Charlie's is artful.
Not just the art of Charlie Byrd's guitar, or culinary art, but visual art. As you enter the new jazz club/restaurant, the lobby is filled with art work. Plum Gallery exhibits the work -- through July the paintings and cast brass sculpture of Williams Calfee and Hilda Thorpe's paper sculpture and paintings ($800-$6,00). Soft sofas and flowers made the room so pleasant that few people would fuss if their dinner date was late or their table not ready.
The effect is so pleasant, you wonder why more art galleries don't have sofas and more restuarant lobbies more art.
Besides the art to buy, Betty Martin, a vice president of the company, has lent some paintings from her own collection, many of them by Jane Mason. Some of the sculptures are by John Safer, who owns the building with Waterstreet, Limited Partnership.
Charlie's opened last mont at 3223 K St., on the Georgetown waterfront, designed by Andi Werner and Ronald Holbrook at a reported cost of $600,000. d"We wanted to do something warm,: casual but elegant," Werner said.
Charlie's offers a choice of rooms: the Riverfront Piano barroom in the front; the Veranda Cafe -- tables in the atrium outside the restaurant proper, surely the best place to have lunch; Charlie's Backroom where eventually a dance floor and a juke box will compete with the bar and its "Ladies of the Night" sculpture.
The main dining and listening room holds 140 seats on two levels. If you sit on the balcony, you can enjoy the music and only order drinks. Reds and grays and striped walls are meant to give a nightclub feeling.
The musicians, though, have a chintzy little state that isn't realy big enough to manage all their instruments, nor important enough in design to be the prime focus as it should be. The lighting, too, is far from theatrical. But some people feel that the room's lack of pretentions give it a close, intimate feeling they want in a place to drink, eat and listen. If you're claustrophobic, you might rather sit in the Veranda Cafe. In any case, the art, visual and auditory make it a pleasant place for an evening with chef Tom Fazekas's cooking.
Charlie Byrd's and Ptet Lambros' night spot has a long list of celebrity investors, including Bess and Tyler Abell (she's Joan Mondale's press manager, he's a former chief of protocol); socialites Juliet and Lee Folger, builder Barrett Linde, Betty and Bob Martin; Jerry Ford's former press chief Ron Nesson, and lots more.
Hartman and Cox of Georgetown were architects for the building, once called the Dodge building. Al Jost of Silver Spring was the architect for the restaurant interior.