cherry blossoms

10 Fun Facts about DC’s Cherry Blossoms & Annual Festival

1. The National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki to Washington, DC.

2. The average lifespan of a cherry blossom tree is only 20 to 30 years, but nearly 100 of the original trees from 1912 still thrive at the Tidal Basin due to the maintenance of the National Park Service.

3. Over 1.5 million people attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival each year.

4. The first “festival” began as a small celebration in 1927, and expanded to a two-week event in 1994. In 2012, for the 100th anniversary of the trees, the festival became a five-week celebration.

5. The festival offers over 200 free performances.

6. The festival adds new cherry blossom trees to the region each spring. In 2012 and 2013, staff and volunteers planted 200 trees in DC’s Oxon Run Park.

7. The mean bloom date for cherry blossoms is April 4, and the peak bloom date is defined as the day on which 70 percent of the blossoms of the Yoshino cherry trees are open.

8. There are some 3,750 cherry blossom trees of 16 varieties on National Park Service land.

9. The 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival theme is “Connecting People to Parks,” in honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial.

10. The 2016 Blossom Kite Festival will celebrate 50 years of kite flying on the National Mall.

Fun facts courtesy of the National Cherry Blossom Festival

Fund a Flight

Fund a Flight Happy Hour at Brickside Bethesda

Guests joined Flats 8300 and On Tap Magazine at Brickside Food & Drink in Bethesda for a Fund a Flight Happy Hour to benefit Luke’s Wings. The donations are going to help fly Army Specialist William Thomas? family to see him at Walter Reed! Photos: Brittany Thomas

star wars trivia

Star Wars Mania in Chinatown

On Tap and Fado caught up with Star Wars fans hanging out in Gallery Place Alley waiting for last night’s movie premiere. We asked trivia questions in exchange for free pints. Find out how well fans did. Video: Nicholas Caracciolo and Nick Hardt

Ivy City Speakeasy

Ivy City Speakeasy at Hecht Warehouse

Guests at the Ivy City Speakeasy at Hecht Warehouse enjoyed a repeal day celebration with prohibition-era cocktails from Jos, A Magnus, One Eight Distilling and New Columbia Distillers. Also on tap, Atlas Brew Works and music from Justin Trawick. Photos: Adrianne Depew

New Year's Eve Guide dc

New Year’s Eve Guide 2015

New Year’s Eve Guide 2015

* The 2015 Guide is in alphabetical order by state, by venue. 

Featured Event

Big Night DC New Year’s Eve Gala
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. The biggest party in town features tons of open bars, 15 themed dance party areas, 10 dance floors, first-class cuisine, party favors and discounted hotel rooms. Some of the hottest party bands and DJs will be performing, including Go Go Gadget, The Rockets, Biz Markie, DJ Chris Styles and many more. Tickets start at $99 and will sell out. Doors open at 9 p.m., party ends at 3 a.m. Gaylord National Hotel & Resort: 201 Waterfront St., Oxon Hill, MD;  

District of Columbia

NYE at 51st State
NW, DC. 51st State Tavern will have a DJ, party favors, champagne toast, and $4.50 Yuengling all night long. There will also be complimentary hors d’oeuvres. No cover. 51st State Tavern: 2512 L St., NW;

New Year’s Eve with Dale and the ZDubs
NW, DC. Are you ready for New Year’s? Acre 121 is! Party like it’s 2016 with an amazing live show from rock/reggae powerhouse band Dale and the ZDubs starting at 10 p.m.! The $10 cover gets you access to the night-long dance party with complimentary champagne toasts at midnight and all night drinks specials, including $6 champagne cocktails and $5 holiday drafts. Reservations are available so book today. Acre 121:1400 Irving St. NW, DC;

Year’s Eve Celebration
NW, DC. Celebrate NYE at Beacon Bar & Grill with a four-course dinner featuring multiple entree choices, a DJ, champagne and festive cocktails available as well. Book your space at Tickets are $59 a person. Beacon Bar & Grill: 17th And Rhode Island Ave. NW, DC;

