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Sounds Like Riot Act Comedy Theater is Closing in Penn Quarter at the end of the Month

by Prince Of Petworth June 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm 17 Comments


801 E St, NW

A reader sends an intriguing email:

I got the information below from a United Social Sports email today that they are having a party in a new club (and indicates used to be Riot Act). I looked at RA’s site and doesn’t indicate they are closing but they don’t seem to have any acts scheduled for July or August on their calendar. If true, too bad for RA. I hosted a private party in their showroom shortly after they opened, it’s a wonderful space.

“Exclusive Preview Party!

Join USS as we invite you to an exclusive private preview of Penn Quarters Newest Bar!

Its so new we can’t even give you the name so you KNOW this is going to be a blast!

There will be Free Miller Lite & $2 Rails and an awesome DJ from 9-11pm then the party continues with ridiculous drink specials and games the rest of the night.

Where: Penn Quarters Newest Bar (Formerly Riot Act)
When: Saturday, July 9th @ 7pm”

Another reader writes:

“Thought you may like to know; Riot Act Comedy Theater is planning to close at the end of the month. Employees are trying to keep it hush but word gets out. A check of their calendar shows no planned events after the 29th.”

Indeed Riot Act’s Web site has no new shows listed after June. Other readers have also written in asking about a new “huge” bar in Penn Quarter.

Riot Act opened up back in Aug. 2011 at 801 E Street, NW. More info as it becomes available.

Update from commenter Downtown Dave:

“For what it’s worth, the place isn’t closing — it is being recreated/renamed. The stage will remain downstairs and they will continue to host live events — music, comedy, etc. Further, the upstairs space will be reinvigorated as a Tryst-like coffee house/bar open day and night– a huge upgrade from its current underutilized state.”

Comments (17)

  1. Denizen of Tenallytown

    This does suck in a big way. I’ve been three times and had a blast at each show. Much better space and food than the Improv. I guess the rent was too damn high.

    The joke’s on DC for not being able to support more than one comedy club. Oh boy, another bar! Maybe they’ll have craft beer and a chief mixologist on staff!

  2. Great comment Tenallytown! Well, except for the fact that Riot Act had a lobby upstairs and a high school talent show basement downstairs. Don’t attack DC and imply the “bar” would have succeeded in some other city. If they had replicated the feel of Improv instead of just the seating arrangement maybe denizens of DC would have frequented the place more. Sterile is sterile no matter how funny the comedian is.

  3. That’s too bad. I had a great date there with my wife and would love to go back.

  4. I had a great time when I went there with a pal. Wish I would have ordered a bit more now that I now they’re closing, maybe I was part of the problem :-(

  5. *know they’re closing.

  6. Like we needed another kickball bar.

  7. GeorgiaOnMyMind

    Although the idea of free beer on the weekend seems great, July 9th is on a Monday – even more of a sign that this may be illegitimate.

  8. Downtown Dave

    For what it’s worth, the place isn’t closing — it is being recreated/renamed. The stage will remain downstairs and they will continue to host live events — music, comedy, etc. Further, the upstairs space will be reinvigorated as a Tryst-like coffee house/bar open day and night– a huge upgrade from its current underutilized state. All in all this should be a nice improvement for the space and PQ.

  9. This is what I’ve heard also. I work down the street from Riot Act and a lot of our staff go there for happy hours (they have really cheap drinks). The owners have been working on revamping the upstairs for a while to make it a real bar rather than a lobby.

  10. Seems like a solid idea. The space is enormous and it seems like they offered dozens of groupon/living social, etc. deals to fill out. That’s not sustainable for the long term so diversifying the space makes sense.

  11. Thanks for the info. Very sad.

  12. “United Social Sports” needs to hire someone who understands the difference between Quarters and Quarter’s. /endsnark

  13. Never anyone there, and overstaffed.

  14. DC Improv for life!

  15. I knew this place was going under – they were always out of bottled beer so you had to buy a cheap draft at the same price. Comedians were crap too.

  16. Haha, well maybe the current owners can mine this board for libel suits and get the funds needed to keep the club going.

    It was a great place to watch really good talent perform. It may not have been around long enough to make much of a dent in the local scene but it’s leaving a void that won’t be filled easily or soon.

  17. From what I heard they are going to continue music, live events, and comedy with the new concept.

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