Fans received the ultimate experience at One Night One Goal, with tour exclusive areas of the stadium, a live auction with one-of-a-kind items and experiences, the chance to mingle with D.C. United players, and specialty cocktails and cuisine. Proceeds benefit DC SCORES, official community partner of D.C. United. Photos: Kimchi Photography
This waterfront culinary all-you-care-to-taste event at National Harbor brings together world-renowned chefs, and over 150 wines, beers and spirits for thousands of Metro DC’s foodies. Guests enjoyed a Champagne Lounge, Rose Garden, Stella Artois activation and a Margarita bar. Plus, live music all day, food trucks, a Whole Foods flavor station and more. Photos: Mark Raker Photography
DC Polo Society kicked off its summer series at Congressional Polo Club with tailgating, yard games, cocktails, beer, food trucks and more. Get away to the countryside monthly, on Sunday afternoons, for more than just a polo match, visit dcpolo.com for more. Photos: John Gervasi PhotoArts, LLC
Every Friday night home game at Nationals Park, the best place to pregame is on the Budweiser Terrace, and last week featured live music from Lovely Rita. Photos: Mike Kim
Nationals Park hosted the 10th Annual Night at the Park for Washington Nationals player Ryan Zimmerman’s philanthropy, ziMS Foundation, raising money to fight against Multiple Sclerosis. Guests enjoyed a VIP experience within the Club Level at Nationals Park, including mingling with Ryan, his Nationals’ teammates and other celebrity guests, cocktails and dinner, and the chance to bid on fantastic silent and live auction lots. Photos: Mark Raker Photography
The 8th Annual Running of the Chihuahuas celebrated Cinco de Mayo on The Wharf with 128 racing dogs, ice cold Corona and a DJ. Photos: Mike Kim
D.C. United fans flooded Pearl Street to watch the team take on Minnesota on a jumbo tron at The Wharf.
Rosslyn BID hosted its second annual Rosslyn Reads! Book Festival with Carpe Librum and the Arlington Public Library. The one-day neighborhood bookstore featured thousands of used books, CDs, and DVDs for sale on Central Place Plaza, ranging from just $1-$8 (+taxes). All proceeds go to Turning the Page, a nonprofit organization that helps ensure students receive educational resources and a high-quality public education. In addition to a guest author, guests enjoyed live music by UltraFaux, tasty food trucks and a pop-up bar. Photos: Devin Overbey
There is something about seeing a concert in the outdoors that makes a show so much more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because there’s more room to breathe and dance around, or perhaps it’s because an open-air show is a sure sign that summer has arrived. Whatever it is that draws you to an outdoor gig, the promise of new drinking options makes Wolf Trap the place to go this summer.
The music venue is prepping the rollout of the newly updated Wolf Trap Summer Ale, a fairly light pale ale made for easy summertime drinking in collaboration with nearby Caboose Brewing Company. The partnership has been going strong since early 2016, not long after Caboose first opened its doors in Vienna.
In search of a middle-of-the-road beer that wasn’t like anything else they offered, Wolf Trap Director of Food & Beverage TJ Pluck worked with Caboose’s co-owner Matt Greer to create a brew that used the venue’s outdoor elements to inspire the Summer Ale’s flavor profile. In early discussions, Pluck, Greer and Wolf Trap Executive Chef Chris Faessen would talk “about the Wolf Trap experience and what’s unique here.”
“You’re sitting in this oasis of trees in nature in the middle of the city,” Pluck says of the venue.
With the abundance of cedar trees, pines and Faessen’s bee apiaries in mind, the brew was born. As for changes to the batch available for the 2019 season, Pluck and Greer agreed to tone down the bitterness of last year’s recipe.
“We typically bitter with Warrior [hops], but we’ve reduced that quite a bit and introduced some Falconer’s Flight into the mix, which is another kind of aromatic hop,” Greer says. “But other than that, the base malt build has pretty much stayed the same.”
He adds that these changes will make the 2019 batch an ale that is more with the times but anticipates that the team will continue to tweak the ale as they go. While Pluck had long envisioned serving a proprietary beer at Wolf Trap, it was not until Caboose opened its flagship location that he felt he had found the right brewery to work with.
The timing was perfect as Wolf Trap was looking to focus their beer program on local brews, now including Starr Hill and Devils Backbone. Greer adds that a collaboration with Wolf Trap made perfect sense on Caboose’s end – as soon as he and Pluck’s team sat down to talk, the two groups just clicked. Since then, the national park and brewery have only grown closer.
“They are literally a mile-and-a-half down the street from us,” Greer says. “We talk all the time and I’m constantly going to shows. TJ [Pluck] could call me tomorrow and say ‘Matt, I love this beer I had a dream about and I need to make it,’ and of course I would make it for him. It’s become more of a friendship than a business situation.”
