A new Foggy Bottom nightclub signed an agreement with local community members last week that indicated they would not advertise to GW undergraduates, in response to concerns that the venue could become a neighborhood disturbance.
Swaptak Das, president and CEO of The Shadow Room nightclub, located on 21st and K streets, arranged an agreement with the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission that is designed to placate neighbors’ concerns and complaints about the establishment that have persisted since it opened in July.
“We don’t want the Shadow Room to turn into another McFadden’s or Lulu’s,” said ANC commissioner David Lehrman, who worries the nightclub will become a source of noise and commotion from patrons entering and exiting the establishment.
Part of the legally binding agreement states, “The Shadow Room will have no advertisement targeted specifically at undergraduate students.” Advertising includes handing out flyers and holding drink specials specifically for GW students.
Das said he agreed to the arrangement in part because he does not see GW undergraduate students as his target market.
“We are excited to work with (GW’s) MBAs and lawyers, but we do want to stay away from undergraduates,” Das said.
Das said he met with University officials prior to the agreement meeting. He explained to them that it was not in his business model to attract underage or rowdy students.
“This is a big deal for the University,” Das said. “We already gave them a verbal agreement that we would not be seeking underage drinking.”
The agreement also ordered the club to display signs instructing patrons to be quiet upon leaving and to encourage police officers to monitor areas near the club.
The ANC arranged to meet with Das after he filed an application to extend the Shadow Room’s hours of operation and increase its capacity. In hopes of preventing the ANC from filing an open complaint the next day to the alcohol board, Das agreed to work out a private agreement with the local governing body.
“Heading off protests is in everyone’s interest,” said ANC Chairman Asher Corson. “It is worth the compromise to get this chit for neighbors.”
The Shadow Room bills itself as a high-end club that caters to working professionals in business attire who have purchased table service in advance.
It prides itself on the unique incorporation of technology into its service, which includes touch-screens on tables from which guests can order drinks, request a song or arrange for taxi pickup. The venue has already hosted parties for clientele including CBS and the Washington Wizards.
“It’s more of a high-end lounge trying to cater to big athletes like the Wizards or Capitals,” said junior David Spier, a party promoter. “Its second priority is GW students,”
Hoping to capitalize on Shadow Room’s proximity to campus, Spier was unable to obtain exclusive rights to promote the venue and instead was only allowed to “help” the venue recruit guests.
Spier said, “It’s hard to promote that kind of club that doesn’t want GW.” n