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ONTAP Drink. Dine. Do. October 2019



+ Carrie Brownstein Tig Notaro



Chef Kwame Onwuachi

November 15 – December 30, 2019 ICE! Featuring Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas™ is Washington, D.C. Region’s Must-See indoor winter wonderland featuring: • A colorful walk-through holiday attraction with larger than life sized ice sculptures carved from over two million pounds of ice • Kept at a chilly 9 degrees • Hand-crafted by 40 artisans from Harbin, China • Enjoy four two-story tall colorful ice slides and a full Nativity in stunning crystal clear ice A PART OF

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Located in National Harbor, MD – Conveniently located minutes from Washington, D.C. and across the river from Old Town Alexandria. PEPSI, PEPSI-COLA and the Pepsi Globe are registered trademarks of PepsiCo, Inc. TM & © 2019 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved. All rights reserved.



DINE THE DISTRICT Remember when DC's culinary scene was a lineup of some combination of chain restaurant, steakhouse and Irish pub? Us too, and we don't miss it. But now, the District has a tremendous amount to offer the culinary world. From diverse foods influenced by global locations to restaurants helmed by celebrity chefs, DC offers much more than your typical meat-and-potatoes fare. In 2019, no chef has been hotter than Kith/Kin's Kwame Onwuachi, who adorns our cover and chatted with us about his book, his food and his future. We also spoke with the two masterminds behind Himitsu (RIP), Kevin Tien and Carlie Steiner, as they embark on new restaurant ventures. Other culinary-focused contributions include a look at city organizations providing nutrition-based resources and education, the evolution of fast-casual dining, and where to grab the best hangover dishes. It's not all about food, as we wrote about rockers Sleater-Kinney, the Washington National Opera's costume department, BYT's Bentzen Ball featuring interviews with comedians Tig Notaro and Maria Bamford, and much, much more. On the cover: Chef Kwame Onwuachi Photographer: Scott Suchman

Designer: Julia Goldberg

IN THIS ISSUE  LIFESTYLE CityLab 2019 Comes to DC........................... 4 Creative Coworking at The Suites............... 6 Spooky Soirées................................................ 8 Drink, Dine, Do.............................................. 10



Kevin Tien + Carlie Steiner

Oyster Oyster

Focus on New Culinary Projects

Pushes For New Sustainability

 SPORTS Washington Redskins' Daron Payne......... 18 Capitals Eye Path Back to Cup.. .................. 20

 DRINKS What's On Tap................................................ 24 Behind the Bar: Allegory // Eaton............. 52




Chef Kwame Onwuachi

Bentzen Ball Turns 10

Continues to Cook Life Story

Tig Notaro, BYT Take A Look Back

Go-To Hangover Dishes............................... 30 A Day in the Life: Puddin's Toyin Alli........ 32 Up Next for Kevin Tien & Carlie Steiner... 36 DC's Fine Fast Casual Scene.. ...................... 38 Oyster Oyster's Sustainable Dining.......... 40 DC's Champions of Healthy Eating........... 43 Chef Kwame Onwuachi............................... 46 New & Notable.. ............................................. 50

 STAGE & SCREEN Bentzen Turns 10, Tig Notaro Reflects..... 54 Maria Bamford's Relatable Comedy......... 56 Letters to Neil deGrasse Tyson.. ................. 58 Right to be Forgotten at Arena Stage.. ....... 60 WNO's Living, Breathing Costumes.......... 62 Stage & Screen.. ............................................. 66




Neil deGrasse Tyson


Shares His Letters

Bring Collective Catharsis to DC



Down in the Reeds Festival........................ 68 J.S. Ondara's Tales of America..................... 70 Sleater-Kinney's Collective Catharsis....... 72 Music Picks..................................................... 76

PUBLISHER Robert Kinsler










Chelsea Bailey, Briana Florez, Lani Furbank, Nicole Hertvik, Jon Kaplan, Natalia Kolenko, Aparna Krishnamoorthy, Travis Mitchell, Joyelle Ronan, Kirsten Schofield, Chris Silva


Chelsea Bailey, Rich Kessler, Kimchi Photography, Mark Raker Photography, Nick Moreland Photography, Sarah Rogers, Scott Suchman On Tap Magazine is published 11 times per year. ©2019 by United Fray. All rights reserved. Use or reproduction of any materials contained herein is strictly prohibited without express prior written consent. Go to for more information.


951 V St. NE, Washington DC 20018 Tel: 703-465-0500 Fax: 703-465-0400 CALENDAR SUBMISSIONS

PUMPKIN Festival


The Shops at Avenir Place


Prosperity Avenue Gallows Road

Next to Dunn Loring Metro Station

Thursday, October 17, 5-8 pm


Live Music Beer Garden Games Pumpkin Decorating

FREE Admission $

The Shops at Avenir Place Dunn Loring Gallows Road & Avenir Place | Vienna, VA 22180

10 Beer Garden Donation, must be 21+ to drink alcohol

CityLab 2018 in Detroit, Michigan // Photo: courtesy of The Atlantic



Cities are complex ecosystems with people coexisting while constructing a unique cultural footprint. In the United States, city officials are elected by the citizens whom they serve and are entrusted with maintaining the good while improving the bad. We’ve seen Parks and Recreation, so we can say with a sort of fictional confidence that the jobs of folks operating a city government are tremendously difficult. But so are the jobs of artists, culinary professionals and business owners who are tasked with cultivating a city’s culture, making it more vibrant and relevant to the people who live there. “[City] issues are paramount to the world,” says Margaret Low, president of AtlanticLIVE, the events arm of The Atlantic. “We all came



together and decided we could build things better together than apart and became a partnership.” CityLab was formed by members of The Atlantic, the Aspen Institute and Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2016. The annual conference is hosted for people who run cities across the globe and features panels, discussions and activities all geared toward finding solutions for universal challenges. This year’s conference is being held in the District on October 27-29. “This year’s theme is about power: who has it and how it’s used,” Low continues. “This made Washington especially interesting. DC is a city, like many others, with a deep local cultural history. Though the federal government often moves slow, the city government finds

solutions and improvises. There’s a lot to learn about how the city has evolved and grown.” As a collective, cities often face similar challenges to one another, which is why CityLab helps them connect. “Housing [and] transportation [are] huge issues in any city,” Low says. “Gentrification, climate change, jobs, culture, music, etc. For any conference, you examine what issues and hot topics will captivate people attending.” While DC provides the backdrop for this year’s conference, there will also be some District flair onstage as a number of notable locals are set to speak including Mayor Muriel Bowser, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Chuck Brown Band leader Frank Sirius and On Tap’s October cover star, chef Kwame Onwuachi. Low adds, “When you think about DC, you think about the shining stars in the city who have particularly great stories. When you’re putting people on a stage, you want people who are captivating storytellers.” However, invited leaders aren’t only coming to CityLab to sit and listen, as the conference is built on the ideology of communication. Some of the issues addressed require solutions so big, collaboration is essential. “There’s so much noise and so much coming at you, and there’s something so powerful about bringing people together to listen, talk and grapple with big questions in a thought-provoking way,” Low elaborates. “I think people really value it. I see it every day. It’s a chance to learn about how people tackle unifying issues.” Though CityLab is an invite-only conference not open to the public, it still serves the public and provides elected officials on a global scale a chance to make the world a better place, one city at a time. For more information about CityLab 2019, visit

“Though the federal government often moves slow, the city government finds solutions and improvises. There’s a lot to learn about how the city has evolved and grown.”





Photos: Antwon Maxwell

By M.K. Koszycki ntrepreneur Adilisha Patrom has found creative ways to solve her needs and those of the people around her throughout her career. As an interior design student, Patrom was led “on a journey to dive more into the hair extension industry” after her own experience with a scalp infection from her extensions. Fast-forward to today and you’ll find Patrom at the helm of Galaxy 5000, her own company created to fill a void in ethical, healthy hair extensions. Though her business with Galaxy 5000 continues to bud, she found another need not being met: an affordable, accessible space for creatives and entrepreneurs representing all sorts of businesses to hone in on their vision and be their best. Ever the problem solver, Patrom is now the founder and CEO of The Suites by Galaxy 5000, a new coworking space on Florida Avenue that’s not your average row of offices. “I started to realize that there were a lot of things that we were lacking,” she says. “In this day and age of social media, I just knew from working on shoots and with graphic designers, there are different elements that you need to put together a whole business. For a lot of startups, you don’t have the resources to be able to bring together that team to execute your vision.” That’s where Patrom and her team at The Suites come in. While she wanted to use the space for her own business, she quickly came to the realization that if she was coming up on specific roadblocks, other creators must be too. At their Northeast location, you’ll find unique meeting rooms and coworking nooks in the same space as beauty suites, a recording studio, and rooms equipped for photo and video shoots. Patrom says The Suites, which opened in September, can host



events, pop-up shops and more. She used her interior design background to curate a space that’s professional and inspiring but still adaptable to the needs of all those who come to the space to get work done. “If a brand wants to come in and do a beauty experience, they can use the full space. There can be different activations for their experience. It allows for people to be able to create an experience. We tried to design it in a way that it can fit different brands and aesthetics, but it can also be personalized. This space is so flexible. It really can be adjusted to be used for anything.” At the heart of Patrom’s coworking space is her desire for DC creatives to also have a place to connect with one another. As the city’s multifaceted communities produce more and more content through every medium, she knows competition will naturally come with it. While that inevitable spirit always shines through, especially in a fastpaced city, she still believes collaboration and community will take professionals even further with a place like The Suites to connect them. “I know that as creatives, sometimes we get stuck in what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. It makes it hard for us to go outside the box, especially when developing relationships within communities. What I’m hoping is that it can create an environment for more collaboration rather than competition. It’s also DC, so everybody’s very driven and ready to get to the next level. I just want people to realize we can all get to the next level with the use of the resources around us because they can go so much further.” The Suites at Galaxy 5000: 1002 Florida Ave. NE, DC;



The Suites by Galaxy 5000 is a modern coworking space helping independent brands create and cultivate.

WHY YOU SHOULD JOIN The Suites by Galaxy 5000 provides a unique and cost-friendly environment for creative professionals looking to create and build relationships in an incubator of productivity.

HOW Interested? Follow us on Instagram @thesuitesdc. To schedule a tour call 1 (800) 390-6515 to speak with one of our team members for more information on how to sign up.

Antwon Maxwell @antwonmaxwellphotography

Spooky Soirées By Joyelle Ronan

Photo: courtesy of Beetle House

As adults, our Halloween event options are typically limited to costume parties with kegs and bar crawls with rail drinks. While we’re not opposed to dressing up as a Sailor Moon character and getting buzzed, DC has more to offer than your typical All Hallows’ Eve celebration. Why not elevate your experience and party at a historic cemetery or peep a super obscure horror flick? What we’re saying is: switch things up this year and do something spooky or weird or both. Read on for our off-the-beaten-path Halloween event picks.

THROUGHOUT OCTOBER Beetle House Beetle House celebrates Halloween every single day. To make October 31 special, this gothic lounge bar will host performances and a costume contest. “When it comes to the actual holiday, we go all out,” says Todd Luongo, who partnered with Beetle House creator Zach Neil on the new DC location. There are two floors of horror. The first features art made of real human bones, haunted photos and more in addition to a dining space. And the second? “Our second floor is our bar [and] theater where we put the ‘fun’ in funeral, themed as a Tim Burtonesque look into the afterlife,” Luongo continues. Their signature drinks include The Beetle’s Juice and the Big Fishbowl for two. 21-plus. 816 H St. NE, DC; Hex For a bewitching night out, come to Hex. Get spooky for costume contests every Thursday in October. The best costume each night will receive a free bottle of champagne. Learn your future with a tarot reader, Tuesday through Friday all month between 6:30 p.m. and midnight. Hex will host a witching hour starting October 1 with special elixirs to sip from midnight to close on Tuesday through Friday. 21-plus. 1539 7th St. NW, DC; Slash Run Beer. Burgers. Rock ‘n’ roll. Halloween. Throughout the month, be sure to check out one of Slash Run’s festive events. There are free movie nights featuring horror flicks such as Pet Cemetery and The Fly (the



1986 remake with Jeff Goldblum). Breakfast has never been so campy with a Beetlejuice-themed brunch. Other activities include pumpkin painting, Halloween cover shows and karaoke. Hallowzine will consist of zinesters, comedians and storytellers sharing scary tales. Various dates, times and ticket prices. 201 Upshur St. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10 October NGA Nights: After Hours at the National Gallery of Art There’s a mystery to solve at the National Gallery of Art. Join after hours for a fun night of sleuthing and discoveries. Explore the gallery’s extensive art collection like a detective and learn the secrets hiding in the artwork. There will be pop-up talks, dancing and music by Les the DJ. 6-9 p.m. Free to attend. The National Gallery of Art East Building: 4th Street in NW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 Hocus Pocus Join the National Museum of American History in celebrating the spooky season with Disney’s Hocus Pocus, the 90s classic about three kids who accidentally free a coven of witches. In addition to the 35 mm film screening, there will be a party including drinks, music, dancing and giveaways. Costumes are encouraged, so be sure to wear some witchy attire. Party tickets include two drink tickets. Various times. Tickets $9-$36. The National Museum of American History: 1300 Constitution Ave. NW, DC;

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21 Boos & Brews For a night of scary good fun, Boos & Brews is bringing Halloween early. Go on a ghost tour around the famous landmark, play some games and enter the costume contest. DJ EPX will be spinning while delicious food and beer from various breweries will be featured. Each ticket purchase will come with a voucher for two free beers. 21-plus. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $20. National Building Museum: 401 F St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 Costumes & Cocktails Suns Cinema is bringing an entire month of fright to the city, featuring over 45 horror films. “We don’t find a lot of horror movies to be that scary, but even the horror films that aren’t scary can be entertaining,” says Suns co-owner David Cabrera. If you’re looking for a movie that is actually scary, he recommends The Exorcist. “It still holds up as terrifying, and it’s a DC classic.” Join Suns Cinema for Costumes & Cocktails: there will be spooky food, music and visual projections. Try one of the horror-themed cocktails including Rye Rye My Darling, a devilish punch of some kind, and the Blood Rage, a spicy negroni. 9 p.m. Suns Cinema: 3107 Mt. Pleasant St. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 Eighties Mayhem: 80s Halloween Dance Party Get ready to dance to the best alt sounds of the 80s featuring DJs Steve EP, Missguided and Killa K. The themes are REDRUM in the red room and Ghostbusters in the main room. Last year’s party sold out and was a big success, so get tickets before they sell out! Costumes are encouraged. 9 p.m. - 2:15 a.m. Tickets $15. Black Cat DC: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31 Rhizome Halloween Blowout Rhizome is bringing the beats and noise this Halloween. This nonprofit community space is known for its innovative art, and this blowout will put a new spin on Halloween. DC native Sir E.U will be featured and is likely to perform a track off his 2019 album Red Helly / Twin Towers. Nashville artist B|_ank will be there showing off his experimental A/V drumming. Check out Rhizome’s Facebook page and website for more details to come. All ages. 8-11 p.m. Tickets $10. Rhizome: 6950 Maple St. NW, DC;

Photos: Nick Moreland Photography

Wizard Fest: A Harry Potter Party Still waiting on your Hogwarts letter? The wait is over – celebrate Halloween with Wizard Fest. This Harry Potter-themed DC pop-up party is sure to bring magic to the night. HP fans can enjoy themed trivia, music and a costume contest. For witches and wizards over 21, there will be specialty drinks such as polyjuice potion and butterbeer. Put your name in the Goblet of Fire for a chance to win a trip for two to London. 8 p.m. Tickets $25-$75. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC;

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 Boneyard Bash What better place to spend Halloween than a cemetery? Congressional Cemetery is hosting a costume party filled with music, dancing, an open bar and plenty of fun. In addition to a few surprises, there will be a few famous DC residents including the ghost of Mayor Marion Barry. 21-plus. 8 p.m. - 1 a.m. Tickets $55. All profits go to the Association for the Preservation of the Historic Congressional Cemetery. Congressional Cemetery: 1801 E St. SE, DC;

On Tap Magazine and DC Fray celebrated Culture House DC’s sixth anniversary featuring Map Glover’s “Save The Seed” exhibit and a live podcast from GIRLAAA Collective on September 26. | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4 FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 The Most Haunted Houses of Washington Tour Chills, thrills and intriguing mysteries crowd the haunted and historic homes of DC’s Lafayette Park in this tour presented by Washington Walks. On this eerie tour, you’ll see the homes of Navy hero Stephen Decatur, as well as man of letters Henry Adams and his troubled wife Clover. The tour begins at what’s considered the most haunted house in the city: The Octagon. While this walk does not include interior visits to any of the buildings featured, the stories behind them will leave you happy to only view them from the outside. Fridays and Saturdays. Starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $20. Octagon House: 1799 New York Ave. NW, DC;

MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 Pop-Up Magazine Pop-Up Magazine is heading out on its first themed tour for “The Escape Issue,” produced in collaboration with their sister publication, The California Sunday Magazine. We could all use a little escape: from politics, the past, hostile countries and climate change. Join for an immersive night of storytelling, devoted to escapes big and small, daring and mundane, physical and mental. Doors at 6:30 pm. Tickets $29-$39. The Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC;

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9 Cleo Wade: Where to Begin Join Cleo Wade for an evening of poetry and community on her Where To Begin Tour. Wade


will discuss the themes of her new book, Where to Begin and answer audience questions. The book of poetry is a collection of the ideas and mantras she turns to when feeling overwhelmed by worry, fear, anxiety or helplessness. Sharing her words and wisdom with the audience, Wade will discuss how she remains hopeful and the different ways to harness your personal power to bring positive change into the world. 7:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $25. Eaton Workshop: 1203 K St. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10 Hyatt Centric Arlington Acoustic Concert Series: Chris Cassaday Enjoy live music at the Hyatt Centric Arlington’s very own Key Bridge Terrace. Take advantage of happy hour specials prior to the live music, located just off the hotel lobby. Happy hour specials include discounted wings, fried oysters, truffle fries, pizzas and flatbreads, as well as $6 draft beers, $6 house wines and $7 house spirits. The Hyatt’s acoustic series concludes with local folk and blues artist Chris Cassaday. 5-7 p.m. Free to attend. Hyatt Centric Arlington: 1325 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13 Oyster Wars 2019 Join The Salt Line and Other Half Brewing for an afternoon event showcasing the talents of some of the best chefs, breweries and oyster farms spanning the Eastern Seaboard. Tickets include oysters and tastings from chefs and oyster farms. Featured chef’s tastings will be served from 3-7 p.m., and a la


carte brewery selections will be available via cash bar. 2-7 p.m. Tickets $50-$80. The Salt Line: 79 Potomac Ave. SE, DC;

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16 DC Fray Speed Dating at Pinstripes You deserve better. Ditch the apps and get face-to-face with fellow daters for mingling, happy hour specials, and 4-minute dates! Known for its bowling and bocce, Pinstripes in Georgetown has great appetizers, drinks and games to amplify your dating experience. The DC Fray Event squad will be on the mic to expertly host your experience and eliminate those awkward silences! Daters will enjoy an exclusive, extended happy hour and the chance to win some pretty amazing raffle prizes! This is a 21+ event. 7 p.m. Tickets $25. Pinstripes Georgetown: 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 Dumbarton at Dusk Fall Festival 2019 Join the Dumbarton House for the Third Annual Dumbarton at Dusk: Fall Festival to benefit the Red Cross Sponsored by Geppetto Catering. Enjoy an evening under the stars in the North Garden with live music by Tommy Ruckert, as well as free food, cash bar and trick or treating in the museum! Enter the pumpkin carving contest for a chance to win a drop dinner for 12 from Geppetto Catering and a free museum membership. Pumpkins and all tools provided for free. Family friendly costumes are encouraged, so show off your creative costumes in our photo booth. No masks or prop

weapons, please. 5:30-8 p.m. Suggested donation of $10 to benefit the red cross. Dumbarton House: 2715 Q St. NW, DC; Rosslyn Cider Fest We’re sure you’ve done your share of wine and beer tastings, but do you know how to taste cider and distinguish between varieties? Well, now’s your chance to learn more about this delicious alcoholic beverage that’s favored by many who don’t like beer. 4-8 p.m. Gateway Park: 1300 Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27 29Rooms 29Rooms is bringing an immersive experience to DC. Through mindbending creativity and bold collaborations, the Expand Your Reality Experience Tour will connect you to your curiosity and unlock your sense of wonder. This one-ofa-kind creative world is the newest artistic wonderland of interactive installations and thought-provoking performances brought to you by the creators of Refinery29. Developed in collaboration with brands, visionaries and emerging creative voices, come and find yourself at this real-life wonderland from 29Rooms. Various dates and times. Tickets $10-$34. DC Armory: 2001 East Capitol St. SE, DC;

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20 New Kitchens on the Block Part 6 Welcome to a world where you can try 10 of the hottest new

restaurants before they open. New Kitchens On The Block is an epic crusade. Eat and drink like a beast for two hours. Hang out with DC’s hottest chefs, mixologists and restaurateurs. Featuring Maialino Mare by restaurateur Danny Meyer and chef Rose Noel, Hi/Fi Taco by chef Nate Anda, Cranes by chef Pepe Moncayo and more. Two sessions starting at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. $85-$210. Mess Hall: 703 Edgewood St. NE, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24 Capital Book Fest Visit Capital Book Fest, downtown DC’s pop-up book sale on Wilson Plaza. Browse more than 12,000 gently used books, CDs and DVDs, all on sale for under $6. Books are provided by Carpe Librum, a used, donation-based bookstore benefiting the DC nonprofit

New late night





Turning the Page. There’s something for everyone at this sale: children’s books, teen reads, brand-new bestsellers in amazing condition, classic vintage hardbacks, and more. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Free to attend. Woodrow Wilson Plaza: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 DC Mac + Cheese Festival Food Trucks, restaurants, food vendors and chefs from the DMV will be serving up the best mac and cheese creations. There will also be more than 60 craft beers, wines, ciders and spirits to sample. Get cheesy with more than 25 Kinds of Mac and Cheese, live music from DC’s hottest bands, crazy creations in the chef’s corner and much more. Tickets $25-$70. Audi Field Lots of Buzzard Point: 1880 2nd St. SW, DC;

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Superfine! Art Fair DC 2019 Gain up close and personal access to the next superstar artist and invite them (well, at least their work) home. Discover art that’ll impress your friends, improve your life and level up your home design game. Each day of the fair brings performance art, live music and multimedia experiences to compliment the thousands of incredible works on the walls. Various dates and times. Tickets $15-$125. Dock 5 at Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC;

Tweed. That’s right, it’s the celebrated DC Tweed Ride and it’s back for 2019. Enter the second decade with the 11th annual vintage bicycle ride and Jazz Age Jam after-party on Sunday November 3. For the ride, vintage-style bicycles are encouraged, but if you don’t have one, a bikeshare or anything on two wheels is acceptable. All are welcome, but you must complete a free registration form to join the ride. Various times. Tickets $25. Secret ride location;

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 2019 D.C. Tweed Ride and Jazz Age Jam Fall in DC has fashionable ladies and gentlemen contemplating

drink pink! a cocktail for a cause This October, Paul & the RiRa team are marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month by creating the

“GT Pinktini” - Absolut Ruby Red Vodka, squeeze of lime, dash of cranberry juice & prosecco float.

