The Pinch to close on October 22nd

I’d heard rumors that the Pinch in Columbia Heights was going to close at the end of the year but last night during the Nationals game they posted on Facebook that the restaurant, bar and concert venue will be closing its doors for good this coming Tuesday, October 22nd. You can see their post here. This is a major blow to DC’s DIY community and as you might expect, social media comments, tweets and shares show that lots of people are pretty bummed to see the place go. I have personally been to about 70 shows there since early 2013, held the DC Heavy Metal holiday party there in 2014, and booked several shows there myself as well. The staff was always super good to me and DCHM, not just friendly but actually helpful. It really showed that they enjoyed being a part of the local music community.

Earlier today I spoke with Dan Maceda, bartender and part owner of the Pinch, about why the venue was closing. He told me that, “the reality of it is after seven and a half, eight years, the business was having a tough time and the financials just made it so it wasn’t making sense.” When I asked about why the venue is closing next week instead of at the end of the year Dan told me, “the intention was to continue as long as we could and it just got to a point where it just couldn’t be sustained.” There are still several shows scheduled after October 22nd including Carnivore A.D. on November 2nd and Agnostic Front on December 11th. I asked him what the future for those and other upcoming shows would be and Dan told me, “Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to accommodate those shows. When I booked them I did it in good faith, intending to be able to host them. We’re trying to work with the promoters who hosted those. It is going to be up to them to move the show or cancel or whatever. Individually they’ll have to make those decisions. We’ve given them suggestions of places to move those shows, places like Atlas Brew Works and Slash Run. I think those promoters are making inquiries and making arrangements and will announce once they know.”

The Pinch logo

The Pinch opened in May of 2012 and started hosting DIY shows in October of that year because the downstairs stage wasn’t completed at first. The first non-open mic show I could find there was a “Night of Art and Music” with local musician Jonny Grave being the only musical performer that night. It wasn’t until February 2013 that the Pinch hosted their first metal show when the now defunct local thrash metal band Warchild performed with indie rock band Shark Week. However the first big metal show there was the legendary performance by black metal band Absu on November 14th of 2013. The place was packed and this was the show that really put the venue on the map to local metal heads. Punk and metal bands found a home at the Pinch with a staff that wanted to be involved. Like most DIY venues, the sound wasn’t always great but it was a place to see bands you might not have been able to otherwise. When Jaxx/Empire finally closed for good in May of 2015 the Pinch became the place in the area that would host local metal bands with touring headliners regularly. When Damaged City Fest needed a venue that more bands could keep playing in around St Stephen’s time restraints, the Pinch was glad to host. When all the house show venues like the Corpse Fortress ended up getting shut down the Pinch started hosting the bands that would have played those venues too. A lot of people grew up in our scene at the Pinch, met friends and even partners there. The venue will be sorely missed. There’s still time to stop by though before they’re closed for good, including several shows still listed before the final concert at the Pinch, which will be a punk show featuring Bootlicker from Vancouver and ExLex from Minnesota (show info is here).

Before I got off the phone with Dan he told me, “Closing the doors is one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make. We absolutely love the community we service. I’m sorry we won’t be able to run it after the 22nd. We’ve made some great friendships and it’s been a great 8 years as far as I’m concerned. I met my wife at the Pinch as she was coming to these shows. I owe my personal life to that.”

Owners Dan, Carlos and Ashley did something special for us with the Pinch. They took a neighborhood restaurant/bar and turned it into a place where punks and metal heads could let our hair and guard down, put our footprints on the ceiling, sweat out our frustrations in a friendly mosh pit and be ourselves, together. It sucks to see the Pinch go but I’m grateful it existed and for the memories I have there. I’m sure going to miss the place so below I’ve posted show flyers from some of my favorite times at the Pinch. Feel free to share your favorite memories in the comments.

Warchild at the Pinch

Warchild was the first metal band to play the Pinch

9 Feb 2013

Smokin Brown Ale release at the Pinch

Borracho’s Smokin’ Brown Ale release show at the Pinch

18 May 2013

Absu at the Pinch

The legendary Absu show at the Pinch

14 Nov 2013

Borracho at the Pinch

Metal Night V at the Pinch with Borracho

14 Dec 2013

Mutilation Rites at the Pinch

Mutilation Rites first show at the Pinch

14 July 2014

Castle at the Pinch

Castle was the first show I ever booked at the Pinch

17 July 2014

Deceased at the Pinch

Deceased at the Pinch

11 Nov 2014

Fortress at the Pinch

Fortress headlined the 2014 DCHM Holiday Party at the Pinch

19 Dec 2014

Gatecreeper at the Pinch

Gatecreeper played the Pinch before being signed by Relapse

25 July 2015

Malthusian at the Pinch

Malthusian and Imperial Triumphant at the Pinch

12 Nov 2015

Cloud Rat at the Pinch

Cloud Rat at the Pinch

13 March 2016

Nervosa at the Pinch

Nervosa came all the way from Brazil to shred at the Pinch

14 Aug 2016

Morbid Saint at the Pinch

Morbid Saint at the Pinch

29 Oct 2016

Vektor at the Pinch

Vektor at the Pinch

23 Nov 2016

Valkyrie at the Pinch

Eyehategod and Valkyrie at the Pinch

9 Sept 2017

Bat at the Pinch

Bat and Loud Night at the Pinch

14 April 2018

Venom Prison at the Pinch

Venom Prison came from the UK to play the Pinch

12 Oct 2019

Bootlicker at the Pinch

Flyer for the final show ever at the Pinch

21 Oct 2019

2 Comments

  1. The Pinch is my favorite small venue in DC over any of the others. It was a spot where I always felt invited. It had the best drink selection and was the easiest to actually get to. I’m really going to miss this spot!

  2. I remember seeing Black Fast and Lord Dying at the Pinch. Killer show, and the tight, hot basement mosh pit was really what metal is all about – sweat, riffs, community. What a shame to see the Pinch go, but thanks to them for the years of service!


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