Opera Ultra Lounge Washington DC nightlife

Opera Ultra Lounge Washington DC. 1400 I st NW.

As the DC nightlife scene continues to grow and mature, more places are opening up to appeal to the lounge scene.  Opera Ultra Lounge is set to be one of those great new spots, with an opening date set for the first week in June, though it’s not set in stone.

While still under construction, Opera is designed to be a unique lounge with a positive and upscale atmosphere and vibe, with emphasis on service.   The space was designed by Francois Frossard, a famed nightclub/lounge designer that has laid out some of the most lavish nightclubs in Miami like Set, Mansion, Privie, and ArKadia.  This means very modern and stylish decor, interesting furniture, futurisic layout, bright colors, and a very cool vibe.

opera ultra lounge washington dc nightclubs nightlife dc lounges

Construction continues on Opera Ultra Lounge Washington DC

Their sound and lights are being done by Baha Design Group, the same people who did Policy and Josephine in DC.  Since Opera is planning to have DJ events and live music events, this means it’ll be done right with good strong sound, elegant lighting, and cool effects.  All without being overbearing or ridiculous.

opera ultra lounge dc front door

The front door under construction at Opera Ultra Lounge DC

See more pics of Opera under construction

Opera is also located in the neighborhood that was beginning of the nightlife scene in DC.  For those who have been around the DC nightlife scene for a while, its a very significant and nostalgic neighborhood. 14th and I was the center of everything.

Diva Nightclub, Zei Club, and Spy Club.  Those were the only places in DC for real nightlife back in the 90s.  Sure, there was Georgetown and Adams Morgan, but those were bars, not nightclubs or serious lounges. The only other real clubs at the time were Vault (which became Babylon, Casbah, Home, and is now Ultrabar), 5th column, and DC Live.  That’s it.  14th and I is the place where modern DC nightlife was born.

But one place in particular within the 14th & I neighborhood stands out from the rest in DC clubbing history: Spy Club.  It was the spot where most of the DC promoters turned owners got their starts.  Masoud A (Lima, Vetro), Antonis Karagounis (Barcode, Lima, Ultrabar), Marc Barnes (Love, Park), Mike Romeo (Fur, Lotus, Tattoo, Midtown, Dirty Martini), Charles Zhou (Eden, Muse), Andre Demoya (Eyebar which later became Eden) all got their start in DC as promoters at Spy.

spy club dc

The original Spy Club DC

When Spy club shut down, Karagounis just went a few doors down to Zei club, where Rob Alanis (Current lounge) was General Manager, and Dave Karim (Current, Josephine, Lost Society) was a managing partner.

An old flyer for Zei Club DC. Damn...

An old flyer for Zei Club DC. Damn...

This is also the spot where Glow, the center of the mainstream electronic music scene in the mid-atlantic, got its start with Pete Moutso and Guest DJ George Acosta on October 5th, 1999.  Karagounis had heard Acosta spinning in Shadow Lounge in Florida, and knew he had to book him.  Acosta ripped up the crowd that Moutso and Karagounis has built up, and Glow was born.

glow at zei club in 2001

An original flyer from the old days at Glow at Zei

Who would’ve thought that 12 years later, they’d become the center of the EDM world in the mid-atlantic, booking the biggest artists in the world regularly twice a week.  Its hard to imagine this random weekly party grew into an organization that puts on massive shows with Tiesto and 10,000 fans, and huge music festivals with 22,000+ people and 24 major EDM artists.  Its grown to be the favorite party of both Armin van Buuren and David Guetta.

…and it all started right here in the historic 14th & I neighborhood.

Learn more about Opera Ultra Lounge
Facebook: www.facebook.com/operadc
Website: www.operadc.com

4 Responses to “Opera Ultra Lounge DC: Sneak Preview & brief lesson in DC nightclub history”

  1. Fabiana Gill says:

    Me and my friend wanted to do a joint B-Day celebration on Sat Oct 15. Between the two of us, we may have about 20-25 guests. I’m wondering if we can get on a guestlist for that night. If so what would that include, entrance only or free cover charge as well? Please let me know as soon as possible. We have been waiting for a new club opening that is classy and elegant…yet still a great place to party. Hope to hear back soon! Thank you.

  2. Jack says:

    Opera review:

    Last night I signed up for the guestlist online. On the website it says if you get there before 1130, cover is waived. We got there at 11pm. When we approached the front of the club they immediately let us in but didn’t ask us if we were on the guestlist. The people working the front were very pushy and kept repeating 20 dollar cover. I finally had some time to say, “i’m on the guestlst.” They seemed puzzled at that response and stumbled a couple words and said, “oh, ummm guestlist ends at 11pm, 20 dollar cover.” I’m like, “wow thats weird, because it says 1130pm on your website.” They pull us over to the mad at life asian women working the guestlist and she takes a 1 second stare on her list and says sorry didn’t get it. I’m like woowwww, ok. My friend just wanted to get in so we end up paying the 40 dollars for the two of us. Now, I am a very rational person and I absolutely hate it when I know i’m right and i’m dealing with idiots. As soon as we get downstairs, I pull out my iphone and go on the website, I login and click on the guestlist button and it says, “I”m sorry, but you are already on the guestlist.” i run back upstairs and show this to the very mad asian lady and she stumbles for a moment and then the black bouncer comes up to me and screams at me saying, “if you’re not on the paper guestlist you can’t get in!!!!!” I’m like woahh man, relax i’m just proving a point. I end up telling my friend that i’m never coming back here again and attempt to get my cover back (we were in the club for 30 seconds). The also mad at life bouncer says, “you can’t get it back!!!” I’m like ummmm, i was in there for like 30 seconds and you guys are totally unprofessional and crazy. He ends up finally giving us our money and we leave. Now, I am not a cheap individual. I am a avid club person and go out in dc,nyc, vegas, and miami alllll the time. I’ve thrown down $400-2500 for bottles and don’t mind paying $20 a drink as long as the music and ambience are good. It maybe weird but as much as i pay for drinks, I hattteee paying cover. So I try to dodge it all times. These people are so stupid! I’m a local and in the next couple of months i’m sure I will be spending hundreds of dollars here and they want to throw that away for $20 dollars!!!??? Sooo dumbbbbbb. Obviously, dealing with highschool grads only here. This club is very unprofessional. The asian lady in the front is very mad at life. Maybe she’s going through a divorce, she isn’t making enough money, she got knocked up and her boy isn’t paying child support, who knows? I just know, that I never want to go back again. I don’t have any beef with the black bouncer, he was just doing his job but that guestlist lady is soooo annoying and irrational. Oh btw, the dj was wearing his frat letters one weekend and he looks like he’s def approaching 50 years of age. Not a good look, haha i’m outtttt.

    • Michael says:

      Oh the bouncers are soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad at this place. They will surely put your night out here into a wrong mood from the get go. It is so typical though for a new club be so “posh” and arrogant at the beginning, and once the hype wears off they come around but guess what,,,, it is too late. No wonder the original owners sell the place at its peak usually. Just my two cents….

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