This Epic Entertainment Venue Is DC's Newest Must-Visit Destination

The new 850-seat venue will host comedians, musical acts, and podcast recordings.

Capital Turnaround interior
Capital Turnaround interior | Photo by Ken Wyner Photography
Capital Turnaround interior | Photo by Ken Wyner Photography

Much of DC’s vibrant cultural landscape has been on hiatus for the last year and change—but as the city comes roaring back to life, there’s a new venue on the scene.

Capital Turnaround, a brand new events space situated at the intersection of Capitol Hill and Navy Yard, will throw open its doors Saturday as a new spot for the city’s arts and culture talent. In a historic building that’s been a landmark of the District since 1891, the venue will host performers of all types, from folk musicians to top-tier comedians and live recordings of buzzy podcasts.

The venue’s first show will kick off with comedy legend Hannibal Buress, known for Netflix specials and roles on The Eric Andre Show and Broad City, performing two shows on Saturday. The upcoming lineup includes folk duo The Milk Carton Kids, the True Crime Obsessed podcast, indie dynamo Faye Webster, and British pop sensation Rina Sawayama.

The team is working with Union Stage to book events—and already, Talent Buyer Jon Weiss said the booking possibilities have been endless. “We have everything from podcasts, comedy, and present-to-future rock and roll hall of famers currently booked for the room. It’s very flexible, and that’s not even considering other future possibilities for the space.” The National Community Church, which owns the space and was largely responsible for its transformation, also runs worship services multiple times a week as well as a variety of community events.

greenroom
Greenroom | Photo by Mason Photography

The venue occupies a former car barn at the end of the Metro’s red line where train cars would reroute and be repaired by the Capital Transit Company. Now, the space has been completely revamped as a sprawling venue with a 850-seat main hall, an auditorium, three green rooms (for both artists and the public to enjoy and relax in), and a variety of smaller gathering rooms.

During live events, a variety of cocktails, beer, and wine will be available at multiple bars, and food options will be provided by Pie Shop.

“We’re always looking for new and engaging spaces that can give both the artist and the audience a unique experience,” says Morgan Seltzer, Capital Turnaround’s marketing and design manager. “Between the history of the city that is woven into the building and the state-of-the-art sound and lights buildout, we believe Capital Turnaround will really stun everyone and make them excited to return.”

For the Capital Turnaround team, the venue’s opening represents something of a renaissance for the cultural sector of the city. Jake Diamond, the marketing manager at Capital Turnaround, said the concept has been in the works since November 2019. “We had our first shows scheduled to play in March 2020,” he notes. “The rest is history.”

Capital Turnaround interior
Capital Turnaround interior | Photo by Mason Photography

“It was staggering for the industry as a whole to pause,” Diamond says. “Live music is the backbone of the music industry and for it to completely stop as we knew it, was frankly unprecedented. Unfortunately, across the nation, we’ve seen cherished venues and community spaces be forced to shutter from the lack of revenue during the pandemic.”

As a result, Diamond and the Capital Turnaround team calls the ability to launch the new venue an absolute privilege, and one that they do not take lightly.

“Over the last two years Washington, DC has lost a number of concert venues for various reasons, and it feels really special to welcome a new one into the city,” Diamond says. “We hope the city feels that way too.”

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Elsie Yangis a Thrillist contributor. Follow her on Instagram.