Professionals in the City’s New Year’s Eve Passport to the World Gala
NW, DC. Each year, more than 3,000 people attend this event sponsored by Pros In The City. Bring your friends, or come alone and meet new friends! There will be different color bracelets for singles and couples, so it is easy to see who is single and who is not. Event features live entertainment, delicious food and beverages, a great crowd of people with a wide variety of interests, and so much more. Tickets start at $149, doors open at 9 p.m. Capital Hilton: 1001 16th St. NW, DC;

Willy Wonka’s NYE Chocolate Factory
NW, DC. DC9 has NYE covered with Willy Wonka’s NYE Chocolate Factory. Enjoy four hours of premium open bar, Times Square viewing on the big screen, champagne toasts and hats and noisemakers. There will also be two floors of DJs and a raffle to win prizes including free tickets to every show at DC9 in 2016. Tickets start at $55, doors open at 10 p.m. DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;

New Year’s Bash
NW, DC. At Fado this New Year’s Eve you are Irish, everywhere else you are just drunk. Ring in the New Year with live music, champagne toasts and more. Tickets start at $10, event starts at 9pm. Fado Irish Pub: 808 7th St. NW, DC; 

NW, DC. Nick’s Riverside Grill and Tony and Joe’s have the best New Year’s Party in Washington DC. They offer live music, DJs, appetizers, top shelf open bars and a heated outdoor tent with outside bars. There is plenty of room for everyone. The best part is that it’s all-inclusive starting at just $90 per ticket. Groups of 10 or more get $10 off per ticket. Doors open at 9 p.m. Georgetown Waterfront: 3000/3050 K St. NW, DC;

Pimps of Joytime 2-Night NYE Run
NW, DC. Anyone familiar with the Pimps of Joytime live experience knows the feeling when a deep bluesy groove morphs into a full-on EDM dance beat, or the sensation when the wide-eyed audience collectively elevates in sync with the band’s tangible energy. Don’t miss out on this two-night run for NYE. Tickets start at $30, show starts at 9 p.m. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;

NYE Velvet Rope 2016
NW, DC. Velvet Rope is your chance to be a celebrity and walk the Red Carpet at “the Embassy of Rock.” Event features premium open bar till midnight, unlimited party favors, a champagne toast at midnight, VIP balcony options with a personal waitress. Tickets start at $40 a person, event starts at 9:30 p.m. Hardrock Cafe: 999 E St. NW, DC;

New Year’s Eve 2016: Masquerade Ball at Howard Theatre
NW, DC. Join DC’s chic celebrants at Howard Theatre this New Year’s Eve. Couples tickets start at $80 and Include two tickets, a complimentary masquerade mask and early entry. Regular rickets start at $60 all of the above for one person. VIP bottle service table packages are available as well. The full dinner menu will be available as well. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Howard Theatre: 620 T St. NW, DC;

NW, DC.  Ring in 2016 at Irish Whiskey Public House. Tickets start at $75 Premium and include a five hour open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, party favors, a champagne toast at midnight and dancing all night long.  Purchase your advanced tickets at Irish Whiskey or online. Doors open at 9 p.m. Irish Whiskey Public House: 1207 19th St. NW, DC;

NYE Social “Speakeasy Style”
NW, DC. Join Kelly’s as they transform a casual DC bar into a Prohibition style New Year’s Eve speakeasy complete with open bar until 1 a.m., beautiful event lighting, live music featuring 7Deadlies, a house DJ, hearty era-style starters such as Grilled Lemon Chicken Skewers, Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip and much more. Tickets start at $69, party starts at 9 p.m. Kelly’s Irish Times: 14 F St. NW, DC;

