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Monday, July 16, 2007

Shaw's Scene Just Got Cooler

Having gotten their liquor license and wrapped up renovations, The Space has completed its metamorphosis into a chic private club (as you may recall, before it was primarily an event space). The new concept opens for business tomorrow night. Check out their new website, which explains all of the incredible amenities and membership information, here.

Located at 903 N Street, NW--just steps from the new Maruka School for Yoga and Boutique, Long View Gallery, Be Bar, the site of the new Corduroy Restaurant and Nima's Restaurant, and developments like The Exchange and 936 N Street Loft Condominiums--The Space will now be a members-only place to gather in casual, cool style. Membership has many privileges, including:
- Exclusive events for members, including themed cocktail parties, art exhibitions, fashion, and music
- Complimentary appetizers and nightly happy hours
- Complimentary concierge service by International Lifestyles
- Use of the private terrace
- Reserved seating for any member and up to three guests
- Excellent rates with their preferred partners
- Reservation of the terrace for private parties
- Complimentary wireless internet and office facilities
This seems to be a new concept in private clubs for the city of Washington, offering “A loft style lounge with the feel of home. For work, play or simply relaxing.” I really think they may be onto something. I’m excited that The Space is one of Shaw’s many nightlife/gathering-place/cultural offerings.

The Space Washington, D.C.
903 N Street, NW
202.341.3340
Membership application available here (.pdf)

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool. But how much does it cost to be a member?

Also, I wonder what the ripple effect of new "exclusive" places will be on an area where people driving for change are arguing for inclusive benefits of change.

Sure, it's one place, but it's going to be a helluva straw man argument for some individuals...

Signed,
TPJIM (too poor to join, i'm sure)

Shaw Rez said...

TPJIM - I don't know specifics on fees. As there's no golf course or formal dining room or anything, I have a feeling this will be on the low-end of the spectrum of club membership dues/fees. That said, any club membership is a luxury item one's personal budget. And the idea of belonging to a private club probably won't appeal to many who can afford it.

I think this is a postive development for the neighborhood for several reasons. Prior to this metamorphasis, The Space was only open to people attending a special even there; as a club, it will be open--creating corresponding foot traffic--almost every day. Also, I also see this as a city-wide draw; it's something totally unique and intriguing; I think it could be pretty socially buzz-worthy. And I don't think they're seeking to be an elitist island in Shaw: reading their description of what they seek it to be, I think they envision it as drawing a melange of people and backgrounds.

IMGoph said...

sure, you can want to draw a bunch of people from a 'melange' of backgrounds, but facts is facts. if you are a private club, and it costs money to join, the quick initial view is "elitist". sorry, but i don't know how you can spin it otherwise, especially in a neighborhood like shaw where these is so much of the opposite of wealthy.

Anonymous said...

just because it costs some money to join doesn't mean there can't be people of diverse and interesting backgrounds....i don't take the term "diverse" to refer only to money.....

Shaw Rez said...

I didn't mean to put too much of a spin on it--I definitely agree that private clubs are luxury items and are inherently cost-prohibitive to many.

I also think that a diverse neighborhood offers diverse options, and don't think it's an inherently bad thing that a members-only joint is one of those options. I think this is analogous to a nice restaurant or salon opening up. The luxuries offered by The (new) Space may draw some people who have never stepped foot in Shaw to our neighborhood.

Finally, the marketplace will determine if this is a successful business plan or not. And regardless of your view on the idea, it constitutes a big investment in our neighborhood. As I've met the owners before and think they're all super-nice people, I'm really rooting for it to succeed.

Kelly Clarkson said...

My 1st thought on hearing of this was that it's somewhere where people can sit around and smoke. Not suree if that's true, but isnt a "club" exempt from no smoking rules?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when Nima's is going to open? That should be cool....

Shaw Rez said...

