HR-57 owner Tony Puesan (above) opened the jazz center not bar in 1993. The club features live jazz by notable musicians and has just reopened at a new location on H Street.
Later, Puesan studied saxophone and trumpet, learning informally from musicians around him. After working in contracting, Puesan decided to open HR-57 to support the local jazz culture.
“I had to make a choice, and my choice was either be totally involved with the music and support it, or try to play the music, and I quickly found out it can’t be done,” he said. “Either you’re put here to be the infrastructure for the support of other musicians, or you’re here for your own self-indulgence, and I chose to support musicians and support the venue, rather than support myself as a musician.”
Before finding its current home, HR-57 was in three different spaces. The roofs at two of the previous buildings caved in, forcing the center to move, and the final move came after the lease was up.
Although initially skeptical of H Street, Puesan realized during a walk through the neighborhood that it was similar to the Adams Morgan of his childhood.
“There was music in the air and a feel of a neighborhood” on H Street, he said. “It’s one of the last neighborhoods left in the city — a true neighborhood.”