Bar Belle: M St. Anarchy

With midterms finally over, I was looking forward to a stress-free and relaxing weekend – even the Bar Belle can use a break every once in a while. Unfortunately, tranquil was a term far from the minds of several who protested the IMF and World Bank on Oct. 19. The so-called neo-liberalists approached the M Street district dressed in black and ready to raise arms against “the playground to the rich.” If their battle cries were going to disrupt my sleep, I figured I might as well sneak over to Georgetown and lay eyes on the movement the October Rebellion had been planning for months.

The last time I pretended to be a part of a “protest” in Georgetown, I marched around the Hoyas’ campus celebrating the advancement of our rival’s basketball team in the NCAA tournament. I know it’s sacrilegious, but our team got knocked out last spring and I just really needed to riot – too bad the “riot” consisted of a couple hundred kids walking goofily around campus pumping their fists to a disenchanting fight song. Once their 10 p.m. curfew hit, the politicians-to-be receded to their beds, happy to keep their records untarnished for the next election. This time around though, things seemed a little different. These were no Georgetown students; they were adolescents and adults thirsty for rebellion – I was just thirsty for a good Miller Lite. I can be pretty adventurous, but I didn’t want to be thrown into the mosh pit of neo-liberalists with their faux shields and bricks, so I followed the trail at a distance, stopping coincidently at Garretts, the Guards and Mr. Smith’s on the way.

It’s mildly comical to find yourself sitting down at a bar with the same people who marched past it earlier in the night. Those who condemned Georgetown for its money-hungry society and “silk-lined beds” had no problem entering its bars for the expensive beers and drinks. Still, that is their creed and not mine. At the end of the day a bar is simply that – a place for everyone to let loose from daily troubles, whether it be an overzealous boss, an impossible midterm or disruptive actions through Georgetown. So I enthusiastically listened to the dissenters as they recounted experiences of running through cops and throwing bricks at high-end retail stores. Soon enough their stories were drowned out by the ’80s and ’90s ballads that the Guards bar famously blasts throughout the night. For a moment I swear I could see one of the protesters lip-synching Journey and I knew it would all be okay.

I left the bar scene to head to a house party in Georgetown that boasted a band and several kegs. I worried the mob’s anger would escalate as alcohol entered the mix, so I decided my moment as a neo-liberal was finished. My brush with anarchy was short-lived but way more exhilarating than my previous Georgetown protest.

The best part I must say was seeing the foundations of M Street shake for just a brief second. The bars I so often frequent weren’t heaving with polo shirts and Rainbow sandals; most of those folk stayed in their Georgetown townhouses deciding how use such an uprising in their next political platform. Instead there was a good crowd of people like myself (curious to see what the commotion was about but not involved enough to claim any participation in the event), the usual military men (who had no idea what the hell was going on) and the confused rioters (who entered a bar that stood for all the things they had just finished fighting against).

I welcomed the spontaneity, so for a limited time only I am rating the Georgetown bar scene with a rebel yell and three bells. Next weekend, however, I am sure it will be back down to one bell.

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