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Posted at 2:26 PM ET, 03/17/2006

Feeling Blue in Adams Morgan

By Fritz Hahn

When a bar closes, it's natural to look for a scapegoat. Poor location? Bad promoters? Awful DJs? Outdated concept? Sky-high prices?

The Blue Room doesn't suffer from any of these common problems, but the Adams Morgan dance club and lounge is shutting its doors for good in early April.

Crowds still fill the couches and dance to DJs every weekend, and the laidback atmosphere attracts an older, less rowdy and more dressed-up audience than the folks a few doors down at Tom Tom or Heaven and Hell.

The problem is a sort of sibling rivalry. The Blue Room's owners have decided they'd rather use the second-story space to expand Bourbon, the restaurant and bar that occupies the first floor of the building.

Bourbon, which has another branch in Glover Park, is doing great business with its focus on Kentucky whiskey and classic comfort foods like meatloaf, burgers and grilled cheese. The Americana theme extends to the selection of draft beers and wines by the glass, too.

Faced with two very different businesses, owner Bill Thomas has decided that he's going to focus on restaurants instead of his nightclub. "It's about focus," he says. "It's unfortunate, but [the Blue Room] takes us out of our concept and it's just not part of our future plans."

Those plans, Thomas says, may include opening more locations in Washington, but right now, "expanding the brand" requires more real estate. Since Thomas already has the space upstairs, he figured he'd make the most of it. In the new space, expect more tasting dinners and options on the whiskey list but fewer DJs and late-night events.

Your last chance to party at the Blue Room is April 3, and Thomas promises a huge farewell bash with guest DJs and other surprises. Bourbon's expanded second level, with new furniture, is scheduled to make its public debut on April 21.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 17, 2006; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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That's too bad, it's one of the few cool places left on a Friday or Saturday night.

Posted by: Adams Morgan | March 17, 2006 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Oh now this is sad! I just hope Uncle Q's Living Room will find a home !!!

Posted by: NT | March 20, 2006 11:55 AM | Report abuse

This is definitely too bad - Bill has always been one of the most approachable and helpful club owners I've talked with. I've celebrated three birthday parties there and he's consistently let my friends in with no cover on those evenings, even e-mailing me other times to see how the evening went and asking for feedback about Blue. Here's to hoping he opens another club in the city sometime in the near future . . .

Posted by: PK | March 20, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

sad... the commercial music takeover of adams morgan finally consumed the one oasis on 18th street. at least bourbon is decent. just entirely different.

respect to chef carlos!

Posted by: MC | March 24, 2006 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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