Photography courtesy of Songbyrd
When one door closes, another door opens: Last month, the owner of the now defunct bar/music venue Chief Ike’s told The Washington Post that “Adams Morgan is no longer where the hot, cool people go. It’s all becoming strollerified now.” Chief Ike’s might have helped to fill the music void in the ever-changing Adams Morgan neighborhood, but Songbyrd Record Café hopes to provide local audiophiles a new hub to get their music fix.
Songbyrd, which opened last Friday, is a one stop shop of sorts-you can eat a meal, get a coffee, comb through an array of records and even test them out via the listening station located inside. The concept is similar to Bump ‘n Grind coffee shop, which opened in Silver Spring last year. But the main attraction that sets Songbyrd apart from other café/music hybrids is its recording booth with a 1947 Voice-O-Graph-customers can make their own track on a 45 rpm record and take it home for just 15 bucks.
Besides the quirky Voice-O-Graph, Songbyrd will offer around 350 records to browse and buy at your leisure, with a “special emphasis on soul, funk, R&B, hip hop and indie albums,” according to the press release. The owners have hired Matthew Richardson, former chef of 1905, The Argonaut and Gadsby’s Tavern, to create some savory menu options, which include an assortment of sandwiches and a “jumbo slice” and “mumbo slice.” It’s not a giant pizza though, but essentially open-faced sandwiches on focaccia.
Songbyrd’s location also has an interesting backstory-it’s housed in the same place as former music room Showboat Lounge. This was reportedly the spot where Charlie Byrd, a Virginia born musician who was one of the first to blend the genres of jazz and bossa nova in the 1960s, came up with his noteworthy album Jazz Samba. Byrd is also the inspiration behind the café’s name.
The owners of the café, Adams Morgan residents Alisha Edmonson and Joe Lapan, are also working on an adjacent ‘music house’ located at 2477 18th Street, N.W. There aren’t too many details as to what that could be, but it sounds like a really exciting addition to the Ad Mo neighborhood!
Songbyrd Record Café will be open from 10am-10pm Sunday through Thursday and from 10am-12am Friday and Saturday.