Monday, April 15, 2013

Hung Jury

Hung Jury
1819 H Street NW

Address: 1819 H Street NW, Washington, DC, USA

Opened: 1980? Also reported as 1984 at Rainbow History Project.

Closed: 2012?

Metro Weekly only says the following about Hung Jury:

Favorite for: Mostly Women, Dancing

Not a lot to go on. Fortunately, a review (undated) in the Washington Post tells us more:
Seemingly hidden halfway down an unnamed ally off H Street, you may think that you need to know a secret password to enter the mysterious blue door that is the entrance to the Hung Jury. It becomes obvious inside the door, and in line to pay a $5 to $10 cover charge, that the secret passage to the Hung Jury is that you must be, or be accompanied by, a woman to get inside. 
A staple in the gay club circuit, the Hung Jury is a club for the Washingtonian insider. It does not advertise or promote itself, as is reflected in its incognito location, but relies on reputation and word of mouth to draw partygoers through its doors. And while many other alternative clubs are rigidly defined, the Hung Jury prides itself on being a place where men and women, both gay and straight, can let their hair down. 

The Hung Jury is a bar and club all in one. It has a large dance floor, which gets hot and is only cooled by fans along its perimeter. You must pass along the edge of the dance floor to get to one of two bars. A space off to the side of the dancing area has the feel of a traditional bar, with a pool table and lounge area where people can mix and mingle. 

The Hung Jury is not a state-of-the-art nightclub, but is more like a renovated gymnasium with a nice lighting system projected onto the dance floor. 

The club is only open two nights a week, Friday and Saturday, with Saturday being the night to stay late and get funky. Clubgoers must be 18 to get in and 21 to enjoy the full bar or $3 domestic beers and $3.75 imports. With soft drinks at $2.50 a pop, the Hung Jury is an expensive place to be a teenager or the designated driver. 

– Kerry Valentine

Access Washington DC (2007) also gives a full description of Hung Jury:

Odd name for a dyke club (it's a leftover from the previous establishment), but this place, mere blocks from the White House, has been hopping with a diverse group of women since 1980. The copper-green-walled room holds a pool table and a good-sized dance floor, from which issues a fun mix of tunes; for the hungry, light food is served on the order of burgers and fries. By day, it's just another eatery for Downtown office drones. On Friday and Saturday nights, when the Jury is in session, you must be or be accompanied by a woman to enter. 
Hung Jury patrons (2003)

Then there is this blog post from March 2003:

One of the well-known lesbian bars, Hung Jury features relaxing atmosphere and its highlights are that to get admission you’ve got to be a woman or be accompanied by another lady. The club takes pride in its superb dance floor, two well-stocked bars and a relaxing lounge. Don’t miss the pool table for a game or two of the fascinating game and attending the fun-filled social get-togethers.

Observe the repeated references to men only being admitted in the company of a woman. Naturally, we see at least one gay boy (R. Scott Wallis) having a full-blown conniption fit regarding this practice (never mind that the gay boys have a long history of policing the numbers of women admitted into THEIR bars, and that all kinds of restrictions on women have long been the rule in male-oriented social spaces in general). This particular dude (a self-confessed young white Republican to boot!) also whines about his visit to the Hung Jury, and how he wasn't treated with all the deference owed to him as a Dude. The published temper tantrum is from September 2012. The ill-fated visit apparently took place in 1993 while in the company of a lesbian friend named Kim: 
One fateful evening, she [Kim] took me out on the town. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that the Hung Jury on H Street (long closed, as you know) was primarily a lesbian dance spot. Hell, it was strictly a lesbian joint and when we walked in and sidled up to the bar, it seemed that every pair of eyes was boring a hole through me. The bartender spoke to Kim, asked what she wanted, and completely ignored me. Luckily, she was gracious enough to defer to me. To say I was uncomfortable was an understatement. And when I had to use the restroom? Look out, brother! There were girls in there and they aggressively ushered me out and told me I could relieve myself in the alley if I had to go bad enough.
We left after the first drink and Kim apologized for the way I was treated. She explained that she may have crossed a line taking me there, but she thought that it was going to be okay because she had always found everyone to be so friendly in the past. When there was no dick riding sidesaddle, I surmised.
I never went back to the Hung Jury. And after I got a slew of nasty looks at a lesbian bar in Key West years later, I decided I was done with the lady places forever.
Done with lady places forever!!! (Is that a foot stamp in the background?) Amazing that this idiot is still whimpering about his hurt feelings 10 years after the fact. But then as we know, the hurt feelings of a male always outweigh the fear/discomfort/terror that women experience when male perverts, masterbators, exhibitionists, and/or rapists lurk around lesbian bars--as they have since the invention of the same.

But never mind the Dude. Check out the Women's Tour at the Rainbow History Project. They mention lots of lost womyn's spaces around DC including the Hung Jury. Here's a neat advertisment for Hung Jury too. 
Hung Jury must have been around as late as October 2011 as it won the Readers' Best Lesbian Bar award from the Washington Blade at that time. So I'm guessing it closed sometime in 2012? Sometime before the Dude's temper tantrum in September of that year I presume.

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