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Cathy Barrow // Photo: courtesy of Story District

Breaking Bread: Food Industry Vets And Celebrity Chefs Open Up To DC Audiences

Food tells stories about our lives: recipes handed down through generations with no exact measurements, a dish that was learned while traveling abroad or even a recipe discovered when you had to get creative with what little there was in the pantry – and it turned out delicious. Food tells stories about our families, our cultural heritage, our travels and so much more.

When searching for recipes online, you’d be hard-pressed to find a recipe that isn’t accompanied by a story of some kind. Even for cooks as challenged in the kitchen as I am, my favorite dishes all have their own stories – like the Egyptian macaroni béchamel that my mother refuses to write down exact directions for or the scrambled eggs with corned beef that makes up my father’s entire recipe repertoire (to be eaten straight from the pan with pita bread, no discussion).

The stories that surround the food we make can be touching, funny, nostalgic, painful or, likely in a lot of cases, some combination of all four. So, imagine the stories that professional chefs and those who work in the food industry can tell. Local arts organization and storytelling series Story District is hosting Breaking Bread to do just that: tell their stories. On December 17, celebrity chefs and insiders from the food and hospitality industry in the DC area will gather at Sixth & I downtown to share their stories onstage.

Their stories are as diverse and varied as the foods they cook. Celebrity chef and TV personality Carla Hall will tell a story about her time as a competitor on Top Chef. Washington Post food writer Cathy Barrow will tell the audience about a 60s dinner party scene, à la Mad Men. Chef Ashish Alfred, owner of three Bethesda restaurants (Duck Duck Goose, George’s Chophouse and The Loft at 4935), will tell his harrowing tale about overcoming addiction while choosing to remain in an industry that can be grueling.

Although their careers and experiences might seem intimidating to those who can barely boil water, the stories they’ll tell are about much more than just food.

“Any time I share my story, I hope people take away that if you want a different life, the only thing standing in your way is you,” Alfred told On Tap.

Alfred knew exactly what story he wanted to tell. But for Hall, who can be seen cooking – and acting – on TV and who used to model, narrowing it down to one story was more difficult.

“It’s like therapy when you’re going through [the process], because it’s so much and they are pulling these stories out of you, which is so incredible,” Hall said.

She ultimately decided on a story about her time on Top Chef because it’s a story of a struggle.

“People assume from the outside that success looks one way and I think in telling my story, it will show a different side of myself. People are so used to me being shown [in this] very happy [way], which is true. But this is a story [where] I am actually sharing a struggle.”

Although being in the competitive limelight of a show like Top Chef might seem natural for someone as used to celebrity attention as Hall, she had to get used to judgment – not only from the judges on the show but from the millions who were watching it, too.

“It’s emotionally hard. You feel emotionally exposed [and] vulnerable because you’re making your food and then you’re being judged. You’re being judged publicly by millions of people who can’t actually eat the food.”

When it was time for Barrow to pick a story, she thought she knew exactly what she wanted to tell: how she became a food writer. But she said the story, told on many a book tour, felt stale. Instead, she decided on something a little more glamorous.

“My story is about how the dinner party scene in the 60s and Andy Warhol and my dreams of stardom all came together.”

Barrow’s story will touch on the family history genre of food stories, describing a time when people – including Barrow’s mother – hosted or attended dinner parties every weekend. The 60s was the decade that most informed Barrow’s cooking experience.

“I have been cooking since I was a very young child, and I had really expanded expectations. I wasn’t just going to make chocolate chip cookies. I was going to make a madeleine, you know? The dinner party was what informed all of that for me. There was a whole ritual to it – the fine china, the linen, the crystal – and how shiny everything was. It was very fancy.”

And non-chefs have a lot to learn from those in the industry.

“I think there’s always something to learn from people in the food industry because that’s what we work with,” Barrow said. “There’s a lot more to us. These stories are stories of redemption and expansion and unlikely opportunity, and I think that that resonates in all aspects of life and every kind of work.”

These stories remind us of the fact that chefs are normal people. The food industry can be a difficult place to work on every level, even if you’re not in the spotlight.

“We are real people with real problems who are laying ourselves bare every time we serve a plate and invite you into our restaurants,” Alfred said.

Despite the diversity of their stories, everyone had a similar answer when about what makes DC’s food scene special: the people who work in it.

“There is a great community [in DC] where it doesn’t necessarily feel competitive,” Hall said. “It feels like we’re all in this together.”

Catch Hall, Alfred, Barrow and four other DC food industry vets speak at Sixth & I for Breaking Bread: Stories by Celebrity Chefs and Industry Insiders on Tuesday, December 17. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and tickets are $30-$35. Learn more at www.storydistrict.org.

Sixth & I: 600 I St. NW, DC; 202-408-3100; www.sixthandi.org

Photo: courtesy of Food Rescue US

Food Rescue US Fights Food Waste, Helps Feed DC

Imagine a restaurant with delicious, healthy food. The chefs prepare enough to serve hundreds of people daily, but often, good resources are thrown out and left to rot in a landfill. Meanwhile, 11.1 percent of U.S. households were food insecure at least some time during 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including 5.6 million households with very low food security.

In an effort to combat this reality, Food Rescue US is taking action to prevent food waste and combat food insecurity with the help of technology. This year, the nonprofit has recovered around 730,000 meals, and since October 2016, the organization has recovered 2 million pounds of food. This recovered food amounts to $3.5 million, a staggering amount and a point of pride that shows how the organization’s efforts benefit its respective communities.

“[Food Rescue US] helps address food waste and hunger,” says DC site director Kate Urbank. “[Approximately] 40 million people, including 12 million children, are food insecure in the U.S. If we could take more of the food being wasted and direct it to folks who are food insecure, it solves two problems: it [reduces] methane gases from food rotting in landfills, which is a huge contributor to climate change, [and the food is] redirected to people who are food insecure.”

Places that donate food include one-off catered conferences that do not want to throw out premade food, restaurants and even organizations like the World Bank. Receiving agents may be places that serve the homeless or local women’s shelters. One of Urbank’s goals is to find agencies that are not well-known about around the District and can benefit from the organization’s services.

Want to help the organization? There’s an app for that. The Food Rescue US app uses an algorithm to match food donors and agents who have a surplus of resources with nearby receiving agencies and organizations that feed people. Urbank uses the app to help coordinate efforts with volunteers known as food rescuers, who transport surplus food from food donors to receiving agencies.

A third version of the app is under development, and the update will make for a more seamless and interactive experience. However, for now there is a need for a human intermediary, and Urbank sits at the helm where she conducts conversations with donors once they sign up.

“I know these folks well enough to either email or text my posse and tell them we need to go out to [a location] because it is not covered,” she says. “Usually, someone steps up. Sometimes, I will write to my donor and say, ‘Can you hold the food until tomorrow morning, and I will get someone there tomorrow?’”

Failure to deliver food from donors to receiving agencies is not an option. When a match happens, a food rescuer is enlisted to ensure pickup and delivery. People use different modes of transportation, including a wagon, to rescue the food. The time it takes to participate is roughly 30 minutes to an hour, and anyone can try volunteering once to see if they enjoy it.

“Some people do one rescue and maybe never do it ever again,” Urbank continues. “Some people do it three times a month. Some people do it [two or] three times a week. It is up to the individual to opt in. You can schedule yourself.”

Food Rescue US is one of many organizations offering a solution to America’s food waste problem. With a hand-to-hand operation, donors can see financial benefits and food rescuers can actively help their community by ensuring that receiving agencies provide hungry people with food that would otherwise be discarded.

“[Food Rescue US] is about offering an option: a solution for businesses that want to donate their food and have not had the time or the knowledge to know where to take it,” Urbank adds.

For more info about volunteering with Food Rescue US and to download the app, visit www.foodrescue.us.

Community yoga class at Bread for the City // Photo: Gracy Obuchowicz

Pay It Forward, DC: 15 Ways To Give Back Locally

‘Tis the season for paying it forward, so we decided to put together a list of 15 ways to give back to the DC community year-round. Our handpicked list is chock-full of unique organizations eager to put new volunteers’ hands and minds to novel uses. Read on for a list of creative ways you can give more of yourself to those in need around the District.

