Dear PoPville – Playbill Cafe Closing at the end of the Month in Logan

“Dear PoPville,

I heard from a friend of mine who’s a regular there that Playbill Cafe on 14th St, which has been around as long as I can remember, is closing at the end of this month! It’s never super busy, but it had a good vibe and that was one of the things that I liked about it. I know they also sometimes hosted live touring shows in the back. He said he thought they were looking to re-locate.

I wanted to let you know that I got confirmation from one of the bartenders Friday night that Playbill IS closing at the end of the month. He said that they are looking for a new location but haven’t found one yet.”

1409 Playbill Cafe is located at 1409 14th St NW (near 14th and P St, NW.) The Post had an article late last week:

While an opening date and location have yet to be determined, Manour assures that the re-opening of the restaurant will be before the end of the year. They are looking at locations around U Street or possibly Arena Stage. They have “three options” as to where they will move the new restaurant, but “haven’t decided yet” on a new location, and will make a decision “very shortly,” Mansour states. “I hope the place we will get will be the same handsome place like we have now.”

They say to check in on their Facebook page to hear where/when the new place will open.

For those who are fans – do you think they’ll be able to keep the same vibe in the new location?

39 Comment

  • Handsome? On the inside, maybe? It just looks like a dive from the outside. Nothing wrong with that.

  • I remember when this place was a sports bar! I was never a fan of Play Bill but feel that it holds an important place in the community. I hope that they can relocate closer to Logan than U Street.

    I’m curious about the larger story: Is that grouping of 1 story businesses being redeveloped? I’ve seen aerial photos @1985 where this location was still a vacant lot.

  • I don’t think it is being redeveloped – Yum’s actually owns the land and the buildings there, so I hope it stays around. Yum’s, Vegas Cafe, Carry Out Deli and Mid City Fish Market are the only left overs of my old neighborhood. I knew it was over when they replaced the taxi garage/sex club with a Whole Foods.

    • neighborhood really takes off when those three are knocked down and replaced

      vegas cafe can stay

      • I don’t understand the vitriol towards established businesses in a neighborhood. All of the new things that have sprung up in the last decade on the 14th Street corridor are wonderful. Mostly, it’s the filling of empty voids that had been a sign of disinvestment for far too long. What’s wrong with having those who stuck it out in the “not-so-great” times being around?

        I realize that, logistically, it’s impossible for Playbill, Lalibela, and Yums to remain where they are if the lot is to be redeveloped (and that redevelopment would be fantastic, because the lot is truly underutilized), why would you say something like ‘the neighborhood will take off’ when/if they’re gone?

        I think that’s the problem that many who have been in DC for years and years (or all their lives) have with people newly moving into the area. There’s no reason that old and new can’t coexist, but there’s a feeling (perhaps not fair, but it’s there), that incoming development and people just don’t care one lick about what came before them.

        That’s just my thoughts on this. If you didn’t mean your comment in a negative way, steve, then you have my apologies, but that’s certainly the way it comes across to me.

    • quit fronting.

      you didn’t live here “before”

      wholefoods was nothing more than a parking lot previously. wasn’t no taxi garage nor was it a sex club. there were, however, hookers turning tricks in cars in that parking lot as far back as 1994. wholefoods didnt come for at least another 7-8 years after that.

      barrel house liquors, the liquor store underneath flow yoga, 7/11 albeit in a new location, and others are still held over from at least 1995.

      the barber shop remains as well.

      • I believe Whole Foods actually popped up around ’98/’99 … if I recall correctly, the only two businesses on the other side of the street were Vegas and the really beat up IGA and the paint shop. Whole Foods side had the liquor store, paint store, parking lot, barber shop, dry cleaning and fish fry. So yes, the neighborhood has seen some nice upscale, but please don’t take away my Yum’s wings … best in the city

      • Perhaps I’m thinking of one of the garages on Church St then? Although I thought it was across from Vegas, it may have been behind?

        • Wasn’t it an automotive/mechanic school, not really a garage? And yes, I heard that there were occasional sex parties there.
          Is the IGA the grocery store that used to be across from Whole Foods? I can’t remember what it was called but it was okay.

        • So where are the sex parties now? Ahhh, good times…

      • saf

        1987, and earlier.

      • “Quit fronting”? Props to you for using a phrase that hasn’t been uttered in maybe 20 years to the day.

  • please god let the fish fry place on the opposite corner be next.

    • why does its existence bother you?

      • Yeah I agree – there are so many great places that exist on 14th Street, and plenty of empty buildings to spare. It’s not like it is preventing other businesses from moving in.

        I, for one, prefer diverse neighborhood with a good mix of old/new, high-end/dives, etc.

      • I can’t speak for anon, but it bothers me cause it reeks. I think it’s their dumpster that’s on the sidewalk right behind the bus stop.. at 14/P

      • is this a rhetorical question? its product sucks and it’s a haven for rats and roaches. the entire corner smells like a mixture of ratshit and fish remains.

  • The scuttlebutt is that Playbill, Yum’s, and the Ethiopian restaurant on the corner have all been purchased by a developer. I think the plan is for a mixed-use building: retail/restaurants on the first floor, condos above. Not sure if it’s true, but I’ve heard the same thing from multiple people.

  • I heard the rumors of the buildings being razed and re-developed as well. I’m all for keeping all three of the businesses in the hood or having them come back to the re-developed buildings but a one-level building on a prominent corner is not a good use for that lot. Condos up above would bring more people to the hood which is what the businesses need to survive. And nothing against Lalibela as their food was ok but couldn’t they at least clean up their property. If I’m paying money to eat outside, I don’t want to sit by tree boxes filled with weeds, trash, and dog poop and sidewalks litered with trash and weeds. Maybe that’s why a lot of residents would prefer they and some of the other old-timers leave.

  • I think the Arena Stage area would be a good fit. I just don’t know if it would atrract enough people outside of pre- and post-performance hours.

  • I don’t think Playbill will be any loss to the neighborhood. The food was poor and the building has been falling down forever. We do need some simple, every day restaurants, though. I’ve been here since 1985 and think we are now totally over-saturated with over-priced, over-wrought places.

  • So sad to see this place move. Logan only has Number Nine now. Hope Playbill can find a suitable new location in the neighborhood. I love Nine, but it’s a decidedly different vibe.

  • MOVE BY ARENA. Desperately need a bar there.

  • good riddance!

  • Closest bar to my apartment – Churchkey is too pretentious to qualify, it had a friendly vibe and cheap drinks, but nothing special. Usually less crowded and audibly quieter (on non-karaoke nights) than Stoney’s 2 minutes away but I guess that’ll be my new watering hole.

    Looking forward to Maddy’s Brewery opening on 13th and L but if the other downtown breweries are any indication, I’m not holding high hopes.

    Not looking forward to all the construction once they start redeveloping.

  • The idea of the place is cool but it was always dirty, food sucked.

  • food was gross but drinks were cheap! i’ll miss playbill

  • Here’s a link to theaterscene which talks about building new condos. Someone said something about a moratorium on condos on 14th St last night? That sounds like bunk to me and a Google search turned up nothing. I also heard last night that the owner is looking at 9th and U or H St NE:

  • That corner where YUMS and all the other craptastic crap is should be raised and turned into a ten story building with condos above a WALGREENS drugstore. And the smelly fish market thing should be closed and turned into a Cupcake Shop .

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