Thursday night at VY | Reston Heights’ Grand Opening, guests enjoyed complimentary light fare from local favorites like Reston Kabob and PassionFish, ice cold beer and wine on the pool deck, and live music from Darcy Dawn while being able to tour the new property. Photos: Mark Van Bergh Photography
DelFest was born from the desire to create a family-friendly music festival celebrating the rich legacy of McCoury music by providing a forum for world-class musical collaborations while also exposing fresh new talent. Check out the photos from this year’s iteration. Photos: Mark Raker
After finally winning the elusive Stanley Cup, the Washington Capitals celebrated with the entire city of DC, and the fans from surrounding areas, with a packed day full of speeches, music and tons of chants. Photos: Mark Raker
Welcome to On Tap’s 2018 Outdoor Dining Guide – a collection of the best places in DC, Maryland and Virginia to eat and drink in the great outdoors all summer long, day or night! Cheers and see you outside!
301 Water St. SE | 202-484-0301
Agua 301 celebrates the culture and cuisine of Mexico by taking contemporary Mexican cuisine and infusing it with modern flair. This is not Tex Mex. Their chef tweaks traditional Mexican ingredients and flavor profiles through experimental ingredient combinations and serves it up waterside in Yards Park. Whether you are looking for a beautiful view of the water with an amazing breeze, need a tasty libation or a delicious dinner before or after the baseball game, they are there to serve you. Come join them for brunch Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. featuring bottomless mimosas, margaritas, sangria and Bloody Marys. Happy hour is 3:30-7 p.m. daily or contact them for your next event or private party. This is the place to be this summer in Yards Park.
Art and Soul at Liaison Capitol Hill
415 New Jersey Ave. NW | 202-393-7777
Join the Art and Soul group al fresco on their patio for after work happy hours and weekend brunches. Featuring local draft beers and craft cocktails, each drink is paired carefully with the cuisine of Chef Douglas Alexander to give you an unparalleled dining experience. A welcome oasis in the heart of Capitol Hill, enjoy a great drink and meal while relaxing in the warm weather.
3300 Wisconsin Ave. NW | 202-686-7222
Founded in December 1990 by Raul Sanchez and Luis Reyes, Cactus Cantina is a fun, engaging, casual, family-friendly restaurant serving the best Tex-Mex specialties in the Washington area. Cactus Cantina resembles a true, authentic Tex-Mex cantina with the capacity to host over 300 guests. The restaurant also serves up Cuban, Spanish and South American dishes. Decked out with sombreros, cowboy boots and horse saddles, this local watering hole will transport you away from the bustling streets of DC into a western pueblo of your own.
Canopy Central Café & Bar
975 7th St. SW | 202-488-2500
At Canopy, one of their cornerstones is “thoughtfully local” and at Canopy Central Café & Bar, that rings true. There’s always a light snack, a casual menu with healthful choices or an inviting craft cocktail waiting for you. Or simply relax with a cup of Swings coffee and a locally baked pastry on the outdoor courtyard while taking in the breathtaking views of The Wharf (www.wharfdc.com). Craft beers and local distilleries are also represented in the menu. From business lunches to pre-dinner drinks and everything in between, the options at Canopy Central are always refreshingly satisfying.
960 Wharf St. SW
Cantina Marina may be gone for the next few years, but Cantina Bambina is here to fill the void. DC’s newest dock bar is the only one of its kind. With great views, cool breezes and cold drinks, Bambina has everything you need. Located above their Snack Bar, which features quesadillas and frozen custard, they’re the coolest spot in DC’s hottest neighborhood. Get away without going away. The snack bar is open until 9 p.m. every night and the main bar is open until 11 p.m.
400 E St. SW | 202-803-6110
CityBar is a rooftop bar and lounge at the Hyatt Place Washington DC/National Mall featuring a full bar, food, live entertainment and sweeping views of DC. They are one of Southwest quadrant’s newest additions, providing a unique rooftop experience with impeccable yet casual cocktails and food to complement an unobstructed view of the entire city. CityBar is the perfect destination for every kind of evening – from work happy hours, to romantic drinks with sunset views, to Saturday nights out on the town.
El Centro D.F.
1819 14th St. NW | 202-328-3131
A Mexican cantina with a modern twist, El Centro D.F. offers signature Mexican flavors and traditional dishes in a festive Mexico-City style atmosphere clad with sugar skulls, reclaimed wood and Mexican newspapers. Join them all summer on their rooftop. Specials include happy hour from Monday to Friday from 3-7 p.m. with all-night happy hour on Mondays, $2 tacos all day on Tuesdays, $5 margaritas on Wednesdays and half priced sangria on Sundays ($20 carafes, $11 half carafes, $4.50 glasses).
713 8th St. SE | 202-507-8277
Named after the hunter-warrior in Irish mythology, Fionn mac Cumhaill, Finn McCool’s honors our troops and their fellow soldiers on Barracks Row, promising endless conversations and stories to develop amongst friends. Finn McCool’s American Oak interior, two story skylights, mammoth bars, 48 taps, multiple projector screens, surround system and a patio makes them a favorite amongst troops, neighborhood locals and staffers on The Hill for sport’s viewing parties and private events.
The Front Page
1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW | 202-296-6500
Located in Dupont Circle, just steps from the Dupont Metro stop, The Front Page has two bars, a lively dining room and a large patio. The patio is open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and late night. Join them every Thursday night from 4 p.m. to close for $3 Corona and Corona Light and free tacos starting at 6 p.m. while supplies last. Please call 202-296-6500 for more information. #Frontpagedc @dcfrontpage
100 M St. SE | 202-484-2739
Gordon Biersch features hand-crafted beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Purity, precision and perfection are the hallmarks of the premium German style biers. Crafted to the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot – or German Beer Purity Law – they use 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 just blocks away from Nationals Park in the Navy Yard, enjoy the outdoor patio while sipping on house-brewed beer and sampling delightful dishes from their expansive menu.