Restore the Anacostia Watershed

Eco-minded folks can help restore wetlands, plant native plants, collect seeds and much more, all while learning about the watershed and its ecosystem.
www.anacostiaws.org/how-to-help/volunteer.html

Put Down Roots with Casey Trees

Channel your inner tree-hugger through a variety of opportunities, from tree planting and tree care to advocacy.
www.caseytrees.org

Get Your Hands Dirty with Columbia Heights Green

Put your green thumb to good use at Columbia Heights Green, one of many participating parks and gardens in the Community Harvest Program at Washington Parks & People.
www.columbiaheightsgreen.org

Show Compassion & Offer Advocacy through HIPS

Donate to and/or volunteer with HIPS (Harm Reduction Experts Improving Lives Since 1993), offering compassionate harm reduction services and advocacy to people who engage in sex work or drug use in the DC area.
www.hips.org

Expand Your Practice with Yoga Activist

Are you a yoga teacher who wants to take the practice outside of the confines of traditional studio spaces? Yoga Activist is the place to do it.
www.yogaactivist.org

Knit It Forward in the District

Do you stay calm and knit on? Join one of many knitting meetups held at DC Public Library locations and/or donate your handknitted items to a variety of charities.
www.dclibrary.org // www.lionbrand.com/blog/10-charities-for-knitters-and-crocheters

Feed the Hungry with So Others Might Eat

Help provide nourishing breakfasts for those in need. They use real eggs, too – none of that powder stuff.
www.some.org

Provide a Fitness Framework for Girls on the Run

Volunteer with the DC chapter of this national nonprofit dedicated to making a world where every girl is free to boldly pursue her dreams through running. Support students during a 10-week program to help them establish an appreciation for health and fitness.
www.gotrdc.org

Dress to Impress with Suited for Change

Help local women entering the job market dress to impress through a variety of volunteering and donating options, including leading a styling workshop.
www.suitedforchange.org

Support Senior Citizens at We Are Family

Help isolated senior citizens with groceries, cleaning, transportation or just a friendly visit. Make a new friend this season by joining We Are Family.
www.wearefamilydc.org

Save the Felines with Alley Cat Rescue

The trap-neuter-return program at Alley Cat can make life on the streets a little more bearable for our furry friends. Donate to the rescue or adopt one of their many cuddle bugs.
www.saveacat.org

Be a Classroom Volunteer at Carlos Rosario International

Volunteer in adult ESL, culinary, IT and health classes and programs at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, and/or join as a mentor through the Impact Mentorship Program.
www.carlosrosario.org/get-involved/volunteers-2

Mentor Families with Northstar Tutoring

Tutor, mentor and help support members of low-income families in DC through Northstar Tutoring.
www.northstartutoring.org

Help the Homeless at Friendship Place

Help people in need transition out of homelessness at Friendship Place through a variety of volunteer roles, from mentoring to cleaning.
www.friendshipplace.org

Go Pro Bono with the D.C. Bar

If you’re a DC lawyer, you can give back by providing a variety of pro bono legal services.
www.dcbar.org/pro-bono/volunteer

Coach Soccer with DC Scores

Score a winning goal by helping coach and referee soccer games.
www.dcscores.org/volunteer

Photo: Sloane Dakota Tucker

5 Art Destinations Changing DC’s Creative Scene

Looking for some new or unique places to experience art in the District? Check out our picks for where to enjoy DC’s thriving arts scene, from galleries and pop-ups to programs and workshops.

Latela Curatorial Explores New Spaces

Latela Curatorial is an art consultancy with a focus on women artists and the feminine aesthetic. While they’ve held exhibitions of artists’ work at their Brookland studio and office since 2015, they’re transitioning into installing work in larger spaces and finding ways to bring local creatives and their visions to big projects.

“We’ve been refining where we want our projects to go from here on out, focusing on that feminine, delicate, vulnerable, energy-transcending type of narrative from a female artist perspective,” says founder and director Marta Staudinger.

The Brookland-based space just celebrated a successful showing at Superfine Art Fair, and Staudinger and her team are now thinking of ways to build on that energy.

“We introduced several local female artists [at Superfine],” she continues. “Where my interest for 2020 lies is in proposing that booth [at Superfine] as a teaser for a much bigger exhibition that we could do [where we] work with larger institutions.”

Check out Latela’s website to learn more about its artists, exhibitions, and procurement and installation work, and peek your head into the new Avec apartment building on H Street soon for a glimpse of Latela artists’ work.

“We’re super excited to do procurement on that scale,” Staudinger adds of the residential art project. “Nothing is mass-produced. It’s all original art.”

Latela Curatorial is providing spaces all over DC with artwork that’s more than just beautiful – it resonates.

716 Monroe St. #27, NE, DC; www.latelacuratorial.com

The Omi Collective’s Hydrated Wxmen Pop-Up

The DC Arts Walk and Edgewood Arts Center is hosting “Hydrated Womxn,” an interactive media exhibition, healing arts residency and holiday bazaar curated by the Omi Collective on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays now through December 22. The central idea is to create a space at the Brookland location where people can relax and recharge while surrounded by creativity.

“We’re challenging people to think about what nourishes them,” says Omi Collective Curator and Creative Director Sanam Emami. “Someone can come in during art lounge hours and step into our joy.”

Resident artists are multidisciplinary, communicating through art, poetry, music and more. Each weekend will explore a different theme with events, performances and workshops meant to leave attendees feeling inspired, centered and creatively hydrated – alongside thoughtfully curated offerings for sale from local artists.

“It’s about the process, not the product,” Emami says.

DC Arts Walk & Edgewood Arts Center at Monroe Street Market: 716 Monroe St. NE, DC; www.theomicollective.com

Hemphill Fine Arts Moves to K Street

Hemphill has been an integral part of the art community in DC since opening in 1993, and has built a reputation for working with collectors and art aficionados of all ages, incomes and backgrounds. The gallery represents a variety of contemporary artists working in sculpture, painting, photography and mixed media, with recent exhibitions from Julie Wolfe, Hedieh Javanshir, Rushern Baker IV and James Britton.

Now, the gallery is preparing for a big move in January. Director Mary Early says the move “is a dramatic change from our space of the last 15 years on 14th Street in Logan Circle, where we were located on the third floor of a historic building.”

“That location required a little extra from visitors,” she says. “The effort to seek out and find us, the desire to pursue.”

But the new space in Mount Vernon Square brings unique opportunities for visitors to become familiar with Hemphill artists.

“The move to K Street comes full circle to our beginnings in Georgetown in 1993, bringing us back to a first-floor space in a rapidly evolving neighborhood.”

The gallery’s inaugural exhibition will be Linling Lu’s third solo show with the gallery. Hemphill will soon be bringing visitors old and new to its home on K Street.

“We’re looking forward to getting to know our new downtown neighborhood,” Early adds.

434 K St. NW, DC; www.hemphillfinearts.com

Femme Fatale’s New Pop-Up

Femme Fatale is fast becoming a DC fixture as a pop-up showcasing women artists and entrepreneurs. Visitors can expect to find a trove of jewelry, art, prints, clothing and more. CEO Cee Smith says that Femme Fatale is starting to settle into its role in DC’s creative scene.

“We’re definitely still in startup mode, but we’ve had a chance to assess the value that Femme Fatale brings to different communities,” she says.

Femme Fatale has become well-known for its events – from craft workshops to networking parties – and for its bright and welcoming aesthetic.

“We’ve always been this hub for women not only to gather, but to learn from each other,” says Femme Fatale’s owner and jewelry designer Adriana Mendoza.

Now, Femme Fatale is taking on a more “structured type of template to create a real incubator space for women,” she says.

You’d never know that just a few weeks ago, the new pop-up was a gutted restaurant. Art is everywhere: murals, paintings behind the counter, and jewelry, accessories and textile designs for sale in the shop.

Artists are “the secret sauce of the experience of Femme Fatale,” Smith says. Her team prioritizes supporting a wide range of local creatives and especially “those who might just be starting out or who haven’t really had their voice heard,” Mendoza adds. In other words, Femme Fatale provides a great opportunity to find a unique local piece you might not see anywhere else.

401 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; www.femmefataledc.com

The Torpedo Factory Celebrates 45 Years

The Torpedo Factory Art Center is an icon of Old Town Alexandria. This year, it celebrated 45 years as an art institution with studios, galleries, classes taught by the Art League School, events and more.

“One of the biggest changes since the Torpedo Factory was founded is how much Old Town and the waterfront has changed,” says director Brett Johnson. “It’s become a vibrant and exciting destination, and it’s been great that the art center was a part of that change.”

Looking ahead, the art center is finding more ways to engage with the community and bring more visitors within its walls.

“City council has tasked staff to create a vibrancy and sustainability plan for the art center,” Johnson adds. “We are seeking to create an even more interactive space than what we already provide with new, hands-on experiences.”

That means everything from well-loved programs like Art Safari to newer ones like Factory Flow morning yoga, as well as seasonal events like the Holiday Market and Olde Year’s Day. On December 13, the art center will look back on the first five years of its post-grad residency program, which supports recent art grads with studio space and presentation opportunities.

