Mayor Muriel Bowser has appointed a new “night mayor” to head DC’s Office of Nightlife and Culture. Solana Vander Nat will take over the post, which has remained empty since inaugural director Shawn Townsend left the job in July for a private public affairs firm.
Prior to this new gig, Vander Nat—who was born in Salasaca, Ecuador—founded DC-based consulting company Sol Support, which does event planning, among other things. The service industry (including nightlife establishments like bars and clubs) has struggled throughout the pandemic. It’s an issue the director will have to contend with—and Vander Nat has seen firsthand the impact on hospitality workers: The new night czar was also a program manager at Hook Hall Helps, a restaurant relief program that organized family meals for members of the industry.
The night mayor deals with issues and regulations pertaining to the nightlife industry such as noise complaints and acts as a liaison between DC government and nightlife businesses. Both the director role and the Office of Nightlife and Culture were established in 2018.