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Describes the flip flopping of bars, the desirability of liquor license and the struggle for new bars to maintain and attract a good customer base

Monyak, Suzanne. “Rhino Liquor License Temporarily Suspended.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 11 Jul. 2014, news. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Discusses the struggle to catch underage drinking and the awkward relationship between bars wanting business, but not wanting to get in trouble. Also describes the fines and steps of alcohol violations placed on the bars.

“Retail Killed the Rhino.” Hoya, The: Georgetown University (Washington, DC), 2 Mar. 2015, opinion. NewsBank, Accessed 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Discusses the changing scene of M street and how higher rents are pushing out old businesses. Mentions how big retail has ended the tradition of a beloved Georgetown bar, Rhino, which location has been a bar for a consistent 53 years and is now going to be a high end retail site. The author describes students as a transient population but one that should work to defend the character of the neighborhood they call home for four plus years.

“The Death Knell of Georgetown College Bars.” The Georgetown Metropolitan. N.p., 11 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Gives a great detailed list of all the bars that were the go to Georgetown hangouts, gives their location, address and why they were so beloved. Also alludes to the Georgetown college bar scene hay-day of the 80s and St. Elmo’s Fire.

Wheeler, L. (1989, Jun 08). Liquor moratorium urged for georgetown. The Washington Post (1974-Current File) Retrieved from

  • The very first rumblings of a liquor license moratorium urged on by the neighborhood.(1989)

Wheeler, L. Washington Post,Staff Writer. (1988, Dec 22). Too many bars, say residents. The Washington Post (1974-Current File) Retrieved from

  • Georgetown residents, fed up with the late night carousing from patrons of the popular area’s many bars, are asking the Alcohol Beverage Board to limit the number of new bar licenses there.

Critical articles that are relevant to your project, such as analyses of the representations or articles related to the question that lies at the heart of your project.

Critical Articles/Books

“Being Urban: A Sociology of City Life, 3rd Edition.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

  • Describes how bars and other social arenas are venues in which people can create social displays and vie for status, power and recognition. They are also locations where individuals can preform and act as something new. (research section contains quotes I plan to use)

Brienza, Laura. Discovering Vintage Washington, DC: A Guide to the City’s Timeless Shops, Bars, Restaurants & More. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2015. Print.

  • Highlights some of Georgetown’s vintage bars that still exist today. Such as The Tombs, 1789 and Martins Tavern and discusses their history and lasting impact on the Georgetown neighborhood identity.

“Cafes and Bars: The Architecture of Public Display” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Discusses how bars and cafes came into existence and the roles that bars and cafes have in shopping the individual, society and the modern city. Discusses different places for working men, intellectuals and the role of bars as a places of bonding. Describes the actual architecture and how the set up of a bar works to create a certain environment.

Mitchell, Mary. Glimpses of Georgetown: Past and Present. Washington, DC: Road Street, 1983. Print.

  • Discusses the development of Georgetown’s unique identity separate from that of the greater Washington D.C. area.

Mould, David H., and Missy Loewe. Remembering Georgetown: A History of the Lost Port City. Charleston: History, 2009. Print.

  • Talks about Georgetown’s very early history and the important role of Georgetown’s very first bar Sauters Tavern.

Schwantes, Canden. Wicked Georgetown: Scoundrels, Sinners and Spies. Charleston, SC: History, 2013. Print.

  • Details Georgetown and Washington D.C.’s long history with bars. Mentions how the proclamation to create DC was actually signed in a bar. Bar’s actually used to be used as more than just a place to eat but were also inns, libraries, meeting halls, places of business etc. Discusses old Georgetown institutions such as Martins Tavern.

Sismondo, Christine. America Walks into a Bar: A Spirited History of Taverns and Saloons, Speakeasies, and Grog Shops. New York, N.Y: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

  • The bars role in history. How great decisions, meetings and other events have taken place in the bar.

Examples of other projects that help you clarify what you want your own project to be like (or not to be like)


Cokinos. “Georgetown by David Arnson.” Georgetown by David Arnson. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

“DCWIZ.” DCWIZ. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

  • Like-The option to identify as a resident or past resident.
  • Like- That is has sections based on food, life style, things to do, going out and history.
  • Like- Great source of information and pictures.
  • Like- That its divided by neighborhood and establishment.
  • Like- Great links to further information.
  • Dislike- The font, color, layout is difficult to navigate and return to.
  • Dislike- some picture or pixel and poor quality.

“The Evolution of Georgetown: Then and Now.” WTOP. N.p., 04 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

“Stories about Georgetown.” Ghosts of DC. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

  • Ghost of D.C.
  • Like- that does new and interesting stories as new information is discovered. It also focuses on people and places.
  • Like- Has great vintage photographs and does a good job of including a comprehensive history
  • Dont Like- does multiple neighborhoods, I just want to focus on one.
  • Don’t Like- The layout is convoluted with aids and a little disorganized.

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