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Photo: Ernie Tacsik // Haute Phototure

DC Festival Guide 2019

As the clouds dissipate from the sky and make way for the sun to illuminate the world, tents and stages begin to roll out for perhaps the most vibrant time of the year: festival season. From big to small, festivals represent inviting areas for people to mingle in areas meant to incite enthusiasm and joy. Luckily for us, residents of the DMV live in one of the most fertile grounds for these events in the country, whether you’re looking to chow down on fare at the Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle or want to dance to pure exhaustion at Funk Parade and DC101’s Kerfuffle. Over the next few pages, we’ve collected an extensive list of some of the very best the region has to offer with details on what to expect from each, plus interviews with local festival makers and some of our top picks.


THURSDAY, MAY 2 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Pow! Wow! DC
Since 2016, artists from the DC region and around the globe – a different mix each year, lead by DC’s very own Kelly Towles – have come to NoMa for 10 days in May to create larger-than-life murals that enliven buildings and streetscapes. The 10-day celebration of art features a kickoff event at Wunder Garten, mural walking tours and more. Various dates, times and locations; www.nomabid.org/pow-wow-dc

FRIDAY, MAY 3 – SUNDAY, MAY 5

M3 Rock Festival
Now in its 11th year, M3 Rock Festival has grown from up-and-comer to a definitive way to party like it’s 1989. Start with the annual Kix-Off Party on Friday, and head into the festival on Saturday and Sunday. M3 features enough hard rock and hair metal bands to make your head spin. Lineup includes Dokken, Whitesnake, Autograph and Vince Neil. Various times. Tickets are $80-$255. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

Sleepy Creek Spring Dig
Returning for its sixth year, this annual campout offers a stellar line up of local roots music and national superstars. Other attractions include playgrounds, parades, face painting, food, arts and crafts, late night bonfires and open jam circles. Sleepy Creek events remain dedicated to providing fun for all ages and creating memories that last a lifetime. Early arrival party with Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers starts at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday 12:30 p.m. – 1 a.m. Sunday open mic party. Exit by 5 p.m. Tickets are $60-$100. Free admission for kids 15 and under. Sleepy Creek on the Potomac: Joshua Lane in Berkeley Springs, WV; www.sleepycreekpresents.com

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival
Join DC’s signature folk festival in its 10th year with headliners Dustbowl Revival, The Ballroom Thieves and Hackensaw Boys, along with a host of other featured artists. Celebrate spring at this Best of DC 2018 award-winning festival with amazing local talent, tremendous local merchants and the natural beauty of the nation’s capital. 12-8 p.m. Tickets are $35-$100. Kingman Island Bluegrass and Folk Festival: 575 Oklahoma Ave. NE, DC; www.kingmanislandbluegrass.info

SATURDAY, MAY 4 – SUNDAY, MAY 5

National Wine & Food Festival
A world class, waterfront culinary event! Join in the excitement of the 11th annual Wine and Food Festival at National Harbor; bringing together world-renowned chefs, artisanal craftsmen and culinary pioneers with thousands of Metro DC’s foodies. 12-6 p.m. Tickets begin at $40. National Harbor Waterfront: 804 National Harbor Blvd. National Harbor, MD; www.wineandfoodnh.com

SUNDAY, MAY 5

Fiesta Asia Silver Spring
Fiesta Asia Silver Spring brings together diverse Asian cultures on one street, where participants can experience the richness of the arts and tradition the region has to offer. Happenings include live performances, open market exhibitors, interactive displays, dance, music and much more. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend. Fiesta Asia Silver Spring: 916 Ellsworth Dr. Silver Spring, MD; www.fiestaasia.org

FRIDAY, MAY 10 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Preakness Balloon Festival
The Howard County Fairgrounds will brighten the skies this year as the centerpiece venue for the long-running balloon festival. Spectators will enjoy the wonder of hot air balloons, specialty crafts, entertainment and good food during this family-friendly festival. Friday  4-9 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday Mother’s Day Morning Balloon Flight 6:15-7:45 a.m. Balloon ride tickets are $250. Howard County Fairgrounds: 2210 Fairgrounds Rd. West Friendship, MD; www.preaknessballoonfestival.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Maryland Craft Beer Festival
Celebrate your favorite Maryland breweries at the Maryland Craft Beer Festival. More than 40 local breweries will present nearly 200 unique, finely crafted ales and lagers. There will be live music, delicious food and fun craft vendors. 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $40, with $15 designated driver tickets available. Carroll Creek Linear Park: 44 South Market St. Frederick, MD; www.mdcraftbeerfestival.com

Of Ale and History Beer Fest
Find more than 50 beers available for tasting including European imports, American craft brews, hard ciders and specialty beers at the longest running beer festival in Virginia. Enjoy live music all day from Mojo Mothership and The Robbie Limon Band. Admission includes a souvenir glass, eight tastings and access to all vendors. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. At the gate, tasting tickets will be $30. Designated drivers or guests under 21 may purchase admission tickets for $10, including two non-alcoholic beverages. Belle Grove Plantation: 336 Belle Grove Rd. Middletown, VA; www.bellegrove.org

SATURDAY, MAY 11 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Virginia Renaissance Faire
Find music and dancing, shops filled with the finest crafts, and a variety of foods and beverages at the Virginia Renaissance Faire. Join the militia in pike drills or present a case in the Court of Common Pleas. Entertainment and vendors to be announced. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $12. Free admission for kids 6 and under. Lake Anna Winery: 5621 Courthouse Rd. Spotsylvania, VA; www.varf.org

THURSDAY, MAY 16 – SATURDAY, MAY 18

Domefest
Head to the lineup page to view all of the bands playing at Domefest 2019 alongside Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Aqueous, Magic Beans, Litz, Mungion, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, The Fritz and more. Stay tuned to social media for fun updates including themes, late night acts and workshop information. Gates open Thursday at 1 p.m. and close Sunday 2 p.m. Tickets are $135. Marvin’s Mountaintop: Masontown, WV; www.domefestival.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17

SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
A must-attend for craft beer aficionados and foodies alike, SAVOR offers a memorable craft beer and food experience to a limited number of guests in a truly unique atmosphere. At SAVOR, 90 small and independent craft breweries from around the country showcase 181 beers, each one thoughtfully paired with a small plate that will dazzle your palate. 7:30-11 p.m. Tickets $135. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC; www.savorcraftbeer.com

FRIDAY, MAY 17 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival
Festival attendees will enjoy viewing inspiring and innovative art in a wide variety of media and styles, interacting directly with artists from around the country, and exploring their own creativity in the Family Art Park, featuring free face painting and balloon animals. Expect to get a festival guide with more than $100 worth of coupons. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free to attend. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA; www.restonarts.org/fineartsfestival

Riverrock
From music to mud pits, bikes to beer, SUPs to pups, and climbing to kayaks – it’s uniquely Richmond! Rock the day and night away, watch professional athletes thrill the crowd, and maybe even get a little dirty yourself.  Friday 5-9:30 p.m. Saturday 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ticket prices vary. Historic Tredegar: 500 Tredegar St. Richmond, VA; www.riverrockva.com

Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour
Celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the mansion and cellars, more than 20 Virginia wineries, and live music overlooking views of the estate and the Potomac River. 6-9 p.m. Tickets are $42-$48. Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mt. Vernon, VA; www.mountvernon.org

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Adventure Brewing Company 5th Anniversary Festival
This brewery birthday party features live music and local vendors. Event is pet-friendly. Check the website for daily updates on festival details. 12-10 p.m. Free to attend. Adventure Brewing Company: 33 Perchwood Dr. Fredericksburg, VA; www.adventurebrewing.com

Fiesta Asia Street Fair
The 13th annual National Asian Heritage Festival’s signature event, the Fiesta Asia Street Fair, features more than 1,000 performers on five stages representing more than 20 cultures. Enjoy outdoor craft exhibits, live performances, food and open market vendors, interactive displays, martial arts demonstrations, talent shows, cooking demos and many more. 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free to attend. Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 6th Streets, NW, DC; www.fiestaasia.org

InfieldFest
InfieldFest is a full-day music festival that takes place amid one of the most anticipated and attended annual sporting events, the Preakness Stakes. The 2019 lineup features Norwegian DJ Kygo, Maryland’s own Logic, Diplo, Juice WRLD, Fisher and Frank Walker. 8 p.m. Tickets are $79-$199. Pimlico Race Course: 5201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD; www.infieldfest.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Pearl Street Preakness Party
Join Pearl Street for an official Preakness party, infield style. Party to live music from Lovely Rita, enter our hat contest, then catch the race on the big screen. The bars will be open and they’ll have plenty of Stella Artois and Black Eyed Susans. Must be 21 and over to consume alcohol. 4-7 p.m. Free to attend. Pearl Street in SW, DC; www.wharfdc.com

Sour Mania! Sour Beer Festival
Pucker up and join the 2nd Annual Sour Beer Festival. Sample special and limited edition sour ales from around the region and across the country at this indoor event. Enjoy live music and fantastic food while sipping some truly tart ales. Starts at 11 a.m. Admission is free, samplers and snacks available to purchase. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 W Broad St. Falls Church, VA; www.madfoxbrewing.com

Virginia Wine & Craft Festival
Grab a drink and hit the caves. Relax and enjoy shopping for handmade crafts from over 100 vendors, artists and crafters from all over the East Coast, listen to live music, play games and try wine from 20 different wineries. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend, $25-$30 for wine tasting. Historic Downtown Front Royal: 106 Chester St. Front Royal, VA;www.wineandcraftfestival.com

SATURDAY, MAY 18 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Wine in the Woods
The 27th Annual Wine in the Woods is the largest wine festival in Maryland and continues to rank among the best festivals in Howard County. Sample a variety of Maryland’s finest wineries from a souvenir glass, purchase food from an abundance of high quality restaurants and caterers, attend wine education seminars, purchase art and specialty crafts, and revel in continuous live entertainment from the Unified Jazz Ensemble, Bad Influence and I&I Riddim. Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $25-$44. Symphony Woods Park: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.wineinthewoods.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Porchfest DC – Southeast Edition
Porchfest is a festival of mini-concerts held on front porches. The Southeast Porchfest embodies the life and soul of DC, spotlighting the region’s top emerging talent and is an outing for the entire family! With well-manicured lawns, tree-lined streets and super friendly residents, Hillcrest is the perfect choice for the 2019 Southeast Porchfest. This year’s line-up includes spoken word performances and bands representing all music genres, including: jazz, folk, rock, hip-hop and go-go. There will also be food trucks, vendors and more! Please bring a lawn chair, walking shoes and cash to tip the performers. For updates, follow @porchfestdc on Instagram. The map of the final performance route will be published the second week of May. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend. The Hillcrest community in SE DC; www.porchfestdc.com

SUNDAY, MAY 19

DC Polo Society
Are you on the list?
www.dcpolo.com

THURSDAY, MAY 23 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

DelFest
With acts like The Del McCoury Band and The Travelin McCourys, this family-friendly music festival is pure bluegrass bliss. You’ll find incredible music all day long on multiple stage, intimate artist playshops, late night shows, a fun-filled kidzone, a quality art and craft faire, delicious food and drinks, plentiful camping space and RV hookups, and much more. Various times and performances each day. Various ticket packages available. Allegany County Fairgrounds: 11400 Moss Ave. Cumberland, MD; www.delfest.com

FRIDAY, MAY 24 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

SummerFest at Gaylord National
The Capital Region’s premier waterfront resort, Gaylord National, comes alive with Summer FUN!  Overnight guests can enjoy resort entertainment and activities as part of their annual SummerFest. From outdoor events and great music to campfire stories, scavenger hunts, seasonal cocktails and more, there is something for everyone. Whether you are visiting the DC area to sightsee, a family looking for a getaway or a great night out with friends, you will find everything you need to make your summer getaway memorable. Various times. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.marriott.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Caribbean Wine, Music and Food Festival
Listen to steel drums and reggae beats while enjoying arts and crafts, great food and the island vibes of this wine festival. Open your palate to unique Linganore wines and take home a souvenir wine glass. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $25. Linganore Wine Cellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganore-wine.com

