Friday, December 29, 2006

Can H St become a music Mecca?

Check this article about the new NE Music Scene.

Washington's night life continued its shift away from the Adams Morgan-Dupont-Georgetown axis, and nowhere was this more evident than on H Street NE, where the arrival of several new bars had club hoppers trying to figure out the easiest way to get to 15th and H streets.

Nightlife impresario Joe Englert opened three more bars on the strip this year, following the success he has had with the low-key Argonaut tavern. The Rock and Roll Hotel is the gem of the bunch, a 400-person venue that fits the bigger-than-DC9-but-smaller-than-the-Black-Cat hole on D.C.'s live-music circuit. Many of the city's better rock bands took the stage there this year, including Shortstack, the Hard Tomorrows and the Washington Social Club, though the club has also had packed and sweaty DJ nights hosted by Buzz's Scott Henry, DJ Spooky, the Rapture's Matty Safer and such buzz bands as the Brazilian Girls and ¡Forward, Russia! Upstairs, "suites" strewn with vintage furniture are perfect for lounging.

Down the block, the Palace of Wonders has walls lined with dime-store freaks (preserved eight-legged goats, the Ringling Bros.' "unicorn," a life-size wax model of the Elephant Man) and a calendar filled with burlesque dancers, sword swallowers, sideshow carnies and hot-dog-eating contests. Neighboring club the Red & the Black has a more intimate feel, since the concert room can hold only about 100 people, but it has been host to interesting residencies by local artists, including Luke Brindley.

More than any one bar, though, all the establishments that have arrived on H Street in the past two years have begun to find their footing, making the area a true weekend destination. (The shuttle service to Union Station on weekends is a great help but needs to expand.) A few more places are set to open, and although the neighborhood can be sketchy at night, its bars and theaters -- including the massive Atlas Performing Arts Center, which opened last month -- mean that H Street is a neighborhood that rewards exploration.


Scenic Artisan said...

h street ne is the future of fun dc. i'm a big big big fan of h street.

everytime i go out there, im worried that its going to be way too popular and busy....... but thankfully, not yet.

PalacePool said...

I am surprised the omitted Red and Black. They have music upstairs, and a cozy bar downstairs that serves Schlitz!