Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie / Photo: © Wani Olatunde
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie / Photo: © Wani Olatunde

Night of Ideas Comes to DC

Born in Paris in 2016, the Night of Ideas is where art, pop culture, science and politics collide. In 2018, it took place in more than 100 cities worldwide, and the first DC iteration recently took place on January 31.

Elise Girard, Deputy Press Counselor for the Embassy of France, says the Night of Ideas strives for “a mix of art and debate – not only political, but social issues.” At last week’s event, these issues were both explicit in the discussion – and implicit in the circumstances.

The Night of Ideas was originally slated to be at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. However, as French Ambassador to the United States Gérard Araud put it, “in DC there are some uncertainties, and one of them is called the [U.S. government ] shutdown.”

Organizers had a choice: cancel or move. Fortunately for DC Francophiles, the Night of Ideas simply moved to the Embassy of France. Lit up in yellow, pink, green and blue, the embassy shone like a beacon as visitors streamed in to begin the experience.

Attendees were immediately greeted by Providence, Rhode Island artist Kelli Rae Adams’ installation Mischief in the Boneyard. A winding trail of ceramic dominoes, the piece was inherently nerve-racking: if toppled, the dominoes could break. And when they did, the clatter echoed through the entrance hall. The three classic “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkeys were etched on one side of each domino – perhaps a metaphor for our time.

In fact, the evening carried the theme of “Facing our Time” – but the unspoken words might have been to “re-evaluate your relationship with Instagram, eh?”

The keynote speaker was celebrated writer and thought leader Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, who has one of the most-watched TED Talks of all time and wrote the acclaimed books We Should All be Feminists and Half of a Yellow Sun. At the Night of Ideas, she spoke beautifully about two concepts that are unlikely bedfellows: empathy and critical thinking. Emotion and rational thought are intertwined, she argued: “if we can think clearly, we can truly see other human beings.”

She also reflected on the modern world, the pull of social media, and its impact on how we think: “I have always wanted to live a life of the mind, of imagination, [but] I struggle to be absorbed.” Ultimately, she said, time to slow down, reflect, and savor our moments shouldn’t be a luxury, but a right.

Presenter Franklin Foer had a similar premise to his talk, “The Existential Threat of Big Tech.” He started with poet Mary Oliver’s famous quote: “attention is the beginning of devotion.” But according to Foer, the big tech companies and social media platforms – Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple – “invasively opened us up and mined us…hijacked the most precious thing we have.”

How to combat this hijacking of the human psyche? Books. As Foer put it, “reading is a place where we can connect to our humanity.” Ultimately, Foer said that the power to choose where to spend our time is ours – but we have to protect that time vigilantly.

But these ideas around modernity and the digitization of our lives were only one facet of a night filled with art, performance, music and debate. French performance artists Les Souffleurs Commandos Poétiques enlisted audience members in a living art installation, holding umbrellas over participants and whispering into their ears through long black tubes, creating almost a kind of architecture in the blue light that suffused the event space.

The options for talks to attend were almost overwhelming, with four to five options every hour, spanning a multitude of issues from art appreciation to gender equality to climate change to incarceration. But I’d say my favorite part of the Night of Ideas wasn’t a talk, but a performance: Marching Band Baltimore Project’s kickoff performance at the start of the night both set the tone and stole the show.

The drums reverberated throughout the embassy, the dancers in spangled costumes twirled and snapped at the waist, and everyone in the crowd was utterly rapt. There was no doubt in my mind that the time and attention I gave them was truly well-spent.

For more information on the Night of Ideas, click here

Allen Brooks, Brad Halsey and Albert Vega // Photo: Trent Johnson
Allen Brooks, Brad Halsey and Albert Vega // Photo: Trent Johnson

Forward-Thinking Building Momentum Opens The Garden

When Brad Halsey and Albert Vega established tech training and education business Building Momentum in 2014, they didn’t have any plans to open a coworking space. Neither expressed dreams of housing creative individuals under one roof, nor of fostering unlikely collaborations like welding and wine tasting. Though it may sound cliché to say the small company “built momentum,” this organic growth was a product of just that.

When Crystal City-based workspace TechShop shuttered in late 2017, Building Momentum stepped in to help fill the void in NoVA’s DIY community. The new business was still located in Fairfax at the time, and chief operating officer Allen Brooks says they were approached immediately by locals in need of a new space.

“People came knocking, asking to use our laser cutters [and other workshop materials], and four or five companies asked if they could just hang out every day and pay us,” Brooks says.

Building Momentum was founded on the notion of training service members to solve problems with any tool available through innovation and critical thinking, and last June, the co-owners took their own advice and opened The Garden in Alexandria’s West End neighborhood.

“It’s a simple idea and it made sense,” Brooks says. “What we wanted to do was a build a small community garden. A traditional community garden involves a place where people come together around growth, where different crops benefit one another by enriching the soil. Awesome things come from that and the ground is better because of the diversity and ingredients intermingling. That’s what we wanted to emulate.”

The Garden is located in a large industrial area with a range of neighboring businesses, including a Sportrock Climbing Center, FedEx shipping center and Restaurant Depot. The West End is still an up-and-coming area without many coffee shops and cafes, and even though the neighborhood is easily accessible via the Van Dorn Street Metro station, the stop is reportedly one of the least used in the WMATA system.

Modular offices, open areas, and lots of technology (think 3D printers and drones) fill the 20,000-square-foot modern space at The Garden. Walk a little further down the winding halls and you’ll eventually enter the adjoining workshop area, which smells and looks like a Home Depot minus the plastic packaging.

“There’s makerspaces and there’s coworking spaces, and we are obviously not [just one or the other],” Brooks says. “If an artist wants to come in and crash [an office] with paint, we say go for it. The space is organic and well-worn. We’re not protective of it. This is a co-building community.”

Community and diversity are words Brooks goes back to a lot as he describes The Garden’s tremendous efforts to be inclusive to all, from musicians to engineers. But they’re not looking to simply fill the space with people interested in using their state-of-the-art equipment.

“Makerspaces traditionally aren’t the most open-armed spaces for diversity, [with] people or industry,” Brooks says, speaking with refreshing candor. “It’s a lot of people making technological gadgets or widgets, and it’s a lot of 35 to 45-year-old white dudes who look like me. We want to have a diversity of industry represented across our coworking space, and it allows us to let small businesses support each other.”

Business is booming for Building Momentum as an individual company, with a client list ranging from the Department of Defense to the Smithsonian. But with The Garden, Brooks says there’s still a challenge in getting people to their West End location. To fight the stigma of an up-and-coming neighborhood and better reach locals, they’ve morphed their multi-use space into an events venue including their own recurring Wine and Welding events.

“By the end of these events, couples or individuals are saying to themselves, ‘Holy sh-t, I can do this,’” Brooks says. “We have to get events in here and let people know we have the space. We want people to be happy with our work and benefit from it. Building Momentum is successful the more that our members are successful.”

With more unique events and a growing membership count, Brooks says The Garden isn’t waiting on Alexandria to develop the area around them and is instead taking initiative to form an energetic campus. The company has never shied away from stepping up and being innovative, so why halt the momentum now?

