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Washington Club Blues Alley Damaged in Fire

Blaze started in the attic, firefighters say; no one was injured and club will reopen Nov. 1

Butch Warren and Brad Linde at Blues Alley
Bassist Butch Warren and saxophonist Brad Linde at Washington, D.C.’s Blues Alley in 2014 (photo: Antoine Sanfuentes)

UPDATE 10/31: Blues Alley announced today that it will be reopening tomorrow (Tuesday), Nov. 1. “The bones of our building are not broken but our walls may still be in need of another coat of paint,” the club announced via email. Violinist Dave Kline will be the first artist to play at the club following the fire that shut it down last week, with performances at 7 and 9 p.m. Go to for more information.

UPDATE 10/28: Harry Schnipper, the executive director of Blues Alley, issued this statement to the media today: “As the owner of America’s oldest, continuously operating jazz supper club, Blues Alley Jazz, I would like to thank all of our beloved fans from the bottom of my heart. While much has been reported about our Tuesday night fiasco the truth is that we experienced water damage, and not the fire and smoke damage, as previously reported. Many have been quick to write our eulogy, and recite our epitaph, but we will reopen shortly.

“Your continued warm thoughts, and heartfelt blessings, are truly appreciated. Blues Alley overcame the global pandemic and we will most certainly overcome this bump on the jazz road. Please sign up at to receive our weekly newsletter, receive more accurate reporting, and support us by purchasing tickets to our upcoming shows. Also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.”

Blues Alley, the legendary Washington, D.C., jazz club, was damaged by a fire that broke out in its attic on October 25.


According to WTOP news, at about 6:30 p.m.—shortly before tenor saxophonist Owen Broder and his band were scheduled to begin their first set—fire alarms sounded in the 200-year-old brick carriage house that has been the Georgetown club’s location since its 1965 opening. The musicians, staff, and early arriving guests were able to evacuate without injuries.

Firefighters found the blaze in the attic and were able to get it under control.

The extent of damage to the building is not yet known. However, D.C. fire officials said that they had to pull part of the upper ceiling down to access the fire.


The club’s management tweeted this afternoon (Oct. 26): “Blues Alley is temporarily closed due to last nights unfortunate occurrence, they are currently assessing the damage and how long it will take to re-open. Some news reports have exaggerated the severity of the water damage which is confined to the 2nd floor and roof only.” A photo of the club’s marquee was attached to the tweet, bearing the message “LIKE A PHOENIX WE WILL RISE.”