We’ll donate $1 for every cocktail sold to local breast cancer charity. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer - as if you needed an excuse!

3125 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007 | | (202) 751-2111 | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP



Drink. Dine. Do.





JLohr Wine and Food Pairing Event for Breast Cancer Awareness Enjoy a great evening with JLohr’s reserve wines and food pairings that are downright delectable, and your presence also donates to the fund. JLohr will be serving their sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, red blend and Carol’s Vineyard cabernet sauvignon. Vegetarian options are available too. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $45. Sonoma Cellar: 207 King St. Alexandria, VA;

Fullerton Wine Dinner With Winemaker Alex Fullerton Inspired by his family’s history with wine and his personal work experiences at Penner Ash and Bergstrom Wines, Alex Fullerton is a fast-rising star in the Willamette Valley, Oregon and global pinot noir scene. His energy and enthusiasm for his craft are contagious. Join in welcoming him and his family of wines to the DC metro area in this private, special event designed to be an evening of fun, great food and wine, as well as amazing company. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $175. Country Club of Fairfax: 5110 Ox Rd. Fairfax, VA;

Wine Blending Lab Be a winemaker for a day. Mix and match single varietals to make your own perfect masterpiece of wine. These unique wine blending sessions let you experiment with your own concoctions. Practiced wine pros will guide you through an in-depth understanding of grape varietals and their flavor profiles so you can create your own masterpiece of wine. This hands-on experience is ideal for making memories on vacation, a unique date, a girls get-together or team building sessions at your next corporate outing. 2-3:30 p.m. Tickets $40. Little Washington Winery: 72 Christmas Tree Ln. Washington, VA;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13 Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour Celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the Mount Vernon mansion and cellar, including appearances by George and Martha Washington and live music. Bring a blanket, relax on the east lawn overlooking the scenic Potomac River and sample wines made in Virginia. During tours of the mansion, visit the cellar where Washington stored his wine and learn about the successes and failures of our Founding Fathers’ endeavors with wine. 6-9 p.m. Various dates. $42-$52. George Washington’s Mount Vernon: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Mount Vernon, VA;


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12 Oyster and BBQ Thing Little Washington Winery is celebrating the harvest with a delicious day of Oysters, the perfect oyster pairing wines, barbecue and great company. Their prediction is October 12 will be peak foliage at the Blue Ridge (60 miles from DC). Come on out for a giant picnic. 12-5 p.m. Free admission, just pay for what you consume. RSVP encouraged. Little Washington Winery: 72 Christmas Tree Ln. Washington, VA;


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 Harvest Celebration at Breaux Vineyards Come and celebrate the end of a bountiful harvest season with Breaux Vineyards. King Street Oyster Bar will be there for this fun-filled two-day event to bring you oysters in six different varieties. From salty to sweet, robust to delicate, you will want to try them all. Everyone knows that oysters pair perfectly with wine. There will also be live music on both days and craft vendors selling their wares on site. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Free to attend. Breaux Vineyards: 36888 Breaux Vineyards Ln. Purcellville, VA;

Virginia Wine Festival Virginia Wine Festival is the oldest wine festival on the East Coast. Each year, the festival features many of VA’s best wineries, craft exhibitors, seminars and incredible music. At the Virginia Wine Festival you can celebrate and taste from more than 150+ VA wines. Craft beer trucks will also be available, but beer is an additional cost (not included in your unlimited wine sipping admission ticket.) 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tickets $39-$65. Freetown Boulevard: 44600 Freetown Blvd. Ashburn, VA;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 Blind Wine Tasting Class Blind tasting is the process of deduction, not just a party trick used by wine experts to impress us. Do you want to learn this skill? You will learn the process of how to identify different qualities in wine and the flavor profiles while enjoying a wine tasting with a sommelier. At the end, you will use your new learned skills and knowledge to make your own “blind” guesses on which wines you tasted to see if you are right. 1-2 p.m. Tickets $30. Winery 32: 15066 Limestone School Rd. Leesburg, VA;




SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13 It’s Brunch-time! Featuring Beetlejuice Enjoy the Halloween classic Beetlejuice while you sip on actual juice (mixed with champagne, of course). Other offerings include PBR and beermosas alongside Slash Run’s brunch menu for a delicious and devilish brunch experience. 12-3 p.m. Free to attend. Slash Run: 201 Upshur St. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 Avenir Pumpkin Festival Join for live music, a beer garden, games and pumpkin decorating. This festival is the


perfect way to celebrate the fun and festive season that is fall. 5-8 p.m. Free to attend. The Shops at Avenir Place: Gallows Rd. & Avenir Pl. Vienna, VA;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 Boo at the Zoo Trick or treating has gone wild at the Smithsonian National Zoo’s annual Halloween celebration: Boo at the Zoo, sponsored by Mars Wrigley Confectionery. This not-so-spooky event invites visitors to enjoy the zoo’s festive decorations as they trick-or-treat among 40 stations brimming with tasty goodies. New this year, ghouls and goblins are invited to “boo-gie” at a familyfriendly dance party and liven


up the atmosphere with some frightfully fun karaoke tunes. Be on the lookout for special Zoo animal encounters throughout the party, as well as meet-andgreets with Frankenpanda and Count Pandula. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $20-$30. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; Halloween Scavenger Hunt at Balance Gym Go on a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt across DC. The hunt consists of 10 haunted locations around the city that you’ll find through riddles and clues. It is your job to figure out the location, make your way there, and take an Instagram

picture documenting your success. Other strength, food and alcohol challenges will be added to the spooky hilarity. Put on your costume and pick up your hunting packet at Balance Gym Thomas Circle. Race to make it to Dacha Beer GardenNavy Yard for the after party, where prizes will be rewarded. 21+. 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tickets $16.66. Balance Gym Thomas Circle: 1339 Green Court NW, DC;

MONDAY, OCTOBER 21 Day of the Dead Kick off Party “Dia de los Muertos” is a Mexican holiday focused on remembering the dead, guiding their journeys and, for a day, opening the home to their


BALANCE GYM OCTOBER 19, 2019 // 9:00 A.M.


GRAND CENTRAL OCTOBER 25, 2019 // 8:00 - 11:00 P.M.


spirits. Join Oyamel Cocina Mexicana to celebrate the dead and honor the living at the kickoff event for their Day of the Dead Festival! This year’s festival honors Mexican-American musicians Ritchie Valens, singer of the classic song “La Bamba.” Remember Valens’ legacy by celebrating his hits, featuring a live band and offering other equally lively entertainment, including a photo booth and face painting. This all-inclusive celebration serves up traditional dishes, drinks and a celebration of life. 6-9 p.m. Tickets $60. Oyamel Cocina Mexicana: 401 7th St. NW, DC;

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22 The Office Halloween Episodes Trivia Get tested on your The Office Halloween episode skills at Pinstripes Georgetown. They won’t have the Scranton-area coupon book with $15,000

in savings, but prizes will be given. Starts at 7 p.m. Free to attend. Must RSVP. Pinstripes Georgetown: 1064 Wisconsin Avenue NW, DC;

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 23 Slash Run Annual Spooky Pumpkin Painting Party Slash Run will supply the pumpkins, paints, supplies and drinks. Come paint a pumpkin! All ages welcome, later in the night they will play a Halloween horror flick. 5-11 p.m. Tickets $10. Slash Run: 201 Upshur St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 Night of the Living Zoo A dark carnival is approaching… and will arrive for Friends of the National Zoo’s annual adults-only Halloween party, Night of the Living Zoo. At the Smithsonian National Zoo, ghouls and goblins will enjoy

craft beer, fare from popular DC food trucks, a DJ dance party, a spooktacular costume contest, hosted by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and more. It’s a wicked night of fun that would be scary to miss. 7-10:30 p.m. Tickets $40-$90. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute: 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; Open Bar Halloween Bash Grab your costume and celebrate Hallo-weekend with DC Fray at Grand Central DC. This ultimate Halloween bash, complete with an open bar from 8-11 p.m. and a costume contest with up to $100 prizes up for grabs. Tickets include rail cocktails, house wine and beer. Of course, there will be a live DJ keeping the dance floor moving all night too. Event starts at 8 p.m. Tickets $26.66. Grand Central: 2447 18th St. NW, DC;

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29 Hocus Pocus Trivia Oh look, another glorious trivia. Makes me SICK! Sisters! All Hallows Eve is drawing close and they’re going to be running amok for Hocus Pocus Trivia! Pinstripes will be lighting the black flame candle at Hocus Pocus Halloween Trivia in Georgetown. 7 p.m. Free to attend. Pinstripes Georgetown: 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;





Decades Horror Story Join Decades DC this Halloween and live out your darkest fears at Decades Horror Story. The American Horror Story theme will fill multiple floors, and includes everything from an asylum to a haunted hotel. 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. Tickets $10. Decades DC: 1219 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 Day of the Dead Festival The National Museum of the American Indian hosts a free festival to celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), featuring hands-on activities, make-and-takes, live music and dance presentations, and family activities throughout the weekend. The Day of the Dead tradition originates from the Indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica, including the Mexica (Aztec) and Maya. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. The National Museum of the American Indian: Independence Avenue in SW, DC; Día de los Muertos Fest This year, Basilis Empire is committed to making history. Día de Los Muertos Fest is the first annual festival honoring the integration of cultures. There will be different types of activities for children and adults, face painting, live mariachi and DJ, awards for the best costumes, professional folkloric dances, regional food, VIP area, a photo booth with Coco characters and more. Also, an altar in which people can bring their relative’s photos to pay a well-deserved tribute. 12-8 p.m. Free to attend. The Catholic University of America: 620 Michigan Ave. NE, DC;

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10 Día de los Muertos A special Festejo de Día de los Muertos will take place at The Choral Arts Society of Washington. Tickets to the Festejo de Día de los Muertos will include a post-concert reception. The Program includes Johannes Brahms: Ein deutsches Requiem with Featured Artists: Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, conductor, New Orchestra of Washington and Choral Arts Chamber Singers. Various dates and times. Tickets $45-$95. The Choral Arts Society of Washington: 1666 Connecticut Avenue NW, DC;



Take the first step in getting in the best shape of your life when you visit Thomas Circle: (202) 216-9000 • Glover Park: (202) 965-2121 Foggy Bottom: (202) 457-5070 • Capitol Hill: (202) 450-5448 *Offer valid for local DMV residences, first time visitors only.

Redskins Rookie No More Daron Payne Back for Season Two By Jon Kaplan

#94 Daron Payne // Photo: courtesy of the Washington Redskins

Lest any Washington Redskins fans think defensive tackle Daron Payne was born with superhuman strength, here’s his real secret: hard work, and a lot of it. It’s a testament to the 22-year-old’s tenacity and humility to hear him talk about the beginning of his football career. “I wasn’t strong at all going into high school,” Payne says. “But when I got in the weight room and stayed in the weight room, it just took off from there. Once I started training and lifting every day, I think it just started translating onto the field.” The 6-foot-3, 320-pound nose tackle grew up in Birmingham, Alabama where he attended Shades Valley High School. Payne was rated as a five-star recruit and committed to play for the Crimson Tide at the University of Alabama under legendary head coach Nick Saban. Payne made his mark at Alabama too. This is no small feat considering the team has ruled college football for the last 10 years, winning five national titles since 2009, two of them with Payne. In his junior year, he was voted defensive MVP of both the Sugar Bowl and the National Championship Game. After the season ended, he announced that he would enter the 2018 NFL Draft, where the Redskins drafted him in the first round. Payne says the biggest change in coming to DC is “being away from everybody that I know,” but he happened to land on the team with the most former University of Alabama players in the NFL.



The Redskins have six former Bama players on their current roster including Payne, and another two on injured reserve and the practice squad. He says having other Bama players on the team helped with the transition from college to pro. “I could just ask them about how things are and the whole process. They guided me through my first year in the NFL, so it made the whole thing easier.” Payne says he still keeps in touch with other former Crimson Tide players across the NFL too, not just Redskins players. “All of us keep in touch and hang out when we get the chance.” The defensive tackle’s sense of community extends beyond football to volunteer efforts. During the offseason, Payne had a chance to make a trip to Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia to bring attention to the Army base’s new dental clinic and meet some fans. He also hosted a back-to-school giveaway in Birmingham, giving out backpacks and other school supplies to kids in need. “I really didn’t get a chance to [give back during] my rookie year because I was just trying to dedicate all that time to training,” he says. “I definitely just wanted, with the off-time that I had, to do a little something that I could to give back.” Now that the 2019-2020 season is in full swing, Payne is sure to be busy training and playing hard for the Redskins at every upcoming game.

At a recent press conference, head coach Jay Gruden spoke glowingly of Payne’s talent and determination, ruminating on what gains he has made after his rookie season. “I have high expectations for Payne,” Gruden says. “I think he has high expectations for himself, as does everybody else in this locker room. He’s a guy that works extremely hard. He’s stronger, he’s quicker and I think he’s got a chance to be one of the dominant linemen in pro football if he keeps on this track. It’s very exciting to watch him play. He’s excellent against the run, he’s powerful, he can rush the passer – and we like him.” High praise for Payne, who works hard to take every opportunity as it comes. “I just try to go game by game,” he says. “[I’m] just trying to have my best game every game.” Check out the Redskins’ October home games on Sunday, October 6 at 1 p.m. against the New England Patriots and Sunday, October 20 at 1 p.m. against the San Francisco 49ers. Find out more at FedExField: 1600 Fedex Way, Landover, MD 301-276-6000;

I have high expectations for Payne. He’s stronger, he’s quicker and I think he’s got a chance to be one of the dominant linemen in pro football if he keeps on this track. | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


By Chris Silva Radko Gudas // Photos: courtesy of Washington Capitals

Last year’s Washington Capitals squad had a tough act to follow. The season prior, the team secured its first Stanley Cup championship under the tutelage of coach Barry Trotz. A glorious summer-long party ensued as the city embraced the festive atmosphere that came with ending a long-enduring drought. Trotz’s contract was up though, and when an extension couldn’t be reached, Todd Reirden was promoted to take his place. As the team started slowly last year, several pundits blamed the effects of a Cup hangover, a phenomenon that sometimes plagues a team that had played grueling matches deep into the summer. It wasn’t a terrible start, but when the expectations are sky-high, people notice. Reirden eventually righted the ship and guided the Capitals to a first-place finish in the competitive Metro division, but the team fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in the first round. What do Reirden and his staff have in store for an encore? With a full season under his belt as head coach and a competitive squad returning, it’s expected Reirden will guide the Caps to another first-place finish – but this time, go deep in the playoffs. All the ingredients are there for the Capitals to have a big year. While there were some changes in the offseason, particularly on defense and among the bottom six forwards, the core team returns. One returning player who figures to play a prominent role this season is forward Jakub Vrana, who racked up an impressive 47 points (24 goals, 23 assists) and played in all 82 games in his second full season with the club. Vrana, who is expected to exceed those figures and play a bigger role this season, credits the coaching staff with accelerating his development. “The coaches were very helpful, and we worked on a lot of things,”



Vrana says. “I’ve been getting chances and more ice time. You need to earn that and give it back to your team and coaches.” Vrana, a native of the Czech Republic and a former Caps first-round draft choice, says the team is motivated to get back to Cup finals after experiencing the championship in 2018. Since they were bounced in the first round this past season, the players had more time during the offseason to rest up and train. “The longer summer will help us be better prepared to get back to the Stanley Cup this year,” he continues. “Obviously with winning the Cup, we know how special it is – especially with the city waiting so long. And last year was kind of disappointing, [but] it gets us motivated to get out there and win again.” Among the new additions this year is defenseman Radko Gudas, who came to DC from Philadelphia over the summer, with Washington sending Matt Niskanen to the Flyers in return. The team will miss Niskanen, a top-pair defenseman who played five years in the District and chewed up a lot of ice time while putting up meaningful points. But the Capitals save $3.4 million in cap space with the trade, as Niskanen makes a higher salary than Gudas. It also gives the team some needed snarl, as the physical Gudas can be a menacing presence on the backline. Among the league’s hit leaders, Gudas brings a wild card element to the Capitals. Though ejected and suspended multiple times by the league for what has been deemed questionable hits, a player of his notoriety can benefit the Capitals as it provides them a fiercer edge that will keep opposing teams on their toes. The defenseman, whose affability during interviews belies his intense nature on the ice, looks to continue his spirited play in DC.

Capitol Lounge

Hawk & Dove

Lucky Bar Blackfinn

Mad Hatter The Bottom Line

Rocket Bar Kelleys Irish Times Grand Central

Enjoy Responsibly. ©2019 D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., Pottsville, PA 17901

“It’s definitely my game,” he says. “I’m a physical guy out there. I’m trying to be a physical defenseman who always protects his teammates and makes sure nobody is touching our goalie.” The trade was a bit of an anomaly as it involved division rivals, but Gudas says he quickly moved past the initial surprise of the news and settled in. “I want to focus on myself and be ready for the season. This group wants to go deep in the playoffs, and I want to have that as my number one goal going into the season. It’s a new chapter for me, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.” Gudas, who is also from the Czech Republic, says he is familiar with Vrana and fellow countryman Michal Kempny, a key defenseman who is expected to miss some time due to a torn hamstring. Gudas previously played on the Tampa Bay Lightning with Richard Panik, a forward whom the Capitals signed as a free agent. Panik, Garnet Hathaway and Brendan Leipsic were all brought in over the summer to add speed and grit to the third and fourth lines. The Capitals lost another vital defenseman when Brooks Orpik announced his retirement after 15 years in the NHL, including five in Washington. Orpik played 81 games during the Caps’ Stanley Cup season and was a respected player in the locker room. It’s expected that players like Gudas, Nick Jensen, Christian Djoos and Jonas Siegenthaler will step up to play key minutes and support top defensemen John Carlson and Dmitry Orlov. The top forward lines are once again buoyed by superstar captain Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and T.J. Oshie, with veterans Tom Wilson, Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin rounding out the group. Number one goalie Braden Holtby will once again be



It’s definitely my game. I’m a physical guy out there. I’m trying to be a physical defenseman who always protects his teammates and makes sure nobody is touching our goalie. counted on as a workhorse between the pipes. With not a lot of change and new, proven faces filling key positions, the Capitals are once again expected to be among the NHL’s best. “We had some big losses during the summer,” Vrana says. “We lost some guys we have some history and some memories with. It wasn’t really easy to say goodbye, but sometimes that’s part of the business. You just have to look forward. We have a great upcoming year in front of us with this group now and we’re very excited for the season.” Don’t miss five home games this month, starting on October 5. For more information on the Washington Capitals’ current season, go to Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; 202-628-3200;

Jakub Vrána

Find your gameday beach at these locations and grab an ice cold Corona or Corona Light this season! Maddy’s Tap Room The Brighton Public Bar Live The Midlands Beer Garden Lou’s City Bar

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern Walters Sports Bar The Bottom Line Rocket Bar Pitchers

Nellie’s Sports Bar Cleveland Park Bar & Grill Exiles El Bebe


Brings Unique Brewery Experiences to DC and NoVA

By Chelsea Bailey

Like the leaves, craft beer changes with the season. From Oktoberfests to pumpkin ales, there is a perfect fall beer for every drinker just like there is a perfect brewery tour for every experience. Whether you want to explore breweries in DC or escape the city, City Brew Tours (CBT) is a local company that offers a variety of experiences for every kind of beer lover. They provide all-inclusive brewery tours in and out of the city with carefully selected beers at each of their stops, behind-the-scenes brewery access and food. Each tour is led by one of their expert guides, who provides their guests with a unique local brewery experience. Founded five years ago, CBT operates in close to 10 cities including DC and recently launched a weekly NoVA Brew Tour. We caught up with CBT’s Washington DC area city coordinator Steven Quartel to learn more.   On Tap: What’s your role at CBT? Steven Quartel: When I’m not coordinating logistics for our business in the DC area, I can be found at breweries giving tours, “researching” 16-oz. at a time when something new is in on tap or training our beer guides. OT: What qualifications does one need to be a CBT guide? SQ: If you’re great with people and have a passion for beer and want to share that with folks but need to learn more, we can make you a beer expert. OT: When someone comes out for their first CBT, what are you hoping that they take away from the experience? SQ: We specialize in creating unforgettable experiences. If we can create moments that stick with people long after their tour is done, we’ve succeeded.  OT: What is included with a CBT ticket?  SQ: We offer a few different packages including private tours, safe transportation, an expert beer guide, beer and food. This also includes our curated pairing plate and a beer flight.  OT: Are the routes the same for every tour?  SQ: They are not. We strive to develop close relationships with several breweries. This allows us to vary the routes and offer an exclusive look behind the scenes at many places.

