Bethesda Theatre Sold; Blues, Jazz Supper Club Planned for Space

Website details new vision for Wisconsin Avenue landmark.


A new future is on the horizon for the embattled Bethesda Theatre.

The Wisconsin Avenue landmark has been sold, and a blues and jazz supper club is planned for the space that could open its doors as soon as September.

The new owner, Rick Brown of the Bethesda-based B & B Realty Investments, deferred comment until the sale is formally announced at a press conference, which he said will be organized within a few weeks.

A website, however, details the new vision for the historic space.

The site describes the theater coming “back to life” as the “Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club,” which will feature live music and serve up “authentic New Orleans Creole cuisine.” The site also details catering services and cooking classes for Cajun and Creole food.

“With 300 seats for dinner, a beautiful new 40 ft. bar and lounge and 200 additional performance seats, you'll be able to see your favorite artists in an intimate and acoustically superb setting,” reads the site.

The site describes a “pre-opening” in the late summer and a grand opening in September.

The theater was sold last week to Bethesda Blues LLC for $2,895,000.

The Bethesda Theatre went dark in the summer of 2010 after struggling with more than $4 million in debt and being foreclosed upon by its lender, BB&T.

Bethesda community leaders have forming a group in 2010 called “Save the Bethesda Theatre,” spearheaded by the

The theater first opened in 1938 as an art deco movie house. In 2007, it became an Off-Broadway performance hub following a $12 million renovation by the Bozutto Group. The non-profit that operated the theater, the Bethesda Cultural Alliance, partnered with Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment to produce several shows there.

But in 2008, the theater suffered a financial hit when a flood caused it to go dark temporarily as it began a run of "Smokey Joe's Café.” Following the dissolution of the partnership with Nederlander in 2009, the theater remained open as a rental venue until its 2010 foreclosure.

Within the past year, the bank marketed the property and

Patch will continue to bring you updates on the theater's future as more information becomes available.

What do you think of the new concept for the Bethesda Theatre? Tell us in the comments.

Sharon February 11, 2012 at 11:28 PM
What wonderful memories. Used to go to the movies there as a child (2nd through 4th grades @ Our Lady of Lourdes) growing up in Bethesda. Sister & I would trek on foot from Chevy Chase Dr to movie theater to attend Saturday matinees; then stop for those wonderful little hamburgers @ Little Tavern. And my mother & I sat in that theater & cried together when we watched the ORIGINAL 'Old Yeller'. But every time I drive past the theater now all I hear in my ears is the song "Davy! Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontiers". Which reminds me.... What did I do with my Coonskin cap! I could sure use it now for 'bad hair days'! LOL!
Mary Gardiner February 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Sharon.... did you then go to Gifford's for ice cream?
Sharon February 12, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Of course! Gifford's was an outing for my entire family, Mary! A real 'ice cream parlor!
David Schuster February 21, 2012 at 04:49 PM
On behalf of Chevy Chase Cars, we are really looking forward to the Jazz Supper Club opening up next door to our dealership.
Amy Smith March 26, 2012 at 12:05 AM
We CANNOT wait for a place to get a good to great meal and live music of jazz, blues and standards sorts. I would buy season passes if they offer them. =)


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