WEDNESDAY, MAY 29 – SATURDAY, JUNE 2

Focus on the Story Festival
Focus on the Story is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit organization based in DC, founded on the driving principle that photography can spark meaningful conversations at the intersection of policy, civic engagement and visual storytelling. Join in the nation’s capital as they celebrate the art of photography and the stories behind the images with talks, workshops, portfolio reviews, exhibits, contests and photo walks about everything from Brutalist architecture to the White House. Various times and locations. Registration is $225-$245. Student rates available. www.focusonthestory.org

THURSDAY, MAY 30 – SATURDAY, JUNE 2

Mountain Music Festival
Mountain Music Festival is an annual celebration of the best outdoor adventures West Virginia has to offer, with live music to match. Situated on a 1,500-acre outdoor adventure resort in the New River Gorge, Mountain Music Festival brings the spirit of Appalachia to life through its two greatest exports: music and wilderness. This year, Mountain Music Fest welcomes Tyler Childers, The Floozies, Big Something and many more to the stage atop Wonderland Mountain. Tickets are $79-$329. ACE Adventure Resort: 1 Concho Rd. Minden, WV; www.mountainmusicfestwv.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 1

Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival
Great Grapes! has grown to be Baltimore’s premier casual Maryland wine festival with live music, fun festival eats, arts and crafts, and a free kids’ area. Grab a souvenir glass and stroll from tent to tent, sipping and savoring selections from more than 150 different international and local wines, beers and spirits at Oregon Ridge Park. 1-8 p.m. Tickets are $40-$75. Oregon Ridge Park: 13401 Beaver Dam Rd. Cockeysville, MD;www.uncorkthefun.com

Takoma Trukgarten
Don’t miss Takoma Trukgarten featuring local beer, food trucks and live music. This one-day beer festival features local breweries pouring over 20 different craft beers plus cider and a new wine tent. There will be local restaurants and food trucks plus live music all day! 12-5 p.m. Tickets are $25-$45. City Parking Lot: 201 Ethan Allen Ave. Takoma Park, MD; www.mainstreettakoma.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 1 – SUNDAY, JUNE 2

FSGW Washington Folk Festival
The 39th Annual Washington Folk Festival showcases the diversity of traditional music in the DC area. All musicians, storytellers, dancer and craftspeople live in the greater DMV metropolitan area and volunteer their talents to put on a first-class festival of national renown. 12-7 p.m. both days. Free to attend. Glen Echo Park: 7300 MacArthur Blvd. Glen Echo, MD; www.fsgw.org

Vintage Virginia
Since 1982, Vintage Virginia has offered an opportunity to taste from nearly half of Virginia’s homegrown wineries, from the most renowned to the new and exciting. Saturday 12-6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets cost $40-$65. Bull Run Special Events Center: 7700 Bull Run Dr. Centreville, VA; www.vintagevirginia.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 2

Taste of Peru DC
Taste of Peru celebrates the cultural influences and the creativity of Peruvian chefs all over the United States. The event promotes the unique culinary perspectives of local and international chefs. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $15-$40. University of the District of Columbia: 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.tasteofperudc.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Capital Jazz Fest
Come see Gladys Knight, Babyface, Gregory Porter, India.Arie, Marsha Ambrosius and more jazz and soul musicians at Merriweather Post Pavilion’s Capital Jazz Fest. Enjoy fine arts and crafts at the festival marketplace and culinary treats from the food court, plus artist workshops, plus meet and greets. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $59.50-$129.50. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.merriweathermusic.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 16

DC JazzFest
The DC JazzFest invites you to explore the exceptional array of renowned masters and emerging artists from across the jazz spectrum and beyond. Find your favorite artists and various performances located throughout the District, including The Wharf and even in your own neighborhood through the Jazz in the ’Hoods concert series. Various showtimes, ticket prices and venues. Various locations in DC; www.dcjazzfest.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 8

Breaux Vineyards Cajun Festival
Come join your Cajun cousins at Breaux Vineyards the 22nd Annual Cajun Festival.  Enjoy wine tastings, craft vendors, Cajun fare for sale, and more at this annual celebration. Starting off the day, the festival will feature live music with the Voodoo Blues followed by The Dixie Power Trio for the rest of the afternoon. Kid-friendly activities will be available. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $20. Breaux Vineyards: 36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln. Purcellville, VA; www.breauxvineyards.com

Summerfest DC
Get your own tasting glass and enjoy more than 80 carefully selected craft beers in a single afternoon. Enjoy live music, unlimited wine and cider tastings and amazing food selections. Then get active with outdoor games, arts and activities. This is a 21 and over only event. Various times and ticket prices. The Bullpen: 1201 Half St. SE, DC; www.summerfestdc.com

SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Capital Pride Festival
Join the LGBTQ+ community, on America’s Mainstreet for the 2019 Capital Pride Festival presented by Live! Casino & Hotel. Enjoy a full day of entertainment, music, food, drink, education and celebration. The Pride Festival includes three stages of national and local talent, and will host 300 exhibitors including local community groups and businesses, food vendors, and organizations looking to promote their products and services to our community. 12-10 p.m. Free to attend, VIP packages are available for purchase. Pennsylvania Avenue & 3rd Street in NW, DC; www.capitalpride.org

SATURDAY, JUNE 15

5th Annual Baltimore Wine Fest
Join b Scene Events for the 5th Annual Baltimore Wine Fest at the picturesque Canton Waterfront Park. Experience 160+ wines from around the world, gourmet eats provided by local eateries, live music, chef cooking demonstrations, wine seminars, craft beers and spirits, unique shopping and a family zone. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$89. Canton Waterfront Park: 3001 Boston St. Baltimore, MD; www.baltimorewinefest.com

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ
Enjoy beer, bourbon, music, cigars and barbecue. Admission buys you a souvenir glass, so you can enjoy an all-you-care-to-taste sampling of the 60 beers and 40 bourbons on tap. The amazing barbecue selection includes the Shrine of Swine, featuring pulled pork right from the source. There’s also live rock and blues music all day. Additionally, the event comes to Leesburg in October. Tickets are $75-$119. 12-6 p.m. on Saturday. The Plateau at National Harbor: 165 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.beerandbourbon.com

FreeState Beer, Wine and Seafood Festival
Find the area’s best seafood, Maryland craft brewers, Linganore wines, awesome live music, and a special appearance by Justin Schlegel of Justin, Scott and Spiegel on 98 Rock at the Freestate Beer, Wine and Seafood Festival. Purchase a VIP ticket and receive a larger souvenir glass and access to an exclusive private area that includes indoor bathrooms. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-$50. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

Silver Spring Blues Festival
Enjoy this all-day blues block party with two stages, a fountain to cool off in and plenty of places to eat and shop at the music-filled celebration in downtown Silver Spring. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Free to attend. 921 Wayne Ave. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringbluesfest.yolasite.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 15 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

By the People
By the People is a new, inclusive, international arts and innovation festival that facilitates connection and celebrates creativity. Enjoy fun and free arts installations, performances, talks and programs about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Smithsonian will have extended evening hours on June 23, and augmented reality art at each of the festival sites. Various times. Free to attend. Various locations in DC; www.halcyonhouse.org/by-the-people

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 19 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS is the nation’s documentary film festival known for showcasing the best in documentary filmmaking from the US and around the world. AFI DOCS is also the only film festival in the United States that offers the unique opportunity to connect film audiences with national opinion leaders, filmmakers and intriguing film subjects. With conversations and experiences you won’t experience at any other film festival, AFI DOCS harnesses the power of this important art form and its potential to inspire change. Screenings during this annual five-day event take place in landmark venues in DC and the world-class AFI Silver Theatre, the independent film hub of the metropolitan region. Tickets are $50-$275. Various locations and times; www.afi.com/afidocs

THURSDAY, JUNE 20 – MONDAY, JUNE 24

Capital Congress
Capital Congress is the largest Salsa Festival in the DC area. Since 2005, thousands have come to DC to dance Salsa and other Latin styles in this family-friendly environment. Instructors from around the world teach daily dance workshops to all levels. All ages welcome. Various times. Tickets $110-$350. The Hilton Mark Center: 5000 Seminary Rd. Alexandria, VA; www.capitalcongress.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 21 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

Firefly Music Festival
Your favorite summer weekend is just around the corner. Three days, several stages and countless bands. Artists include Panic! At The Disco, Tyler, The Creator, Courtney Barnett, Travis Scott, Passion Pit, Post Malone and many more. Various show times and ticket prices ranging from single-day camping passes to weekend passes. The Woodlands in Dover, DE; www.fireflyfestival.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 22 – SUNDAY, JUNE 23

27th Annual Giant National Capital BBQ Battle
Kick off summer at America’s barbecue party, the 27th annual Giant Barbecue Battle. Pennsylvania Avenue will be smokin’ with rock, reggae, jazz and blues from 30 bands on three stages. Cookbook authors and celebrity chefs like Myron Mixon, Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone of Destination America’s popular “BBQ Pitmasters” will entertain and educate with cooking demonstrations on the popular Giant Demonstration Stage. Enjoy free barbecue and grilled food samples in the Taste of Giant sampling pavilion while witnessing America’s best eaters onstage at Nathan’s famous hot dog-eating contest. Other activities include Anheuser-Busch beer gardens, and Giant Corks to Caps Microbrew and Wine Tasting tent. This year’s Capital BBQ Battle will raise funds for USO of Metropolitan Washington with the Capital Area Food Bank. Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tickets are $12-$155. Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 7th Streets in NW, DC; www.bbqindc.com

SATURDAY, JUNE 29 – SUNDAY, JUNE 30

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
This festival honors contemporary living cultural traditions and celebrates those who practice and sustain them. Produced annually by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the festival has featured participants from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. This year’s festival will focus on the social power of music. Experience living traditions from around the world, as the festival works with communities to strengthen and preserve their cultures and share them with you on the National Mall. Festival hours and events TBD. Free to attend. The National Mall: www.festival.si.edu

TUESDAY, JULY 9 – SUNDAY, JULY 28

Capital Fringe Festival
Capital Fringe will showcase seven venues with 13 stages, all within walking distance of each other in Southwest DC, presenting more than 94 highly-ambitious productions with 60 percent of the participating artists residing in the DC Metro area. With countless performing groups, there’s bound to be something for everybody from theatre to dance, including risky art and nontraditional acts. Tickets are $72-$500 and go on sale June 17. The Logan Fringe Arts Space: 1358 Florida Ave. NE, DC; www.capitalfringe.org

SUNDAY, JULY 14

Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Summer Fair
Check out the Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Fair this summer, featuring arts and crafts, food and beverage vendors, a cultural dance show with performances from different countries around the world and many fun family activities. 2-8 p.m. Free to attend. Silver Spring Veterans Plaza: 1 Veterans Pl. Silver Spring, MD; www.chiceventsdc.com

FRIDAY, JULY 19 – SUNDAY, JULY 21

ARTSCAPE 2019
Check out fashion designers, outdoor sculpture, photography and art cars at America’s largest free arts festival. Experience the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and other incredible live music on outdoor stages. Expect to see a delicious international menu of food and beverages available throughout the festival. Times TBD. Free to attend. Various locations in Baltimore, MD; www.artscape.org

SATURDAY, JULY 20 – SUNDAY, JULY 21

Summer Reggae Wine Festival
Shop the open-air market with hand-crafted and imported goods from around the world. Enjoy a day sampling delicious wines and listening to live bands. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

 WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 – SUNDAY, JULY 28

FloydFest
FloydFest 19: Voyage Home is five days of music, magic and mountains in the picturesque paradise at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, VA. The festival features outdoor adventure, vibrant and varied vendors, quality brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, children’s activities and a lineup featuring more than 100 artists on eight stages. Various times for each day. Single, multi and camping passes available for various prices. 894 Rock Castle Gorge Rd. Floyd, VA; www.floydfest.com

 SATURDAY, JULY 27

Trifecta Food Truck Festival
More than 35 of Maryland’s best food trucks will transform the racetrack into a festive playground with live bands, local craft beer tents, mechanical bull rides, a dunk tank, a pie-eating contest, a kids’ play land, moon bounces, a local artist village and more. 12-11 p.m. Tickets $15. Maryland State Fairgrounds: 2200 York Rd. Lutherville-Timonium, MD;
www.mt.cm/trifecta-food-truck-festival