To learn more about The Garden, Building Momentum and their upcoming events, visit

Building Momentum: 5380 Eisenhower Ave. Ste. C, Alexandria, VA; 571-451-6885;

Photo: Courtesy of Nellie's Sports Bar
Photo: Courtesy of Nellie's Sports Bar

Breakfast and a Show: Nellie’s Sports Bar Drag Brunch

Imagine chowing down on a large spread of brunch and mimosas as a drag queen does a split at your feet to Rihanna. At Nellie’s Sports Bar drag brunch, this scenario is exactly what you’ll get.

Every weekend at Nellie’s, patrons are welcomed with open arms to celebrate birthdays, marriages and even divorces, or maybe you’re just looking for a new Sunday brunch spot. Whatever the reason, attendees are treated to a brunch where pancakes and grits are the side dish and the queens are the main course.

As brunch-goers enter the premise, they are ushered to a high top and handed a mimosa or bloody mary to start the experience. But late-comers beware: anyone who shows up 10 or more minutes late (give or take a few) will be greeted at the front door with a chant of “b*tch you’re late!”

Once everyone has arrived, attendees are shown the buffet of unlimited eggs, bacon, pasta and all the brunch favorites. But following the rush of hungry people at the pancake station is when the real fun begins.

Chanel Devereaux, Nellie’s drag brunch host and main star, kicks off the show with a welcome and opening group performance by all the queens in cheerleader outfits. Then each queen takes turns on the floor, dancing in between tables and hanging off ceiling beams in acrobatic fashion as patrons shove dollar bills in their bras.

The occasional audience participation occurs to everyone’s delight, including queens twerking and dancing with those sitting closest to the open floor, but the favorite targets are usually the brave men who have accompanied their wives and girlfriends. And those celebrating a birthday, divorce or having a bachelorette party get a little something special as well.

From singing along to Beyoncé with the queens to sipping on Hawaiian Punch cocktails with your friends, Nellie’s offers a unique brunch experience unlike any other in the District.

Experience Nellie’s Drag Brunch every Saturday, Sunday and some Mondays with shows at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets are $41.91. For more information about Nellie’s Drag Brunch, visit their ticket page.

Nellie’s Sports Bar: 900 U St. NW, DC; 202-332-6355;


BENT: A New LGBTQ Dance Party at 9:30 Club

This past Saturday, Steve Lemmerman, a.k.a. DC-based DJ Lemz and 9:30 Club Owner Seth Hurwitz established BENT: A New LGBTQ Dance Party in hopes of a quarterly event. To read more about the event, read Natalia Kolenko’s story here. Photos: Shantel Mitchell Breen

3 - 2018CASGalaSF(b) (77) Long Room shot

Choral Arts Society of Washington 2018 Gala at the Kennedy Center

The Kennedy Center hosted the Choral Arts Society of Washington’s 2018 Gala on December 17. The honorary host of the event was the Dutch ambassador, and the entire event featured a Dutch theme. Choral Arts partnered with the embassy and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to provide replicas of Van Gogh paintings that the museum has created for a special exhibit that’s currently touring the U.S.    Photos: Shannon Finney

Photo: Violetta Markelou // Wardrobe: Paul Stuart at CityCenterDC
Photo: Violetta Markelou // Wardrobe: Paul Stuart at CityCenterDC

A Day in the Life: CityCenterDC’s Timothy R. Lowery

Since breaking ground in 2011, CityCenterDC has maintained its 10-acre space as a hub of luxury retail, dining and living in its downtown location. Beyond its commercial use, the space has become a sight of interactive public art and activations that draw thousands of visitors to the spot each season. CityCenterDC’s holiday lights strung over Palmer Alley, designed by Swatchroom’s Maggie O’Neill, quickly became an iconic – and Instagrammable – view of DC during the holiday season. To get a better look at one of DC’s favorite holiday hangs, we spoke to Timothy R. Lowery, a director with the global commercial real estate firm Hines and general manager of the CityCenterDC project.

On Tap: How did CityCenterDC’s holiday display and tree come to be?
Timothy R. Lowery:
In November 2014, we debuted the tree and had a tree lighting. We didn’t know if we’d have 10 people or a million people. The first year, we had a thousand people and it was a wonderful evening. The second year, we had around 3,000 attendees. Last year, it was 6,000 people and this year, we [already] have 40,000 people interested in our Facebook event for the tree lighting. What that shows you is this appetite to be part of something.

OT: Aside from growth in attendance, how have the holiday displays evolved?
Fast forward through the years, and we’ve added components like Maggie O’Neill’s Dream Closet, which is 400 ornaments over Palmer Alley. It’s amazing because the inspiration is the retail iconography of the clothing hanger made by different geometric patterns. This will be our third time having that installation up. It was always our intent to create traditions. This is a huge amount of land to build a project on. The thing I’ve been saying from day one is that we want to give traditions to the community. That’s the overarching theme for the holidays. We’re so grateful for the traction it’s received in the community.

Work Must-Haves
Morning Earl Grey tea
My planner with my daily schedule
An organized environment
My Montblanc pen
My eyeglasses

OT: How did art and installations become such a huge part of CityCenterDC’s identity?
The art installations happened very organically. In 2015, we participated in the [National] Cherry Blossom Festival after one staff member suggested we order pink lanterns and have our engineers put them up as our nod to the cherry blossoms. We had 400 pink lanterns of different shades and sizes [strung] along the alley. Social media went crazy. We realized after thousands and thousands of posts on social media that there was an appetite for public art. That’s not incongruent with the planning of CityCenterDC; we always planned on having art. We have art installations in the park and the plaza from time to time but the alley was such an interesting phenomenon. It’s exciting but a bit daunting because you always feel like you have to one-up yourself. I think we’ll stay with four seasons. Anything more than that could be too much.

OT: Outside of seasonal programming, what other art is housed in CityCenterDC?
Two years ago, we did the Fancy Animals Carnival featuring an artist from Taiwan. This year, we did The Loop, which evolved because a friend of mine posted a picture of the same thing from New York. I texted her and asked what it was and our team reached out to the artists and installed it here. There’s really this appetite for unique experiences. As a society, we’ve moved away from pure product consumption. People are looking for experiences. They still have products involved, but they’re going to go somewhere they can get an experience in addition to a product. We have tapped into that at CityCenterDC.

Can’t Live Without
Family and loved ones
My watch

OT: Tell us a bit more about your role at CityCenterDC.
I’ve been here since the beginning as a part of the project before we ever even finished construction. I remain at the helm of day-to-day operations at the center. On any given day, there’s some artistic component happening. At the end of the day, there needs to be a cohesiveness to our brand, and I’m the one that makes sure it all comes together.

OT: What is the best part of your job?
This really is the truth and not just because we’re talking about the holidays: every year, I get up and welcome everyone to the tree lighting. And as I stand there and look out over thousands of people who have come and respond to what we’re doing, that’s one of the greatest thrills I’ve had. Even from an architectural standpoint, if you build this thing and no one responds to it, of what use is it? When you see people coming and enjoying whatever it is you’re offering, that’s the biggest thrill. If it weren’t for those people finding comfort here and finding whatever it is they’re looking for at the moment, then this would all be in vain.