Photos: Chelsea Bailey

OT: How are the breweries on the CBT routes selected? SQ: We look for breweries of all kinds so that we can highlight all manner of production techniques, beer programs, and the human stories that make each brewery unique.  OT: What was the inspiration for the new NoVA tour that launched in September? SQ: It’s no secret that Virginia has definitely been having a moment in terms of craft breweries. We’ve been looking at branching out into NoVA for two years now.

OT: What went into building out the NoVA tour? SQ: We wanted to take the city tour model and expanded it to a deluxe version in a more suburban environment. I worked hand-in-hand with the GMs and chefs at Crafthouse and Fire Works Pizza to put together an extraordinary beer and food pairing experience. OT: What is your favorite thing about giving tours? SQ: Seeing someone find their new favorite beer, especially if it’s one I picked out for them. OT: How did you get started in beer? SQ: My wife. I was more of a dark liquor drinker coming out of college. She worked at a brewery and introduced me to Belgians, IPAs, nut browns and stouts. OT: What is your favorite fall beer style? SQ: Brown ales. The Boxcar Brown from Caboose, the [Northern] Nut Brown at The Public Option [and] Wallops Island from Rocket Frog are perfect once the temps start cooling. OT: Where do you go for a pint when you’re off the clock? SQ: Fire Works Pizza Cascades [in Sterling, Virginia] or Crafthouse. I love poring over the tap list at Hops N Shine in Del Ray. When I’m in DC: Free State, Brookland Pint or District ChopHouse. OT: Are there any upcoming beer releases that you are looking forward to? SQ: Grampus, a nut-brown ale from Hellbender, and Maniacal IPA from Port City. I love seeing creativity from brewpub collaborations and smaller-batch brews from 3 Stars, Right Proper and Lake Anne Brew House. CBT’s NoVA Brew Tours are available on Sundays, DC tours are offered daily. Tour availability and tickets are available at Use the code ONTAP15 by October 31 to save 15 percent on your NoVA tour booking. Writer bio: Follow Chelsea Bailey and her beer adventures on Instagram @21stamendmentgirl. | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


WHAT’S ON TAP? All What’s On Tap listings are provided by the venues hosting them.

Greetings, beer nerds! As you know, there are a number of fantastic spots in the DMV where you can grab a pint, and their menus are always evolving and adapting to your tastes. If you’d rather avoid the guessing game, check out what’s up next at a few of these locations.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6 D.C. United Pre-Game Oktoberfest Happy Hour It is the last game of the season, so D.C. United is hosting the best pre-game party. Come celebrate Oktoberfest with beers, games and raffles. Your first beer is on the house. After the party, take your seats to watch D.C. United take on FC Cincinnati. 2:30-4 p.m. Tickets $25. Audi Field: 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC;

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8 Beer Dinner: Go Big or Go Home Chef Bart celebrates 15 years of Belga Café. This time, the experts have dug deep in the beer cellar and have come up with a very personal selection of hard to find beers in big bottles, from 1.5 to 6 liters. Expect exceptional bottles like Gouden Carolus Van De Keizer Blauw vintage 2009 and Liefmans Gouden Band vintage 2000 and more. From the kitchen, you’ll enjoy a traditional Belgian food feast. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $76.96. Belga Café: 514 8th St. SE, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10 Four Course Beer Dinner Pinstripes Georgetown is bringing craft beer lovers a taste of their culinary expertise, with a special dinner inspired by, and paired with, selections from DC Brau. A DC Brau representative and Pinstripes’ chef will lead guests through a deliciously fun four-course dinner. Tickets for the event include the dinner, beer pairings, tax and service. 7-9 p.m. Tickets $60. Pinstripes Georgetown: 1064 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12 Bring a Guitar to the Bar: Battlecross, Gloom, Eyes of the Nile Join bands Battlehouse, Gloom, No Tomorrow and Iron Maiden tribute band Eyes of the Nile, as they rock out in support of the Witt Black Music Foundation’s third annual Bring a Guitar to the Bar Fundraiser. You can also enjoy craft beer, tacos and raffle prizes. Donations of gently-used guitars for at-risk kids enrolled in the Foundation’s guitar classes are also being accepted at the door. 6:30-11 p.m. Tickets $15. Atlas Brew Works: 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, DC; Cigar and Beer Pairing 7 Locks Brewing will transform into a cigar lounge for this one of a kind event, highlighting the first release in their new Barrel Aged Bottle Program, the Lockhouse Cellar Reserve. Enjoy three Davidus cigars paired perfectly with three 7 Locks beers. Two of the beers will be full 16 oz. pints, and the third beer is their new 26 oz. barrel aged bottle. 2-5 p.m. Tickets $45. 7 Locks Brewing: 12227 Wilkins Ave. North Bethesda, MD; Snallygaster 2019 Snallygaster is the District’s beastliest beer festival, bar none. Returning for its eighth year, festivalgoers can expect an unbelievable array of no fewer than 400 highly sought after brews on draft. There



will be more than 150 of the finest American and international producers, set against a backdrop of local food trucks and two stages of live music. This awesome event will benefit the Arcadia Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a more equitable and sustainable local food system. 12-6 p.m. Tickets start at $50. Downtown: Pennsylvania Avenue in NW, DC;

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13 Granite City Presents: Kegs and Crabs Enjoy delicious Maryland crabs and hoppy pints at Granite City’s Kegs and Crabs. The brewery has partnered with Krewe of Pyros to host this tasty event. Twenty percent of proceeds will be donated to each company’s chosen initiative. Make sure to take advantage of the cigar friendly patio while you sip on a beer. 3-7 p.m. Tickets start at $50. Granite City Food and Brewery: 200 American Way. Oxon Hill, MD;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 ChurchKey’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration: Vol. 4 ChurchKey turns 10 years old this October. In true ChurchKey fashion, they’re celebrating with a series of huge events, massive tap takeovers and unbelievable beer dinners until the end of the year. Join them as they continue their 10th anniversary series with their close friends from Allagash Brewing Company. Free to attend. 4-7:30 p.m. ChurchKey: 1337 14th St. NW, DC; Hop Jam If you’re looking to expand your craft brewery experience beyond DC, head to Sinistral Brewing Company in Manassas, Virginia. Savor local Northern Virginia brews and music at a hop jam. It’s a great way to get a head start on your weekend festivities. 7 p.m. Free to attend. Sinistral Brewing Company: 9419 Main St. Manassas, VA;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 2nd Annual Shucktoberfest Beer & Oyster Festival The second annual Shucktober Beer & Oyster Festival will take place in Arlington, Virginia, right in the heart of downtown Shirlington Village. At this year’s festival, you can expect more than 40 craft beer tents, double the oyster tents from last year’s event, and local food and merchant vendors. Bring your pup to enjoy the fun, because the festival is pet-friendly! 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Free to attend. Village at Shirlington: 2700 S. Quincy St. Arlington, VA; Capital BrewFest: Fall Seasonal Beer, Wine & Music Festival Capital BrewFest is a celebration of the very best time to drink delicious seasonal craft beer: the fall. For this year’s event, the best newly released fall brews available from your favorite breweries will be available to try. You’ll get a tasting glass, and enjoy unlimited tastings of more than 40 carefully selected beers, amazing food options, music from a DJ, games, arts, activities and more. 12:308 p.m. Tickets start at $17.95. The Bullpen: 1201 Half St. SE, DC;

Draughts and Laughs: Beer and Comedy Show at Twinpanzee The North American Comedy Brewery Tour presents a unique night out in Sterling, VA, featuring the finest that comedy has to offer, paired with Twinpanzee’s fresh and delicious signature brews. These comics have traveled across North America, sampling local fare, tasting local brews, and providing a truly unique comedy experience that supports animals in need. 8-10 p.m. Tickets $15. Twinpanzee Brewing Co: 101 Executive Dr. Sterling, VA; Fall Brew Fest Partake in the first ever beer fest at Tommy Joe’s. A wide range of craft beers from local and national breweries will be featured. A general ticket includes unlimited sampling and light appetizers. 1-6 p.m. Tickets start at $55. Tommy Joe’s: 7940 Norfolk Ave. Bethesda, MD;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 Downtown Silver Spring Cask Crawl The Chesapeake Bay Branch, Denizens, Astro Lab and Silver Branch will unite forces to host a special cask crawl. Cask-conditioned beer is a traditional style of shipping and serving beer in the time before metal kegs and artificial carbonation. 12-4:30 p.m. Free to attend. Silver Branch Brewing Company: 8401 Colesville Rd. #150, Silver Spring, MD; Oktoberfest at Cady’s Alley It’s an unwritten rule that every millennial must attend a Germaninspired fall festival each year, take a selfie with a 44-ounce stein, and call it a day. Head to Cady’s Alley and enjoy craft beer, live music, food, games and more. Snag an aforementioned stein and savor Germaninspired bites in the beer garden all day long. Tucked off of M Street, the cobblestone alleyway is as European as it gets in DC. 1-5 p.m. Free to attend. Cady’s Alley: 3314 M St. NW, DC;



SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27 Learn to Brew at Pizzeria Paradiso Hyattsville Pizzeria Paradiso Hyattsville and the DC Homebrewers Association will teach you to brew, from water to bottling. This three part series includes three stand alone classes that together explain and demonstrate homebrewing ingredients, processes, and techniques. Each class is taught by an expert DC Homebrewers Association member, and will help you produce your own great home brew. The one and a half hour class includes hands-on demonstrations, refreshments, and take-away gifts. 2-3:30 p.m. Tickets $40. Pizzeria Paradiso Hyattsville: 4800 Rhode Island Ave. Hyattsville, MD; Pugs & Pints Head to the The Brig, DC’s secret beer garden, for the second annual Pugs and Pints. It will be an afternoon of bountiful brews and playful pups, all to benefit Pigs and Pugs Project. Costumes for your pet are welcome. Your ticket includes a beer, vegan nibbles, a contribution to a pug rescue and pig sanctuary and goodies for your pup. 3-5 p.m. Tickets start at $29. The Brig DC: 1007 8th St. SE, DC;

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30 2019 Seabee OktoBEEfest DC Celebrate OktoBEEfest Seabee style with craft beer and comrades. Gather your crew together for an awesome evening of corn hole, food, plenty of room to move and beers on tap. Those with an official Seabee Historical Foundation OktoBEEfest glass get extended happy hour pricing for drinks. Individual tickets include a take home, commemorative pint glass. 5-11 p.m. Tickets start at $10. The Brig DC: 1007 8th St. SE, DC;

Celebrate the season with Modelo at the following locations: 801 Restaurant Agua 301 Cactus Cantina Cloak & Dagger Don Juan’s El Bebe

El Rey H Street Country Club Kirwans on the Wharf Little Miss Whiskey MacIntyre’s Mission

Mi Vida Pearl Street Warehouse Wet Dog Tavern Mi Vida El Tio





Hangover By Travis Mitchell

Breakfast Pot Pie // Photo: courtesy of The Smith


aking up after a late night of drinking can feel like a game of roulette. Maybe you’ll hop out of bed feeling none the worse for wear, or maybe, your head will be heavy as an anvil with a churning stomach and strong desire to do nothing but take it easy until your body can get itself in order. Hangovers often lead to cravings for foods loaded with carbs, grease and fat that can soak up the alcohol from the night before and fuel the next day. A bit of sweat-inducing spice never hurt, either. These five dishes were chef-built to help ease the pain and replenish the soul with a heavy dose of all things comforting.

Taco Bamba’s Hangover Torta

The Smith’s Breakfast Pot Pie

Succotash’s Hangover Special

Tacos are understandably the main draw at this local taqueria chain from chef Victor Albisu. But if a thumping headache has you craving something a bit greasier, grab the Hangover Torta at Taco Bamba’s Fairfax location. “I don’t get many hangovers these days, but when I do, I’m on the lookout for eggs and potatoes, salt and spice, and a little bit of fat,” Albisu says. His sandwich was designed to hit all the right notes, from bacon carnitas and avocado to fried eggs and beans.

This New York City export has comfort food for all times of day. If you can’t decide what your hangover requires, go for The Smith’s Breakfast Pot Pie available at both DC locations – Penn Quarter and U Street. The skillet is loaded with bacon, sweet Italianstyle sausage, a homemade cheddar biscuit crust and two runny eggs. “For me, it’s all the best parts of biscuits and gravy packed into a pot pie vessel,” says Michael Kollarik, The Smith’s culinary development chef. “It helps jumpstart your afternoon.”

Chef Edward Lee’s Penn Quarter restaurant blurs the line between Korean and Southern American cuisines – a recipe for spicy, fatty, wholesome cooking to turn around the groggiest of mornings. Lee says that his aptly named Hangover Special has all of those elements in one cast iron skillet: spicy pulled pork, potato salad, fried eggs and gravy with a biscuit. “The Hangover Special is combination of everything you need to get your day started,” Lee says. “Together, they are fuel for your body and joy for your soul.”

901 F St. and 1314 U St. in NW, DC

915 F St. NW, DC

10629 Braddock Rd. Fairfax, VA



The Hangover Sandwich // Photo: courtesy of Bar Deco The Hangover Special // Photo: courtesy of Succotash

Bar Deco’s Hangover Sandwich A breakfast sandwich can be a hangover savior, especially when it’s packed with eggs and salty, fatty bacon and sausage. Look no further than Chinatown spot Bar Deco’s Hangover Sandwich and its spin on the classic. The one here is loaded with scrambled eggs, short ribs, white cheddar cheese and more between two buttery brioche buns. A spicy jalapeño bacon mayonnaise gives it an extra spicy kick. “The Hangover Sandwich is the perfect amount of sodium and fat between a buttery bun,” says Bar Deco Bar Manager Luke Lamb. “It’s exactly what your body is craving when your body is hungover: salt to help you retain water and that fat to keep you going.” 717 6th St. NW, DC;

Matchbox restaurants are much more than pizza these days, but the thin-crust brunch pie is still one of the best ways to soak up the pain of a long night on the town. Spicy Italian sausage brings the heat, tempered by fresh pico de gallo, smoky gouda cheese and scrambled eggs. It’s part of the many carb-heavy options on the restaurant’s bottomless brunch menu. “The Brunch Pizza has been a popular favorite on the Matchbox menu for years now,” says chef Jim Drost, who’s also director of culinary operations. “Even when we’ve tried different versions [and] began a brunch program without the Brunch Pizza, we’ve had to bring it back by popular demand.”

Photos: Kimchi Photography

Matchbox’s Brunch Pizza

DC Fray hosted their glow yoga event at Audi Field on September 10. DC yogis lit up the night with glow sticks and paint, enjoying amazing views on the pitch of D.C. United’s home field.

Four Virginia locations, two in Maryland (and a third opening in Bethesda), and three in DC; | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


A Day

Life in the



Photos: courtesy of Puddin’

Toyin Alli, founder of DC’s beloved soul food staple Puddin’, knows what people like: great ingredients, comforting flavors and a second to experience bliss in the middle of a busy day. Cooking is a thread that runs through her entire life, first as a way to bond with family, then as a hobby and ultimately as a calling. DMV residents gravitate toward Alli’s warmth and the sense of fun she brings to food. With two food trucks, a Union Market stall and a spot at Eastern Market’s Saturday farmers market, Puddin’s growth has tracked right alongside the District’s food truck scene. We caught up with her to learn more about where she’s been and where she’s headed next. On Tap: What drew you to cooking? Toyin Alli: I come from a family of people who love cooking. My dad is Nigerian and my mom is African American, so they’re always trying to merge those two things in the kitchen. I gravitated toward Cajun and Creole food because they have the influence of West African cuisines, French, Native Americans – it feels like the most American food there is. I ended up using a lot of West African ingredients and when I went to Louisiana [to research], I saw so much stuff that my dad was using, like okra. It felt like food that was very familiar to me. OT: How did Puddin’ come to be? How did you pick the name? TA: I started in 2005 just doing all different kinds of puddings – bread pudding, mousse, panna cotta – literally any kind of pudding I could think of. But it didn’t really take. People just started calling me Puddin’ and it stuck. It’s also a common Southern nickname. People come up to the truck all the time and say, “That’s MY nickname!” I started again after I graduated from grad school [in 2010]: gumbo, shrimp and grits, banana pudding. This wasn’t an overly thought-out business idea. It came from a love of cooking and it was a thing I did on the weekend. I was working a full-time job and I was rushing around getting ingredients. I quit my job about six months after I started the business. It was scary, but it ended up paying off. I was able to incrementally build my business by starting in the Eastern Market farmers market.



OT: Now you’re at Eastern Market and in Union Market, and you’ve got the food truck. How does your clientele differ at each location? TA: We have die-hard Eastern Market people who come every weekend for our po’boys because I put a twist on it. It’s still traditional with big fried shrimp, but we put our remoulade and a vinegarbased slaw on them. We use local Rappahannock oysters and wild blue catfish, which is different too. They’re an invasive species and they’re not bottom feeders so they don’t have that muddy taste, plus getting them out of the water helps the ecosystem. Union Market is changing. We have people who come because they support me as a black-owned, female-owned business. The new market people are trendy millennials, tourists – and they’re having a different experience. It’s all cool. It’s all great. OT: What’s your bestseller? Why do you think that is? TA: The bread pudding is always a hit. It’s an old-timey dessert you either love or hate. What’s fun for me is taking one of those old-school desserts and turning it into something people really enjoy. Getting people to try it is a challenge. “That’s wet bread! Who wants wet bread? I don’t!” But ours is no nuts, no raisins, no cinnamon, and who doesn’t love butter and bread with sugar and bourbon? Rather than try to overcomplicate it, I made something simple – and people love it.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT Ice cream Family My mom A nice glass of bourbon OT: What does comfort food mean to you? TA: When I think of comfort food, I think of anything that makes my body tingle [while I’m eating it]. It’s so good, I’d rather be doing that than any number of things that also make me feel good. Comfort food to me is, you need this not only for nourishment, but to feed your soul. I know you can’t indulge every day, but sometimes you just need some fried shrimp, you need some gumbo. Ultimately, if it feels like home.

OT: What’s next for Puddin’? TA: I’m working on Puddin’s Community Kitchen. We’re hoping to open in November. I purchased warehouse space in Capitol Heights, Maryland, right outside DC. It’ll be an incubator space and a commercial kitchen, but also a community space for cooking classes and whatever else the community needs. I’m trying to create a space that can be used to fill that gap. Additionally, there’s going to be a carry-out space so people in that community can buy Puddin’ food without coming into the city. Learn more about Puddin’ and where to find Alli’s food trucks at or on Instagram @dcpuddin. Monday through Sunday at Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Eastern Market: 635 North Caroline Ave. SE, DC; | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


Photo: Nick Donner Photo: courtesy of Swizzler

Photo: courtesy of Pepe Photo: courtesy of CapMac

Photo: courtesy of Rebel Taco

Confessions of


What happens at the food truck rodeo doesn’t always stay at the food truck rodeo. We caught up with food truckers around the region to hear about the highs and lows of cooking on the road.

CAPMAC On Tap: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever made for a customer? Owner Josh Warner: The craziest order would probably be catering. They wanted to get fancy, and they wanted six courses and a plated dinner for four hours. Zero mac and cheese at all. OT: What’s one thing most people don’t realize about owning a food truck? JW: You think we’re only open for two hours, but we make everything from scratch so it’s a full day. It’s so much more if you do it right, and we do it right. We love people more than we love food.