105 N Union St. Alexandria, VA; www.torpedofactory.org

Brookland pint flight // Photos: Chelsea Bailey

Drinking In A Winter Wonderland: The Local Lowdown On Seasonal Beers From On Tap’s Resident Beer Nerds

Two of our favorite local beer enthusiasts joined forces to find five spots around the DMV with diverse tap lists and rotating seasonal pours. Anna Jacoby and Chelsea Bailey found more than just winter warmers on their beer-focused adventure – they found beer menus that satisfied each other’s varying taste profile preferences.

“I like my winter beers like my soul: cold and dark,” Bailey says.

She tends to favor stouts, porters, black lagers and black IPAs. While winter isn’t her favorite beer season, Jacoby loves porters.

“I like stouts, too, but steer clear of winter brews that are too aggressive with spices. I don’t like it when my beer tastes like liquid allspice.”

If there’s one thing they can agree on, it’s that each beer has a time and a place. Whether it’s in front of a firepit or casually drinking with friends at the pub, there is a moment for every kind of beer. Read on to find out what happens when two strangers with a common love of craft beer, but very different taste buds, come together to try seasonal brews at some of the best beer spots in the area.

Brookland Pint

BROOKLAND PINT

716 Monroe St. NE, DC; www.brooklandpint.com

Brookland Pint, along with sister spots Smoke & Barrel and Meridian Pint, is known for its superior tap list curated by legendary beverage director Jace Gonnerman. At this Monroe Street locale, we created our own winter beer flight simply because #InJaceWeTrust. Our flight consisted of every dark beer that was on their list at the time of our visit.

DC Brau Penn Quarter Porter

Chelsea: I love how it has a malt profile but also chocolate notes. It’s super sessionable.

Anna: There are malty chocolate flavors but they’re not overpowering, so it’s not rich or like a milkshake.

Chelsea: Also, the mouthfeel is a lot lighter than what you get with a stout.

Chelsea: B // Anna: B

Perennial Artisan Ales Fantastic Voyage Stout

Anna: Wow. That’s complex. It’s thick and the opposite of the Penn Quarter porter and has some coffee notes. Tell me your secrets. What’s in it?

Chelsea: Coconut! It has a lot of chocolate notes and coconut.

Anna: It’s funny that it’s a seasonal winter beer style, but it has that tropical kick at the end.

Chelsea: It’s a well-executed stout. The mouthfeel is phenomenal: very smooth, thick, slightly sweet, but not overly sweet. I could have a whole pint of this.

Chelsea: A // Anna: A

Goose Island Bourbon County Vanilla Stout

Chelsea: Now I know I’m going to like this.

Anna: That smells familiar. What is that smell?

Chelsea: College.

Anna takes sip: Well, that’s different.

Chelsea: Good different or bad different?

Anna: It’s a lot. I appreciate the complexity of it. But I couldn’t like, sit and drink it casually.

Chelsea: It’s the perfect beer to have while sitting by a fire with blankets.

Anna: It’s an experience – a time-and-place kind of beer.

Chelsea: B // Anna: C

Quarry House Tavern

QUARRY HOUSE TAVERN

8401 Georgia Ave. Silver Spring, MD; www.fb.com/quarryhouse

Not even a fire, broken water main, or the resulting three-year hiatus could keep people from flocking to this Silver Spring classic. Resurrected in May 2018, Quarry House Tavern is an unpretentious, quintessential basement dive bar with grungy charm. Its list of over 200-plus beers or “beericulum vitae,” as general manager and drink curator Ellen Cox calls it, is extensive and wide-ranging. Cox is a human beer encyclopedia, so we knew we were in good hands. She is more than happy to nerd out with her customers when it comes to trying craft beer. One of the first winter pours we tried was an inaugural holiday bière de garde ale, which Cox explained is a French style of brewing that results in champagne-like carbonation. She tried it for the first time with us. Upon tasting, all-around enthusiasm ensued.

Two Roads Holiday Ale Bière de Garde

Ellen, whispering excitedly: See? Look at the tiny bubbles in this!

Anna: It does look like champagne. I probably wouldn’t have known it was a beer.

Ellen: Oh, that’s nice. It’s very clean for a holiday beer. That’s great!

Anna: I always worry about holiday ones because I feel like they’re going to overdo it.

Chelsea: I feel like people try to fill holiday beers with like, every single clove and allspice they have.

Ellen: Alright. I love this beer – the little bit of tartness, kind of almost like a cranberry in the back. And the bubbles are light on your tongue.

Chelsea: They’re like, “Hello!” It’s a little treat. It’s a very happy beer.

Anna: Nice surprise, this one.

Chelsea: B // Anna: B+

Southern Tier 2XMAS Spiced Double Ale

Anna: It smells festive, gingery.

Chelsea: It smells minty to me. That’s nice. It doesn’t taste like an 8 percent [ABV] beer. That’s dangerous!

Anna: I’m getting a little pepper at the very end.

Ellen: It’s like a white pepper almost.

Chelsea: This would pair really well with soft cheeses, I feel like. Some prosciutto or salami. Grapes.

Ellen: Grapes and some heavy-duty local honey.

Chelsea: Now I know what I’m doing for dinner tonight.

Anna: If a beer inspires you to plan an entire meal around it…

Chelsea: That tells you the beer has made an impression.

Chelsea: A // Anna: B+

Left Hand Chai Milk Stout Nitro

Anna: I’m getting a little bit of a sweet potato vibe.

Ellen: So good over ice cream.

Anna: Oh my god, that’s genius. It’s a milk stout?

Ellen: Yeah. Beer floats! You pick the porter, we provide the ice cream. It’s on our menu.

Chelsea: That’s what Left Hand does really, really well is a milk stout.

Chelsea: B // Anna: B

Jackpot

JACKPOT

726 7th St. NW, DC; www.jackpotdc.com

Jackpot has a beer-meets-speakeasy vibe. As you climb down the stairs to this basement bar in Chinatown across the street from Capital One Arena, you are not quite sure what to expect. Upon walking in, you are instantly greeted with the scent of warm, fresh popcorn. We reviewed the tap list here and were impressed with their winter offerings. They do not offer flights, but being the intrepid reporters that we are, we didn’t let that stop us. We ordered five pints, and while it was hard to choose, these were our top three.

Red Bear Brewing Polar Bear Wheat Pale Ale

Chelsea: I really like this. I just wasn’t sure what to expect. Is it going to taste like a wheat or like a pale ale? But it tastes like both. I’m still a little confused.

Anna: This is subtly reminiscent of an amber ale.

Chelsea: This might be one of my new favorite winter beers. Good job, Red Bear.

Chelsea: A // Anna: B+

Alewerks Coffeehouse Stout

Anna: I want to put that on ice cream. I really do. When I drink it, I think of vanilla ice cream.

Chelsea: This to me is an example of a well-executed beer. Robust and full of coffee notes, but well-balanced.

Anna: This one keeps flirting with me. I keep wanting to try it and see what new flavors I’m going to get from it.

Chelsea: A // Anna: B+

Clown Shoes Hammer of the Lion

Anna: Do you like it?

Chelsea: I like it! The flavor changes from when you take your initial sip. This is 11 percent [ABV] so I was expecting to be bashed in the face with booze. This one is deceptive.

Anna: It looks like it is going to taste a lot more aggressive than it is.

Chelsea: B // Anna: C

Westover Market

WESTOVER MARKET AND BEER GARDEN

5863 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.westovermarketbeergarden.com

Westover Market and Beer Garden in Arlington is a whimsical, multifunctional establishment with a little bit of everything: all-in-one deli, beer garden, butcher shop, bar, bottle shop, bodega, grocery store, gift shop and even art gallery with wall-to-wall, booze-themed murals. Commenting on the bar alone would be a disservice to readers who have never been here. Westover’s multipurpose market is just as notable as its tap list. A wide range of craft beers line the walls and even wind up a few of the aisles. Each time we thought we had reached the end of the market’s beer selection, it just kept going. Back at the bar, we tried one winter cider and two beers.

Supreme Core Cider Ginger Beard Man

Chelsea: Going into it, my expectation was sweet. But that’s my general expectation of a cider.

Anna: Agreed. It smells like Martinelli’s apple juice but tastes nothing like it.

Chelsea: It smells the way an apple pie would smell, and then you take a sip of it. It’s very dry, very ginger. As someone who is not the biggest ginger fan, I think that this is all that I would be able to drink of it.

Anna: This is yum. I love the ginger. It’s not what I expected because I’m not the biggest cider fan. I was worried because it smells like it’s going to be so sweet.

