Villain & Saint Closes in Bethesda after Four Years
Last show at music venue was Saturday night
Villain & Saint, a music venue in Bethesda, closed Monday.
Villain & Saint, a Bethesda music venue, restaurant and bar at 7141 Wisconsin Ave., closed Monday after four years.
Owner Robert Wiedmaier said Wednesday morning that he closed the venue Monday because it had been losing money and not getting enough business.
Wiedmaier, a partner and executive chef of the RW Restaurant Group, owns multiple restaurants in the greater Washington, D.C., area including Mussel Bar and Grille, Lock 72 Kitchen & Bar and Wildwood Kitchen.
He also owns a Villain & Saint in Atlantic City, N.J., and the jazz venue Keystone Korner in Baltimore.
“We just weren’t making any money there [at the Bethesda club]. I’ve got two other music venues and we weren’t able to get that place up and running properly,” he said.
Wiedmaier would not say specifically how much money Villain & Saint was losing.
“It got to the point where I had to look at my [RW Restaurant Group] partners and say, ‘This is ridiculous,’” he said.
Wiedmaier said Wednesday that the decision to close Villain & Saint was one he had thought about for two years. The first six months it was open, he said, the venue turned a profit. But then, it began to sink into the red.
“I don’t know if it’s that side of Bethesda. I don’t know what it was. We had good nights and we had horrible nights,” he said. “Several bands would sell that place out consistently. We brought some really talented bands in there, but I found that if it wasn’t a local band … people wouldn’t come, even though they were great.”
Wiedmaier opened Villain & Saint in 2015 next to the Bethesda Farm Women’s Market. He told Bethesda Beat at the time it was an “awkward spot” because of the high turnover. The restaurants Gaffney’s, The Majestic Bar and Grille and Markham’s have also occupied that spot.
Wiedmaier said Wednesday he was especially sentimental about the southern blues Marcus King Band, which played four times at Villain & Saint.
“This was a hard decision. I really loved Villain & Saint. I loved everything about it,” he said. “I would’ve kept it running even if were breaking even, because I love music.”
Wiedmaier said a related factor in his decision was the impending demolition of the building Villain & Saint was in due to plans to redevelop the Farm Women’s Market next door.
“Always knowing that it was going to be ripped down, it just became, ‘After four years, let’s pull the plug on this,’” he said.
As of Wednesday morning, Villain & Saint’s social media pages did not indicate that the venue was closed, and signs on the restaurant indicated that there was an upcoming show there.
Wiedmaier said he simply closed the venue Monday without any publicity because he wasn’t happy about getting the word out. The last show, he said, was Saturday night.
The owner said four employees worked at Villain & Saint, and he is in the process of placing them in jobs in other RW Restaurant Group businesses.
Wiedmaier said he wants to relocate Villain & Saint, but if he does, it would likely be on U Street in Washington, D.C., or in another area of the city frequented by 20- and 30-somethings.
“This was a young person’s hangout, and we didn’t get the job done there. We just couldn’t get it going. This was a labor of love and a love of the arts,” he said.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org