News & Politics

The “D.C. Space” Starbucks Will Close

The building in 2005. Photograph by Flickr user @mjb.
Coronavirus 2020

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What is almost certainly the only Starbucks located where Sun Ra and Fugazi played concerts will close, according to PoPville,  which reported a few weeks ago that the location might go dark.

“As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio,” a Starbucks spokesperson tells Washingtonian in an email. “After careful consideration, we’ve determined it is best to close the store at 443 7th St NW in Washington, D.C.”

Starbucks employees at the location will be able to transfer to other locations nearby, the spokesperson says.

The shop, at 7th and E streets, Northwest, was the former site of d.c. space, a music venue that went dark at the end of 1991, a victim of the downtown redevelopment it helped spur. The club was simultaneously one of the best and worst venues to see music; I saw some of the most memorable shows of my life there, but shows at d.c. space were not necessarily a salubrious experience: There was no air conditioning, plaster would often fall on your head, and the pre-gentrification neighborhood could make for an interesting entrance and egress.

The club closed just as many of the bands it booked became mainstream rock acts. Cynthia Connolly, who booked the club from 1986 until it closed, told me about the surreal experience of hearing Nirvana blasting from a Jeep outside as she packed up her office. Connolly’s trippy flyers for the club are a lot of fun to look at now–you can see some of them here.

The Starbucks experience in that building wasn’t quite the same, though it was undeniably a…Starbucks. The company announced earlier this summer that it planned to close as many 400 stores because of the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’re unable to mourn a Starbucks, you can still pay your respects to one of DC’s most important venues via some recently digitized videos by Sohrab Habibion, like this very good late-1987 Fugazi set.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.