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Posted at 7:33 PM ET, 12/ 2/2008

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Post-Thanksgiving letdown? Hardly. A revitalized club in Shaw launches a new weekly party and hosts an appearance by Ne-Yo, while Ballston welcomes a new British-inspired pub. Some of the city's top bartenders celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of Prohibition with a cocktail-fueled party, one of hip-hop's top female MCs visits D.C., a rockabilly band channels Morrissey and the Smiths, and there are multiple chances to do good by attending happy hours or black-tie events.

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

Thursday, Dec. 4
One of the reasons we hate talking about how some club is opening next week: They rarely do. A few months ago, Union Jack's of Bethesda sent out a bunch of e-mails announcing that a new Ballston Commons branch would open on Oct. 23, taking the place of Romano's Macaroni Grill, across from Rock Bottom Brewery. Then the launch got pushed back to Oct. 30. Then there was an e-mail explaining that "Arlington County is a picky one it seems & we again have to delay our opening." Next, we were told mid-November. Now, finally, the party is ready to begin. Today, beginning at 5 p.m., the British-inspired pub is offering a free buffet, beat-the-clock drink specials, DJs, live music -- you name it, they promise it. We suggest early arrival, because if the crowds at Rock Bottom are any indication, this place is going to be pretty popular.

Skeleton$ (listen) is probably just one Brooklyn Vegan blog post away from being somebody's new favorite band. The location is right -- Brooklyn, of course. The sound, too -- some of that slippery, world-influenced indie rock that bands like Animal Collective, Yeasayer and Dirty Projectors have found success with. Expect to hear rolling rhythms, multi-part harmonies, chanting and keyboards making weird sounds at the Velvet Lounge tonight.

Expo used to be the tiny spot that housed the phenomenon that was Vickey's. Daylight is rooted in that scene, carrying the same energy of a fellowship of sweaty, happy dancing people that moved from Vickey's to the now defunct D.C. Sanctuary. DJ Curtis Lee, formerly of the Sanctuary and State of the Union, recently ripped a seamless set at Daylight and let us know that he's returning from a self-imposed retirement, newly reinvigorated to rock parties again. Expo doesn't seem like much these days, but Curtis Lee is no ordinary newbie trying to jump start a new event, so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt. His new bimonthly Bang! party starts tonight. Doors open at 10, and there's a $5 cover.

Friday, Dec. 5
Seventy-five years ago today, the great state of Utah ratified the 21st amendment of the U.S. Constitution, officially ending Prohibition. To celebrate this momentous anniversary, some of the area's top mixologists, including Derek Brown (the Gibson), Owen Thompson (Bourbon) and Gina Chersevani (EatBar) are mixing up vintage cocktails at a Repeal Day Ball at the historic City Tavern Club, alongside guests like Tony Abou-Ganim of the Fine Living Network's "Raising the Bar." This is a classy affair, from the top shelf liquor -- Millers gin, Willett rye whiskey and bourbon, etc. -- to a jazz band playing hits of the 1930s. Tickets are a little pricey at $90, but that includes all drinks, food and entertainment. (See the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild for more information.) Doors open at 8, and the party goes until midnight, with an afterparty at a top-secret area lounge to follow.

This way, folks. Step right up for a ride on the nightlife merry-go-round! Avenue, the three-level club off Mount Vernon Square, closed months ago for "renovations." Now it's back with a new name (Lux Lounge), a new lineup of promoters, a new look and the same owners. Neo-soul star Jazmine Sullivan performed at the soft opening last week, and this weekend brings two more "grand opening" events. First up tonight is the debut of Level, a Friday night party thrown by Lindy Promotions, the team behind all those holiday bar crawls. DJs and VJs will mix it up on three floors, though we don't expect it to stray far from the usual hip-hop/mashup/'80s/Top 40 formula. Things they've kept from the Avenue days: An open bar from 9 to 11 (Miller Lite and Level vodka only) and free admission for ladies all night. Men can get on the guest list for free admission until midnight. If you're living it up, it might be worth looking at a table: A $300 minimum is good for admission and seating for six, a bottle of Level vodka with mixers, a bottle of Moet champagne and a bucket of Miller Lites. Call 301-652-7712 to make reservations.

