Welcome to Ward 5, Nightclub Center of DC

I was disappointed to read this from the Washington Post this morning.

After the baseball stadium shut down most of DC’s nightclubs, all of them started looking for other areas to open their doors, bring their traffic, loud music, and large crowds…..to Ward 5! The problem with most of these clubs that are trying to open in Ward 5, many of them are next to our neighborhoods. Residents fought (successfully) a nightclub disguised as a bar on Rhode Island Avenue, across from the Catholic Church. There is already a club called DC Star on Queens Chapel Road (next door to where this STRIP club wants to open). DC Star has not been without its own troubles. Residents, again, successfully closed a nightclub that was renting out the Masonic Lodge next to the Family Dollar store on Rhode Island Ave.

And where is our proud Councilmember, Harry Thomas, Jr? Well, on the Rhode Island Ave club I spoke about above, he was nowhere (even after residents approached him about it). On the Masonic Lodge nightclub, he was nowhere to be seen (even after Mayor Fenty, Police Chief Lanier, and DCRA Chief held a press conference about its closure). And now….


Oh, campaigning for re-election. Now, I have seen a lot of materials on candidates looking to unseat Thomas in the next election. Let’s see what Thomas does with this new STRIP club next to our homes, and see if we should give these other candidates a fair shake.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Although this new STRIP club is not located on RIA, it does affect it. As more and more nightclubs target our area to open, our housing prices fall. Retail and restaurants avoid those areas. Allowing nightclubs to populate our Ward is going backwards on redeveloping Rhode Island Ave (and the Ward) into a good place to work, play, and live. Shame on Harry Thomas, Jr. if he ignores these warnings.

32 thoughts on “Welcome to Ward 5, Nightclub Center of DC

  1. Thomas is out. I am looking forward to joining the campaign of someone to replace him. Can you post some links to other candidates? I’m looking for a business friendly candidate that can really get the ward developed in a positive way.

  2. I totally agree, Ward 5 and the Bladensburg Road/New York Avenue area which are just down the street from this Queens Chapel Road location (as well as RIA) don’t need these strip clubs. The WaPo article states: “people will be lurking around the neighborhood when they leave the club.” They certainly will be lurking around the hotels close by on New York Avenue. On no, more prostitution, here we go again! which eventually finds its way onto RIA.

  3. DC needs to have special zoning laws for strip clubs like other regions do. Such laws can limit the location of these clubs to industrial areas where they won’t blight our residential neighborhoods. Tommy Thomas – are you listening?!?

  4. That area is zoned C-M-2, which is ‘bulk commercial and light industrial”. It doesn’t change to residential until you pass the trash transfer station and come over the rr bridge.

    1. I don’t think people are arguing the zoning. It is unfortunate that it our area is becoming inundated with these types of clubs given that they are so close to residential neighborhoods. Majority of the patrons of these clubs are from Maryland and as DC residents, we gave to pick up the trash, not sleep because of loud music, fights, or drunks loiter through our neighborhood.

    2. Though, I don’t think strip clubs/night clubs exactly qualify as “bulk commercial or light industrial”

  5. “Although this new STRIP club is not located on RIA, it does affect it. As more and more nightclubs target our area to open, our housing prices fall. Retail and restaurants avoid those areas.”

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. DC has examples of neighborhoods with strip clubs, high housing prices, and retail and restaurants.

    Now I’m not saying I’m in favor of a strip club in my neighborhood. However, retail and restaurants are already avoiding our neighborhood and our housing prices aren’t making leaps and bounds.

    As for Ward 5 being “inundated” well, that’s just not happening. According to the article, only two of the closed strip clubs can move to any one ward. Heck, Glover Park has two strip clubs and a Whole Foods! Doesn’t seem like such a bad place to me, and I’d gladly take many of the benefits to living in that community. Could we be inundated by strip clubs AND bars? More plausible, but I’ll hold my breath. We’ve had, what…two try to open on a mile long strength of RIA in two years? Only one of those, Lace, was successful. We’ve got too many NIMBY’s to allow unchecked entertainment growth. NIMBY’s who eat a whole lot of fried chicken and like to get saucy.

    Atleast, with the H Street development, we don’t have to worry about being inundated by hipsters!