SATURDAY, AUGUST 10 – SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

Moonrise Festival
Since its debut in 2014, Moonrise Festival has grown into one of the most anticipated East Coast festivals of the summer, touching all corners of the dance floor with styles spanning from heavy-hitting bass to hip hop, live electronic acts to house music, and everything in between. The event also features art installations, a sprawling vendor village, amazing food and beverages, stylish VIP lounges and more. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. both days. Tickets are $149.50-$239.50. Pimlico Race Course: 5201 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD; www.moonrisefestival.com

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11

Taste of Linganore
Presented by Linganore Winecellars & Red Shedman Farm Brewery, this event will showcase some of the area’s favorite restaurateurs and caterers, featuring samplings of small plates made with Linganore Wines. Stroll the grounds to shop unique local vendors while enjoying this foodie paradise, paired with great wines and craft beers.  11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets are $10-$15. Linganore Winecellars: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, MD; www.linganorewines.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 17

Around the World Cultural Food Festival
Around the World Cultural Food Festival brings together diverse, authentic, living traditions from different countries around the world. Their mission is to preserve and strengthen the culture of each country by giving all participants a chance to learn from one another and understand their cultural differences. Expect to see one restaurant for each country. Saturday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Free to attend; VIP tickets are available for $25-$35. Freedom Plaza: 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.aroundtheworldfestival.com

Hot August Festival
The exciting music lineup this year includes Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Turkuaz, Billy Strings, Dirty Grass Players and more. Gates open at 11 a.m. Tickets are $58-$199. Oregon Ridge Park: 13401 Beaver Dam Rd. Cockeysville, MD; www.hotaugustfestival.com\

Kegs and Corks Festival
Head to the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds for the 8th Annual Kegs and Corks Festival, a beer and wine festival featuring 16 craft breweries and 16 Maryland wineries along with great music, good food and a variety of arts and crafts vendors. Unlimited samplings, live music and souvenir glass included. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $25-$120. Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds: 1450 Generals Hwy. Crownsville, MD; www.kegsandcorksfest.com

THURSDAY, AUGUST 22- SUNDAY, AUGUST 25

LOCKN’ Festival
Jam band fans: it may not get better than this. Two nights and four sets of Dead & Company, and three nights of awesome music from Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Revivalists, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Old Crow Medicine Show, Gary Clark Jr. and so much more. The stellar lineup is only matched by the beautiful setting in the mountains of Virginia. Various times. Tickets are $229-$289. Infinity Downs Farm: 1510 Diggs Mountain Rd. Arrington, VA;www.locknfestival.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival
This annual festival is an all-you-can-taste extravaganza complete with over 30,000 crabs, lots of beer, arts and crafts, live music, family fun and more. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for session one, 5-9 p.m. for session two. Tickets are $40-$125. The Waterfront at SouthPointe National Harbor: 804 National Harbor Blvd. National Harbor, MD; www.mdcrabfest.com

Cigar, Bourbon and Beer Festival
Join for an amazing day of cigars, bourbon and craft beer. Hogshead Cigar Lounge will be showcasing all kinds of different cigars from their lounge. Explore a showcase of bourbons from all across the country and some from right there in Virginia. Check out some of their fine spirits they offer like Jack Daniel’s, Wild Turkey and Old Forester, plus craft beers from local Fredericksburg breweries sampling some of their award-winning beers. 4-9 p.m. Tickets are $10-$50. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds: 2400 Airport Ave. Fredericksburg, VA; www.cigarbourbonbeer.com

World Heritage Festival & Festival of Kites
Taste delicious ethnic food, get refreshed with a scoop of ice cream or shaved ice or even a fresh smoothie while enjoying a cultural show on the main stage. You will have an array of vendors to choose from with more than 60 artists displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts and every creative item in between. Other vendors include area nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs and local businesses. 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free to attend. Ida Lee Park Recreation Center: 60 Ida Lee Dr. Leesburg, VA; www.chiceventsdc.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 31 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Virginia Scottish Games
You can wear a kilt and bring your dog! The Scottish Games are one of the few places inside the Commonwealth where you can experience authentic Scottish culture and traditions, including spectacular highland dancers, bagpipes, adorable Scottish dogs, cool British cars and sheep herding. Gates open at 9 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $20-$30. Great Meadow: 5089 Old Tavern Rd. The Plains, VA; www.vascottishgames.org

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

6th Annual Baltimore Seafood Fest
Baltimore loves its seafood, but Charm City also loves all the wonderful local restaurants that truly make Baltimore one of the best places for foodies to visit. Baltimoreans are so proud of their crab cakes, crab soup, shrimp salad, local oysters and of course, Maryland blue crabs. It seems fitting to host a waterfront festival showcasing some of Baltimore’s favorite restaurants serving their signature seafood dishes. 12-7 p.m. Tickets are $15-$95. Canton Waterfront Park: 3001 Boston St. Baltimore, MD; www.baltimoreseafoodfest.com

DC Wine Fest
Specially curated wineries serve patrons tastings over a multi-session, all-day, all-night vino experience. You’ll have the chance to sample premium wine to your heart’s content, while live entertainment keep the party lively during this one of a kind experience. 12-10 p.m. Tickets are $35-$60. National Union Building: 918 F St. NW, DC; www.dcwinefest.com

Virginia Cider Festival
At the Virginia Cider Festival, you and your friends will be surrounded by hard ciders from all across the country. The event will also feature even more Virginia Cider this year from cideries like Cobbler Mountain, Potter’s, Winchester CiderWorks and Bold Rock. There will be a list of more than 25 Cider producers who will be pouring over 50 ciders. Check out the local live music on the Safford of Fredericksburg stage for your listening pleasure. Be sure to check the weather for what to wear. The event will take place rain or shine. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets are $10-$30. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds: 2400 Airport Ave. Fredericksburg, VA; www.vaciderfest.com

SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER 21

Arts & Ales: Downtown Hyattsville Arts Festival
Enjoy more than 100 exhibiting artists and artisans, Maryland breweries, food trucks and vendors and live entertainment block by block in Downtown Hyattsville. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend. Farragut Street, Gallatin Street and Church Alley in Hyattsville, MD; www.hyattsvilleartsfestival.com

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29

Devils Backbone Hoopla Festival
Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Hoopla Festival features live music, award-winning beer, camping and fun for the whole family. The weekend includes pop-up beer tastings, outdoor adventures, property tours, crafts, great eats and tons of incredible live music. Come check out the award-winning beer and bands, including Robert Walter’s 20th Congress, Kat Wright and the Jon Stickley Trio. Tickets $50-$340. Basecamp Brewpub and Meadows: 200 Mosbys Run, Roseland, VA; www.dbbrewingcompany.com

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5

Hops & Harvest Festival
A beer festival on the Columbia, MD lakefront with unlimited tastings of more than 50 beers from Maryland brewers. The festival also features cideries, artisans and live music. Tickets are $15-$40. Columbia Lakefront: 10275 Wincopin Cir. Columbia, MD; www.hopsandhavest.com

CONCERT SERIES

WEDNESDAY

Wednesdays at the Wharf Concert Series
June 5 – August 21
Head to The Wharf each Wednesday evening this summer to listen to live music on Transit Pier. Don’t miss DC favorites such as Collective Dellusion, Jarreau Williams Xperience, Brent & Co. and more playing on the floating stage. From indie rock to Latin fusion, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy ice cold beers and food from Cantina Bambina and take a mid-week break. 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. The Wharf: 700 Water St. SW, DC; www.wharfdc.com

THURSDAYS

Bethesda Summer Concert Series
May 16- June 13
Bask in the sweet melodies and the summer air as you catch the music in Veterans Park. Featuring local favorites like Brent & Co., Moxie Blues Band, 19th St. Band and more. 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. Veterans Park: 7898 Woodmont Ave. Bethesda, MD; www.bethesda.org

THURSDAYS

Rosslyn Rocks
June 6 – 27
Grab your friends and head to Central Place Plaza on Thursdays in June to listen to live music. Each week will be a new cover band, featuring Party Like It’s, White Ford Bronco, The Jarreau Williams Xperience and Driven to Clarity. Enjoy the concerts while sipping on a glass of wine or having a beer in downtown Rosslyn’s outdoor space. Must be 21+ (no outside alcohol). 6-8 p.m. Free to attend. Central Place Plaza: 1800 N Lynn St. Arlington, VA; www.rosslynva.org

FRIDAYS

Budweiser Terrace Pregame Concerts at Nationals Park
Select Fridays May to September
Every Friday home game, the best place to pregame is at the Budweiser Terrace inside the ballpark. Enjoy cold Bud and Bud Light and great tunes from local bands like Lovely Rita, Uncle Jesse  and Hand Painted Swinger. Concerts run from 5-6:50 p.m. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Nationals Park Bud Light Terrace: 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, DC; www.nationals.com

Farragut Fridays
May 31 – September 27
Farragut Fridays are a full day of getting outside in the Golden Triangle. Starting at 9 a.m., drop in for an outdoor “office” that includes free Wi-Fi, tables and chairs, and games to get your creative juices flowing. At noon, the picnic in the park begins. Grab a bite to eat, play lawn games (cornhole, foosball and table tennis), hang out with puppies and listen to live music. Then, head back after work for the Golden Cinema movie series. Pre-show fun starts at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Farragut Park: Connecticut Avenue and K Street in NW, DC; www.goldentriangledc.com

Fridays at Fort Totten
June 7 – Aug 23
The Fridays at Fort Totten Summer Concert Series is every Friday through August 23. Come out and enjoy delicious bites from a featured food truck each week, and amazing live music from Of Tomorrow, Sol Roots, Cecily, Oh He Dead and so many more. There’s a new band and tasty food truck each Friday. We hope to see you there. In partnership with The Modern at Art Place. 6-8 p.m. The Modern: Corner of South Dakota Avenue and Galloway Street, NE, DC; www.fridaysforttotten.com

Friday Night Concerts in Yards Park
June 7 – August 30
Spend your Friday night relaxing in the Capitol Riverfront, voted one of DC’s best places for live music!  Spread a blanket, grab a cold one and get down with some great local music. Enjoy bands like the Shane Gamble Band, 7 Deadlies, Brent & Co., Aztec Sun and more on the boardwalk stage. The featured artists are fun for the whole family, and ice cold Corona beers and wine will be available on-site at the outdoor tented bar. 7-9 p.m. Free to attend. Yards Park: 355 Water St. SE, DC; www.capitolriverfront.org

Herndon Friday Night Live!
May 3 – August 23
Enjoy another year of Herndon Rock’s cold beer, hot tunes and fantastic food during the summer. Featuring party favorites Garden State Radio, Here’s to the Night, The Stormin’ Norman Band and more, Herndon takes you through the summer with the best local and regional talent from the East Coast. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Free to attend. Town Green: 777 Lynn St. Herndon, VA; www.herndonrocks.com

Lubber Run Amphitheater Summer Concert Series
June 14 – August 11
This year’s 50th anniversary summer concert series features a diverse lineup of internationally renowned musicians and regional favorites. Friday and Saturday shows at 8 p.m., and Sunday shows at 11 a.m. Free to attend. Lubber Run Amphitheater: North Columbus and 2nd Streets, Arlington, VA; www.arlingtonarts.org

Rio Concert Series
May 25 – September 28
Every Saturday night, the party is lakeside at the Rio Center boardwalk. Just outside the Union Jack’s and near the paddle boards, enjoy live music from Handpainted Swinger, Soctt Kurt & Memphis 59, City Groove and more. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. Rio Washingtonian Center: 209 Boardwalk Pl. Gaithersburg, MD; www.riowashingtonian.com

Rock the Block
May 24, June 28, July 26, August 23, September 27 and October 25
Rock the Block at Old Town Square in Fairfax is back this summer. Each fourth Friday of the month from June through October, walk, run, ride your bike or drive because you don’t want to miss out on The Rockets, JunkFood, The Reflex and more. Food and drink vendors will be onsite. Bring chairs or blankets to sit on, and kids can wear swimsuits and bring towels for the splash pad. No pets allowed except service animals. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Old Town Square: 10415 North St. Fairfax, VA; www.fairfaxva.gov/government/parks-recreation/rock-the-block

Tarara Winery Summer Concert Series
May 25 – October 5
Named the Best Music Festival by Northern Virginia Magazine, the Tarara Summer Concert Series celebrates 20 years in 2019 as one of the most eagerly anticipated outdoor events of the season in Loudoun. Dance under the stars on Saturday nights this summer to the sounds of your favorite cover bands, such as The Reflex, Gonzo’s Nose, The Legwarmers, Bruce in the USA, Crack the Sky, Three Sheets to the Wind and more. Tarara Winery: 13648 Tarara Ln. Leesburg, VA; www.tarara.com

