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This small club has been host to a number of big-time rock 'n' roll acts

Bye-bye Bayou: Legendary club closes doors after Eve show

Web posted on:
Friday, January 01, 1999 9:29:07 AM EST

From Correspondent Gina London

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Where did U2 make its American debut? Where did legendary rocker Jimi Hendrix wail? Where did Mick Jagger and Billy Joel jam? It all happened at a tiny place called The Bayou in Washington, D.C.

The nationally renowned club has been a venue for big-name artists for almost 50 years. "It should hold a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame," says Bayou manager Mark Milikan.

One attraction of The Bayou over the years, for both fans and bands, was the size of the place, a small hole-in-the-wall that reverberated with a friendly

Especially now. The Bayou has closed its doors forever, doomed to the wrecking ball of progress. The last show was Thursday night, New Year's Eve.

Storied establishment

Names like Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger and Billy Joel have graced The Bayou's marquee

One attraction of The Bayou over the years, for both fans and bands, was the size of the place, a small hole-in-the-wall that reverberated with a friendly vibe.

"(Fans) feel everything, every pound of a drum, and see the sweat pouring off the musicians," Bayou owner John Boyle said of the club shortly before it met its demise.

The Bayou has a history, too. In the 1930s, before the bands took the stage, it was called the Hideaway Club -- long rumored to be a hangout for the mob.

"When it was the Hideaway Club, I believe there was a mob hit and I believe this was before it was called the Bayou, and we actually have a ghost in the club named George," Milikan said.

Not only did people find great music at the club, but some met their future spouses there

'It's time to change'

So why would anyone want to end the fun of The Bayou? It was purely about business: Boyle says its lease was bought out by a commercial developer. The Bayou will be razed, and developers plan to replace it with upscale apartments, a luxury hotel and stores.

It's the end of an era for generations of patrons, many of whom came back year after year to celebrate anniversaries that wouldn't have existed save for a little inspirational music.

"A lot of people met (here) -- staff and customers, their boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands, whatever," says bartender Anne Koza. "Personally, it's going to be very sad but I guess it's time to change."

But before that change happened, there was one last encore. The band Everything, which has a hit song in the movie "The Waterboy," had the honor of being the last band to headline at The Bayou.

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