(Updated at 9:25 a.m.) Arlington’s most active live music venue is closing its doors this month.
The owners of IOTA Club and Cafe in Clarendon announced this morning they have decided to close after 23.5 years in business. The venue’s lease expires after Sept. 30, which will be IOTA’s last day in business.
Despite a campaign to “Save IOTA” earlier this year, Market Common Clarendon owner Regency Centers is proceeding with a plan to revamp the retail and office development, including IOTA’s space along Wilson Blvd. IOTA called the changes “much-needed building repairs and improvements.”
In a press release, IOTA owners Jane Negrey Inge and Stephen V. Negrey said that while Regency Centers tried to make accommodations, they ultimately made the difficult decision to close the club rather than temporarily relocate during renovations and pay higher rents upon moving back.
IOTA will host concerts to raise money for the Red Cross’s hurricane relief effort tonight and tomorrow starting at 8 p.m. Currently, the last item on IOTA’s performance calendar is an open mic night on Wednesday, Sept. 27. A “grand closing” event is planned for Sept. 30, though the details have not yet been announced.
“Watch [our] website and social media for announcements,” said Inge.
More from the press release:
IOTA Club & Cafe’s main mission has been LIVE MUSIC for 23-and-a-half years. IOTA has presented some of the most creative and talented musicians from across America, including many rising stars and dedicated artists exploring and-or earning a living making music. IOTA also has hosted acts from Canada, Mongolia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Niger, China, the Scandinavian countries and others. IOTA’s top priority has always been seeking artful, original and creative live music experiences. In addition, IOTA has showcased catalytic bands, and to a lesser extent DJs, all who put on good shows for a good time for the people.
Owners Jane Negrey Inge and Stephen V. Negrey believe they have made a contribution to their hometown Arlington, Virginia through a dedication to live music and hard work at the restaurant and bar business, the mainstay of the endeavor. They believe that creative and interesting options for consumers make communities better. They view their many years fighting for the life of IOTA as well worth it and peaking in a triumph of arts and entertainment through independent small business.
The countless performances and participation of local artist-musicians in the DC Metro Area have brought joy and good times to many thousands and have sustained IOTA. Jane and Stephen are especially grateful to these musicians in addition to the touring musicians that have inspired and entertained so many.
Regency Centers, the new owner/developer of Market Common Retail (since 2016, owner of the spaces leased by IOTA since 1993 on Wilson Boulevard), have announced their plans to make improvements to the block in order to make space available for tenants at more up-to-date market levels. Regency Centers kindly offered IOTA Jane and Stephen a six-months lease extension at rock-bottom rents, ending September 30, in order for them to review their situation. They determined they would not be able to afford to participate due to the cost of a temporary relocation, much-needed building repairs and improvements, and new higher rents. Besides, IOTA’s beloved and irreplaceable ice machine, The Hoshizaki KM-630MAF, is about to bite the dust!
The support of hundreds of SAVE IOTA participants has been amazing. Jane and Stephen have not wanted to let these IOTA fans down and hope they will watch the website and social media for upcoming events and other ways Jane and Stephen hope to support LIVE MUSIC in the future and continue to participate in art activity.
Jane and Stephen are grateful for the financial and other support from friends and family that has helped IOTA prevail since March 15, 1994. They shout out big respect to three trail-blazing music venues who opened before IOTA and have been their idols: Black Cat, 9:30 Club, and especially The Birchmere. It has been an honor to share the road with these great independent businesses, rocking in the free world, where people really get off on live music, the power, art and fun of it, and the community and fellowship it creates.