It’s official: Mayor Bowser has finally named an individual to head the District’s Office of Nightlife and Culture. Who’s the lucky duck picked to become the arbitrator of evening shenanigans? Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) investigator Shawn Townsend, who will leave his post once he’s officially appointed. According to a statement from the mayor’s office, Townsend “has extensive knowledge and work experience engaging with nightlife establishments.” Here’s three things you ought to know about the investigator-turned-nightlife czar.
1. While leading a team at ABRA, he squared off with El Centro D.F., claiming it may have been in violation of its license by operating as an ad-hoc club since it often has rowdy crowds in their basement salsa dancing. During a fact-finding hearing in May, Townsend described the popular Mexican hotspot as follows: “I do know that they have, you know, a DJ, live music, not live music, but a DJ and a salsa night in the basement, so I have seen a line outside periodically on the weekends at night.”
Counsel for the restaurant resisted that characterization a little later with what I can only render as shade, saying: “The fact that it has nighttime activity doesn’t mean that it’s any more not a restaurant than a place that might have breakfast. And just because they have breakfast doesn’t mean they are not a full-scale restaurant, because they might also serve lunch and dinner.”
2. Townsend made a salary of $67,374.00 in 2016, according to Alcohol Beverage Control Board’s documentation. (The city won’t yet say what his new salary will be.) Apropos of nothing, the same file lists the city-approved cell phone for investigators as a Samsung Galaxy 5.
3. Public records associate Townsend to a now-shuttered restaurant in Charleston called “7 Cafe”, an establishment where, as one patron wrote on Facebook, there is a “grown and sexy vibe of this place…dramma free….Great foood and company. A place where you can feel at home.”
4. He’s also proficient in at least one facet of the Microsoft Office suite. A “DOD support professional” endorsed Townsend’s research, editing, and Microsoft Word skills.