Hank’s Cocktail Bar
819 Upshur St. NW | 202-290-1808
Hank’s Cocktail Bar follows the lead of the Hank’s Family kitchens, using fresh produce and seasonal flavors. Their cocktails shine bright and their bartenders can’t wait to give you a sip. Hank’s Cocktail Bar is a cocktail playground and a space to highlight the fabulous bar programs that have preceded them. Order a hand-crafted cocktail and make your way into their private summer garden area. The enclosed back patio is the perfect place to sip away the season.
Hank’s Oyster Bar
1624 Q St. NW | 202-462-4265
633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE | 202-733-1971
701 Wharf St. SW | 202-817-3055
Hank’s Oyster Bar patrons enjoy coastal favorites and New England beach fare classics like lobster rolls, daily fish specials and meat ‘n’ two. Lightly fried items such as the popcorn shrimp and calamari and Ipswich clams balance Hank’s ice bar options which consist of a selection of raw oysters, tartar and ceviche. Enjoy it all on the patio at three of their DC locations – their expansive flagship in Dupont Circle, their exclusive outdoor seating on Capitol Hill or on their waterfront patio on The Wharf.
Hawk ‘n’ Dove
329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE | 202-547-0030
Hawk ‘n’ Dove was the venerable meeting place where both sides of the brains behind HND got together, politically speaking. Since 1967 the arguments ebbed and flowed, and eventually everyone just moved on to drinking and laughing together. More than 50 years later, they honor the tradition of the original ethos and embrace that legacy. The menu looks to their heritage and celebrates it with real food and their brunch, lunch and dinner menus are done from scratch – old school applied to new school.
James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar
1 Dupont Circle, NW | 202-223-8440
James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar is home to the largest patio in the District. Located in the heart of Dupont Circle, the restaurant is one block from the metro and surrounded by the excitement of everyday city life. With a patio bar and multiple large TV’s, the patio serves as a haven for the busy workers wanting a quick bite for lunch, can be a sunny spot to spend happy hour sipping on delicious summer cocktails or works as a weekly meeting site for weekend brunch. Closing at 1:30 a.m. on the weekdays and 2:30 a.m. on the weekends, this location providing authentic Irish hospitality is certainly a destination for a great night out. Open at 11:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and 10:30 a.m. for brunch on the weekend.
711 8th St. SE | 202-846-7728
Lola’s is a place where reality and urban legend often collide, and the history of true Washingtonians is displayed throughout the venue’s décor. With its three levels, lovely back porches, wood-burning fireplace, two 9’ regulation leather pocket pool tables, house infused liquors, craft cocktails and gastro pub cuisine, Lola’s welcomes neighbors, friends and strangers. At Lola’s, history and craftsmanship split all barriers.
1825 14th St. NW | 202-328-1414
Masa 14 offers creative small plates drawing from Asian and Latin cuisine for a unique dining experience in a modern backdrop. From sushi topped with charred pineapple and creamy coconut sauce, to apple dumplings paired with matcha whipped cream – these unique bites are not to be missed. Endless eats and bottomless cocktails take center stage every Saturday and Sunday during Masa 14’s popular bottomless brunch. The space includes a bar, lounge, dining room, dog-friendly outdoor patio and spacious rooftop.
98 District Sq. NW | 202-516-4656
Located at the District Wharf DC, MI VIDA boasts more than 100 seats on three conditioned waterfront patios including a 30-seat balcony level overlooking the Wharf Development and Potomac and two first floor patios flanked by fire pits on either side. Automated overhead pergolas allow coverage against the elements while integrated gas heaters and fans keep the surroundings comfortable throughout the seasons.
Ophelia’s Fish House
501 8th St. SE | 202-543-1445
Ophelia’s is quickly becoming the go-to place on The Hill for quality seafood and cocktails. Orchestrated by renowned Chef Brian Guy, the menu is the culmination of flavor and color that comes from using the freshest, selectively-sourced ingredients. Ophelia’s is a tasteful statement combining the relationship between a romantic atmosphere and a Southern-inspired menu and service – their commitment to an exquisite experience.
520 8th St. SE | 202-544-1168
Dark, sexy and upscale! Inspired by the glamour of the 1920s, this venue pays homage to the heyday of the Prohibition era, featuring a 60-foot marble bar, walnut interior, craft cocktails and a delicious menu. Orchid is the premier LBGTQ+ nightspot in DC – designed by local talent.
Provision No. 14
2100 14th St. NW | 202-827-4530
Provision No. 14, located at the heart of 14th Street features one of the best outdoor patios in DC. This patio is equipped with high top tables and classic wooden picnic style benches with umbrellas which are great for all occasions. The patio is decorated with greenery and overhanging café lights which will keep guests enjoying the outdoors even after dusk.
1214 B 18th St. NW | 202-223-2200
Public Bar’s skyline rooftop is open in the summer with cooling fans and enclosed in the winter with heat lamps, perfect for weekday happy hours and late-night weekend table service. They also feature two full bars, four HDTVs, bench seating and free cornhole games Monday through Friday during happy hour. Visit them for their Thursday Acid Jazz & Hookah party and Chasing Sunday rooftop summer parties on selected Sundays (check website and Facebook page for dates). In addition, their other two levels have 45 HDTVs including DC’s largest 240” HD projector, currently showing MLB, NBA, NHL, soccer, UFC and boxing. Happy hour Monday through Friday, 4-8 p.m. and daily food specials.
