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Vital Dupont Gay Bar Cobalt Is Closing After Two Decades

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The club owner cited a change in building ownership and declining sales


Cobalt, a long-running nightlife hub for the gay community in Dupont Circle, has abruptly closed, owner Eric Little announced today.

In posts to Facebook and Twitter, Little cited the recent sale of the building to developers, the rise of dating apps, and “a slow decline in sales” as factors in the decision to shut down the multi-part business that housed a dance floor, the Level One restaurant, and the 30degrees lounge at 1639 R Street NW.

“For more than 20 years, our amazing customers and incredible staff have contributed greatly to the DC-area LGBT community and we have always strived to do our part to strengthen local organizations, businesses, and the entire 17th Street neighborhood,” Little wrote. “We couldn’t be prouder of the legacy Cobalt leaves behind.”

As of early Tuesday evening, Little’s announcement on Facebook had more than 70 comments from people mourning the news and sharing memories of past visits.

The Washington Blade reported in August that Massachusetts-based real estate company Marwick Associates LLC bought the Cobalt building and an adjacent property for $4.75 million, but the club’s lease ran through March 2021. Little’s statement says Cobalt did not have an opportunity to extend the lease.

Cobalt’s closure follows the shutter of Town, a sprawling gay bar in Shaw, last summer. In that case, regulars had advance notice and a chance to attend a sendoff party.