Gypsy Sally’s

Local Grooves & Cocktails with Max Lanocha of Gypsy Sally’s

On Tap: What is Gypsy Sally’s all about?
Max Lanocha: We are a music venue in Georgetown. Aside from our venue, you have Blues Alley, but there is really no other live music in Georgetown. This area used to be the spot for music back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, as everyone who comes in the door tells me. All the old school DC folks tell us how glad they are to have us here now because it gives them a reason to come back out and see acts that you would not necessarily see elsewhere.  It’s a mix of local and regional musicians, as well as larger national acts, but not necessarily with the draw of say the 9:30 Club, at least in this area.

OT: Who is your audience?
ML: It depends on the show, which is what is really cool about it. With the jam bands, if it’s a Grateful Dead thing, we have a lot of old school heads, people in their 60s and 70s. And then we have some younger bands, like Pink Talking Fish, that combine Pink Floyd, Talking Heads and Phish music and that’s a bit of a younger jam crowd.

OT: What is the idea behind the ambiance of the place?
ML: We try and keep things somewhat local as much as we can. We try to always keep a few local brews on draft. We don’t have a fryer and that’s one thing that really stuck out to me when I first started here. I don’t expect there to be food to begin with at a music venue, and if there is, usually it’s fries, chicken fingers and burgers. We try to go a little more gourmet and a little healthier. Our specialty is flat bread pizzas, they are definitely our best seller. It’s American style cuisine, so we also have sandwiches, pastas and comfort foods.

OT: How do you approach the bar and cocktails here?
ML: It depends on the crowd, but overall we are a beer and whiskey bar. I do want to play into the craft cocktail scene, but the problem with that in the context of a music venue is that on a Friday night during a sold out show I can’t spend 10 minutes muddling. So, I try to strike a balance with craft cocktail elements, but with speed and efficiency. Three or four ingredients tops.

OT: What make a great music venue?
ML: I feel like all too often at music venues or bars in general, it’s a slam and go, I don’t have time for you, I don’t really care, just get in and out as fast as possible and that is something we strive to not do. Sound quality is also something we are really lucky with, in that we put a lot into that from the get-go, especially for a club our size.

Grab a drink from Max, check out the vinyl lounge and enjoy some great local music.

Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 Water St. NW, DC; 202-333-7700;

Alex Thompson

Alex is a fan of all things food and sports, as well as a writer. By day she is a nonprofit communications manager, and by night she is searching the District for the best cocktails, whiskey selection and cuisine. Check out her blog at and follow her on twitter at @sportsfoodalex.