Sunday, November 21, 2010

HR-57 Moving to H Street

In what is sad news for Logan/Shaw/Dupont jazz fans, but great news for people around north Capitol Hill and the Atlas District, the City Paper is reporting that longtime 14th street jazz club HR-57 will be moving to a space near 9th and H Streets NE in January.

According to the City Paper, HR-57 owner Tony Puesan was quoted as saying "It's a very nice place, it's just in a little bit cheaper building." Puesan owns HR-57's current location, which seems to indicate that by "cheaper" he is referring to property taxes.

Though there is no shortage of jazz clubs remaining in the area--Bohemian Caverns, Twins and Utopia all have acts on a nightly basis, and many other restaurants and lounges feature jazz performances many nights throughout the week--HR-57's casual vibe, relatively low cover and top-notch acts will certainly be missed in the neighborhood, particularly by yours truly. Although the space could get a bit crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, the drink prices are high (although it is one of the few BYOB places in the city) and the food options aren't exactly options, it is also my favorite jazz club. Though I'm sure I'll make out to H Street for the occasional performance, the new location won't be particularly convenient.

HR-57's current building is up for sale, so it's a safe bet that something new will be moving into that space. Although what it will be is anyone's guess (trendy, small plate restaurant, anybody?)


DC Raconteur said...

Well, let's see...given HR-57 owner Tony Puesan's comments (also as owner of the building), the property taxes are high here, meaning that a new landlord will likely need to charge a fairly high rent to make the investment viable.

Assuming a high rent, whatever business comes in must have fairly high profit margins to be able to afford it. Acheiving that level of profit margin, good chance we're talking about the possibility of serving alcohol. That also means navigating the convoluted ANC and ABRA process...if so, I wish them luck.

So, likely option 1 is a higher-end restaurant that serves alcohol. Assuming their ANC doesn't give them hell. Higher-end cusine and alcohol combined would make a restaurant profitable in this location. That or extreme mass volume (a la Chop't) but I don't see that kind of operation in this location.

Other likely option, I could see this space becoming retail instead of a restaurant. As you note, HR-57 doesn't exactly have a stellar kitchen. A restauranteur would have a lot of renovations to do to bring the kitchen up to par in order to compete with the rest of 14th street's cusine. For some, the location might not be worth that initial investment to modify the space.

So, likely option 2--I'd say retail, probably selling either home decor or furniture (since apparently 14th street is DC's burgeoning furniture district).

Either way, I do hope we see this space filled by a local business. A lot of 14th street's unique flavor seems to be getting priced out, which is a natural progression but sad nonetheless.

Jon said...

How about a traditional Jewish deli ala Parkway, et al? There's your moneymaker.

Matt Raymond said...

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I'm a commissioner in ANC2F, and my email address is

Thank you.