Friday, June 22, 2012

Riot Act to Become Penn Social

More details today in the Riot Act closing.  Fritz Hahn at the Washington Post tell us that the space will be called Penn Social, a "social club" with games, TVs and bars.

The downstairs stage will remain but will now include live music, karaoke competitions (via District Karaoke) and "game shows," which has us intrigued certainly.  It will still be open to comedians as well, good news for those who commented that they'd miss the comedy space.

As we mentioned earlier this week, it sounds as though the space is mixing the integral elements of its two brother bars: lots of games (shuffleboard, cornhole, pool, skee-ball, darts) from Rocket Bar and giant TV screens (6 ten-footers and 1 twenty-footer) from Buffalo Billiards.

Penn Social will open on July 9th.


  1. As someone who is more informed than most, I can tell you the reasons the club failed are not consistent with Bayne's statements. The people who started Riot Act years ago -- I know this because I designed almost all of their media from concept/launch -- were forced out after 2/3 majority brought in their own people just after the club opened just last year. Bayne and Geoff Dawson's own mismanagement of the club once the founding members were forced out, should tell you the truth about what really went on. But, it will all come out in good time, through the proper channels. The club was a huge success when it opened, booking the likes of Paul Mooney and Dick Gregory. The same pair who sold out 9:30 Club and Lincoln Theater a few years ago under the promotion of Riot Act Entertainment. Years before these other people ever got involved. Anyone remember the GWU shows with Jeffrey Ross, Judy Gold . . . Bob Saget? Right, the sold out ones. You guessed it. Riot Act Entertainment. I was there. You see, Riot Act Comedy Theater failed because the idea man was forced out. The one with all the connections, the contacts, the experience. They tried to run it with no idea how. And, once the word got out, seems a few comedians wouldn't even answer their calls, not that they knew how to get in touch with most of them. Meanwhile, the people he put in place to stall and choke the booking process were unable to take the reigns from the ousted talent, and now they're stuck with a giant room and no business. Chinatown embraced Riot Act when it opened its doors. They forced out the rightful owner and creator and are now being sued for it. And now their doors are closed. That's the beginning, middle, and end of the story, folks.

  2. This space is zoned for the arts district and meant to be a theater, not a frat hang out. The neighborhood should be ashamed to keep Dawson as their neighbor who continues to do the bait and switch of opening places under zoning rights as one venue and switching them to be his typical bar that will undoubtedly end with loud obnoxious drunk people throughout what is a nice area. The other side of the story is that the club didn't fail as a comedy club - Dawson took out the key ingredient, John X. The Xereas brothers have run comedy in this city for YEARS. Naturally it'd fail without them. I hope PQ fights for what is right and brings back the dynamic team that first brought us Riot Act instead of adding another bar by Dawson. Who wants a neighbor that steals from you? I prefer the guys who were a welcome addition to the area and went in and met people at the local residences and businesses inviting them to catch a great show.

  3. This is coming from someone who is very close to the situation, I have frequent the spot regularly from day one. I can truly say that the comedy club was a success until The X brothers were forced out. Not only was it successful, it had become a much needed addition to a thriving neighborhood. Once the brothers were forced out the place simply went downhill.The management that took over just couldnt produce the success that the Brothrs could. Dawson had no choice but to turn it into something that he only knows....a pool hall type bar with a twist. Im sure that it will do well because his track record is a testament to that, but the way he went about forcing the brothers out was shady to say the least. I hope and pray that the X brothers can bring back comedy to DC the way it was meant to be.