"Real Men Against Domestic Violence" is the theme at Absolut Action Midtown tonight. Donate $20 to the nonprofit Becky's Fund, which educates and advocates on behalf of battered women, and you'll get an open bar on champagne and Absolut vodka from 7 to 8:30, followed by happy hour drink specials until 11. DJ George Karmokolias, a Glow resident and frequent guest at Ultrabar, provides the music. Organizers request an RSVP to to get your name on the list and that men wear black to show solidarity.

Saturday, Dec. 6
It's hard not to love events like the Miracle on 3rd & 4th Street, not because of what it is -- a bar crawl around Capitol Hill for $2 Miller Lites and food specials -- but because it encourages you to dress in Santa suits or other holiday getups and donate gifts to needy kids through Toys for Tots. And isn't that what the season is all about? Stop by the Hawk and Dove between 1 and 6 to sign up, then make your way to the wonderfully divey Tune Inn, catch some football at the Pour House or Ugly Mug, pop into Bullfeathers or the 18th Amendment, or even visit the pub at Thai Roma for the first time ever. Every location offers specials until 9, ranging from $3 Leinie's Sunset Wheat and Miller Chill to half-price appetizers. Admission is $7 if you're wearing a Santa suit or seasonal garb, or if you bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. (Maybe you should do both, just because.) Total Grinches pay $10, but we can't believe any Nightlife Agenda readers would do that.

Speaking of helping out kids -- yeah, we turn into total softies at this time of year -- the annual Yuletide Madness at the National Press Club marks its 21st birthday with a black-tie blowout. It's got all the trappings you'd expect -- an open bar from 8 to 1, a large buffet -- plus live music from Mr. Greengenes (listen), who continue to rock from Dewey Beach to Philadelphia to Clarendon and beyond, plus DJ Smoky. This is a party with a purpose -- bring a new, unwrapped toy, which will be donated to Hyattsville's St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home and local churches. Several hundred kids have happier holidays every year, thanks to Yuletide Madness, while you get to drink for a couple hours and rock out. Sounds like a fair trade to us.

Okay, complete 180 from holiday generosity: the Kids party returns to DC9 with free malt liquor, free condoms, free entry, and plenty of hip-hop, sleazy electro and whatnot, thanks to guest DJ Meistro of Dirty Bombs (Wonderland) and hosts Jackie O, Nacey, Steve Love (both of the always-excellent Nouveau Riche) and Lil' El. Get there between 9 and 10 for the free booze and free admission, you'll pay $5 after. (Condoms, however, are free all night.)

The hip-hop biz doesn't really have a glass ceiling when it comes to female artists -- it's more like a sledge hammer of patriarchy. If you're not showing skin or serving as an arm piece for an established rapper, life is hard. It's another way that the rap scene resembles pro wrestling. Name the best female MCs you know, and if Jean Grae (listen) isn't on that list, then you're probably still saying nightly prayers for Lauryn Hill to return. Jean almost joined her, only recently backing away from Internet pronouncements of retirement. But with Jay-Z's words echoing in her head ("I can't leave rap alone, the game needs me") she's back rocking shows and adding to her prodigious catalog of underground bangers. Along with DJ Mr. Len, she's heading up a bill at the Black Cat on a night that also features D.C.'s own DJ Underdog and a rescheduled appearance from jazztronica master Mark de Clive-Lowe.

We like to write about Chopteeth (listen) because they are most excellent and we feel like no matter what kinda of music you are into, you'll dig the 14-piece band's vibrant mixture of Afrobeat, ska, funk and other genres heavy on groove. Tonight's show should be an especially good time since it is at Surf Club Live, a venue that is perfectly suited for the dancing the band inspires. Chick Hall, the former namesake of the club until about a year ago, recently passed away but even under new ownership, the area's last remaining roadhouse has maintained its old-fashioned fun and charm out in Bladensburg.

