Exploring DC's Go-Go and Punk Music Scenes Tour: d.c. space

The venue held a wide variety of events for artists and musicians.

Known for its ability to host almost any type of artistic performance, d.c. space took advantage of its chameleon-esque layout to give artists the opportunity to display their talent however they needed to. From music performances, film viewings, poetry readings, to much more, the space acted as a catch-all for those who couldn’t or wouldn’t go anywhere else. Co-founded by Bill Warrell in 1977, d.c. space operated downtown for 14 years before closing its doors in 1991.

In its first five years, d.c. space focused mostly on jazz performances, with a restaurant that occupied the first floor of the building. Daytime and nighttime shows worked well, and hosted talents like Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, and Cecil Taylor. Because it predated venues like the 9:30 Club, Warrell felt that d.c. space helped pioneer the smaller, more intimate venues in downtown DC.

In later years, d.c. space mainly catered to smaller, up-and-coming artists and creatives, but it continued to host its fair share of well-known performers in its lifetime. Sun Ra, Laurie Anderson, and White Zombie all played d.c. space, in addition to bands like Minor Threat, Tiny Desk Unit, and Fugazi. Whether the band or performers couldn’t get into more mainstream venues or wanted a more intimate experience, d.c. space’s concerts brought audiences together, and gave it a legacy that would last well after its closure.

Like many other small venues of the 1980s and ‘90s, d.c. space eventually closed because of continued redevelopment in downtown Washington. While Warrell originally intended to re-open d.c. space in another location along 7th Street NW, this plan never came to light.

This site is a part of the Exploring DC's Go-Go and Punk Music Scenes Tour.



443 7th St NW, 20004