The bars plan to close on Halloween.
COVID-19 has been ruthless on all businesses, and a curtain is closing on some of the District's beloved nightlife institutions: D.C.'s Eric and Ian Hilton are officially pulling the plug on seven establishments.
The story was first reported in City Paper, where the brothers addressed their decision in a public statement. According to the publication, the venues American Ice Company, Echo Park, The Brixton, El Rey, Marvin, The Gibson, and Players Club will be closing their doors on Halloween.
"After 6 months of constantly restructuring our operations to comply with the mayor’s orders, we have depleted our resources while fighting a great, yet unsustainable battle to save the jobs of our employees and our businesses," they said in a statement.
Known for their hip atmosphere and bustling crowds, the bars have been praised as nightlife essentials in the District's U Street and 14th Street areas. Each establishment featured an inventive concept made for nights out on the town, like Players Club for the '70s arcade bar vibes or The Brixton's British pub-inspired digs. Locals flocked to El Rey for late-night tacos or The Gibson for a perfectly crafted cocktail.
Restaurants, particularly bars, have struggled to remain afloat during the pandemic due to the communal nature of the business. As of July 22, D.C. has been in Stage Two of their coronavirus recovery plan that allows venues to operate at 50-percent capacity. But health regulations, like prohibiting patrons from waiting in the bar space, have resulted in bars struggling to operate at the same level of business pre-pandemic.
Yet the brothers aren't completely finished. They continue to run food-focused establishments in the immediate D.C. area, like Georgetown's Chez Billy Sud and The Brighton at The Wharf. But whether they will make it through the pandemic is unclear.
"To our fellow friends and colleagues who are fighting this fight. We encourage you to take a realistic look at the current and foreseeable future and determine how sustainable this fight is without meaningful support. "
How do you feel about the Hilton brothers' decision? Have any fond memories attached to the venues? We'd love to hear them in the comments!