80°Mostly Cloudy

DC Eagle Moving from New York Ave, NW to Benning Road, NE

by Prince Of Petworth January 12, 2014 at 10:05 pm 31 Comments

639 New York Ave, NW

DC Eagle has applied for a liquor license transfer to 3701 Benning Road, NE. The application says:

“Transfer to new location tavern, restaurant and dance bar with continental restaurant fare. Types of entertainment include four piece bands, dancing, open microphone nights, contests, charitable fundraisers.. Summer Garden with 100 seats and Sidewalk Café with 36 seats. Total occupancy load is 800.”

Hours applied for are Saturday and Sunday 24 hours, Monday through Thursday 7am -2am, Friday 7am – Midnight.


From their website:

“Most of you weren’t around in the late 1960s. A group of guys put together dinners for local motorcyclists and leathermen These dinners took place at a bar on 9th Street in NW called Louis’. Oddly enough, it was located right across the street from FBI headquarters, and these were the days of J. Edgar Hoover. The bar was renamed Louis’ Spartan Lounge, after the Spartans MC was formed on April 3, 1968. On September 4, 1968, Don Bruce became, what we now refer to as, our first “Baby Spartan.” These dates and events are important to this story, because they would give birth to the legendary DC Eagle.

The Eagle was forced from its nest on 9th Street, to make way for a new convention space. The bar closed at the regular hour on moving night and reopened the next day at noon in a brand new location. Many of the club members were drafted into the moving party to make sure everything would be ready. The Eagle was not just the child of Don and Eddie. Dick McHugh, Don’s partner in life, was there every step of the way. Dick was the Mr. Fix-It of the DC Eagle. He was the one that kept antiquated coolers, ice machines, air conditioning and heaters operating. Dick was the quiet force behind the scenes during the early days. But if you knew Dick, you could see his influence throughout the place. The time came again when the DC Eagle would be forced from it’s nest, to make way for a new technology center on 7th Street. Don and Eddie retired to Florida soon after the move. Dick stayed in town and opened Dick’s Place, on New York Avenue, in the old Manhattan Transfer Company building. Dick’s Place, became the DC Eagle that we know today. The rest, as they say, is history.”

And the history continues on Benning Road.

  • Anonymous

    An important part of DC history lives on.

  • Linc Park SE

    I think thats the closed Rays the Steaks location. It seems an odd place to put the Eagle but I hope it works out!

    • Anonymous

      no, not the same space. rays wasn’t on benning, and it was on the other side of minnesota.

  • Anonymous

    Well, this is potentially a huge deal to EOTR development. (Although the now closed Yes Market + Rays were supposed to be signs as well, so who really knows.)

    • Anonymous

      gay clubs have never been a huge deal in affecting development. they usually fly under the radar for a few decades.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I lived in Shaw (on 9th) before Nellie’s and Town existed. Once those two businesses opened I started to see change happen a lot quicker.

        • Anonymous

          far more was going on before either of those places opened though. and town wasn’t the first club in that space.

          • duponter

            Far more? Such as?

          • Anonymous

            velvet lounge, project 4, 930 club, howard u selling off it’s property, the designation of the “uptown arts district”, “little ethiopia”, decateur blue, y2k, the ellington,
            nellies didn’t open until 2007, u street was already well on it’s way.

        • Anonymous

          I think it’s coincidence. Just look at the huge gay bathhouse/nightclub district that existed where Nationals Park now sits. Those places were surrounded by an industrial/public housing wasteland, devoid of development for like three decades.

          • duponter

            Comparing Nellie’s or Town to the strip clubs and Nation in Southeast is a little bit of a stretch. I think Nellie’s has been a vital anchor business in that area that has helped push development. And for the decades those places in SE sat there, the gays gentrified Dupont and Logan with the help of the old faithful neighborhood gay bars.

          • Anonymous

            also, no one could realistically give credit to the dc eagle for spurring development in mount vernon. or nob hill for developing columbia heights.

