Eliot Seppa and friends entertain dinner guests at Marvin on April 15, 2019.
Marvin (2007 14th St. NW, DC), long favored for one of most DC’s relaxing decks, a sophisticated ambiance, and creative cocktails, has grown to add free live music to its appeal.
On Monday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, beginning around 7pm, patrons can relax on the first floor of Marvin to a free concert of jazz, soul, and related genres. Marvin plans to expands the musical offerings to Tuesday and Wednesday night in the near future as well.
On a recent Monday, Parklife DC found Eliot Seppa playing jazz bass on the small but uncluttered stage in the middle of the floor. Tables and booths sprawl outward from the stage, providing easy sight lines and a cozy seat. Educated in jazz at Howard University, Eliot is the quintessential laidback bandleader, finding his groove and encouraging interplay among his colleagues. Currently an Artist in Residence at the Strathmore Music Center, Eliot seems to be the sort of musician Marvin is hosting during its regular concerts — smart, urbane, and local.
Accompanying Eliot on April 15 were his bandmates in the Eliot Seppa Trio, including Colin Chambers (keyboards) and Tyler Leak (drums). On this evening, the trio were spontaneously joined by friends Joseph Jamal (trumpet) and Herbert Scott (saxophone) to the delight of the audience, which grew substantially in size over the first hour of the performance. But Marvin is just the sort of place where something like that *should* happen — contemporary, breezy, and friendly.
For more information on Eliot Seppa, visit his website. Here are some pictures of Eliot Seppa Trio and friends performing at Marvin.
Marvin is also a place where you can eat tremendously well, lest we forget. Taking its name from Marvin Gaye’s experience recording in Belgium, Marvin provides a twist on Southern classics with European fare — and flair! A classic chicken and waffles offers a light and crispy fried chicken paired with tasty bread. Taking us to the other inspiration for the menu, a delectable steak frites was served a perfect medium rare with some of the most delicious fries in our fair city. (I’ve long admired restaurants that let potatoes be potatoes, and Marvin’s Belgian frites accomplish this goal well with a trio of dipping sauces to mix it up.) The bistro’s Mariniere Mussels are a classic with a surprising kick of spice in the aftertaste. And although creme brulee and toffee cake are the only two desserts, both are true winners.
Cocktails at Marvin pack a punch, so they should be approached gingerly. The clever Roosevelt Island is Marvin’s take on a Long Island Ice Tea. You would do well to sip cautiously, as the drink is deceptively powerful. Likewise for the bar’s take on an old-fashioned, which goes down quite smoothly.
All in all, Marvin’s embrace of live music makes it even more of an essential place to restore your mind and body over the course of an evening’s entertainment. The most terrific thing about the new concert offerings are that you can wander in without prior commitment, and be whisked away to a lovely evening of music and food. To see Marvin’s upcoming concert schedule, visit its website.
Here are some pictures of food and drink awaiting you at Marvin.