April 7, 2014 | 5:19pm EST
Politics and Prose is a well-established caffeine and literary landmark in the Chevy Chase neighborhood of Northwest Washington. Every once in a while I step in to browse the books and sip the coffee. But I was surprised one brisk Friday afternoon to stumble upon a gathering of folks not typical to what you expect in the District. Well, at least in the atmospheric heights of upper Northwest; where the urban bustle and eccentricity of the rest of the city seems so painfully far away.
I wasn’t expecting what I found. In fact, I was even a little annoyed as I stepped over the backpacks, travelling sacks and assorted luggage items scattered along the walkway between tables. But as I trapezed along the cluttered aisle, I noticed that there was an unusually large amount of people accompanying these items, and that I was stepping over an unusually plentiful collection of musical equipment.
So at this point I began to realize that I had found what I have been looking for in DC ever since I transferred to American University from New Orleans: an amateur folk and bluegrass open mic night. I know DC has a long and rich musical history and that there are many hole-in-the-wall music venues to be discovered throughout the city; but finding such a chilled out musical gathering can be hard. It turns out Politics and Prose holds open mic night every Friday evening in its coffee shop downstairs called Modern Times, and some of the performers I saw were very impressive and entertaining. There were the college cover artists, the slightly older bluegrass jammers, the lonely, soulful song crafters, and even a crazy old guy who played the banjo and managed to sneak his fingerpickin’ into everybody else’s set. Personally, I love singer-songwriters and acoustic jams. I was really impressed by the talent I saw at Politics and Prose. So next time you don’t feel like travelling all the way to U street NW or H street NE, or dropping $20 to get through the door of your typical Dupont club, check out open mic night at Politics and Prose.
For more information, check out the page on Modern Times Coffeehouse’s website.