Follow CityCenterDC on social media @citycenterdc and learn more about holiday installations and events at

CityCenterDC: 10th & 8th Streets in NW, DC; 202-289-9000;

Photo: The Bruery
Photo: The Bruery

Hoppy Holidays: A Beer Lover’s Gift Guide

‘Tis the season of giving, at least that’s what you’re supposed to do. But you know what you’re not supposed to do? Give crappy gifts. We’ve all heard people say, “It’s the thought that counts,” to mask their disappointment after getting a tacky tie or coffee mug.

It’s always a safe bet to put a little extra thought into your gifts, and to really know your audience. If you’re shopping for a beer lover this holiday season, we have you covered. From local options to items you can have delivered to your doorstep in time for an exchange, the beer-themed gift ideas below will have you looking like a thoughtful giver, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

Beer Memberships

“The Bruery’s societies (our beer clubs) are the heart of our business,” says Ethen Adams, The Bruery Store’s area manager. “We love to experiment with flavors and aromas in our beers, and push brewing to new levels.”

Instead of giving someone a six-pack you picked out, why not let the brewers do it? With a beer membership from The Bruery, new experimental beers will be sent several times a year, giving your favorite beer fan an excuse to try variations outside of their comfort zone.

“While many of us have tried and trusted brands, I dare say that a true beer lover is always on the lookout for the next beer that will wow them,” Adams says. “We’re taking this beer journey alongside our members and as such, we try to treat them like a part of the family.”

The Union Market-based shop is also offering a 10 percent discount on their last quarterly installment of the 2018  Preservation Society, bringing the total to $70. Readers of On Tap can sign up online at The Bruery’s website with the discount code OnTapPS18. Each quarterly package comes with three bottles, including a barrel-aged strong ale, a sour ale and a limited experimental beer.

Other memberships on our radar include the DC Brewers’ Guild membership and the international Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. Learn more about the latter at

The Bruery Store at Union Market: 513 Morse St. NE, DC;

Beer Gear

This one might seem obvious, but let us preface that not all merch is the same. A few breweries in the area are extremely meticulous, setting an extremely high standard for others to keep up with.

“There’s a deep connection between a community and its local breweries, and we’re forever grateful for the passion that people feel for our business,” says Chris Van Orden, Port City Brewery’s manager of marketing and beer strategy.  “We spend a ton of effort making the best beer possible for them, so we want to make sure everything else we offer all meets the high standard.”

Merch is a regular discussion topic at the brewery’s weekly meetings, where the team always tries to plan two seasons in advance. While a ton of places only offer shirts and hats, Port City sells socks, hoodies, dog collars and other unique items.

“We’ve found a few designs with a broad appeal that we keep in stock, but we’re constantly looking for new items that set us apart,” Van Orden says. “So there’s always something new on offer: lapel pins, bike jerseys, socks. We’re delighted each and every time a person decides that they enjoy Port City enough to wear our name on their back or carry our logo on their growler.”

With a strong brand backed by great beer, Port City gear will allow you to represent a local spot with strong ties to the community.

Other spots we recommend for merch include DC Brau and ANXO Cidery & Pintxos Bar.

Port City Brewing: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA;

Walking Tours

There are a number of breweries to tour in the DMV, but for a next-level experience, organize a walk through the famed Heurich House Museum for the beer head in your life.

The Dupont Circle mansion was built in the 1890s by German immigrant and local brewer Christian Heurich. His family lived there until 1956, and the house still includes all original interiors and a number of family collections.

Though the Christian Heurich Brewing Co. location was torn down in 1962, the museum features a rotating exhibition of more than 1,000 items including bottles, cans, signs and other branded objects from the old DC brewery. The collection is on loan from local collector Jack Blush, but the museum is currently fundraising to acquire and display it permanently.

Patrons can tour the museum for free (donations are welcome), but you can also treat your beer-crazy friends and family to an hour-long brewmaster tour that concludes with a beer tasting. Groups of 10 to 20 can enjoy the tours for $30-$40. For specifics, email

Other places to tour include the Flying Dog “Beer Geek” iteration in Frederick, Maryland or Brookland’s Right Proper Brewing Company.

Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC;

Beer-Focused Dinners

“Wait a second, Trent. Didn’t you say that played-out gifts weren’t what we were talking about here?” Yes, but you have to stick with me on this one as there’s a method to the beer-crazed madness here.
DC has welcomed a litany of terrific eateries over the past few years, and some of them include some particulary intriguing beer menus.

Chief among them is Tiger Fork, a Hong Kong-inspired restaurant in Blagden Alley featuring numerous Asian beers on the menu.
Think of this as tackling two problems at once: you want to get a gift for a brew head, but you also want to eat delicious Asian food.

Another restaurant with an eclectic selection is Capitol Riverfront’s The Salt Line, whose beer selection pulls from all over the country. Not to mention, they have a delectable menu with dishes that pair fantastically with just about every brew you can think to order.

So yes, we’ll admit dinner isn’t super high on the creative side, but you can’t forget to eat when you’re drinking a well-crafted beverage.

We also highly recommend the buzzworthy Bad Saint in Columbia Heights and Himitsu in Petworth for their eclectic beer and food selections.

The Salt Line: 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC;
Tiger Fork: 922 N St. NW, DC;

Ask The Expert

We asked Theresa McCulla, historian for the American Brewing History Initiative at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, for a few beer-themed gift recommendations.

“Be a better enthusiast through books,” McCulla advises. “The past few years have seen a bumper crop of books about beer: brewing manuals, books about important historical events like Prohibition and the craft beer revolution, and brewers’ memoirs.”

Beyond books, McCulla recommends some of the things we’ve already talked about including places that can pair food with beer, eclectic merchandise and tours. One suggestion involves helping to make the brewer happy.

“Bottles are classic, [and] cans and crowlers are handy, but brewers prefer when you drink their beer out of the proper glassware. Research the correct glassware for your favorite kinds of beer and make sure you have them on hand when happy hour rolls around.”

Lastly, McCulla says to look up anything philanthropic your favorite brewery may be involved with that you can contribute to.

For more information about the American Brewing History Initiative, visit

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic
Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Explorer Jodi Magness Discusses Discoveries of Ancient Israel

From age 12, Jodi Magness knew she wanted to be an archaeologist, and never looked back.

Thursday she’ll discuss one of her many discoveries, a mosaic depicting the first non-Biblical story ever found decorating an ancient synagogue. She’s set to speak about her findings and why they matter at the National Geographic Museum in two sessions of a talk titled, “Uncovering Galilee: New Discoveries in the Holy Land.”

Magness and other archaeologists debate what story the mosaic, which features two men surrounded by soldiers and battle elephants, tells. One theory suggests the image shows the encounter between Alexander the Great and the Jewish high priest. (Explore pictures of the mosaic at this link.)

Since 2011, and thanks to a National Geographic grant, Magness and her team have been excavating the synagogue in the fifth-century village of Huqoq, three miles west of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The synagogue is the only public building in the settlement, whose residents largely practiced agriculture.

Ancient Huqoq was not a rich urban center, but had a stunningly beautiful synagogue – what gives?

Written documents indicate that synagogues like the one at Huqoq did not exist. Roman legislation at the time – Christianity had already become the empire’s religion – banned construction of new synagogues. Some Christian writers wrote polemics attacking Judaism. As a result, a narrative developed in which Jews in this time and region lived a marginalized, oppressed existence. Magness’ research pushes back against that monolithic conception.

In doing so, Magness explains, her work demonstrates the importance of her field.

