Under 21 and looking for some fun in Washington DC? There are several entertainment venues that are open to all ages and offer music and dancing. Some of the clubs are open specifically to ages 18+ and some have special nights or events that are geared to under 21. Schedules vary, so be sure to check the official website or call for details before planning your evening.
Open since 1980, the 9:30 Club is one of the largest and most popular music venues in the nation's capital. Concerts feature local, national, and international performers like Zara Larsson, Lewis Capaldi, and The Tallest Man on Earth. Their food selection goes above and beyond what you'd expect from your average bar; on the menu, you'll find antibiotic- and hormone-free natural meats and vegetarian and vegan-friendly items like the chili veggie burger and the pan bagna, a baguette topped with provolone, tomatoes, and red onions. Events are open to all ages unless posted otherwise. Tickets are required and can be purchased in advance.
Since 1966, this 500-seat, dinner theatre-style Music Hall has hosted a variety of musical acts and dance-oriented shows. Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, and Vince Gill have all played here, among countless others. The Birchmere offers a great selection of food to satisfy whatever your craving, from salads and flatbreads to hearty entrées like fried catfish, pot roast, and smokehouse ribs. All ages are welcome to attend.
Black Cat's 7,000-square-foot concert room—the Mainstage—is located in the U Street Corridor and open to all ages. They showcase independent and alternative music by local, national, and international performers, and have seen the likes of The Arcade Fire, Belle & Sebastian, Andrew Bird, and Tegan & Sara since 1993. While you must be over 21 to drink, you can still hit up The Red Room bar and play a few rounds of darts and pinball after the show.
Offering a mix of indie music and entertainment, this three-level club in the Shaw is usually a 21-and-over venue—but they do have a lot of shows for all ages (typically musical performances and concerts). DC9 notes the age restriction for each event, so double check their website to see if you are able to attend. If you get hungry, head to their restaurant for classic bar food like garlic fries, nachos, sandwiches, and burgers.
Tuesday through Saturday nights, this Texas-style barbecue restaurant plays host to live music performances in its lower level. With an emphasis on Americana, you can listen to everything from honky-tonk and rockabilly to alternative country and blues—after eating a delightful meal of beef brisket, cornbread, and pecan pie, of course. Some performances are free, and most are open to people of all ages.
This family-owned music club and café/coffee house features live music for all ages, with a full lineup of children and family-oriented performances on Friday and Saturday mornings (as well as the occasional Monday or Sunday). If you need something to eat, they serve up Jersey-style Union Pie pizza, plus salads, three different types of mac and cheese, and other appetizers to share.
Boasting a state-of-the-art sound system and a 1,200-square-food dance floor, this dance club and live music venue holds everything from K-Pop dance parties to DJ sets and emo nights. Select live shows are open to people of all ages, while club nights (which take place Sunday through Thursday) are designated for ages 18 and up. If you are between the ages of 18 and 20, note that you will need to purchase advance tickets for late-night shows on Friday and Saturday.
This lush nightclub in downtown D.C. comes with five floors, four DJ booths, and six bars—but you don't have to be 21 to enter. Party-goers 18 and up are welcome to come and dance here, where each floor plays different music and comes with its own VIP section. Ultrabar throws events like Lit Fridays and Ladies Night; check their website to see if there are free passes available the night you want to go.