NATASHA THOMSON/THE HOYA The piano at Mr. Smith’s in its new location on K Street. The restaurant and bar has seen reduced business since it left M Street.
The piano at Mr. Smith’s in its new location on K Street. The restaurant and bar has seen reduced business since it left M Street.

With Mr. Smith’s Sept. 1 move to K Street, M Street’s piano silence has finally been broken with the Sept. 12 opening of Georgetown Piano Bar.

Staffed with the former employees, managers, and pianists from Mr. Smith’s, which moved to restaurant Chadwicks’ former location at 3205 K St., the new piano bar, at nightclub Modern’s former location of 3287 M St., will feature a larger, bright red, electric piano and a more spacious building that will allow more bar-goers to enter at once.

“Our piano is bigger because Modern is a much larger space. It’s Mr. Smith’s piano on steroids. It’s large enough that even two pianos could play at the same time,” said Gene McGrath, former Mr. Smith’s manager and co-owner of the Georgetown Piano Bar.

When Mr. Smith’s employees caught word that the restaurant would be closing after the property owner tripled the rent, several of them, including McGrath, made the switch to Georgetown Piano Bar, not knowing that the owners of Mr. Smith’s were planning to open up at Chadwicks old location, after Chadwicks closed Aug. 31.

McGrath said that the new bar includes more seating in order to appeal to large groups of Georgetown students and other M Street patrons.

“It’s great for groups, and that’s really what we are now equipped to do. If 20 or 30 people show up from the university, if the baseball team comes down, the football team, or any organization wants to come in, they actually can fit and won’t have to leave anyone outside,” McGrath said.

Due to Georgetown’s strict liquor moratorium, which limits the amount of bar licenses available to around 70, Georgetown Piano Bar jumped on the opportunity to purchase Modern’s liquor license when the nightclub closed in the spring. Although former Modern patrons will recognize the round bar in the center of the room, McGrath was quick to note that the basement space that used to be Modern has been otherwise transformed.

“While it’s the same space, when you come inside, you won’t recognize it as Modern,” he said.

Ben Rosse, a new waiter at Mr. Smith’s who was not at the old location, said that his restaurant and bar still expects to see Georgetown studentsat its K Street location, but did admit that the restaurant has seen a drop in business since its move.

“I believe that we will attract Georgetown students,” Rosse said. “We still have a decent amount of Chadwicks regulars coming in, like every day, but business-wise, it’s definitely been a little slow.”

According to McGrath, Georgetown Piano Bar also has yet to see a significant customer base from Georgetown.

“We would like all the students to come in and say hello, and we would like to establish with them the same relationship that we had down the street,” he said.

Tessa Pulaski (SFS ’15) noted that while she was not particularly attached to the restaurant side of Mr. Smith’s, she was intrigued by the larger space available in the piano bar.

“I’d like [the bar built around the piano] because the last one used to get super crowded, and that sounds like a better layout,” she said.

Hoya Staff Writer Kshithij Shrinath contributed reporting.

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