Just heard the news that Zanzibar is closing. For those of you not in the DC Area, Zanzibar is a nightclub on the DC Waterfront, frequented by African Americans. It has been there for many years. I can remember hearing about it and the Ritz (which has long since closed) while at HU. An old boyfriend and I went to Zanzibar a few times to dance. I took a few Salsa lessons there. And I’ve even been to a New Year’s Eve celebration there.
Now that it is closing, I have mixed feelings. Even though I haven’t been in YEARS, I did happen to pass it recently while leaving the harbor after a boat ride. I noticed SEVERAL good looking Black men exiting their cars along the street in front of Zanzibar and heading in. I remember stopping in my tracks thinking, “Oh, so THIS is where the men go!” Seriously, in the short amount of time I walked past, I saw about seven guys headed in. Well dressed, professional-looking brothers. It was about 9PM. There was no line to get in yet. The cost was still $20.
I decided I should throw a single mingle at one of the restaurants down the street, and then open it up for a little dancing afterwards at Zanzibar. I was going to make it a Friday night, the same night I saw all those guys heading in. Now it may be too late to plan this. Apparently there will be a major renovation of the entire waterfront area to create a more tourist-friendly atmosphere down there. There is talk of the Zanzibar’s owners relocating and making the new spot more of a low-key jazz place instead of re-creating the current club scene.
So…where are all the Zanzibar guys going to go? And why have they continued to go here year after year in the first place? To dance? To meet women? Is this where men think all the hot women are? Or the easy women? Or their next girlfriend? What are the men who go to Z looking for? I just may camp out in front for the next few Fridays and ask some of them. As a matchmaker that is constantly looking for more suitable men to match, I’m curious why so many eligible bachelors go to clubs, which are usually too dark to really get a good look at someone, too loud to have a good conversation, and too crowded to relax. Are they just looking for one-night-stands? Are they just passing time? Just want to see some possibly beautiful women (it’s too dark to really tell) and get some numbers and go home? Is that enough?
As a woman, I can speak to why I have gone a couple of times (without a boyfriend). You are guaranteed to meet SOMEONE, even if it is a tired old buzzard that is too old to be trying to push up on the young ladies and gets laughed at behind his back. You will most likely get asked to dance. If you are a woman, you know you will most likely meet someone there, but like I said, it probably won’t be a love connection. Probably not even a LIKE connection. But a connection will be made!
So that’s why I have mixed feelings about it closing. It was probably one place an older woman knew she would meet someone if she really wanted to. Even though the place is old and ugly, and probably needs to be torn down, it has been such a constant in the black dating scene, I dont’ know what people are going to do without it! Where can you go now, when you are totally desperate enough to hit a club to meet the opposite sex?
Zanzibar was known for having a more mature crowd. It was generally accepted that there would be an older crowd at Z until after midnight, when the younger people decided to take it over. Then it would get too crowded for comfort. I remember one housemate of mine saying she was never going back because it was so packed on the dance floor that other people’s sweat was dripping on her. But I think she went back a few weeks anyway. I wonder if she still goes there? This was the early 2000’s when she was driving all the way from Germantown to Z on a Saturday night. But the sad thing is, some of the same guys she saw there back then, who were married or 55 years old and still NOT married, are probably still there!
So…what to do? I think that now that it may not be there much longer, we should all head down there to have a “last hooray” party. Maybe the old buzzards will decide to retire their Players’ Cards. Maybe not. I’m sure a new place will become the new Z.
I’ll let you know how the last hooray party goes. Let’s see how many numbers we can get, LOL!