  6. There are no plans whether its the Comprehensive Plan or Small Area Plan which include this area of Queens Chapel Road and Bladensburg Road. We need to get the urban planners in on this and come up with some good re-development plans for this area. If it has to stay commercial, we need to recruit more large-scale businesses on the level of the ATF to that area of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road. Years ago, I attended some meetings on the redevelopment of New York Avenue. The plans included making the intersection of New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road crossable by pedestrians by having an underpass for the vehicular traffic on New York Avenue. That was over 7 years ago and nothing has happened. That intersection of NYA and Bladensburg is the most dangerous in DC and has the largest number of traffic accidents in DC. I’ve even tried crossing by foot at that intersection and it’s really difficult trying to get across the street before the light changes.

    Allowing these clubs on Queens Chapel is such a sharp contract to what Harry Thomas Jr. has done just a stones throw away up the street by making improvements to the playground at Langdon Park, even adding a skate park and dog park, and improving the playground at the Langdon Elementary School. I know people on this blog will crucify me, but I’d rather have churches to strip clubs any day.

    Lace misled the community into thinking it would be a family-oriented restaurant. The community was never told that Lace was a nightclub. We met with the owner who never told us of her “real” intentions.

    1. In defense of Lace, I live close by and have never heard a peep out of anyone there. It is a “nightclub”, but it is more of a bar than a club. A few friends of mine have been there and say that it has wonderful food as well.

    2. Wouldn’t the proximity of Langdon Elementary be enough for the strip club not to open next to DC Star? There is already prostitution in this area, the last thing we need is a strip club opening up.

  7. Langdon Elementary is a few blocks up the street from that area. You have to go over the bridge to get to the school from DC Star. So that area where they have these night clubs is well isolated. There’s a cement mixing plant, a cleaners, a carry-out place, and some other industrial businesses where DC Star is. When I’ve gone past DC Star during its operational hours, they had long lines of young adult and teenagers waiting to get admittance.

    I’ve heard contrary reports on the Lace night club including disruptive activities performed by attendees outside of this club. Saint’s Bourbon recently closed down. At least Saint’s Bourbon was open to everyone even children. Not so with Lace which is next to a daycare facility. The only nice thing on that block is Rita’s.

  8. +1 on B’s comments.

    I lived in Glover Park for about a year before moving to Bloomingdale. I didn’t even know that Good Guys and JP’s we strip clubs for 4 months until one of my neighbors mentioned something to me. They can be good neighbors. It might be more helpful to engage the club owners and have them be part of the community. Have their staff, especially security, keep an eye on leaving patrons and chase off the prostitutes. Having a presence to start some investment on RIA might be a good thing. Just because you don’t like it and wont patronize doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad neighbors.

    I don’t go to church, and all those church goers block up the streets double parking on Sundays, I think we should chase all the churches out of the area.

  9. I can see Lace from my bedroom window. Disruptive? Not at all. They are quiet enough that I’ve often wondered if they are still operating. Unlike Rita’s, their trash doesn’t get deposited up and down my block by their customers. As far as I’m concerned, both are good businesses in my neighborhood (even if I’m not going to Lace and enjoying the sultry clam chowder on ladies night).

    1. I agree that Lace has been quiet. I think b/c it is more of a bar than a nightclub. When people are thinking about redevelopment of RIA, especially between 18th and 24th Streets, they are envisioning a Main Street atmosphere. Bars are fine (so long as they are not trying to become clubs like one proposed one a year ago that was defeated that wanted to be after 10pm until 3am). We need places like restaurants, shops, coffee shops, etc. Also, “B”, if you could see Lace from your bedroom window, you most likely are aware of the issues from the nightclub that operated out of the Lodge (next to the Family Dollar) that caused an investigation into DCRA approvals, was linked to shootings and fights in our neighborhoods, etc.? Were you not?

      1. Yeah, I was there right out front of the Lodge with you that night the kid got shot (and etc.).

        Both Lace and the Lodge served alcohol, but the similarities stop there. I’m sure you and I completely agree that the Lodge served no purpose in our community. It was an illegal operation, a disturbance, and brought undesirable elements into our neighborhood. As for Lace, are you aware that their stated hours of operation are 6pm-3am? Has DCRA registered any complaints from their late night patrons?

        I can’t wait until a bookstore wants to move in on RIA. I really anticipate the discussion of, “oh no, not that bookstore…I think they want to sell magazines” or “any bookstore that wants to stay open past 8pm is going to bring down the value of our homes”.

      2. Brody, your viewpoint on bookstore is misplaced. I can assume you were not privy to the details of the “restaurant” that wanted to open by the Decca Group? If not, let me assure you, they were going to be a restaurant in name only.

