Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Bohemian Caverns, D.C. Jazz Landmark, Set to Close

One of the nation’s oldest jazz venues

JD Allen Trio, with JD Allen, Gregg August and Rudy Royston at Bohemian Caverns in Washington, D.C., in October 2010
Jeremy Pelt and band at Washington, D.C.'s Bohemian Caverns, Feb. 2013
Bohemian Caverns

Bohemian Caverns, the Washington, D.C., jazz club whose beginnings can be traced nearly all the way back to the birth of the music, will close at the end of March, its owners have stated. The venue has been struggling to make ends meet financially, according to a report in the Washington City Paper by Michael J. West. According to the article, Omrao Brown, co-owner and managing partner of the club since 2006, concluded that running the operation was no longer a possibility.

“When the current five-year lease on the building at 11th and U streets NW expires on March 31, the legendary venue-which has hosted everyone from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis to Tia Fuller-will expire along with it,” wrote West. Also closing will be the Southern-style restaurant Tap & Parlour and the nightclub Liv, both of which share the building with Bohemian Caverns. The article further stated that the Caverns’ relationship with landlord Al Afshar, who was also the Caverns’ previous proprietor, had “deteriorated” and that Afshar “is not interested in exercising another lease option with Brown and Brown’s partners.”

Bohemian Caverns has operated under several names since its inception-it was first known as Club Caverns-and has also hosted such legendary jazz figures as John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Cab Calloway in the past. More recently, artists such as Ravi Coltrane (pictured on homepage), Pharoah Sanders, Ron Carter and JD Allen have performed at the venue.

Originally Published