Chelsea: C // Anna: A

Rocket Frog Brewing Company Best Buddy Milk Stout

Anna: That’s super smooth.

Chelsea: I love milk stouts, so this will always be what I gravitate toward. It’s coffee-forward but not overwhelmingly so, and lightly sweet but very balanced.

Anna: That’s really tasty. Sometimes, I can’t drink a stout and not think about putting it on ice cream. So, I want to put that on ice cream.

Chelsea: This has been a consistent thing with you.

Chelsea: A // Anna: B+ alone, A with dessert

Three Notch’d Brewing Company Oats McGoat’s Oatmeal Stout

Anna: This smells like a solid, straightforward oatmeal stout.

Chelsea: It’s toasty and roasty without it being overly coffee. It’s malty and very lightly sweet, but not overwhelming. The mouthfeel is super light.

Chelsea: B // Anna: B+

Galaxy Hut

GALAXY HUT

2711 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.galaxyhut.com

This staple craft beer bar has so many different beers on tap that sometimes guests get overwhelmed, but the bar staff are happy to guide even the most inexperienced craft beer drinkers toward the right beer for their tastes. They want people to be able to come in, have a good time and enjoy what they are drinking. It’s what makes the Clarendon spot an overall great neighborhood bar. We were fortunate enough to be joined by Galaxy Hut’s Patrick Fish as we sampled their winter offerings.

Anderson Valley Nitro Cerveza Crema

Anna: I don’t smell anything notable with this one, but I like the taste.

Chelsea: It’s sessionable. I’m not getting a lot of flavor, but it’s something I would certainly sip on. I would consider this a casual beer to have during the winter that is not a dark beer.

Chelsea: C // Anna: C

Hardywood Bourbon Barrel GBS

Anna: This is sweet.

Chelsea: I agree. It is sweet. What I like about it, though, is that it doesn’t punch you in the face with the bourbon, which has been my hesitation with barrel-aged beers these days.

Anna: Personally, I don’t think I could drink a lot of it. It is just a little too sweet for me.

Chelsea: The mouthfeel is a lot lighter than I was expecting. I’ve gotten used to a heavier mouthfeel with heavier beers. It also doesn’t taste like ginger, which makes me happy.

Chelsea: A // Anna: C

Ardent Imperial Milk Stout

Patrick: This one’s got that kind of nice sweet-but-not-syrupy, without being overpowering.

Anna: That is a level of sweet that I can tolerate.

Patrick: That is probably my favorite dark beer that we have right now.

Chelsea: This is really good. I would have multiple pints of it. It actually reminds me of Port City’s porter. It has a lot of the same roasty notes: slightly coffee on the back of the tongue, but not overwhelmingly so. This is a milk stout, right? It’s not super lactose-y.

Anna: I wouldn’t say that I would put this one on ice cream.

Chelsea: B // Anna: B

December Music Picks

MONDAY, DECEMBER 9 – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10

Mariah Carey
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Mariah Carey’s album Merry Christmas, and her All I Want For Christmas Is You Tour commemorates her album’s success. Carey recently announced that she will be re-releasing Merry Christmas with its original songs as well as remixes, and a portion of ticket sales from her holiday tour will benefit Toys for Tots. Carey also encourages ticket buyers to bring donations for the program. Concert at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $160. The Theater at MGM National Harbor: 101 MGM National Ave. Oxon Hill, MD; www.mgmnationalharbor.com/entertainment

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10

Cher: Here We Go Again Tour
The goddess of pop returns to DC for her Here We Go Again Tour. Fans can expect Cher classics as well as songs from her newest album, Dancing Queen, a tribute to ABBA. Special guests Nile Rodgers and Chic will also grace the stage for the North American stint of Cher’s tour. Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.com

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11

The Suitcase Junket
Considering Matthew Lorenz began creating music with repurposed items from the garbage, the professional production of Mean Dog, Trampoline is an enormous step for this self-made entertainer. His classic melodies carry through to his newest album, but artistic tweaks from the production team make these songs more accessible and even more worth hearing at this performance. Doors at 6 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E. Vienna, VA; www.jamminjava.com

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12

Alicia Ward & Joey Antico
Cellist Alicia Ward and percussionist Joey Antico come together for a performance that pairs beautifully with Ward’s stunning melodies and Antico’s percussive prowess. Ward has shared her talent at venues like Carnegie Hall and the Moscow Conservatory, and has won the Lennox International Competition as well as the National Symphony Orchestra Soloist Competition. Antico’s background in jazz traditions promises a unique night as he shares the stage with another thrilling talent. Concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $24. The Music Center at Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD; www.strathmore.org

Rachael & Vilray with Akie Bermiss
Lake Street Dive vocalist Rachael Price lends her velvet voice to an album made in partnership with guitarist, singer and composer Vilray. Their self-titled debut album Rachael & Vilray stars the duo’s shared love for 30s- and 40s-inspired jazz, and their performance is sure to set the mood for a chilly December evening. Akie Bermiss, pianist for Lake Street Dive, joins Price and Vilray on their musical adventure and provides unobtrusive tunes that complement the duo’s playful, bantering lyrics. Concert at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Sixth & I: 600 I St. NW, DC; www.sixthandi.org

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13

Cautious Clay with Remi Wolf
Cautious Clay characterizes his music with electronic twists that make his songs catchy yet soothing. His passion for music shines through his lyrics, and it’s clear that each song reflects an important aspect of his life and career. Remi Wolf’s impressive beats and blunt lyrics will prep the stage for the Cautious Clay main event, and audiences can expect honest and passion-fueled performances. Doors at 10 p.m. Tickets $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

Harry & the Potters
Harry & the Potters will dive into the hidden possibilities of the Harry Potter universe. The group explores an alternate reality in which Harry misuses a time-turner and starts a punk rock band with a past version of himself, and their songs will cover a range of topics from saving Ginny Weasley to Voldemort’s inability to defeat rock ‘n’ roll. A portion of each ticket will benefit the Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit that encourages humanitarian activism. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets $20. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

Vim & Vigor with Kellyn Marie Goler
Vim & Vigor, a pop-folk band based in DC, produces unique songs that resonate with melodic sweetness. Their band name translates to “enormous vitality and energy,” and their music and performances live up to that promise. Kellyn Marie Goler, an independent singer-songwriter also based locally, creates acoustic folk-pop that will pair perfectly with Vim & Vigor’s performance. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $10. DC9 Nightclub: 1940 9th St. NW, DC; www.dc9.club

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14

80s Mayhem Holiday Extravaganza Dance Party
FYM Productions will bring groovy 80s remixes to the 10th annual Holiday Extravaganza Dance Party. Their group consists of DJ Steve EP, DJ Missguided and Killa K. These experts are well-versed in mixing quality music. DJ Steve has been in the business for more than 25 years and DJ Missguided is a regular at Black Cat’s exceedingly popular events. Their group was founded in 2001, and they continue to pursue their mission of promoting good times. Dance party kicks off at 9 p.m. Tickets $12. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

Anuel AA
As part of the Emmanuel World Tour, Anuel AA is visiting Eagle Bank Arena to showcase his talent as a rapper and singer. He was the recipient of the 2019 Billboard Latin Music Award and is well-known as a pioneer of the Latin trap movement. His songs feature unrelentingly honest lyrics and moving beats that will shine as the artist shares his reggaeton and trap blends. Concert at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $39. Eagle Bank Arena: 4500 Patriot Cir. Fairfax, VA; www.eaglebankarena.com

Best of 2010s Flashback Showcase by 7DrumCity
The 2010s featured trends like YOLO and unforgettable music like Train’s “Hey Soul Sister” and Young Money’s “Bedrock.” As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to honor the music this decade had to offer. 7DrumCity’s Best of 2010’s Flashback Showcase will feature nine bands time traveling through the top hits of the past 10 years. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $13-$15. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

Lomelda with Long Beard and The Goodbye Party
Texas songwriter Hannah Reed, a.k.a. Lomelda, says her stage name is a made-up word meaning “echo of the stars,” and her performances maintain this drifting vibe. She is a strong stage presence, though, and her song “Interstate Vision” is full of original sounds that demand audience attention. In contrast, Long Beard’s music explores the definition of home while incorporating impressive melodies. The Goodbye Party, another solo stage presence, started with bedroom recordings and eventually upgraded to mostly self-recorded album Silver Blues. Show starts at 10 p.m. Tickets $12. Comet Ping Pong: 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.cometpingpong.com