MOVIE NIGHTS

TUESDAYS

Adams Morgan Movie Nights
May 21 – June 18
The Adams Morgan BID is excited to announce this year’s Adams Morgan Movie Nights lineup as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by collaborating with the National Air and Space Museum to bring you five great space-themed titles, including Armageddon and Spaceballs, and a few surprises along the way. Each movie starts at 8 p.m. Free to attend. Marie Reed Soccer Field: 18th and California Streets, NW, DC; www.admodc.org/movies

WEDNESDAYS

NoMa Summer Screen
June 5 – August 21
This season marks the 12 of NoMa’s Summer Screen series, one of the longest-running free public events in the neighborhood. This year features a fun lineup of sports-related films including The Karate Kid, Bend It Like Beckham, Remember the Titans and Bring It On. Each film begins at approximately 8:30 p.m. Free to attend. 1150 First St. NE, DC; www.nomabid.org

THURSDAYS

Canal Park Movies
June 13 – August 22
From classics to the latest Academy Award winners, the people spoke and the movies will be shown! Join the Riverfront community for free movies at Canal Park on Thursday evenings. Films this year include: Crazy Rich Asians, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Goonies and more. Movies begin at sundown. Free to attend. Canal Park: 200 M St. SE, DC; www.capitolriverfront.org

Tunes in the Triangle
May 30,  June 6, June 20, August 6, September 5
Stop by Milian Park on select Thursdays this summer with your friends, family and/or pets for free live concerts from great local bands. 499 Massachusetts Ave NW, DC; www.mvtcid.org

FRIDAYS

Burgeoning Crystal City Bid
Crystal City has been in the news a lot lately, and there’s definitely plenty to talk about. Just minutes from downtown DC, the greater Crystal City area (consisting of the Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard-Arlington neighborhoods) is the largest walkable downtown in Virginia, with 12-million square feet of office, 15,000 residents, 5,900 hotel rooms, and almost 500 restaurants and retailers. In addition to experiential retail like Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Bowlero opening in the near future, Crystal City has more than 250 events each year. From weekly live music outside at the Crystal City Water Park to the Twilighter 5K, there’s always fun to be had in Crystal City. For more information on events and happenings, visit www.crystalcity.org.

Rosslyn Cinema with Pub in the Park
June 7 – July 12
Every Friday this summer in Gateway Park, bring a blanket or low chairs and a group of friends to enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite movies. Movies start at dusk, but the fun starts at 5 p.m. with games and the Pub in the Park. Movies this year include Spider Man: into the Spider-Verse, Crazy Rich Asians and more. This event is kid- and dog-friendly. 5 p.m. Free to attend. Gateway Park: 1300 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA; www.rosslynva.org

FRIDAYS

Union Market Drive-In
May 3 – October 4
The drive-in at Union Market is back for a new season! The first Friday of every month will feature classics like Con-Air and Jaws,  and recent films like Coco. There’s a film for everyone. The lot opens at 6 p.m., and films will start at 7:30 p.m. $15 parking fee; free walk-ups. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.unionmarketdc.com

Off the Beaten Path Events

No matter where your interests lie, you can bet there’s a festival catering to the more specific interests of DMV denizens. Our list below points you in the direction of the cool, the quirky and the oddly specific for prime opportunities to celebrate with fellow whatever-your-thing-is enthusiasts.

SATURDAY, MAY 4

Unicorn Festival at Hogback Mountain Pony Rides
This festival has been voted Most Loved Place to Go by Leesburg-Ashburn Hulafrog for 2018 and  2019. It includes Pony rides, unicorn photos by Chris Weber Studios, face painting with Painted Sunshine, vendors and so much more.11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets begin at $20. Hogback Mountain Pony Rides: 19732 Hogback Mountain Rd. Leesburg, VA; www.hogbackmountainponyrides.com

National Math Festival
Don’t miss the 2019 National Math Festival. This all-ages event brings today’s most fascinating mathematicians together for a variety of presentations, performances, short creative films, and hands-on puzzles, games, art-making, mathletic competitions and more. See how math connects to what you love.Film animation, pro football, magic, music, dating, dance, art, cryptography, planet earth….whatever your interest, they’ve got the math for that. Free to attend. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Walter E. Washington Convention Center: 801 Mount Vernon Pl. NW, DC; www.msri.org

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Baltimore Hot Sauce Festival
Sample 30+ of the region’s tastiest hot sauces. This event also features spicy Maryland indie and alternative rock on stage, with performances by Outcalls, Thunder Club, Sgt Gusto and more. Don’t miss delectable food, themed drinks and saucy games. 12-8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$45, and there is a $5 surcharge at the door for guests under 21 years old. All guests will be carded upon entry, so don’t forget your IDs. Power Plant Live!: 34 Market Pl. Baltimore, MD; www.powerplantlive.com

Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival
The Taiwan Bubble Tea Festival is a family- and kid-friendly fun event, open to all. The festival will be held at the Rockville Town Square. In addition to providing a variety of name-sake bubble teas, the festival will have education and outreach opportunities that strengthen social connections in the community. The festival will display rich Asian culture through live performances, crafts, arts and delicious traditional cuisines. This year, six different bubble tea vendors will be coming from the DMV area including Bubble & Tea, Sharetea, Bobapop, Gong-Cha, Tea-Do and Momo’s Cafe. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free with registration, and tasting cards are available to purchase on-site for $5, cash only. Rockville Town Square: 30 Maryland Ave. Rockville, MD; www.rockvillemd.gov

SATURDAY, MAY 18

Smile Herb Festival
Join Smile Herb Shop celebrating 45 years of herbs, gardens and herbalism education this May. Enjoy plants in our garden center, live music, food, garden tours, plant walks, lectures, natural product vendors and more. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free to attend. Smile Herb Shop: 4908 Berwyn Rd. College Park, MD; www.smileherbschool.com

Chesapeake Sea Glass Festival
With over 30 sea glass artisans from all over the area, this event is a fun-filled day of lectures and shard identifications. It will be a great way to see what people collect from each area and to have your shards identified and listen to lectures. Chesapeake College: 1000 College Cir. Wye Mills, MD; www.visitmaryland.org

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Maryland Psychic Fair
Many of the best psychics, mediums, healers and readers of all types, along with related arts and crafts vendors from Maryland and the surrounding areas, will come together for the Maryland Psychic Festival. For both those who are serious or for those who are just curious, this event can be anything from a life-changing experience to just a fun time. Three out of four tables offer some type of readings, one of the four tables offer related arts, crafts, books, oils, crystals, information and more. Snacks and soft drinks will be available to purchase. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets $5-$10 at the door, cash only. Bowie Elks Lodge No 2309: 1506 Defense Hwy. Gambrills, MD; www.fb.com/EventPsychics4u

THURSDAY, MAY 23 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Maryland Deathfest 2019
A celebration of the best of death metal in the region. Performances take place across all major Maryland venues like Rams Head Live! and Baltimore Soundstage. Don’t miss the pre-festival party on Wednesday at Ottobar, featuring artists like Church of Misery, Yellow Eyes, Cro-Mags and more. Tickets $23-$249. Various times and locations; www.deathfests.com

FRIDAY, MAY 24 – SUNDAY, MAY 26

Museum of Science Fiction Gallery Opening at Escape Velocity 2019
The Museum of Science Fiction and NASA are partnering to bring Escape Velocity 2019 to Washington, DC. The event is a futuristic world’s fair to promote informal STEAM educational activities within the context of science fiction using the fun of comic cons and fascination of science and engineering festivals. Escape Velocity 2019 seeks to make a measurable positive impact to boost informal learning on the more conceptually challenging academic areas. Escape Velocity’s mission is to attract young people to science, technology, engineering, art, and math by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational, and entertaining science festival in the United States using science fiction as its primary engine. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Free to attend. Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; www.escapevelocity.events

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – MONDAY, MAY 27

The FantasyWood Festival
The FantasyWood Festival hosted by ManneqArt and Circus Siren Pod is a magical three-day experience over Memorial Day Weekend. Join for a walk in the woods with surprises around each corner. Meet mermaids, fairies, watch live knights duel and even see a live unicorn. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m each day. Tickets $5-$20. The Chrysalis Theatre, Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods: 10431 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, MD; www.visithowardcounty.com

Photo: Rey Lopez

New and Notable: Hot Lola’s, La Betty, Punjab Grill and More

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town and the top culinary happenings of the month. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new and notable in the DC area.

New

Hot Lola’s
Open:
March 10
Location:
Ballston Quarter
Lowdown: Himitsu’s “sauce boss” Kevin Tien has entered the hot chicken game, but he’s put a Sichuan spin on Nashville’s spicy fried specialty. Hot Lola’s is one of the highlights of Ballston Quarter’s new food hall Quarter Market. The streamlined menu makes decisions easy: sandwich, tenders or “tenderdog.” Then the question is: how hot do you want it? The scale goes from zero to 10, or from not hot to too hot. The middle of the scale is perfectly manageable, but it only gets hotter from there. The pickles, slaw and sauces (like comeback sauce and secret sauce) add an extra punch of flavor to the already punchy chicken, and then you can add sides like crispy seasoned curly fries. Even if your mouth is on fire, you can feel good about eating at Hot Lola’s thanks to the 4 percent equity surcharge Tien has opted to add to every order. This goes to ensure a fair wage and health coverage for employees, both in the kitchen and at the counter. This pacesetting provision is something Tien hopes to scale and implement at all of his current and future restaurants.4238 Wilson Blvd. Level C, Suite 112, Arlington, VA; www.hotlolaschicken.com

La Betty
Open:
March 15
Location:
Mount Vernon Triangle
Lowdown:
The family behind Baked & Wired and A Baked Joint have expanded their portfolio to include a full-service restaurant. Chef and owner Teresa Velazquez saw a need for “feel-good food” in the neighborhood and decided she wanted her kitchen to be the place where people could come for a nostalgic, home-cooked meal, even if home is thousands of miles away. The space was designed to be cozy and welcoming, with warm woods and Turkish rugs. The menu is short and sweet, with less than 20 items between shareable starters, hearty main courses and family-style sides. The recipes are inspired by Velazquez’s German heritage and the food she grew up on. She learned to cook from her mother and grandmother and by the age of 12, she was regularly making dinner for her five siblings. The dishes at La Betty are simple and familiar, like corn dogs, deviled eggs, breaded chicken schnitzel with arugula salad, glazed ribs, currywurst and a roasted root vegetable galette. The beverage program is similarly concise and straightforward, offering just two beers, three wines, a cider, a draft cocktail and a few of spirits. The name of the restaurant is an homage to strong women – Velazquez says everyone has a Betty in their life. If you’re still confused, she’ll refer you to the Urban Dictionary definition.420 K St. NW, DC; www.la-betty.com

Punjab Grill
Open:
March 11
Location:
Penn Quarter
Lowdown:
People love to talk about how restaurants transport them to other places, but in the case of Punjab Grill, that idea is more literal than you would expect. The space is a slice of India that journeyed across the ocean to make it to Washington. Almost all of the design elements – walls, tables, floors, ceilings – were handmade in India, from the massive tile mosaics and the brass screens to 12,000 pounds of carved sandstone and semiprecious stones laid in marble like at the Taj Mahal. Everything had to be disassembled, carefully packed and shipped, and then reassembled upon arrival. After nearly two years of construction, the restaurant now invites guests into the opulent space for fine dining. The menu showcases the heritage of Punjabi cuisine while also experimenting with modern and global interpretations. You’ll find familiar dishes like palak paneer and chicken makhani alongside more unusual selections like jackfruit biryani and chana masala hummus. There’s also the even-more-luxurious Maharaja Menu fit for royalty, with a Punjabi version of Peking duck and a caviar service with tandoori naan. Take it one step further and book the private dining room – the Sheesh Mahal – where nearly every surface is covered in mirrors and food is served on Hermés dishware. 427 11th St. NW, DC; www.punjabgrilldc.com