CAPTAIN COOKIE & THE MILKMAN On Tap: What is the craziest event you’ve ever taken your truck to? Founder // co-owner Kirk Francis: That would be The Festicle, which was a testicle-cooking festival held at the Bullpen. There were numerous testicle-cooking competitions, a team who did WWE-style wrestling and pole dancers. A close second was the Flugtag by Red Bull, where we saw various teams compete to push their homemade flying objects on hilariously unsuccessful launches. There was a lot of smashing and a tiny bit of flying. OT: Most surprising order? KF: We make cookie cakes, and over the years we’ve been asked to make some highly inappropriate cookie cakes for bachelorette parties. We also made and delivered a cookie cake once that simply said, “F—k you.” I hope it was a joke. OT: What’s your favorite snack to enjoy after Captain Cookie calls it a day? KF: Kimchi with rice and a fried egg. I ferment my own so there’s always a jar handy. It’s salty, sour and spicy, but still pretty healthy.

REBEL TACO On Tap: What’s one aspect of owning a food truck most folks don’t realize? Owner Mike Bramson: It gets hot inside the truck! If you’re feeling hot, imagine 10 degrees warmer – at least. Whoever is serving you on a warm day, just give them a “thank you.” OT: What Rebel Taco dish do you crave post-shift? MB: I’m normally craving the taco that I saw go out the most that day. It’s usually either the Super Chick (chipotle-marinated

chicken, avocado crema and pico de gallo on a flour tortilla), steak quesadilla or the Shrimp Gone Wild (cornflake-battered shrimp, slaw and Rebel sauce). OT: Name the food order that made you raise an eyebrow. MB: One time, we had an order of 16 tacos from one person. I figured he was taking it to a group, but it was just him and his friend. I guess they must really like our tacos.

SWIZZLER On Tap: What’s the oddest food order you’ve received? Founder Jesse Konig: The weirdest thing that I’ve seen get ordered is asking for two hot dogs in one bun. I think people see the spiral-cut hot dogs and think they should be able to fuse together and make a super-sized hot dog. I respect the creative thinking, but it just doesn’t quite work out the way you think it would. Please, don’t order it. OT: What’s your go-to Swizzler snack after a long day? JK: I’ve been on a big burger kick recently so I’d have to say my number one choice would be a Swizz Stack fresh off the grill, maybe even with some caramelized onions and candied jalapeños added on top if I’m feeling crazy! After a long day working on the truck, that thing will disappear in 30 seconds flat. If we’re talking hot dogs, it would have to be a Feast Mode. Just thinking about it is making me hungry!

PEPE BY JOSÉ ANDRÉS On Tap: After a long day with Pepe, what do you eat standing over the kitchen sink? Chef Aaron Helfand: Spanish pulled pork with shredded cabbage slaw, hold the bread. OT: What’s the weirdest thing someone’s asked you to make? AH: Being a small workspace, we only have so many options to alter something. But guests come up with all sorts of interesting tweaks, whether it’s adding jamón to everything or adding croquetas to the inside of a bocata. OT: What’s the one thing you can’t do without on your truck? AH: This depends on where we are in the DMV area. It is interesting how guests at each location crave different items from our menu. We try to bring as much as possible so everyone can enjoy, but we can never be without jamón. | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


Emilie’s Kevin Tien // Photo: Chris Jun

By Lani Furbank

Pom Pom’s Carlie Steiner & Amanda Moll // Photo: Libby Rasmussen

As rising stars in the restaurant industry, Kevin Tien and Carlie Steiner created a supernova in late 2016. Their debut restaurant in Petworth garnered an impressive mass of accolades during just three years in business, and then suddenly, Himitsu was gone. The ending wasn’t as dramatic as a star exploding. It was abrupt yet amicable – the best choice for all parties involved as each owner grew their own empire. Many are mourning the loss of the quirky, welcoming restaurant, but the death of Himitsu marks the birth of two even more interesting concepts. Tien announced his new restaurant last year. Emilie’s has a much larger footprint than Himitsu, and expectations are high. “It’s pretty ambitious, what we want to do,” he says. “It was only right to me to focus my attention all on Emilie’s or else I don’t think we would be able to open a really great restaurant.” Though Himitsu was Tien’s first restaurant, in partnership with Steiner, it wasn’t the one he first dreamed of opening. “When I originally wrote up the plan for a restaurant many, many years ago, Emilie’s was actually that original business concept, with a cart-style service.” Now, he’s poised to open Emilie’s on Capitol Hill in early to midOctober. His vision for the concept is to cultivate a dining experience focused on sharing. “Growing up, sharing meant going out to eat dim sum with my family,” he says. Emilie’s will feature carts roving around the dining room, as well as large-format, family-style entrées with shareable sides. The menu will incorporate flavors and dishes from around the country and the world, while reflecting from the kitchen team’s backgrounds. He’s calling it new American, but not in the sense you might expect. “Before, I think American was very steak and potatoes and roast chicken or casseroles, but I think American looks very different now,” he continues. “There’s Italian food, there’s Ethiopian food, there’s Asian cuisine. That’s what American food really is now.” As a nod to Tien’s Louisiana upbringing, there will be a fried chicken dinner with caviar deviled eggs. His Vietnamese heritage will be represented by family-style woven noodles served with various fish sauces and grilled items. Himitsu fans won’t find Tien’s famous hamachi crudo – but he promises there will be a crudo of some sort – honoring the 12 years he spent cooking Japanese cuisine. His kitchen management team’s influence can be seen in various aspects of the menu as well, like Davy Bourne’s house-made breads and Autumn Cline and Mikey Fabian’s seafood prowess. When Emilie’s opens, Tien wants to capture the feeling that made Himitsu special. “A lot of the magic from Himitsu came from everyone working together as a team,” he says. “My biggest hope is that with the staff that we have here, with everyone working together on the menu and the service, we’re able to recreate some of that same magic.” Now the sole owner of a popular restaurant on Upshur Street, Steiner has also turned her attention to building a team. “We are not a chef-driven restaurant,” she says. “We are a teamdriven restaurant.” She tapped chef Amanda Moll and beverage director Lauren Paylor to reopen the restaurant as a new concept: Pom Pom. In just 36 hours, they redesigned the space, adding a forest green accent wall and upholstery as well as an explosion of brightly colored pom poms. “I hope that we can continue to make that meticulous, beautiful food,” Steiner says. “What we’ve added is a lot more whimsy.” She says Pom Pom feels like the living room of her home – a joyful, playful space for everyone. Just as Steiner wants her guests to feel at home, she wants her staff to feel safe. “Most of our staff actually identifies in some way as queer,” she adds. “It’s naturally become a very welcoming space for queer people.” In the coming months, she plans to offer benefits for staff. “Safety is probably number one and that, for me, is about

protecting my employees. My employees then come back and do an incredible job protecting the guests.” Part of that is staying true to the team mentality. Instead of championing one individual, Steiner appreciates the value in all her staff. “What about the service members? What about the cooks? What about the dishwashers? Those are the people making this place run.” Moll takes that literally by calling everyone chef – a habit she formed long before joining Pom Pom. “It’s a respect thing,” she explains. “We’re all on the same level. We all are just as important in this restaurant.” The menus at Pom Pom are similarly collaborative. Steiner, who previously oversaw the beverage program at Himitsu, now has a 50 percent influence over both the food and drink menus along with Moll and Paylor. They’ve designed the offerings so you can enjoy a refined meal to celebrate a milestone, or a burger and a beer after work. Steiner describes the food as international cuisine, or “cuisine nonconforming.” “I will not put one cuisine on it, because a) I don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves and b) I’m not claiming to cook any classic dish at all whatsoever,” she says. “We are not claiming to do anything except put out food that we like to eat.” There are Southeast Asian dishes, which reflect Moll’s time as a sous chef at Doi Moi, as well as Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, which is what Steiner likes to cook. Highlights include Moll’s Balinese roast duck, Steiner’s take on hamachi crudo with housemade labneh, za’atar and pomegranate seeds, and their collaborative tahdig – a crispy Peruvian green rice. This is Moll’s first executive chef role, and she has embraced the opportunity to set the tone for kitchen culture. “I’m excited that I’m able to be in a position where I can help build up other people now, [and] just be able to have a safe environment for people to learn, feel supported, grow and test out different ideas,” Moll says. With the new concept well underway, Steiner hopes neighbors and visitors will give Pom Pom a chance. “I’ve always been here,” she says. “The team is amazing and I’m hoping that people are excited to get onboard this f--king happy train, because we’re just here to throw a damn good party every night and we just want you to be a part of it.” Emilie’s: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; Pom Pom: 828 Upshur St. NW, DC; new website TBD, check in the meantime | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


DC’s Fine Fast Casual Scene RASA dishes // Photo: Rey Lopez

By Aparna Krishnamoorthy

Poke bowl // Photo: courtesy of Poke Papa

Shouk burger // Photo: Rey Lopez

Fast-casual food is hot and shows no signs of slowing down. Since the explosion of the fast-casual segment, DC diners have started expecting even more from these quick options – and restaurants have delivered. They are incorporating creative bites, hanging menus, well-plated dishes, interesting décor and extensive beverage services into the casual dining experience. This new niche, referred to as elevated fast casual or fine fast casual, combines the familiar elements of fast casual with aspects of fine dining. In DC, we have plenty of choices when it comes to fine fast casual, with diverse cuisines at modest price points. Here’s what seven local spots, each truly highlighting the best in the fine fast casual space, have to say about the trend.


This Indian restaurant has cemented its spot in DC’s fine fast-casual market with its innovative and accessible flavors. It continues to make waves in the space with upcoming new locations and celebrity endorsements. According to Sahil Rahman, co-owner of RASA, “Fine fast casuals are continuing to innovate and push the market forward. The big trends we are seeing today include the promotion of unique ingredients, elevated interior design and an increase in healthful offerings.” All of these are at the forefront of RASA’s brand. Rahman believes this is the fastest-growing market segment because it solves multiple consumer needs at once. “The brilliance of the model is that it maintains the quick service while also offering guests the opportunity to eat delicious and nutritious meals, all at an affordable price point.” 1247 First St. SE, DC;


Co-owners Bettina Stern and Suzanne Simon have been ahead of the curve not just on the fine fast casual trend, but also on the plant-forward movement. What started off as a market stand now has two storefront locations in DC featuring vegetarian tacos with local, seasonal vegetables served in homemade tortillas to diners. “Fast casual is the perfect fit for serving best-quality, fresh, delicious, local, seasonal vegetables to everyone,” Stern says. “It is convenient, easy and affordable.” Indeed, this is what makes them appealing to diners. Interest in the fine fast casual and quick-service side of the restaurant industry is only growing. As Stern puts it: “It appears that deliciousness is at the intersection of health, sustainability, cultural discovery and business insight.” 3207 Grace St. and 615 I St. in NW, DC;


Plant-based options are one of the fastest-growing segments in the food industry, and the Israeli-focused Shouk caters to this with delicious hummus bowls, salads and sandwiches. Ran Nussbacher and Dennis Friedman of Shouk say that, “In the past, when people wanted to grab a quick bite, the majority of their options were highly-processed, sugary foods with unknown ingredients.” By offering highly craveable, nutritious options at modest prices, Shouk has truly managed to win locals’ stomachs – the eggplant burger is one of the best vegetarian sandwich options around. 655 K St. NW, DC and 395 Morse St. NE, DC;


Big name chefs are keen to be part of the movement, too. José Andrés’ Beefsteak is a plant-based concept that has proven popular.

Getting creative with using plant-based ingredients remains ever important to keep diners interested. Eric Martino, COO of ThinkFoodGroup, also sees another direction for some companies as ghost kitchens become more of a trend. “As third-party deliveries continue to increase in metro markets, I could see multi-concept units doing delivery only out of kitchen-only spaces,” Martino says. “Engaging with guests digitally through apps and online strategies are no longer a “nice to have” but more of a necessity. 1528 Connecticut Ave. and on GWU’s campus at 800 22nd St. in NW, DC;

Stellina Pizzeria

Antonio Matarazzo, co-owner of Stellina Pizzeria, agrees that “the growing interest in fast-casual dining has led to more well-known chefs opening concepts in this space and service style.” “That translates into greater quality and care of the food served in fast-casual restaurants,” he says. At Stellina, the counter service model has been received positively as diners become familiar with the idea that a space could be causal in terms of service but with a menu, quality and prices closer to traditional restaurants. According to Matarazzo, “Cutting out some steps in the service allows us to deliver amazing dishes at great value.” We agree – the food speaks for itself. 399 Morse St. NE, DC;

Bandoola Bowl

Aung Myint, owner of the Burmese salad shop, says that “guests are trying to get in and get out, and don’t have time to make myriad decisions.” By having a selection of composed bowls with ingredients and flavors that work together, the guesswork is eliminated for the diner. This also leads to consistency – a big advantage. “If you find something you love, you know what you’re going to get upon each visit,” Myint says. And you will find something you love. 1069 Wisconsin Ave. NW, DC;

Poke Papa

At Poke Papa, value and convenience are the focus. When it comes to fresh raw fish, there is no compromise. Food is consistently prepared throughout the day so they can serve guests meals in relatively quick time frames while still maintaining a high quality. From “the start of our ordering process to finishing payment, it’s right around two minutes on average,” owner Kerry Chao says. Health-conscious diners are seeking fresh options that aren’t heavily processed, and that’s exactly what Poke Papa offers. 806 H St. NW, DC; | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


Oyster Oyster Joins Sustainable Dining Scene, Pushes for New Movement By Lani Furbank

Oyster Oyster grew out of a dream. Not just a vision for the future of the restaurant, but a disturbing image chef Rob Rubba conjured during slumber. He dreamt that his daughter fell while hiking and broke her leg. “When I looked at her leg, it looked like a piece of chicken thigh or chicken leg,” he recalls. “It really grossed me out, and I was like, ‘Well, I would never eat my child. Why would I eat an animal?’” He went cold-turkey vegetarian after that. “It’s a little dark, but it’s an interesting illustration of this formative moment,” owner Max Kuller, who has been a vegetarian for his entire adult life, says with a laugh. Rubba’s nightmare aside, Oyster Oyster – opening in Shaw next month – has been a long time coming. The two plant eaters had wanted to create a restaurant focused on vegetables, and the idea solidified after reading an article in Saveur Magazine that outlined the future of dining given the bleak realities of climate change. “It was really centered around mushrooms and bivalves,” Rubba explains. “Both of them are extremely sustainable proteins and easy to produce and use almost no resources to create. From there, it just kind of stemmed off and kept growing.” Kuller adds, “I think there was this real ‘a-ha’ moment for us when we were exploring this idea of a quote unquote vegetarian restaurant. If we frame this around sustainability instead, we can still be very much true to our ethos and our philosophies.” That’s how oysters – and mussels – wriggled their way into Kuller and Rubba’s vegetarian diets.



“It was brought to my attention by Max originally because I had noticed he had started eating oysters,” Rubba says. “One day I was on his Instagram and I was like, ‘Why is this guy eating oysters? I thought he was vegetarian?’” Rubba learned that oysters don’t feel pain like humans and animals because they lack a central nervous system and brain. The language used to describe an oyster’s lifecycle is also more plant-like than animal-like: they grow from seed, latch onto reefs and never move. On top of that, raising oysters is incredibly sustainable. Oyster farms have very little negative impact on the environment, and they are in fact used to improve water quality. Kuller describes his first time trying oysters as a magical experience. Beyond the ethical and ecological rationale, he grew to love these bivalves because of their kinship with grapes and wine.

“If we frame this around sustainability instead, we can still be very much true to our ethos and our philosophies.”

“It’s important to have a purpose for everything.” Photos: courtesy of Oyster Oyster

“I became incredibly fascinated with oysters as a sommelier because oysters also have ‘merroir.’ They reflect where they’re from in a way that no other protein I know of does.” With that knowledge, it all started to click. “That ability to kind of gerrymander oysters and mussels into a plant-based concept, it really is like we can pretty much have everything we want,” Kuller says. Oyster Oyster’s driving philosophy is sustainability, with extra attention paid to sourcing and waste reduction. Instead of a blanket statement about a sourcing radius or set of requirements, Kuller and Rubba prefer to take everything on a case-by-case basis. “We certainly favor Chesapeake oysters and we certainly favor relationships direct with farmers when we’re sourcing oysters,” Kuller says. “But we’re not going to try to claim that we’re only going to ever use a local oyster because the reality may be, based on the farming season and what’s going on, we may want to go further into the Northeast occasionally.” The same goes for wine – natural, organic and local wines will be featured, but not to the exclusion of up-and-coming producers who are working hard to grow responsibly but may not be certified. Rubba is working to eliminate both food waste and plastic waste in the kitchen. “I had always used sous-vide [low-temp, long-time cooking using plastic pouches],” he says. “I made the decision a long time ago that we weren’t [going to] because I just don’t know where these bags go.” Plastic wrap and other disposables are also being kicked out of the kitchen. For organic material, the beverage program was a natural

outlet for scraps and trimmings. That’s an opportunity to shine for Adam Bernbach, the bar director at Kuller’s Spanish restaurant Estadio. “Collaboration is what excites me,” Bernbach says. “A lot of it is thinking about what we’re doing, and Rob’s food. I’m trying to do more closed-loop kind of things and using more of the resources that we have available to us.” That led him to experimenting with low-ABV beverages like aromatized wine and “taking that template and those traditions and using [them] as a way to utilize the ingredients that are trimmings, but also as a way to highlight what the cuisine is.” These drinks will make up an alternative beverage pairing option in addition to a more traditional wine pairing – “stuff that you would see in someone’s home, pre-modernization.” Expect infusions of herbs, vegetables, fruits and “anything that’s consumable that would be used in cooking.” The food will be offered exclusively as a three- or four-course tasting menu. “I feel the best way to show a meal that’s based around plants and oysters wouldn’t be ordering à la carte,” Rubba says. Each menu will start with light canapes followed by slightly larger dishes, then robust entrées and ending with playful desserts – sans refined sugar. Of course, oysters and mushrooms will feature prominently. One composed oyster preparation includes freshpressed black walnut oil, cider and radishes. There will also likely be a whole roasted oyster mushroom on the menu in some form. “Another fun dish that we’ve been experimenting with and [are] very happy with is our carrot steak,” Rubba adds. | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


Photos: Mark Raker Photography

Union Market hosted the Chesapeake Oyster Wine and Beer Festival on September 21, the ultimate seafood and libations celebration. Guests enjoyed beers, wine, spirits and oysters.



It involves dozens of layers of slow-roasted carrot tightly rolled together, paired with roasted farro, fermented fennel and a vegetable demi-glace. “I believe that dish is one that could change people’s perception of what a vegetable can be.” In addition to meticulous sourcing, Rubba is also taking some ingredients into his own hands. “We want to press our own oils out of nuts and things like that because we know where it’s coming from, and then we [can] upcycle what comes out of that. It’s important to have a purpose for everything.” He’s also growing and dehydrating plants for the menu, like coriander berries to make coriander capers, fennel crowns to be pickled and marigold flowers to use in a farmhouse curry in place of turmeric. They have plans to make their own bread and butter, and potentially even mill their own grains for flour or grow their own mushrooms in the restaurant down the road. The menu will change six times a year in tandem with six seasons that Kuller and the team have delineated. “We want to have these six special seasons that we’re thinking about in their own ways, where we’re adding things that are – to us – special about those times of the year,” Kuller says. They plan to open at the beginning of holiday season, which runs from the middle of November through the end of December. This season will celebrate special or luxury items. Then comes mid-winter in January and February, playing with preserved items and root vegetables. The subsequent seasons highlight the produce available exclusively during that time of year: early spring, late spring and midsummer. Harvest season, from September through mid-November, showcases the bounty of the harvest. The restaurant is located in the City Market at O development in Shaw. It will be intimate, with just 35 seats inside and a covered outdoor annex they’re calling the Oyster Garage because it used to be the entrance to a parking garage. “It’s a simple space,” Kuller says. “I would say it definitely has a little bit of a minimalist vibe.” Gray, white, pink and soft green hues pair with wood, natural materials and living greenery. “There’s a lot of reclaimed things,” he adds. The back bar is made from recycled skateboard decks and there is a mosaic of weathered tiles that Kuller personally harvested from a beach in Italy. After many long months of development and construction, the Oyster Oyster team is more than ready to enter the sustainable dining scene. “The underlying trends are staggering,” Kuller says. “There’s moments where we’re worried we’re behind the trend. We started by thinking, ‘Okay, we are totally on the forefront of this,’ but we feel like every time we open our browser now, it’s another chef who’s like, ‘Okay, we’re going to go vegetarian for a month or we’re going to focus on high-end veggie dining.’” Rubba says he doesn’t think there’s really any other way to operate a restaurant. “If you look in a 10-year span, it’ll be too expensive,” he continues. “You just financially could not run a restaurant with the prices you have now 10 years from now. For us to sustain living here and having restaurants and living comfortable lives, we have to change how we operate restaurants and create new concepts. We don’t have a choice.” Kuller hopes that this is just the beginning of a movement. “We’d love to ultimately teach things about technique in terms of reducing food waste. We’d love to be able to teach workshops on foraging, even urban foraging. It’s not about trying to carve out this thing and be special and unique. We want more restaurants like us.” Oyster Oyster: 1440 8th St. NW, DC;

DC’s Champions of

Healthy Eating By Trent Johnson

DC wasn’t always a place for folks looking to eat healthy. For some living in the city, it still isn’t. For example, in Southeast DC, there is still an utter lack of grocery stores – even with the announcement of new additions earlier this year. Low-income and at-risk residents often lack the resources and education to make healthy decisions with regards to food. Add that to scarcity, and the impact – or lack thereof – of healthy food options can reverberate through the community on a multitude of levels. That isn’t to say there aren’t nonprofits and other organizations in DC looking to either provide or educate people of all backgrounds on the values of nutrition. There is a range of places for people to learn and discover the merits of healthy eating in the nation’s capital, and for our Dine the District issue, we decided to highlight a few organizations embracing the initiative in different ways.