“Archaeology supplements the rather skewed and narrow picture that we have just from literary sources,” she says. “Literary sources from the ancient world were always written by elite people and represent a certain point of view.”

“Archaeology is a great corrective” to elite-produced literary sources, Magness continues. “Archaeology is a democratic enterprise [because we] dig up everything, including the houses of ordinary people, which gives a much more complete picture of ancient life.”

Surviving Jewish written documents from this time were produced exclusively by male rabbis, but Magness’ research attests to the presence of women at the site as well. For example, mosaics of two women flank a dedicatory inscription at the synagogue. Magness says that the identities of the women are unknown, but it’s possible they were donors.

Other evidence of female presence is more difficult to point out directly, but is indirectly indicated. For example, ancient houses excavated around the synagogue have included remains of spindle-whorls, and weaving during this time period was primarily a female activity.

Magness says her project has uncovered about two-thirds of the synagogue. There was a significant expansion and re-use of the synagogue during medieval times, but archaeologists still don’t know what that is. This work will take another four to five seasons. More information about the project, including applications for students interesting in joining the dig, is on the Huqoq website.

Magness is not the only female Explorer the National Geographic Museum is highlighting this season. The museum will host an event titled Expand the Field in February on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which will feature women improving our understanding of the world. Then in March, the museum hosts When Women Ruled the World, tied to the opening of the museum’s next exhibition, Queens of Egypt, celebrating legendary queens from ancient Egypt.

In the words of National Geographic’s Lexie de los Santos, “I’m quite proud of this season and I hope it influences women everywhere to realize the impact they can have on our world.”

Magness speaks at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 29. Tickets are $25, and available here.

National Geographic Museum: 1145 17th St. NW, DC; 202-857-7700;

Photo: Courtesy of Gaylord
Photo: Courtesy of Gaylord

‘Tis the Season at Gaylord National Resort

A 55-foot Christmas tree decked out with more than two million lights is suspended from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center’s 19-story atrium, signifying that the holiday season is upon us.

“The holiday season in National Harbor is unlike any in the area,” says Jenna Buck, Gaylord National’s special events director.

After all, where else can one experience colorful, larger-than-life ice sculptures, amazing entertainment shows, indoor snowfalls and more in an indoor wonderland kept at nine degrees? The destination is also walkable and offers picturesque views of the Potomac River along with shopping, dining and millions of twinkling lights to get people in the holiday spirit.

“Every year, we add new and unique offerings to keep Christmas on the Potomac one of the most spectacular holiday experiences in the capital region,” Buck continues. “This year is no different, and we are thrilled with our program lineup.”

More than a dozen holiday activities are planned for the 11th annual Christmas on the Potomac, including Gaylord National’s popular ICE! attraction. This year’s ICE! features one of TV’s most iconic Christmas specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas, as well as four two-story ice slides, a full nativity created from crystal clear ice and two million pounds of colorful ice sculptures hand-carved by 40 artisans from Harbin, China.

“Picking themes for our ICE! attraction can take several years to work through – from getting licensing approvals to creating the designs and more,” Buck says. “A Charlie Brown Christmas is a holiday classic that was high on our list to produce. It’s something that appeals to multiple
generations, and we are excited to showcase 12 scenes from the TV special through larger-than-life, colorful ice sculptures.”

Fans of Charles Schulz’s beloved characters can also take part in the Merry Snoopy Christmas Scavenger Hunt or attend an interactive Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends featuring Snoopy, Linus and other favorites. But ICE! isn’t just for the kids. The Arctic Dash on December 5 is a new event designed for 21-plus visitors making use of the attraction.

“We wanted to create an ICE! experience that would be fun for adults and play to the ‘extreme factor’ of the attraction,” Buck says. “Participants will get to dash through the resort’s nine-degree ICE! attraction in their bathing suits and then celebrate with a signature cocktail in the lobby bar. We hope the event will inspire friends to brave the cold, have fun and get a taste of the holidays at Gaylord.”

Visitors to the resort will also experience two brand new shows in the atrium: a laser light show and the world-class entertainment of Cirque Dreams Unwrapped, both playing through January 1.

“This year’s atrium laser light show is called A Christmas Wish, which tells the story of a grandfather explaining to his grandchild the magic of the Christmas season,” Buck says. “You’ll hear holiday favorite tunes choreographed to our water fountain and laser lights, all set within the resort’s 19-story atrium. It also includes an indoor snowfall, so it’s quite magical.”

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped was designed exclusively for Gaylord National, according to the show’s founder Neil Goldberg.

“It is a 25-minute entertainment attraction that combines Cirque elements, elaborate costuming and theatrics within a stage set that reinforces the Christmas wishes of dreams come true,” the Broadway director says. “The show offers something for everyone and is a perfect experience to share with loved ones.”

Thanks to the enormity of Gaylord National’s atrium, Cirque Dreams Unwrapped is able to present swinging, flying and soaring aerial performances unique to this experience – all designed to emulate the holiday season and share the aspiration of wishing for dreams.

“Some of the acts are magical and majestic, while others truly personify the spirit of possibilities,” Goldberg continues. “We’ve searched the world to engage a couple of young principle artists who showcase their potential through astounding performance artistry as part of the show’s grand finale. Kids will be mesmerized, adults left in awe and all fascinated.”

Buck says Gaylord National couldn’t be more honored to have Cirque Dreams Unwrapped performed for guests during the holiday season.

There’s also a Christmas Village, where guests can ice skate, decorate gingerbread houses, ride a Christmas carousel, sing Christmas carols with Mrs. Claus and get their picture taken with Santa Claus. And the popular Build-A-Bear Workshop returns, allowing kids the chance to create their own cuddly, cute polar bear plush designed exclusively for Gaylord Hotels.

With all of the offerings provided during Christmas on the Potomac, Buck feels the best way to experience the celebration is with an overnight stay. Guests who book one of their holiday packages get exclusive perks with ICE! including unlimited entry to the attraction, a special admission line and early access to the attraction on weekends. Guests can also upgrade to an atrium view room.

The holiday season is traditionally a time to gather, share, reflect and celebrate together with loved ones. The events during Christmas on the Potomac offer the perfect entertainment options that appeal to audiences of all ages.

“At the end of every holiday season, we look back at all of our offerings to review what was popular and discuss what we are missing, as we are always looking to add to our events and create some of the best holiday entertainment in the region,” Buck says. “At the end of the day,
our goal is to provide an experience where people walk away with smiles on their faces and memories that will last a lifetime.”

ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas runs from Friday, November 16 through Tuesday, January 1 with tickets starting at $24 for children and $32 for adults. Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends runs from Saturday, November 17 through Monday, December 31 with tickets starting at $26.99 for children and $39.99 for ages 12 and older. Cirque Dreams Unwrapped runs from Friday, November 16 through Tuesday, January 1 with tickets starting at $19.99 for all ages; limited free seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Christmas on the Potomac tickets and holiday packages are available at or by calling 301-965-4000.

Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center: 201 Waterfront St. National Harbor, MD; 301-965-4000

Photo: Trent Johnson
Photo: Trent Johnson

2018 Places to Party: A Go-To Guide to DMV Venues

Welcome to On Tap Magazine’s 2018 Places to Party guide, your go-to resource for the best venues in the DMV to host a party. In the listings that follow, you’ll find a broad selection of venues ready and able to help you plan the perfect party. From a small happy hour with friends to a blowout bash, these locales can handle it all.

b DC Penn Quarter

b DC Penn Quarter
801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC | 202-808-8720

Award-winning burgers, all-American beer and the best bourbons are just the beginning. Conveniently located in the Navy Memorial Plaza in DC’s Penn Quarter neighborhood, b DC Penn Quarter is Washington’s headquarters for “good times, made locally.” Their handcrafted, modern American comfort food and beverages are the perfect additions to your next company meeting, holiday party, social event or corporate function. They offer space for 137 people inside, plus 60 on the patio and two semiprivate areas seating 40 and 24 guests each. They can accommodate a wide variety of events. Offsite catering is also available, including for events held at the Navy Memorial. For more information, give them a call at 202-808-8720 or email them at

b One Loudoun

b One Loudoun
20416 Exchange St. Ashburn, VA | 703-723-2900

Award-winning burgers, all-American beer and the best bourbons are just the beginning. Conveniently located in Ashburn’s One Loudoun Center, b One Loudoun is NoVA’s headquarters for “good times, made locally.” Their handcrafted, modern American comfort food and beverages are the perfect additions to your next company meeting, holiday party, social event or corporate function. With space for 180-plus people inside and another semiprivate area seating 42 guests, they can accommodate a wide variety of events. Offsite catering is also available. For more information, give them a call at 703-723-2900 or email them at

Barley Mac 1

Barley Mac
1600 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA | 571-800-3070

Barley Mac’s innovative twists on American comfort foods will please the taste buds while their extensive specialty liquor menu is sure to excite even the most ardent cocktail enthusiasts. With an industrial chic interior, plentiful seating and large bar area, Barley Mac is an ideal drinking and dining choice for groups of all sizes.

Blackwall Hitch

Blackwall Hitch, Alexandria
5 Cameron St. Alexandria, VA | 703-739-6090

Blackwall Hitch is located in the heart of charming Old Town Alexandria. They create a dining experience blending the area’s finest in tastes and talents with a coastally-inspired concept that creates a local connection. Here you’ll find seasonally-driven and locally-sourced food and spirits, great local music, and the area’s friendliest staff and patrons. Their philosophy is genuine and simple: they are here to create a dining experience that is unique and exceeds expectations. Whether it’s their signature flaming crab dip, oysters shucked at your request or custom-crafted cocktails, they deliver an experience you are guaranteed to remember. They also create events that you will remember forever. Their beautifully appointed dining rooms are perfect for any event. From bridal luncheons to rehearsal dinners to family reunions and graduations, their special events manager will guide you through every step, making sure your event goes off without a hitch.

Bluemont Vineyard

Bluemont Vineyard
18755 Foggy Bottom Rd. Bluemont, VA | 540-554-8439

Located 30 minutes from Dulles Airport, Bluemont Vineyard is easily accessible while feeling a world away. Sitting at 951 feet atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, the farmhouse-inspired tasting room overlooks Loudoun Valley and will set the tone for your special gathering. Bluemont’s personalized service and exceptional attention to detail is at your disposal to combine with the perfect space and experience for a memorable event. Visit them at or email to start planning your next celebration.

Bobby McKey's Dueling Piano Bar

Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar
172 Fleet St. National Harbor, MD | 301-602-2209

Music is our Rx! If you’re looking for that out-of-the-box, unique celebration that will give guests memories to last a lifetime, look no further. Bobby McKey’s features an interactive show that pairs all-request live music with improvisational humor sure to entertain even the stuffiest of colleagues. With exposed brick walls and lofty ceilings, McKey’s offers a rustically cool event space. Your next corporate function, class reunion, bachelorette party or holiday event will be elevated with their unique entertainment, delicious catering and custom drink packages. Just a short stroll from the Gaylord National Convention Center and the MGM National Harbor, their location puts you in a prime spot just minutes from DC and Virginia.

Cafe Berlin

Café Berlin
322 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC | 202-543-7656

Café Berlin is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays. The restaurant is decked out for Christmas in true German style. The private party room can accommodate up to 45 people for a seated dinner, and a standing reception is always an option as well. Need room for more people? The full restaurant is at your disposal. Café Berlin can accommodate up to 60 guests in its two dining rooms. The seasonally-inspired
draft beer selections and Glühwein, or German hot mulled wine, are always a delight and the winter wild game menu will wow your guests.

Cafe Citron (3) overhead shot

Cafe Citron
1343 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC | 202-530-8844

Tucked away on the south side of Dupont Circle, Cafe Citron is a colorful, Latin international restaurant, bar and lounge uniquely decorated with a funky, inviting and eclectic flair. They’re always a favorite for holiday company parties, birthdays, bachelorette, bachelor, breakup and yes, divorce parties. The restaurant can fit any budget to accommodate 10 to 200 guests with no room fee. Bottle service starts at $200, pitchers at $50 and large platters at $75 are available for large groups. The entire main floor is available for private happy hours from 5-8 p.m. at no fee as long as a minimum of $400 is spent between 15 to 100 guests. Voted the number one Latino happy hour in town with small plates from $3.50 to $10, they carry a vast selection of Latin American beers, delicious specialty drinks and fabulous tapas platter selections with the best mojitos in the city. International DJs, a live Latin percussionist and dancers are available for hire for your event, as well as music, microphone and projector usage at your request. Cafe Citron transforms into a nightclub Monday through Saturday after 10 p.m. They host free salsa classes Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. They also offer free bachata classes Thursdays at 8 p.m. Looking for a fun and unforgettable venue? Cafe Citron is it. They even offer free shots for birthdays. Please text 202 422-3005 or email for more information or check them out online at

Photo: Scott Suchman

Photo: Scott Suchman

50 Blagden Aly. NW, DC | 202-791-0134

Located in DC’s historic Blagden Alley, Calico is a restaurant, bar and urban backyard. Stop by and enjoy a variety of beverages and elevated, cookout-style fare designed to be enjoyed with a group. Signature bites include Chef Nathan Beauchamp’s take on cookout classics like Carolina BBQ ribs, lobster mac & cheese, and crab cakes. Nibble fare, sip on unique craft cocktails in nostalgic, single-serve drink pouches, or enjoy a drink from the large selection of beer, wine and cocktails on draft that reflect Calico’s relaxed, communal atmosphere. Let Calico help plan your next birthday party, happy hour or holiday gathering. Send the Calico team some details on what they’re looking for and they’ll be happy to help. For more information, email or call 202-791-0134.

Chart House

Chart House
1 Cameron St. Alexandria, VA | 703-684-5080

Chart House Alexandria is situated on the Potomac River, where you take in spectacular views of the Capitol while feasting on an impressive menu. Enjoy fresh fish specialties such as mac nut mahi, slow-roasted prime rib and the signature hot chocolate lava cake. With three semiprivate dining areas, Chart House is the perfect location to host your party or event. The Capitol and Sequoia Rooms are surrounded by windows on three sides, allowing you and your guests to enjoy panoramic views of the Potomac and downtown DC. Open for lunch Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; dinner Monday through Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4-11 p.m.; Sunday champagne brunch 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday dinner 2-10 p.m. Chart House has the best happy hour in town Monday through Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. featuring delectable appetizers starting at $4 and signature cocktails starting at $6. Reservations can be made online.