      3. Misplaced? No, quite relevant actually. If it would suit you, I’d be happy to substitute “bookstore” with just about any other business entity: Coffee shop/restaurant/clothing store/grocer, and so on. There is plenty of evidence of these discussions on this blog, neighborhood listservs, and other places. Let’s be frank: this community tears business ideas to shreds, and in doing so, I can see why it may be a barrier to businesses locating on RIA (and nearby).

        As for Decca Group, if you like, you can provide all the details (again) so that those who you think were not privy to your details can read them (again). Many may not agree with your analysis, which is just fine – that creates needed dialogue, as opposed to decisions made on base generalizations. Or, since that was a year ago, we can move on and work together to make RIA a worthwhile strip.

        Speaking of strips, how about we get back to strip clubs? Anyone want to admit to being a strip club customer? Maybe there is an unknown demand in the community. Perhaps we could get a neighborhood discount on lap dances?

        What is the address that the strip club is trying to locate itself at?

      4. B – you can go back and review the details in one of my older postings for the details of the Decca Group’s proposed “restaurant”. Quite clear what they wanted there. I haven’t seen any discussions (or at least postings from me) about unwanted bookstores, grocers, or coffee shops on here. Maybe in other blogs/listserves, but not from me. I am all for new businesses, as I have always said. In fact, I wrote to the developers who are trying to get approvals (think they got them) for the Brookland/CUA redevelopment plan, and asked if they had interests in the RIA corridor. We need a good developer for 18th-SD, not hodgepodge businesses that only want to open nightclubs, liquor stores, and church fronts.

        As for the discounts for lap dances….well, I am not sure about that. I also doubt that they did a market research when choosing a location. Evidence from the Lodge club from last summer, it will probably be 99% MD license plates frequenting that establishment, and DC residents picking up the trash and running off the prostitutes.

      5. I’m willing to admit that I occasionally patronize strip clubs. However, when I do, it’s usually either (a) a bachelorette/birthday party, or (b) a spur-of-the-moment party night decision amongst my friends. However, when one of those two things happens, we usually go to a decent strip club in a safe, Metro-accessable neighborhood. Typically Camelot or Archibalds. I don’t think anyone would argue that either of these clubs are bad neighbors. They have strong security and keep their patrons in check. We would NEVER patronize an inconveniently-located strip club in a bad neighborhood. We also don’t patronize clubs with the same circumstances. We’re looking to have a fun, safe, and convenient night out, not deal with the logistics of getting numerous people to a location in a cab/designate drivers and then fear that we’re going to be solicited on our way in/out/in the club and even be in danger at certain points (going in/out/waiting for a cab). I LIVE here and that’s how I feel about patronizing a club in this area…

      6. I agree on the aspect that strip clubs CAN be great neighbors. I actually lived in a row house across the street from the back lot of JP’s in Glover Park. I never had any beef with them. I also frequently passed in front of both JP’s and Good Guys, walking to the grocery store, post office, restaurants, or just waiting for the bus. Never had any problems, and the area around their businesses were nicely kept. Patrons were just like anyone else. I chatted with a few, usually while waiting for the bus, and they were just as sober as I was (if not more so).

        With that said, Ms. D, your other comments are also extremely accurate. The Queens Chapel Road location isn’t the best for a strip club, club, bar, restaurant, bookstore, or playground. They’d be better off elsewhere. Heck, honestly, they’d be better of on RIA, especially if RIA had more going on. But that would be protested successfully so that it would not happen. Fewer people will protest an out-of-the-way location such as what they’ve got. I’d be surprised if this turned out to be a classy joint.

        Importantly, what is known about the owner’s other business dealings? Is he responsible? Is he involved with the community and responsive? How does DCRA handle complaints against nude dancing licenses (hopefully, better than the Lodge complaints)?

  10. Actually, B, I wouldn’t be surprised by protests to a bookstore. After all, just about a week ago I heard citizens complain about a BANK looking to open in the area. I mean, no one here could use another BANK, so it’s only serving outsiders. SERIOUSLY, this was their argument. I think we have to fight this fight on both sides of the coin, because it appears that there is opposition to anything going in around here. People must sure love commuting somewhere to go to a decent bookstore, coffee shop, or restaurant/bar/pub.

    1. Ms. D, I was unaware of the bank issue. Where was the bank proposing to open? Also, I don’t think anyone who has commented on this blog is against a decent bookstore, coffee shop, or restaurant/bar/pub. I haven’t heard any, anyway. Want to know why? B/c it is a good business around a community. Now, if we had banks on every corner, or bookstores on every corner, I may say something about that (I actually think that we have WAY too many store front churches in our area).

