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Posted at 3:50 PM ET, 11/13/2006

Coming Soon to Penn Quarter and Columbia Heights

By Fritz Hahn

As of Sunday morning, there's going to be one less place for bands in Adams Morgan. Staccato, the little storefront bar near the corner of 18th and Florida, is closing after six years of hosting rock, folk, Celtic and country bands, open mike comedy and spoken word poetry.

"It's something I've been thinking about for a while," says owner James O'Brien, who's getting out of the club business and heading up to Columbia Heights to open a brick-oven pizza restaurant called RedRocks in a restored rowhouse on Park Road. "I've lived in Adams Morgan for years, and I feel like it's saturated with restaurants and bars. I'm picturing RedRocks as more of a neighborhood place."

Staccato's been a reliable place for local musicians who'd play small crowds of friends and regulars, which has hurt the bar's bottom line. "These weren't the kinds of bands who appeal to the average weekender in Adams Morgan," says O'Brien, who performs with the Irish rock band Potato Famine. He's got a point; most of the folks clogging 18th Street on Friday and Saturday are more interested in drinking beer and meeting singles than checking out a group they probably haven't heard of.

"Coming from New York and Seattle, where I've also lived, I don't think the average D.C. person is as supportive of original live music. The average person on a weekend night isn't looking for original live music."

Saturday night's last hurrah features Potato Famine with opener MilkMachine, and O'Brien is inviting all musicians to bring their instruments to play "one last song" on Staccato's stage once the two bands finish. By the end of the year, Staccato should be replaced by a new bar and restaurant run by Martin Corboy, who's involved with McFadden's and the Adams Morgan tavern the Angry Inch.

Also making its debut in the next few months is Elroy's, a basement-level pool hall that's moving in under the Comfort One Shoes and Ecco on Seventh Street -- you know, the ho-hum block that Legal Seafood and Fuddrucker's call home. Elroy's is the newest member of the Bedrock chain, which runs several subterranean pool halls, including Bedrock Billiards, Atomic Billiards and Buffalo Billiards, and Bedrock Management's Curt Large says the new kid doesn't stray very far from the template.

"It'll feel very similar to Atomic or Bedrock," Large says, while pointing out that Elroy's is about "50 percent larger" than Atomic. Right now, the plan is to have two bars, five pool tables and a tabletop Shuffleboard game. And like Atomic and Bedrock, Elroy's comparatively small size and lack of kitchen should mean it's more of a neighborhood hangout than a full-on destination, like Buffalo Billiards.

Expect an opening early in the new year.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | November 13, 2006; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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