Tropicalia: A Psychedelic Buena Vista Social Club at 14th and U

Photo: Luis Gomez for Borderstan

Being unfamiliar with early ’60s Brazilian artistic movements, I originally thought Tropicalia was an unironic name for a new concept bar opening at 14th and U NW. Plastic palm trees, bright colors and little umbrellas in my Tiki-style rum drinks, right? Well, bright colors yes. Okay… and maybe rum, too. But the kitsch, Caribbean-inspired, “yeah mon!” feel?

Nooooo. Repeat after me: No

When we sat down with JD Quioco of Tropicalia to discuss the new place, my first question was about the name. Dubbed “Tropicalia,” the basement space located below Lost Society and Subway at 14th and U is set to transform into a “global dance hall” at one of DC’s legendary intersections with an opening date of “very soon.”

“I don’t want to use the word ‘nightclub’ or ‘venue.’ You want to get the feeling you get from watching Buena Vista Social Club, and we want it to be a place where friends can gather for good drinks, some dancing and a fun night. In other words, a neighborhood place,” said Quioco.

Check out the rest of the post with more great photos of Tropicalia at! 

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