Arts Desk

HR-57 Is Moving

HR-57Update Nov. 24 10:15 AM: Although I had understood a staffer to say Saturday night that HR-57 director Tony Puesan owns the building in which his venue is housed, Capitolbop reports that Puesan sold the building three years ago and is now moving because the current owners have raised the rent too high.

HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz & Blues bills itself as a "music cultural center" rather than a club, though it's hard to tell the difference. It has a bandstand, tables and chairs, and sells alcohol. Club or cultural center, though, HR-57's spare but sizable space at 14th and Q Streets NW has been a mainstay of DC jazz since 1993, and fills up fast on Saturday nights.

That's why it was astounding when rumors circulated this week that the venue is moving to the Atlas District.

Tonight, however, staffers — including owner/director Tony Puesan — confirmed that the first week of January will find HR-57 relocating to a property at H and 9th Streets NE. "It's a very nice place," says Puesan. "It's just in a little bit cheaper building." The current building, which Puesan owns, is being sold. ("A cheaper building" apparently refers to property taxes.)

Undoubtedly, Puesan and the other staffers hope and feel that the H Street renaissance will help and be helped by HR-57's move there. All the same, it's a risky venture trading a Metro-accessible location in the U Street corridor's established jazz district for a still up-and-coming neighborhood whose transit options consist of a shuttlebus and still-unfinished streetcar system. Here's hoping for the best.

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  • http://www.thehillishome.com Nichole

    "a still up-and-coming neighborhood whose transit options consist of a shuttlebus and still-unfinished streetcar system."

    This is completely false. It is true that there is no metro stop, but it is false that those are the only two transit options when there are multiple bus lines running on H Street and Capital Bikeshare.

  • knowpheast

    Agree with Nichole.
    Capital Bikeshare and_frequently running_buses are convenient, easy options.

    Besides, according to "teh Googles," it's a 10 minute walk from U Street Metro to the current HR-57 location, and a 13 minute walk from Union Station Metro to the new location at 9th and H, NE. Hardly inaccessible.

    Let's not needlessly Balkanize a neighborhood that is already misunderstood.

  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Jason Cherkis

    Congrats on the scoop, Mike.

  • Funkytown

    Good info., but horrible angle. According to Google, the new location will be .1 mile farther from a Metro stop than the current location. Oh, no!

    Michael West, do you get out much? Consider another well-regarded DC jazz club (Blues Alley) is .8 miles from its nearest Metro (Foggy Bottom), which is .1 mile farther than HR-57's new location at 9th & H is from its nearest Metro (Union Station).

    Consider also that H St. has been fertile ground for the likes of Taylor Gourmet, Granville Moore's, Sticky Rice, Smith Commons, Sova, Rock & Roll Hotel, Argonaut (even without a kitchen), Little Miss Whiskey's, Dangerously Delicious Pies, Toyland, Sidamo, Conner Contemporary, H St. Playhouse/Theater Alliance... So fertile that two of these spots have opened branches elsewhere (Taylor and Sidamo).

    Consider also that there are more reliable and frequent transit options convenient to 9th & H, NE, than the ones you mentioned. Within 3 blocks:

    1. The 90/92 line seems to run as frequently as the Metro at night and will get you to Eastern Market Metro if you go south, NY Ave. if you go north, and U St. if you ride for 20 min.

    2. The X2 line (2nd busiest line for WMATA) will get you to Union Station within 10 min. and Gallery Place within 20 min. Downtown or the White House in 25 min.

    3. The X8 runs rarely, but it's an option. Straight to Union Station in 10 min. when it comes.

    4. Extend your range to 5 blocks and you can catch the D6, which within 10 minutes gets you to Stadium-Armory Metro if you go east, and Union Station if you go west. It does not run frequently, but it's an option.

    5. If you refuse to ride with the headcases on the buses, you can always walk 8-10 min. (or .7 miles) to the Union Station Metro.

    Hipsters seem to prefer taxis anyway, especially when they've got a buzz going. At least a couple of Dupont Cabs have figured this out and lurk along the H St. corridor and nearby Maryland Ave. They are busy and not nearly as plentiful as in Adams Morgan, but they are an option.

    Besides, jazz enthusiasts might have cars. These days, it is SO much easier to find parking near 9th and H than around U St. or Georgetown.

    If I were a club owner, I would do the same thing. H St., NE has a decent amount of activity but with much cheaper real estate than U St. (or Georgetown), and overhead like property taxes can strangle a business. Best to get in early but cheap.

  • http://NotionsCapital.com Mike Licht

    This will be the second move for HR 57. The organization was located at 1426 9th Street NW before moving to the 14th Street location.

  • elke

    Do any of you who so vehemently defend H St. happen to live in the area?

  • pmt

    The author clearly has not been to H Street recently and is not well-versed in the neighborhood. My neighbors house two blocks from this location just sold for $750,000. While H Street itself still has gaps and imperfections, the neighborhood is strong and getting better and the street has a very active nightlife especially along the eastern end. Those of us in the area welcome HR57 with open arms.

  • elke

    So what the hell does the price of housing have to do with convenience? 750k could be just about anywhere in DC. H St., as it is now, is a pain in the ass to get to. The street car will change that but until its finished H St is a mess of construction and frustration for those of us who DO NOT LIVE THERE. Of course its convenient to those who live there. You shouldn't even be a part of the conversation!