Robert’s Restaurant at the Omni Shoreham Hotel
2500 Calvert St. NW | 202-756-5300
Robert’s Restaurant at the Omni Shoreham’s terrace scenic views invites you to a unique dining experience orchestrated by culinary experts. Enjoy your meal with a glass of wine on their patio while amongst the tranquil escape of Rock Creek National Park. The menu also features dishes prepared from local ingredients procured from regional farms.
The Rooftop at The Embassy Row Hotel
2015 Massachusetts Ave. NW | 202-265-1600
Head to The Rooftop to grab food fresh off the grill paired with a cocktail made from fresh coconuts. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, guests and locals enjoy sweeping views from the ninth floor of The Embassy Row Hotel. As Conde Nast Traveler’s 2016 and 2017 Reader’s Choice Award Winner for #7 Best Hotel in DC, The Embassy Row Hotel intermixes local experiences in Dupont Circle alongside Embassy Row with an urban result feel unlike any other. Just one block (75 steps) from the metro, The Rooftop at The Embassy Row Hotel is easy to access.
514 8th St. SE | 202-507-8143
Every family has a “Tío” or “Tía” (uncle or aunt) that welcomes you into their family. Tío Javier honors a Mexican tradition, opening their doors to friends and family with homemade, colorful confections from the kitchen and bar. With a tasteful handcrafted interior and a panoramic rooftop with views of Capitol Hill and the iconic Barracks Row, Tío Javier promises a one-of-a-kind experience on 8th Street. ¡Salud!
1300 I St. NW | 202-682-9500
Toro Toro offers a twist on the contemporary steakhouse experience, artfully blending Pan Latin flavors and creative sharing plates. Guests can anticipate a spin on South and Central American ingredients and flavors through a variety of hot and cold small plates including arepas and ceviches, steaks served a la carte and savory side dishes meant for sharing. Happy hour is from 4-8 p.m. on weekdays and all night on Thursdays. The restaurant also offers bottomless brunch with a Bloody Mary bar on weekends. Toro Toro’s space offers a bar, lounge, dining room and outdoor patio that accommodates all dining occasions including date nights, special occasions and large groups.
222 7th St. SE | 202-544-5680
Before searching for treasures at DC’s famous Eastern Market, stop in for brunch on the patio at Tunnicliff’s. This friendly attraction boasts a great modern American menu and warm, friendly service. The patio is also the perfect spot for an after-dinner drink or munchies during the ever-popular happy hour. Casually yet tastefully decorated, Tunnicliff’s is a neighborhood tavern that makes guests feel right at home.
The Washington Harbour
3000 & 3050 K St. NW | 202-295-5007
The Washington Harbour in Georgetown is home to the acclaimed Fiola Mare, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Sequoia and Bangkok Joe’s among the 11 eateries that make this a popular destination for dining both outdoors and in. With its incomparable atmosphere and outstanding views across the Potomac River, the Washington Harbour is an attraction for DC locals and visitors in every season. From waterfront cocktails in the summer, to ice skating on the plaza in winter, the Washington Harbour is an experience unlike any other in DC. See the event calendar, services and restaurants at thewashingtonharbour.com.
975 7th St. SW | 202-488-2500
Whiskey Charlie is a premium rooftop cocktail lounge perched atop the Canopy Washington DC, The Wharf’s quintessential lifestyle and entertainment destination. Whiskey Charlie’s 10th floor is a roofscape with both an intimate rooftop deck, and an indoor lounge, known as “The Cabin.” Each area features uninterrupted views of The Wharf that radiate off the marina, while majestic monuments set a brilliant backdrop.
300 Tingey St. SE | 202-651-6375
Sports bring us closer, even if you’re rooting for the other team. Willie’s open platform lets you make some noise when rooting for your favorite team and watching your favorite sport. With 16 60-inch TVs, surround sound and all the sport channels you could ask for, Willie’s boasts everything needed for tailgating and viewing parties. Their glass walls and ample outdoor seating area welcome the vibrations from thousands of screaming fans at Nationals Stadium next door. The finger-licking barbecue, directed by DC legend Pitmaster Brendan Woody, and their draft beer selection pave the road for hours of celebrating unity through competition.
The threat of raindrops couldn’t keep the festive throngs away from Herndon this past Saturday during its annual festival of food, arts, music and fun. Founded in 1980, this annual celebration takes place in and around downtown Herndon’s Municipal Center complex and historic Town Hall Square (although next year’s festival is slated to change locations). The festival attracts over 80,000 people over its four days, featuring a carnival, three stages of entertainment, a 10K/5K race and fitness expo, children’s hands-on art area, kids’ alley, business expo, two nights of fireworks, arts and crafts vendors, and an assortment of food vendors. We caught an array of musical talent on Saturday including Haley Fahey, Adrian + Meredith, Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons, Shane Gamble, Eli Lev and the Fortunes Found, Animal Sun, and River Whyless. Look out for announcements about next year’s Herndon Festival at www.facebook.com/herndonfest. Photos // writeup: Mark Caicedo
Nothing says summer quite like spending your days near the water. DC is home to five distinct waterfront neighborhoods, each unique in their own way but brimming with drinking, dining and outdoor activities. Here are some highlights and fun facts about each waterfront, along with insight from locals about what makes them all so unique. Our riverside neighborhood rundown starts with a spotlight on some of the best foodie spots these areas have to offer, so read on for the inside scoop.
Inside District Hardware
Q&A with co-owner Jarrett Conway
We caught up with Jarett Conway, co-owner of family-owned, neighborhood-focused District Hardware, about his niche bike shop, hardware store and café at The Wharf.
On Tap: District Hardware has a lot to offer customers. What do you see people coming in for the most?
Jarrett Conway: There is a lot going on, but I’d say still less than other retailers with a larger footprint. We have three complementary departments, but [are] very geared toward an urban community. [Velo Cafe] is very well-patronized, and I think the community has really responded to the fact that a local-centric business has shown up. The hardware store has also seen a good number of customers who haven’t had the convenience of a hardware store in Southwest.