Stellina Pizzeria
Open:
April 2
Location:
Union Market District
Lowdown:
You probably know them from Lupo Verde, but now Antonio Matarazzo and Matteo Venini have a spot of their own. “Follow the star” to find Stellina (little star) Pizzeria, an upscale, fast-casual concept where you can get to know the Southern Italian street food and pizza they’re dubbing neo-Neapolitan. The goal of the restaurant is to take their experience in formal dining and translate it to a casual atmosphere without sacrificing flavor or quality. Venini has developed his own style of pizza with an out-of-the-box dough that uses more water and ferments for almost three days, resulting in a lighter pie that’s easier to digest. He hopes this means you’ll eat more than one. Between traditional toppings and creative combinations, you’d be hard-pressed to choose just one anyway. Highlights include the schiacciata with mozzarella, mortadella, stracciatella and pistachios, and the cacio e pepe, which is the beloved pasta in the form of a pizza. The menu also offers street food classics like paper cones of fried vegetables and seafood, oven-fired paninis like il cuzzetiello stuffed with eggplant parm, and of course, pastas. The bright, colorful space includes a full bar, a small market, and a painting of Italian comedian and actor Totò wearing Dolce & Gabbana. 399 Morse St. NE, DC; www.stellinapizzeria.com

Notable

Kazoku Sundays at O-Ku
Location:
Union Market District
Lowdown: This chic Japanese newcomer recently debuted a family-style tasting menu available on Sunday nights. Kazoku Sundays is an eight-course meal that takes diners through izakaya-style dishes, sashimi and crudo, makimono (sushi rolls), an entrée, and dessert. It’s the perfect way to explore the entire menu at a surprisingly affordable price point. The chef changes the offerings regularly, but previous dinners have included edamame, marinated squid with wakame salad, wagyu beef gyoza, crispy vegetable egg rolls, pork donburi (rice bowl) and mochi ice cream. The menu is $35 per person. Drinks are not included.. 1274 5th St. NE, DC; www.o-kusushidc.com

New Location of TTT Mexican Diner & Buena Vida
Location:
Clarendon
Lowdown: Serbian restaurateur Ivan Iricanin ventured into Mexican cuisine in May of last year by opening Tacos, Tortas & Tequila and Buena Vida in Silver Spring. Now, he’s debuted a second location of the concepts in Clarendon, this time with acclaimed Mexico City chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo at the helm. Vázquez Lugo is known for his cooking at Nicos, named one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants. Like their Maryland sister restaurants, TTT and Buena Vida Clarendon are two levels of the same building. Downstairs, find Mexican street food – tacos and tortas – featuring house-made bread and tortillas. Upstairs, Buena Vida focuses on traditional, indigenous fare like aguachile, dry soup and shellfish pozole. Both offer beer and wine from Mexico as well as a wide range of tequilas and other agave spirits.2900 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.tttdiner.com and www.buenavidaclarendon.com

Photo: Taste of Reston

Your Guide To DC’s Neighborhood Festivals

The diverse neighborhoods of DC, Maryland and Virginia are ready to showcase all they have to offer now through the fall. Food, drink, art, dance and music abound in every corner of the DC area, giving you an excuse to check out a new pocket of your extended neighborhood every weekend. Read on to get the inside scoop on some of our staff picks for the 2019 festival season.

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Funk Parade
Funk Parade celebrates DC’s vibrant music and arts, the history of Black Broadway, and the spirit of funk that brings DC together. From the first year in 2014 to now, hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians from all corners of the District have come together for Funk Parade. This year’s event features countless acts such as the Chuck Brown Band, Michelle Blackwell, Reesa Renee and more. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. Free to attend.Along U Street in NW, DC; www.funkparade.com

SATURDAY, MAY 11 – SUNDAY, MAY 12

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival
This year’s Bethesda Fine Arts festival features 130 artists in various genres including live rock, jazz and reggae music. Walk through the festival and peruse unique jewelry, clothing and furniture on display. Then stop by local restaurants to enjoy pizza, barbecue, sandwiches and ice cream. Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free to attend. Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle: Along Norfolk, Auburn and Del Ray Avenues in Bethesda, MD; www.bethesda.org

SATURDAY, MAY 18 – SUNDAY, MAY 19

Quarterfest
Enjoy a food, beer and wine festival showcasing the diversity of Arlington’s food scene as Taste of Arlington becomes Quarterfest. This festival transforms Wilson Boulevard into a vibrant dining, shopping and family-fun festival for all ages. Experience a restaurant crawl showcasing eateries of the neighborhood and an extended two-day outdoor concert and pop-up street pub. 12-6 p.m. Free to attend, but tickets ($46.35-$123.60) are required for food and drinks. Wilson Boulevard between N. Taylor and N. Quincy Streets; www.quarterfestballston.org

SUNDAY, MAY 19

Old Town Festival of Speed and Style
The lower three blocks of King Street will be blocked off and vintage cars from the 50s, 60s, 70s and select luxury race cars will be there. Join special fashion events and pop-ups around Old Town that make the event great for everyone. All proceeds will benefit charity partner ACT for Alexandria, a community foundation focused on increasing charitable investment and community engagement. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. Free to attend. 200 King St. Alexandria, VA; www.festivalspeedstylealex.com

SATURDAY, MAY 25 – MONDAY, MAY 27

Rockville Hometown Holidays
Enjoy several dozen live performances on four different stages featuring rock, reggae, country and Americana artists. There will be marching bands, floats and more. The Memorial Day Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Various times. Free to attend. Rockville Town Square: 30 Maryland Ave. Rockville, MD; www.rockvillemd.gov

THURSDAY, MAY 30 – SunDAY, JUNE 2

Herndon Festival
The Herndon Festival takes place in historic downtown Herndon and attracts an average of 80,000 people each year. This outdoor festival provides a fun-filled experience by combining the joy of an outdoor concert with the thrill of a summertime carnival. There’s something for everyone. Thursday 6-10 p.m. Friday 5-11 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Free. www.herndonfestival.net

FRIDAY, JUNE 7 – SUNDAY, JUNE 9

Celebrate Fairfax!
This annual festival features concerts on eight different stages with headliners like Better Than Ezra, Smash Mouth and more. The festival features an abundance of other attractions like a petting zoo, carnival rides and a karaoke championship along with nightly fireworks and plenty of great food. Friday 6 p.m. – midnight, Saturday 10 a.m. – midnight and Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Various ticket packages and admission prices available. Fairfax County Government Center: 12000 Government Center Pkwy. Fairfax, VA; www.celebratefairfax.com

FRIDAY, JUNE 14 – SATURDAY, JUNE 15

Taste of Reston
Taste of Reston, produced by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, is the largest outdoor food festival in the area and was voted Northern Virginia’s Best Food Festival multiple times in recent years by Virginia Living. Reston Town Center will host the event’s restaurants and community vendors, plus live entertainment on three stages. Friday from 4-11 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Reston Town Center: 11900 Market St. Reston, VA; www.restontaste.com

SUNDAY, JULY 14

Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Summer Fair
Check out the Silver Spring Arts & Crafts Fair this summer featuring arts & crafts, food and beverage vendors, and many fun family activities. 2-8 p.m. Free to attend. Silver Spring Veterans Plaza: 1 Veterans Pl. Silver Spring, MD; www.silverspringdowntown.com

SATURDAY, AUGUST 24

17th Street Festival
Since 2010, the 17th Street Festival has been celebrating 17th Street and its diversity of restaurants and retailers. There are 100 vendors with more than 60 artists and makers displaying everything from fine art to jewelry, ceramics to crafts, and every creative item in-between. Other vendors include area nonprofit organizations, politicians, entrepreneurs and local businesses. The kids’ zone has activities for children including a large slide, soccer, snow cones, face painting and games throughout the day. All-day event. Free to attend. 17th Street from P Street to R Street in NW, DC; www.17thstreetfestival.org

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8

Adams Morgan Day
As DC’s longest-running neighborhood festival, Adams Morgan Day celebrated its 40th anniversary last year. The event is a family-friendly celebration with music, art and activities for all ages. Adams Morgan welcomes residents and visitors alike to meet neighborhood businesses, artists and service organizations. Attendance and entertainment are free, and local businesses and restaurants offered deals for the day. 18th Street to Kalorama and Columbia Roads in NW, DC; www.admoday.com

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

Clarendon Day
At this year’s Clarendon Day, there will be tons of arts and crafts vendors featuring everything from apparel to jewelry to art and photography and more. There will also be a number of food purveyors including many of Clarendon’s favorites. With local in mind, there also be several local nonprofits in attendance to make it easy for the community to connect with its service providers. Times TBA. Free to attend. www.clarendon.org

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6

Takoma Park Street Festival
The 38th annual Takoma Park Street Festival will once again host a talented mix of local artists offering paintings, photographs, pottery, silk-screening, bath and body care, stained glass, jewelry, woodworking, textiles, ceramics, kids’ items, and much more. Nonprofits, local companies and a variety of food vendors will also participate. In addition, Takoma’s indie businesses will be open and welcoming visitors. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Along Carroll Avenue in Takoma Park, MD and Carroll Street in NW, DC; www.mainstreettakoma.com

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13

H Street Festival
H Street Festival is one of the most anticipated and highly attended single-day festivals in DC. The festival is 11 blocks long and has 14 staging areas that are diversely themed and programmed to target the different segments of audiences. The staging areas feature music of different genres, dance, youth-based performances, interactive children’s program, fashion, heritage arts, poetry and much more.Along H Street in NE, DC; www.hstreetfestival.org

Game Day Fare: Fried Chicken, Local Brews and More

Capitol Riverfront caters to some of the city’s most passionate sports fans, with the Washington Nationals and D.C. United playing home games just blocks apart. That’s a lot of hungry and thirsty people to satiate before and after games. Fortunately, the options have grown considerably in the past few years, with plenty of bars and restaurants opening for business. Whether you’re looking for a sit-down meal from an acclaimed chef, a quick bite, a locally made beer or a strong cocktail, there’s a spot to match your culinary mood all within a short walk of both stadiums.

QUICK & EASY

The Big Stick
Sausages, burgers and sandwiches are the draw at this sports pub. Satisfy hunger in true DC style with the Half Street half smoke or a Maryland crab cake sandwich. The bar offers a good amount of draft and canned craft beers from DC and around the world, in addition to wine and cocktails. 20 M St. SE, DC; www.thebigstick.com

Bonchon
Orders of Korean-style fried chicken come in all shapes and sizes here, making it well-suited to a game day meal with friends. Heat seekers shouldn’t miss the blazingly spicy drumsticks, wings or strips. Sides of rice and pickled radish are there to tame the flames. The traditional soy garlic sauce is addictive as well – but without the tears. Chicken is certainly the signature, but the menu doesn’t stop there. “We also offer traditional Korean dishes along with Asian fusion items for those looking for a more adventurous time,” general manager Jeff Chang says. “I’d wash it all down with an ice-cold beer from a local brewery like Hellbender or DC Brau.”

Happy hour is offered two hours before game time until the start for both baseball and soccer. The restaurant also offers a $13 game-day pack filled with your choice of fried chicken, side, bottled beverage and box of Cracker Jacks to go. 1015 Half St. SE, DC; www.bonchon.com

Philly Wing Fry
Located inside Whole Foods, this counter from Top Chef star Kwame Onwuachi takes game day food to another level. Fill up on decadent, dry-aged beef cheesesteak, confit chicken wings and berbere-spiced waffle fries. Vegetarians can dig into a spicy mushroom sandwich with herbed lebne, smoked provolone and pickled Fresno chilis. 101 H St. SE, DC; www.phillywingfry.com

TaKorean
This fast-casual Korean eatery serves build-your-own tacos and bowls with a focus on fresh and healthy ingredients. Proteins like sweet chili-marinated chicken, bulgogi steak and hoisin tofu can be topped with variety of slaws, crunchy toppings and sauces. A small selection of local beers is available as well. 1212 4th St. SE, DC; www.takorean.com

BAR VIBES

Bluejacket Brewery
Nats fans pack this homegrown brewery during home games, sipping pints from the bar’s extensive tap list. Choose from a rotating selection of more than 20 beers – including several cask selections – and fill up on food ranging from pretzels and fries to a half rotisserie chicken or double-patty burger. 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com

Due South
Laidback Southern vibes course through this riverfront eatery. Fortify with a bourbon Shoo-fly Punch with ginger liqueur, mint, orange bitters and ginger beer, or a pour of the bar’s hand-selected Knob Creek bourbon. Food includes comforting favorites like shrimp and grits, buttermilk fried chicken, and a bacon pimento cheeseburger. 301 Water St. SE, DC; www.duesouthdc.com

Gordon Biersch
This spacious pub has plenty of room to meet up before or after a game, including outdoor seating. Beers are brewed in everything from German styles like pilsners and hefeweizens to hoppy American ales. 100 M St. SE, DC; www.gordonbiersch.com

Mission
Mission’s Capitol Riverfront location includes 20 big-screen TVs, a dining room and four bars – including a balcony. That means low wait times for drinks as well as lots of room to gather. “We are always happy to reserve space for groups going to a game or just trying to celebrate,” general manager Fritz Brogan says. Happy hour is available daily, including game days. Weekends include late-night discounts from 10 p.m. to close along with DJs and live music. Earlier in the day, pre-game crowds can take advantage of the bottomless brunch spread featuring items like guacamole, beer and margaritas.