Kelly--good question. I'm not sure... a place with people hanging around smoking is definitely different from my vision of what it'd be like to hang out there (my relaxed, lounging self is now hocking up a lung in my vision!). I know they added a really cool roof deck recently; I would guess smoking's allowed up there but not in the main interior areas, but that's just a guess.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Shaw Rez...

diverse neighborhood offers diverse options...

the marketplace will determine if this is a successful business plan or not...

I'll take it over abandoned buildings anyday...

Chris said...

I'm all for improving the neighborhood as much as the next person, but this is a private club. It has zero utility to the average joe in the neighborhood, besides the fact that they cleaned up the exterior and it looks nice as you walk by it.

I love many things about DC, but its tendancies towards snobbish VIP culture is not one of them.

If you want to see another example of this that will really make your blood boil, read the cover story on this week's City Paper on the elitest DC member-only social group "Late Night Shots".

Shaw Rez said...

Chris - thanks for your comment.

Even if I'm not a member of the place, I think it still benefits me and the neighborhood greatly: it's bringing new people to Shaw who will likely patronize other places while in the area; it's creating foot traffic, which generally makes tht streets safer; it's a well-kept, beautiful building; and it's creating buzz for Shaw.

Having met the people behind The Space, I can't imagine its members fitting the snobbish M.O. you reference, which I, likewise, don't like.

Tad Rainwater said...

I think its a good idea, not that I'd be interested in joining even if I could afford it. And the Late Night Shots people (and that type) are afraid to go east of Georgetown anyway. BTW, does anyone know what's happening at Long View Gallery--there's been all kinds of interesting (good in this case) activity late at night.

Anonymous said...

They should do something with Long View Gallery, every time I walk by it looks very disorganized.

Anonymous said...

I think someone's just a rabble rouser, Shaw Rez. I've been to several shows at LV and pop in there every now and then. unquestionably, Long View is awesome and run well. The space is pretty minimalist, so "disorganized" seems hardly possible. The art's always hung beautifully and the window's always gorgeous.

my 2 cents.

-Logan Circle Rez

Drew said...

TG Cigars is hosting a cigar "tasting" in the space (this Friday I believe) so the answer to the smoking question I assume is yes. Perhaps smoking will only be allowed outside but who knows.

Whether you are considering joining or not you should stop by their opening tonight and check out the amazing renovation job they have done to an otherwise run-down and abandoned auto-body shop. It's like a slice of Miami in Shaw!

As for Long View... a theater production company is using the gallery for a performance in the Capital Fringe Fest. Performances will be this Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun. For more information stop in the gallery or check out www.banishedproductions.org

Chris said...

shaw rez - I'll take your word for it since you've met the owners and I haven't. I'm purely going by the look of their website, which has a the exclusive aire of a country club.

Perhaps I'm wrong and it will turn out to be an arts-oriented public asset to the community like Warehouse was. If so I'd be thrilled, and would have no complaints.

Greg said...

To answer the smoking question, the application form says smoking is allowed on the terrace and in the upstairs lounge.

Overall I think it's a nice concept in theory, but the execution leaves something to be desired. They ask for a credit card number without making you aware of the total amount of charges. Can I pay in cash or by check? They also ask you to sign the application - is this a membership contract? If I don't like the service, can I cancel? They also ask you to promise to abide by "club rules," but the rules aren't listed anywhere. So, how do I know I can abide by them? Will probably ask them these questions.

I'm all for driving foot traffic to the neighborhood, but I'm not sure a members-only exclusive club is the right way to go. I'm guessing if nightly happy hours, fashion shows, and themed parties are among the membership benefits, that translates to night-time foot traffic only. Not necessarily a bad thing. Or, it could mean liquored up foot traffic, which could be a negative for all involved.

Who's this going to attract? The people who live in the neighborhood already have free access to complimentary nightly happy hours and appetizers in a home environment ... theirs. :) Or will the neighborhood all join up and hang out together? I'm confused about who might come to Shaw just to hang out, that's all. I'm not sure that Shaw is a destination point just yet - we are getting there, though. So it's great to say you're excited about them generating foot traffic, but who?

