It's 9 p.m.. The club opens and the cashier answers the phone:
"Seasons Restaurant and Nightclub . . . $5 cover. Proper attire . . . You know, dress like you're going to a wedding . . . Chic for young ladies . . . C-h-i-c . . . Bye."
Seasons, on Eastern Ave, NW near Georgia (where Hofberg's used to be), has been open only a few months and people are curious. Samuel Gross, owner of the club says, "We want to have a place that attracts a sophisticated group of people."
The customers range from mid-twenties to early forties, and all are fashionably dressed--dips, splits, hats, sportcoats and bow ties.
Many of the women arrive with female companions and most men file in singlely. (Although one salt-and-pepper haired gent escorts five sophisticated ladies.)
The first stop for many is the 30-foot bar, which provides a good angle for viewing bodies on the mirror-lined 60-foot long, elevated dance floor. Others go for the tables that face the door so they can watch the crowd coming in. Like a simmering stew, the atmosphere heats up slow and easy.
By 11, most of the customers know it's time to drift upstairs and fill the forty or so available tables. There is a smaller dance floor and bar and the live entertainment is about to start.
The lights are dimmed, a hush comes over the audience, and for the next hour Phillip Manuel and the P.M. Band, glide through soulful ballads, scat over toe-tapping tunes, bellow out the blues and caress love songs. The crowd savors every note. The mood is mellow. Conversations are low, heads are shaking to the beat, some choose to sing along. The walls are lined with onlookers.
Just as the performance ends, the disco music from downstairs is plugged into the upstairs speakers, and the groove changes to intensive dancing and sweating.
By midnight, Seasons is sizzling. People are everywhere--on both dance floors, at the bars, in the aisles. The music is loud, the lights are flashing. This joint is really jumping.