Not to mention that as a brewer, Greer is always looking for new projects to work on with local groups.
“Honestly, we live for collaborations. It’s a lot of fun.”
With the summer ale collaboration going so well, Greer and Pluck both mention there’s a good chance the collaboration could grow in the future. While nothing is set in stone, Pluck says the two groups have started talking about potential projects down the line – including adding more Caboose beer at Wolf Trap as the brewery has recently started canning their beer and using the honey produced by Wolf Trap’s bees.
“We’re all hyperlocal, we like participating in each other’s events and we’re just really blessed with having so many like-minded people in the area,” Greer says.
The revamped summer ale isn’t the only drinking option to look forward to at the park this year. Wolf Trap will also be offering Richmond-based Väsen Brewing Company’s Guava Otter Gose.
“[Väsen’s] beers are all named after animals because they’re all about the outdoors, which fits in with us being a national park,” Pluck says. “We’ll actually be one of the very few places in Northern Virginia to have it in cans.”
Devils Backbone’s new Hibiscus Hard Lemonade will be offered, as well as two new cocktails created by Wolf Trap – vodka-and-orange puree concoction the Blood Orange Breeze, and cucumber and Spindrift cucumber sparkling water combo the Cucumber Refresh. On the nonalcoholic side, the national park struck up a collaboration with Caffe Amouri in Vienna to create the Wolf Trap coffee blend – a mix of artisan coffee beans from Papua New Guinea and Guatemala – served hot or iced and sold in to-go bags in the gift shop.
Whatever you’re looking for in an outdoor concert venue, Wolf Trap has something for everyone with their numerous local drink options, natural beauty, and stellar lineup of bands and performances.
“There’s nothing better than great music [and] beer together in one place,” Greer says. “I’m just excited that we’ve got this national resource right next to us.”
Wolf Trap’s summer season kicks off on Thursday, May 23 with a three-night lineup of The Avett Brothers, coinciding with the release date of the revamped Wolf Trap Summer Ale. For more information about the venue’s summer season, visit www.wolftrap.org. For more on Caboose, go to www.caboosebrewing.com.
Caboose Commons: 2918 Eskridge Rd. Fairfax, VA; www.caboosebrewing.com
Caboose Tavern: 520 Mill St. NE, Vienna, VA; www.caboosebrewing.com
Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts: 1645 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA; www.wolftrap.org
Concertgoers aren’t the only ones who like to enjoy a beer during – or before or after – a show. Check out what a few artists coming to Wolf Trap this summer like to sip on during a performance and how they celebrate post-show.
Lake Street Dive
Drummer Mike Calabrese
Favorite pre-show drink:
Honestly, water. Pee clear, sing clear, drink after.
Go-to beer on tour:
Some [members of the band] are IPA people, or NEIPA people. Others prefer something yellow, like a classic German lager or pilsner.
The bus! The venue usually hooks up the local stuff for us backstage and then we go into the lounge and ask the bigger questions about life, love and Game of Thrones.
Lake Street Dive plays Wolf Trap Saturday, June 8. Gates open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Learn more about the band at www.lakestreetdive.com.
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Bassist Dean Dinning
Go-to beer on tour:
I enjoy a Toad the Wet Hop Ale from Green Man Brewery. Either that or a nice, light Mexican beer like Modelo with a squeeze of lime.
Favorite pre-show drink:
I enjoy a shot of decent tequila like Maestro Dobel or Casamigos with a squeeze of lime – never heavy, always refreshing.
I always go to [U Street soul food spot] Oohh’s & Aahh’s when I’m in DC. Never miss the opportunity!
Catch the band at Wolf Trap on Sunday, June 30. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Learn more at www.toadthewetsprocket.com.
With DC’s craft cocktail industry on the rise and more and more mixologists digging deep in their bag of ingredients for new flavors, it’s understandable that some creations at local haunts might seem intimidating. However, if you’re in search of a place with a unique atmosphere and a laid-back list of offerings, Grand Duchess in Adams Morgan and the newly opened Jake’s Tavern in Shaw are two of the best, so allow us to take you behind the bar at two of the District’s neighborhood spots.
Co-owner Rory Adair
Lined up among the other rowhouse businesses on the Adams Morgan end of 18th Street sits Grand Duchess. Though the name conjures images of mystique and royalty, the location is much more subdued. Upon entering the building adorned with a diamond logo, you’re greeted with the look and feel of a 50s or 60s diner – complete with a jukebox, and assorted memorabilia and art adorning the walls.
“That’s what we’re going for – an old-time comfort you don’t really get anymore in bars – especially because we’re a neighborhood cocktail bar,” co-owner Rory Adair says. “We kind of just pick up what’s cool. The jukebox actually came from a diner that was closing in Southern Delaware.”
Owned and operated by Adair and Vinnie Rotondaro, Grand Duchess opened in 2017 and has since offered AdMo a lowkey place to enjoy vinyl, read a book or hang out with friends for a few hours.
