Washingtonians Recount Their Favorite Stories From the Brixton, American Ice Co., and Other Hilton Brothers Bars

A collection of (somewhat blurry) memories from the soon-to-close Hilton Brothers bars.

Scott Suchman

A slew of popular U Street and 14th Street bars—Players Club, the Gibson, Marvin, American Ice Company, the Brixton, Echo Park, and El Rey—will close on Halloween “for the foreseeable future,” reports Washington City Paper‘s Laura Hayes. All locations are operated by brothers Ian and Eric Hilton under their H2 Collective hospitality group.

Like many other local spots, this string of bars has been hurt by the city’s Covid-19 regulations, writes Hayes, as Phase Two limits indoor capacity at bars to 50 percent. It also doesn’t help that the Paycheck Protection Program and the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants haven’t shown signs of issuing more aid. And of course, winter is coming.

The closings mark the end of an era: many of these places have served as landmark nightlife spots for years. This reporter spent many pre-9:30 Club concert nights eating nachos at El Rey or American Ice, and waaaay too many 22-year-old nights crying into tequila shots at the Brixton while wearing a bandeau skirt. (I apologize to anyone I may have encountered there during the summer of 2014.)

It seems your correspondent isn’t the only one with fond (and, yes, perhaps blurry) memories of these spots. Other Washingtonians shared their favorite stories from the bars:


Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.