What Happened to Black Broadway?

Washington, D.C., is a city with a rich live musical tradition. The legendary Bohemian Caverns and the Republic Gardens on U Street in Northwest were premier destinations where the most extraordinary jazz acts performed. Other venues including the Lincoln Colonnade and the Club Bali helped to brand U Street the Black Broadway in the early 1900’s years before the Harlem Renaissance began. As years passed and the city changed, the culture of live music continues.

Throughout the last century, styles of music shift in popularity but certain venues managed to stay and thrive.

Blues Alley in Georgetown sits inside a converted carriage house built in the 1700s. It opened in 1965 and it’s Washington’s oldest continually operating jazz supper club. Top notch entertainers including everyone from John Coltrane to Jill Scott have graced its stage. If you appreciate great music and history, this is definitely your place.

Another historical jazz venue in the city is Twins Jazz on U Street, located at 1334 U Street NW. It has been around since the mid-1990s and is world-renowned for the diverse and eclectic array of artists and groups it has featured, as well as its signature East African and Caribbean cuisine. It seats 60 or so people at the most, and it’s an extremely intimate and memorable experience. Look for their schedule online at www.twinsjazz.com.

The tradition is being continued by a couple of new establishments, as well. Bin 1301 Wine Bar, 1301 U Street NW is keeping it going by combining live bands and DJs in an intimate setting. And Jojo Restaurant and Bar, 1518 U Street NW, is a modern revival of the classic jazz supper club.

Tell us where you like to go for live music, great food and a pleasing atmosphere on social media @WIBridgeDC.

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