Stars and Bars: Welcome to Songbyrd Music House

SB_pandemic2020-2 Songbyrd Music House (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/ Instagram+Twitter: Insomnigraphic/ GrillworksBen)

For music lovers, Songbyrd Music House feeds the body, mind, and soul.

The versatile music venue is divided into three distinct parts — a restaurant, a cafe, and a theatre. In any one of these spaces, you can find music to comfort your ears as well as food and drink to slake your appetite.

Songbyrd Music House, located at 2475 18 St. NW, DC, was established by Joe Lapan and Alisha Edmonson in April 2015. Since then, it has served as a go-to performance space for touring artists breaking through. Perhaps no bigger example of this springs to mind than Americana artist Tyler Childers, who performed at Songbyrd in 2017 only to return for a show at The Anthem in 2019.

Located downstairs, the music venue can hold about 200 people standing or about 100 seated. When you first enter Songbyrd, you actually come into one of its lounges — the main restaurant to the left or the record cafe to the right. Assuming you have entered the main restaurant, you can precede past tables to a large, comfortable bar, when you can drink local beers and global spirits while eating from a generally healthy and diverse selection of meals from the menu.

Near the start of the bar, you can descend into “The Byrd Cage” to see the headlining acts booked almost every night of the week. Often, the venue hosts two concerts a night, an early show and a late show. Touring artists of all stripes perform there, including hip hop, Americana, synth-pop, and rock acts, among others. Parklife DC has reported on Songbyrd’s diverse range of musical performers with the likes of Guapdad 4000, YACHT, Bonny Light Horseman, Hudson Taylor, and more.

Read our Parklife DC coverage of concerts at Songbyrd Music House.

While downstairs, enjoy a drink from the bar in the back. You can return upstairs at any time with your hand stamp for a larger selection of drinks. Or you can grab a bite in the restaurant or the cafe, which serves up sandwiches and coffee when it is open. The most wondrous thing about that record cafe, however, is that it’s also a vinyl shop! You are free to browse and purchase shiny new records from the bins in the record cafe, which also occasionally hosts coffeehouse-style performances.

Situated near 18th St. and Columbia Rd. NW, Songbyrd Music House sits near the most prominent intersection in Adams Morgan, the DC neighborhood that served as the city’s top nightlife district through the ’90s and much of the ’00s. Although Adams Morgan’s 18th St. strip is still a very popular draw for its bars and restaurants, Songbyrd brings some of that powerful old-school energy back to the area with its concert hall and cozy environment.

It’s easy to get to Songbyrd — it’s a short walk from the WMATA Woodley Park Metro Station. It can be challenging to drive there in the evening, however, as public parking in the neighborhood is scarce, whether meters or lots. A ride-hailing service may be key on some nights! If you’re like me, you may enjoy a leisurely evening out in the neighborhood, making Songbyrd a cornerstone of your evening’s entertainment.

You’ll surely find, as we do at Parklife DC, that Songbyrd has plenty of tunes for your ears, great performers for your eyes, and yummy food and drinks for your mouth. Physical and spiritual harmony attained!

For a concert schedule and more info on Songbyrd, visit the club’s website.

Editor’s note: As a DC-area music venue for touring bands occupied by its owner-operator, Songbyrd Music House is eligible for nomination in our annual Thrushie Awards as Best Concert Venue. 

Special thanks to Ben Eisendrath, Songbyrd stalwart and man about town, for the cool pictures.

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