Atmosphere: Eighteenth Street Lounge has long been one of Washington DC’s most eclectic, sophisticated and exclusive nightlife venues. Founded in 1995 by the DC-bred, internationally acclaimed live DJ act Thievery Corporation, ESL operates out of a 19th Century Victorian mansion formerly owned by President Theodore Roosevelt. Over the years the swanky DC lounge has become a landmark of DC nightlife.
With no signs, awnings or anything else to indicate that you’ve arrived, ESL can be difficult to find for someone visiting for the first time. Years ago the venue was so under the radar there was a doorbell and peephole for the bouncer to check before you could go in! With no formal advertisement, the owners managed to create a DC club brand by word of mouth. The venue is actually located above a ‘Mattress Discounters’ store at the intersection of 18th and Connecticut. The door is just to the left.
As you enter and ascend your way to the main level of ESL, you’re met by a DJ booth and small dance area. To the left is a mini-lounge/dance area and beyond that a large outdoor terrace complete with bar! Turning right, you find the main bar and the spacious Main Room with all the comforts of any high roller’s pad, including dazzling chandeliers, fireplaces, high ceilings, and plenty of couches for lounging.
ESL is live!!!
Walking down from the main room into the sunken Gold Room brings you to a dance floor with mini-stage and sound booth. The Gold Room plays host to DJ acts, jam bands, reggae and Brazilian performances and more!
Going back to the main room, patrons may find a staircase leading to the top level Jazz Bar which on occasion features techno DJs as well!
18th Street Lounge’s overall appeal is in the comfortable, eclectic elegance of the venue coupled with the mix of well to do patrons looking for a chill, relaxing atmosphere sans pretentiousness. It’s without question a must-visit for anyone who enjoys going out in DC!
Wednesdays are one of the best nights to visit ESL. Reggae night features a DJ in the main room, live music in the Gold Room and one of the coolest crowds in DC nightlife!
Thursdays can feature anything from live Brazilian acts to house DJs and everything in between!
Fridays are more eclectic rhythms – DJs, funk bands and an amazing vibe!
Saturdays keep the vibe alive, baby!
Sundays, like Wednesdays, are one of ESL’s foundation nights. With music from legendary DC house resident Sam The Man Burns, the night is a classic!
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Photo Tour: The Terrace
Photo Tour: The Main Room
The Main Room at ESL consists of 3 sections. Beyond the bar is a mini lounge which leads to the terrace
To the right of the main lounge is a mini-staircase leading into the Gold Room!
Photo Tour: The Gold Room
A long view from the back bar of the Gold Room at ESL
When live music acts perform, the couches and coffee tables are moved and Teddy Roosevelt’s crib starts jumping!
Photo Tour: The Jazz Bar
The top level of ESL serves as a Jazz Lounge and also features DJs on occasion
Video Tour: ESL
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