A bustling Bethesda jazz hot spot has seen many incarnations over the decades, opening and closing repeatedly, but its latest renaissance appears to be taking hold. Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, a concert hall equipped with a stage, offers dinner, live performances and nights dedicated for guests to dance. Bethesda Blues and Jazz, which […]
A bustling Bethesda jazz hot spot has seen many incarnations over the decades, opening and closing repeatedly, but its latest renaissance appears to be taking hold.
Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, a concert hall equipped with a stage, offers dinner, live performances and nights dedicated for guests to dance.
Bethesda Blues and Jazz, which is a National Historic Register Property, started out as the Boro Theatre, which was renamed the Bethesda Theatre in 1938.
Margaret Gates, manager of Bethesda Blues and Jazz, said the club has been doing well since opening two years ago.
“We seem to be doing very well getting the word out. More and more, I think there’s a lot of people starting to hear about it, particularly because we are starting to have a lot more radio ads,” said Gates.
Since the opening, the club has had more than 500 artists, 170,000 customers and 100 private events, according to Rick Brown, the owner.
In 1983, the space was converted into a restaurant movie house and named the Bethesda Cinema ‘N Drafthouse, and in 1990 it was transformed into the independent Bethesda Theatre Café. In 2007, it reopened as an off-Broadway theater. After closing in 2010, it reopened as the current jazz club in February 2013.
Gates said that club received a newspaper article about the original opening of the theater in 1938. She said that if you look at the photograph, it looks almost identical to the way it has been renovated. The structure on the inside has not changed since 1938; it just has a newly renovated Art Deco theme, said Gates.
The club experienced many difficulties during its first year involving marketing and budgeting.
Since then, Brown said, many things have changed to make the club a success.
“We have stepped (up) our private party and corporate events department so that we have many, many, many private events including bar mitzvahs, weddings, and company parties that have been very beneficial to us,” said Brown.
He said that they have also improved their bookings and marketing. The club also had many successful shows and is hoping to book many of the same shows again.
“We’ve learned from our mistakes about our booking. We’ve increased our private parties and corporate events. And just run a more finely tuned operation,” said Brown.
Some of the highlights of club that have attracted customers include not only the music but the relationships and rapport the servers have with the customers.
Despite the name of the club, Gates said it offers a variety of music.
“I think people really enjoy the diverse type of music and entertainment we have, from not only blues and jazz to country and Latin, comedy, rock,” said Brown.
Brown said that there are several things about the club that help it stand out among other clubs in Montgomery County including the décor, the quality of the music, the quality of the food, and the setting.
The club will soon host the Halloween Howl, Customer Appreciation Night and comedy shows.
“We are very excited about our upcoming shows. We’ve had great feedback from the community, and we look forward to a very exciting fall and holiday season,” said Brown.