After a few attempts —- he’s a busy man —- I finally caught up with HR-57’s owner, Tony Puesan, at this week’s Wednesday night jam session. As it turns out, this was the second-to-last such session in the club’s 14th Street location; it closes on December 18. “We haven’t got an opening date for the new location,” he says of HR-57’s new digs at 816 H Street NE. “But it’ll be somewhere in mid-January.”
Is there a risk to the crosstown transplant? “Not at all,” Puesan says. “The 14th Street, U Street neighborhood is a historical-identity neighborhood, but so is H Street. We’ll be right across from 727 H Street, where Charlie Parker and Billie Holiday played. [Club Kavakos, at the southwest corner of H and 8th NE, closed in 1955; the building was demolished in 1999.] H Street has its own history and for some reason we always end up at a historic place. But in Washington, DC, we could be swimming in the Potomac and be surrounded by history.
“Wheverever we go we’ll be just fine,” he added. “If some of the neighborhood people don’t come with us, we’ll miss them —- but most of them will. And a lot of the people who come now are from H Street, and they can make it a few blocks, so the people on 14th Street will too.” Puesan wasn’t the only one with an opinion to share: Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson, HR-57’s house drummer (“house clown,” he corrected me) snagged me on his way out for a smoke. “You want a prediction?” he grinned. “Here’s a prediction: The new place is gonna be off the chain! It’s a great room, and a big one. It’s on —-I’ll make sure of that.”