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15

Amy Guess
Amy Guess finds her musical inspiration from bands like Evanescence and Portishead while incorporating industrial sounds and emotive energy. Guess is currently preparing for the release of her sophomore EP that details her experience as a music presence, and she continues to unapologetically create bold content. She feels confident that her music career is just getting started, so join her journey at this upcoming event. Doors at 8:30 p.m. Tickets $10. Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House: 2475 18th St. NW, DC; www.songbyrddc.com

Andrea Bocelli
Andrea Bocelli, the world’s most beloved tenor, captivates audiences once again during his 2019 tour. Bocelli has paired with pop icons like Ed Sheeran and Celine Dion to produce stunning duets, and he has been in the international spotlight for more than two decades. His career barrels on as he travels across America to share his impressive vocals once more. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $83. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.com

Horton’s Holiday Hayride
The Reverend Horton Heat reinvents country twang by infusing his music with punk rock vibes. This hybrid genre – psychobilly – is the Reverend’s specialty, and his band is picking up momentum as they begin their holiday shows and prepare for their upcoming 2020 tour. The Reverend will be joined onstage by the Voodoo Glow Skulls, an American ska-punk band, and The 5.6.7.8.’s, a Japanese rock trio. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $30. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; www.blackcatdc.com

MONDAY, DECEMBER 16

Hot 99.5’s Jingle Ball
This year’s Jingle Ball will feature headliners like Halsey, Khalid and Charlie Puth. Halsey paired with South Korean boy band BTS this year to produce “Boy with Luv,” and Khalid recently wrapped up his Free Spirit World Tour. Niall Horan will also grace the stage along with French Montana, Lewis Capaldi and Why Don’t We. The lineup for this Jingle Ball is packed, so don’t miss this opportunity to see multiple music icons rock the stage in a single night. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25. Capitol One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.capitalonearena.com

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17 – THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19

The Hip Hop Nutcracker
The Nutcracker meets the modern world in this reinvention of a holiday classic. The Hip Hop Nutcracker is set in New York where Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker Prince embark on a thrilling adventure through the city. The performance features Tchaikovsky’s original score while incorporating updated hip-hop choreography and a DJ. Kurtis Blow, described by Strathmore as “one of hip-hop’s founding fathers,” will open the show and prepare the audience for a remixed version of a Christmastime favorite. Shows at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $33. The Music Center at Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD; www.strathmore.org

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19

CeeLo Green Holiday Hits Tour
CeeLo Green, a five-time Grammy Award winner, returns to the stage for his Holiday Hits Tour. He initially released his Christmas album CeeLo’s Magic Moment in 2012, and the album was nominated for a Grammy in 2014. Green is also well-known for his four seasons as a coach on The Voice, and his wildly popular song “Forget You” was nominated for five Grammy awards and won Best Urban/Alternative Performance. Green’s tour will showcase his well-rounded talent as he continues to push his career. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $45. Howard Theatre: 620 T St. NW, DC; www.thehowardtheatre.com

The Slackers with Mephiskapheles
The Slackers have been sharing their ska-, reggae- and soul-inspired music with audiences for more than 28 years. Since the NYC band’s beginnings, they have released 15 albums and were referred to as “the sound of New York” by The New York Times. Ska band Mephiskapheles will open. Concert at 7 p.m. Tickets $20. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC; www.ustreetmusichall.com

Turnover with Men I Trust and Renata Zeiguer
Turnover, an American rock band from Virginia Beach, boasts four albums, two EPs and a handful of singles their fans are wild for. They will share the stage with Men I Trust, a Canadian indie pop group that self-released their latest album Oncle Jazz. While these bands have extremely different sounds, their music is complimentary without overpowering the other. Renata Zeiguer will open for the Turnover and Men I Trust, and she recently released her newest album Faraway Business. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $25. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; www.930.com

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 20

The Captivators
The Captivators describe their genre as third-wave ska, and have proven themselves worthy members of the DC ska scene through electrifying shows and captivating tunes. The six band members pride themselves on providing soulful and danceable music. An important aspect of their concert is the dance floor, so you’ll definitely want to groove to their irresistible beats as they blow through their energetic lineup. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $12. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC; www.rockandrollhoteldc.com

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21

FeelFree with The Elegant Plums
Alexandria-based FeelFree’s Define The Free won Best Reggae Album of 2018 at the Wammie Awards, and members of The Elegant Plums hail from a variety of music backgrounds and use their diversity to provide unique jams. Everything from reggae to bluegrass to rock will make it onstage at this show. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $15. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC; www.gypsysallys.com

LITZ + Radii
LITZ blends funk, go-go and electronica vibes with the intent to distract their audiences from everyday stresses and provide an unforgettable concert experience. The band has been hard at work on their newest album, and they plan on sharing their 16 new songs in four separate EPs, one of which will be released at this show. Radii plays a mix of rock, funk and alternative music, and they perform remix covers of your favorite classic tunes. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $12. Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; www.pearlstreetwarehouse.com

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 28

Hackensaw Boys with Yarn
For 17 years, the Hackensaw Boys have delivered their unique version of American roots music to fans that are hungry to hear more. Their band promotes a “the more, the merrier” attitude while sometimes fostering up to 20 members. Yarn, a folk band with rock ‘n’ roll influences, uses their music as an outlet for storytelling. Their lyrics are meaningful and reflect experiences from all walks of life. Each band brings a distinct personality to the stage, and audiences can expect a night of toe-tapping songs. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC; www.unionstage.com

Throwback Bash featuring Almost Queen
Almost Queen strives to create experiences as similar as possible to Queen’s concerts. This four-part tribute band dresses in realistic costuming and creates an energetic concert that emulates the legends themselves. Audience members will honor classics with the help of Almost Queen’s dedication to throwback experiences. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $25. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.fillmoresilverspring.com

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 29

The Roots
Questlove (Ahmir Thompson) and Black Thought (Tariq Luqmaan Trotter) of The Roots originally performed together on street corners while attending Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. They are now well known in the hip-hop industry and have been considered one of the greatest living bands by Rolling Stone. The Roots will share their iconic music with audiences on one of their free nights away from serving as house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Concert at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $49. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; www.kennedy-center.org

MONDAY, DECEMBER 30

The White Panda
This EDM duo started with two college guys looking to procrastinate their homework. Eventually their remixes, made in lieu of doing school assignments, topped the Internet radio charts in 2009. Entertainment Weekly named The White Panda “a veritable party-mashup machine,” so prepare for a wild time at their high-energy performance featuring loads of thrilling special effects. Concert at 9 p.m. Tickets $30. Fillmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD; www.fillmoresilverspring.com

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 31

Moonshine Society’s NYE Speakeasy Party
Moonshine Society combined talents in 2009, and their inspiring blues and old-school music is a testament to their success. Band members were inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame for their work with harmonica player Charlie Sayles, and Moonshine Society was listed in top four fan favorites in DC two years in a row. Join this on-the-rise band as they take over the Hamilton Loft Bar to ring in the new year. Doors at 9:30 p.m. Tickets $35. The Hamilton LIVE: 600 14th St. NW, DC; http://live.thehamiltondc.com

L to R - Beth Hansen, Kathrine Campagna and Tiffany Evans // Photos: Trent Johnson

Pop-Up Queens: Hen House DC Bring Art To The People

“Wow, there’s definitely a need for what’s happening here. People want to support women in the arts.” I’m sitting with the three powerhouse talents behind Hen House DC amid the retro lime green-teal-pink walls of their most recent pop-up exhibit “Tiny Show 2” as they open up about the realization that they are filling a void in our city’s arts scene. Friends, collaborators and co-founders of Hen House, Kathrine Campagna, Beth Hansen and Tiffany Evans have been overwhelmed by support from the DC community since launching their all-female arts collective this summer. Not only have they created a welcoming creative outlet for local artists, they’ve also made art accessible, engaging and perhaps most importantly, fun.

Gone are the days of blank, sterile walls at exclusive galleries. We’re entering a new era for DC arts, one where event spaces like No Kings Collective’s Good Fast Cheap DC in Brentwood can be reconfigured as the colorful dream designs of three badass ladies and filled to the brim with 5-inch-by-5-inch works from 145 artists. I picked the collective brain of this triumvirate focused on creating forward momentum for female-driven, community-focused arts and creative experiences that are meant to connect and not alienate. Read on to learn more about what Hen House is up to, how you can be considered as an artist in their next show and why I now have girl crushes on all three of them.

On Tap: How did you three meet and connect?
Kathrine: Beth and I went to Corcoran College of Art and Design together, so I’ve known Beth since I was 18.
Beth: We’ve known each other for a very long time.
Kathrine: Yeah, gross [all laugh]. I met Tiffany through my friend and just working with No Kings.
Tiffany: We really bonded at [Art] Basel a couple of years ago. That’s when we really started talking and hanging out.
Kathrine: Both of our friendships have all been really art-centered, which has been pretty awesome.