Healthy Living Starts with Education When Healthy Living, Inc.’s founder and executive director Juliette Tahar arrived in the United States in the late 1960s after spending her childhood in West Africa and France, she was surprised at the meager emphasis on fresh foods found in American grocery stores. “The biggest shock wasn’t the culture [or] the language,” Tahar says. “It was the food. I grew up with an abundance of fresh food. For me, when I came to the U.S., the options were limited. There were aisles and aisles of frozen food. Fresh produce was limited to iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. I think my interest in food started there because of this food cultural shock. I wanted to reconnect to what I knew as a child.” After years spent cooking, catering and educating on the merits of macrobiotics in food, Tahar founded Healthy Living in 2003 with a mission to create programs built around nutrition education and healthy cooking. Whether it be hands-on demos or simple Q&A opportunities for eager learners, Tahar and youth program manager Mark Weinberger have been able to utilize their culinary backgrounds to help DC’s less privileged. “The education aspect is the strong foundation we apply that is useful for all people,” Weinberger says. “The knowledge is basic, and people get culinary skills and knowledge of why they’re eating what they’re eating. We implement after school programs and summer programs for younger participants so they can learn to be aware of what’s growing in the region seasonally. You have to get people engaged.” Though the programs are largely based on plant-based foods, Weinberger says they make an effort to keep it simple with items people can find at chain grocery stores and even some corner stores. With the understanding that not everyone can purchase organic foods, the point of emphasis is often on preparation. “Yesterday, I taught at an organization that works with young families to show what you can accomplish on a budget,” Tahar says.

“We want to get families cooking together. We want them to own the cooking. We want to empower people because when you cook for yourself, you’re in charge.” Weinberger makes it a point to differentiate from the misnomer that having a healthy diet requires people to become vegan or vegetarian. Healthy Living does not advocate any one way of eating, he says. Because of the varied backgrounds of the DC residents they serve, their programs focus on diets that work for individuals and their families. “The approach is more about education and helping them figure out what works best for them,” Weinberger says. “We want people to understand and make the best choices for themselves.” Part of understanding a topic is asking the right questions, and Tahar has noticed a hunger for knowledge from people who have participated in their programs. “People come with questions and ask my opinion,” Tahar says. “People do listen and want to be in the programs and learn. Change doesn’t happen all of a sudden. It’s about being totally inclusive and inviting people to explore their relationship with what they eat. It’s building consciousness and awareness. It takes a long time. We build relationships with partners in the long term.” For more information about Healthy Living, Inc., visit

Bread for the City Makes Impact with Farmers Market Farmers markets are often associated with affluence – people casually strolling in a downtown location sifting through various vegetables and an assortment of artisanal products, most often with a backdrop of music. However, Bread for the City operates two | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


Miriam’s Kitchen // Photo: Zaid Hamid

Farmers market // Photo: courtesy of Bread for the City Photo: courtesy of Healthy Living, Inc



Photo: courtesy of Broccoli City Festival

free farmers markets on a monthly basis, offering a different way for people to get nutritious goods. “There are usually about 200 people present at the sessions, and they’re able to get fruits, vegetables and other staples that people need,” says Sonya Springfield, Bread for the City’s in-kind manager. Springfield, who also volunteers with the organization, views the need for more healthy options among DC residents as fairly straightforward, pointing out an extremely simplified cause and effect that has to be addressed. “It’s pretty uncomplicated,” she continues. “Poverty leads to food insecurity and that leads to poor nutrition, and that then leads to all sorts of consequences for people’s health. Poverty in DC is higher among black residents. When individuals have low income, they usually buy foods that are really cheap. In the cases of Ward 7 and 8, there aren’t many grocery stores. Fifty percent of the city’s youth live in those wards, so a lack of access is having a big impact.” That’s where Bread for the City’s programs come in, including the aforementioned farmers markets as well as food pantries that provide healthy options to people near or below the federal poverty line. According to the website, Bread for the City serves more than 8,400 people through their food programs. “People can get the amount of food needed dependent on their household size,” Springfield says. “People are happy to have access to fresh foods and vegetables.” While Bread for the City provides what it can to the underserved of DC, Springfield mentions how the scarcity of viable grocery stores and price of vegetables at higher-end locations can be a deterrent for the people who use the organizations pantries and farmers markets. While education plays a big part in helping shape people’s eating habits, access and affordability are just as important to the cause. “People want to eat well and be healthy, but survival comes before health, and survival has to take a lot of different things into consideration,” Springfield says. “When people with limited funds are deciding what to trade off on a particular month to make everything fit, expensive food just doesn’t make the cut when there’s a cheap option that will also keep them alive for the time being. We can take a bunch of grapes to the counter and they’ll cost about $12. When you compare that to a $2 bag of chips, it’s easy to see why some parents are forced to give their children the less healthy option to snack on.” For more information about Bread for the City, visit

Miriam’s Kitchen Shows and Tells For Miriam’s Kitchen Executive Chef Cheryl Bell, a large component of educating people about nutrition is by showing them how it can taste. “We have to get very creative about how we’re making healthy alternatives for foods that people like,” Bell says. “You’re never going to have fried chicken here, but we’ll do baked chicken. We’ll do oven-baked steak fries. We try to elevate everything from a taste perspective. We want foods to nourish you, not harm you.” Miriam’s Kitchen was founded in 1983 when the Western Presbyterian Church, Unity Church and the George Washington University Hillel banded together to serve meals to their neighbors. Shortly after, the organization added case management and a therapeutic art program. Now the nonprofit partners with hundreds of corporations and faith communities to end chronic homelessness. This includes a housing program, advocacy program and several others. “I don’t want someone to get housing and then die a year later because they were unhealthy,” Bell says. “That’s my goal: to help people understand. We often see people who have struggled to get off the streets then get housing, only for them to die because of health [reasons]. It happens.”

One key component separating Miriam’s from other shelters or soup kitchens is Bell’s ability to showcase healthy options of familiar dishes. For instance, Bell mentions that the kitchen cooks recognizable things like lasagna or cheeseburgers but uses allnatural ingredients. She concedes that in the past, kitchens for the malnourished were more focused on quantity over quality. But in her own kitchen, this has shifted dramatically. “I have a responsibility as a chef to serve and take care of people, and that means I have to think about all the ways I can do that,” Bell says. “We work with guests to educate them so they can be aware when they go somewhere else and know what they can and can’t have. It’s not about providing meals. It’s about providing people with a better quality of life.” For more information about Miriam’s Kitchen, visit

Broccoli City Puts Emphasis on Educating Festivalgoers Renowned for its ability to draw large musical acts and talented artists to the DC area, the annual Broccoli City Festival has also provided opportunities for food education in a place you’d otherwise not expect to find it. Though nutrition and hip-hop seem like an odd combination, cofounder Brandon McEachern says it’s actually pretty organic. “It’s all important – that’s why we do it,” McEachern says. “We just try to touch them. You think it’s a hip-hop concert, but you leave with a bag of fresh vegetables. That’s the kind of vendors we have. You leave with stuff that you really needed. [That’s the] basis of Broccoli City. It’s community over competition. The message and the mission is love and community and giving back. Get your hands dirty. It’s an organic thing.” McEachern says part of what spurred the idea was his time spent in California as a production assistant, where he worked in Santa Monica but got haircuts in South Central. He describes the difference as obvious, and it inspired an idea to promote health-conscious foods through means that would allow people to keep their “swag.” “I looked at the differences between the neighborhoods. In South Central, there’s liquor store, liquor store, McDonald’s. When I saw that, I wanted to create a festival where you can feel healthy and still be on some swag sh-t. Broccoli represents fresh, and City represents the rawness of urban.” Broccoli City also promotes health awareness at the Shaw-based Broccoli City Bar, including events hosted by #DontMuteMyHealth, a local grassroots movement in DC to reclaim community health from outside influences and interests. The festival itself also hosts a number of events focused on health-related activities including a 5K, a conference and several panel discussions. “Man, they show it love,” McEachern says. “We’re an option. You have to present it. It’s a consistent way to deliver the message. Keep coming back, keep trying to educate.” Broccoli City’s next endeavor is Food and Grooves at Union Market’s Dock5 on October 26 with appearances from Questlove, Chef Kwame Onwuachi of Kith/Kin and a score of other culinary and musical talent. Though the focus isn’t inherently on health or nutrition, McEachern assures that Broccoli City’s mission will be felt at the festival. Learn more about Broccoli City Festival at Broccoli City Bar: 1817 7th St. NW, DC; Food and Grooves at Dock5: 1309 5th St. NE, DC | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


Kwame Onwuachi

Continues to Cook Life Story By Trent Johnson

I 46


Photos: Scott Suchman


ust a few weeks after national media outlets broke the news that Kwame Onwuachi’s memoir Notes from a Young Black Chef would become the basis for an A24produced film adaptation starring Lakeith Stanfield, I sat down with the chef at Kith/Kin. We chatted in a private dining room tucked away in a back corner of his award-winning restaurant, located inside The Wharf’s InterContinental Hotel, on an afternoon in late July. He looked completely at ease as one of DC’s most notable photographers, Scott Suchman, snapped pictures of him sitting in an Eames-esque green leather chair. It was one of the few times I’d seen the chef without his prominent Malcom X hat. But the iconic X was still present, freshly tattooed in black on his left wrist, the same color as his painted nails. If you haven’t heard of Onwuachi yet, perhaps the most accurate one-line description is: the hottest chef in DC. The 29-year-old is a phoenix, rising from the proverbial ashes after his first restaurant Shaw Bijou quickly shuttered in 2016, to become a New York Times bestselling author, Forbes 30-under-30 honoree, and a RAMMY and James Beard Award winner all in the span of about six months. “It’s kind of like exploring a new facet of what this restaurant industry has to offer,” Onwuachi elaborated, leaning slightly forward. “When you talk about your story, you never think of yourself as interesting. I mean, there are certain people who view themselves as extremely interesting, but for the average person, you don’t know how someone is going to react to your story. To see how [mine] has been embraced by the world, I couldn’t have imagined it.” Onwuachi’s story has always held the intrigue of diners and viewers alike, from Shaw Bijou menu items reminiscent of dishes from his childhood like fish pies and Butterfingers to his well-received appearances on Top Chef. It made sense to turn his background into a book: the tale of a young man who was in a gang and sold drugs before graduating from the Culinary Institute of America and opening a restaurant in the nation’s capital – all before the age of 30. The published memoir ends before the story of his successes at Kith/Kin and fast-casual spot Philly Wing Fry reach the pages, but the ongoing narrative has played out in the various 2019 press coverage singing his praises. These accolades have led him to travel the globe – from Mexico to Chicago to Africa – to cook and appear at events and conferences, take calls with Issa Rae, and DM Ava DuVernay. And yet, he’s still perpetually in the kitchen. “I definitely have days where I feel as if nothing is going right,” Onwuachi said. “Despite all these things happening, I’m still doing something I love. I’m still doing something I believe in. I’m still just cooking. I have this other side of my life now, which is very open, raw [and] vivid, that other people feel very connected to and are inspired by, which is a really cool feeling.”

An Open Book Onwuachi’s memoir, released this spring, is described as “an intersection of race, fame and food.” The book begins and ends with the chef’s thoughts on his-then most recent project Shaw Bijou: the excitement, jubilation and exhaustion he felt before its opening and the utter disappointment that followed its closing – and the accompanying negative murmurs from the public. However, the chapters in between reveal more than his thoughts on culinary life. “I don’t think it’s ever easy doing a new thing you’re not familiar with – a new medium. I have been exploring this for awhile, telling

my story. But there are certain parts that aren’t glorious, ones you don’t share with people. You tuck it somewhere where you don’t have to talk about it ever again. This book is not for just young chefs. This book is not just for young black chefs. It’s not just for black people. It’s not just for people in the culinary industry. It’s for everyone.” The writing process forced Onwuachi to divulge details he’d previously hidden. He talked to his family and friends to recreate scenes. He penned detailed accounts of his times as a 10-year-old in Nigeria fetching water and raising livestock, and the days he sold candy to passengers on the subways. Readers connected to these stories. He tells me he gets about five letters per day, often thanking him for being vulnerable. His mother, who ran a catering company while raising him in the Bronx, cried upon first read – and so did he. “It brought back moments she was trying to forget. My grandmother was finding out things she never knew about me and crying for other reasons. Close family friends that didn’t really know my life story, how I got to where I am – it was eye-opening for them. It was different based on the person. I was crying when I first held the book in my hands. It felt really powerful. There was a weight to it. I didn’t know what the rest of the world would think [of ] my story. I’m living it.”

Afro-Caribbean + Cheesesteaks When Shaw Bijou closed after two short months, Onwuachi took the brunt of the blows. Criticism ranged from the price of the food to his lack of experience. Despite the headlines and hot takes, he said the restaurant worked. If it had more capital to survive the opening stages, he said it would have survived and thrived in DC’s market. “It was money. That’s why restaurants close. We had plenty of people come to the restaurant. It was just that the investors didn’t have the capital they said they had. They didn’t have enough to get through the tough times, which is the beginning. I didn’t ask the right questions. I was young and excited. I was coming from a line cook position. I was excited to have a new life.” Ten months later in October 2018, Onwuachi opened Kith/Kin as its executive chef. At first, he attempted to once more use his story as a foundation for his menu. Shortly after, however, he shifted the spotlight. He began to focus on emphasizing a vision built on AfroCaribbean roots, inspired by his family’s history and an extensive amount of research. Another impetus for change was his need to grow. When the restaurant was in its infancy, he labored long hours – from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. – overextending himself and his creativity. He suffered a car accident because of exhaustion. Frankly, it wasn’t working. “I looked in the mirror. There was too much money being spent on labor costs or things the guests didn’t realize. I had to make it less about me and more about the environment and my team. I was so hands-on, and it wasn’t working for anyone. I wasn’t the best version of myself and my food wasn’t the best version of itself. I needed to change so we could grow and become the restaurant I knew we were capable of becoming. I think trying to take from other models just didn’t work. It was tough, because I had to peel back the layers of my own cooking so that it would make sense.” The restaurant’s high quality has helped land the chef both James Beard and RAMMY Awards this year, as well as other culinary | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


accolades. And Kith/Kin isn’t the only thriving restaurant under his purview either, as Union Market’s Philly Wing Fry quickly became a favorite for locals. The little eatery specializes in the three words forming its title – cheesesteaks, chicken wings and waffle fries – plus other treats like fried Brussels sprouts. As of this summer, it’s even serving up egg-and-cheese sandwiches for breakfast on the weekends. “I just thought, ‘Why isn’t there a place where I can get a cheesesteak, chicken and waffle fries in one spot?’ so I was like, ‘I’m going to make it.’ We had aged beef from Shaw Bijou, and we needed to [use it]. I think [these are staples] every American knows, and I thought it was a really good idea.”

Taking A Lap From creative menus to a movie in the making, most of Onwuachi’s recent ideas have proven to be excellent. But if his book and the Shaw Bijou experiment are any indication, life ebbs and flows. When you’re flying highest is when you’re suddenly grounded. Onwuachi acknowledged some pressure in juggling his numerous projects, but he handles it all with a calmness. “It keeps me going. I think I have a responsibility because I’m out there now. I have to. I felt it when I did Shaw Bijou. That’s why I didn’t want to close so bad. Being some of the first to do things, it’s tough. It’s a double-edged sword. But at the end of the day, I have to make sure I’m setting a great example for the rest of the people that want to do it so when they see me and they look like me, they know they can attain it.” That’s how he felt when he saw President Obama walk across the stage during his election win in 2008. Though he’s not planning to walk across that stage anytime soon, you can often see Onwuachi taking a walk of his own at Kith/Kin – clad in his chef coat, bouncing from table to table, checking on his guests. “People are finally able to celebrate their culture while celebrating a special experience. It’s why I do it. When it gets tough, I can take a lap around the dining room and see a rainbow of faces with food in their hands.” Catch Onwuachi’s interview with Questlove at the Food & Grooves Festival at Union Market’s Dock5 on October 26 or at Miracle Theatre on November 1 with “The Sporkful Podcast.” Follow him on Twitter @chefkwame and on Instagram @chefkwameonwuachi. Kith/Kin: 801 Wharf St. SW, DC Philly Wing Fry: 1309 5th St. NE, DC



Kwame Onwuachi speaking with Trent Johnson

LIVE LIFE ANCHORS UP AT THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS: Agua 301 The Brighton Calico H Street Country Club

Maddy’s Taproom Public Bar Live Red Rocks (H Street) Tiki TNT

NEW & NOTABLE Thompson Italian’s pasta ingredients // Photo: Kelli Scott

By Lani Furbank

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town and the top culinary happenings of the month. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new and notable in the DC area.


Open: August 26 Location: Dupont Circle Lowdown: The original Mandu has been transformed into a new restaurant from the Fried Rice Collective. It’s the second new concept from the group behind CHIKO, comprised of chef Danny Lee, chef Scott Drewno and partner Drew Kim. Anju is a contemporary Korean restaurant and pub inspired by the country’s culinary and cultural traditions, from street markets to royal court cuisine. The kitchen is overseen by executive chef Angel Barreto, who worked with Danny’s mother, chef Yesoon Lee of Mandu, to develop the menu. “Mama Lee’s Classics” like bibim bap and dak jjim, appear alongside Korean pub fare (‘anju’ refers to food eaten with alcohol) and modern creations. Start a meal with a selection of panchan, from sweet lotus root and gardenia-pickled baby radish to shredded bellflower root and housefermented kimchi. The shareable bar snacks like the tornado potato and pan-fried pork and kimchi mandu are perfect to pair with a glass of soju or a teapot of infused makgeolli sparkling rice wine. 1805 18th St. NW, DC;

CUT by Wolfgang Puck

Open: August 5 Location: Georgetown Lowdown: Chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck debuted his second restaurant in DC – a mid-Atlantic iteration of CUT. The upscale steak restaurant has locations around the world, including Las Vegas and Doha. Puck wanted DC’s CUT to be rooted in the bounty of the region. That’s exactly what executive chef Andrew Skala has done, with a kitchen where vegetables and seafood shine just as brightly as the red meat. Skala has worked at Puck’s various restaurants for the last 13 years and he’s now building relationships with local farmers and



fishermen to build his menu. It begins in the garden, with a coal-fired artichoke salad and charred leeks presented in a single translucent layer topped with Meyer lemon and toasted hazelnuts. The seafood bar offers bright ceviches, oysters and sashimi. The beef selection spans nose to tail, with steak tartare, oxtail bouillon, wagyu beef heart and beef cheek as well as the headlining cuts like dry-aged sirloin and a whopping porterhouse. The whole duck playfully is presented as tacos, with myriad toppings on a Lazy Susan. Don’t miss the chance to see a live cocktail show – old fashioneds are dispensed via a roving cocktail cart featuring various WhistlePig whiskies. 1050 31st St. NW, DC;


Open: September 9 Location: Downtown Lowdown: A decade after Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca opened downtown, restaurateur Ashok Bajaj decided to give his Italian restaurant a makeover. The space underwent a quick design refresh and extensive menu change before reopening as a brand-new concept. Modena is helmed by executive chef John Melfi, who previously served as the executive chef of Bajaj’s restaurant, The Oval Room. He’s worked with other big names in DC including Robert Wiedmaier, Fabio Trabocchi and Jeff Buben. In his current role, he aims to prove that fine dining can be fun, with unique touches like an antipasti trolley showcasing a rotating selection of salads, charcuterie and savory tarts on attractive vintage china. While much of the menu is seasonally driven by local products, the cuisine also spotlights imported ingredients from the restaurant’s namesake city, like balsamic vinegar, mortadella, prosciutto and Parmigiano-Reggiano. House-made pastas are not to be missed, especially the potato gnocchi with water buffalo butter and shaved truffles. Adept at both

savory and sweet techniques, Melfi also oversees the desserts, which are as aesthetic as they are delicious. 1100 New York Ave. NW, DC

Thompson Italian

Open: August 14 Location: Falls Church Lowdown: Katherine Thompson’s move to open a neighborhood restaurant in Falls Church felt like a homecoming for the pastry chef, who grew up in Arlington. She and her husband, chef Gabe Thompson, moved back to the area after working in high end kitchens and running Italian restaurants in New York. They wanted to be close to family and to create a place where refined fare and a kids’ menu weren’t mutually exclusive. Thompson Italian is just that, welcoming diners young and old to enjoy shareable small plates, seasonal salads, hearty entrées and of course, Gabe’s fresh pasta made from scratch. Adults will appreciate the ricotta gnocchi with lamb ragu or sweet corn ravioli, while pint-sized diners can mix and match their pasta shape and sauce. Katherine handles the dessert menu, which includes Italian staples like cannoli, budino and affogato. The clear favorite is the rich olive oil cake with crème fraiche mousse, raisin marmellata and maldon salt. 124 N. Washington St. Falls Church, VA;

