LBGTQ Dance Bar and Café Coming to Barracks Row in the former District Soul Food

LBGTQ Dance Bar and Café Coming to Barracks Row in the former District Soul Food

by Larry Janezich

Posted November 16, 2021

The City Paper’s Laura Hayes reported yesterday that the As You Are Bar will open sometime next year on Barracks Row in the space formerly occupied by District Soul Food and before that  Banana Café, at 500 8th Street, SE.    

Last July, co-owners Rachel Pike and Jo McDaniel introduced their concept for a new bar/café with a dance floor, catering to the LGBTQ community intending to open at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue, the former site of Stanton and Greene.  The idea met with support and approval from those attending a virtual community meeting but the landlord decided to rent the space to another party.

At an early October community meeting, Pike and McDaniel unveiled a new plan to lease the former District Soul Food space which closed last May for the As You Are Bar and Café.  Yesterday, City Paper reported that the duo has signed a lease for the new location on Barracks Row.  The concept anticipates a daytime café’ and an evening bar on the first floor and an upstairs dance floor for those 18 and older. 

At the October meeting, nearby neighbors raised concerns about noise from the venue and from late night departing patrons.  The hybrid community meeting took place in the Community Church’s Barracks Row Miracle Theater and was attended by 13 residents in person and 9 on line.  The noise issues had been problematic for the previous occupant of the space, District Soul Food, though less so for the Banana Café. 

According to City Paper, McDaniel and Pike expect ANC6B to protest their liquor license application, but that may not necessarily be the case.  The owners are pursuing soundproofing the building and it might be hard for the ANC to protest a license given good faith efforts to address neighbors’ concerns and the current tendency of the ANC to support new retail on Barracks Row which is struggling to recover from Covid-driven closures. 


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3 responses to “LBGTQ Dance Bar and Café Coming to Barracks Row in the former District Soul Food

  1. Maggie Hall

    Good on “As You Are Bar”….reviving what 8th Street was famed for back-in-the-day. In the ’80s the space it’s taking over staged (every Sunday afternoon) the best drag show in town!

  2. skip strobel

    The Bachelor’s Mill was located there and BB Gatch was the owner. A great woman who never discriminated … Danced there many times so history seems to be repeating itself. Back in the ’50s, it was Johnnies … Those were the daze!

  3. Andy

    If you live on Barracks Row, be prepared to deal with noise. This isn’t rocket science