TV show boosts popularity for venues

MTV’s television show “The Real World” settled down in the District last summer, and though its eight roommates left in the fall, some D.C. organizations featured on the show are reporting a bump in popularity.

During filming, the cast made its way to a number of noticeable D.C. locations and, according to The Washington Post, 1.9 million viewers tuned into the December series premiere. Some businesses featured on the program, like DuPont Circle’s Sweetgreen, have thus far enjoyed the publicity.

“We get a lot of people that mention seeing us on the show. A lot of our Twitter followers have mentioned it,” owner Nicholas Jammet said.

Jammet said it was hard to tell if sales have increased because of the show, but said it “definitely has affected us positively.”

Nellie’s, a gay sports bar featured multiple times during the first seven episodes, now hosts a Real World watch party every Wednesday night at 10 p.m. The Shaw neighborhood bar invites all to “watch at Nellie’s to see what happened at Nellie’s,” according to its Web site.

“I have been pleasantly surprised. In the last few weeks we have had people that sign up to be on our e-mail list and we ask about how they heard about us and at least 15 people have said because of ‘The Real World,’ ” Doug Schantz, the owner of Nellie’s, said.

While Schantz acknowledged another 50 people may not have mentioned the show at all while signing up for the e-mail list, the show has still made an impact.

“A lot of people even come in asking for the bar staff that was seen on the show. It has impacted our business very positively,” Schantz said.

Another restaurant that recently appeared on the show, The Grill from Ipanema, has received calls and e-mails about being featured.

“I’d like to see if anything changes, [but at this point] we really don’t know,” the Brazilian restaurant’s owner, Alcy De Souza, said. McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, located just off of Washington Circle, has been featured twice on the program so far. Though McFadden’s Director of Marketing Heather Elmes said the appearance hasn’t affected business, one student said her friends made their way to the restaurant after it appeared on the show.

“When the cast went to McFadden’s, some of my friends decided they should go, too. If it’s good enough for MTV then there’s definitely an attraction,” freshman Negeen Karimi said.

Karimi said she ran into the cast eating at DuPont Circle restaurant Thai Chef during her time at Colonial Inauguration this summer. She had to sign a waiver in case she made it on camera.

Not just restaurants and bars are getting attention for appearing on “The Real World,” though. D.C.’s Human Rights Campaign, headquartered on Rhode Island Avenue, is using an “as seen on MTV’s Real World: D.C.” ad campaign for its “We Won’t Back Down” marriage equality T-shirts. Real World roommate Mike Manning interned for the LGBT rights group during his time in the District.

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