Thompson Italian // Photo: Kelli Scott NKOTB 5 // Photo: Albert Ting

CUT // Photo: Nico Schinco

New Kitchens on the Block 6

Date: October 20 Location: Mess Hall Lowdown: It’s all about anticipation – New Kitchens on the Block is one of the most anticipated food events of the year because it offers a sneak peek at some of the most anticipated new restaurants of the year before they even open. The sixth edition boasts an impressive lineup, including Maialino Mare by restaurateur Danny Meyer and chef Rose Noel, Hi/Fi Taco by chef Nate Anda, Cranes by chef Pepe Moncayo, Tabla by Jonathan and Laura Nelms of Supra, Soko by chef Brad Feickert and restaurateur Chris Brown, Pearl’s Bagels by owners Allee and Oliver Cox and more. 703 Edgewood St. NE, DC

Photo: courtesy of Anju


Date: October 12 Location: Pennsylvania Avenue Lowdown: Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s monstrous beer and food festival is back with a new and improved ticket model. This year, beer enthusiasts will pay one price for admission and unlimited beer and wine tastings. The event brings together more than 150 brewers pouring more than 400 craft brews on draft. In addition, there will be local food trucks, live music and more. As usual, proceeds from the event benefit the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture. On Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 6th Streets in NW, DC

Unite the District

Date: October 4-5 Location: Audi Field Lowdown: For the first time, D.C. United is hosting a food, music and arts festival. Unite the District will take place over two days, highlighting the city’s culture with local chefs, brewers, musicians and artists. Tickets include unlimited tastings from more than 20 restaurants and 10 breweries and live music by Black Alley and White Ford Bronco. The event will also have interactive art installations, cooking competitions and more. 100 Potomac Ave. SW, DC

Modena // Photo: Ashlie Levy

Photo: courtesy of Snallygaster


Bar the

Honoring the Past and Future of Black Bartenders at Allegory By M.K. Koszycki

Paul Gonzalez, Lauren Paylor and Deke Dunne // Photos: M.K. Koszycki

How do you honor a legacy that has all but been forgotten by a collective consciousness? It’s an almost impossible question, but the team at Allegory – Eaton Workshop’s literary-themed cocktail bar – is answering it in a way that’s interactive, educational and engaging. Presented in conjunction with multidisciplinary artist Khalil Joseph’s “BLKNWS” exhibit, which opened at Eaton last month and runs through December, Allegory’s head bartender Paul Gonzalez and his team set out to commemorate the legacy of black bartenders who paved the way for the beverage industry. To do this, the Allegory team called upon prominent black bartenders in the community to craft and submit drinks of their choosing to this special menu. They’ve also included drinks made by bartenders of yesteryear who previously have not received the acclaim owed to them – pioneers like Cato Alexander and John Dabney, to name a few, make appearances. One such modern bartender making a contribution to the menu is Lauren Paylor, bar director at cocktail bar Dos Mamis and beverage director at restaurant Pom Pom, both newly opened in Petworth. Though the Bronx native came to DC to study nursing at American University, she was quickly embraced by the city’s tightknit and talented hospitality world where she found a community to grow and create with. When Allegory manager and bartender Deke Dunne and Gonzalez approached her to be part of this experience that she describes as a transition and continuation of the “BLKNWS” exhibit, she was all in. Paylor contributed a drink called the Loco Bananas: a sweet, smoky, banana-infused whiskey and rum-based cocktail.



“Seeing this turn in the DC community specifically with celebrating all aspects of history as far as cocktails are concerned is really nice,” Paylor says. “There are so many pieces that are often left out. They’re pertinent, they’re important and they have great significance. I was head over heels to be able to be part of this.” Gonzalez explains that while his time at other bars in historic stretches of DC piqued his curiosity and appreciation for untold sides of the city’s hospitality history, “BLKNWS” provided Allegory with a platform to dive even deeper and make these bartenders’ stories heard and appreciated in tandem with the impactful message of the art. “Deke and I used to work at The Gibson, and we thought it was fascinating how 14th and U is such a historic corner,” Gonzalez says. “Most of the people who live in the city now or that just go up and down that block know nothing about Black Broadway or all these amazing clubs. There’s a rich history that’s on that one strip from 7th to 14th Streets [in the U Street Corridor]. We took that as the starting point and started doing a little more research.” To capture the history of black bartenders in the city, Gonzalez and Dunne dove in and found fascinating and necessary stories of entrepreneurs who did much more than just make a great cocktail in an era where the world was outwardly aiming to oppress them. “The further we researched, the more we dug into finding all of these historic bartenders, and the greater the story [became],” Gonzalez continues. “These people literally started off as slaves and then by the time it was done, they weren’t just free. They owned businesses. One of them put his son through medical school. These are just stories that people need to know. You don’t call yourself a

LOCO BANANAS Angostura Catoctin Creek Rye Whiskey Cruzan Black Strap Rum Banana Lime

For more on Lauren Paylor and Dos Mamis, visit and follow her on Instagram @lpdrinksdc. Learn more about Allegory at

Photos: Mark Raker Photography

professional if you only care about the pretty side of history.” The team found that some of the most important voices in this era were often excluded. Dunne notes that they are lucky to know the limited information that was available to them through their research. “Cato Alexander was one of the forefathers of the cocktail scene back in the 1830s, and there’s little to nothing [available] about him,” Dunne says. “There are all these famous characters that were some of the best bartenders in the world that were black and had vertical growth in society, and nobody was talking about them.” Alexander is just one of the talents the Allegory team sheds light on. As a modern black bartender, Paylor is happy to have the opportunity to make history known to those who come through to enjoy the menu. “There is so much I’m learning now about the significance of black people and people of color in history – specifically in DC – and the broader spectrum of America,” she says. “There’s still so much we don’t know and there’s a little frustration that comes with that, but we’re doing our part to ensure that moving forward, we can continue the conversation and hope that this history doesn’t repeat itself. All people deserve to be celebrated for the impact that they’ve made on this industry, whether it was past or present.” Experience “BLKNWS” and Allegory’s accompanying cocktail menu through the end of December. Dacha Beer Garden’s annual Oktoberfest festival marks a great time to come together and celebrate with friends through early October.

Allegory at Eaton Workshop: 1201 K St. NW, DC; | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


Bentzen Ball Turns 10

Tig Notaro + Svetlana Legetic

Reflect on Longevity, Quality + Openness By Monica Alford



Tig Notaro // Photo: Bob Chamberlin, Los Angeles Times Svetlana Legetic // Photo: courtesy of BYT

Comedy should be unpretentious and approachable, a way for us to connect and find humor in the many facets of the human experience. In theory, a comedy festival should follow suit, creating a safe space for artists to try out new material and collaborate with one another in a welcoming setting. But that isn’t always the case, so Tig Notaro decided to create a festival designed to make comedians feel at home. She shared her idea with former Brightest Young Things (BYT) contributor Jeff Jetton, who brought it to BYT co-founder and CEO Svetlana Legetic, and the three joined forces to create the DC-based Bentzen Ball. Fast-forward 10 years, and the co-founders are gearing up for the festival’s 10th Anniversary of Comedy & Friendship on October 24-27. The Bentzen team is proud of their longstanding collaboration, and the consistent, simple ethos driving the festival every year. “We wanted it to be this perfect toolbox of four days, both for the comedians and the city,” Legetic says. “The only requirements to get booked are: Are you really talented and are you not a jerk? We run it like a comedy camp. Everything’s completely democratic.” As the driving force behind BYT – a DC- and NYC-based events company, online magazine and most recently, creative agency – Legetic says organizing a comedy festival that is equal parts accessible to audiences and the talent they’re coming to see is critical. She describes Bentzen as “the great equalizer,” where the artists are all treated as peers regardless of who’s headlining or has the most IMDb credits. “A festival should be the best time for the comedians because they all like each other,” she adds. “They’re friends. Fame doesn’t play a role – just quality and respect in the community.” Notaro’s own brand of dry, often deadpan humor paired with personal comedy, touching upon vulnerable topics like her experience with breast cancer, seems like a natural fit for the open, community-driven message behind Bentzen. On a recent phone call with the comedian, she tells me that Bentzen has secured itself not as a fleeting or entertainment industry-driven festival, but instead as an event built on having a good time and doing good things with good comedians. “I think we’ve maintained it and just grown it, but we’re not trying to grow it to be this monster,” Notaro says. “I just want it to always remain positive in every direction – from the size of it to the people who come to the charities we work with to the audience experience. As I’m going through all of this, it’s reminding me of how proud of it I am.” The tone of her voice fluctuates ever so slightly when she says this, and I know in that moment how much Bentzen means to her. Notaro hails from L.A., where she lives with her wife Stephanie Allynne and twin 3-year-olds Max and Finn, but comes to the District every year for the festival. When I ask, “Why DC?” the response is quite flattering, another nod to our burgeoning performing arts scene. “I had such a great time in DC [during the DC Comedy Festival years ago]. It seemed like such a fun city and like regardless of where you stand politically, it would be a nice draw for people to want to come out. And I was right.” She says she can rely on good vibes from our city year in and year out – and on smart audiences to come out and support the comedians. “[DC is] always so fun, and it’s always a place I know I

can come and try something new. There are certain cities where I feel like, ‘Oh, it can be hit-or-miss, or I had a good time last time [but] who knows what’ll happen this time?’ But I feel like DC is a town where I can just go, ‘Yeah, I’ll go have a great time for sure on that stage.’” Legetic reiterates how smart of a city we are, and how the District’s collective intelligence has in some ways led to Bentzen’s continued success. “I always say everyone gets the jokes here,” she says. “If you can’t land a joke here, you can’t land it anywhere because people have read everything, heard everything. We’re so in tune with what’s happening around us.” Another contributing factor to the festival’s popularity, according to Notaro, is the creative team’s clean-slate approach. “It’s really wide open,” she says. “We go into each year with an openness of, ‘What do these performers want to do? What kind of show do they want to have? Who do they want in the show?’ Everything still falls in place but as it unfolds, that’s always one of the best parts: seeing what direction everything goes in.” Bentzen offers artists the opportunity to expand their forms of expression, opening doors to unexplored creative outlets and giving access to talented peers playing in the same space. Legetic says, “It’s very much about the performer and the audience. People trust that it’s going to be good on both sides, and a lot of magical things happen in the process.” She’s confident in the event’s continued success, and with good reason. Audience numbers grew 40 percent between 2017 and 2018 “because I think people needed it,” Legetic adds. Festival passes often sell out before BYT even announces the lineup. And headlining acts like Maria Bamford, who has been on both Notaro and Legetic’s wish list for years, continue to join the Bentzen family. “We don’t have a marketing budget or anything like that,” Legetic says. “If the audience didn’t want it, it wouldn’t be growing.” Bamford opens the festival on October 24, and on October 26, audiences can catch Notaro’s “But Enough About You” at festival mainstay Lincoln Theatre or head over to the Entertainment and Sports Arena – a new addition to the lineup – for the DC Homecoming! show featuring DMV natives like Jay Pharoah, Aparna Nancherla and Judah Friedlander. The list of curated talent continues, and regardless of who you decide to check out, Legetic promises Bentzen won’t disappoint. “We’re very earnest in our enthusiasm. Even if you’re not sure about something, give it a chance. We’ve never taken anyone astray in 10 years.” Bentzen Ball’s 10th Anniversary of Comedy & Friendship runs from October 24-27 at Lincoln Theatre, the Entertainment and Sports Arena, and the Kennedy Center’s Millennial Stage. Most tickets range from $25-$40. Proceeds from this year’s Bentzen tickets support José Andrés World Central Kitchen. Learn more at Follow Tig Notaro on Twitter at @tignotaro and check out for more information on the comedian. Pro tip: watch “Under A Rock with Tig Notaro” on | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP



d r o f m a B on Relatable

Material, Consistent


and Bentzen


Debut By M.K. Koszycki

Photo: Robyn Von Swank

Maria Bamford is doing well. Aside from being so funny it’s almost unbearable, the comedian has also made a name for herself discussing the intricacies of daily life with mental illness – perhaps what she is best known for to casual fans and longtime comedy devotees alike. The fine line between grace and acceptance paired with the absurdity of life in one’s own complicated brain that Bamford toes in her work has elevated her from funny person to relatable human as she carries a comedic torch for mental health issues. Material for her new special includes marriage and religion – “my favorites,” she notes – and other topics she’s been known to ruminate on. But mental health leaves the spotlight, as she’s been in a place of healing lately. “I have run out of material,” Bamford says of her mental healthfocused work. “That’s a blessing, and yet that’s been a cash cow. I’ve worked my way out of a job, but that’s okay. It’s better to make less money and feel fantastic.” When someone shares about one specific – and intense – aspect of their lives, it’s easy to box them in and not look outside that one facet. When I ask Bamford if she feels she’s had a hand in the necessary sea change around mental health conversations, she’s quick to remind me of the others who paved the way – Jonathan Winters in the 60s, for example. While she’s certainly opened channels for better and funnier conversations around the topic today, Bamford has kept busy over the years with plenty of other topics and projects, too. She’s been subject and star of the well-loved Netflix series Lady Dynamite, lent her pipes to voice-over acting, and even done advertising, something she says she will most likely pass on in the future. “[Ad agencies] pay you a lot of money for a reason: that you will not have strong opinions about things in public. And I love to have strong opinions in public, unfortunately.” She says there are certain things she chooses not to do anymore. “I have a semi-retired lifestyle. It’s lots of standup, [which] is a wonderful schedule for somebody who’s on antipsychotics. I get a good 12 hours of sleep every night.”

“It ’s better to make less

money and

feel fantastic.”

Maria Bamford kicks off the 10th annual Bentzen Ball with Jackie Kashian on Thursday, October 24 at 6 p.m. at Lincoln Theatre. Tickets are $35. For more on Bentzen, visit To find more of Bamford’s work, visit

Photos: K imchi Photography

She has, however, been hard at work on her new special. With some comedians capitalizing on timely topics, there’s something reassuring about seeing a creative force like Bamford focus on consistent themes. It’s proof that some parts of the human condition will never go away – and will always be funny. She says she’ll use the bulk of the material from her new one-hour special at Brightest Young Things’ beloved comedy festival Bentzen Ball later this month. “I took about three years to write [the special], and I address the usual topics that I’ve always addressed. I don’t seem to change over time, unlike most human beings. Some people say, ‘Oh, I’d like to transform and become new and different and better than I was.’ Not me.” Though semi-retired, Bamford is still in high demand. She’s been at the top of the Bentzen Ball team’s wish list since the comedy festival’s inaugural run 10 years ago. Bamford quips that it’s probably just been a decade-long scheduling conflict, as she’ll “go anywhere.” She really means that – her display name on Twitter reads, “I’m probably available!” “I’m an attainable goal of a comedian,” she states. “It’s weird that it hasn’t worked out before because I’m available, usually.” It might be fate that’s leading her to Lincoln Theatre’s stage to kick off this year’s Bentzen Ball, though. She’ll be joined by her friend and frequent collaborator, fellow comedian Jackie Kashian, who performed at the first Bentzen Ball a decade ago. “We’ve been friends for over 20 years now,” Bamford says, speaking in great admiration of Kashian’s work. “She started doing comedy a few years before I did in Wisconsin, and she’s always been a headliner in her own right. She’s been on Two Dope Queens and Conan, and she has two great podcasts.” Bamford speaks with excitement for her Bentzen debut, saying it’ll be unbelievable to fill up the venue. “If we show up within a half hour of showtime and have our hair combed and are pleasant, I think that that’s really going to be the surprise,” she laughs. When you take into consideration the cosmic coincidence of Kashian’s prior appearance at Bentzen, Bamford’s relationship with her and the fact that Bamford is perhaps the biggest win for this year’s festival lineup, you could consider their appearance alone an achievement. But given Bamford’s lasting reach – and willingness to share her story openly and hilariously, regardless of what aspect of her story she’s telling – it’s sure to set the tone for an incredible 10th run of the comedy festival.

Louisiana-based soul rock band Seratones played at Pearl Street Warehouse on September 14.

Lincoln Theatre: 1215 U St. NW, DC; 202-888-0050; | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP



By Trent Johnson

Photo: Delvinahair Productions

“Do people write letters anymore? Not much.” I’m sitting in an office phonebooth talking with arguably the most famous living scientist. At 60 years old, Neil deGrasse Tyson remembers the days when email and social media weren’t the most obvious vehicles for thoughtful discourse with people who followed his work. Instead, the best method was sitting in a room and typing or writing a letter. “With letters, you get to pause and sit back and think about when someone sits down and composes a question, and they think that my life experience and expertise might illuminate a path they need to choose.” Some letters required more from Tyson than others, forcing him to learn contextual foundations for which he’d root his answers in or



making him dig deep into his own personal background to deliver a wellthought-out opinion, complete with humor and a personal vignette. He’s been receiving letters for the better part of 30 years, keeping copies of ones he deems entertaining, thoughtful and worth revisiting. His latest book Letters from an Astrophysicist, hitting shelves on October 8, features 100 of his favorite letters – yet another opportunity to learn from one of the most renowned educators on the planet and perhaps in the universe. With a book release comes a book tour, including a stop at Warner Theatre on October 23. Before reading Tyson’s collection of letters or hearing him speak live, read our conversation with the brilliant scientist.

“My goal is always to get people interested in science, and I’m happy to be a guide to the cosmos. But it’s the science, not the person.” On Tap: Do people still write letters? I feel like you could have just as easily made a book of your Twitter responses. Neil deGrasse Tyson: Do people write letters anymore? Not much. The communication channel tends to be Twitter and I’ve considered a Twitter book, but there’s no hurry for that. I put a lot of effort into my tweets, more than people think. I think long and hard to tweet, and it’s a big responsibility because I communicate with a lot of people – nearly 14 million people directly. A tweet triggers a neuron synapses snapshot of the collective brain, because I see people respond. If I say something funny and people laugh, then that works. And if they don’t, then I have to figure out why. OT: How would you describe the book’s format? NDT: The letters span a range of 30 years and most of them are from a specific 10-year span, and another set of letters are more open. For example, I wrote an open letter to my extended family and colleagues after I escaped lower Manhattan on 9/11 and was home and witnessed everything that had happened. I wrote a letter to NASA when I turned 60, and I compared and contrasted NASA and my own 60 years of life – that’s the opening of the book. I end the book with a letter to my father, but it’s a eulogy in the form of a letter. So, the book is bookended by letters – not individuals’ letters, but open letters. It’s a combination of all of the above. OT: What about these letters stood out to you enough that you’d want to print them for readers? NDT: This book is not, “Let me learn astrophysics,” and that’s not why these people have written to me. You get to share in their angst and see how a scientist and educator replies. Nearly every one of these letters probe people’s attitudes and beliefs and fears. Often scientists are associated with cold, meticulous content. You have to do that in the lab. But when you’re not in the lab, you have these human feelings too. OT: What kind of letters made the cut? What about this selection proved to create a special narrative? NDT: What I noticed was, some letters I invested more in my answers than others and it was because the person was coming from a place that deserved more attention than “Yes,” “No” or “Check out this website.” If it was more personal, more introspective, I would devote more energy to my replies. Then I’d finish and say, “You know, this has some good stuff in it.” So I kept a copy. I did that for about 15 or 20 years. There was 500 total that I kept in a folder. These are letters that had a little extra creative dimension to the replies. Culling those to the best 100 of them, that became the book. OT: When you were looking back on all these letters and personal messages, did you think about how much different it would be if you received or composed these letters as you are now? NDT: That happens on several levels. The first is, I could compose that sentence better than I could 10 or 20 years ago, so I reserve the right

to clarify the sentences [laughs]. My letters are edited for clarity and the people’s letters are edited for length. Generally, I don’t reply to something unless I have researched the subject thoroughly. Often, they’re so well-researched that it’s not likely to be improved later on. I did a lot of research on religion. Why? Because people asked me about it, so I said I couldn’t reply unless I had some foundational knowledge on what the hell I’m talking about. If someone asks me about how God relates to science, I can’t just answer it from a scientific point of view. When you [ask], “Have I grown or evolved?” [the answer is], I evolve in the moment before I reply. OT: You’re doing the book tour in a ton of places. Does it mean more to you to have these kinds of discussions in DC where national decisions get made by politicians? NDT: Most public talks I give are not book-based. This little stretch is specific to the book. Generally, when I give talks in DC, my commentary that frames the content or the humor that I lean toward tends to be more DC-oriented. The flavor is definitely a DC flavor, knowing there will be movers and shakers there or an article could be written that could be read by a mover or shaker. Talks are not cookiecutter in that sense. For example, one of the letters in the book rails against me for advocating for tax funding going toward NASA, so I might bring that up in DC. I might select letters more befitting to that region in the country. OT: You’ve written several books in the past few years, and you’ve obviously had success with “Star Talk,” your visits on the longform “Joe Rogan Experience,” etc. Have you noticed an uptick in the hunger people have for science, and specifically astrophysics and theoretical physics? NDT: I wonder if it’s not that the hunger is up, but it’s the ability to reveal that they’re hungry. How could The Big Bang Theory sitcom have been number one for so long? If you look at the list of longrunning number one shows, it’s in the top few of that list. So, how did that happen? Where did that come from? I think I am on that landscape as someone who is sharing the joys of science with the public, and I’m delighted to recognize and report that there is a hunger out there. There’s a lot of ways to do it: videos, podcasts, etc. OT: You’ve had a tremendous amount of success blending your knowledge with pop culture. Do you sometimes feel like you’re one of the first stops people make on their journey to looking into science? NDT: That’s true, however, I would worry about it if I was the sole driver of this. Look at how many Twitter followers NASA has, or the Instagram followers Nat Geo has. Go look at the Facebook page I f--king love science [Ed. Note: we did, and over 25 million people like it]. Whatever role I’m playing in this landscape, no matter how large it is, there are larger things at play. It would be weird if I was the driving force. My goal is always to get people interested in science, and I’m happy to be a guide to the cosmos. But it’s the science, not the person.

