For 13 years, the 1409 Playbill Café has catered to the theater crowd and neighborhood regulars at the vibrant intersection of 14th and P Streets NW. The front bar offers a window on the world, the restaurant has fed the foodies, and the theater space has presented the human condition. Although this small institution comes to an end Sept. 30, co-owner Elsayed Mansour says this is merely a transition. It's a sentiment he and co-owner Jeffrey DeMontier are emphasizing in the naming of the Sept. 24 closing fete as the ''New Beginnings Party.''
''It will be a festive occasion, not 'down' at all,'' says Mansour. ''This party is where we thank our patrons, our friends. Really, we are just moving to a new place, hopefully soon.''
Mansour guesses that a new Playbill – though likely without the ''1409'' moniker – we'll be open in 2012, offering the same combination of drinks, dining and drama currently on offer. But staying put, he says, is not an option, due to possible development that would eliminate the existing venue, as well as steadily increasing rent.
''I hope we find a bigger place, but the [rental] prices now on the market are very high,'' he adds. ''I want to stay in [the same Logan Circle] neighborhood or in the theater community, an art district.''
In the meantime, Mansour says the New Beginnings Party will set the transition – in whatever shape it eventually takes – in motion, with a raffle, hors d'oeuvres, and other optimistic elements.
The New Beginnings Party is Saturday, Sept. 24, at 1409 Playbill Café, 1409 14th St. NW, 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. For more information, call 202-265-3055 or visit 1409 Playbill Café on Facebook.