“We believe it’s more fun to eat in a bar than drink in a restaurant.” 1221 Van St. SE, DC; www.missionnavyyard.com

Willie’s Brew & Que
Grab a pile of napkins and settle in with a platter of smoked meats and pint of beer from Willie’s. There are also several burgers and sandwiches to pick from, along with items like mahi mahi tacos and supersized nachos. 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.williessportsbardc.com

RELAX & STAY AWHILE

All-Purpose
The Capitol Riverfront location of this popular pizzeria offers riverfront and rooftop views with a side of Italian-inspired dishes – along with beer, wine and cocktails, including a couple of frozen options. It’s also convenient for baseball and soccer fans alike. “We are a two-minute walk from the first base gate of Nationals Park and one of the closest establishments to Audi Field,” general manager Michelle Stewart says.

All-Purpose’s current menu includes both a food and drink special to benefit charity. The first is a pizza created in partnership with D.C. United’s Screaming Eagles fan group; the “L’aquila” (eagle in Italian) pie is topped with tomato, fennel sausage, basil and stracciatella. A dollar from each pizza sold will be donated to Earth Conservation Corps. There’s also the DC Brau Full Count, brewed exclusively for the restaurant with $1 from each sale benefiting local nonprofit DC SCORES. The restaurant will open at 11 a.m. for all 1 p.m. midweek baseball games. Happy hour is daily from 4 to 7 p.m., and Steward says crowds can actually be lighter during games. “It’s like finding a hidden gem in the city,” she says of game day dining. 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC; www.allpurposedc.com

Chloe
Chef Haidar Karoum’s lively dining room transports guests with flavors of the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and more. Most dishes come as small plates, so sharing with the table is encouraged. Larger entrees can be split as well, such as the spice-roasted chicken or the crispy whole fish. 1331 4th St. SE, DC; www.restaurantchloe.com

CIRCA
Known for its wide-ranging American bistro menu, CIRCA is a crowd-pleasing option for a meal or round of drinks. “It’s a place you can come a couple times a week for a couple different reasons,” says Matt Carlin, president of Metropolian Hospitality Group, which operates CIRCA.

Unlike a sports bar, CIRCA’s kitchen brings more of an upscale approach to its menu. Two of the most-ordered snacks include the bulgogi beef lettuce wraps and the tuna poke nachos. There’s also happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The laidback vibe is also great for anyone who wants a night out without buying a ticket to the stadium.

“Even if you’re watching the game on TV, you can enjoy it,” Carlin says. “It’s not a wild place.” 99 M St. SE, DC; www.circabistros.com

Declaration
The menu here is full of Italian and American comforts like burrata, fried meatballs and crispy calamari. Signature pizzas are named for America’s forefathers, from Thomas Jefferson to New Jersey’s John Witherspoon. 1237 1st St. SE, DC; www.declarationrestaurant.com

The Salt Line
This seafood spot takes its cues from New England coastal eateries. Chef Kyle Bailey’s fresh Maine lobster roll, stuffed clams and satisfying smash burger make stadium food an afterthought. Guests can also hang with a cocktail or glass of wine and slurp oysters from the restaurant’s raw bar. 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC; www.thesaltline.com

What’s On Tap: April 2019 Beer Listings

Greetings, beer nerds! As you likely know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s coming up at a few of these fine establishments.

THURSDAY, APRIL 4

Beer Tasting at the GAHM
Enjoy a taste of Germany with different kinds of German beer, including limited seasonal specialties, German sausage, potato salad and pretzels. In the mood for something different? Try a Bavarian biergarten specialty called obatzda. In addition, learn about the long history of Germans in the United States, their surprising contributions which go well beyond beer and bratwurst, and the strong connection that exists still today between the two countries. 6:30-9 p.m. $30-$55. German-American Heritage Museum: 719 6th St. NW, DC; www.gahmusa.org

Flying Dog Presents Unfiltered for Your Pleasure
Join ChurchKey as they celebrate all things IPA with their friends from Flying Dog. This night features seven beers from the brewery, including three unfiltered twists on Flying Dog’s flagship IPAs. Whether you love them or hate them, unfiltered hazy IPAs are here to stay. Try Snake Dog, Double Dog and The Truth side-by-side and decide which you like best. 4-7:30 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

Ithaca Beer’s 20th Anniversary Party
Rustico Ballston is set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ithaca Beer Company. In honor of this momentous occasion, the restaurant will pour 10 exciting beers from the New York brewery, including rare kegs of Anniversary 20 and Anniversary 20/20: Hindsight. The team at Ithaca Beer Co. is bringing a remarkable lineup for the event, headlined by the two aforementioned brews. 5-11:30 p.m. Free to attend. Rustico Ballston: 4075 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.rusticorestaurant.com

FRIDAY, APRIL 5

Port City’s Ideaal Tripel Release Party
Join Port City Brewing as they tap the Ideaal Tripel. From the Flemish term meaning “quintessential or exemplary,” Ideaal is a classic Belgian-style tripel. Honey gold with a thick cap of mousse-like foam, Ideaal Tripel’s deceptively dry body provides a perfect playground for a spicy Belgian yeast character, marrying complexity and approachability. Ideaal is the perfect companion for spring in the DC area and a must have for patio season. 3-10 p.m. Free to attend. Port City Brewing: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

SATURDAY, APRIL 6

Capital BrewFest: Blossom Bash Beer
DC’s outdoor festival season is set to kick off with Blossom Bash. Your ticket to Blossom Bash gets you three hours of unlimited tastes of more than 65 delicious craft beers, 10-plus tasty ciders and more. You’ll also enjoy the best of DC’s food trucks, live music and fun games. 12:30-8 p.m. $30-$60. The Bullpen: 1299 Half St. SE, DC; www.brewfestdc.com

New Beer’s Eve
Celebrate your new favorite holiday: New Beer’s Eve. On April 7, 1933, beer production was once again made legal in the U.S., marking the imminent end of prohibition. Join at the Dumbarton House with local beer historians in tasting a wide variety of local beers, ciders and snacks. This is the day to honor your right to pursue happiness and a refreshing cold one. 3-7 p.m. $35-$40. Dumbarton House: 2715 Q St. NW, DC; www.dumbartonhouse.org

The Sovereign’s Third Anniversary Celebration
The Sovereign is celebrating its third anniversary with a huge selection of 25 world-renowned beers including favorites from Cantillon, Hill Farmstead, Allagash and more. The day brings three extremely rare Cantillon kegs, including the DC debut of Carignan.  In addition, Hill Farmstead and Allagash sent an amazing collection such as Hill Farmstead’s Convivial Suarez and Clara, as well as Allagash’s Coolship Red and Coolship Resurgam. In addition, there will also be a spontaneous collection of fermented beers. 11 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10

Zlaty Rhino Beer Release
Lost Rhino Brewing Company is bringing this back for a release in April. Zlatý Rhino (pronounced “zlah-tee”) is a classic Bohemian-style pale lager and takes its name from the Czech word for “golden.” This beer balances the delicate bitterness of 100 percent Czech Saaz hops against a sweet malty backbone, thanks to the use of a painstaking traditional decoction mash and long kettle boil. Zlatý Rhino is equally at home alongside a hearty meal or fueling a long night at the pub with friends. The tap opens at 11:30 a.m. Free to attend. Lost Rhino Brewing Company: 21730 Red Rum Dr. #142, Ashburn, VA; www.lostrhino.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 11 – SUNDAY, APRIL 14

The DC Easter Keg Hunt 2019
Celebrate Easter early this year with the first ever DC Easter Keg Hunt. Join ChurchKey, Bluejacket, The Sovereign and The Partisan for a craft beer-themed scavenger hunt across the District. The hoppy hunt is on. Each location will have a different clue hinting at a special beer on the draft list. Find the secret beer at all four locations by Sunday and win a free limited-edition commemorative DC Easter Keg Hunt 2019 hooded sweatshirt (retail value $45). Winners are automatically entered into a drawing for one of the five grand prizes. Various times. Free to participate. DC Easter Keg Hunt: Various locations in DC; www.dcbeer.net

SUNDAY, APRIL 14

The Stillwater Preternatural Cuvée Tasting w/ Brian Strumke
The Sovereign is welcoming Brian Strumke of Stillwater Artisanal Ales to host an intimate tasting of all five beers from the Preternatural Cuvée Project, a series of his most intriguing and special barrel-aged beer-wine hybrids. In 2014, Stillwater Artisanal procured a truckload of freshly emptied California wine barrels and filled them with a mix of blond and dark saisons. After three years in oak barrels, roughly two years of bottle conditioning, and many blending and tasting sessions, Stillwater is finally ready to release these five beautiful beer-wine hybrids. 12-2 p.m. Free to attend. The Sovereign: 1206 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; www.thesovereigndc.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 18

Profs & Pints: Founding Fathers in the “Friend Zone”
Presented with Cassandra Good, assistant professor of history at Marymount University, this discussion focuses on several of America’s earliest leaders and how they formed close, egalitarian relationships with women. Among them, Thomas Jefferson had warm ties with Abigail Adams, and she called him “one of the choice ones on Earth.” George Washington found a home away from home with Philadelphia’s Elizabeth Powel. These weren’t romantic love affairs. They were friendships built on emergent ideas of women as the spiritual and intellectual equals of men. 6-9 p.m. $15. Bier Baron Tavern: 1523 22nd St. NW, DC; www.inlovewithbier.com/tavern

SATURDAY, APRIL 20

DC Beer Fest
The DC Beer Festival returns to Nationals Park, bringing together dozens of craft breweries and featuring spring seasonal beers. Taking place throughout the stadium’s concourse including Centerfield Plaza, Budweiser Brew House, Bud Light Loft and Budweiser Terrace, the DC Beer Fest will have over a dozen food trucks throughout as well as lawn games, DJs and more. 12-8 p.m. $45-$75. Nationals Park: 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, DC; www.dcbeerfestival.com

Ocelot 4th Year Anniversary Party and Spring Market
After the success at Ocelot’s Oktoberfest Flea Market, the brewery decided to bring back a bunch of vendors for their 4th anniversary. So we’ll be setup out back again with tables and a cash bar, a slew of great local vendors, music by Mobius Records, food trucks and more. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Free to attend. Ocelot Brewing Company: 23600 Overland Dr. Sterling, VA; www.ocelotbrewing.com

THURSDAY, APRIL 25

Diamondback Brewing Co. Tap Takeover
Join Lost & Found in celebrating Baltimore’s Diamondback Brewing Co. with a 10-tap takeover of old favorites and new releases. Diamondback was established in 2016 brewing small batch beer skewed towards one-off styles in the Baltimore metropolitan area. In the past two years, Diamondback Beer has started to mature and develop a firmer grip its core offerings, monthly one-offs and barrel aging experiments. 4-11 p.m. Free to attend. Lost & Found: 1240 9th St. NW, DC; www.lostandfounddc.com

Photo: Jean Schindler

Stop Sucking: DC Says “No” to Single-Use Plastic Straws

When I arrived at college, the hot rumor was that drinking alcohol through a straw was the fast-track to getting trashed. My crew worked through boxes of straws to learn firsthand it was just an urban myth.

College drinking memories hit me recently when the District announced it would be the second major U.S. city to ban straws, effective January 2019. Establishments caught handing out contraband will get warnings until this summer, when fines come into effect.

Even though I almost never use straws anymore, I was weirdly indignant: the nanny state is telling us how to consume our beverages! But headlines were misleading. DC can use all the straws it wants – just as long as they’re not single-use plastic straws. And as it turns out, the shift to sustainable materials was already well underway.