See Neil deGrasse Tyson speak at Warner Theatre on October 23. Discussion begins at 7:30 p.m., tickets $67.50. For more about Letters from an Astrophysicist, visit or follow him on Twitter @neiltyson. Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC; 202-783-4000 | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


By Nicole Hertvik



Photo: courtesy of Tony Powell

To err is human. To forgive? Well, that is a lot harder with the Internet around, cataloging our every misstep and reminding us years later of actions we might rather forget. Derril Lark was 17 when he developed a crush on a girl at school. Awkward and nerdy, he followed her around for three months, causing her stress and trauma before a school official intervened and Lark stopped. That was the end of it until a blog turned Lark into a meme, exaggerating his offenses and making him the posterchild for a male predator. Lark is not free of blame, but neither is the monster that the Internet makes him out to be. This is the premise of Sharyn Rothstein’s new play Right to be Forgotten, with a world premiere coming to Arena Stage on October 11. When Rothstein, whose previous writing credits include numerous plays and USA Network’s Suits, started researching in 2014, the European Union had just granted its citizens the right to ask tech companies to remove search results related to their name – aptly named the Right to be Forgotten. “I was so taken by the name of the law itself,” Rothstein says. “It’s so striking and the opposite of what we usually want. I mean, who wants to be forgotten?” The more Rothstein investigated the issue, the more its complexities surfaced. Who decides what lives online and who should have the power to remove potentially damaging content? Tech companies? The government? You? “This is a clear case of the technology we’ve created not always working with humanity,” Rothstein continues. “Mistakes we make when we were young that we hopefully learn and grow from can now follow us for the rest of our lives and define us.”

Life is funny.

The issue is an especially sticky one in the United States, where the First Amendment guaranteeing free speech is a foundational part of our national identity and where, to date, tech companies have faced minimal government regulations. Where does society draw the line between protecting people’s right to privacy and the right to free speech? “A lot of discussion comes down to: could we ever have a Right to be Forgotten law in this country that wouldn’t violate the First Amendment?” Rothstein asks hypothetically. It was these issues that attracted Seema Sueko, deputy artistic director at Arena Stage, to the play. “As soon as I read it, I knew it was the right match for Arena,” she says. “It deals with such big, complex issues around democracy, freedom of speech and privacy.” Sueko’s gut told her that she needed to direct the play. “I love shows that I don’t have all the answers to at a first read.” Rothstein channels the intricacies of the topic into the fictional story of Lark, who is not meant to be a completely sympathetic protagonist. “He did a bad thing,” Rothstein says. “There’s no getting around that. But I hope this show highlights all the complexities of both his predicament being stuck as the monster for all time, and the girl that he followed being stuck by the Internet as a victim for all time.” John Austin, last seen at Arena Stage in Kleptocracy, plays Lark. “Derril has internalized a lot of guilt for his actions,” Austin says of his character. “He lives with this constant uncertainty of what’s true and what’s untrue because once something is put online, it becomes its own reality.” Rothstein and Sueko think Right to be Forgotten will generate heated conversations as audiences leave the theater. “My goal will be that the audience bounces back and forth in their opinion and that they can see, hear and feel the arguments on all sides,” Sueko says. But the play studiously avoids taking a stand on whether or not the U.S. should enact Right to be Forgotten protections. “I take every stand in the play,” Rothstein laughs, noting that her characters have strong opinions on all sides of the debate. “What I hope is that the audience comes out of this play having thought about this issue that I don’t think enough of us have thought about in this country.” Don’t miss Right to be Forgotten at Arena Stage from October 11 to November 10. Tickets start at $40-$95. Learn more at Arena Stage: 1101 6th St. SW, DC;202-488-3300; Writer bio: Nicole Hertvik is the editor and publisher of DC Metro Theater Arts and a freelance arts writer. She was a 2019 fellow at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Critics Institute.

Photo of the cast of Everybody by Tony Powell.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Directed by Will Davis By


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WNO Costume Director Marsha LeBoeuf // Photos: Rich Kessler

Inside the Living, Breathing World of the

Washington National Opera’s


“They think of the costumes as living, breathing things. They develop intense relationships with the costumes themselves as they’re literally forming them with their hands.” Timothy O’Leary is describing the love story between the Washington National Opera (WNO)’s costume team and the works of art they fit to singers not like a glove, but like a second layer of skin, an extension of their very being. And it’s an easy romance to get swept up in. As WNO Costume Director Marsha LeBoeuf walks me through her vast costume shop in Takoma, my little performing arts geek heart begins to pitter patter. There’s a wig-making studio and a fabric-dying room and walls lined with every brightly colored shoe imaginable, not to mention never-ending rows of textures organized by production and drawers upon drawers of tiaras and pearls and other costumed jewels. I’m sent over the edge when she pulls out a cape from the 1981 opera The Magic Flute, made particularly notable by Where the Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak’s iconic design aesthetic. The ticking along the fabric looks remarkably like Sendak’s costume sketches and illustrations from his classic children’s book, and though not totally sure, she’s pretty convinced we’re touching fabric hand illustrated by Sendak himself. “I’m just in awe of a costume shop like hers,” O’Leary says of LeBoeuf and her team’s 20,000-square-foot space. “The people who work there feel so strongly about doing everything exactly right.” This devotion not only to precision but to the craft itself is evident in my hour spent with LeBoeuf, as she shares insight into the meticulous level of detail and care her staff must treat each individual costume with – and her own lifelong love affair with opera. The 64-year-old costume director has been with the WNO, an artistic affiliate of the Kennedy Center, for 31 years, describing herself as “one of the lucky ones” for being able to spend her career doing what she went to school for. She started out as a freelance costume designer after receiving two theatre degrees, playing the role of designer, patternmaker, stitcher, painter, dyer and more before landing her a job with the District’s opera company in 1998. Not only does she oversee costuming needs for all WNO productions, LeBoeuf and her team support other Kennedy Center programs as needed like its Theater for Young Audiences and Broadway Center Stage, including last fall’s Little Shop of Horrors. She describes the WNO costume studio, which has housed her staff’s robust operations since 2001, as a building shop. When the WNO embarks on a new production or needs to create new costumes, her team works with designers to acquire the right fabrics for whatever they’re making. And though many of the operas brought to the Kennedy Center are touring productions with existing costumes, she notes that they still have to be customized to the WNO singers’ bodies. “That’s our job, no matter if you’re the title character of if you are just in a crowd scene,” LeBoeuf says. “Every single costume on our stage is custom-fit to whoever gets to wear it.” There’s much, much more that goes into each customization than the average audience member might realize, as opera singers have

very specific needs onstage. “Singers have a different kind of movement that they have to do,” she continues. “They have to be able to breathe. They have to be able to hear. We answer a lot of those types of questions in the fitting. It’s fun. I have so much respect for the way a singer prepares for a role, and it’s always been my secret delight to have something to do with that. We’re here to support.” The scope and breadth of how the proverbial sausage is made is overwhelming: custom colorization of flesh-colored inserts to perfectly match singers’ flesh tones; crafting accurate, realistic hairlines for every single wig; and the stealthy insertion of cooling gel packs into wool uniforms for singers to avoid sweating profusely onstage, to name a few. But of paramount importance is giving singers as much flexibility and range of motion for their vocal cords as possible – often requested by male vocalists in particular is extra breathing room in fabric covering their throats. “I like to think of costumes as a bit of armor that our performers put on to face what they call ‘the mouth of the wolf,’” LeBoeuf says. “That means you’re saying, ‘Good luck,’ because when the curtain opens and you face the audience, they are the wolf and you’re facing the mouth of the wolf. Those Italians, they’re so passionate and illustrative. I like to think of the costume as a bit of armor to help with that process.” She describes each singer’s relationship with their costume as deeply personal, noting the often transformative and vulnerable moments that occur during the first fitting. “Just about the most rewarding part of this job – aside from seeing those designs become three-dimensional costumes, that presents its own joy – is when you get to go in the fitting room and introduce a singer to a costume. You see them start to adapt those clothes as part of their character. That’s a huge moment for me. To get to see that brought to bear onstage is what keeps me here. It’s so much fun.” LeBoeuf and her team act as translators of sorts, walking singers through the intricacies of their costumes while also honoring the conception of each individual production as envisioned by the stage director and designers. “Within the context of the inevitable conversations we have when we are in a fitting situation, which is very personal as you would imagine, it is our job to answer any questions and give any information that we can to help that performer understand why they’re being asked to wear this particular costume this particular way.” O’Leary has great respect for LeBoeuf and what he describes as her very high-pressure job to meet the costuming needs of performers who are doing something incredibly physically intense with their bodies onstage. “People like Marsha and all the people who work within the costume shop are magician problem solvers because of the enormity of the task of putting an entire cast, chorus and dancers into all of the costumes that have to be fitted exactly to them. There’s an absolute deadline: opening night curtain. Everything’s got to be ready.” The WNO’s general director reiterates how much the costumes matter to the singers, allowing them to truly inhabit their characters. He waxes poetic about how opera is a completely vibrant art form in | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


the 21st century, and an enormously expressive medium. “It’s not worth telling a story in opera if there’s no reason for the characters to express their feelings through this kind of singing,” he says. “Some stories make more sense as a play or a movie, but some stories make sense as an opera because they deal with the deepest emotions that we have.” The kind of singing he’s referring to is what LeBoeuf describes as “different from anything else that’s amplified.” “The amplification is natural,” she says. “The loudness you hear from those instruments comes from the instruments themselves. The voices you hear in your seat in the second tier are not coming to you through speakers. They’re coming to you from those singers’ vocal apparatuses.” Both WNO leaders rave about the upcoming season, with Otello opening on October 26 and the aforementioned The Magic Flute opening on November 2. O’Leary describes Otello as a blood-andguts Italian opera that lives up to the traditional definition of opera with every fiber, and playfully refers to The Magic Flute as a “gateway opera,” a great introduction to the genre for Sendak fans and opera newbies alike. “Magic Flute is adorable,” LeBoeuf says. “If heavy drama isn’t your bag, come to Magic Flute. It’s uplifting like crazy, and colorful. It was created originally by Maurice Sendak and it has been loved for many years. The original scenery was lost in Hurricane Katrina and has been lovingly recreated. Some of the original costumes did survive and they are from his creative source. They’re very Sendakian looking.” She and O’Leary mention the highly anticipated opera Blue, coming to the Kennedy Center next March, about a family’s tragic experience losing their teenage son to a police shooting. LeBoeuf embraces the unique challenges of getting the costumes just right for a 21stcentury production. “This is a contemporary tragic tale ripped right off the headlines, so people are going to know what they’re looking at. If you’re putting a New York cop onstage, it’s got to look like a New York cop. If you’re putting his troubled teenager onstage, you’ve got to know who that is. You don’t come out of those performances screaming about the costumes. They don’t take an overt presence in your mind. But the characters get under your skin, so you’ve got to get that right.” O’Leary views this new opera as a modern version of works that came before it, a window into the breadth of the art form. “Opera is so weighted down with stereotype that the broader public often doesn’t realize that a piece like Blue is just part of a continuum,” he says. When I ask LeBoeuf why she thinks opera remains relevant, she tells me that every time she’s subconsciously put the genre in a box, her eyes have been opened. “People who are not in my generation – and not just 30-somethings, I’m talking about teenagers – I will encounter them and realize they have discovered this performing art form, and really think it’s great and want to be exposed to more of it. This amazing combination of orchestra music, theatre and some incredibly beautiful singing can just take you to a different place emotionally. I really think that sitting quietly and letting opera happen to you is a very rewarding experience if you will take the time to let it happen.” Otello runs from October 26 to November 16 with tickets starting at $45, and The Magic Flute runs from November 2-23 with tickets starting at $25. Learn more about the WNO’s upcoming season at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC; 202-467-4600;



Photos: Sarah Rogers

The Fridays at Fort Totten summer concerts in partnership with The Modern at Art Place concluded on August 30. Residents enjoyed live music from local artist Ace Ono and tasty bites from the LuvPlates food truck.

STAGE & SCREEN By Joyelle Ronan

THROUGH SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20 The Tempest Originally premiering in 2013, Synetic is bringing back its unique take on The Tempest. Join the sorceress Prospera, played by Synetic co-founder Irina Tsikurishvili, as she creates a sea storm that gets out of hand. As a part of their Wordless Shakespeare series, The Tempest is brought to life through movement and a 1,200-square-foot pool flooding the stage. Water is a powerful element in this magical play of enemies, deception and vengeance. Tickets are available in the “splash zone” with ponchos provided. Various dates and times. Tickets $19-$60. Synetic Theater: 1800 S Bell St. Arlington VA

THOUGH SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27 Pride and Prejudice Kate Hamill’s Pride and Prejudice adaptation brings a fresh take to the beloved story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Mrs. Bennet wants her five daughters married, including the headstrong Elizabeth. When rich, handsome, but standoffish Mr. Darcy moves in, Elizabeth and the Bennet family are forever changed. In a time where class rules society, can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy ever see eye to eye? Various dates and times. Tickets $35-$50. Next Stop Theatre Company: 269 Sunset Park Dr. Herndon, VA;

THROUGH SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Escaped Alone Making her Signature Theatre debut, Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone is not what it seems. DC actress Holly Twyford directs this tale of three old friends and a neighbor having afternoon tea in the garden. Through their mundane conversation, it becomes clear there is a horror that lives in each of these women. The frightening undertones allow for cutting humor as well as an eerie sense of doom. Various dates and times. Tickets $40-$90. Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave. Arlington,VA;

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9 - MONDAY, OCTOBER 14 Broadway Center Stage: Footloose Based on the popular film starring Kevin Bacon, Footloose is dancing



Rocky Horror Picture Show

its way to the Kennedy Center. This musical is about a small town that outlaws music and dancing, and the teen who fights these unfair changes. Musical numbers include hits such as “Holding Out for a Hero,” “Let’s Hear it for the Boys” and, of course, “Footloose.” The show has a star-studded cast including three-time Tony Award nominee Rebecca Lu and four-time Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn. Various dates and times. Tickets $59-$175. Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11 Rocky Horror Picture Show Let’s do the Time Warp again! Join the Sonic Transducers, DC’s one and only Rocky Horror shadow cast, as they lip sync and act alongside the cult film. This midnight showing is an interactive movie experience. Purchase a $1 prop bag filled with rice, confetti, hot dogs and other items to throw. Other ways to get involved include yelling call backs at the screen and dressing up in costume. 11:59 p.m. Tickets $10. Landmark’s E Street Cinema: 555 11th St. NW, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 The NoSleep Podcast: Live for Halloween “The NoSleep Podcast” began in 2011 and has been scaring listeners ever since. Beginning with people sharing their frightening tales on the forum website Reddit, “NoSleep” is once again hitting the road and bringing the horror with them. Coming to DC just in time for Halloween, “NoSleep” will share stories never heard on the podcast, accompanied by a live score performed by Brandon Boone. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets $20. The Miracle Theatre: 535 8th St. SE, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17 Little Shop of Horrors In this musical comedy written by Howard Ashman with music by Alan Menken, Seymour discovers a strange plant that soon becomes famous. He names the plant after his crush and coworker, Audrey. Just when everything seems to be going right, Seymour discovers that Audrey II can talk and is craving blood. Human blood. Come to Skid

The Tempest

Row to see the six-foot plant puppet that is Audrey II. Various dates and times. Tickets $25-$55. Constellation Theatre Company: 1835 14th St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 - SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 Mystery Science Theater 3000 Named as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME” in 2007, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is coming live to a theater near you. Currently on the Great Cheesy Movie Circus Tour, creator and original host Joel Hodgson and his robots will be riffing some of the best, worst cheesy movies. This is Hodgson’s final tour, so don’t miss the chance to see the hit Netflix show in person. Various dates and times. Tickets $59-$99. National Theatre: 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. DC;

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27 RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE: Werq the World Tour 2019 Get ready to werq! After taking DC by storm last year, The Werq the World is back again. Join your favorite queens from the VH1 series Rupaul’s Drag Race, including Aquaria, Detox and Valentina, who will be pulling out all of the stops in the biggest drag production ever produced. With stunning queens, dancing, lights and projections. This is live drag like you’ve never seen it before. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. Tickets $52-$162. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30 - SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10 What to Send Up When it Goes Down Coming to four stages in the DMV before it’s Woolly Mammoth run, What to Send Up When it Goes Down is sure to provide several conversation-provoking performances throughout October. Written by the author of Is God Is, Aleshea Harris, this play, pageant, ritual is “first and foremost for black people, but non-black folx are welcome if they are prepared to honor this.” As a response to racialized violence, this story of black empowerment is told through colorful vignettes. Using theatre, music and dance, actors and audience members will come together to reflect, cleanse and heal. Various dates and times. Tickets $20-$29. Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: 641 D St. NW, DC;

September 27-October 27 directed by Timothy Douglas

Generation Abe Night! Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. For Ages 21-35 | Get $20 tickets with code* UNDER3520 Join us for a complimentary drink after the show. Event Media Partner: *Discount code also good for Tuesday-Friday evening performances throughout run.

Tickets: (888) 616-0270 Photo of Erika Rose and Craig Wallace by Scott Suchman. | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP



C’s newest music festival is more than simply a music festival. The word “festival” itself may conjure images of dancing, drinking and reveling with music in the background – and that’s all well and good. But what if there was a way to do this and explore more of why music serves as the backdrop for these joyous connections? Enter Down in the Reeds, taking place on Saturday, October 19 at The Parks at Walter Reed. You’ll surely hear great music at this inaugural event, but chances are you’ll be deeply moved to explore more of the ways music positively impacts the human condition. “I have been a huge believer in the healing power of music from my own personal experiences, but I also felt that embracing the topic of healing through music involved too much of a focus on spirituality,” explains Chris Naoum, co-organizer of the festival and founder of DC music initiative Listen Local First. “From speaking to folks, I realized that healing through music is as much spiritual as communal and all experiences are unique to oneself. That understanding really helped push the theme of this festival out into the open.” Naoum and his partners grouped with Grammy winner Dom Flemons, formerly of Carolina Chocolate Drops and perhaps best known as “The American Songster,” to help bring this powerful concept to fruition. Though Flemons won’t be performing at the festival, he’s serving as co-organizer and using what he calls his



Artwork: Noah Friedman Studios

American Songster stamp, which places emphasis on the communal connection music has among people from all walks of life. “Healing was the key thing Chris explained to me as being the goal for the festival, which was something a little bit different than I was used to,” Flemons explains. “Most of the time, music festivals are for a good time, a party, for everyone to just enjoy themselves over the weekend. But with this festival, they’re really trying to make an effort to put out some positive energy and create a positive space that will hopefully reverberate through the community.” Of course, there will be performers sharing healing with festivalgoers just through their incredible talents. One such musician is Aaron Abernathy, a pianist and soul singer fully engaged in the DC music community. On each of his three studio albums, Abernathy deals with different forms of healing and growth, making the Cleveland native and Howard University graduate a natural fit to join the lineup of Down in the Reeds. “I really pride myself and my band in bringing good energy and uplifting people through music,” Abernathy says of his slated performance at the festival. “I’m into that vibration – making people want to get up, dance, smile, see our energy and know that our energy will rub off. It’s always good to come back and give back to the community who gave me a start.” More literal elements of healing are incorporated in Down in the Reed’s programming as well. Naoum and team tapped Artis Moon Amarché, known as the “Boundless Eclectic,” who passionately guides

With this festival, they’re really trying to make an effort to put out some positive energy and create a positive space that will hopefully reverberate through the community.

