Alisha Edmonson and Joe Lapan | owners, Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe 

Alisha Edmonson and Joe Lapan started out with a clear vision before opening Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe nearly one year ago. After forging through on a path filled with hurdles and obstacles, their theoretical business plan turned into a brick-and-mortar reality fueled by their humbleness and gratitude towards their team. 

For local music lovers, Songbyrd is a one-stop shop that stands out from its neighbors in Adams Morgan. It boasts a record cafe, restaurant, bar, a 1947 Voice-O-Graph and music venue all within its two-story space. Songbyrd’s name pays homage to the late Charlie Byrd, who reportedly came up with his jazz/bossa nova fusion album Jazz Samba at Showboat Lounge, an old venue that used to reside in the space.

Since the space opened last spring, Songbyrd has gained a steady following that only got bigger once it began hosting shows. To spearhead its programming efforts, Edmonson and Lapan brought on board Jon Weiss and Peter Lillis of Babe City Records to manage booking and marketing. On any given night, you could find anything ranging from burlesque to a beloved D.C. punk band playing inside the basement venue. The goal for this year is to bring even more diverse programming to Songbyrd, with more DJ dance nights and non-music events like comedy.