OT: How does the shop in its current form still connect with your grandfather Stanley Conway’s original plans for his 1971 store, and how does it differ?
JC: The core concept of my grandfather’s initial store is still there, just with more products. From a business perspective, he was always very progressive in what he offered. It’s really about the customer and the convenience to them. I’m very proud of the fact we’ve been able to maintain that same approach.
OT: What types of classes and events do you offer?
JC: They’re almost always free and allow us to meet and engage with our neighbors, impart some wisdom, and bring in some new folks that might not have walked by otherwise. All the events are targeted toward some segment of our business. In hardware, we have classes on plants and how to fix a hole in drywall. In bike, we offer group rides and free clinics on how to perform a safety check. And in café, we’ll offer classes on coffee brewing methods or host a tap takeover.
730 Maine Ave. SW, DC; 202-659-8686; www.districthardware.com
Spotlight on Kirwan’s on the Wharf
Seven years ago, Mark Kirwan was one of the first to sign a letter of intent for restaurant space on District Wharf, earning the prime waterview spot and riverside patio that Kirwan’s on the Wharf currently occupies on the revitalized waterfront.
“The doors to our building open up like an accordion, so when the weather is nice, you feel like you are sitting outside even when you are sitting inside,” Kirwan says. “And with the tables across the street at the waterside patio and outside our building, we’ve basically recreated our inside capacity outdoors.”
After quite a bit of research on The Wharf and realizing the Irish lived in the area during the 1800s, Kirwan says he wanted to “bring the Irish back to The Wharf.”
“I’m just trying to create a stepping stone for Ireland to people,” he says, noting that the entire bar itself came from Ireland – from the woodwork to the tiles. And to add to the pub’s authenticity, the carpenters who helped construct everything and the chef who Kirwan collaborated with on the menu are also from Ireland.
With nine years of experience working for Guinness, Kirwan says the beer selection – along with the overall beverage list – is very important to him.
“We want to keep things completely import and local craft beers [on our draughts] to be sure and represent all the great beers being produced in the area,” he says.
This summer, Kirwan’s will offer a riverside patio menu and a new fish-and-chip kiosk to go along with the outdoor drink options.
“We really like to have people sitting on the patios with a nice glass of rosé, cocktail or beer, enjoying the atmosphere,” he adds.
749 Wharf St. SW, DC; 202-554-3818; www.kirwansonthewharf.com
The Wharf’s music scene is bustling, with headlining acts several nights a week at the Anthem – from Sylvan Esso to Janelle Monáe – and a mix of local and up-and-coming artists at intimate neighboring venues Union Stage and Pearl Street Warehouse. But for the summer months, District Wharf is offering locals the opportunity to enjoy music al fresco with regular outdoor programming.
Music lovers who steal the show with their dance moves can show out at The Wharf’s new Saturday Night Dancing on the first Saturday of every month; the lineup includes swing, country line and salsa dancing. Free and open to the public, folks can dance to live music on Transit Pier, which The Wharf’s marketing and communications director, Matt Jahromi, says is “magical around dusk.” If you’d rather just listen than move your feet, check out Wednesdays at The Wharf for live music on Transit Pier throughout the summer. Plus, DC JazzFest will be making its first appearance at The Wharf this year on June 16-17 with at least 20 musical acts.
“The waterfront setting with public seating along the piers as you listen to live music makes this a special place to enjoy beautiful DC summer nights,” Jahromi says.
Learn more at www.wharfdc.com.
In Search of Seafood
Look no further: we’ve got the lowdown on The Wharf’s best seafood options by price point.
Keeping It Casual: Maine Avenue Fish Market
Clam chowder to-go is the perfect handheld snack for a walk around the Potomac River. If you’d rather skip the walk and turn in for an early evening at home, why not take freshly caught trout or crab to cook? All of these are available at The Wharf’s open-air fish market. The oldest in the U.S., the Municipal Fish Market is in the midst of extensive renovations as part of the entire Wharf project. Although the market will have a fresh, clean look and some new options for dining, rest assured that its charm remains intact. Some prefer boats over cars and The Wharf hears that. They’ll be adding even more space for docking boats for a few hours or even overnight. While new restaurants are also in the works, visitors can still enjoy comforting classics from family-owned businesses Jessie Taylor Seafood and Captain White’s Seafood City.
1100 Maine Ave. SW, DC; www.wharfdc.com
Hip But Lowkey: Hank’s Oyster Bar
Hank’s is the place for “urban beach food,” a description used by founder Jamie Leeds. Marketing assistant Erin Lucas explains, “[We’re] all about using fresh, local seafood to create dishes that are comforting, simple and delicious.”
The oyster bar’s signature dish – the lobster roll with Old Bay fries – is just that. Enjoy your fries with a glass of Hank’s Hops by Atlas Brew Works. For a summer day combo, Lucas recommends the seafood pateau (raw oysters, shrimp cocktail, mussels in escabeche, middleneck clams, ceviche and chilled steamed lobster) with a Hank’s Hanky Panky cocktail for a bubbly citrus refreshment.
“[Hank’s] is a special place that’s perfect for family night, date night or just hanging out with your friends,” Lucas says.
Check out Hank’s menu online to learn more about classic dishes and daily specials to enjoy all summer long.
701 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.hanksoysterbar.com
Feeling Fancy: Del Mar de Fabio Trabocchi
It’s definitely fitting that a restaurant named “of the sea” would offer fresh, delicious seafood right by the water. If you can’t afford a trip to Spain this summer, Del Mar assures the authentic taste you would experience across the ocean – owner Maria Trabocchi is a Spanish native.