OT: What was the impetus to start Hen House?
Beth: A couple years back, a couple of us that all had gone to school together basically made an agreement to start proposing shows. Kate hit upon this really cool show idea, “Responsive Light,” and there ended up being four rounds of it.
Kathrine: You could make whatever you wanted. It just had to involve light.
Tiffany: I think it was actually kismet because at the last “Responsive Light” show, I approached Kate and she was like, “Oh, Beth actually just offered the same thing. She wants to help as well.” And I’m like, “Let’s all do this together.” And then she had this idea for Hen House. She was like, “I want to do something with all women. This is perfect.”
Kathrine: I had been sitting on this idea for a while. I really wanted to do it. I wanted to pull people in from all backgrounds of art. I really wanted to make sure it stays diverse, but definitely women-focused.
Beth: We found out really quickly that we all bring our strengths to the table, but we all know enough about what the other ones do that we can come in and help. We can lean on each other’s strengths, but we can also bolster them as well. It feels like everyone is definitely collaborating equally.
Kathrine: Yeah, everyone’s being heard. Communication is definitely our biggest strength.

OT: I read that there was a big draw for local female artists through the “Responsive Light” shows. Why do you think that was?
Kathrine: A lot of women reached out to me who had a lot of talent and had never even shown before. They just didn’t know how to even go about it. They were underrepresented. They didn’t know what tools they had. That definitely put fuel to the fire to get something done.
Beth: I think it helps [that] we’re doing open calls on Instagram. “Hey, we’re looking for you. Send us your stuff. You don’t even have to consider yourself a full-time artist. But if you’re working on this, let’s see what you have.” [We] try as much as possible to fit people’s strengths into each show. We now have this huge collection of artists that have reached out to us, and it’s really incredible to get to meet all of them at these different shows and put those faces to the photographs we’ve seen of their work.
Tiffany: You’d be surprised how many of them – there’s 145 artists in the show – had never shown their work before. And they were like, “How could I? I didn’t know that was really a thing.” It’s been really, really special to see them come and bring their families and they’re like, “This is my first art show and I’ve actually sold a lot of pieces.”

OT: How do you think DC’s art and overall creative scene has changed since launching your professional careers?
Kathrine: Something that I definitely learned just from working with No Kings the last few years is you don’t need a gallery to sell your work. I think the art scene is becoming a little bit more accessible for everybody. It’s all DIY. It’s going to be hard, but that’s the direction I think people are starting to go. It’s not just for the rich anymore. Art should be for everybody. It should be accessible.

OT: How important is it to you to expand your reach beyond just artists to incorporating other women into your shows?
Beth: If we’re trying to highlight female-owned businesses, we try to bring in other women and trans and non-binary creatives in there as well. We try to include as many people as possible.

OT: Is there anyone on your wish list across local food, drink, music, etc. for future collaborations?
Kathrine: One of our good friends from Corcoran is Laura Harris. She’s the drummer for Ex Hex, and it’d be awesome if they could play one of our shows. I think that’d be super fun.

OT: Tell me about “Tiny Show.” How did you guys decide to go little and how much time and energy does it take to work with so many artists and to collect so many tiny pieces of art?
Kathrine: We went to check out the space at Brookland Exchange [where the first “Tiny Show” was hosted] and it was their artist lounge. It’s a hallway.
Beth: Like a cheese wedge.
Kathrine: It’s an odd shape – it’s a cool space – we’re just looking at it like, “I don’t know what to do with this tiny, weird space. Maybe it’s too small for a show. Maybe we should just do a workshop.” And then I was just like, “No. More artists, smaller work.” It’s “Tiny Show” because everything’s tiny because this space is so small [laughs].
Beth: We wanted to be able to get as much work in there as possible, and the only way to do it was like, “We’ve just got to scale this way, way down. No big stuff. Five inches by five inches on the outside dimensions.”
Kathrine: Beth came up with this genius gridding system, so basically no matter how small or big anything is, it will pretty much fit in its space.

OT: What’s next for Hen House?
Tiffany: We’ve definitely talked about a music element. We want to encompass all of the arts in some sort of event where we all incorporate our work on the walls, but we have different performances. I think eventually we want to do something like a Hen House summer camp or days’ long event where it’s really interactive and we can have people coming and making and buying art.

OT: What about wish list spaces?
Kathrine: We can adjust to anything. We’re very adaptable. It’s time that I think is really our main focus for a new space. Can we be there for more than a day? We don’t want to deinstall the next day. We want to give the community and anybody else interested time to see it and keep it as diverse as possible with all the things we’re doing. We always really try to shoot and have a fundraiser attached to it.

OT: Are there any local initiatives or charities you feel passionately about?
Tiffany: We love DASH [local nonprofit District Alliance for Safe Housing]. Beth volunteers for DASH.
Beth:
I do the art group with the kids who live there once a week.
Kathrine:
We’ve donated to them a couple of times.
Tiffany:
We want to work with all the charities, actually. We hope to change it up every time so we can spread the love a little bit.

OT: Do you ever want a permanent space, or do you think you want to remain ever-evolving and modular?
Kathrine: I think probably down the road it would be nice to have a place to call our own and make it what we want to.
Tiffany: Or even a monthlong space would be pretty cool, because we could also change it.
Kathrine: But even if we had a brick-and-mortar, I think we’d still be doing pop-ups. I think that’s how we got our start.
Beth: We want to bring the art to the people.

OT: I noticed high schoolers’ artwork as part of “Tiny Show 2.” How did they react to seeing their art up for sale?
Tiffany: I got to meet a few of the students, and they were literally almost moved to tears when they found out that someone had bought their artwork. Restauranteur Erik Bruner-Yang came in and bought up a bunch of artwork, including some of the students’ work, and was saying it’s going to be included in his new restaurant ABC Pony. And they were literally just over the moon. They could not contain their excitement. I think we’d definitely like to incorporate that in the future.

OT: I feel like at every show you’ve had, there have been families with kids and that’s really cool because that’s another part of the art world that’s not always accessible – not only the price point but whether or not people can bring their kids.
Kathrine: I think it’s nice that families come in because it is a little stuffy in a gallery setting because you know, I guess families aren’t posh and sexy [all laugh]. I like all those weird kids [laughs]. My best friend has two kids. They’ve all sneezed in my mouth. They’re great, man [all laugh]. If I had the opportunity as a kid to grow up in an environment like this where I was exposed to these things, how much cooler would we be?

OT: It’s also a way to include people that live in the neighborhood and surrounding community. It makes it more accessible in that way, which is important too.
Kathrine: We want to keep it as down to earth as possible.

Learn about what Hen House DC has coming up next at www.henhousedc.com or on Instagram @henhousedc.

If you’re an artistic human interested in being considered for one of their upcoming shows, send them a message on Instagram with three submissions of your work and you’ll be included in their pool of submissions for the next one.

The Imperial Gin and Tonic // Photo: Rey Lopez

Behind The Bar With The Imperial’s Andy Bixby

Since its long-awaited opening in November, The Imperial in Adams Morgan has quickly become a destination for cocktail enthusiasts buzzing about the funky ingredients and collection of rare bottles and vintages. Bridging together multiple historic buildings, the highly anticipated three-level concept from Jack Rose owners Bill Thomas and Stephen King has become a multi-floor playground of sorts for beverage director Andy Bixby.

He’s able to let loose in the basement of The Imperial, where neighboring Jack Rose’s cocktail bar Dram & Grain has relocated to provide an outlet for offbeat and unconventional cocktails. The first floor focuses on a cocktail menu that pairs well with the raw bar, seafood and Mid-Atlantic menu offerings.

From building on and elevating base ingredients to presenting innovative cocktails with a new perspective, Bixby is constantly challenging his team to think about the next ingredient, the next recipe and the next concoction. We caught up with him to find out what first-time guests and repeat customers can look forward to at The Imperial this winter.

Andy Bixby // Photo: courtesy of Julep PR

On Tap: It’s been a long road to opening The Imperial. What are you most excited to share with guests now that you’re officially up and running?
Andy Bixby: I think it’s the full space. [Co-owner] Steve [King] has done a ton of work making sure the design is great. [Chef] Russell [Jones] has done an incredible job making sure the food is good. My hope is that I can help to complement and build upon that with cocktails I think are meant to be consumed with food. I’m excited for people to come out and try things that wouldn’t necessarily be the first thing they’d order, [and] to have people’s eyes opened up to new corners of the beverage world.