  • andy

    Love all these H St apologists here in the comments. Giving bikeshare as a viable means of transportation, really?! Laughable. Yeah, riding out to a show, at night, after you've been drinking, in NE DC is a genius idea.

    The truth of the matter is 14th St just lost a gem, and HR-57's attendance is going to be hit hard by this move.

  • Jojo

    How is H st a pain to get to?
    There are several convenient ways to get to H st, depending where you're coming from. You can come in directly using H, or Maryland ave then cutting through one of the neighborhoods, or Florida Ave then cutting through one of the neighborhoods or Benning Road which turns into H. If anything, U st/adams morgan is even more of a pain getting to than H st. I can't tell you how many times I've just given up and turned my car around and went somewhere else trying to get into adams morgan or trying to find parking along U st.

  • Jojo

    Really andy? Have you been to Biergarten or Country Club on H lately on a weekend? It's packed to the ceiling most weekends.
    This business will do just fine.

  • knowpheast

    @elke Yes, as a matter of fact, I do live in the area. Have for 7 years. And actually a bit further EAST than most hipsters would consider "safe".

    And @andy. Riding a bike is no less safe in NE DC after you've been drinking than anywhere else in the city. Biking works for me all over town—including NE DC—and I'm a woman. If biking (or Bikeshare) isn't comfortable for you, cool—that's your choice. But it is an option.

    Another option is walking the same distance from the Union Station Metro to the new location as walking from the U Street Metro to the current location.

    So why don't you all tell us "H Street apologists" what your_real_issue is about this relocation?

  • andy

    @knowpheast There's a reason the Rock and Roll Hotel warns against patrons walking from Union to the establishment -- H St is not safe.

    Look, you may like blight, concrete, an open, urban sewer, but those of us who live and play around 14th St and Logan have no desire to join you.

  • dick

    It wasn't too long ago when 14th st was pretty much a concrete crime ridden sh*t hole too. Give it one more year or two and you'll see H st full of snobby douchebags like @Andy

  • knowpheast

    @andy
    I'm not sure H Street is _actually_any less safe than Logan Circle, but I suppose in this case, perception is reality.
    http://www.dccrimepolicy.org/Briefs/images/crime-by-block_1.pdf

    Well, you won't be missed.

    Cheers.

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  • oboe

    @elke,

    Quite possibly one of the dumbest lines of argument I've heard. "H Street is harder to get to for those who don't live near there!" Really? What a shock! Meanwhile, Georgetown is harder to get to for those who don't live nearby. And 14th and P is certainly hard to get to for those who don't live near that intersection.

  • oboe

    The truth of the matter is 14th St just lost a gem, and HR-57's attendance is going to be hit hard by this move.

    And that's the bottom line: sour grapes from the Logan Circle crowd. "Oh noes! H Street is all scary and everything!!"

    Meanwhile, the crime stats tell you all you need to know. It's safer than most of the commercial areas of NW. You may run into a black person, though. Now *that's* scary!

  • elke

    @oboe, my point was that people who live there should not be discussing the ease of travel to h st. those who live outside should be. and then you go on to call everyone racist. thanks for the everything! twat.

  • andy

    @knowpheast There's a reason the Rock and Roll Hotel warns against patrons walking from Union to the establishment -- H St is not safe.

    Sorry you live in a shithole.

  • Nate

    Actually I'm pretty sure the Hotel website no longer warns against walking from Union Station. I know it once did, but a lot has changed in the past few years.

  • James

    As a capitol hill resident, I am so excited about this news. HR-57 will do great business on H Street.

    Those who enjoy hating on a re-emerging corridor can stay away. We don't want you around.

  • Scott

    This is great news for H Street. I think they will do extremely well at this new location.

    Logan Circle is a awesome neighborhood in its own right, and I would be frustrated to live there and lose such a great establishment.

    @ andy: keep believing what you want and miss out on one of the great urban renaissances in the country. I, for one, am ecstatic that people like you don't want to come over to my neighborhood.

  • Shithole Resident

    This discussion thread is awesome! Nicer shithole (Logan/U) versus somewhat nicer shithole (H). No matter how you slice it, we both live in gentrifying urban areas with seedy elements. The only difference is property values. BTW, Andy is a douche. Even if you're on his side of the argument here you have to at least concede that.

  • oboe

    @elke
    ...then you go on to call everyone racist. thanks for the everything! twat.

    Save it for your neighbors who keep shrieking that "H Street is dangerous!!!" Not according to crime statistics, especially when compared to most of the nightlife areas Logan/Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights.

    Why the irrational fear-mongering then? We can only speculate. Nothing to do with demographics, though. No, no, not at all.

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  • mike

    this is extremely sad. I go to this place one a month and i doubt i will venture out to H st. Very sad

  • Stefan

    "I had understood a staffer to say ...,"
    "Capitolbop reports"
    "Rumors circulated this week ..."

    Don't you have sources closer to your sofa from where you report from? How about getting out of your apartment once in a while and talk to people who have something to say? Would be nice if you could write about FACTS for a change. No offense to young girls, but your journalism style is that of a twittering 14-yo girl. Amazing piece of journalism! How could the Pulitzer Prize committee overlook you -- again?

    Regarding crime on H St vs crime in the U St corridor: The Metropolitan police reports regularly that H Street has a significantly lower crime rate than Shaw/Cardozo where the HR-57 used to be located.

    If getting there is so difficult, how come that most places on H St are packed every weekend?

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