      1. I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but TD Bank is building a branch in the parking lot of the Home Depot shopping center. Fortunately, it was approved by the ANC before our SMD meeting, but there were a couple of people at the SMD who argued that only people who don’t live here would use the bank and it would just be a traffic nusance. Granted, there are several banks in that area, but I think we all know that banks are a symbol of a stable and developing community. Banks locate near their customers, they don’t expect people to drive across town to use them. I, therefore, assume that the same objections would be raised to anything…only people who don’t live here would use it, it would just be a hassle for us, so we don’t want it. Don’t get me wrong, the overwhelming majority at the meeting were happy with the proposal, but there was a strong and vocal minority against it.

  11. I have mixed feelings about this strip joint. I just drove by there and saw some of the stippers going in: Yikes. (Still looks under construction, but maybe there was a walk through) It’s definitely going to attract seedy people. Hopefully the place supplies security so there isn’t a rash of muggings of the customers as they enter with pockets full of ones.

    I agree that it is isolated enough from RIA to not directly effect any future family-friendly development between 18th and SD. It’s in what I would consider to be a good place for a strip club. Perhaps the Stadium Club will be good neighbors and adopt the street and keep the trash picked up too (dreaming).

  12. Okay…let me say that I am not against bars/night clubs. I am, however, against the kind of establishments that are generally accepted in this area. Just a couple of weekends ago, I was on my way home from H St., coming up Bladensburg Rd. where we noticed dozens of “young people” coming toward NY Ave., only to find that there were a dozen or so police cars surrounding DC Star with their lights on. These “young people” were scattering all over, toward Bladensburg, but also, into the neighborhood up Queens Chapel Rd. (BTW, it’s only 0.2 miles from the club to the first houses)

    Like this incident, last summer, as RhodeIslandInsider pointed out, the people from the “club” at the Lodge on RIA would leave the club at night, and LOUDLY parade through my neighborhood. These thugs would yell and scream, urinate on my lawn, throw their garbage on my street, blast their music in their cars, have fights that needed to be broken up by police officers, etc etc etc.

    The point is, and I know I’m generalizing but given the evidence I’ve seen over the past 3 years of living in this area, people don’t show enough responsibility or courtesy toward their neighbors to be trusted with these “clubs”. I’m sorry that I’m probably preaching to the choir on here, and that all of you are probably totally upstanding.

    I think we should start with encouraging restaurants, coffee shops, and retailers before we open the floodgates of irresponsibility into our area.

  13. I’ve noticed trash outside Lace and failure to do a complete snow removal job. With any business that’s causing a nuisance, it’s best to approach the owners to do a better job.

    The Small Area (formerly Great Streets) Plan for RIA wants to encourage businesses to come that add “vibrancy” of the area. Lace, stagnant Art Galleries, and even some Bookstores may be “quiet” in the sense that you may not know they are there except on the occasions that something disquieting happens, but overall they add nothing to the vibrancy of the area. Rita does. It’s great to see young kid and families flock there even though they may have Maryland and Virginia tags. Again, if Rita knows there’s a litter problem, they need to clean it up and it’s good to remind them of that.

    Some us can remember when the Jesse Theatre at 18th and Irving showed X-rated movies. It was fairly “quiet” most of the time, but added nothing to the area. And it did attract prostitution. Until RIA can finally get rid of its prostitution reputation (which is still alive and well), it’s better to stick to family-oriented places. I’d prefer to see Lace and the Stadium relocate. My 2 cents.

  14. Has anyone been to the new strip club yet? I tried to get my wife to let me do some recon but I don’t think she’s having any of it.

  15. As much as I didn’t want this area to become the nightclub capital of DC, I must admit the new strip club exterior looks very nice. It looks much better than the DC Star next to it. I wish the DC Star would put some money into making their building look nice.

  16. I went past The Stadium Club today. Those neon signs on the front and side of the building are pretty huge!

    Did anyone notice a third club in that area? It’s called “The Scene”. See http://thescenendc.com/. There are signs on Queens Chapel Road directing traffic to its location.

    Looks like Queens Chapel Road and Ward 5 is becoming Night Club Central.

  17. And so it begins…

    This is from the MPD-5 list serv:
    PSA: 505
    CCN: 10062257
    RPT DATE: 05/08/2010
    LOCATION: Tavern/Night Club
    START DT: 05/08/2010
    START TM: 03:00:00
    END DT:
    END TM:

    1. Just thought it worth noting that, according to the MPD-5D list serv, in the past week, there have been three arrests connected with this strip club. One involves an assault on a police officer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s