Eighteenth Street Lounge Closes After 25 Years


Eighteenth Street Lounge, the revered Washington, D.C. nightspot, has closed its doors after a 25-year run. A moment of silence, please.

ESL co-founder Farid Nouri said he was unable to come to terms on a five-year lease renewal with the club’s landlord. The lease was set to expire later this summer. The 10,000-square-foot space has been closed since March due the COVID-19 pandemic. The economics just didn’t make sense — for now.

Founded in 1995, Dupont Circle-based ESL was home to up-and-coming local and established DJs as well as bands who played jazz, funk, reggae and Latin music.

The well-appointed, multi-story venue boasted five bars (The Main Room, The Gold Room, The Jazz Bar, Addendum Bar and Deck Bar). Eric Hilton, co-leader of downtempo act Thievery Corporation, was a co-founder of ESL. Thievery Corporation recorded its first tracks inside its back basement bar in the early ’90s.

Here is Farid Nouri’s statement in its entirety:

“The well-being of our patrons, and staff has always been a leading priority for the ESL team, and given the current uncertainty of when we can welcome everyone back safely, we have decided to close the space indefinitely … I want to thank the amazing patrons and dedicated staff who kept us around for more than two decades in the nation’s capital. We set the bar really high and we leave behind an untouchable legacy in DC nightlife. There is such huge potential in this market, and the closure of ESL does not mean I will abandon my roots in this city. Rather, I am taking time to listen to the science on public health and rethink strategies for the future of how we can deliver the best experiences to patrons moving forward.”

Image via 18thstlounge.com

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Yehouda Silverman

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