Photos: Nick Moreland Photography

people to be empowered by their own growth and healing through multidisciplinary practices – music included. “Music is everything,” Amarché says. “It has been part of the fabric of society I’m sure since early human existence. Music has the power to heal people, both on the physical and metaphysical level. I work with music and sound in an intuitive way. My sound baths are sort of like a concert you listen to laying down with your eyes closed, but there is more at work. Deep restoration and transformation take place during these sessions. Part of what I’m providing is a safe, held space for people to be with themselves, sometimes guided in specific reflection and contemplation.” Amarché will open the main stage of the festival and bless it and the grounds in “a performance that combines music, performance art/ movement, energy healing [Reiki], meditative vibes and ceremony.” She’ll also sell handmade art and jewelry alongside daughter Adobe and offer 15-minute Reiki sessions throughout the day. No matter how participants connect to music as a powerful source of peace and healing, they all add to the tapestry of creativity that will unfold at this new and innovative festival. Each person who elects to come will also bring their own intimate connection to music with them, adding to the festival experience and hopefully deepening their relationship with music in the process. Don’t miss Down in the Reeds on Saturday, October 19 from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. at the Parks at Walter Reed, located at 1010 Butternut St. NW, DC. While admission is free, a donation of $10 is suggested to ensure all participants are compensated and the festival can continue its mission in the future. For the full lineup and more information, visit Interviews with participants and co-organizers were edited for length and clarity. To read the full interviews, check out For more on each interviewee, see below. Aaron Abernathy: Artis Moon Amarché // The Boundless Eclectic: Chris Naoum // Listen Local First: Dom Flemons // The American Songster:

Tunes in the Triangle at Milian Park concluded for the summer with female R&B group Pebble to Pearl playing an acoustic set for the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood. | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP



AMERICA J.S. Ondara Intertwines Kenyan Roots and Americana Style on Debut Album By Natalia Kolenko



Photo: Josh Cheuse


t seems counterintuitive that someone raised in Nairobi, Kenya could tell such compelling stories of the American experience through song. And yet J.S. Ondara does so with such skill on his first album Tales of America, released this February, that he’s seen high praise from the likes of NPR, Rolling Stone and Billboard. Raised on 90s alt-rock like Nirvana and Radiohead, the 27-yearold musician discovered great storytellers like Bob Dylan and Neil Young in high school, forever altering his musical style. In 2013, Ondara moved from Kenya to Minneapolis where he taught himself guitar and was eventually picked up by a label. We had the chance to ask Ondara about his roots, moving to the U.S. and why he never gave up on his goals before he plays Sixth & I on October 30. On Tap: What was it like to move to the U.S. and pursue a career as a musician? J.S. Ondara: It certainly wasn’t easy, but really, I was just too far from home. There was no looking back. If home was a bus fare away, perhaps I would have given up at some point. I never really had a choice. OT: Who influences your sound? JSO: I am mostly influenced by music from the 60s and 70s – songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison and Tim Buckley. OT: What was it about Minneapolis’s music scene that drew you to that city, and how has it affected your music? JSO: I was initially drawn to Minnesota after learning it was [Bob] Dylan’s home but the scene and the people of Minneapolis are why I chose to stay. The city has a lively music scene, but it also has a certain quietness about it that is essential for writing and growing without too much distraction. OT: Why were able to tell such a compelling American story with Tales of America despite having grown up in another country? JSO: I suspect it is because I was making observations about America as an outsider with no bias other than to draw a portrait of the America that I saw. OT: What lead you to the Americana genre and why did you decide to make the album entirely acoustic? JSO: As an avid fan of stories, I was drawn to the storytelling nature of folk music and I believe that’s why I found myself drawn to that kind of music. That said, the journey has just begun, and I most certainly intend to experiment with more sounds and arrangements as I make more records. OT: What do you hope people will get out of listening to Tales of America? JSO: I think art at its best is a mirror through which a society can observe itself and hence change course whenever necessary. I hope that people will see a mirror in Tales of America and gain insight into themselves. OT: What can people expect from your DC show? JSO: I am looking forward to playing some new songs live for the first time. OT: Where do you go from here? What are some of your goals for the future? JSO: I am currently working on my next record so the next step for me is to finish that and share it with the world. My goals change all the time, but this year my goal is to try to make it through 27 without dying unceremoniously.



OCT 10

OCT 11



DAVID FINCKEL, cello WU HAN, piano






FEB 20 + 21




MAR 13


MAR 16 + 17


APR 16



NOV 15 + 16


NOV 21






Catch J.S. Ondara at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue on Wednesday, October 30. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $20. For more information on Ondara, go to


Sixth & I: 600 I St. NW; 202-408-3100; | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


e v i t c Colle

s i s r a Cath

r e t Slea y e n n Ki oF


o By M.K. K

Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker // Photos: Nikko LaMere


Musician Annie Clark, perhaps better known as St. Vincent, posted a photo of herself in studio with the members of Sleater-Kinney this winter. It was revealed Clark was producing their album The Center Won’t Hold, released on August 16. The news circulated on the Internet for days among casual fans, die-hard riot grrrl listeners and other musicians. Clark’s collaboration with the group signified new music was forthcoming, but there was something powerful about the women together in a studio – away from the world and in their own space of being, ready to create and share that world with others. Despite the buzz, Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein says she created distance from the discourse of the viral tweet and the actual recording of the album. “I think it’s always healthier to create a little bit of distance from online reaction and your real life,” she says of the buzz then, and perhaps even now, around the record. “I think using that as a litmus test or a way of buoying yourself can be tricky, because if you’re reliant upon that then you’re definitely at the vicissitudes of a lot of fickleness, usually.” It’s not surprising to hear Brownstein say this. If you’re not familiar with her work in Sleater-Kinney, a seminal band out of the iconic Pacific Northwest punk and riot grrrl scene, perhaps you know her as co-creator and star of IFC’s hit show Portlandia, or for her appearances in the movie Carol or Amazon’s series Transparent. She wrote a memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, and is at work on another book – this time a collection of essays. It’s easy to imagine that when you work across many mediums, it becomes essential to tune out the white noise of other people’s commentary – no matter how positive – in order to stay in tune with one’s own vision. She works diligently, but says it all comes back to writing. Still, balancing so many aspects of a creative personhood is no small feat. “It all feels very holistic for me,” she says of her collective body of work. “It doesn’t feel like individual silos, but the different creative outlets are distinct enough that they allow me perspective and relief from one or the other. There is something that feels very energizing and kinetic about music that I’m drawn to, which then helps me appreciate the other thing.” Within her career as a musician, Brownstein’s dynamic with bandmate Corin Tucker has evolved and rebalanced, too. One would expect a certain level of creative intimacy between people who have worked together for over 25 years, especially as both contribute guitar and vocals to the band.

While this is certainly true, Brownstein says she and Tucker drew more on their ideas as individuals to craft their new album. The result is an album that clearly takes great care in representing both bandmates’ talents and voices – and emphasizes who they are with and without Sleater-Kinney and each other. “Corin and I really wanted to give stage to the other person and say, ‘Okay, what is your idea? Who are you as a songwriter?’ We are collaborators but we also are individuated, and we wanted to give each other moments to fully realize an idea and really take ownership over certain songs. I think there is, on one level, this sharing and giving. I think part of our growth and deepening as friends is saying, ‘Well, who are you without me? How can I use restraint to help you be more centered?’” Brownstein notes that this ability to sit back and embrace the ebb and flow of a collaborative relationship is new, but doesn’t necessarily mean it is their new normal as far as producing work. She says there are more tools in the toolbox they’ve been adding to since their early days. They have always come back to their willingness to speak truth to power and be political, harkening back to their unwavering voice in the early aughts of the riot grrrl and punk scenes that made a space for questioning, correcting and acceptance. The Center Won’t Hold deals with themes of love, anxiety, technology and more. But



standout moments include the album’s closer “Broken,” wherein Tucker calls out an explicit thank you to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against the abuse at the hands of now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh: “She, she, she stood up for us / When she testified / Me, me too, my body cried out / When she spoke those lines.” The notable gratitude to Blasey Ford as opposed to condemnation of Kavanaugh seems a powerful choice here, too. They grant power to her, someone who was made to feel powerless. The song feels like a tonic in an era fraught with devastating and sometimes triggering stories of assault rampant in the news. I ask Brownstein if she and Tucker are ever exhausted by the prospect of carrying a torch for these issues, singing things like this every night. She’s quick to remind me that even the ability to ask this question is a privilege that she and I both possess – and have to reconcile with as we move through a time rife in unrest and injustice. “It’s a question for all of us trying to balance a sense of vigilance – of being present, empathetic, available to the people who we love. But also, that kind of selfcare sometimes requires distancing from a certain level of toxicity. It’s a privilege to be able to create any psychic distance from trauma or chaos. Ideally, everyone would be able to have that balance where you can take a step back and take care of yourself,

your family and your loved ones [and] be more of a participant in culture or protest or however you are able to go about life.” She says that as a musician and as a person, she is working to find that same balance. But her hope – along with the many others, myself included, who have found comfort in her band – lies in music. “What’s nice about art or music is just getting in a room with a bunch of people and having a sense of collective relief or collective catharsis or hopefully, collective joy.” There is certainly a prevailing sense of collective joy that Brownstein and Tucker cultivated on The Center Won’t Hold. In trying times, the album itself serves a dual purpose of respite and protest for all who seek both. Experience it live when Sleater-Kinney play The Anthem on Friday, October 25. Tickets begin at $37.50. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m.

For more info on Sleater-Kinney and The Center Won’t Hold, visit The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC 202-888-0020;

Photos: Kimchi Photography

The Capitol Riverfront concert series at Yards Park on August 30 featured live music from bluegrass group Trailer Grass Orchestra and ice-cold Corona and wine for a relaxing evening with waterfront views.

By Briana Florez CHVRCHES



A Note Two Self Mike Richards has traveled across the country performing for people, but his home will always be Virginia. His latest project is an EP called1000 Days After. Richards sings about love, allowing your imagination wonder to a better place, and unity – all topics that anyone can relate to. Come support local talent and hear Richards sing about life 10 miles from his hometown in Arlington. Doors open at 6 p.m. Free to attend. The Bronson: 4100 Fairfax Dr. Arlington, VA;

Avril Lavigne Avril Lavigne was the punk rock queen of the early 00s, and had young girls everywhere singing about a “Sk8er Boi.” 17 years later since her debut album, Let Go, Lavigne is back and ready to share her music with the world. In 2014, the Canadian singer was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and spent the following two years in recovery. Her latest album, Head Above Water, encompasses strength and overcoming struggle. Her fans should be pleasantly surprised with the more serious, mature sound Lavigne has developed. The powerful lead single from the album, “Head Above Water” especially showcases her growth as a singer with passionate and relatable lyrics. One can only hope however, that she won’t leave out her classic hits from the set list. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $45. The Theater at MGM National Harbor: 101 MGM National Ave. Oxon Hill, MD;

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6 Steve Lacy At only 21 years old, Steve Lacy is a young, but seasoned talent. He has an impressive track record and Grammy to prove it, contributing to songs from big artists like Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller and Solange. He even produced Kendrick Lamar’s “Pride” from his iPhone, and is a member of the Grammy nominated band THE INTERNET. Lacy’s hypnotizing voice and cool R&B vibe will put you in a trance you won’t ever want to leave with songs like, “C U Girl” and “N Side.” Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC;



Elder Island Elder Island’s music has many layers to it including, electronica, pop and indie music. Their unique voice unapologetically captivates your soul. Even a touch of blues and soul instruments can be heard briefly in the melody of their song “The Big Unknown.” This talented group consists of singer and cellist Katy Sargent, Luke Thornton on the bass, and mastermind behind the beats, and guitarist, David Havard. Elder Island takes their listeners on a one-way trip to a magical destination, and you

Sports Team

might just get lost in the music on the way. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $16. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11 The Cleverlys The Cleverlys are not your typical bluegrass family band. Digger Cleverly and his four nephews put their own spin on hit songs from a variety of genres, producing a one of a kind show in the process. If you didn’t think a song like Flo Rida’s, “Low,” could become a bluegrass song, well, the Cleverlys will prove you wrong. At the very least, this family provides comedic, musical relief with their entertaining covers of mainstream songs. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25. The Hamilton: 600 14th St. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12 WMZQ Fall Fest WMZQ Fall Fest is one of the annual times country music fans across the DMV travel 35 miles south of DC to Jiffy Lube Live. Even if you’re not a country fan, there is a good chance you’ll be convinced by your country music loving friends to borrow some cowboy boots and put on cutoff jean shorts one more time, before the temperature drops for good. Georgia native and “Bottoms Up” singer Brantley Gilbert, will headline the fest with performances from special guests Michael Ray and Lindsey Ell. Gilbert’s performance will come just days after

the release of his highly-anticipated fifth album, Fire and Brimstone, so expect a high energy show. Show starts at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $39. Jiffy Lube Live: 7800 Cellar Door Dr. Bristow, VA; CHVRCHES Pronounced “churches,” this pop trio has experienced fast climbing success since their 2013 debut album, The Bones of What You Believe. They are from Scotland, and therefore have a very prominent fan base throughout the U.K. They have become increasingly popular in the U.S., especially after they lent their talents on Marshmello’s hit track, “Here With Me,” which spent 16 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The group will undoubtedly continue to gain traction in the music industry. Don’t miss a unique opportunity to see the trio perform live at a smaller venue, as part of the All Things Go Fall Classic. Festival starts at 12:30 p.m. CHVRCHES show at 10:30 p.m. Tickets start at $69. Union Market: 1309 5th St. NE, DC; Post Malone Post Malone is known for shaking things up in the music industry, and soon he’ll shake up the District. The Olive Garden loving and crocwearing rapper brings his tour to the area after recently releasing his new album, Hollywood’s Bleeding. The album features a whirlwind of sounds of rap, pop, rock, and even a blend of the three, with features from Travis Scott, Halsey and Ozzy Osbourne. His new album made | OCTOBER 2019 | ON TAP


quite an impression on listeners, as all 17 songs on the record entered the Billboard Hot 100. There’s no question the 24-year-old Syracuse, New York native will continue to climb to the top. You don’t want to miss your chance to see Posty peform his hits like, “Better Now,” “Sunflower” and “Congratulations” at the Capital One Arena. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $145. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NE, DC;

MONDAY, OCTOBER 14 Buddy Guy Eight-time Grammy Award winner and blues legend Buddy Guy will bless Northern Virginia with a show in mid-October. Guy is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member whose career was influenced by other blues legends including B.B. King, Muddy Waters and Guitar Slim. Guy grew up in a small Louisiana town, playing these artists’ songs on his guitar. In search of a stable career, Guy moved to Chicago where he found great success with his music and his legendary blues, and rock and roll career began. Buddy Guy will certainly remind you that The Blues Is Alive and Well. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets $79. The State Theatre: 220 N. Washington St. Falls Church, VA;

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15 The Chainsmokers The New York-based DJ and production duo initially found success in the pop music realm with their 2014 song, “#Selfie,” but really blew up after their 2016 collaboration with Halsey on the song “Closer.” This catchy hit was played at house parties, bars, in cars driving down the highway, other performers’ shows, and was essentially THE song of 2016. Since then, the pair released songs that have made their way on the top of the charts consistently. They will play all of their hits in the heart of DC for one night, and you don’t want to miss them, or the Australian heartthrobs Five Seconds of Summer who’ll open the night for The Chainsmokers. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $29. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; Peter Case If you roll folk, blues and rock music into one, you would probably hear a song by Peter Case. Case is influenced by musical greats like Elvis, the Everly Brothers, and Ray Charles to name a few. Various sounds from these performers can be heard in Case’s own music. He is a true veteran, and played in the group The Nerves, and The Plimsouls, and not to mention, holds three Grammy nominations. Case will make you feel like your a local in a stranger’s place with his simple, yet passionate tunes. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $20. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave E. Vienna, VA; Ray LaMontagne LaMontagne might sing “You Are the Best Thing,” but in reality, the best thing is his voice. It’s a challenge not to bop your head to the beat of LaMontagne’s raspy, smooth voice. His music is the perfect accessory to your morning coffee, long road trips or even a latenight lullaby. Come be mesmerized by the musical gift that is Ray LaMontagne. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $55. Strathmore: 5301 Tuckerman Ln. North Bethesda, MD;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 17 Pharoahe Monch Pharoahe Monch has got a killer rhyme game. He earned a solid reputation as one of the most talented underground rappers of all time, and deservingly so. His music has evolved since his 1999 single, “Simon Says,” however, we all love vintage sounds and Monch definitely still carries that 90s vibe in his music today. Show starts



at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Terrace Theatre at the Kennedy Center: 2700 F St. NW, DC;

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 The Cactus Blossoms The Cactus Blossoms bring a little bit of old, and a little bit of new to the music scene. Their music reminds you of something you’d hear in a retro-themed diner, yet also has a modern enough twang to it to make for easy, peaceful listening. Brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey voices’ fit together in a perfect, harmonic mold. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets $17. Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; Tower of Power Finding their start in Oakland, California, this groovin’, American R&B band has been making music for 50 years. If you’re lacking soul, Tower of Power will put some right back into you. Emilio Castillo, Stephen Kupka, David Garibaldi, and the rest of the group will soon show DC “What is Hip.” Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $32. Warner Theatre: 513 13th St. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19 Jesse Cook Travel overseas without ever having to leave your location with the beautiful strumming of Jesse Cook’s guitar. Cook has shown repeatedly that he is one of the most influential guitarists in Nuevo flamenco music, with many awards under his belt including three Canadian Smooth Jazz Guitarist of the Year awards. His music reaches audiences across the globe, and breaks the stereotype that good, flamenco-influenced music can only be found in Spain. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $42. Wolf Trap: 1635 Trap Rd. Vienna, VA;

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22 Delicate Steve His name is Delicate Steve, but there is nothing delicate about his ability, through instrumental talent, to shed light on the darkest of things. Also known as Steve Marion, he has consistently put out instrumental music that immediately gets listeners addicted. On his latest album, Till I Burn Up, Marion amps up his sound with a heavy synth bass and strong guitar riffs. The album will remind you of a time when rock bands ruled the 70s. Show starts at 9 p.m. Tickets $15. Comet Ping Pong: 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC; The Mighty Pines Together, Neil Salsich, Gerard Erker, John Hussung and Mike Murano make up The Mighty Pines. The band is relatively young, formed in 2012. They hail from St. Louis, Missouri and attribute the city as their biggest musical influence. Their midwestern background shines through in their music, using instruments like a mandolin and banjo to accompany the band’s unique sound of a country, folk and blues cluster. And it’s a cluster you’ll definitely want to hear more of. Show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets $12. Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC; Young Thug Young Thug has collaborated with big names like Kanye West, Travis Scott, Camila Cabello and has built up quite a bit of fame from his notable collaborations. He is also known as a style icon, often sporting crazy and colorful outfits. The rapper released his album So Much Fun in mid-August, which showcases his continuous come up since his 2013 debut. Young Thug is further proof that Atlanta

produces some of the best rappers in the game. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $50. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24 Sports Team If you’re looking for a new indie band to root for, Sports Team is for you. They might only have one EP, but it’s packed with quirkiness and good tunes. Included on the EP is a song named after Ashton Kutcher, who is used as a metaphor in the chorus to speak about a messy relationship with an ex. The six member co-ed group met in London where their perfectly crafted, chaotic sound was honed. So far, their live performances have been high energy and eclectic. Anything can happen when Sports Team takes the stage. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $12. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 The Commonheart The nine-piece band dubs themself a “rock and soul” band, who prides themselves on spreading positivity through their music. The lead singer of the band, Clinton Clegg, didn’t grow up religious and doesn’t try to promote religion in the band’s songs, but a lot of the words can be traced back to having good morals and values. On their sophomore album Pressure, a gospel-like harmony can even be heard on a few of the songs. Come rock out with The Commonheart on the last Saturday of October. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $12. Gypsy Sally’s: 3401 K St. NW, DC;

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27 Fantasia Former American Idol and Grammy winner Fantasia Barrino has earned the utmost respect in the music industry from musicians and fans alike. Known for her powerful R&B delivery, she will bring her Sketchbook tour to Fairfax, Virginia after dealing with personal struggles and hardship for the past three years. When you’re down, you can only go up, and that is what Barrino will show her fan base on this tour, with special guests Robin Thicke and The Bonfyre joining her for the ride. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $59. EagleBank Arena: 4500 Patriot Cir. Fairfax, VA;


Photos: Kimchi Photography

999 999 is a punk rock band from London, England, that found great success in the late 70s and early 80s across the U.K. The band has remained almost perfectly intact for the past 40 years or so, with only two member changes. Their music has stood the test of time, which is a testament in itself that this punk band is the real deal. Join Nick Cash, Guy Days, Pablo LaBritain and Arturo Bassick for a jammin’ show. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;

On September 26, Lizzo performed at The Anthem. The singer, songwriter and rapper brought a energy-filled performance to DC. The District’s own Ari Lennox opened.



THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31 Chief Keef Despire Chief Keef’s troubles with authority, his talent as a rapper was never in doubt. He quickly gained fame among younger crowds because of his own young age and enjoyed success from his singles, “I Don’t Like” and “Love Sosa.” He will perform in the DMV on the spookiest day of the year, assuming he has no run-ins with the law before then. Fingers crossed. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50 The Filmore Silver Spring: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;

on the scene

Photos: Kimchi Photography


Every Friday night home game at Nationals Park is best spent on the Budweiser Terrace. As the Washington Nationals warmed up to play the Atlanta Braves on September 30, fans enjoyed funk and pop-rock hits from Driven to Clarity.

VISIT THESE LOCATIONS FOR AN ICE-COLD HEINEKEN Kirwan’s on the Wharf The Big Stick Brighton Mission Willie’s Brew & Que Agua 301 Cantina Bambina Scarlet Oak CIRCA at Navy Yard Ugly Mug

Finn McCool’s Declaration RíRá Lou’s City Bar Fadó Irish Pub Irish Channel Across the Pond Lucky Bar Hawk ‘n’ Dove

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October 2019