May 31, 2023 - Things to Do

The Atlantis is now open: What to know

The Atlantis opened in Shaw last night with a show by the Foo Fighters.

Why it matters: The new small venue, from the people behind the 9:30 Club and The Anthem, is already one of the city’s most intimate concert spaces for big-name or up-and-coming artists.

What’s happening: The Foo Fighters was a fitting choice for an inaugural show given that frontman Dave Grohl came up as an artist in D.C. and in 2021 announced the Atlantis’s eventual opening.

  • The band took to the stage shortly before 10pm joined by Pete Stahl, of the D.C. punk band Scream which Grohl once played in. Their opening number? At The Atlantis by the Bad Brains.
  • As the show went on, Grohl called D.C. "one of the music capitals of the f**king country" and reminisced about the original 9;30 Club.

"Dorks from the suburbs could come into a tiny club and see cool f**king bands," Grohl said.

VIPS in attendance included chef José Andrés and Washington Kastles owner Mark Ein.

  • Hours before the show, some fans were setting up chairs to camp outside in hopes of getting a spot close to the stage.
  • “I’m the kind of person who goes all out,” said Maryland native Lauren Jacewsky, 18, who had been camping outside with her brother since 8:30am, nearly 12 hours before the show.

What's inside: The 450-person venue is a shrunk-down version of the current 9:30 Club, with a small floor in front of a small stage and sparse balcony space. It has a bar on each of its two floors.

  • Does it still smell like the original club? No, joked 9:30 Club co-owner Seth Hurwitz, nor will the rat presence be “like it was” before.
  • There is, however, a big pole similar to the one that once obstructed the views of patrons in front of the stage at the original club — albeit to the side.

What they’re saying: “This is so much cooler than I thought it would be,” Diana York told Axios, peering over the second-floor balcony. “I’m shocked at how tiny it is.” She and her husband, Jim, have seen the Foo Fighters several times, most memorably at RFK in 2015.

  • “With all the bots, you can’t score tickets and so, the [ticket] lottery, I appreciated it,” she said.

What we’re watching: While The Atlantis' inaugural lineup is sold out, there are some opportunities for fan-to-fan ticket exchanges. The venue is also now selling tickets for its next lineup of shows after September.

A view from the top

Photo: Chelsea Cirruzzo/Axios

The Atlantis' rooftop bar, which will be open on show days only for ticketholders, is steeped in nostalgia.

  • Designed like a street corner, it features a lamppost with the original 9:30 Club’s cross streets (9th and F streets NW), a payphone, and newspaper stands for local papers including City Paper and the Washington Blade.

The lamppost flashes red lights when a show is about to start, and then stays lit as the artist performs.

  • Nearly every surface is papered with posters for bands like Fugazi, or graffiti bearing the names of local graffiti artists.
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