“Many of our recipes come directly from [Maria’s] family and her heritage,” says Jesse Gerstein, who handles media relations at Del Mar. “The restaurant was designed to replicate the flavors, colors and textures of coastal Spain.”
Del Mar’s signature summer dish is any of their seafood paellas. Try one with a gin and tonic at dinner and end your evening with one of Del Mar’s scrumptious Spanish desserts, like a melt-in-your-mouth Flan de Maria. This upscale restaurant also offers brunch on the weekends.
791 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.delmardc.com
Up Above the Crowd
For your post-show hunger, Brighton’s British menu will help you reenergize. Hydrate with water, then drink up with their selection of beer and wine. 949 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.brighton-dc.com
A premium experience, the rooftop lounge is opportune for impressing your guest with a view of the sunset, M2 (mango, lemon and mint flavors) cocktail in hand. 975 7th St. SW, DC; www.whiskeycharliewharf.com
On the Water
This bambina of the original restaurant, Cantina Marina (closed for Wharf renovations), isn’t just a concession stand. Try their Dockside Donkey cocktail while enjoying the rooftop bar. 801 Wharf St. SW, DC; @cantinabambina
Owned by and located across from Kith and Kin, Watering Hole offers
right-on-the-water seating with beer, wine and a pop-up bar feel. 801 Wharf St. SW, DC; www.kithandkindc.com
Really Love the Water?
At District Wharf, folks can dock and live on their houseboats.
When one thinks of Pride in our area, visions of big celebrations with copious amounts of drinking and dancing often come to mind, but there’s much more to appreciating and championing this impactful time than big spectacles. In fact, many organizations use Pride for advocacy or to bring attention to important initiatives in a serious way.
Capital Pride weekend obviously gets a lot of the attention this time of year, and its collection of events and activities is bigger than ever, but there is a lot going on throughout the DC community that shouldn’t fall through the cracks.
Empowering the Youth
Adelphie Johnson, program director at SMYAL (Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders), says SMYAL youth intend to fully celebrate their various identities of being queer, black, young and amazing leaders in accordance with this year’s theme of “Elements of Us.”
“We seek to empower our youth by letting them be the drivers of our involvement,” she says. “Pride is an opportunity to both remember the struggles that our community has faced and is still facing, as well as to celebrate our existence. That can be a very powerful moment for a young person who hasn’t always been told, ‘You’re loved,’ or ‘You can be proud of who you are, however you are.’”
SMYAL youth will participate in some events, from speaking at Black Pride to handing out information at Trans Pride to walking in the Capital Pride parade. SMYAL is also hosting a youth dance following the parade to give young people a place to continue the party while DC’s adult population hangs out at house parties, bars and restaurants in the area.
“We’ve seen an evolution in how the community has increased their involvement of youth-specific spaces or youth-friendly spaces,” Johnson says. “Young people don’t always have the same availability or resources as adults, so ensuring we intentionally make space for our young leaders in a way that works for them is important.”
Thankfully, she adds, Pride is so openly celebrated across the city in all different communities that it shows our youth that there are places where they can be accepted as they grow into adulthood.
“Sometimes people forget that the first Pride marches were protest marches, and that advocacy is built into Pride from the ground up,” Johnson says. “One specific thing we’re doing this year is partnering with DC Black Pride to cohost a Youth Town
Hall led by a group of youth panelists, and the topics of discussion will center around healthy relationships.”
pride at the Wharf
District Wharf is partnering with LGBT newspaper Washington Blade on the first annual Pride on the Pier, which will have the District Pier open to all ages and a dedicated Transit Pier as its “Family Pier” with activities for all ages.
“Our goal is to make a fun event that the whole community will enjoy,” says Stephen Rutgers, director of sales and marketing for Washington Blade. “Pride allows us to showcase the community to anyone and everyone, and hopefully bring awareness to the important issues and struggles LGBTQ+ people face every day.”
Rutgers feels it’s important to make sure everyone in the community feels welcome, so creating new community events like Pride on the Pier provides an opportunity to do that.
“Pride is a time to celebrate the community, no matter who you are or how you identify. Being LGBTQ+ doesn’t mean that everyone likes the same things or has gone through the same struggles. We have to remember that we are all a family and need to make sure anyone and everyone feels welcome. If just one person feels left out, then we are failing ourselves.”
A Sharp Design
Washington Blade also has a partnership with DC Brau on Pride Pils cans, which raised more than $7,000 last year for SMYAL and the Blade Foundation.
“While Pride is used to celebrate ourselves, it is also a time to give back to the community as well,” Rutgers says. “This year, we are producing over 28,000 cans of the Pride Pils that was designed and voted upon by the community.”
Last year, the design was of a unicorn holding the rainbow flag, but this year, Rutgers notes the design really represents everyone in the community. DC-based artist Alden Leonard chose to show the juxtaposition of Pride – both a celebration and an act of protest – with a colorful design featuring three figures in defiant poses with their eyes fixed on symbols of tradition and order.
“The LGBTQ+ community in DC includes people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds, and this year’s design by Alden Leonard really shows our diversity,” he says. “All three individuals on the can could identify as anyone in the LGBTQ+ community, and really gives everyone their own voice in how they see themselves.”
The design will appear on more than 28,000 cans of DC Brau’s flagship pilsner this summer in the District and will officially launch at a Yappy Hour at Town on Wednesday, June 6 at 6 p.m.
“2018 has been a year when a lot of marginalized groups have had their voices amplified and celebrated,” says Brandon Skall, CEO and cofounder of DC Brau. “We loved that Alden’s Pride Pils design on first glance was summery and poppy, but on closer inspection, carried such a subtle but profound message of diversity and inclusiveness.”
