Swingin into The Carlyle


Have you ever watched a Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers musical on television and dream about visiting one of those art deco-flavored supper club of yesteryear where those movies always seemed to be set in? Why cant there be a place where you could enjoy an excellently prepared four-course meal and then be able to dance cheek-to-cheek in front of a live big band on a dance floor not cluttered by disco balls or black lights? A place where adults can go and have a great night of entertainment?

Well, those were the questions Alexandria lawyer/restaurateur Brennan Reilly and his wife Sharon were asking. Their newly opened Carlyle Club, located in the rapidly growing Eisenhower Valley section of town, serves as their answer.

 My wife and I have long dreamed of opening the Carlyle Club, said Brennan, 43. As we mature in age, it has become more difficult to find a place where we can go that serves good food and has live entertainment, all in one location. After years of research, we decided to create The Carlyle Club, which will transport guests to a destination that will satisfy all the elements of the perfect evening out including classic dining, dancing and live music, similar to the finer nightclubs in the 1930s and 1940s.

Big band sound
The finished result is a room that feels like its fallen right off the silver screen. Bathed in black, blue, and platinum hues, 15 foot ceilings loom over a palace fit for the kings of music, some of whom will be appearing at the Carlyle this season. Cab Calloway (Nov. 16 and 17), the Glenn Miller Orchestra (Nov. 8 & 9, Dec. 22), and the Tommy Dorsey band (New Years Eve) are just a handful of the big names the Reillys will be bringing in to liven up the joint.

Lets face it, said Larry OConnor, director of operations for the club, you can still see some of those acts, but its usually at a hotel ballroom somewhere a place that has absolutely no atmosphere and questionable dining. We feel that theres a market out there to compete with the Rainbow Room in New York City to provide the people of D.C. area a big night out, where you can get top of the line food, service, music, and dcor at a reasonable price [with a fixed cost meal/concert package ranging from $70 – $100 per person depending on the performer].

So, why is it important to bring in these mavericks of music history to take the stage when lesser-known (but more profitable) acts are available?

These acts were instrumental in developing the music were listening to today, said OConnor. Not only do we want to honor them, we want to become a destination spot for people who want a special evening, and those types of bands help in making it special.