October 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm EDT | by Joey DiGuglielmo
Cobalt celebrating 10 years

Cobalt (Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Cobalt is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend — or at least the birthday of the business in its present incarnation.

In the late ‘90s, it opened as Cobalt with the Town/Tracks/original Halo team (John Guggenmos/Ed Bailey) owning it. After a fire — current manager Mark Rutstein thinks it was in about 1999 — it was closed for two years before Eric Little bought it and reopened it. It’s a big season for Little’s businesses — JR.’s just turned 25.

A Saturday party is planned from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Trans legend Amanda LePore will perform at 11:30 with her first performance in the area since she was at BeBar about three years ago. Oren Mizri, a Miami DJ, will spin and local DJ Tom from Prague will also spin. Vodka-based drinks are free from 10:30-11:30 p.m. A laser light show will be presented at midnight and the outside of the building will be illuminated.

Cobalt, which contains the second floor 30 Degrees area and the restaurant Level One in its lower level, is seeing an era of resurgence over the last three years, Rutstein says.

“Eric was trying to sell it a few years ago but it didn’t sell right away and he was like, ‘You know what, I’m gonna hang onto this a little while.’ [JR.’s manager] Dave Perruzza was trying to run this and JR.’s and you just can’t do that and be effective.”

Rutstein says he turned things around by “listening to what people want.”

Weekly events like martini Sundays and Mondays, Tuesday Flashback, Wednesday karaoke, Thursday “best package contests” with Ba’Naka and weekly happy hour specials are staples of the bar/club.

And long gone is the no-heels rule. Was that really to protect the floor or was it meant as a deterrent to women and drag queens?

“I can’t answer that, but that rule is long gone,” Rutstein says. “Everybody is welcome here.”

Cobalt has about 70-80 people on staff for the entire building with about 11 different DJs on average spinning throughout the week. Visit cobaltdc.com for details.


Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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