Yesterday afternoon, Prince of Petworth picked up a report via the Twitter feed of H Street Festival publicist Margaret Holwill that the popular HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues will soon be relocating for the second time in a year.
“That’s true,” confirms drummer Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson, the venue’s house drummer and de facto musical director. (Owner/director Tony Puesan couldn’t be reached for comment.) The new location will be at 1007 H Street NE, two blocks east of its current location at 816 H Street.
“This one will be a lot more like the old HR-57,” says Jackson, referring to the address at 14th and Q that the venue closed in 2010. “The brick walls, the couches, more seating. The place is about three times larger than the current one.”
It’s the size of the new building —- formerly the nondemoninational church New Beginning Temple of Praise —- that motivated the move, says Jackson. “We can’t charge people to come in and then make them stand,” he says. “There are fire code issues. And a few weekends ago we had to turn 30 people away at the door! It’s great that we’re doing that kind of business, but it’s not good that we can’t make room for it.”
In addition, the new HR-57 space will have a cafe in its front section, called Alchemy, offering coffee and baked goods along with a full menu.
As for the current location, Holwill reports that Puesan intends to keep it—-he’ll turn it into a venue called BeBop Cafe, which will be converted to a blues venue as well as a forum for poetry readings and other events.
Jackson declined to comment on specific dates for the opening of the HR-57’s new location. Holwill reports that it will take place in late January.