Bowls, Beers & Bubbly
NW, DC. Join Lou’s City Bar on New Year’s for a day and night of Bowls, Beers & Bubbly! They’ll have ALL the games on NYE including the College Football Playoffs in the Orange and Cotton Bowl, plus coverage of the Times Square 2015 countdown. Enjoy 22 ounce pints for $5 and champagne cocktails for $6 all day and night, plus a game day special on brats & tots for $10. Reserve your table now! No cover. Lou’s City Bar:1400 Irving St. NW, DC;

New Year’s Eve Party @ Mad Fox Taproom
NW, DC. Join Mad Fox on NYE to celebrate another year of survival on this crazy planet! The first annual Mad Fox Taproom New Year’s Eve Party will be held at the brand new Glover Park location that features two floors, two bars, a dance floor and bar seating. Tickets start at $85 and include a gourmet appetizer buffet and a full premium open bar until 1 a.m. featuring timeless Mad Fox craft beers. There will be a DJ, party favors, champagne toast at midnight and a complimentary coat check. Doors open at 9 p.m. Mad Fox Taproom: 2218 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC; search Mad Fox NYE

11th Annual Masquerade Ball
NW, DC. The 11th Annual NYE Masquerade Ball will include a one hour open bar, MXDC catered appetizers, Miami’s own DJ Damion Daniel and a champagne toast at midnight. Masquerade masks will be provided but patrons are encouraged to bring their own as well. The Times Square ball drop will be broadcasted on all screens and music will play all night long. Tickets start at $35 and tables start at $200. Doors open at 9 p.m. MXDC: 600 14th St. NW, DC;

New Year’s Eve International Gala: A Cirque du 2016 International Celebration of Many Nations
NW, DC. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with top shelf open bar and food stations, ten international themed celebrations, all five of the Nationals racing presidents, multiple DJs and bands including Gonzo’s Nose. The event will also feature DC’s largest balloon drop and other surprises.  Tickets start at $112 and doors open at 8 p.m. Omni Shoreham Hotel: 2500 Calvert St. NW, DC;

Back in the Day: 90’s New Year’s Eve Bash
NW, DC. Try something different this New Year’s Eve with the Back in the Day ‘90s themed celebration at Panache. Party like it’s 1999 as a DJ spins your favorite ‘90s jams like Jay-Z, Biggie and a little Britney. Tickets start at $30 and include an hour open bar and catered appetizers from 9 – 10 p.m., tables start at $500. Doors open at 9 p.m. Panache: 1725 Desales St. NW, DC;

NYE at Recessions
NW, DC. Celebrate 2016 at Recessions where you can get too much for your money! Tickets start at $70 and include an open bar with top self liquors and a delicious food buffet. There will be karaoke, dancing in a laid back atmosphere with a free champagne toast at midnight and free party favors. Doors at 9 p.m., group rates available. Recessions: 1823 L St. NW, DC;

NYE 1980s Throwback Thursday at RFD
NW, DC. Ring in the New Year at RFD 1980s style! Get your swatch watches and spandex on and come party like it’s the ‘80s. No cover, ‘80s drinks, Miller High Life Champagne Toast and classic ‘80s cuisine. ‘80s movies on the tube and all the hits playing on the speakers! RFD will show you why the 1980s won’t be like the 1980s anymore!!! RFD: 810 7th St. NW, DC;

New Year’s Eve Blowout 2016 at Rock & Roll Hotel
NE, DC. The Rock & Roll Hotel annual New Year’s Eve party is just around the corner! Rock & Roll Hotel is excited to announce some new additions to the party as well as three DJs. The party features all three floors, two massive dance floors with live DJs all night and an open bar. There will also be a photo booth and passed hors d’oeuvres from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; search Rock & Roll Hotel

Prost! A New Year’s Eve Party
NW, DC. DJ Travis Skinner will spin dance music and local live band the Gunners Perry will play covers. Tickets start at $85 and include a full open bar all night long, access to the schnapps bar featuring rare German schnapps and fruit brandies and passed heavy hors d’oeuvres throughout the night. There will be a midnight champagne toast and passed pastries. There will also be a late night snack provided by BonChon! Doors open at 9 p.m. Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten: 1216 18th St. NW, DC;

