Gypsy Sally’s, a local Georgetown music venue, will close Jan. 5 after over six years of operation, leaving behind a legacy of being a community-oriented and welcoming space.
Gypsy Sally’s opened on K Street in 2013. The landlord of the warehouse building, which owners David and Karen Ensor rented throughout the venue’s operation, recently sold the property, according to a Facebook post from Gypsy Sally’s announcing the venue’s planned closure. Real estate agency IBG Partners and real estate developer Wilco Residential plan to turn the property into condominiums, according to The Georgetowner.
The community of friendship and love for music fostered at Gypsy Sally’s will live on well beyond its closing, according to David Ensor.
“While it is important that venues exist for people to congregate and share their love of music, it is the connections between people that count. The venues help facilitate making those connections, but those connections will find a way to be made whether we exist or not,” Ensor wrote in an email to The Hoya. “That is what we are most proud of at Gypsy Sally’s. The friendships formed are far more meaningful and enduring than anything we could have built.”
The venue’s spacious layout enabled a wide variety of genres and acts to perform and became an especially popular spot for fans of the Grateful Dead, colloquially known as Deadheads, according to Ensor.
“I can’t say that GS changed the music community in any specific way. We would like to think it enhanced it,” Ensor wrote. “It certainly evolved into a venue that welcomed the jam band community and became a home for Deadheads in the DMV.”
Artists and fans will miss the venue because of the quality and layout of the performance space, according to Pablo DaBoisie (MSB ’20), member of Georgetown University student band Back to Yours.
“The venue itself was super unique with a very good sound system that made for a great concert experience (both for the musicians and the audience). I would say that they probably had the best quality sound of most of the DC venues that we have played so far,” DaBoisie wrote in an email to The Hoya. “The setup of the venue was also pretty cool, with a wide open space for general admission but a number of tables in the back for those who want a more casual concert experience.”
Gypsy Sally’s can now be added to a list of music venues to close in Washington, D.C. The closure of The Bayou, a nightclub open from 1953 to 1998 where Mick Jagger and U2 once performed, received national coverage.
While many regulars of Gypsy Sally’s are disappointed about the upcoming closure, Ensor is confident that people will be able to continue experiencing good music at other local venues.
“Because there are so many music venues open now, I expect the effect of our closing to be minimal. There are still plenty of places to go,” Ensor wrote. “There will be a few folks who might really miss us, but they will find new places to hang out and enjoy the same bands.”
Other music venues located throughout the District include the Lincoln Theatre and the 9:30 Club, which are located in the U Street neighborhood. The Anthem, a venue opened in 2017, is located at the Wharf.
Although there are other venues musicians can perform at, there is no place exactly like Gypsy Sally’s for musicians based in Georgetown, DaBoisie wrote.
“I think the closing of the venue is pretty unfortunate for the music scene in Georgetown specifically,” DaBoisie wrote. “There really aren’t any other major venues in Georgetown so Gypsy Sally’s was a really unique place.”
Georgetown is not only losing a hub for exciting music, growing bands and dedicated fans, but a venue that respects and supports musicians, according to Teddy Scott, a member of D.C. rock band Bencoolen.
“We’ve played at Gypsy Sally’s a number of times,” Scott wrote in an email to The Hoya. “They go out of our way to make us comfortable and treated us as professionals.”
Gypsy Sally’s will not be forgotten by those who have experienced the concerts and sense of community found there, according to Scott. An emphasis on promoting local groups and holding communitywide events, like open mics and singer-songwriter showcases, will be a significant part of the venue’s legacy.
“They take pride in boosting regional acts, hosting open jams, and building a community that flies in the face of the sterile vibe that is swallowing sections of DC,” Scott wrote. “We hope to celebrate what they had and the space they created til the end.”