OT: The food menu is taking more of a role than at sister restaurant and bar Jack Rose. How does the beverage program play into the menu?
AB: I was very excited to take on this program as a sister program to Jack Rose because this allows me to flesh out more of my creativity. It’s always been about the food on this first floor. The beverages were always meant to help elevate and bolster that food program. The Cham-boo! is one of our cocktails featured on the main floor because it is the perfect pairing with the majority of our food. In essence, [it’s] a classic cocktail called the Bamboo. We’re taking that concept, force carbonating the whole thing and turning it into an emulation of how you drink champagne. But [it’s] actually just an elevated form of this cocktail.


The Imperial Gin and Tonic
Bombay Sapphire
House dehydrated grapefruit tonic
Clarified lemon & grapefruit
Juniper salt
Saline & CO2
Garnished with fresh grapefruit, thyme, tarragon & juniper berries


OT: A lot of the focus surrounding The Imperial’s opening has been centered on the rare bottles, vintages and unconventional cocktail ingredients. Talk to me more about the varied selection.
AB: [Bill Thomas] spent the last two years really scouring to curate vintage spirits. The oldest thing we have is a bottle-and-a-half of cognac bottled in 1854. We have turn-of-the-1900s madeira, ports and sherries. We also have 1960s Galliano Amaretto. As far as the real fun ingredients, that’s where the basement comes in. Right now, we have three base ingredients on the menu: a citrus amaro, a tamaro (three different amari blended together and sous-vide with tamari, shoyu, miso, mirin, lemongrass, ginger, sesame seeds [and] dehydrated lime), and an anisette. We can constantly rotate the menu while we keep [those] ingredients and start making new ingredients. The goal is that we can still always produce these drinks, or at least very close facsimiles of them, by the time people start to fall in love with them and want to keep coming back.

OT: The reception has been overwhelmingly positive so far, with lines out the door before the bar is even open. What do you think is behind this buzz and what does that say about the cocktail culture in DC?
AB: The cocktail culture in the city has changed drastically. I’ve been bartending now for almost 11 years and I’ve noticed a significant change in how people are going out and wanting to imbibe. Guests want to be educated [and] learn more. I’ve always focused on bartender-to-guest interaction because I want to make sure that if you have questions, you can have that outlet – somebody that can talk you through with confidence and understanding of what’s going on in the beverage. I think that’s [been] a huge change over the last couple of years.

OT: If you had to select one drink from the menu that you’d recommend to guests, which would you go with?
AB: I think the Cham-boo! is an incredible cocktail that helps bridge [the gap between] people that love cocktails but also those that don’t necessarily want to think about cocktails as much. Our Imperial Gin and Tonic [is] our cornerstone drink to what I want the program to be. It is a Spanish-style gin and tonic served with Bombay Sapphire, our house dehydrated grapefruit tonic and a little bit of juniper salt. The tonic itself has clarified lemon and grapefruit. [It’s] fully carbonated [and] we serve it in a large balloon glass with a grapefruit wheel, thyme and tarragon bunched together [with] juniper berries. I think it’s an aesthetically beautiful cocktail. It’s simple in concept, but we are giving you a gin and tonic that is wildly different from any gin and tonic you’ve had before.

The Imperial: 2001 18th St. NW, DC; http://imperialdc.com

Photo: courtesy of Bourbon Steak

10 Cozy Spots Where To Imbibe, Nosh And Warm Up This Winter

With winter creeping up on the calendar, motivation can wane to get out of the house and into the cold. But rather than stay stuck inside, aim for a meal with a side of warmth and comfort. Be it beside a fire, curled up with a blanket, or just enjoying an indulgent plate of fondue or curry, here are 10 bars and restaurants where you can be sure to stay cozy this season.

Bourbon Steak

As long as it’s cold outside, the patio at Bourbon Steak in Georgetown will welcome guests with three premium champagne-themed bubbles. Each enclosed dome has its own theme: one dedicated to Dom Perignon, one to Krug and one to Ruinart. While each bubble has suggested pairings, the restaurant’s entire menu is available throughout the patio, including drinks. “You can sit in there and have a full dining experience,” says general manager David Van Meerbeke. “We see it as an extension of our restaurant.” Reservations are highly suggested, and each bubble has a reservation fee along with a food and beverage minimum. They’ll be available through the end of winter. 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.fourseasons.com/washington/dining/restaurants/bourbon_steak/

Brasserie Liberte

French classics get a fresh look at Georgetown’s newest brasserie – a casual location for lunch, dinner and brunch. Expect French onion soup, beef or vegan mushroom bourguignon, steak or mussels with fries, and more. The cocktail list is extensive, as is the selection of French wines. And its spacious booths – including one modeled off a Fabergé egg – are great for lingering over some pastries and coffee. 3251 Prospect St. NW, DC; www.libertedc.com

Butter Chicken Company

Fight the midday blues with a hearty lunch at this Indian newcomer near Foggy Bottom and the White House. Owner Asad Sheikh, who also owns two Bombay Street Food locations in the District, keeps this fast-casual kitchen simple. “Our classic Indian dishes like butter chicken, chicken tikka masala and saag paneer are hearty, and the spice level brings on the heat and warms you up,” he says. Meals come as combo platters, generously sized with a choice of entree (a vegetarian option is available), rice, two sides and naan. The restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday and closes once the day’s food is out. 818 18th St. NW, DC; www.usabutterchicken.com

Conrad Hotel

Along New York Avenue, the luxury Conrad Hotel is bringing the charm of a French ski lodge to downtown DC. Director of food and beverage Troy Knapp says guests can defrost with a rooftop après-ski experience that includes blankets, fire pits, thermoses full of spiked beverages and hearty snacks designed to evoke the alps. Drinks include shareable hot buttered rum and “haute” toddies along with wines by the glass, beers and other wintery cocktails. For food, graze on a European meat and cheese board or indulge with a rich croque madame sandwich with duck confit. S’mores offer a sweet ending to any evening. Groups of four to 12 looking for something extra can opt for the Conrad’s fireside vintage port experience, served with Stilton-style cheese. “We’ve secured a few bottles of Fonseca port from the 85 vintage and we’re presenting it with a traditional glass breaking method, which is really quite impressive,” Knapp says. 950 New York Ave. NW, DC; www.conradhotels3.hilton.com

Dram & Grain

After a 15-month closure, one of DC’s best cocktail bars got new life this November when it opened in its new Adams Morgan home. Located beneath The Imperial, Dram & Grain offers reservations for seated tastings as well as an à la carte menu and space for walk-ins. Drinks include unique creations and classics mixed with house-made ingredients like baked citrus amaro, black peppercorn tonic and nigiri jasmine rice syrup. A separate fireplace room seats 24 and is available for private events.
2001 18th St. NW, DC; www.dramandgrain.com

Hazel

Shaw has no shortage of food and drink options. But few things cut through the chill better than the heaters, fire pits and blankets on the Hazel patio. Inside, grab a local craft beer and a meal of Turkish-inspired food from chef Robert Curtis. A good starting point is to order up a few dips and spreads – sweet potato hummus, red pepper and walnut muhammara, for example – served with a side of pita-style “laffa” bread. The rest of the menu is structured from appetizers to medium and large-sized entrees of swordfish or lamb neck, all meant to be shared. 808 V St. NW, DC; www.hazelrestaurant.com

LAnnexe

Take a break from holiday shopping and stop in for a cocktail and a bite at this European-inspired M Street bar. Drinks are crafted from behind the zinc bar using craft spirits and house-infusions. “We want our space to be as welcoming as we are, like guests to our home,” says owner Fady Saba. “So, being at the bar is like when you gather in a friend’s kitchen, move about, have a bite, a sip, a chat.” Drink recipes range from melon-infused vodka to a turmeric root rum. Savory dishes include small plates like corn hummus with subtle heat, skewers of scallops and pork belly, and spreads of cheese and charcuterie. It’s the mushroom toast, however, that Saba says has become a customer favorite. “The combination of pecorino cheese with pine nut jam and sage blends perfectly with the mushrooms, but the melt-in-your-mouth brown butter powder sprinkled over it is the real secret to its popularity,” he says, recommending a pairing with the bar’s twist on an old fashioned. In addition to the bar, the dining room offers space for more conversation with friends, as does the low-lit “library” in the rear. 2917 M St. NW, DC; www.lannexe-bar.com

Officina

Carb load with fresh pastas and other Italian favorites at this Wharf neighborhood restaurant and market. Have a meal in the dining room, grab some food and ingredients to cook at home, or bundle up with a blanket, fireside seat and river views on the rooftop terrazza, open year-round. 1120 Maine Ave. SW, DC; www.officinadc.com

