Arts Desk

1409 Playbill Café Gets Ready for Its Curtain

The 1409 Playbill Café has known for a while that it has to find a new location. Now, finally, its current space in the shadow of Studio Theatre has a death date. On Sept. 30, the hangout will close its doors, according to a Facebook notice posted by its owner today. But not before it has a party.

The restaurant—which describes itself as "the Sardi’s of Washington, D.C.—opened in 1998, and has become something of a hangout for the local theater scene. And it was a theater, too: Smaller companies often got their start in Playbill Café's intimate performance space.

To commemorate its time on 14th Street NW, the restaurent is throwing a “New Beginnings” party on Sept. 24 from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. The goal is to "make people feel good but us, because we’re feeling good about ourselves,” Owner and co-founder Elsayed Mansour says. The Facebook event is already flooded with well-wishes.

Mansour is surprisingly optimistic about the future of Playbill Café. He hopes to opening a new location of the restaurant by early 2012. He hasn't found a spot yet, but he says he wants to remain close to a major theater—maybe Studio or Arena—while combining a dining room with a space for companies to stage works.

“We’re not going far away, we’re going to be very close—very close to everybody’s hearts,” he says.

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