The Birchmere

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The Birchmere
The marquee (143474674).jpg
The Birchmere marquee, advertising Thomas Dolby in 2006
Address3701 Mt. Vernon Ave.
LocationAlexandria, Virginia
Coordinates38°50′25″N 77°3′41″W / 38.84028°N 77.06139°W / 38.84028; -77.06139Coordinates: 38°50′25″N 77°3′41″W / 38.84028°N 77.06139°W / 38.84028; -77.06139
OwnerGary Oelze
Typeconcert hall
OpenedApril 4, 1966 (1966-04-04)

The Birchmere is a concert hall in Alexandria, Virginia, its third location since it originally opened its doors on April 4, 1966. It is known for presenting performers in the rock, blues, bluegrass, country, folk, and jazz genres. The main stage has table seating with dinner service. The room seats 500 people and the tables in front are about two feet from the stage. The bandstand includes a dance area.

The Johnson Mountain Boys recorded their Live at the Birchmere album on April 5, 1983. The Four Bitchin' Babes recorded two of their live albums, Buy Me, Bring Me, Take Me, Don't Mess My Hair in 1990 and Gabby Road in 1997, at the Birchmere. Riders in the Sky also recorded their live album there. Dave Matthews Band recorded songs from their album Recently at the Birchmere on February 21, 1994.

Prior concert spaces[edit]

The Birchmere began as a concert space that could hold 150-200 people in a restaurant of the same name in the Shirlington area of Arlington, Virginia at 2723 S. Wakefield St., in a strip mall that was later razed. The Birchmere reopened May 14, 1981, at its second location (3901 Mt. Vernon Ave.), two blocks from where it is now, in a space that could hold at least 300 persons.[1] The current location opened in 1997.[2]

Plans for expansion[edit]

Silver Spring, MD[edit]

During the redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, a plan was proposed to build a second Birchmere site, slated to be an $8 million, 800-seat venue.[3] After years of negotiations, the deal was rejected on July 25, 2007. At the time, Birchmere management claimed that Montgomery County officials breached a contractual agreement with the music venue,[4] but these claims were disputed by the developers and government officials who denied any contractual obligation for development.[3]


  1. ^ Harrington, Richard (May 15, 1981). "Pop Notes". Washington Post. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  2. ^ Masters, Brooke A. (September 18, 1997). "Musical Institution Sounds a New Note: Birchmere Expands Into a Shiny New Club With Added Attraction". Washington Post. Retrieved December 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Killian, Erin (July 25, 2007). "Birchmere cancels plans in Silver Spring". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  4. ^ McKenna, Dave (July 25, 2007). "Birchmere Deal Falls Through". Washington City Paper. Retrieved October 29, 2010.