September 29, 2011 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Closing of Playbill Café deemed an ‘intermission’

About 200 people turned out Saturday night, Sept. 24, for a party at D.C.’s 1409 Playbill Café to celebrate the popular establishment’s 13-year run as a gathering place for theater goers, actors, and artists – many of whom are gay.

Co-owners Elsayed Mansour and Jeff DeMontier billed the event as a “New Beginnings” celebration for the café’s planned reopening in the near future following its scheduled closing on Sept. 30. Some of their longtime customers are calling the closing an “intermission.”

The two announced on their Facebook page that their current building at 1409 14th Street, N.W., in the heart of the city’s emerging theater and arts district, was slated to be demolished for a new condo development. Although the date for demolition of the building is uncertain, the two said their current interim lease was too expensive for them to continue to offer food and entertainment at a reasonable price to their loyal customers.

They are actively looking for a new building in a nearby location, Mansour and DeMontier said in Facebook postings.

1409 Playbill Café featured dining along with an “Open Mic” night and a Karaoke night. It also included a small theater that featured a wide variety of theatrical performances ranging from Shakespeare plays to Broadway shows, including the recent run of the Broadway musical “Naked Men Singing.”

“Jeff and I thank you all for a great turnout,” Mansour said in a Facebook posting this week. “As we promised, we will let everyone know our new location…Thanks from the bottom of our hearts for this great friendship.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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