New Year’s Eve 2016 at Scarlet Oak: Bliss
SE, DC. Bliss NYE finds a new home at the brand new Scarlet Oak in booming Navy Yard (just a stone’s throw from Nationals Park). Enjoy a one-hour open bar and Scarlet Oak catered appetizers in this upscale venue. Dance to the hottest beats provided by DJ Lil Deville. This is Scarlet Oak’s first New Year’s Eve, so it will be an epic night. Tickets start at $32 and doors open at 9:30 p.m. Scarlet Oak: 909 New Jersey Ave. SE, DC;

New Year’s Eve at Southern Hospitality – A New Day
NW, DC. A New Day returns to Southern Hospitality for the ultimate New Year’s Eve throw down. Enjoy a one hour open bar and appetizers on two floors with two of DC’s hottest DJs. Add a heated outdoor tented patio to the mix, and you have one of DC’s best parties. Tickets start at $30, and tables start at $500 for 6 people. Doors open at 9 p.m. Southern Hospitality: 1815 Adams Mill Rd. NW, DC;

New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball
NW, DC. Don your favorite mask and embrace the mystery of the most unique venue in the world when you ring in the new year! Explore themed rooms and secret doors. Tickets start at $125 and include a DJ, chocolate fountain, kissing booth, treasure hunt, glass of champagne for midnight toast, plasma TVs and a cash bar. Get the celebration started early with New Year’s Eve Dinner too! Event begins at 10 p.m. The Mansion on O Street: 2020 O St. NW, DC; 

Grandiose NYE
NW, DC. The 3rd Annual Grandiose New Year’s Eve Gala features DJs Alizay and Jerome Baker. There will be a massive dance floor, roaming photographers, valet parking and a live TV feed from Times Square. Dress code is semi-formal. Tickets start at $65 and include complimentary passed hors d’ouevres and a complimentary midnight champagne toast. Event begins at 8 p.m. The W Hotel DC: 515 15th St. NW, D.C;

New Year’s Eve 2016 at Zengo: Destination Rio
NW, DC. Warm up your New Year’s Eve and travel to Destination Rio for a carnival style NYE bash! Enjoy one hour open bar and Zengo catered appetizers as you dance to the hottest international beats surrounded by festive carnival style New Year’s Eve decor. Tickets start at $30 and tables start at $200. Doors open at 9 p.m. Zengo: 781 Seventh St. NW, DC;


The Roaring Twenties Speakeasy NYE Party 2016
BETHESDA, MD. Celebrate 2016 at the Fourth Annual Roaring Twenties Speakeasy NYE Party! Tickets start at $129 and include five hours of open bar, extensive food stations, multiple themes, live music, games, a professional photographer, a movie theater, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Dress code is formal and doors open at 9 p.m. Doubletree by Hilton Bethesda: 8120 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, MD; 

Papadosio w/ Chon
SILVER SPRING, MD. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Papadosio at The Fillmore. Tickets start at $40. VIP tickets are available that include admission to a pre-show happy hour with members of Papadosio, reserved seating upstairs, a limited edition show poster created exclusively for this date and a buffet dinner. Show starts at 9 p.m. The Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring, MD; 

New Year 2016 Countdown Extravaganza
BETHESDA, MD. Union Jack’s invites you to NEW YEAR 2016 COUNTDOWN EXTRAVAGANZA! You won’t want to miss this special night! Tickets start at $20. There will be a DJ, dancing, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne toast at midnight. There will also be midnight pool and darts. Dress to Impress! Event begins at 7 p.m. Union Jack’s Bethesda: 4915 St. Elmo Ave., Bethesda, MD;

New Year 2016 Countdown Extravaganza
GAITHERSBURG, MD. Union Jack’s invites you to NEW YEAR 2016 COUNTDOWN EXTRAVAGANZA with the VIPs! You won’t want to miss this special night! Tickets start at $20. Event features live music by the VIPs, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and midnight pool and darts. Dress to impress! Event begins at 7 p.m. Union Jack’s Rio/Gaithersburg; 9811 Washingtonian Blvd., Gaithersburg, MD;


