2477 18th St., NW
Property purchased by Harry Lambros in 1925 (formerly Riggs National Bank). In the 1940s there was also a Showboat Cafe owned by Lambros at 1303 H St., NW.
Jazz music policy began in 1957 under owner Pete Lambros (son of Harry) who booked Charlie Byrd for two weeks. By 1962, Byrd was scheduled at the Showboat for eight months each year.
Owned by Pete Lambros, who had previously been part owner of Jazz Central, U.S.A. Later Lambros owned Byrd's Nest and Villa Rosa Showboat, both at the same location in Silver Spring, MD. Manager Mike Thorton (-1967).
Original room capacity of 40, expanded to 90, then expanded again for a final room capacity of 148.
Byrd and Lambros moved their base of operations to Byrd's Nest in Silver Spring, MD in November 1967, but jazz continued at the Showboat through the end of the year. In 1968, Lambros sold it to “two Virginia restaurauteurs, Harry Harris and Doug Riner, who will continue to operate the first-floor restaurant and are toying with the idea of putting in Dixieland music in the downstairs show room.” (WES 4/11/68 p.B7)
In August 1968, the Left Bank Jazz Society of DC presented a concert at the old Showboat featuring the Jay Dennis Sextet. (WES 8/22/68 p.A15) In December 1968, LBJS-DC presented Jackie McLean. (WES 12/8/68 p.B4) In January 1969, LBJS-DC presented The New Thing Quintet. (WES 1/25/69 p.12)
Bill Morgan and the TCB Trio appeared at the Showboat in September 1968.
In 1969 it was announced that the Showboat would become a showcase for local rock talent. (WES 6/21/69 p.9)
Recordings by Charlie Byrd (1958), Dick Morgan (1960), Charlie Byrd (1965), Charlie Byrd (1966).
- Bill Evans
- Jimmy Giuffre
- Teddy Wilson
- Zoot Sims
- Matt Dennis
- Sam Most
- Mose Allison (1964)
- John Handy (1967)
- Ahmad Jamal (1967)
- Gene Krupa (1967)
- Earl Hines (1967)
- Dizzy Gillespie (1967)
- Howard Roberts (1967)
- Shirley Horn (1967)
Frank Simmons says
Many times I went there from Virgina to
hear Byrd …. also his brother played bass.
It had a unique atmosphere that added to the essence of the place. It was my
favorite place as I was an avid jazz fan – including when Dizzy played it was a mad
house in a way. Times change.
Dale Abrams says
I saw Gene Krupa at5 the Showboat Lounge in 1972, a year before Gene passed away. I was a budding Jazz Drummer and Gene was still an amazing musician and drummer. I miss the Showboat.