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Columbia Station owner Mehari Weldemariam confirms that after a roughly 25-year run, the no-frills, no-cover jazz club with nightly music is closed. The news was first reported by Capital Bop on Wednesday. But Weldemariam insists that loyal customers can now get a similar experience at his other Adams Morgan business, Green Island Cafe, which shares an address with Club Heaven and Hell and is located next to Columbia Station at 2327 18th St. NW.
“Everything moved to Green Island,” Weldemariam says. “It’s the same crowd, the same people, the same musicians.”
He says he closed Columbia Station last week because of rent increases. “I gave them the key back. Whatever they want to do, they can do. I’m not going to pay that kind of money anymore. It’s too much.”
Weldemariam also doesn’t know if he’s going to change the names of his newly combined businesses. “So far we’re going to keep it the same,” he says. “In the future we’re going to do something else, but we haven’t decided yet.”
There was some doubt whether Weldemariam would hold on to his ventures at 2327 18th St. NW. The Alcohol Beverage Control Board fined Club Heaven and Hell $90,000 in October 2019. The board also dealt the bar a 90-day liquor license suspension. The penalties were a result of two separate incidents. The club outsourced security to a third party in August 2018; in November 2018, the bar served a notorious Long Island iced tea that contained cleaning fluid to a patron named Leon Williams.
The club, blogger Barred in DC reported, paid the fine, served the suspension, and was permitted to reopen on the last day of January.
“I paid the fine even though they don’t deserve to get those kinds of things,” Weldemarium says.
Columbia Station, 2325 18th St. NW