Metro Weekly

BREAKING: DC gay nightclub Cobalt permanently closes

Owner Eric Little says the closure was prompted by costly infrastructure repairs and a decline in sales

Cobalt Nightclub at 1639 R St. NW — Photo: JD Uy

D.C. lost yet another LGBTQ nightlife venue on Tuesday with the announcement that Cobalt, located at 1639 R St. NW, has closed its doors for good.

Owner Eric Little confirmed the closure in a message posted to the club’s Facebook page.

“It’s no secret that the building that housed Cobalt and the adjacent property recently sold,” Little wrote. “With the combination of the sale of the buildings, the start of demolition, costly infrastructure repairs and upgrades that we would need to shoulder to remain open for the short remainder of our lease (without an opportunity to extend the lease) along with a slow decline in sales we decided it was the right time to close the business to focus on our other businesses and some personal family needs.”

Even prior to Little’s announcement, speculation about the club’s fate had swirled for weeks, and hit fever-pitch after a photo was posted to Facebook showing the club’s main entrance door with a sign reading “CLOSED FOR WATER PROLBEMS” (sic) posted on the glass.

In the Facebook post, Little thanked the customers and staff who contributed to the club during its two-decade run, saying he was proud of Cobalt’s legacy.

“The gay bar industry has been changing over the past few years with the popularity of dating apps, changing social norms, and pop-up parties/events at non-gay venues and we applaud these evolutions as positive progress,” Little wrote. “And it is our hope that patrons will encourage these businesses to support the greater LGBT community to continue the good work and social change that Cobalt and all of the many other gay bars, restaurants, and businesses (past and present) have worked so hard to achieve.

“We understand the property will be redeveloped into residential use and we wish the new building owners and future residents the best of success and hope that the buildings will bring them all as much joy and happiness as it has brought the entire Cobalt family.”

This is a developing story.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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