Finding unique entertainment during the winter months can be challenging, especially when the weather drives you to stay indoors. But DC is getting creative this season, with experiences like a rooftop ice rink and a pop-up bar decked out in Christmas lights and Hanukkah decorations. Here are six creative ways to spend the season with a drink in hand.
The DarkSide Bar
Mythology Restaurant on H Street is embracing the darkness of winter with an homage to Star Wars. The restaurant’s second floor has transformed into the DarkSide Bar, an interstellar hangout full of drinks, small plates, décor and entertainment that channels the evil power of the Star Wars universe.
“We have a whole custom cocktail menu centered around the dark side of the Force,” says owner Todd Luongo. “I thought it would get accepted really warmly in DC.”
The DarkSide Bar was developed in partnership with Zach Neil and joins locations in New York City and Los Angeles. Admission is $33 in advance and $40 at the door per person, and includes two signature cocktails. The bar is open Wednesday through Sunday nights, and will continue through mid-January.
Costumes are encouraged, and Luongo says people have already showed up in Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt outfits. Programming will vary nightly and is expected to include trivia nights, alien speed dating, burlesque and more.
Mythology Restaurant: 816 H St. NE, DC; www.thedarksidebar.com
Miracle On 7th Street
The creative minds at Drink Company are back with the third annual Miracle on 7th Street pop-up bar. Highlights this year include an antique sleigh, a working train and an entire room dedicated to Hanukkah called “Chinese Food and a Movie.” Cocktails are inspired by Christmas movies such as Elf and A Christmas Story. Expect indulgent ingredients like cookie dough-infused vodka, maple syrup and more.
“All of our cocktails are meant to be fun, and are sure to please even the biggest Grinch, but we also believe in making them excellent,” says senior bar manager Paul Taylor.
Most drinks are priced at $14, and admission is free. Just be prepared to wait in what can be a long line. Miracle on 7th Street runs through December 31.
Miracle on 7th Street: 1841 7th St. NW, DC; www.popupbardc.com
This year, the Gaylord National Harbor is adding some adult beverage entertainment and education to go alongside its kid-friendly ICE! attraction and Christmas festivities. During the Mistletoe Mixology class, participants will learn to make three holiday-themed drinks, which will be paired with a selection of hors d’oeuvres.
“We’re excited to be introducing this fun and interactive class to visitors during our Christmas on the Potomac celebration,” says Miguel Garcia Ferrer, director of beverages for the resort.
Ferrer promises to share some of his favorite tips and tricks to make those holiday party cocktails a success. Tickets to the class are $29, and it runs from 1-2:30 p.m. every Saturday through December 30.
Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. Oxon Hill, MD; www.nationalharbor.com/gaylord-national
Top of the Skate
Experience winter imbibing with 360-degree views of Washington from the roof of the Watergate Hotel. The outdoor bar has been outfitted with a synthetic ice rink for the season, complete with snacks and boozy adult beverages. Sip on mulled wine or Kentucky apple cider while taking in the scenery or some time on skates.
Rentals are $20 for an hour for adults, and $10 for children aged 12 and under. Proceeds help support Mel’s Rink, a charity that helps provide athletic training to mentally and physically challenged kids and adults.
“We wanted to create fun yet upscale winter offerings you can’t find anywhere else in Washington, DC,” says Rakel Cohen, the Watergate Hotel’s co-owner and VP of design and development.
The Watergate Hotel: 2650 Virginia Ave. NW, DC; www.thewatergatehotel.com/rooftop-skating
Post Shift Theatre
Post Shift Theatre combines an immersive theatre performance with a side of craft cocktails. The company’s upcoming original play, Ruth and Ada at The Savoy, centers around two historic bartenders working at London’s Savoy Hotel.
“The play follows Ruth and Ada during a night of service together after receiving news of radical changes in the workplace,” says
co-founder Matt Meyers.
Guests will be served two cocktail shooters during the show, and each will be made live by the performers. Drinks include the Hanky Panky, a gin-based cocktail, and the Fitzgerald, a variation of a gin sour.
Shows will happen at Bistro Bistro in Dupont Circle. Dates are Sunday, December 3 and Sunday, December 10 at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m. An additional weekend may be added. General admission tickets are $24, while $30 buys you a premium seat at the bar itself.
Bistro Bistro: 1727 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.facebook.com/postshifttheatre/
Winterfest at Wunder Garten
Urban hangout Wunder Garten is partnering with the NoMa BID for its first winterfest celebration, which will feature plenty of decorations, local craft vendors, warm cocktails, a Christmas tree lot, food trucks and more.
“Since we opened, we have had so much fun celebrating the Bavarian traditions of Oktoberfest in the fall and Fruhlingsfest in the spring, and we thought, ‘Why not celebrate winter too?,’” says Wunder Garten Co-owner Christopher Lynch.
Winterfest starts on December 1 and runs through December 17, so it’s an ideal market and hangout for any Christmas preparations. Vendors will be on hand Thursdays through Sundays. While you shop, keep warm with mulled wine, winter beers and spiked hot chocolate along with food from Timber Pizza, Holy Crêpes and CaliBurger.
Wunder Garten: 1101 First St. NE, DC; www.wundergartendc.com