1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-7960.http:/
The Black Cat, open since 1993, is home to alternative, independent and underground acts specializing in such genres as rock, punk, neo-soul and hip-hop in two performance spaces. The 600-capacity upstairs Mainstage, a large square space with a bar on either side and a stage up front, hosts not only concerts but also various themed dance nights (indie-pop, Britpop, etc). The smaller Backstage (which holds about 150) hosts new and local bands, as well as film and poetry events. It sits at street level off the Red Room, a large no-cover lounge with graffiti-covered tables, a pool table, pinball machines and a great jukebox.
Who goes? The Black Cat's various rooms attract mostly a college-age crowd, but it's also an all-ages club where you will be carefully carded.
What to eat and drink? By the club entrance, you'll find a small cafe called Food for Thought. The menu is reasonably priced and includes vegan and vegetarian dishes, burgers and barbecued chicken sandwiches.
Tickets: Most shows begin about 8:30 for opening acts. Tickets, which range from $10 to $22, are available in advance from the club's box office (open nightly from 8 to midnight; cash only, no service charge) and from Ticketmaster with fees.
Getting there: Street parking, though not easily found, is available, and the U Street/African-American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo Metro station on the Green and Yellow lines is 1 1/2 blocks away.
Here's a tip: If you're short, check out the small, elevated sitting area in the back of the Mainstage. You'll need to get there early (or be slick or aggressive in your positioning).
Coming attractions: VHS or Beta, Moving Units, Soft Complex (Nov. 12); Georgie James, Aqueduct, Roofwalkers (Nov. 16); Dinosaur Jr., Awesome Color, Dead Confederate (Nov. 27).