D.C. was forced to say goodbye to many memory-filled clubs and music venues that permanently closed their doors over the past 20 months due to the pandemic. There is a silver lining, though: The closures allowed surviving venues to innovate and new ones to emerge. As we continue to transition to a post-shutdown world – while living in Covid limbo – there are a plethora of new venues popping up around the D.C. area. The District’s evenings are slowly beginning to buzz once more with eager concertgoers and clubgoers alike. From small venues to new theaters, here are is one of the best venue changes keeping our music nightlife alive and thriving. For the full roundup visit here.
In the quaint idyllic streets of Van Ness [Editor’s Note: the writer lives in Van Ness and is biased], Comet Ping Pong serves as the exclusive nightlife place in the neighborhood. Comet’s head music program manager, David Combs, curates some of the best local and indie bands, like The North Country and Mystery Friends.
Over the course of the pandemic, Comet decided to turn the back parking lot behind the restaurant as an impromptu extra dining era — and eventually, a stage to feature outdoor live music for people still hesitant to see concerts indoors. The outdoor concert series enabled Comet to reach a whole new audience for its music events.
“People would be seated and dining, which is a different atmosphere from a late-night show with standing room only,” Combs says. “We’re an all-ages venue, but at these outdoor shows, we see a much wider range — anywhere from children to people who might not want to have to stand up for several hours for a show.”
The change in setting also allowed Combs an opportunity to book different types of genres.
“For outside, we’re only doing acts, which perform at a lower volume,” Combs says. “There are certain genres of music I was able to book like bluegrass and jazz, which tends to have an older clientele. Folks in the neighborhood are coming out whether or not they know the artist because it’s a nice event.”
Outdoor concerts will end in October but Comet will continue to transition to a full lineup of indoor concerts in 2022. Combs excitedly teases several bands.
“We’ve just announced a two-night record release show for a local metal band Genocide Pact in December. We’ve got a great post-punk band, Sweeping Promises, coming soon; Whitmer Thomas, who is an actor and comedian [and] has a synth-pop band, performing in December; and an Austin, Texas indie-rock band called TC Superstar coming through. And all of them are playing with great locals which makes it even more awesome.”
Read our full roundup of must-visit, new and reopening venues here.
Comet Ping Pong is open Monday to Thursday from 5-9:30 p.m., Friday from 4-10:45 p.m., Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 10:45 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. The outdoor concerts ended in October. Tickets range from $15-$18 for standing shows, $20-$80 for seated concerts. View lineup and get tickets here.
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