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“I had been hanging out there mainly because they had Texas beers,” admits 9:30 Club booking agent Lisa White, explaining how she became involved in booking Republic Gardens as a “9:30 Club sidestage” three months ago. The club was a jazz, R&B, and comedy hot spot during the ’50s, when U Street was known as “The Black Broadway.” Shuttered and vacant since the ’70s, the Gardens reopened a year ago as a Tex-Mex restaurant and 120-person-capacity music club under the ownership of brothers Dave and Wilson Whitney. The latter, who was once part-owner of T.T. Reynolds in Fairfax, had been booking the Republic Gardens bands, but the siblings soon discovered that groups who draw in suburban Virginia won’t necessarily do the same in town. “We weren’t having a total success,” recalls Dave. “Getting Lisa White involved was an opportunity to have an endorsement from the 9:30 Club.” For the 9:30, which has found itself hosting more and more prepackaged national tours, it’s been a way to “address the regional community” more effectively than it is able to do on F Street. While Republic Gardens’ roster of alternative and roots-rock locals hasn’t packed the place every night, the involved parties are pleased with the arrangement. “Overall, it’s had a positive impact,” concludes Dave Whitney.