DC Brau is also participating in the Pride Run on Friday, June 8, and Skall says there is “always a fun group that walks in the Pride Parade, which really is the highlight of the weekend for us.”
Everyone Gets Involved
Outside events are coming into the city more and more and really making DC Pride an event for all, so no one feels left out. The leather community kicked off its DC Leather Pride celebration earlier in May, which included a fundraiser at Town to raise money for the LGBT Fallen Heroes Fund, an expo at the DC Eagle (followed by a rubber social and dance party) and a brunch fundraiser on the last day.
“There’s been an embrace of the different aspects of being LGBT,” says Miguel Ayala, cofounder of DC Leather Pride. “We see who people are and who we are as a community. Younger people are coming out, trans folk are more visible now, and there’s been an embrace of different styles and different aspects within our community.”
Trans Pride and Black Pride both had speakers and panels throughout the month of May, offering people a chance to talk and help people learn from past experiences. Latino GLBT History Project hosts DC Latinx Pride annually, now in its 12th year representing the Latinx LGBTQ+ community. This year’s theme is Belleza Latinx, representing the beauty of the community in all colors, shapes, and range of languages and genders.
“As the hosts of annual festivities, we constantly reach out to the community to see what their needs are,” says Nancy Cañas, president of the Latino GLBT History Project-DC Latinx Pride. “For example, this year at La Platica, we are discussing issues pertaining to older LGBTQ+ folk. Our panel focuses on economic resilience, how this group and us as well – as we become older – how we will continue to support ourselves and our family.”
Then there’s the Department of Justice Pride and FBI Pride joining forces to march under a joint banner in the Capital Pride Parade. The DOJ also presents its annual award during Pride to the person who has made outstanding contributions in the LGBTQ+ community.
“No matter your age or how you identify, it is great to see events that everyone can enjoy,” Skall says. “Giving people options of what they can do really helps DC celebrate in new and exciting ways.”
Learn more about Pride events and partnerships, as well as participating LGBTQ+ organizations, below:
Capital Pride: www.capitalpride.org
DC Brau: www.dcbrau.com
Latino GLBT History Project: www.latinoglbthistory.org
Pride on the Pier: www.prideonthepierdc.com
Washington Blade: www.washingtonblade.com
Amidst the District’s hustle and bustle, green paradises breathe fresh air and deliciously colorful life into the otherwise grey and concrete landscape. For some, passion for urban farming comes from a deep love of an old hobby. For others, the desire to provide jobs and fresh produce to their community is the true driving force. Either way, DC’s urban farming scene is growing – its tendrils reaching into notable bars and restaurants all over the city.
Urban farming, otherwise known as urban agriculture, is exactly what it sounds like: the process of growing food in a city or heavily populated area. Despite difficulties such as finding enough space and the right equipment to grow and harvest plants, several urban farming organizations in DC have found unexpected spots to thrive in the city.
While on a run one day in 2014, former Peace Corps volunteer Mary Ackley was contemplating the best locations to host her new project, Little Wild Things Farm. She drew inspiration from bin-farming techniques, which use small plots of land as efficiently as possible. But after searching high and low in the heart of the District, she couldn’t find adequate green space anywhere. That’s when she jogged past the Carmelite Friars Monastery in Northeast DC and realized that institutions often had large plots of land, so she sent them an email.
“At first, they were hesitant but we worked out an agreement, and years later, we still have a wonderful partnership with them,” Ackley says. “We maintain the land, they get produce from us every week, and we donate to a local homeless shelter on their behalf. Everybody wins.”
Later, Ackley found another home for Little Wild Things in the basement of The Pub & The People, an award-winning neighborhood bar. Because The Pub already had plans to build a second bar in their basement in the future, they thought it would be great to have a farm downstairs in the meantime. Little did they know that this unexpected partnership would immensely help both businesses.
When she was getting started, Ackley grew traditional vegetables but decided to switch to edible flowers and microgreens because they mature faster, allowing her to experiment more with varieties and growing techniques. Microgreens are sprouts of vegetables, herbs and leafy greens that pack an even bigger punch of nutrients and vitamins compared to their full-grown selves.
Many gourmet dishes are incomplete without fresh microgreens, so some of the best chefs in the city flock to Little Wild Things to get their fix. To Nick Bernel, one of The Pub’s four co-owners, this was one of the coolest parts of having a “zen garden” in their basement.
“[Little Wild Things] sells to the best restaurants in the whole city, so there were constantly chefs and sous chefs in our bar,” says Bernel, who adds this was great exposure for their business, which opened in 2015.
Eric Milton, sous chef at popular Mediterranean eatery Zaytinya, is one of many high-profile customers who goes to Little Wild Things for all of their microgreen needs.
“They are passionate about their product and that translates into their excellent farmer-to-chef relationship,” says Milton, who has been working with Little Wild Things for a year and a half. “They have a great micro fennel that goes well with white fish dishes, and their micro parsley and celery give fresh vegetable dishes a nice pop. The quality of their product is superb, their product is consistent and they are just super easy to work with.”
While The Pub grew in popularity, Little Wild Things grew in size as its proximity to its clients led to higher demand. In October 2017, Little Wild Things grew too large for the space and Ackley decided her time at The Pub was over.
“It was a bittersweet move because we loved The Pub and our partnership, but we just needed more space,” Ackley says. “It was a great way for us to learn about urban farming and how to be space intensive because we really perfected how to be efficient with our time.”
Little Wild Things is moving to a custom-built space in Ivy City this fall, where it will have all the space it needs to grow over 40 varieties of microgreens and over 20 kinds of edible flowers.
“We are really excited to have more events and pop-ups, and give tours of our new space,” Ackley says. “It’s great to be able to set our roots down in a neighborhood and build our community even further.”
