News | HR-57 update: Reopening further delayed by gov’t ‘foot dragging;’ final inspection set for Thurs.

Note to our readers: We regret that this article contradicts much of what was reported in our previous post on the reopening of HR-57. We are working to report on this story as it develops. Below you’ll find an explanation of how and why the story has changed.

A view of the interior at the old HR-57 location. Giovanni Russonello/CapitalBop

by Giovanni Russonello
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It turns out the long wait for HR-57’s reopening won’t end this week after all.

Despite our reports to the contrary, HR manager Rafael Puesan and Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson – a drummer who has worked closely with club management during the move – told me today that the reopening date they had been shooting for, this Wednesday, was being pushed back. But Jackson said a final property inspection by the D.C. government is scheduled for Thursday, so the big day can’t be too far away.

“The D.C. government’s dragging their feet,” Jackson told me, lamenting that bureaucratic red tape has forced the club to postpone the opening of its new location on H St. NE for over two months. “The only thing you can do is get mad, and that ain’t gonna help anything.”

Puesan confirmed via Facebook message that the club is “in the process with dc gov and … we are waiting on them.”

Dr. Stefan Immler, the documentarian who originally informed me last week about the planned Wednesday reopening after he heard about it from Jackson and club owner Tony Puesan, said the drummer and the owner had initially encouraged him to “spread the word” about the Mar. 16 date, but had later walked that back.

Jackson said that the delay has not been the result of a slow-moving liquor licensing process, as Immler told me last week. The liquor license has been taken care of “maybe even since we left the other location,” Jackson said. Instead, the issues have to do with government inspections and property certifications.

Tony Puesan has been dealing with health issues that have kept him in the hospital for the past week, but Jackson assured me that government delay was the only reason for the relocation’s slow pace. “We’ve been ready for months,” Jackson said.

HR left behind its popular 14th St. NW location in December due to rising rent. Its new location, at 816 H St. NE, is in the heart of the Atlas District, a popular going-out spot. An HR-57 banner now hangs above the storefront there, trumpeting the club’s imminent opening.

Jackson plans to be present at the government inspection on Thursday, after which he says the club will be able to attain the necessary ownership certificate. Soon after, the club should again be open for business, he told me. If one thing is clear at this point, it’s that nothing is “safe to say” about HR’s reopening. But it’s possible we’ll be seeing an up-and-running HR-57 by next week. Fingers crossed!

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