When the Hometown Heroes party lost its original venue, organizers probably didn't foresee that an unexpected alliance with the Trinidad and Tobago Association would yield such success. There must have been some sort of subconscious synergy between groups from two different backgrounds who both put high priority on sonic beatdowns delivered by massive sound systems. And the fact that the space is literally a dance hall also adds to the Hometown Heroes' vibe of house and dance jams stripped of the distractions of nightclubs. It's pretty much a night for DJs to truly bang out without restraint. DJ Mandrill's on deck tonight, and his resume stretches back to when a lot of DJs on the scene were still in diapers. The man's knowledge of classic garage jams is beyond encyclopaadic. Thommy Davis, Deep Sang and the Beyond Crew round out the roster of young bucks supporting the master.

Sunday, Dec. 7
David vividly remembers seeing Radar Bros. (listen) almost nine years ago to the day. It was a cold, early December night, and most people he knew who were going to a concert that night were off to see Fugazi play a rare 9:30 club show. But the Radar Bros. album "The Singing Hatchet" had been on repeat for many months, and he was looking forward to hearing the stark, lugubrious slowcore songs. Apparently, he (well, and his friend he dragged along) was the only one. The two of them got a private show from the Radar Bros. that night at the Metro Cafe. (If nobody was there, you know it was at the Metro Cafe. Yes, it was a cold Sunday night in December and Fugazi was playing a few blocks away, but did any club get the word out worse than the Metro Cafe?) It was a very good show, if a bit awkward. Over the past decade the band hasn't strayed from its slow, spacey sound, and that's a good thing. They do it better than pretty much anyone and sometimes it's nice to find a band that knows its strengths and sticks to it. It'll be another cold, windy Sunday night in December for this show, but hopefully David won't be on his own at the Black Cat's backstage. The presence of spunky local keyboard/drum duo Aerialist (listen) should ensure that's not the case.

Over at Post Rock, David's been writing a mini-series about the increasing instances of bastardization of Morrissey/Smiths songs in popular culture. First there was the head-scratching use of an emotionless, countrified version of the utterly depressing (it is Morrissey) "Every Day Is Like Sunday" in NFL's "hooray-for-football!" ads. Then there was that soul-scarring scene in "Gossip Girl" where a couple of high school girls danced around in their underwear to a truly awful version of "How Soon Is Now?" by Russian fake-lesbians t.A.T.u.. Tonight's show at Iota shouldn't be anywhere as painful as either of those; in fact, it could be pretty fun. The Salford Lads (listen) claim to be "the only rockabilly group who perform all Smiths and Morrissey" songs. That can't really be independently confirmed, but you know, we'll take their word on it. It's a pretty bizarre idea, if not totally bizarre; after all, the Moz's current guitarist is Boz Boorer, who was guitarist for new wave/rockabilly group the Polecats. Still, when you think Morrissey, you think mope. When you think rockabilly, you think hot licks and a general sense of upbeat fun. If you're curious, Iota is the place to be.

Monday, December 8
If you've never tasted the wonderful beers that come out of Indiana's Three Floyds brewery -- and they're a rarity in these parts -- make your introduction tonight at Birreria Paradiso. Owner Nick Floyd and brewmaster Barnaby Struve (formerly of Rock Bottom Ballston) are hosting tasting dinners tonight at Birreria Paradiso in Georgetown. Six beers, from the legendary hop bomb Alpha King and malty Scottish ale Robert the Bruce down to the harder-to-come-by Moloko Milk Stout and Blackheart English India Pale Ale, will be paired with soups, crostini, two pizzas and a dessert that features Three Floyds beers turned into ice cream, chocolate sauce and other treats. Seatings are at 6:30 at 9. The all-inclusive price is $70 per person.

-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | December 2, 2008; 7:33 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music  
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I'm really looking forward to Saturday night HOMETOWN HEROES!

Posted by: DanAmitai | December 3, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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