Furloughed federal workers enjoy a game of table tennis at Sixth & I Synagogue's "Shutdown Central" in Washington October 3, 2013.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

DC survived shutdown with comfort food and booze

Updated

Washington, D.C., residents suffering the standstill of a shuttered government survived the 16-day ordeal with a healthy dose of alcohol and comfort food, a social media analysis found.

Foursquare released data on Thursday about location check-ins using their mobile app, focusing on the Washington, D.C., metro area. Its analysis of patterns among social check-ins on the Foursquare app found that during the shutdown, Washington residents were enjoying the first week of the shutdown by drinking more heavily and visiting expensive restaurants–at least during the first week.

More highights from Foursquare’s analysis of check-in data reveals:

  • During the first week of the shutdown, Washington residents checked in at more bars and Italian restaurants.
  • Those bar stops increased by over 50% while patrons and furloughed workers were perhaps celebrating their time off, or drowning their sorrows by visiting more bars.
  • But by the second week of the shutdown, people tightened their wallets. Check-ins at expensive restaurants decreased, as did check-ins at coffee shops, restaurants, and food trucks. Check-ins at bars also returned to normal levels, though dive bars became the drinking locale of choice for residents.
  • Not surprisingly, travel check-ins were down as less workers were commuting each day during the shutdown – check-ins at train and subway stations decreased by 25% during the shutdown.
  • Government buildings saw less activity. Check-ins at government buildings around the Capitol decreased by 30% during the two weeks of the shutdown.
  • Since Washington is full of monuments, museums, and national landmarks that were all closed during the shutdown, there was an immediate decrease in tourism: check-ins at monuments within the district fell over 25% during the first week of the shutdown, and were down over 60% by October 11.

Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray reported that during the shutdown, the district saw an increase in alcohol sales and a decline in hotel booking and restaurant revenue. Alcohol sales increased 3% in the first two weeks of October, compared to September sales.

Mayor Gray said: “[During the shutdown, we’ve had] 13,000 fewer hotel bookings and about a $2 million loss in revenue. The one area where we’ve seen an increase is the alcohol tax has increased in the District in Columbia. I won’t try to speculate as to why.”

 

Government Shutdowns

DC survived shutdown with comfort food and booze

Updated