We’re now well over six months into a countrywide shutdown that brought, among other things, live music to a screeching halt. While policymakers, both national and local, have been dodgy at best when it comes to the possibility of a relief program for music venues, D.C. has been offered a small window with which to resume live shows in a limited capacity and socially distant manner. One of the venues participating in Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Phase 2 Live Entertainment Pilot is The Wharf’s Pearl Street Warehouse, which will be hosting live shows through the end of the month. District Fray spoke with Nick Fontana, Pearl Street’s managing partner and co-developer, about the pilot program and what it means for their venue.
District Fray: How did you come to be involved in the Mayor’s pilot program?
Nick Fontana: We filled out the initial waiver for live music a few months ago and were declined like everyone else. We were lucky to be chosen to participate in the program.
What does being a part of this program mean for Pearl Street Warehouse?
We look at it as a small step forward to getting the city back open and having the opportunity to feature live music. The economics of it will not be a positive for us with such limited capacity, but we hope by showing that music can be presented in a safe manner that the city will expand it. We have been open as a restaurant for four months, so precautions are not much different from what we have been doing in Phase 2.
What shows or events do you have planned under this program?
We are presenting seven shows. All [take place in the] evenings from 7-10 p.m. and one Sunday afternoon from 4-7 p.m. The schedule is posted on our website. [Editor’s note: See below for their full lineup of upcoming live shows.]
What is your hope for the future of live music when it comes to programs like this that allow patrons to attend live shows again?
We do not know what the city has planned after this trial, so we have not booked anything past October 30. We hope it will be expanded and we can get up to a capacity that enables us to make it worth opening and generate [the] revenue needed to survive.
How else can people support Pearl Street Warehouse at this time?
They can always come down and eat and drink, watch football, [and] order gift cards. We have an outside patio and inside seating as well. We are open Wednesday [and] Thursday from 4-9 p.m., Friday from 4-10 p.m., Saturday from 12-10 p.m. and Sunday from 1-10 p.m.
Upcoming Shows at Pearl Street Warehouse
All shows have a 36-seat capacity and are limited to ages 21 and older. To reserve a table, email [email protected]. Phase 2 social distancing guidelines will be in effect at all times. Shows are free but reservations are required along with a $30 per seat minimum spend. Friday and Saturday shows are 7-10 p.m. and Sunday shows are 4-7 p.m.
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