Rite of Passage

As part of DoS’ ongoing series about local DC music venues we interviewed DC9′s  owner, manager and resident DJ Bill Spieler about the club.

Talk with any local band from DC worth its salt and chances are that they have performed at DC9. Talk with any DC music lover and you can be sure that they have been there to see a few shows and have a few drinks. Since opening in 2004, the club has earned a reputation for being one of the best local venues for live music and has raised the bar for area clubs. DC9’s success relies upon a mix of good management and solid music bookings to keep patrons coming back.

Before DC9 was DC9, Spieler remembers that there was a need for a venue that fit somewhere in between The Velvet Lounge and The Black Cat. The moment he walked into the building that would later become DC9, he knew that they could make something great to fill that need. With years of experience managing local clubs and DJing, Spieler had the knowledge and good instincts to make DC9 happen.

Walk into the club and you’ll find yourself standing next to the long bar with regulars sitting on the barstools chatting up the staff.  Once upstairs you’ll see a cross-section of young DCers congregating in the cozy booths enjoying some drinks before the dance music begins. The atmosphere is casual and unpretentious—where bike messenger meets Hill staffer, line chef meets lawyer and intern meets guitar player.

Upcoming shows feature hot DC and national acts like New Rock Church of Fire, The Golden Filter, Villagers, Math Panda and Loose Lips. The club works with local booker Steve Lambert to fill the club’s calendar. Spieler notes that Lambert has the critical talent and “good sense” when putting together the right combination of bands.”  Every Friday night the Libration Dance Party takes over the club marquee and dancing to new music and videos ensues. Spieler himself takes the reins often and treats patrons to sets filled with British radio style and alternative music.

While you’re there, don’t forget to try some of the food or at least check out the club’s surprisingly robust menu. You’ll find the standard items sure to satisfy, but don’t overlook the fried pickles, hush puppies, and grilled cheese sandwiches (made with Gouda). Keeping with its DC roots, Spieler and team included a nod to DC bands by naming a few burgers after some local groups like The Jet Age.


1940 9th Street Northwest

Washington, DC 20001-4108

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