Food

Furloughed Government Employees Will Guest Bartend at the Passenger This Weekend

The "Shutdown Saturday" party aims to help federal workers missing paychecks
Photo inside the Passenger by Scott Suchman.

Furloughed government employees are selling belongings on Craigslist, walking dogs, and driving for Lyft and Uber to bring in some money during the government shutdown. At least one DC bar is also giving them bartending shifts.

The Passenger will host a “Shutdown Saturday” party in its upstairs bar featuring two furloughed workers as guest bartenders. One works for the Department of Justice, and the other works for US International Trade Commission. (Both have previous bartending experience.) Expect a special shutdown-themed cocktail menu and possibly even a DJ. Meanwhile, the Shaw bar is offering 20-percent off to federal government employees who show ID for the duration of the shutdown.

“We just wanted to do something. It’s very frustrating, and I know people feel really helpless not having control over their situation right now,” says bar manager Andrea Tateosian, who was a bartender and server while interning for the Department of Defense and a consulting firm when she first moved to DC. “It’s a fun way for federal employees not just to make some extra money, but also to show their colleagues and friends a skillset they may not know about.”

Tateosian put a call out on Facebook to see if furloughed employees with prior bartending experience may be looking for an opportunity. At least four people expressed interest, and many more friends offered encouragement.

If the shutdown continues, Tateosian would like to bring back “Shutdown Saturday” as well as “Furlough Friday” events next week. Usually, the goal is to continue event series as long as possible. Not this time.

“I would really love for this to end after the first one and have everyone back at work.”

Find a full list of restaurant and bar shutdown specials here.

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Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.