Ackley’s right-hand woman, “work wife” and director of operations Chelsea Barker says that she finds urban farming to be a fulfilling and challenging line of work and hopes others will follow suit.
“The challenge that we are most interested in solving is the idea that farming is an exciting and desirable profession for people who like problem-solving, hard work, relationship building and working with your hands,” says Barker, who joined Ackley in 2016. “It really can be a win-win when urban farming is a texture of urban life.”
A similar philosophy and approach to urban farming is found at Cultivate the City, another for-profit commercial farm working to promote urban agriculture by creating more jobs and keeping profit within the neighborhood. Cultivate the City founder and CEO Niraj Ray found his love of gardening while living in Florida, then brought his hobby back to DC at his job with the EPA where he created a rooftop garden. He eventually decided to quit his day job to pursue his true passion, and so far, it’s been working out great.
In 2016, Cultivate the City installed an expansive rooftop garden at Nationals Park, where they grow produce and leafy greens for food services and dining in the Delta Club. Along with produce the chefs specifically ask for like squash, tomatoes and herbs, Ray likes to mix it up and surprise them with unique produce every season.
Cultivate the City also has a rooftop garden location on H Street where they grow a variety of unique crops indigenous to other regions for both restaurants and members of the public. For Pansaari, an Indian restaurant in Dupont Circle, Ray grows curry leaf and bitter melon. For his CSA (community-supported agriculture program), he sends a variety of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs every week for 30 weeks to subscribers. And for fun, Ray likes to push the limit of what he can grow in the northeastern United States. This season, he’s excited to announce a healthy crop of passion fruit, which is native to southern Brazil.
“I try to grow unique things that you can’t buy at the grocery store, so we’re able to provide a commodity through what we’re growing,” he says. “It’s unique produce that you can’t find anywhere else, and it has a good story behind it.”
Along with tending to their own rooftop gardens, Cultivate the City offers plant management and garden build contracts for restaurants. At Calabash Tea & Tonic in Shaw, Cultivate the City maintains a garden full of basil, lemon grass, lavender, rosemary and a variety of mints used in tea blends.
When Calabash opens its new storefront in Brookland this summer, it will have an exterior designed by Cultivate the City, featuring 20 planters built by students at IDEA Public Charter School, where Ray teaches a senior seminar and manages a garden club. He notes that one of Cultivate the City’s greatest missions is to work with students and other nonprofit organizations to foster a passion for urban agriculture in the next generation of farmers.
“We’re trying to promote urban agriculture and create more jobs and sustainability around it,” he says. “It’s great to teach people how to grow their own food, but we’re focusing on how they can create careers out of that by maintaining all of the green spaces that we’re creating.”
At Community Connections DC, the capital’s largest not-for-profit mental health agency, Cultivate the City provides horticulture therapy training to help youths with traumatic histories gain necessary career skills like team building and punctuality. Many of these students graduate from the program and find their first jobs with Cultivate the City at the urban farms located in the backyards of their group homes. Nearby restaurants buy produce from these group home farms, closing the loop and keeping money within the neighborhood.
“Not only is urban farming creating positive psychological and societal benefit and quantifiable economic return, but it’s had such unquantifiable environmental benefits as well,” he says. “You’re helping create wildlife quarters for the bees and monarch butterflies, you’re helping to promote more wildlife, and you’re mitigating storm water onsite.”
At Rooftop Roots, a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming the way people engage with their urban surroundings, environmental awareness and sustainability is a top priority. Founder Thomas Schneider says that based on its three-pillar model of sustainability including economical, societal and environmental considerations, Rooftop Roots works to create jobs, build sustainable gardens and increase the availability to fresh produce to those who might not have access.
“We try to create these spaces as an experience where people feel like they’re not only having a great garden, but they’re also giving back to the community,” Schneider says. “People are certainly taking a greater interest in their health and nutrition. I think growing food is a really powerful experience in terms of how people understand the connection between the life that they’re living and how small actions can play a big part in helping not only the environment but also the society that we live in.”
As organizations like Little Wild Things Farm, Cultivate the City and Rooftop Roots work to spread awareness on how people can use their urban and suburban landscapes to help the environment and their local communities, the urban agriculture movement is becoming more than just a trend – it’s transforming into a sustainable lifestyle.
Find microgreens from Little Wild Things Farm at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market once a month, and sign up for any of these organization’s CSA programs at their websites below.
Earlier this year, the Capital Pride Alliance underwent some staff changes at the decision-making level, hoping to bring in fresh ideas to provide outreach and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Board member Michele Irimia-Bernabe was one of the talented folks brought in to provide a fresh perspective. For the last 20 years, Irimia-Bernabe had been an integral part of nonprofit Heritage of Pride, also known as NYC Pride, in the Big Apple. Now in the nation’s capital as a DCPS (District of Columbia Public Schools) educator, she’s prepping for her first Capital Pride Parade. We spoke to her about adjusting to life in the District, her history with the Pride movement and how vital these events can be for the LGBTQ+ community.
On Tap: When did you know you wanted to be involved in the Pride movement? Did you have a moment that called you to action?
Michele Irimia-Bernabe: I knew I wanted to be involved in the Pride movement the moment I came out. I received backlash from my family as soon as I told them I was gay. I felt that I needed to be a voice for those who did not have one. I did not want anyone to feel rejected or thought of as less. I wanted other LGBTQ+ individuals to know that they had a place in society and that they could thrive.
OT: How much has the movement changed since you’ve been involved?
MIB: Since I have been in the movement, it has grown exponentially. I started out working with NYC Pride in 1999, and just recently joined Capital Pride’s Board of Directors. As laws have changed against sodomy and marriage equality, our relationships have become validated. We are visible. That visibility has created a huge change in public perception. That’s not saying that we still don’t have huge strides to make. We continue to fight for full equality for all LGBTQ+ people.
