I won't be able to say certain things without getting, um, too specific.
Let's just say that this was one of the handful of places in the world where I felt like I belonged. It's the last one to close, the one spot I could depend on until today, even though it's been fifteen years since I last walked through the unmarked door and up the nearly-forty stairs to the Main Bar. I'm sure there are more places like it out there somewhere, and some will survive the pandemic, and maybe even some will open after the pandemic, and I may have one more year or one more month or just even one more night of joy. Until then. This hurts, a lot.
If there are any DC locals reading, who knew the reputation, maybe it's a surprise that I care about this place so much. I'm a disillusioned, melancholy and alienated lapsed Marxist pining for a place that was notorious for attracting, especially on the weekends, a crowd of international cosmopolitans (and some really dumb college kids) in the midst of the long slide from taste and erudition to branding and Instagram. Also, I didn't and don't do cocaine.
I shouldn't have fit in, at all. At best, I now have the social skills to not call attention to the fact that I don't have any social skills, but, back then, I didn't. Nor did I have the money for nice clothing, for expensive drinks, for all the accouterments of what nightlife has sadly become. And yet, I was up in (co-owner/operating partner/DJ) Farid's face all the time, "what's this record?", "what's that record?" and, somehow, that's what made me belong there without my having tried to fit in. For all of the other shit that surrounded that place, some invited, some tolerated, at the end of the day, it was about the music. It still is, and always will be.