Cities Coming Back to 19th and I St, NW

Thanks to a reader for sending in the photo. Does anybody remember Cities? The name sounds familiar but when I did a brief google search I couldn’t find anything beyond an old craigslist listing hiring managers. Was it previously located at 19th and I St, NW? Was it a good restaurant/lounge?

I’ll be sure to update when they re-open.

31 Comment

  • Cities was a very popular (among some people) club/lounge/bar/restaurant on 18th Street in Adams Morgan (where left bank was and the new Slovakian place is now). When it first opened it would take on the theme of a new city every few months (can’t remember how often it turned over)and decorate it in that decor and serve food from that area (I remember Paris and Hong Kong). It was definitely a place where the pretty people went.

  • What a great place. I think Cities shut down in 2003 or 04. Then it turned into Left Bank, which became popular b/c the Bush twins were seen there.

  • No way! Oh…I remember Cities. I’m not really sure how often the city theme changed or if it ever actually changed (can you imagine the costs involved?). But it definitely was a hot spot with the beautiful people crowd. At least it was in the year 2000.

  • Cities goes way back at least to the mid-80s. It had a cool concept of changing “cities” with decor and food inspired by the city many times throughout the year. I don’t know how they re-decorated so often. It was also a fun nightclub – hard to get in the early days. Later it turned into a foodie/restaurant place.

  • Yup Cities was an Adams Morgan institution.
    I think they eventually gave up on the remodeling concept and stuck with the same design for a while. I remember those cool light bulbs they had hanging from the ceiling.

  • cities was awesome- great underage drinking with eurotrash

  • @ cohi –
    I was the lucky guy who swooped up those cool low wattage light bulbs back in March ’04 when the owner of Left Bank had an “Everything Must Go” sale.
    I’m still planning to set up a ceiling at my house with that grid of single dangling bulbs ; )

  • ladies,
    if you wanted to meet liberal guys whose parents had yachts, this was your place
    it was the liberal version of smith point, back in the clinton days.

  • Cities is where all the Cafe Med (G’town club)posers migrated to when they opened long about ’86 or ’87. Not long thereafter Cafe Med closed and Cities was the hot club in Adams Morgan. I preferred the Upstairs club across the street, personally (now called Heaven).

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Ah that’s right it used to be in the 2424 18th St, NW space in Adams Morgan currently home to Slaviya:

  • Personally I think you guys are giving the old Cities short shrift. It actually had (for the time) excellent food – I remember the Barcelona menu provided innovative tapas at about the same time Jaleo opened. But I also recall it going downhill pretty quickly after the turn of the century.

  • The old Cities still owes me 8 months.

    I wonder if I can still collect.

  • I went there for my birthday in either 2001 or 2002 – wow, that brings back memories!

  • it was at least the late 80s and/or early 90s. I used to go to dinner with my parents across the street at La Fourchette, and I remember the place, but we were definitely not the pretty people who went there.

  • Whatever year DC had the NBA All-Star game, Cities hosted a celeb party for the players. We sat outside across the street and watched a string of limos pull up while we tried to ID the players going in.

    I don’t associate it with “pretty people” nearly as much as I think of Eurotrash and middle-eastern pretty people.

    • that was a truly insane weekend.

      • oh yes, insane indeed. Georgetown was a parking lot the entire weekend. Never heard so much bass coming out of cars. That whole sub-woofer craze seems to have passed since then, or I’m just to old to notice. 🙁

  • Cities was a trendy restaurant and club for the Euro set and people who wanted that experience. Like a lot of Euro clubs, it played world/international club music. It was a nice spot and no pressure at the door. Good times back in late 90’s early 2000’s.

  • My wife and I once went there, circa 1995, on our anniversary. I remember being happy with the food and thinking it was worth the high, but not exorbitant, price (so that it was a pretty good choice for a celebratory dinner), but I can’t at all remember what I had or even what city the theme was. The crowd seemed much more Adams-Morgan than Euro.

  • Does anyone remember a french restaurant in Georgetown where the waitresses roller skated and sang? I swear I went to it in February 1993. Stone cold sober. But I can never find anyone who remembers it.

  • I loved Cities!

  • The correct term is “Shitties.” Always wondered how a bar with a dress code, a bunch of assholes at the door, even more assholes inside, and $9 Heinekens survived in 1995 but somehow they pulled it off. We’ll see if it can flourish in the Triangle in 2011.

  • Cities was several things. I first discovered it in 1988, but am not sure when it opened. It was popular by the time I arrived in DC. It was, early on, a bar and very good eatery. The chef often got good write ups and there was a serious wait for a table. This was when Barry was Mayor for Life, people thought anything east of 18th was dangerous, etc. It changed cities every few months – it was Havana, St. Petersburg, Paris. The food changed, and the decor changed as well, even down to the big bar. They really went all out in the redecorations, and it was a big thing when they would “relaunch”.

    It was laoud and fun, with some good food. By early 1990s, the ownership changed, I think, and they began to emphasize drinks and lost interest in food. The upstairs was a big club and the money in food was not worth the space. By 1993/4 it was mainly a trendy drinking place. I think they stopped serving food at some point as well.

  • I loved Cities when I first moved here in 1988 and lived in Adams Morgan. Great atmosphere, interesting food. Good looking crowd without being too snooty. I actually interviewed with them for a job at their Istanbul restaurant but didn’t get it 🙁

  • Shitties, indeed! Of course, I might be able to afford it now…not so much in 1995…

  • Let me give you some back round information about Cities. It was located in Adambs Morgan it was open between between 1986 till 2002. It was the most succesful and hot place in town for 16 years.I came to this country in 1992. My buddies in school took me there. Iwas 22 and fell in love with the place. I was a regular customer atleast once a week till day closed.

    Cities got confused for its element for so many years because ogf the yearly changes wenr thorugh. Cities has been always the restaurant bar located on the street level. The same owner had a club Called Ikon on the second floor, but people alo refered that place as Cities since evrybodt knew Cities but not knowing the name of Icon.

    Cities alwways stayed as restaurant bar. It was the place to be. I had at least 30 or 40 friends met their future spouses there back in ther day. They changed from one city to another every year and they changed their menu and entire decoration each year. The food was awsome. As some people said they stop changimng the decor between 1998 till 2002. They remodelled the place to a very upscale look. They kept the tardition to change the city concept but only with the menu change and the art work change related to City. After they did the face lift, it became more hot spot by. On Saturday and Friday you were not able to find any reservervation available, and also the place changed to a huge bar scene after 11 pm and kept their doors open till closing time.
    Once again the club Icon shut down on 1994 and became part of the extention of the downstairs restaurant partiallly as the private dinner or party spot and speareated again from downstairs restaurant when they did the upscale look renovation downstairs. They opened a members only club inb 1999, which became a small 150 capacity members only place, which pissed of a lot of neighbourhood people. The upstairs loung became the destination of celebrities and rich people lounge and they did not any regular patriots of Adams Morgan even they were regular dining customers of Cities Downstairs. That club made a tiwst to reputation to Cities also, because there was no name for this private club, so everybody was calling it Cities.

    Believe me I spent years at Old Cities. It was a great food, great atmosphere, everybody was welcome, some reguars suchas myself was more welcomed. The service was good. I am so happy that they are bringing it back. Because now I am at 40″2 and definitely going to have be there. Old Cities carry a crowd between the age of 25 till 65. And everybody had a great time
    Cheers and see you guysd when they open, still not sure when though

  • They never stopped serving food. Some people thought so beacuse they were the late arrivals to Cities for drinks and mingling. On Saturdays you were not able to find a table to sit down and eat

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