CIRCA at Chinatown

CIRCA at Chinatown
781 7th St. NW, DC | 202-628-7777

Conveniently located by Capital One Arena, the Washington Convention Center and Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro, CIRCA at Chinatown is an American restaurant featuring seasonal classics and delicious, neighborhood-inspired food and drinks. The massive restaurant concept provides multiple seating options across two levels for large parties and private happy hour events. The first level offers the craft cocktail Dragon Bar, complete with an extra-long granite bar and room for 125 standing guests. The second level features the main dining room for up to 100 seated guests, an additional bar upstairs for 40 standing guests, a glass-enclosed private dining room for 36 seated guests and a semiprivate lounge for 12 seated guests. The CIRCA team works with you to tailor the space and create special menus to make your next gathering unforgettable. Email them at to book your next happy hour, party or event.

Crafthouse 1

Crafthouse, Fairfax
11861 Palace Way, Fairfax, VA | 703-825-1811

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect place to host the beer connoisseurs in your life, look no further than Crafthouse Fairfax. With an extensive, rotating cast of draft and bottled beers, there’s no shortage of great brews available for your party – especially seasonal offerings. In addition to beer, you can choose from handcrafted cocktails, a diverse offering of food and daily specials. They also offer happy hour from 3-9 p.m. Entertain your guests with trivia, live music or football games, and be sure to check out Crafthouse’s website for special happenings.

Photo: T. Buell

Photo: T. Buell

DC Brau
3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC | 202-621-8890

Looking for a truly unique space for your next event? DC Brau offers a variety of event spaces for company meetings, birthday parties, receptions, holiday gatherings or any special occasion. The brewing company can accommodate groups of all sizes, ranging from a small squad to parties of 500 of your closest friends or associates. In addition to the tasting room and side bar, DC Brau now offers a new space called The Lodge with a long private bar and comfortable seating. Of course, the full brewery is also available for a truly one of-a-kind experience. Email DC Brau at and follow them on social media @dcbrau.

The Fainting Goat

The Fainting Goat
1330 U St. NW, DC | 202-735-0344

A local place to call your own, the Fainting Goat is a favorite neighborhood spot in DC’s U Street Corridor. Enjoy great cocktails and food in a relaxed atmosphere right in the heart of the bustling U Street nightlife. With fresh and local nibbles, craft beer and spirits, and friendly staff, Fainting Goat is the place you’ll keep coming back to. Let their team help you plan your holiday party, happy hour, seated dinner or any occasion. Send them a little information about what you are looking for and they will get back to you as soon as possible. Email or call 202-735-0344 for more information.

Finn McCool's

Finn McCool’s
713 8th St. SE, DC | 202-507-8277

Finn McCool’s is the ultimate event space on Capitol Hill. The private, second-story venue can accommodate 80 guests and boasts a piano stage, private bar and exceptional audio/video options with Bose surround sound. Finn’s event team is on hand to cater to your every need, offering entertainment options, transportation assistance, custom food and beverage packages, and decoration assistance. They make creating a unique and unforgettable event easy. From business breakfast meetings and lunches to happy hours, receptions and holiday parties, Finn’s has you covered. For more information on reserving the premier party space for large parties in the main dining room or to book the entire restaurant, please contact marketing and beverage director James Abbott for additional information at or 410-989-3564.

Fire Works Pizzeria

Fire Works Pizza, Arlington
2350 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA | 703-527-8700

Fire Works Pizzeria & Bar is one of Arlington’s most popular restaurants, with a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere perfect for your next holiday party, celebration or office gathering. Known for wood-fired artisan pizza and voted number one in NoVA, Fire Works has a full menu of appetizers, entrees, sandwiches and more, plus a great banquet menu for planning your festivities. With over 30 draft beers, 100-plus bottle and can beer selections, a well-balanced wine list, and a full bar featuring inventive craft cocktails, your guests won’t lack for great food and drink. Fire Works offers a private party room for up to 40, an outdoor patio for 50 or more during fair weather, or larger events upwards of 100 in the main dining space. Fire Works’ expert culinary team is ready to help you create the perfect private party to fire up your guests. For more information and to book your next party, call 703-527-8700 or email events coordinator Viri Morales at


Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
555 South 23rd St. Arlington, VA | 703-685-0555

Add some color, flair and wonder to your next party by booking it with Freddie’s Beach Bar. From the décor to the atmosphere, this is a fun place for any occasion to throw a party. From speeches to shows, Freddie’s is well-prepared to entertain with its stage equipped with wireless, microphones, lighting, TVs and more. The karaoke collection includes over 20,000 songs so you can sing your heart out. From hosting parties of four to 120 patrons, you’re sure to have a great party. For fabulous food, décor, entertainment and lasting memories, book your next party or event at Freddie’s Beach Bar. For more information on Freddie’s, visit or call 703-685-0555.

Gordon Biersch - Navy Yard

Gordon Biersch, Navy Yard
100 M St. SE, DC | 202-484-2739

Gordon Biersch features handcrafted beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Purity, precision and perfection are the hallmarks of its premium, German-style biers. Crafted to the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, Gordon Biersch uses only the highest-quality Weyermann Malt from Bamberg, authentic Bavarian Hersbrucker hops and pure, filtered water to develop a range of well-balanced flavors for every discerning taste. Situated only a few blocks from Nationals Stadium in Southeast DC, Gordon Biersch offers fresh, handcrafted beer and premium, made-from-scratch food, all served up in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Surrounded by modern day décor and handsome wood furnishings, guests are able to watch the brewing process through the glass-walled brewery.

Gordon Biersch - Rockville

Gordon Biersch, Rockville
200 East Middle Ln. Rockville, MD | 301-340-7159

Gordon Biersch features handcrafted beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Purity, precision and perfection are the hallmarks of its premium, German-style biers. Crafted to the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, Gordon Biersch uses only the highest-quality Weyermann Malt from Bamberg, authentic Bavarian Hersbrucker hops, and pure, filtered water to develop a range of well-balanced flavors for every discerning taste. Situated in the Town Square in Rockville, Maryland, Gordon Biersch offers fresh, handcrafted beer and premium, made-from-scratch food, all served up in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Surrounded by modern day décor and handsome wood furnishings, guests are able to watch the brewing process through the glass-walled brewery.

Gordon Biersch - Tysons Corner

Gordon Biersch, Tysons Corner
7861 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA | 703-388-5454

Gordon Biersch features handcrafted beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Purity, precision and perfection are the hallmarks of its premium, German-style biers. Crafted to the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, Gordon Biersch uses only the highest-quality Weyermann Malt from Bamberg, authentic Bavarian Hersbrucker hops and pure, filtered water to develop a range of well-balanced flavors for every discerning taste. Located in the largest shopping mall in the DC area and just minutes away from the nation’s capital, Gordon Biersch Tysons Corner is a favorite among locals and visitors. The restaurant can accommodate 436 guests with indoor and patio dining. Included are two banquet facilities that are available for group dining and private parties. The restaurant features seven plasma televisions, as well as a magnificent view of the restaurant’s brewing facilities. Brewery tours and beer samplings are given by the brewmaster and staff.