“We’re rock ‘n’ roll vinyl nerds,” Adair says. “We play a lot of records. We have a jukebox full of 45s. I think it adds something. A lot of times, guests will see us put on vinyl and they’ll ask to see the actual covers.”
In fact, the first thing highlighted on the Grand Duchess website is the phrase “Cocktails & Vinyl.” The bar interlinks the two subjects whenever possible – from events and vinyl-only DJ sessions meant to bring in new audiences to cocktail crafting sessions in the “beat lab” inspired by music.
“Vinnie and I will be in here after hours, and we’ll just put some tunes on and figure out what the songs mean and how they translate into a cocktail,” Adair says when describing the pair’s beat lab. “The majority of our cocktails are named for albums. The Louder Than Love is a Soundgarden album. We were thinking something outrageous, and Chris Cornell had a very unique voice. We also have the Twin Infinitives – that’s a Royal Trux album, so we were thinking a little sweeter and juicier.”
Though music and cocktails can be intricate in nature, Adair favors a simpler approach to both. While vinyl collectors and cocktail aficionados can sometimes be intimidating, Grand Duchess is trying to pull in a laid-back clientele with a warmth and openness reflected in the decor and drinks.
“We like to riff on the classics because they’re the best. That’s pretty much our outlook on everything. We don’t get too crazy.”
Adair also has a list of canned beers, wines and happy hour classics, but he always encourages folks to try out one of their creations.
“I have seen a lot of people who otherwise might not have stepped into a cocktail bar who discover that [Grand Duchess] is approachable and cool, and maybe they’ll try a cocktail.”
Grand Duchess: 2337 18th St. NW, DC; www.grandduchessdc.com
LOUDER THAN LOVE
Bartender Jason Fellman
The name Jake’s Tavern sounds like a neighborhood spot that might be featured in a modern-day rendition of Cheers. Though you won’t find Ted Danson drinking a Pimm’s Cup at the bar, the casual establishment in Shaw has already found a niche since opening in late January.
“The thing we kept hearing over and over again after we opened the doors was, ‘We’re so happy you’re here,’” bartender Jason Fellman says. “There was an appetite for a simple, honest place that was doing things at a high level of service with a low level of pretense. [We’re] just trying to do things well.”
Unlike other neighborhood taverns, Jake’s is extremely bright with white walls and blue trim. The bar is lit by a large window, and the outdoor patio recently opened for warm weather months. The bar’s simple decor is reflected on the menu, which features a plethora of beers from local to national favorites as well as classic cocktails.
“We’re not going to have a ton of esoteric amaros on the list,” Fellman says. “We’re not going to be bending the curve with ingredients. When I go out to a cocktail bar and look at the ingredients list, I may not know some of them. As a consumer, that can be off-putting or intimidating and we’re trying to get away from that. We want you to feel comfortable with a nice, well-prepared Old Fashioned or a Tanqueray and tonic. We want to be as approachable as possible.”
Before the bar established its aesthetic, they wanted to put feelers out to gauge consumer preferences. There was no preconceived notion other than wanting to give locals what they desired most.
“[We have] a tremendous dexterity to engage,” he says. “One of our big objectives was to come here without being steeped in a concept, with the flexibility to be open to feedback from the community. There’s an effort here to simplify service and always be smiling and responsive. People love Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, and that’s where we want to be.”
The current menu features those classics along with variations on the Orange Crush, Martinez and Pimm’s Cup.
“I think it’s spirit-driven and season-driven. You’re going to see a lot more gin-focused stuff as we head into the summer. I’m not trying to show you something you’ve never seen before. What I’m trying to do is [make] what you like the best I can.”
Jake’s Tavern: 1606 7th St. NW, DC; www.jakestaverndc.com
PIMM’S CUP NO2 BOURBON
Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
House-made mint syrup
Jake’s Orange Crush
Fresh-squeezed orange juice
Big Changes Ahead for Virginia Happy Hour Ads
Have you ever noticed that happy hour specials outside of Virginia can seem a bit more adventurous than those in the Old Dominion? Starting July 1, that’s slated to change. After an embattled ordeal between the state and area restaurants – many of which had to alter their advertisements between DC, Maryland and Virginia – bars and restaurants now have more creative liberty with which to advertise their offerings.
Actual drink prices can now be listed, along with fun or alliterative drink special titles that allude to the type of alcohol on special. This will no doubt give businesses better ways to entice customers, and in turn give customers a better picture of what their favorite watering hole will have to offer in the summer months and beyond. There are certain things remain unchanged, though. Namely, you won’t find any happy hours past the witching hour of 9 p.m., and two-for-one drink specials remain off the table.
For more information on these changes, visit www.abc.virginia.gov/licenses/retail-resources/happy-hour.