‘80s Theme New Year’s Eve at The Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
ARLINGTON, VA. Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Drafthouse for their ‘80s theme night. Watch New York’s Times Square celebration live on the theater screen while avoiding the hassle and expense of the city. This event sold out last year so buy early. There will be ‘80s  themed music with live DJ and party favors. Drinks and food sold a la carte. Tickets start at $15, event begins at 7:30 p.m. Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse: 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA; 

Celebrate New Year’s at Bilbo Baggins
ALEXANDRIA, VA. Celebrate your New Year’s Eve with a special a-la-carte menu featuring delicious appetizers and entrees, great wines and unusual beers. Space will fill up so reserve today at Bilbo Baggins: 208 Queen St., Alexandria, VA;

NYE at Celtic House
ARLINGTON, VA. Celebrate New Year’s Eve 2016 with two toasts and no cover charge! There will be an Irish toast at 7 p.m. and a U.S.A. at midnight. There will also be dinner specials all night long. Live music starts at 9:30pm! Celtic House: 2500 Columbia Pike, Arlington, VA;

Clarendon Ballroom 16th Annual NYE Gala
ARLINGTON, VA. Clarendon Ballroom is the place to spend NYE. This event historically sells out and tickets start at $65. Admission includes two levels of entertainment, dinner buffet, midnight champagne toast, balloon drop, party favors, four drink tickets, a late night hoagie station and live music from Liquid A and DJ Bobby Hash Doors. Dress code is fashionable and fabulous! Doors open at 8 p.m. Clarendon Ballroom: 3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA;

Sixth Annual New Year’s Eve Throw Down
ARLINGTON, VA. Celebrate 2016 at IOTA Club & Café with the sixth annual NYE Throw Down! There will be a cover free happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and live music from The Beanstalk Library with Uptown Boys Choir and The Backfields at 9 p.m.. Tickets start at $20 and include admission to the show, party favors, champagne toasts and special appetizers before 8 p.m. IOTA Club & Café: 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA;

Mad Fox NYE Celebration 2016 with Tom Principato
FALLS CHURCH, VA. Ring in 2016 at Mad Fox Brewing with an evening featuring live music from award-winning Jazz guitarist Tom Principato and a special three course menu offered to revelers. Tickets start at $32.64 for the music and $80.12 for dinner and music. Both tickets include party favors and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Doors open at 9 p.m. Mad Fox Brewing Company: 444 West Broad St., Falls Church, VA; search Tom Principato

New Year’s Eve Celebration
ALEXANDRIA, VA. Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Murphy’s in Old Town. The fun starts at 6 p.m. with a three course meal and live music by Pat Carroll and Ronan Kavanagh. Tickets are $40 a person and include a champagne toast at midnight. Reservations are encouraged. Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub: 713 King St., Alexandria, VA;

New Year’s Eve at O’Sullivan’s
ARLINGTON, VA. O’Sullivan’s is kicking off their celebrations with an Irish Toast at 7 p.m. (midnight Irish time). Live music starts at 9.30 p.m. with Willem Dicke playing all night long. At midnight there will be a champagne toast for everyone in the bar. No cover charge all night. O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub: 3207 Washington Blvd., Arlington VA;

Tortoise New Year’s
ARLINGTON, VA. Looking for something to do on NYE that isn’t fancy or disappointing? Head to the Tortoise & Hare for a fun night out with your friends at the place where you’ll always feel comfortable! Great music, champagne toast and party favors will be provided. There is a $20 cover. Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille: 567 23rd St., Arlington, VA; 

Whitlow’s New Year’s Eve Bash
ARLINGTON, VA. Spend your New Year’s Eve at Whitlow’s with live music from Back to Zero, a heavy appetizer buffet, coat check, and a midnight champagne toast. Event will sell out so secure your tickets now! Tickets start at $30 per person and doors open at 8 p.m. Whitlow’s On Wilson: 2854 Wilson Blvd Arlington, VA 22201;

DC Tattoo Expo

More Ink, More Art: DC Tattoo Expo is Bigger, Better and Back

Everyone thinks of DC as the Nation’s Capital, but Greg Piper knows it’s more than just that. The owner of Exposed Temptations Tattoo in Manassas, he’s been a tattoo artist in town for over 21 years. Piper wanted to bring a little something different to the area when he started the DC Tattoo Expo in 2011.

