Velvet Lounge

Dive Bar / Live Music Venue
Velvet Lounge A quintessential dive bar with a knack for booking some of the best up-and-coming and niche bands DC has to offer, Velvet Lounge makes up in attitude whatever it lacks in décor. Washington, DC United States 38.917144 -77.024674
3.66 7
Velvet Lounge - Dive Bar | Live Music Venue in Washington, DC.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review A quintessential dive bar with a knack for booking some of the best up-and-coming and niche bands DC has to offer, Velvet Lounge makes up in attitude whatever it lacks in décor. Once past the flashing neon martini glass... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    Green, Yellow Lines: U Street/African-Amer Civil War Memorial/Cardozo

  • Phone:

    202-462-3213

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Su–Th 7:30pm–2am, F–Sa 9pm–3am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Velvet Lounge Review

The Scene

A quintessential dive bar with a knack for booking some of the best up-and-coming and niche bands DC has to offer, Velvet Lounge makes up in attitude whatever it lacks in décor.

A quintessential dive bar with a knack for booking some of the best up-and-coming and niche bands DC has to offer, Velvet Lounge makes up in attitude whatever it lacks in décor.

Once past the flashing neon martini glass outside, patrons will find themselves in a cramped and narrow space, rubbing shoulders with the rotating cast of colorful local artists, musicians, and hip college students who show up to chat over $3 Natty Bohs.

While a few dilapidated, low-lit booths provide space to hang out in the back room, most of the action takes place either in the bar, where local DJs spin an array of musical styles for packed crowds of sweaty revelers, or in the sparse upstairs space where local bands take to the tiny stage to entertain a loyal following of music lovers.

A small cover charge wins concertgoers an eclectic lineup of everything from avant-garde noise troupes and soundscape composers to bands playing jazz, post-punk, and Americana, not to mention the occasional bigger-name act.

The place may not be much to look at, but the Velvet Lounge knows how to deliver when it comes to hot music in an up-close-and-personal setting.

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Tip from Jonah:

The bathrooms are so completely covered in band stickers that they serve as a musical time capsule as much as a washroom. Reading the walls will give you a good history of all the acts that have passed through.

  • Crowd

    Local artists, hipsters and music lovers, 20s to 30s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live shows upstairs most nights. DJ Wednesday through Saturday.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    None.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $5–$10. Beer $3–$6, shots $5–$10, mixed drinks $6–$11.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Hip casual, including a lot of plaid.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Fridays and Saturdays for a busy scene, or any DJ night at the downstairs bar.

  • Close By

    Just next door is Dodge City (917 U Street NW), Velvet Lounge’s sister bar featuring a wider drink selection and more sitting room.

Velvet Lounge User Reviews

Average rating:
The Punk Rock Bar With Charm
Max M. May 10, 2013
The Velvet Lounge wears its emotions on its sleeves. This dive bar located on U Street conjures up images of garage rock and punk. The front of the bar is littered with bumper stickers, each with its own idea and memory. While the space is limited, the cheap prices and comradery make up for what little room you may have to navigate. The back patio fortunately does give smokers, and those looking for fresh air, a little reprieve. The Velvet Lounge is also well regarded for its live music scene. Up-and-coming acts frequent the bar, providing a lively atmosphere. The bar makes you feel as though The Clash or the Ramones are due next. And while the crowd typically fits this description as well, there is a surprising amount of diversity, ranging from preppy to the sloppy. The lighting is dim. It’s cramped. But in a way it feels as though it shouldn’t be any other way.
Hipster Dive Bar with Great Live Music
Christine W. Apr 22, 2013
If you're into hipster dive bars, this is the place for you. If not, run quickly in the other direction. Velvet Lounge is great place to get good, cheap drinks before heading upstairs to hear the night's local act. You'll always hear an eclectic mix of music from the DJ downstairs that keeps the less than sober patrons dancing and chatting.There's never a cover for the bar, but the live music has a cheap cover charge. During the summer, head to the back and avoid the cramped bar space. The bathrooms are covered in band stickers that and graffiti that define what Velvet Lounge is.
Dive Bar? Live Music? Why Not Both?
Danny M. Sep 8, 2012
The Velvet Lounge is your typical hole in the wall bar with an added feature of a small live music space in their upstairs area. The downstairs bar is a very chill spot…easy to grab drinks and chat with various folks who are there for a relaxed night out or to see whichever trying-to-be-up-and-coming band will be performing that night. The upstairs space is small as well…almost feels like you’re watching a band in a place the size of your living room…which means you can see the music up close and personal. And most of the bands will stick around after their set which makes it easy to chat them up and just hang out...it’s actually hard not to do because the place is so small. You might not have the greatest music experience here (or you might depending on the band)…but this is a unique spot in DC worth checking out.
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