GW students lost a favorite hangout when Mister Days Sports Bar closed its doors after a final celebration on New Year’s Eve.
“It was no longer economically feasible,” said owner Robert E. Lee.
Lee said the landlord raised the price of the lease yearly, but this year’s increase was too high. He said that name recognition of Mister Day’s made the property valuable.
Sophomore Morgan Witkin is one of many students who called herself a regular at the local bar.
“I think it was a great environment to hang out in, with my friends,” Witkin said. “The music is a change from the norm and I thought the people were different from the regular GW scene.”
Students said news of the legendary GW hangout closing came with great disappointment.
“I was very upset because it was like a meeting spot for people,” said sophomore Rena Jabbour said. “People came from all over Georgetown, American University, Maryland and parts of Virginia. I just miss the patio, the music … just everything.”
Lee opened Mister Days 24 years ago in the alley familiar to many GW students. He turned an old horse stable into a bar that was known for drink specials, good music and a friendly atmosphere.
But the property value of the original location rose so high that the building was torn down and turned into a 12-story office building. After 11 years, Mister Days moved next door to the location GW students know off 18th Street between L and M streets.
Lee said Mister Days initially gained its popularity from an event called Rally in the Alley. The annual outdoor party included drinks and food in the alleyway. Five bars came together each year – three of which were owned by Lee – to put on the event that attracted almost 15,000 people. Proceeds from the event were donated to inner-city children for sporting goods and high school scholarships.
Ever since the first Rally in the Alley, students have called Mister Days their regular hangout.
Lee said Mister Days had an atmosphere unique to other restaurant and bars in the area.
“We were able to convert from professionals at lunch, to stock brokers in the afternoons and then even a different crowd at night,” Lee said.
Mister Days marketed certain nights to college students and never had problems bringing in business, Lee said. Many students said they remember the long lines to enter the most.
“GW always dominated on Tuesday nights and there is no question about that,” Lee said. He also said that he thinks people enjoyed the friendly employees.
Mister Days has another location in Clarendon, Va. GW alumnus Eric Abes, who frequented the D.C. location in college, has visited the Virginia bar. He said the physical appearance, decor and building in Virginia is nicer, but there was something to be said about the old Mister Days.
“Although it was scummy and there was always sticky beer on the floor, people liked it and always went there,” he said. “You kinda felt like there should be peanut shells on the floor too. It was the quintessential dive bar.”
But the students are not the only ones who are saddened by the bar’s closing. Lee said the staff already misses the students stopped by to watch games, dance and enjoy student specials.
Jim Quinlan, who graduated from GW in May, worked at Mister Days for a year and a half.
“It was a comfortable setting and you could always have fun,” Quinlan said. “You could always could walk in there and see your friends and see people you liked.”
He also said he liked the people who frequented Mister Days.
“The people who worked there liked it because they had good clientele,” Quinlan said. “You got to know your customer, they took care of you and you took care of them.”
Workers have been aware of the bar’s financial troubles for about a year and have been looking to open a new location ever since, Lee said.
The owner said he has negotiated for a few spaces around D.C., but most discussions have failed. He is still looking at several places in the same area, but Lee would not comment on specific locations. He said he hopes to open two more locations by August.
This article appeared in the January 25, 2001 issue of the Hatchet.