The 2017-2018 theatre season is in full swing, and with it comes the opportunity to visit nearby bars and restaurants for a pre- or post-show libation and bite to eat. We picked spots nestled close to some of DC’s best theaters to see what they offer local theatergoers out on the town.
Bartender, Station 4
Neighborhood theatre: Arena Stage
On Tap: Is it common for people to come to Station 4 before shows at Arena Stage?
Kateryna Vasinkina: Yes, we have a big rush of people before the shows. It’s very busy for us, and it’s an interesting time because you can meet a ton of interesting people. After the show, it’s common for the casts of the show to come and have a drink.
OT: Do they ever come in costume?
KV: Actually, yes! There was a guy from Chicago who came in; he was an actor, and all of his face and body was tattooed. It was temporary, but they were all over.
OT: What drinks would you suggest for theatergoers?
KV: It’s all a matter of personal choice. Some people enjoy a bottle of wine, while others prefer a drink afterwards. We do have different types of wines, from sweet to dry, and we have a number of cocktails for folks to try.
OT: What kind of drink would you have before going to a show?
KV: I think my drink of choice right now would be the Spring Bee because it’s sweet and sour, and it has honey. I love honey.
Station 4: 1101 4th St. SW, DC; www.station4dc.com
Arena Stage: 1101 6th St. SW, DC; www.arenastage.org
Shari Davis and Karima Ouazzani
Beverage Director and General Manager, Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar
Neighborhood theatre: Folger Theatre
On Tap: What drinks do you offer theatergoers?
Karima Oazzani: We have a wine special by the bottle. We sell that more than anything else.
Shari Davis: If they’re doing the preshow special, they’re probably going to drink a bottle of wine. But if they’re just coming in right before, they’ll probably go for a cocktail, which makes sense because wine is a little longer. You want to sit and enjoy it.
On Tap: What kinds of drinks do you suggest before a play? Are people ever worried about being a little too loose during the show?
SD: We have an assortment of lighter drinks – from cocktails to even our beers. We have a lot of things beyond wines. Our wine spritzers are also great for that type of event. We make a mean, mean wine spritzer.
OT: What’s your relationship with Folger and other local theaters?
SD: We’re pretty friendly with a lot of people that frequent their shows. On Saturdays, we’ll have a ton of actors come in before their shows, and they’ll tell us what they’re up to.
OT: Tell us more about the preshow menu.
SD: People still want to have a dining experience, so we want to make sure they still [receive one]. And the pre-theater [experience] is designed for that.
KO: We’ve developed the menu in a way that’s delicious and tasty, but can still be done in a short time.
A Glass of Fuso Barbera
Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar: 223 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.sonomadc.com
Folger Theatre: 201 E Capitol St. SE, DC; www.folger.edu
Head Bartender, Dirty Habit
Neighborhood theatres: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
On Tap: How has the drink menu evolved since opening last year?
Sarah Ruiz: One evolution is the collaboration among the entire bar staff. Almost every team member has put their own drink creation on the menu over the last year.
OT: What new cocktails will be available this fall? Any standouts?
SR: Our new fall menu will be available in mid-October. We will be bringing back some hits from last fall, as well as adding some new seasonal cocktails to transition guests into winter. The “Santor-ini” is our take on the dirty martini, and it’s a fun one!
OT: Tell me about the Fuji-La. What inspired the ingredients?
SR: [It’s] an end-of-summer drink with flavors that easily flow into fall. It is a simple sour with calvados and pear brandy as the base.
OT: Do theater patrons or cast members visit Dirty Habit pre- or post-show?
SR: We hosted a party for the cast of Shakespeare Theatre’s King Charles III, and a happy hour for the Woolly Mammoth team. It was great meeting the actors and chatting with them about their shows. Our team is launching a pre-show menu where guests can enjoy a special multi-course dinner soon.
OT: Have you visited any theaters near Dirty Habit?
SR: I’ve been to the Shakespeare Theatre [and] Woolly Mammoth. Dirty Habit participated in a community partnership night at Shakespeare Theatre in August. We served the Rosa Caraveda. It’s like a floral, summer, negroni-esque cocktail.
1 oz. caramelized pineapple
3/4 chamomile honey syrup
1 oz. calvados
1 oz. pear brandy
Dirty Habit: 555 8th St. NW, DC; www.dirtyhabitdc.com
Shakespeare Theatre Company: 610 F St. NW, DC and 450 7th St. NW, DC; www.shakespearetheatre.org
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: 641 D St. NW, DC; www.woollymammoth.net