When Babak Movahedi closed Mova Lounge in December 2010, he claimed that the club would reopen soon somewhere other than its prime P Street location. This was a bold claim, since the gay bar’s closure was preceded by, among other things, Movahedi filing for bankruptcy and being sued by his landlord for unpaid taxes.
Thirteen months later, Mova is back in a rejuvenated two-level building near 14th and W streets, just up from Busboys and Poets. It’s a modernist lounge with dark leather ottomans around coffee tables, exposed brick walls behind a long metal bar and a small room with a DJ booth. Up a long flight of stairs is the rooftop deck, a secluded and comfortable spot that offers views of nearby condo buildings and the Fast Gourmet restaurant at the gas station across the street.
Okay, so it’s not P Street -- that space is now occupied by the popular Number Nine -- but it feels similar, down to the same signature happy hour: two-for-one drinks at happy hour, every day between 5 and 9 p.m. (My two margaritas with Cuervo and Cointreau cost a grand total of $11.) There are familiar faces among the DJs as well as the barstaff: Matt Bailer of the Mixtape and all-’90s Peach Pit parties spins at Thursday’s weekly Tronic dance night, where $10 buys a shot of tequila and a beer; and Edward Daniels, who has hosted both karaoke nights and retro DJs nights around the area, runs Sunday’s Motown Fun night, with $4 beers and $5 Finlandia cocktails. Wednesday is “Ladies Night” hosted by Nikisha Carpenter.
It will be interesting to see how well Mova does now that it’s farther away from the usual Dupont/Logan Circle axis of gay bars. But the proximity to U Street already seems to be luring a more diverse crowd than in the P Street days.
-- Fritz Hahn (Feb. 1, 2012)