“DC needed a quality tattoo convention,” he said. “One that would provide the fine residents living here with an opportunity to see great artists from all over the world, as well as an opportunity to get tattooed by them. Great artists from around the world needed to be introduced to those same fine residents! What better way than to put on a quality show that would bring the world’s top artists to the DC area? Most people don’t think of DC as a tattoo or art town for that matter, so I thought it was time to help change that.”

For the Expo, Piper brings in the top tattoo artists and body piercers from around the DC area, and the world. Attendees can survey the artists’ work, pick their favorite artist, and then get tattooed or pierced right on the spot. There are also special events like the Miss DC Pin-Up contest, where women dress up in their “best old school pin-up fashions” for a chance to win up to $500.

As there are every year at Piper’s Expo, there will be contests in many categories, including Tattoo of the Day, Best Color, and of course the 6th Annual “My Tattoo F’n Sucks Award.” That last one is for the worst tattoo at the show, and the winner gets a gift card so they can get the tattoo covered or repaired.

Tattoo repair is featured prominently on the Spike series “Tattoo Nightmares,” which stars tattoo artist Big Gus, who will be at the DC Tattoo Expo and will be roasted at the Expo’s last event Sunday evening.

It all takes place under one roof, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott, and Piper said he likes the vibe of the small hotel versus expanding to a bigger venue.

“I want to keep it intimate for the artist,” he said, “so I never want to grow out of a hotel setting. So many cities have them in convention centers and the artists as well as the guests really hate that. Here at the hotel, we can hang out, get a room, stay the weekend. You’re surrounded by art, artists and vendors who are all part of a growing culture. You can get tattooed, watch the contest and the entertainment, have some great food, drink and then relax in a comfy room, all without having to drive.”

The Expo will bring tattoo art to DC for at least one weekend, and maybe this year some lawmakers will show up to get inked. It hasn’t happened yet, said Piper.

“I tattoo a ton of federal law enforcement, government employees and contractors,” he said, “but no politicians as of yet. Although I’d love to, simply because they would be stuck listening to me bitch them out the entire time!”

Piper has seen it all in his years as a tattoo artist, and he is true to the artistic aspect of his craft, despite the newfound mainstream popularity of tattoos and body art.

“I get hundreds of inquiries a year,” he said. “Kids that are like, ‘I want to be a tattooist because it’s cool.’ My reply is usually, ‘f*** off, it’s not about being cool, it’s about being an artist, and of course, today, a modern businessman or woman as well.’”

The DC Tattoo Expo, presented by Exposed Tattoo and Baller Inc. Friday, January 15th – Sunday, January 17th, 2016.

Learn more about Greg at and

Crystal Gateway Marriott: 1700 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Arlington, VA; 

local gifts dc

Give the Gift of Local

The holidays are upon us, and chances are you’re one of the many shoppers scrambling to find gifts at the last minute. But fear not, for trips to insufferably crowded shopping malls or online impulse buys are not your only options. On Tap has scoped out some of the DC area’s best neighborhoods for shopping locally this holiday season, so read on for unique, stress-free ways to find the perfect gift.