Stable

Swiss culture and cuisine come together at this cozy H Street eatery. Ward off winter’s cold, dark days with a bubbling vessel of traditional cheese fondue mixed with garlic and black pepper or schnapps. Equally warming are the chicken wings, raclette toast, and hearty venison loin served with spaetzli, braised red cabbage and chestnuts. For drinks, knock back a European beer or go for the strong Immune Booster cocktail, made with bourbon, rose hip, lemon juice and raspberry. 1324 H St. NE, DC; www.stabledc.com

Tabard Inn

The Tabard Inn is the oldest continuing running hotel in DC, catering to locals and guests alike. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights bring live jazz to its fireplace lounge – an ideal setting during the winter months. Dinner dishes run the gamut from duck leg confit and heritage pork chops to gochujang cioppino. 1739 N St. NW, DC; www.tabardinn.com

What’s On Tap: December 2019

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8

Good Tidings Sunday
Port City Brewing Company is going to deck the halls with boughs of holly and good tidings. Start off the day by trying a Barrel Aged Tidings Ale, aged in a chardonnay barrel, followed by Holiday Trivia at 3 p.m. and photos with Santa from 4-8 p.m. Trivia requires a $7 ticket but it’s free to enjoy the Tasting Room or sit with Santa. 12-8 p.m. Free to attend, trivia ticket $7. Port City Brewing Company: 3950 Wheeler Ave. Alexandria, VA; www.portcitybrewing.com

Wicks & Sips
Enjoy a craft beer while having fun making your own candle. During this event you will create your own soy wax candle, selecting the vessel, scent and color of your choice. 2-5 p.m. Tickets $21. Eavesdrop Brewery: 7223 Centreville Rd. Manassas, VA; www.eavesdropbrewery.com

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10

Crafting Happy Hour
Handi-hour is DC’s original “crafting happy hour.” Get ready for an evening of creativity, live music by local acts and craft beer from local breweries. Featured crafts are tailored to all skill levels. Your ticket includes all-you-can-craft supplies, craft instructions, two beers and a Handi-hour glass for beer and snacks. 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets $25. Renwick Gallery: 1661 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC; www.americanart.si.edu

Sip & Write Workshop
Sip on cider and write! As you wind down 2019, use the crazy highs and lows of the past year as inspiration for short stories in this fiction-focused writing workshop. You will discuss techniques for creating characters, snappy dialogue and vivid scenes. Open to writers of all levels. The workshop will be led by Willona Sloan. Your ticket also includes one pour of cider. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $25. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 17, 24 & 31

Pints & Pawns Chess Club
Chess players of any skill level are invited. Games may be played both with and without time controls depending on individual preferences. The club meets in the Taproom at T.J. Stone’s, that means if you enjoy beer, then grab a pint or two as an added bonus. Games start at 7 p.m. Free to attend. T.J. Stone’s: 608 Montgomery St. Alexandria, VA; www.tjstones.com

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11 & 18

The Comments Section: A Stand-Up Comedy Show
The comments section is the best part of most articles, which is why Capital Laughs anthropomorphized it into a comedy show! In this show, a comic does their set, while four comic commentators write thoughts on comment cards. Then, the host reads the funniest as the performer looks on take in the trolling. 7 p.m. Free to attend. Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.capitallaughs.com

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12

Brewlights at Zoolights
Friends of the National Zoo’s hoppiest holiday event, BrewLights, a ticketed microbrew and craft beer event, will take place during ZooLights, powered by Pepco. Guests can enjoy beer tastings from dozens of breweries and sample complimentary snacks, all under the bright lights of DC’s favorite holiday tradition. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $65. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.nationalzoo.si.edu

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13

Can Jam Beer Extravaganza
Come to City Winery to try several canned beers from local breweries with cheese! Can you imagine the delicious local possibilities? 7-9 p.m. Tickets $40. City Winery: 1350 Okie St. NE, DC; www.citywinery.com

December Brewmaster Tour
Spend your evening like a Brewmaster in the 19th-century home of historic DC brewer Christian Heurich. Admission includes an hour-long guided tour of the museum and a local craft beer tasting. You’ll receive one beer flight per person, featuring 4-oz. pours of three local beers to experience the Brewmaster’s Castle with a drink in your hand. After the tour, guests are welcome to mingle in the Conservatory and purchase full beers. Various times. Tickets $30. Heurich House Museum: 1307 New Hampshire Ave. NW, DC; www.heurichhouse.org

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 20 & 27

Friday Night Beers & Bites Tour
The Bluejacket Friday Night Tasting Tour is a special brewery tour offered weekly. Upon arrival, guests will be treated to a signature draft, followed by a full tour of the brewery and operations with three tasters throughout the tour. Guests will then head to the Bottle Shop & Tasting Room to enjoy a flight of three additional tasters each expertly paired with a snack from our talented culinary team led by Chef de Cuisine Marcelle Afram. Various times. Tickets $35. Bluejacket: 300 Tingey St. SE, DC; www.bluejacketdc.com

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14

3rd Annual Holiday Market
The days are getting shorter and the holiday season is approaching. 7 Locks Brewing officially set the date for their 3rd Annual Holiday Market. Get your holiday shopping done at this festive event and enjoy live music, food, activities and local vendors. Participating vendors include Shafa Blends, Tea Thoughts, pottery by Mary Lou Relle, pottery by Kira Kibler, Sandy Shuman Jewelry and DRM Photography. 3-7 p.m. Free to attend. 7 Locks Brewing: 12227 Wilkins Ave. Rockville, MD; www.7locksbrewing.com

The Hip Hop & Craft Beer Share
Join ChurchKey, MistaForty and DJ Analyze as the venue hosts the Hip Hop & Craft Beer Bottle Share. Come celebrate diversity in craft beer while DJ Analyze spins some classic and golden era hip-hop tracks. 2-6 p.m. Free to attend. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; www.churchkeydc.com

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15

Voarm, Sickdeer, Torvus
Prepare to descend into the underworld with Atlas Brew Works. They’re going to give you more soul crushing black metal to make this a true black winter. Bands include VA doom/black metal group Voarm, DC black/death group Sickdeer and DC occult black/doom group Torvus. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $5-$10. Atlas Brew Works: 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, DC; www.atlasbrewworks.com

MONDAY, DECEMBER 16

Painting & Pints: Winter Wonderland
Come paint and drink amazing beer. We may not all be Van Gogh, but that’s what the beer is for. The session will run approximately 90 minutes and your first pint is included. All design levels are encouraged to participate. 6 p.m. Tickets $30. Fair Winds Brewing: 7000 Newington Rd. Lorton, VA; www.fairwindsbrewing.com

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year for a Beer
Join Belga Cafe at The Betsy as they get cozy and pop open some of the most anticipated beers of the year. Sit back and relax while sipping and sampling and talking all things beer. Brews include St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, Straffe Hendrik Xmas Blend, Scaldis Noël and Corsendonk Christmas Ale. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $39. The Betsy: 514 8th St. SE, DC; www.belgacafe.com

Tuesday Brewsday
Every Tuesday the bar in Kramerbooks & Afterwords showcases 18 half-price pints, including new rotating limited and specialty run drafts and cans. Each week highlights different varietals. It’s a great chance to try out new breweries and flavor profiles. 7 p.m. – 1 a.m. Free to attend. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe: 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; www.kramers.com

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18

Holiday Beer Dinner
Join Chef Ryan Gordon and Granville Moore’s beermonger Brendan Kilroy for an evening of food, beer, fun and festivities. Featuring a festive four-course dinner with exclusive holiday beers. 7-10 p.m. Tickets $65. Granville Moore’s: 1238 H St. NE, DC; www.granvillemoores.com

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 21

Draughts & Laughs Comedy Show
Get ready for the finest that comedy has to offer, paired with Twinpanzee’s fresh and delicious signature brews. The North American Comedy Brewery Tour brings the best of the best North American comedians to local breweries across the United States for an evening that keeps the beers flowing and the laughs coming. 8-10 p.m. Tickets $20. Twinpanzee: 101 Executive Dr. Sterling, VA; www.facebook.com/Twinpanzee

Hike and Hops: Sky Meadows and Dirt Farm Brewing
Cold beer is even better at the end of a great day outside. Join REI for a guided hike of the Piedmont Overlook Loop in Sky Meadows State Park. This hike is just more than five miles, and includes spectacular views of the Piedmont and a section of the fabled Appalachian Trail. Then there will be drive a short distance to another peak Blue Ridge experience: the farm-to-pint brewing of Dirt Farm Brewing in Bluemont, Virginia. 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tickets $75+. Washington DC REI: 201 M St. NE, DC; www.rei.com