Don’t be surprised when you hear the sounds of jazz music on your next sojourn down H Street. After several months of delays, jazz club HR-57, which closed the doors to its former Logan Circle location last year will have an official grand opening this Friday at its new home, 816 H Street NE.
The jazz club closed in November of last year, reportedly because rent was too high and owner Tony Puesan wanted to move somewhere more diverse. After securing a location on H Street, the venue aimed to open in January. But, says trumpet player Douglas Pierce, whose quartet headlined a soft opening Saturday night, “the inevitable red tape” of procedural bureaucracy held up the opening an additional few months.
“The location change has been great,” said Puesan at the soft opening. “It’s been wild for us, we’ve gotten a lot of support.”
Now that the place is back in action, you’ll notice that with the exception of a much smaller space, not much has changed.The walls are lined with posters of every jazz great from Louis Armstrong to Billie Holiday, and about 15 small tables with folding chairs fill the floor (see more photos here).
The BYOB policy is still in effect — bring whatever you want to drink for a corkage fee of $3 per person, and the venue will supply ice, a cooler, SOLO cups, etc. (There are three liquor shops within a five block radius of the club, including one at 710 H St.) Of course, beverages are also for sale, but don’t expect to order anything you might want to drink out of a martini glass; there are no glasses, and there are no martinis or other fancy cocktails.
Ticket prices remain largely the same as before, ranging from $8 to $15. For $8 you can sample the entirety of the club’s food offerings: a plate of red beans and rice, collard greens and fried chicken wings.
Even a similar roster of musicians will be headlining at HR-57. Both Antonio Parker and Pierce, who played the soft opening on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively, were regulars at the Logan Circle location.
The simple, bare-bones atmosphere is in line with Puesan’s emphasis on promoting the music over all else. And according to Saturday night’s musicians, at least sound-wise, the music sounds better than it ever did. Pianist Sam Prather of Pierce’s quartet says the smaller, more intimate rowhouse translates to a better listening room. “The sound is full, without being loud,” he says.
To start, the club will be open Wednesday through Saturday, with the possibility of adding more days going into summer. For now, the club will host open jam sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Eric Lewis, known as “ELEW,” will perform this Friday night for the venue’s grand opening. Tickets are $15, and you can buy them online or at the door.