Greene Turtle

The Greene Turtle, Alexandria
7879 Heneska Loop, Alexandria, VA | 703-971-0200

The Greene Turtle’s party room can accommodate small and large gatherings, as well as any size in between. Featuring several large, flat-screen TVs, your group can enjoy presentations or sporting events while enjoying food buffet-style or served lunches and dinners. There’s no fee to reserve the room, and the team works to ensure you and your guests are taken care of by dedicated servers and menu options that fit any budget.

Hawk 'n' Dove

Hawk ‘n’ Dove
329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC | 202-547-0030

Hawk ‘n’ Dove is equipped to welcome anyone in search of an exceptional way to celebrate with a variety of private dining and event options for any occasion, year-round. With each event, you’ll receive customized food and drink packages, entertainment options and transportation assistance, plus accommodations for all audio and video needs on their Bose surround sound system. Parties of 10 to 100 guests may enjoy a seated or cocktail experience in the expansive private area with a dedicated bar and service station. For larger parties, reach out for full restaurant rental availability at or 410-989-3564.

Heavy Seas Alehouse

Heavy Seas Alehouse
1501 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA | 703-879-4388

Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn is a place where sailors tell stories but parties become legends. Fans of Heavy Seas Beer can experience Baltimore’s best and locally owned craft brewery in their own backyard in Arlington alongside some of the top regional and national craft beers. The menus feature fresh and seasonal ingredients that they source locally whenever possible. The dishes are simple in appearance, with bold and assertive flavors that stand up to the intense beers Heavy Seas is known for. With multiple options for private dining and group functions, Heavy Seas Alehouse looks forward to hosting your private event or celebration. Call or email to reserve your party today at

KO Distilling

KO Distilling
10381 Central Park Dr. Suite 105, Manassas, VA | 571-292-1115

KO Distilling boasts a beautiful copper and oak-themed, 2,500-square-foot event center that can hold up to 88 people, and features a banquet hall, stunning tasting room and ADA-compliant restrooms. The banquet hall comes with ample seating, and the view of KO Distilling’s state-of-the-art distilling plant is remarkable and definitively unique. The tasting room includes a handsome bar, four crank-up style circular tables, two large Chesterfield-style leather couches and a gas fireplace. Edison light bulbs, a tin ceiling and an overhang constructed of used bourbon barrel staves work together to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Visit to learn more and inquire.


711 8th St. SE, DC | 202-846-7728

Lola’s on Barracks Row is the perfect place to host your private function. This flexible space will take the pressure off your shoulders and impress your guests. Lola’s second story space features a pool table, outdoor patio and full bar and can accommodate parties of up to 50 guests. Plus, Lola’s will happily and personally arrange your special event or reservation for any group up to 150. With each event, you’ll receive customized food and drink packages, as well as accommodations on all audio and video needs on the Bose surround sound system. Larger parties can reach out for full restaurant rental availability at or 410-989-3564.

Madame Tussauds 1

Madame Tussauds
1001 F St. NW, DC | 202-942-7310

Host your next special event at Madame Tussauds – Washington DC. Whether you want to brush elbows with the presidents or mingle with the stars, your guests are sure to have a time they will never forget. Featuring 14,000 square feet of interactive space, Madame Tussauds – Washington DC is a memorable, dramatic and fun venue for any and all occasions: company parties, cocktail receptions, birthday celebrations, networking events, product launches, seated dinners, holiday parties, fundraisers and much more. Madame Tussauds works with many of the District’s best caterers, photographers, videographers and the hottest DJs – all the connections to make your event a red carpet affair. Located in the historic Penn Quarter neighborhood, Madame Tussauds is centrally located just steps away from the National Mall, Chinatown and Gallery Place and easily accessible by rail, bus and car. Contact Madame Tussauds at 1-888-WAX-IN-DC or visit

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub
713 King St. Alexandria, VA | 703-548-1717

Murphy’s of Alexandria has over 40 years of experience in catering to large groups and has successfully hosted every type of event ranging from holiday office parties to rehearsal dinners, retirement parties to fundraising events and even small group gatherings. The upstairs is available to rent for private functions and can accommodate up to 100 people for receptions or sit-down dining. It features a cozy, three-sided, open-stone fireplace that allows for fireside dining. A full bar is available, offering a vast selection of domestic and international beers, premium and house liquors, and an assortment of premium wines. A stage is located at the front of the room, which can be used for presentations or entertainment.


Ophelia’s Fish House
501 8th St. SE, DC | 202-543-1445

From fundraisers and receptions to corporate events and dinners, Ophelia’s Fish House is the premier private event venue on Capitol Hill. With 2,100 square feet of private event space, every event is tailored to meet and exceed your expectations. Customized food and drink packages, as well as an array of entertainment and transportation options, are just some of the allure of Ophelia’s. Enjoy an extensive craft beer and wine list, a widespread selection of handcrafted cocktails and an outside patio with a dedicated bar and service station. Email their marketing and beverage director, James Abbott, to book Ophelia’s for your next event today at or call 410-989-3564.


520 8th St. SE, DC | 202-544-1168

Dark, sexy and upscale, Orchid Bar is the perfect venue for your next soirée. Rent out the entire space to enjoy customized food and cocktail options along the 42-foot, marble-clad bar (DC’s longest) and on the outdoor patio with a firepit. Orchid’s event team is on hand to provide entertainment, transportation and decoration assistance, and the venue can accommodate all audio and video needs. With 2,300 square feet of private event space, every event there is tailored to exceed your expectations. Limited availability for parties of 10 to 125. Email their marketing and beverage director, James Abbott, to book Orchid Bar for your next event today at or call 410-989-3564.


Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
203 Crown Park Ave. Gaithersburg, MD | 301-330-4400
1905 Towne Centre Blvd. Annapolis, MD | 410-897-1022

Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar is a fresh, colorful and fun Latin American restaurant experience inspired by Central and South America, Cuba and the Latin Caribbean. Their Gaithersburg and Annapolis locations offer ample private party space and are a refreshing break from the norm. They can easily accommodate any and all dietary needs and restrictions and help you stay within your budget. And with a menu of more than 100 rums from around the world, they know how to get your party started right. Contact them today to book your no-frills private party event for the holidays. Visit for more information or to get started.

Pearl Street Warehouse

Pearl Street Warehouse
33 Pearl St. SW, DC | 202-380-9620

Pearl Street Warehouse is filled with the sounds of all-American music and offers a relaxed, intimate atmosphere unmatched by any other local venue. With a 300-person capacity, two large bars, state-of-the art A/V capabilities, and the opportunity to work with their expert booking team to book a band or performance, Pearl Street Warehouse is the ideal spot to host your event. Contact for more information.

Penn Social

Penn Social
801 E St. NW, DC | 202-697-4900

Penn Social is a massive, versatile venue located in the heart of Penn Quarter, just two blocks from Capital One Arena. The popular locale is home to three unique bars, seasonal patio seating, 30-plus draught beers, two stages, over 15 arcade games, a collection of board games and much more. Penn Social is your go-to spot, whether you want to host a small happy hour party, a huge holiday party or a daytime panel discussion for your 200-person office. For the sports fan, Penn Social features a 22-foot HD theater screen, with seven additional HD projection screens and HDTV’s throughout. Interested in checking out their space? Join them for their daily 4-7 p.m. Happy hour which features $2 off all beers, as well as $5 rail drinks and $6 wines.