Bethesda Row

Bethesda Row celebrates the holidays with live music the first three Saturdays in December. While you’re strolling to the tunes, pick out presents at Yiro/Tugooh Toys, which specializes in organic, eco-friendly toys, clothing and furniture for the little ones. And if you’re in the habit of buying sweaters for holiday presents, mix it up with Kit and Ace, the new boutique that proudly features clothing made from a “washable cashmere blend.” For the oenophile on your gift list, present them with a Wine Seminar and Master Class at Cork & Fork. The foodies will be delighted with something from Secolari Olive Oil & Vinegar, which also stocks an extensive range of pastas (including gluten-free options). The store only stocks items after the owners personally verify that each product meets their exacting standards for quality and luxury. JS

Capitol Riverfront

Take the Navy Yard Metro to the Capitol Riverfront and peruse urban, modern furniture, rugs and home accessories at EVO Furniture, or if you’re feeling really ambitious and/or generous, check out their showroom and pick out your own color, fabric and configuration for a custom piece for your favorite person. Other options include craft beer and wine at Cornercopia, a membership to fitness and boxing studio DCBFIT, a gift certificate to take a class at DC’s Trapeze School, or a gift certificate to a Barracks Row restaurant like the Euro-fusion inspired Belga Café. MA

Monroe St Market

Brookland has emerged as one of DC’s edgiest destinations, with 27 artist studios, trendy cafes and a university vibe. Start your gift shopping at Hälsa – it’s the final word in healthy ‘fast’ food (bone broth, anyone?), but they also have a marvelous wall of creative, locally-made chocolates, jams, and other edibles. For the peddlers in your life, visit The Bike Rack, voted DC’s Best Bike Shop of 2015; it shares space with Filter Coffeehouse, so you can also get a bag of Ceremony Coffee (roasted in Annapolis) for the caffeine fiend on your list. On December 17, visit the Arts Walk for their “Third Thursday” market and celebration. Start at Marcella Kriebel Art + Illustration (Studio 14) for their Grand Opening and Holiday Market from 5:00-10:00 p.m.; drinks and appetizers will be served. JS

Mount Vernon Triangle

The gift options are endless for your fit friends and family in MVT. Choose between a bike, bike accessories, or a gift card for classes, events, rides, or tours at BicycleSPACE, a gift card for classes at indoor cycling space SoulCycle, and a gift certificate for classes or massage therapy at yoga and meditation studio Bhakti Yoga DC. For anyone with a sweet tooth, pick up baked goods (or a gift card for them) at Baked & Wired or a gift certificate for a bite at its sister store, A Baked Joint. MA


Union Market is the obvious choice for the foodie in your life, or if you just need to take a break from shopping and nosh on something delicious. Pick up flavor-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Ah Love Oil & Vinegar and local wines and craft beers from Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, or tableware and vintage home decor from food writer Amanda McClements’ Salt & Sundry. Or hit up the H Street Corridor for mid-century modern art and home items at the Hunted House and vintage and designer clothing and accessories at consignment shop The Chic Shack. MA

Pike & Rose

Pike & Rose gets a lot of buzz for its luxurious iPic Movie Theater (hint hint – tickets make good gifts!), but there’s so much more. For the kids, the locally-owned Yogaso Boutique features Aleme, the clothing line designed and launched by owner Alem Beshir. For the grown-ups, head to Francesca’s, a packed boutique filled with affordable knickknacks and gifts (think candles and home accents), as well as clothing and jewelry. The foodies will be delighted to receive something from Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom – we recommend the Seasons Premium Balsamic, which actually is divine on ice cream! JS


Rosslyn is the perfect stop for a fine dining gift, with a range of restaurants to choose from. Treat friends to a night out at Arlington favorite Café Asia or the Art Institute of Washington’s student-run Culinaire Restaurant, or your special someone to a romantic evening at Amuse, with a million-dollar view of the city overlooking the Potomac River. Or for the health nut in your life, pick up a gift card to ballet-barre, Pilates, cardio and strength training fitness studio LavaBarre or boutique gym Verve Health & Fitness. MA

  • Amuse: 1121 19th St. N Arlington, VA; 703-351-1211
  • Café Asia: 1550 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;
  • Culinaire Restaurant: 1820 N Ft. Myer Dr., Arlington, VA; 703-247-3841
  • LavaBarre: 1528 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, VA;
  • Verve Health & Fitness: 1100 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA;

