The Buzz on Dragonfly
As we noted in last week's Nightlife Agenda column, the cool, minimalist Dragonfly Lounge shut its doors for good after Sunday's party with Sam "The Man" Burns, bringing down the curtain on eight-and-a-half years of DJs, cocktails and late-night sushi. Its loss will be felt on 18th Street, but plans are afoot for something newer and more electric to take Dragonfly's place later this year.
It's hard to believe now, but when Dragonfly opened in late 1998, it was like nothing else in D.C.: Sleek furniture, stark white walls (the perfect screen for projected anime), and a solid lineup of electronica, house and drum 'n' bass DJs put the lounge firmly on the cutting edge of the city's nascent lounge culture.
It was also one of the first places to successfully combine a sushi bar and a martini bar, back when that trend was first taking off. (Anyone else remember when Platinum tried serving raw fish?)
Some of the lustre has rubbed off Dragonfly in recent years, though, and its owners -- the same guys behind Eighteenth Street Lounge, Local 16 and the soon-to-come Marvin -- are turning over control of the day-to-day operations of the building to Richard Eidman and Chuck Koch, the founders of the neighborhood's popular and exclusive Fly Lounge. "We've entered into a partnership," says ESL's Farid Ali. "They're going to handle running the club, but we're still involved."
The joint venture, scheduled to open September 1, will be called Current. Eidman has grand plans for the building's design, which he says are inspired by "an ultra-futuristic luxury yacht." (He suggests you click here for an idea.) The lower level will have thick ribs on the walls -- like the hull of a ship -- while upstairs should look more like the cabin. "There will be zero reminiscent of Dragonfly" in the new space, Eidman says. "The bars are moving, the bathrooms are moving, the DJ booths are moving."
The biggest addition is a rear deck, which Eidman says should be "about the size of Fly."
Dragonfly had a pretty adventurous music selection, and while Current's lineup isn't finalized, it sounds like it's going please crowds rather than test boundaries. "Upstairs will be high-energy club music after 10, similar to what we do at Fly," Eidman says. "Downstairs will be more house, with a Buddha Bar feel during dinner hours, then picking up later. And the deck will be chill all the time."
Anyone who's enjoyed Dragonfly's sushi will be happy to know that the kitchen staff is staying on, serving an expanded menu with dinner available until 1 a.m.
But that's not all Eidman and Koch are working on at the moment. They're also planning on a fall opening for Angel Rock, an 8,000 square-foot club at Baltimore's Power Plant Live that they've created with partner Patrick Osuna.
Reed Cordish, one of the owners of Power Plant Live, has been to Fly "a number of times," Eidman explains, "and they basically want us to bring some D.C. flair to Baltimore." To that end, Eidman says the vibe is modeled on Miami's Nikki Beach, with plenty of flames -- "the bars and the DJ booth will look like they're on fire" -- and an outdoor balcony overlooking the rest of the complex.
Eidman and Koch have decided that they're going to open four bars based on the four elements. "Fly is obviously wind, Current is water, and Angel Rock is fire," Eidman says. "And we've already got plans for the fourth bar." Earth? Your guess is as good as mine.
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