Lulu’s Club Mardi Gras, the dance club not far from GW’s campus, will be permanently closing after this Friday’s farewell bash.
The popular bar and nightclub, situated at the corner of 22nd and M streets, was bought by Amerimar Enterprises, which owns the Marriot Hotel above the club and also purchased Blackies, the bar next door, which is already closed. Lulu’s and Blackies will be redeveloped as retail space, said Lulu’s former owner Al Chadsey.
“The (nightclub) business is not what it used to be,” he said, citing the rise of liabilities, such as underage drinking, as an important reason why the new owner doesn’t want to keep Lulu’s as a nightclub.
Chadsey said Amerimar Enterprises plans on leasing the area as retail space, and the Marriot Hotel on the upper floors will remain in place. On Wednesday, everything inside the club was auctioned off in an effort to completely liquidize its assets, he said.
“There will be demolition of the place, and then they will start renting out the space,” Chadsey said, adding that he had “no idea” of what will come there next.
The club will host an extravagant fest starting at 8 p.m. Friday and will remain open until 4 a.m., Chadsey said, to celebrate the end of a 30-plus year lucrative business and a rich history. There will be $20 cover fee and an open bar, with DJ Chris Styles from HOT 99.5 spinning, he said. Memorabilia from the club, such as the neon signs hanging on the walls, will be given away throughout the night.
“I hope everyone comes to say goodbye,” said Chadsey, who owned Lulu’s for 13 years. “It’s one of the few clubs going out on a very high note.”
Lulu’s, previously known as D?j?-Vu, started out as a caf? attached to the Blackies restaurant. As Blackies grew to a 1,200-seat restaurant, the caf?, and then the nightclub, gained enough popularity to become its own site. When it went from caf? to club, the name Lulu’s Club Mardi Gras was adopted after owners Blackie and Lulu Auger visited New Orleans in 1963.
“I feel like this is the end of an era, because a family-owned business and a historical club leaves D.C.,” said Mary Marchetti, from What’s Up VIP, a public relations company, as she sat at the bar with a drink.
Students expressed mixed concerns about the club’s closing this Friday.
“I’ve had some really great experiences at Lulu’s, and them closing down is like someone closing down a part of my heart,” freshman Garima Bhatt said.
“It’s not a particularly an amazing club, but it’s definitely representative to a degree of the freshman experience,” freshman Sarah Gold said. “I’m certainly sad that Lulu’s is closing, it’s a place where you know will always be fun, always be crowded. Next year’s class is missing out on a GW experience.”
As far as future plans for Chadsey, now that Lulu’s is out of his hands: “I’m going fishing!” he exclaimed, “My options are wide open.”