Sold: Galaxy Hut

Galaxy Hut owner, Alice Despard, is selling the intimate Arlington pub that made a name for itself by booking little-known indie-rock bands (including the Strokes and Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and offering free live music three nights a week; to longtime bartender Lary Hoffman, who's been at the Hut for eight years.

Hoffman says he's not planning a radical overhaul of the place but may make minor modifications, including tinkering with the menu and installing permanent art instead of the rotating shows that cover the walls. However, beginning in September, Galaxy Hut will charge a cover during Saturday, Sunday and Monday night concerts. Currently, because there's no cover charge, bands that play at the Hut are paid with a percentage of the night's sales.

Despard says she always resisted the idea of a cover charge because she wanted to create a community gathering place where people would feel free to hang out, whether they cared about the band or not.

Part of Galaxy Hut's charm was that the lack of a cover encouraged people (including me) to come and check out artists they'd never heard of. I'm thrilled that he plans on keeping the music, but I wonder if Lary would consider having no cover one night a week and just charge the other 2 nights? Or maybe he could have a pay what you can night, similar to what many local theatre companies do when previewing their shows, even if only once a month. I'd feel weird asking him but maybe I should. I think it might work out really well while minimizing the risk of cutting into his profit margin too much. :-)

Thanks to the Washington Post's Going Out Gurus for this information.