      • CPT_Doom

        I’m good friends with one of the current owners – and know the rest – and apparently the ANC rep is thrilled they are moving there. One thing to note is that although the existing DC Eagle is primarily a gay bar, the new location will have three venues – a restaurant on the ground floor, the DC Eagle bar on the second (complete with a smaller cigar bar, apparently) and then a dance club on the third floor, so the owners are trying to attract a much wider clientele, while maintaining a space that is familiar to us regulars.

        I’m thrilled the Eagle is moving, and far enough along that they are publicly announcing the plans. The bar nearly fell apart after Dick McHugh died – his surviving partner had a real problem with the white powder and nearly bankrupted the place – and the bar has been under threat of losing its location with no replacement for at least the last two years.

        • david schwartz

          thanks for stating the truth about after dick mchugh died .i was with that asshole for seven years and he always did power and im surprized dick left the business to him because he ran it into the ground. i couldnt even get my belonging back for him after our breakup.but thanks for the truth.now im living with hiv and cirrious of liver because of decision i made to be his lover during the late 80 early 90. now living on 800 a month knowing he was bless with a nice retirement makes me even sicker. very happy for your comment at least someone knows the truth. david

  • Anonymous

    good to know i dont need to leave the district if i want to drink in a warehouse behind a stripmall: http://i.imgur.com/4Zo1xtI.jpg

    • Anonymous

      its a great building. it will be a great place for a club.

  • dccavedweller

    This is the jump we have have been waiting for..This is a much bigger deal than we think 10 min from the capital and 1/3 the commercial and residential costs…Rays and Yes did close but the new metro development the heavily green and bucolic area means sooner than later..This area like lower Anacostia has been segrigated for 55-60 years it will not be in the next 10..Many of followers of this blog are not going to let places like the Arboritium,Kenilworth gardens,and the views from he Josephites church in Anacostia go undiscovered and viseted much longer

  • wylie coyote

    I don’t understand this story from a geographical perspective. If Louis’ was across the street from the FBI headquarters, why would it have been closed by the construction of the Convention Center, several blocks to the north on H Street?

    • wylie coyote

      Or is my reading of “convention space” too literal?

    • Anonymous

      I presume that they were talking about the old convention center that’s since been redeveloped.

    • jcm

      It’s a little unclear, but there was another building. First, it was Louis’, across from the FBI building. At some point it was moved to 9th St and renamed the Eagle. Then, in the early 80s, the old convention center was built, so they moved to NY Ave.

      • Anonymous

        The 9th st location was not torn down for the convention center. I think it was a technology center so they are using the term convention rather loosely.

        I was at the closing night party and it seems like it was in the mid to late 80s.

        God I’m an old gay guy. No wonder I can’t get a date.

        • jcm

          I think you are thinking of another location that I didn’t know about. This is from the metroweekly:


          1971: DC EAGLE OPENS, 904 9TH ST. NW



          1985: DICK’S BAR OPENS AT 639 NEW YORK AVE. NW


          1992: DON BRUCE DIES



          • Anonymous

            Whoops! You are right it was on 7th St. There was a restaurant on the 2nd floor which I always thought was odd for a leather bar.

  • bb

    Glad to hear this will survive and probably thrive, but sad that it’s moving so far afield. Hopefully the streetcar will eventually shrink the distance between the old and new location.

    • Anonymous

      Some of yall must not be aware that many BUSES travel along Benning Road, for your convenience!

      • Anonymous

        It’s a 5 minute walk from the Minnesota Avenue Metro as well if you don’t want to mix with the poors on the bus.

        • Anonymous

          bus wankers!

  • spookiness

    Perhaps not the most convenient location, but I’m glad they’re able to change with the times a little bit. I’m sure some old-timers will lament though.

    • Anonymous

      every location is convenient for someone.

  • Anonymous

    Are they going to have cars waiting out front to take people home like they do at Ziegfeld’s or do they “look the other way” at white people driving drunk in that part of town?


Subscribe to our mailing list