“We try to be environmentally conscious in everything we do at Tiki TNT,” says Todd Thrasher, owner of the popular new rum bar at The Wharf. “I never even considered supplying plastic straws, ban or no ban. We already have a variety of alternative straw options from plant-based to paper.”

And in his expert opinion as a master of slow-drinking tiki cocktails: “I don’t find that the straw compromises the flavor profile of the drink.”

DC spots have been actively “greening” their bar programs for years, and plastic straws have been an easy target. Hank’s Cocktail Bar stopped providing them – unless specifically requested – years ago.  Shaw’s hip, subterranean cocktail bar 600t features reusable metal straws. Founding Farmers, which prides itself on being aggressively eco-friendly, long used compostable straws before switching to paper in 2017.

Buffalo & Bergen, the popular cocktail counter and soda fountain in Union Market, favors corn-based straws – though “many of our cocktails are designed to be served without a straw,” says owner and mixologist Gina Chersevani. “We make a dedicated effort to reduce and reuse.”

So it comes as no surprise that when Founding Farmers co-owner Dan Simons launched a campaign in early 2018 to formally do away with single-use plastic straws in DC’s hospitality industry, he found a groundswell of support. The Our Last Straw coalition incorporated as a nonprofit organization and rapidly picked up over 200 partners in bars, restaurants, hotels and nonprofits across the greater DC area.

The campaign picked up even more momentum last April when the Alice Ferguson Foundation snagged nearly 10,000 plastic straws during cleanup events along the Potomac River Watershed. Mayor Bowser’s office officially announced its support that same month, and in October, the city updated existing food service regulations to ban plastic straws (single-use foam products were banned in 2016). Maybe, some suggest, it’s time to start banning all single-use plastics.

Every year, nearly nine tons of plastic pollution float into the oceans, and experts estimate that by 2050, plastic trash will outweigh fish. This is bad news not just for fish, but also for humans: these plastics break into ever-smaller pieces until they slide into the food chain. Microplastics have been found in fish flesh, sea salt and even beer – and now in your stomach.

Though the world’s few million plastic straws are a minuscule part of the billions of plastics floating in the world’s oceans, some see the ban as another small step in a process of gradual change. Simons has suggested that a Last Plastic Fork initiative could be a reality in the near future. But he also notes that solutions to plastic pollution take time and cannot be only the product of top-down government action.

One enforcement question facing the District revolves around bubble tea, which requires sturdy, oversized straws. There are no environmentally friendly disposable alternatives available at present, and aggressive enforcement will harm at least a dozen small, often minority-owned businesses in the District.

“The challenge in finding a truly enviro-friendly straw that works for boba [bubble] tea is a perfect example of why I was inspired to start Our Last Straw,” Simons says. “We will eliminate all single-use plastic straws, and we can do it without any downside.”

Another exception is for people with disabilities who require plastic straws to drink or eat. Paper straws have limited usage time before they break apart and pose a choking hazard, while metal or glass straws can cause severe injury if someone bites down hard (as can happen during, for example, a seizure). Restaurants and bars in the District are still required to keep some plastic straws on hand for customers who require them.

“We need to work collaboratively with the supply chain, the regulators and the operators to find solutions,” Simons emphasizes. “If that means delaying or phasing in enforcement while the supply chain works to provide a true solution, so be it. We can’t pretend ideology is a substitute for reality.”

Learn more about Our Last Straw at www.ourlaststraw.org, including a list of local restaurant groups and other spots participating in the eco-friendly initiative.

600t: 600 T St. NW, DC
Buffalo & Bergen: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; www.buffalobergendc.com
Founding Farmers: Various locations in the DC area; www.wearefoundingfarmers.com
Hank’s Cocktail Bar: 1624 Q St. NW, DC; www.hankscocktailbar.com
Tiki TNT: 1130 Maine Ave. SW, DC; www.tikitnt.com

Illustration: Nick Caracciolo

Devoured Offers Sustainable Alternative For DC Waste

Americans excel at wasting food. According to an article on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s website, the country disposed of 37.6 million tons of food waste – with nearly 94 percent of it going to landfills or combustion facilities – in 2015. Essentially, it was rendered uneaten and utterly useless.

The simplest way to reduce these numbers is to cut back, but for most, reducing waste is not that simple. Another alternative is being realized in the District by local company Devoured, which strives to help businesses in the city be more responsible by turning what could be trash into compost.

Founder Walker Lunn set out to help the World Bank Group cut down on their waste in 2006. As a student studying hospitality management, he began piecing together a program that would help redirect food products thrown away to compost facilities rather than landfills or incineration facilities.

Lunn says, “Once we started working with [the World Bank], it became a question of, ‘How do we stop this problem?’” When food waste goes to a landfill, it ends up rotting in an anaerobic environment and produces methane. It causes global warming and takes what could be a valuable resource and loses it forever. What we do is take it to a compost facility where the waste is mixed with sticks, leaves and grass, and it’s decomposed.”

According to the EPA, compost is organic material that helps plants grow. Made up largely of food scraps and yard waste, at least 30 percent of what we throw into a trashcan could instead be used as compost. The soil supplement is sold at retail locations such as Home Depot and other gardening outlets.

“Everyone we spoke with – restaurants and hotels – were like, ‘This is cool [and] we want to do it, but we’re concerned about cost,’” Lunn says. “Cost, space, odor and training were really the things that came up at first.”

Lunn and his team began working on a model that would enable Devoured to pick up the heaviest, wettest, most challenging parts of waste to transport to compost facilities, which are generally farther than landfills or transfer stations. In order to reduce odors, the company makes frequent pickups for their client base, which is largely made up of office buildings and hotels throughout the week.

“When we started, we couldn’t get another company to haul it,” Lunn says, laughing. “I wanted to hire a contractor, but I couldn’t get anyone to do it. The only compost company was in Cambridge, Maryland, so it was really tough. So much has changed.”

One of these changes is the frequent use of biodegradable, compostable products such as cups, plates and bowls.

“It’s transformed what we transport because it used to be mostly food,” he says. “Now a huge part of what we collect is packaging. I don’t think there’s any point of buying a compostable product unless you send it to a compost facility. Like any business, we have a sales process, and our business is mission-driven.”

With the increase of waste and global warming awareness, there’s no question the business has grown. And while some companies reach out to Devoured specifically because of their own green initiatives, there are others who are still looking to minimize their hefty trash bills.

“It’s case by case,” Lunn says. “[For] some of our clients, it’s part of their mission. For professionally managed business, the interest and willingness to do it comes from the benefits it provides, but the justification is typically driven by savings – or at the very least, breaking even.”

Another change in the past decade has been the competition. With a heightened awareness of food waste and the damages it can cause to the environment, Lunn is no longer the only game in town. Despite this, he maintains that his clients are ones that other businesses envy; looking ahead, he’s largely hopeful for what’s in store for Devour.

“Scaling up is part of [growth].”

To learn more about Devoured, visit www.devoured.co. Contact Lunn and his team at [email protected] or 202-810-9751.

Photo: Nicco Page

Red Bear Brewing Co. Open To All

At the grand opening of Red Bear Brewing Co. last month, patrons exploring the space echoed the same sentiment: NoMa’s new brewery has a philosophy of being open to all.

“It’s a place that really has something for everyone,” says Liz Cox, Red Bear’s taproom manager and veteran manager of the DC restaurant and bar landscape. “[Red Bear] erases that stigma of brewery culture.”

In other words, this isn’t just a bunch of white bearded guys sitting around drinking micro brews. This is an environment for people of all races, genders and sexual orientations.

Red Bear is the brainchild of three friends who were living in Seattle – Bryan Van Den Oever, Cameron Raspet and Simon Bee – all looking to change careers. Van Den Oever came from the healthcare world, Raspet has a military background and was a flight test engineer for Boeing, and Bee worked in property management.

“They wanted to do a nano-brewery but knew they shouldn’t in Seattle because it had the most brewpubs per capita,” Cox says. “They felt bringing the West Coast style to the East Coast would work and chose DC to get it started.”

Although all three owners are gay, they decided early on that Red Bear wasn’t going to be “a gay bar” but rather ultra-inclusive, encompassing more than just the LGBTQ community.

“We try to be disability-friendly, accessibly friendly, a safe space for women [and] people of color,” Cox says. “We even have a bartender who is an ASL interpreter and we are all trying to learn from him as well [to welcome the deaf community and students from nearby Gallaudet University]. The idea was to create a safe space for everyone.”

The trio also wants the establishment to embrace the outdoors and adventure, hence the brewery’s name. The bear is a central theme of the space, and the logo features an ursine figure and Washington state’s Mount Rainier in front of DC’s stars and stripes.

“Visually, our bar is very appealing, and we stick to the theme of bringing outdoors inside,” Cox says. “We have patio string lights out. Simon built a mountain range that lines the bar. The bar is very large and creates two zones; we call one the front yard and the other the back patio.”

Red Bear serves predominantly West Coast-style ales and beers from 24 tap lines in a 7,000-square-foot space.

“Simon is our brewmaster and classifies offerings in three styles,” Cox explains. “[There’s] the old, nostalgic-style beers such as an ESB, which you don’t find a lot of in DC as it’s a very West Coast, Pacific Northwest-style beer. There’s the beers you should enjoy drinking and then experimental beers.”

For example, the pub will be introducing a brut kölsch later this summer. Current on tap offerings include a Belgian wit called Marmalade Skies, Cammy Cam-Cam’s ESB, American porter DC Dirt, the pale ale Polar Bear, American amber Skookum Red Ale, American IPA Mystic Storm and American double IPA Twinsies. Seasonal offerings include Cupid’s Black Heart, a chocolate-strawberry bock, and Swampoodle, an imperial oatmeal Irish stout. In the months ahead, the bar will offer a hibiscus American wheat (Delicate Prissy Flower), cherry almond sour (Manhattan Project), rosemary saison (Something About Rosemary) and a NoMa-based SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hops) brew.

As a brewpub, Red Bear is licensed to sell food and has a small kitchen that is currently being readied to open sometime this summer. In the meantime, the owners are bringing in pop-up food places such as Roaming Rooster and D’s Fish Truck to offer visitors some menu items.

“We also have a stage for live performances and a patio that will be up and going once it gets warmer,” Cox says. “And we’ll be building out our drop lines. We opened with eight beers and have 15 beer lines and two nitro beer lines.”

Red Bear also offers cider, cocktails, wine and a full liquor menu. At the grand opening, all three owners got their pick of one special element for the night, so the party included a drag queen (Kitti Chanel Fairfield), an ice sculpture and live music.

“We’re all about having a good time and everyone here is excited about what’s to come,” Cox says. “NoMa has a ton of people but not a lot of bars, and we want people to feel comfortable here.”

Learn more about Red Bear at www.redbear.beer and follow the brewery @redbearbrewing.