Contributors: Monica Alford and Jean Schindler

Rent the Runway
Photo: Alanna Sheppard

Rent the Runway for Your Next Party

Recently celebrating their one-year anniversary, Georgetown’s posh Rent the Runway location is the prime spot to get your holiday party dress this season. Store owner and fashion merchandising queen, Khalilah Branch told On Tap “there are a lot of hot trends to choose from this year including sequins, sparkles, mod style, Victorian cuts and jumpsuits.” Also new at Rent the Runway is a Birchbox store inside the shop. Now, not only can you shop designer gowns at bargain rental prices, you can also purchase beauty products, build-your-own curated beauty boxes and get your makeup done right before the big event. The in-store formula: Choose your gown + get your makeup done + get dressed = a beautiful you, ready for the party.

Try This

Sequins & Sparkles
Dazzling  sequins make this Parker Brookdale dress in poinsettia red a real standout. Pair it with simple jewelry and pumps. Rental price $78 (retail price $418).

This iconic Theia black and silver jacquard gown features a high neckline, belted waist with beautiful detailing and a metallic skirt. Add red lips for a pop of color and go. Rental price $175 (retail price $1295).

LBD Alternatives
Geometric cutouts around the bodice make this Rachel Zoe Emilie jumpsuit edgy. Pair the straight leg pant with point-toe heels for a polished look. Straight leg with side pockets. Rental price $75 (retail price $425).

Try this Slate & Willow Charles tuxedo-style dress. Featuring a full skirt, plunging neckline and four gold button closures this LBD alternative is ultra flattering. Rental price $70 (retail price $400).

* Based on four day rental prices

Follow them on Facebook @RentTheRunway, Twitter @RenttheRunway and Instagram@renttherunway

Rent the Runway: 3336 M St. NW, DC;

star wars fun facts

The Force Awakens: Will You Be There?

Where will you be on Thursday, Dec. 17? If you’re a diehard Star Wars fan you should head down to Gallery Place in Chinatown.  On Tap and Fado will be onsite talking to Star Wars fans hanging out in Gallery Place Alley awaiting the movie premiere.  Come decked out in your best Star Wars’ gear and answer surprise trivia questions for free pints and food at Fado. Star Wars trivia will run from 8 – 9 p.m.

Gallery Place Alley: 808 7th St. NW, DC;

Did you know…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set over 30 years after  Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope  was released in 1977.

The Series has three trilogies: The Original Trilogy, which are movies four to six in the story but were the first to be released, The Prequel Trilogy, movies one to three were the second group released twenty years later, and finally the Sequel Trilogy that will be released over the next four years.

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope earned triple its budget on its opening weekend.

Harrison  Ford who plays Han Solo, Carrie Fisher who plays Princess Leia and Mark Hamill who plays Luke Skywalker reprise their roles in The Force Awakens.

James Earl Jones and David Prowse, who play the voice and body of Darth Vader respectively, have never met.

Simon Pegg was confirmed to star in The Force Awakens, making him the first actor to appear in both a Star Wars and a Star Trek film. Pegg plays Scotty in the Star Trek films.

Because of the secretive nature surrounding The Force Awakens, several cast members found out that they had gotten parts in the film days or hours after their auditions and were taken directly to the table read.

The Ewok language is a combination of Tibetan and Nepalese.

Many of the buildings constructed to be used in shots of Tatooine for Episode I are still standing in Tunisia. In fact, some of them are still used by locals.

The phrase “I have a bad feeling about this” is said in every film.

frost fest at pentagon row

Frost Fest at Pentagon Row

Guests at Frost Fest at Pentagon Row enjoyed an on-ice fireworks display, ice sculptures, fire performers and an evening of wintery fun. Fans also enjoyed ice skating, treats and cozy fireplaces. Photos: Alanna Sheppard