Nobody's debating the benefit of a great reno job in a formerly abandoned building, or a positive use for the space. Or that the owners are nice and we wish them well (they are; we do). But I think that the execution of an idea is almost more important than the idea itself, and this one makes me wonder.

Shaw Rez said...

Greg - great points.

I attended an opening at The Space last night. The venue is literally awesome--the roof deck may be the coolest in the city (seriously). Their upgrades to the first floor--notably extensive moulding, furniture, bar set up, etc.--look pretty killer (kind of a Miami aesthetic). Undoubtedly this place would be a great place at which to hang out (either as a destination in and of itself or as a pre-party or late-night spot). It has a feel like no other in D.C.

I don't know how much membership will ultimately cost (I've heard speculation, but I think the market will dictate). My sincere hope is that it's not too expensive. I posit that The Space would be quite profitable as a lounge even if membership is somewhat insignificant--like $30 a month or something--as I think tons of folks would be willing to pay such a monthly fee in order to hang out there a ton.

rr 446 said...

what's the total sqft of the combined interior and deck?

Kari said...

From what I have heard - the membership is $250 bones a month or $2500 per year. If you ask me - that is a crazy amount of money! I can drink at my own house for FREE!!!

diane lawyer basura said...

Yes Keri, but for those of us in the legal profession, $250.00 is what we charge an hour for services. So to be with our girl friends, mistresses, lovers or prostitutes and it's all private is an excellent business expense/ opportunity.

Chris said...

There you have it....$2500 a year. Since the urban planning law class I'm currently taking is the closest I'll ever get to being a high-paid lawyer, and since my post-graduation planner's salary will probably not exceed $60k, it looks like The Space is not for mere mortals like me. A shame, since I live on the same block and will never be able to enter.

A couple of my friends were at the opening last night though, and did say the rooftop deck was pretty cool.

Shaw Rez said...

I admit I cringed when I heard that number... It will be interesting to see if the market supports that figure.

Maybe they'll consider tiers of membership, so neighborhoodies and others can attend but not enjoy all of the luxuries associated with membership? I'm hopeful.

Even if membership's out of my grasp without selling off an organ, I still think it's a positive addition to Shaw's offerings.

Urban_Architect said...

I was at the opening the other night and really enjoyed the atmosphere, the food, and the crowd. My understanding is that The Space will be open for the next few months to gain exposure and introduce people to the concept in general. When they get enough members then it will become members only. Hours are 4-close [from what I was told], and smoking is allowed outside. Rumor has it, you can have up to 3 people on a guest pass as part of your membership. It's been explained that membership is $2500/yr or about $208/mo. My thought is that you could always ask your 3 guests to put in some money and go in on the membership with you [as a group]. I'm not a rich lawyer but rather an artist [who lives paycheck to paycheck] but I welcome the opportunity to be part of a venue that offers a different kind of experience. In just the few short hours that I sipped on a few martinis and listened to a local DJ I made more contacts than on any given night at some random bar in Adams Morgan. I welcome the idea of The Space.

Shaw Rez said...

Urban - Great call re: grouping together for a membership. That definitely makes it more do-able (broken down, that works out to about $70 a month per person)

And it's great to know about The Space being open to non-members for now. Any word on if there's a cover or any pass-word to get in, or can you just enter upon showing i.d.?

AND it's good to know about the smoking policy.

I totally agree with your sentiment about The Space. I really love it as a totally new, refreshing socializing option in DC.



(and I probably low-balled the value of it, but I still think that tiers of membership *might* be a good idea (esp. for folks like me who probably couldn't make use of the food or concierge attributes of membership)).

Chris said...

I like your grouping idea. Can your 3 guests enter on their own though? Or do they have to accompany the primary member?