Red Bear Brewing Co.: 209 M St. NE, DC; 202-849-6130; www.redbear.beer

Photo: Rey Lopez

New and Notable: Mama Chang, Rooster & Owl, TallBoy, and More

NEW

Mama Chang
Open:
March 8
Location: Fairfax
Lowdown: Ask almost any local diner if they know Peter Chang, and you’ll get nods of recognition. The names Ronger Wang, Lisa Chang and Lydia Chang may not be as familiar. Chef Peter Chang wants that to change with his newest restaurant. Mama Chang pays homage to the women of the Chang family: Peter’s grandmother, mother, wife and daughter. The restaurant celebrates home-style cooking, with many family recipes from their home in the Hubei province. Peter’s mother, Ronger, visited from China for the opening of the restaurant and her influence is seen throughout the menu, which features simple and comforting dishes like a farmer’s stir fry, stir-fried rice cake with homemade fish cake and braised pork belly with lotus root. Peter’s wife, Lisa, is known as a pastry chef, but is the star of the kitchen at home according to their daughter Lydia. Favorites from the Changs’ other restaurants like dry-fried eggplant are changed up slightly – here you’ll find dry-fried cauliflower. There are also the expected fiery Szechuan dishes like hot chili oil tofu with flounder, plus more unusual options like Chinese barbecue pig feet, dry chili pork intestines and a sweet caramel rice with thin pork belly. 3251 Old Lee Hwy. Fairfax, VA; www.mamachangva.com

Rooster & Owl
Open:
February 7
Location: Columbia Heights
Lowdown: A restaurant offering a market-driven tasting menu doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary. But Rooster & Owl is intriguing and satisfying in a way that very few places are. In fact, it’s something of a sleeper hit. The restaurant is the passion project of husband-and-wife duo Carey and Yuan Tang. Their opposite but complementary roles in the business inspired the name. Carey has a 9-to-5 job at Children’s National and manages the restaurant operations, and Yuan works late in the kitchen. Despite the inverse hours, the Rooster and the Owl have always made time to share a meal together. Their first restaurant together honors that commitment to communal dining with an experience that blends shared plates with tasting menus. The menu is divided into four courses, and each guest chooses one small plate for each course. When the dishes arrive, sharing is highly encouraged. The food is imaginative, taking simple ingredients – especially vegetables – and transforming them into something that makes you think twice. Carrots are seasoned with barbecue spices and served with cornbread ice cream. Sunchokes masquerade as wings with a “buffa-no” sauce. Light and fluffy Parisian gnocchi is bathed in a tarragon butter sauce. Pastry chef Olivia Green sweetens the meal with desserts like a delicate hazelnut éclair and a parting gift of a little chocolate robot. 2436 14th St. NW, DC; www.roosterowl.com

TallBoy
Open:
March 7
Location: Shaw
Lowdown: After the beloved Smoked & Stacked closed, Tin Shop partners Geoff Dawson and Peter Bayne decided to go in a different direction with their space. They realized 9th Street was in desperate need of an affordable neighborhood bar that stayed open late and felt nostalgic and playful. TallBoy was born with that goal in mind. The concept is simple: grilled cheese sandwiches, wings and tall boy (16 oz.) beers. Fans of the pastrami from Smoked & Stacked will be thrilled to hear that the house-made meat is still available in a grilled cheese sandwich with Swiss, pastrami, sauerkraut and Russian dressing. Other sandwich options include the Kim Cheese with pepper jack, kimchi and bacon and the Cuban with Swiss, bread and butter pickles, ham, and Dijon. Any of the sandwiches can be ordered with vegan cheese, and of course, each grilled cheese is accompanied by a cup of smoked tomato soup for dipping. The wings are available in various flavors, from a Memphis dry rub to a lemon pepper wing with butter and lemon pepper sauce. There’s a full bar but tall boys are the hot sellers, with nine to choose from including the OG Schlitz Lager as well as the Guinness Stout, Bold Rock Cider and Union Duckpin Pale Ale. There’s also a rotating tall boy of the week. 1239 9th St. NW, DC; www.tallboybar.com

Zeppelin
Open:
March 4
Location: Shaw
Lowdown: The meaning behind the name of this sushi and cocktail bar is twofold. The space is designed to look like the famed airship, and there are references to the legendary rock band hidden throughout. Zeppelin is the latest project from beverage bros Ari and Micah Wilder and their partner Adrian Williams of Chaplin’s, in addition to Tokyo native and chef Minoru Ogawa of Sushi Ogawa. The new Japanese concept offers two experiences: a lively bar and dining room for sushi, charcoal-grilled yakitori, cocktails and karaoke, as well as a secluded omakase counter with top-quality seafood hand-selected from Toyosu Market in Tokyo. The à la carte offerings range from shrimp dumplings and various tempura to skewers of chicken meatballs or beef and maki made with cucumber and plum paste or fatty tuna. The cocktail program is built around a highball machine that adds “baller bubbles” to drinks inspired by the Japanese highball. Wine, beer and 80 premium sakes are also available to complement the à la carte and omakase menus. 1554 9th St. NW, DC; www.zeppelindc.com 

NOTABLE

Georgian Wine Wednesdays
Location:
Supra
Lowdown: Since opening, DC’s first Georgian restaurant has been lauded for introducing Washingtonians to the little-known world of Georgian wine. Now they’re making it a little more affordable to explore the country’s wine regions and grape varietals with themed specials on Wednesdays. Each month, they’ll offer a $20 discount on select bottles. This month, they’re channeling the element of surprise in honor of April Fools’ Day. Every Wednesday, guests can try three of the restaurant’s most unexpected bottles, including an amber wine that isn’t what it seems and a sparkling wine that combines 8,000-year-old Georgian techniques with the champagne method. 1205 11th St. NW, DC; www.supradc.com

Hank’s Cocktail Bar in a New Home
Location:
Dupont Circle
Lowdown: Jamie Leeds’ cocktail bar, formerly located in Petworth, has a new home in Dupont Circle. It sits right above the flagship Hank’s Oyster Bar and has an extensive menu of more than 40 different cocktails. The drinks are divided into five categories: Market Fresh (seasonal creations), We Invented the Remix (twists on the classics), New Fashioneds (what it sounds like), Size Matters (large and small options like shareable drinks and shooters), and Food Production (starring ingredients from the kitchen). In addition to these themes, there’s also a very useful diagram that plots each of the drinks based on flavor and booziness so you can find your perfect match depending on where your tastes fall on the cocktail spectrum. You can feel good about ordering one of the most interesting selections because it repurposes kitchen waste into a delightful cocktail. Revisionist History is a rum milk punch made with leftover tea, coffee and citrus rescued from the kitchen and bar at the end of the night. 1624 Q St. (second floor) NW, DC; www.hankscocktailbar.com

Chaia taco lineup // Photo: Maya Oren

Power Plants: The Rise of Vegetables as a Main Source of Energy, Not Alternative Fuel

It’s no secret there’s been a recent uptick in healthy dining options in the nation’s capital. Plant-based and vegetable-forward restaurants have taken root in the District, and they’re championing the idea that healthy food can also be tasty food. From local expansions to international brands, DC is adding more and more vegetable-friendly options to an already growing list of new restaurants. Just don’t call it a trend.

Homegrown taqueria Chaia recently opened its second location in Chinatown this January. From slinging tacos at farmers markets to their first location in Georgetown to the newest spot downtown, owners Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon have always remained committed to utilizing seasonal ingredients.

“Our business really wants to get people to eat more vegetables more than anything,” Stern says. “Support your local farmer and eat foods in season. What grows together goes together.”

In addition to serving up seasonally inspired tacos, Chaia’s newest location offers a lineup of local brews, ciders and draft cocktails. The ambiance and new offerings are key to the restaurant’s goal of making vegetables more fun.

“[Ten] years ago, being vegetarian or vegan or going into a restaurant that focused on that had the perception [that] there was no joy; you were just stripping your life of all the good things,” Simon says. “But that’s all changing with places like Chaia. We’re trying to make vegetables fun.”

Another component of their business model? Sustainability. Leftover tortillas are repurposed as the base for their spin on Oaxacan street food tlayuda. Cilantro stems are given new life as a sauce ingredient and discarded items are composted when possible. Hummus purveyor Little Sesame also looks to high-quality ingredients and seasonality for menu inspiration.

“The region that inspires our food is so built on fresh vegetables and big spices, and lots of ferments and pickles,” co-owner Nick Wiseman explains. “How we feel and shape the menus at Little Sesame is all around this idea of, at the end of the day, does it make you feel good?”

The hummus shop added its second location in Chinatown this March (the flagship spot is in Golden Triangle), where guests can order vegan options including their popular hummus bowls, pita sandwiches and dairy-free soft serve. More than just providing an exceptional in-restaurant experience, Wiseman and co-owner Ronen Tenne hope to build a community that transcends the walls of the physical space.

The owners even have an offshoot project, Wild Sesame, as “a way for us to strengthen the community we’re starting to build around these ideals of travel, outdoor cooking and storytelling.” It’s equal parts weekend getaway and outdoor adventure – an exploration of food and community.

“Food is the center, the focus of travel and this sense of adventure around food,” he continues. “We’re trying to really bring that spirit to Little Sesame and certainly what inspires us.”

H Street fast-casual concept Pow Pow made the switch to a completely plant-based menu last spring after two years in operation, and co-owner Shaun Sharkey believes DC is ready for more.

“I think DC has always been known as a city full of intelligent, forward-thinkers,” Sharkey says. “Plant-based food just makes sense in every aspect, whether you’re cutting back on a regular meat-based diet a day or two a week, interested in its benefits for the environment, or just interested in new flavors. Some chefs are really pushing the boundaries with plant-based food.”

Sharkey has a meat allergy and Chef Margaux Riccio has a dairy allergy; Pow Pow’s menu is a reflection of the foods they missed eating.

“Most of the menu items are developed that way,” he says. “This is more about fun food than anything else.”

The popular trolley fries are now topped with cashew cheddar and plant-based protein, the disco stick egg roll now features plant-based chicken, and their bowls have all switched over to plant-based chicken and seitan as protein options.

“We create all of the proteins and cheese in-house from scratch. Our focus is making good, plant-based food.”

Shouk founder Ran Nussbacher wants to remind the world that vegetables have been a mainstay of our diet for centuries, and it’s time to make a reconnection with the freshest produce possible.

“Eating a plant-based [diet] is a very positive experience, and it’s tasty and not lacking in any regard,” Nussbacher says. “I wanted to demonstrate that by bringing a compelling, appealing product that people would get hooked on, and that’s exactly what we’ve done with Shouk.”

The Israeli street food-inspired menu at Shouk’s Mount Vernon Triangle and NoMa locations features an oyster mushroom shawarma, fresh salads, pita and the famous Shouk burger. One of the healthier items on the menu, Nussbacher notes that despite chowing down on a burger, “You’re not eating health food; you’re eating delicious, decadent food that’s healthy.” And the recent addition of falafel to the menu has already proven to be a popular move.

“There used to be this perceived compromise that you could either get food that was really tasty or food that was really healthy, but you couldn’t get both,” the founder continues. “And what we do at Shouk – as well as others in the industry today – is eliminate that compromise and offer food that is exciting, tasty and healthy at the same time.”

Glenn Edwards, U.S. managing director of international fast-food chain LEON, shares a similar sentiment.

“I want to eat food I enjoy,” he says. “I don’t want to feel compromised in eating food that’s better for me. I want to eat food that’s delicious and oh, by the way, it’s better for me. Food should taste good and do you good.”

LEON opened its first North American outpost last summer on L Street and is hoping to change the way people view fast food. Fries are baked and the recently added, vegan-friendly LOVe Burger is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Edwards says, “When we launch dishes, [we ask ourselves], ‘Does it taste really delicious? Would your best friend ask you for a recipe? Is it better for you?’”

It seems DC denizens agree that fast food can be good food; a second LEON restaurant is coming this summer. But you won’t find any marketing or advertising efforts to promote these restaurants as vegan joints. Instead, the focus is on preparing first-rate food offerings.

Chaia’s Stern notes, “You have to have a delicious product, and that’s why people are going to come.”

Regardless of protein preferences, get people in the door. And if they like what they eat, they’ll come back.

Chaia: 615 Eye St. NW, DC (Chinatown) // 3207 Grace St. NW, DC (Georgetown); www.chaiatacos.com
LEON: 1724 L St. NW, DC; www.leon.co
Little Sesame: 1828 L St. NW, DC (Golden Triangle) // 736 6th St. NW, DC (Chinatown); www.eatlittlesesame.com
Pow Pow: 1253 H St. NE, DC; www.eatpowpow.com
Shouk: 655 K St. NW, DC (Mount Vernon Triangle) // 395 Morse St. NE, DC (NoMa); www.shouk.com


Plant-Forward picks

Fare Well
Doron Petersan’s vegetable-centric bakery, diner and bar on H Street offers plant-based comfort dishes like Southern fried wings, pierogies and a steak platter made with Southern fried chickpea seitan. And don’t walk out the door without dessert: indulge in a brownie sundae and a daily rotating lineup of cakes from Petersan (of Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats fame). 406 H St. NE, DC; www.eatfarewell.com

Flower Child
Championing feel-good food, the national chain landed in Foggy Bottom at the start of the new year. The fast-casual joint features bowls, salads and wraps that come as vegan and vegetarian-friendly in a hip, colorful atmosphere. 2112 Pennsylvania Ave. Suite 101, NW, DC; www.iamaflowerchild.com/locations/washington-dc

HipCityVeg
The Philadelphia import arrived in the District in 2016 and serves up a 100 percent plant-based menu including burgers, salads, milkshakes and sandwiches. There’s even a Philly steak, an homage to the brand’s hometown. 712 7th St. NW, DC; www.hipcityveg.com