This story was updated at 5:54 p.m. to add additional statements from the owner of Science Club.
A downtown bar known for its quirky atmosphere and scientific theme has closed its doors.
Science Club (1136 19th St. NW) staffers held a goodbye party with friends and coworkers on Saturday night, said owner Steve Maguire.
“In this neighborhood, we get pointed out [as] one of the most unique places down here that’s not a sports bar,” Maguire said. “So I was happy to see that whole crowd come out on Saturday.”
As for why Science Club closed, Maguire said in a phone call this evening that he was “a little behind on the rent” and chose to step away from the business to avoid eviction.
“The writing is on the wall for sure,” he said. “I’m leaving because I’m having trouble keeping current with my rent.”
He also said he’s simply ready for a change.
“Running up and down the stairs have kept me lean as the years have gone by, but . . . you can’t get out to dinner, I can’t see my nieces grow up,” he said. “Change is good.”
Maguire added that the neighborhood, too, is changing. “It used to be a big nightlife scene,” he recalled. “But a lot of stuff has moved over to U Street.”
To prepare for the closure, Maguire donated one of the bar’s most cherished keepsakes, a “famous” monkey statue, to the owner of Dodge City on U Street.
“It was an iconic image of Science Club,” he said. “The Science Club monkey will live on.”
What’s next for Maguire? He said he isn’t sure if he’ll return to the nightlife scene, adding that if he does, he’ll “have a hardworking young cool business partner.”
“I may stay in this industry in some sort of manager type of thing,” Maguire said. “My goal would be to be working in the daytime rather than all this nightlife.”
For now, he’s mostly excited about one thing: going to bed at 9 p.m. and living on a somewhat normal schedule. “I’ll be looking forward to taking a little time off,” Maguire added.
Hat tip to the ever-vigilant Elayne Burke