“Are you sure this is the right place?”
I was witnessing a mesmerizing scene, social tension galore. The speaking girl’s perfect blonde updo was trembling as she stood in line with her equally coiffed crew. Deposited by a cab with a gaggle of well-heeled preps, it was obvious she’d never hit this part of town before. But leading the way was a wild-eyed boy with a ringleader look that said – you will get out of your comfort zone, my friends – and so the girls followed him in, wide-eyed, longing for L2 Lounge. Instead they got DC9.
I’m teasing, I’m sure they had a raring good time dancing their solid gold hearts out. For a while, this girl’s nervousness was justified. There wasn’t much at the corner of 9th & U until DC9 became hipster paradise, and I’ve seen a lot of shady activity on that block over the years. Nowadays, the action is really centered around Nellie’s, which spills out on the sidewalk with lots of beautiful boys. I don’t see how you could still be nervous about the neighborhood when you see that party. But, we live in a segregated nightlife city, in more ways than just race.
DC9 carries the distinction of being one of the most unpretentious dive spots in the city. Equal parts bar, dance club and music venue, it’s been the indie hangout since its opening in 2004, fitting somewhere between the Black Cat’s Red Room and the H Street corridor on the rotation list. The fact that those tight button-down kids I mentioned earlier could get swallowed whole and turn into loose dancing fools upon hitting the upstairs is one of the reasons I love this place.
Another reason is that it’s pure evil.