OT: Tell me about some of the things you focus on within the Capital Pride Alliance. What has it been like as a board member these past few months?
MIB: I work with an amazing group of people that dedicate their time and energy to the community. I have focused on being present at most events and representing a Latina voice. I volunteered for Capital Trans Pride and it was such a wonderful experience. I plan on being at most of our events during Pride Week.
OT: How integral do you think these tentpole events like the Pride Parade are to spurring awareness?
MIB: Everyone remembers their first Pride. You feel empowered because you are watching people like you marching with organizations, businesses, schools, politicians, churches, sports teams and bars. It is an overwhelming experience. It makes you realize that you are not alone. Pride events provide that experience for so many. Not everyone lives in a welcoming city [or] safe space. For one day a year, everyone in the community has a safe space to celebrate, protest and most importantly, be who they are.
OT: What’s different this year? What ideas did you bring with you from NYC?
MIB: Every year is different. Planning for our diverse community is always fun as ideas pour out for new safe spaces for everyone. What I bring from New York City to DC is the experience of managing and directing large-scale events. I worked in almost every capacity in NYC and helped the organization grow to provide safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community. I hope to bring that same spirit and knowledge to the Capital Pride Alliance.
OT: What has life in DC been like so far?
MIB: Life has been different in DC. I went from a huge, fast-paced city to a city that is much smaller and a bit slower. I feel that my wife and I have a great work-life balance here. I find that DC is a wonderful place to live, and I have met some really smart, beautiful people.
OT: Do you have any favorite neighborhoods in the city?
MIB: My favorite part of the city is Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights because I can get Spanish food there, and I do miss my mom’s cooking.
OT: What activities do you enjoy in the District?
MIB: My favorite things to do in the city are to walk [and] run in the evenings, enjoy time with my friends, and be present for my students every day. I enjoy all the museums and art that surround the city. I love spending time with my wife, Maryrose, enjoying some of the great restaurants in DC. I also enjoy getting to know different parts of the city and the diversity within our nation.
For more information about the Capital Pride Alliance or the Pride 2018 Parade, visit www.capitalpride.org.
We’ve written before about the draw of performative storytelling here in the District, but the desire for people to connect with storytellers in a physical space beyond the page or screen also extends outside the boundaries of the DMV. In addition to locally sourced and produced shows, many live storytelling events (i.e. The Moth Story Hour, Mortified, A Prairie Home Companion to name a few) travel from city to city, engaging regularly with new audiences eager to participate in the experience. There is undeniable power and draw to live interaction, made even more precious in the digital age. Indeed, the increasing popularity of the “story told live” trend points to an attempt to reconnect with our human past, deeply rooted in oral histories.
Founded in San Francisco in 2009, Pop-Up Magazine occupies a unique niche in this realm of live and interactive storytelling. Drawing heavily on a journalistic tradition, its shows are crafted around reported stories. Like many others, Pop-Up Magazine’s shows are produced for the stage with a live audience, but Pop-Up Magazine’s multimedia approach – incorporating the work of print journalists, radio producers, illustrators, animators, filmmakers and others – also sets it apart.
Senior Producer Tina Antolini says the magazine was born from an idea to draw communities of diverse media makers together, as well as “creating or fleshing out a new medium for telling stories” that incorporate aspects of different kinds of media.
Antolini, who spent the majority of her career in radio journalism prior to joining the Pop-Up Magazine team, speaks to the difference in processes for both creators and consumers of media between working in-studio and experiencing a story remotely (perhaps while jogging, or commuting, or otherwise not fully immersed), respectively, versus the collaborative and immersive Pop-Up Magazine model.
“The dynamic of telling a story live to an audience and having them receive it is a world of difference from recording your tracks in the studio. I think that the audience has a totally different experience, too, receiving nonfiction stories this way. So often we’re consuming stories now as an individual, and to have a collective experience of a story, I think the emotional pull of that is different – for example, the funnier things are funnier when everyone else around you is laughing,” said Antolini.
Pop-Up Magazine’s shows are not themed, but instead depend on the collaboration of a cast of writers, producers, artists and media-makers of all kinds to bring reported stories to life. Some of the stories included may ultimately be destined for other media forms, like documentary work, and so, says Antolini, “it’s a collaboration from the earliest stages in terms of thinking about the story idea that might work for the show and helping to shape it specifically for the stage.”
Some shows involve Choose Your Own Adventure style participation, while others engage in more emotional or artistic ways. This spring’s tour, for example, includes the communal viewing (and subsequent communal experience of interpreting) of a photo essay from a photographer who has been documenting the response to mass shootings over the past eight years. A story like this is relevant and moving and perhaps crucial for us as a society to see together, and Pop-Up Magazine provides the outlet for us to do so.
Another important aspect of Pop-Up Magazine is that it shows not all nonfiction is inherently heavy, or difficult to approach. On the lighter side, for example, a past iteration included a story about the top five most dangerous karaoke songs that led to conflict in karaoke bars, which culminated with the whole audience singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”
As with any live performance, the tone and experience of each showing varies depending on who is present, and what is happening in the lives of the presenters and audience members alike – something that is also true but often overlooked and underestimated in the case of traditional media consumption – but the goal is for each one to be both enjoyable and challenging.
“I think this show in particular manages to have some stories that are really relevant to the present moment of not just politics, but issues that people are really thinking and caring about that are approached in Pop-Up Magazine’s signature very beautiful, thoughtful way,” says Antolini.
Pop-Up Magazine will conclude its spring 2018 Tour at The Warner Theatre in DC on Wednesday, May 23. Additional highlights include a moment of live visual art, co-writing by a robot, and an acting performance from a character in one of the reported stories. Tickets and information can be found here.