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Gulp! Washington Bars, Getting 'Real'

Bar Pilar extends its welcome to "The Real World." (Michael Temchine for The Washington Post)

Sometimes at the end of a long day, you just want to go out and have a beer without a TV camera in your face, you know?

And so, as MTV's "The Real World" begins filming its 23rd season here in D.C., you'll want to be on guard. Nightspot owners across the city are still deciding whether, if asked, they'd allow the cameras to follow the young reality hatchlings into their doors.

For a few, it's a no-brainer "no," reports our colleague Fritz Hahn. "We don't even let people take pictures of people they don't know inside the club," said Dante Ferrando of the Black Cat, six blocks east of the Dupont Circle mansion that will house the show's clique of casting-call-assembled 20-somethings. "People come here to hang out and have a drink or see a concert, not be bothered by film crews."

Oh, really? Because Swaptak Das of the upscale Shadow Room in Foggy Bottom thinks his patrons would be totally into it. Heck yeah, he'd let the cameras in. "My business could be helped," he told Hahn.

Truth be told, D.C.'s young future candidates for higher office don't need to worry too much about being ambushed mid-tequila shot; any place MTV films will have to post a warning sign outside. Which just might be a draw. "I think that 100 people would tweet that 'The Real World' is shooting at Chi-Cha and 500 people would show up in five minutes," said Jessica Gibson, a rep for swanky Chi-Cha and Gazuza, which have decided to welcome the MTV gang. Russia House, Cafe Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar and Cobalt also told Hahn they'd consider letting the cameras in. These days, "everyone who walks through the door has a camera in their pocket" anyway, said Town owner Ed Bailey.

Still, some pockets of resistance.

"Should we let 'The Real World' film in here?" Wonderland Ballroom owner Matt McGovern asked the room when Hahn called.

Boos, groans, angry mutterings in response.

"I guess the answer's no," McGovern said. "We almost run the bar like a democracy, and certain things have to be put to a vote."

By The Reliable Source  |  June 24, 2009; 1:04 AM ET
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