Public Bar

Public Bar
1214 B 18th St. NW, DC | 202-223-2200

With the holidays approaching, Public Bar’s lounge level is the perfect place for your company to host this year’s holiday party. With space for all your guests, great food, drinks and a private floor that fits up to 150 people, Public Bar is the perfect place for your next event. They host corporate happy hours, watch parties, fundraisers and other parties. Their catering menu can be customized to serve anywhere between 20 to 250 people with all of your favorite bar foods. If you want to celebrate your birthday or plan a special event, check out Public Bar’s rooftop and get a private table and party to the sounds of their in-house DJs. Email them at to inquire about upcoming events, or to book your next party and table reservation.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
42461 Lovettsville Rd. Lovettsville, VA | 540-822-9017

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm provides a unique location for any event: wedding, rehearsal dinner, corporate events, birthday, holiday parties, or baby and bridal showers. What could be more perfect or more magical than idyllic views in every direction and a breathtaking panoramic view of the Potomac River? The chef will help customize a menu offering progressive, local, earth-to-table cuisine. The team wants to assist you throughout your entire journey, accommodating your vision and ensuring your event is truly unforgettable. Country-style and peaceful with nature’s splendor surrounding you, enjoy the casual, quaint feel – the perfect venue for your special occasion.

Sauf Haus 2

Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten
1216 18th St. NW, DC | 202-466-3355

Conveniently located in the heart of Dupont Circle, Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten is a multilevel traditional German biergarten. The massive 5,000-square-foot space is a historic building established in 1922, formerly known as the Guitar Shop. The first level offers the foosball room, complete with two foosball tables, a projector and room for 150 standing guests. The second level features the patio inside bar, a more intimate bar space for up to 150 standing guests and the biergarten for up to 200 guests. The Sauf Haus DC team has an event coordinator onsite to work with you to tailor the space and create special menus to make your next gathering unforgettable. Email them at to inquire to book your next happy hour, party or event.

Sign of the Whale

Sign of the Whale
1825 M St. NW, DC | 202-290-3310

Washington, DC’s Sign of the Whale, a Dupont icon for nearly one-half century, is the most dynamic establishment in DC to combine both work and play. The Whale offers lunch, happy hour, trivia and an upbeat nightlife on the weekend. It’s also home to the Philadelphia Eagles and Ohio State football. The Whale is a true neighborhood bar that will make you feel welcome from the moment you step inside. The main bar is large and expansive while the upstairs loft bar provides a private and intimate experience. With availability to rent out the upstairs bar, back dining area or the entire bar, the Whale can host your event of up to 250 people for birthday parties, bachelorette/bachelor parties, corporate happy hours, holiday parties, luncheons, reunions or fundraisers. They also offer many different drink packages and a delicious catering menu to meet your needs. For more information, visit their website at or email them at


Siné Irish Pub & Restaurant
1301 S. Joyce St. Arlington, VA | 703-415-4420

Siné, Gaelic for “this is it,” boasts architecture, furniture and décor straight from the Emerald Isle. A fullservice bar features 18 different draft beers and a professional and friendly wait staff makes Siné the perfect setting for business lunches and after-work family gatherings or groups for sporting events. They have an ideal space for any size celebration. Reserved party spaces are available to accommodate up to 80 people for sit-down dining, or up to 150 for a cocktail or casual mingling event. Rooms are available seven days a week at no additional charge. Party platters featuring finger foods are also available. Prices vary based on the size and needs of the party. To make your reservation, email or call Monday through Thursday between 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Smith Commons 1

Smith Commons
1245 H St. NE, DC | 202-396-0038

Smith Commons is a three-story dining room and public house that makes you feel right at home. The exposed brick and big bay window offer a casual yet vintage atmosphere. They host several events like weddings and corporate meetings and offer private dining as well – the venue has proven to be a go-to gathering space in the heart of the Atlas Arts District. Each guest will get to experience a customized menu and drink package, as well as A/V services. They create great memories! Contact Jessica Sturgis for additional information at 202-607-5561 and/or

Tavira 2

Tavira Restaurant
8401 Connecticut Ave. Chevy Chase, MD | 301-652-8684

Tavira has been an award-winning restaurant since 1999. They provide a fine dining experience in a family friendly setting. Enjoy authentic Portuguese and Mediterranean selections. Along with their regular menu, they offer several daily specials and two three-course meals: a Portuguese tasting menu (seven days a week) and a three-course, prix fixe menu (Sunday through Thursday). Also, enjoy Happy Hour Monday-Friday in their attractive bar. There is plenty of free garage parking. Visit their website for more information.

Tio Javier

Tio Javier
514 8th St. SE, DC | 202-507-8143

Planning a fiesta? Host your next event at Tio’s in one of their festive and inviting event spaces. Their heated rooftop features a private bar, fire pits and can comfortably accommodate 150 standing guests or 50 seated. Their first-floor dining space also has a private bar, opens up to historic Barracks Row, seats 40 and can host up to 80 standing guests. For larger parties, contact them about full restaurant rental availability. While they’ve got an extensive tequila selection, you’ll also receive customized food and drink packages for your event. Audio/video, entertainment and transportation options available. ¡Olé! Email for more information.

The Urban Winery 1

The Urban Winery
949 Bonifant St. Silver Spring, MD | 301-585-4100

Taste. Learn. Create. The Urban Winery is located just over the District line in downtown Silver Spring. Guests can enjoy a thriving winery setting without driving to a pasture. Family-owned and operated, their winery and restaurant caters to corporate events, sip and paint parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and showers and anniversaries. Cozy up with your friends in their barrel room. Have a group of 10 to 20 people? Sign up for their private winemaking classes. At the Urban Winery, guests are encouraged to explore their inner winemaker and indulge in their Mediterranean-style menu. The heart of their business is carrying on the legacy of their father Anthony, who immigrated from Greece and enjoyed making wine. Please visit for more information. Follow them on Facebook @theurbanwinery, Instagram @the_urbanwinery, Twitter @urbanwinery_ss and Yelp at


Tysons Galleria, 2001 International Dr. McLean, VA | 703-442-9110

When looking to host a private event in Tysons, look no further than Wildfire. Their selection of party rooms is perfect for both private and semiprivate events. Contact their parties and special events managers at 703-442-9110, and they’ll assist you in planning your special occasion from beginning to end.

  • Holiday parties
  • Corporate events, meetings and presentation
  • Cocktail receptions
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Baby and bridal showers
  • Rehearsal dinners
  • Celebratory brunches

Wildfire McLean features six private room options to host any breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner event. Their private rooms accommodate 20 to 120 people and are equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. In addition, valet parking is available.


300 Tingey St. SE, DC | 202-651-6375

Whether you are planning a tailgate, happy hour or corporate event – or just gathering with friends to watch your favorite team – Willie’s is the perfect venue. Located just steps from Nationals Park in Navy Yard, their open-space venue rises above the rest and features fi nger-lickin’ barbeque, a wide selection of draft beers and craft cocktails. With 360-degree views of the game, Willie’s is the perfect setting for fans to show off their city and host an event. Private and semiprivate space available for 10 to 300 guests. Good friends. Good times. Great food. Contact them today to plan your next event, or to cater your next party or tailgate. Email them at for more information.