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Posted at 5:45 PM ET, 08/31/2010

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Celebrate -- or mourn -- the end of summer at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, where day-long pool parties with DJs and food are being held this weekend. (Courtesy of Brightest Young Things)

Staying in town for Labor Day weekend? Say goodbye to summer with pool parties and pig roasts, or welcome college football season with a happy hour for ACC alumni. DJs make the most of the extra day off with special dance nights, the Tune Inn gets its 15 minutes of Food Network fame (and celebrates with $1 beers), and Town wishes Beyonce a happy birthday with a celebration in her honor.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday | Tuesday

Wednesday, Sept. 1

If we had to rank all the pumpkin beers that show up on tap around town in the fall, the top spot would most likely go to Dogfish Head's Punkin Ale or Sweetwater Tavern's Ghost Town Pumpkin Ale. Neither of these beers exhibits the sweet, candy-like flavor of more commercial brands. In fact, they're dark and downright spicy. While we're still pretending that summer isn't coming to an end, the pumpkin beers are already starting to appear in local bars. Dogfish's Punkin makes its debut at four parties across the area. The three Dogfish Head Alehouses in Gaithersburg, Falls Church and Fairfax are hosting events from 5 to 8 p.m. Purchase a pint and you'll get a raffle ticket; prizes range from a pair of tickets to a beer dinner ($120 value) to glasses and other Dogfish Head swag. Proceeds benefit the Alzheimer's Association. And downtown, R.F.D. is pouring $4 Punkin beers all night and giving away glasses and other paraphernalia. There's no cover for any of these events.

Midnight Masses plays brooding music. Most of its noir-rock songs were inspired by the death of singer Autry Fulbright's father, but they are more cathartic than depressing, and confessional yet never leave the listener feeling uncomfortably voyeuristic. The set doesn't have quite the bombast of another set of songs inspired by death - we're talking Arcade Fire's "Funeral" - but that same sense of heaviness in the chamber-rock arrangements is present. Midnight Masses open for the Dear Hunter - not to be confused with the very different Deerhunter - at Jammin' Java.

Thursday, Sept. 2

Let's be honest here: From the moment you get to work on Friday, you're going to be counting the seconds until you can walk out the door and start savoring the last long weekend of summer. (And if you have Friday off, you have even more reason to celebrate.) Get Labor Day off to a fantastic start Thursday night at the Gibson, with the Haymarket Riot Labor Day Social's all-you-can-eat-and-drink bacchanal. There will be pulled pork sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs from the barbecue on the patio. Bartenders will be whipping up a half-dozen drinks, such as martinis and champagne-and-gelato cocktails, which are included in the $75 ticket. DJ Sam Vasfi of Marvin provides the tunes to get the party going. Tickets probably won't be sold at the door; call the lounge in advance to reserve yours.

In his current surname-less incarnation as a solo artist, Kele embraces an MPC drum machine in his promotional photos rather than the guitar he wielded in the hugely popular Brit rock outfit Bloc Party. It could be an aesthetic affectation or a sign of an electronic direction that was hinted at before Bloc Party went on hiatus, particularly on such tracks as the rave-y "Mercury" and the Auto-Tuned "Flux." So while Bloc Party takes a breather from the exertion of the past five years, dropping conflicting clues about its future, Kele is the third member to explore a solo path, releasing "The Boxer" in June to an enthusiastic response. Already a charismatic performer, and well versed in applying delays and other electronic effects to a lean rock chassis, Kele is primed to make "The Boxer" come alive on his first solo tour, which stops at the 9:30 Club.

Fans of the bleepy, bassy, get-on-the-dance-floor-now sound of the "Dutch house" musical style know that Afrojack is the rising star of the anything-goes electro-house scene. Mainstream clubbers have started paying attention after two off-the-charts remixes for Lady Gaga, including a banging reworking of "Alejandro" on the singer's new EP, the jaw-droppingly-good remix of Sidney Samson's "Riverside" and the percussive tribal rhythms of "Louder Than Words," a collaboration with hitmaking DJ David Guetta. He's truly one to watch. Afrojack (Nick van de Wall) is making his first D.C. appearance at Lima this week, and it's going to be interesting to see how much damage his beats do to the dance floor. We suspect he'll be in a much bigger venue the next time around, so don't miss this. (Psst: Follow the links to Facebook from and you can get a coupon worth $10 off admission.)

As Maryland alumni, the three of us are not exactly overflowing with confidence about the Terps' chances on the gridiron this season. (If we squeak a bowl bid, we'll be ecstatic.) But with opening weekend of the college football season upon us, we're looking forward to the All-ACC Happy Hour at Public Bar. Alumni groups from every university in the conference have been invited, so wear your colors and get ready to talk some trash. (Unless, of course, you're Wake Forest. Zing!) Doors open at 6 p.m., and happy hour specials include $3 domestic beers, $4 imports and $5 rail drinks.

If you're headed to Gin & Tonic tonight, swap the embroidered-whale pants for a slim-cut suit and a fedora. There's a "Mad Men"-themed fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Association on, and the best outfit wins a free round of shots for his or her group. Beginning at 9 p.m., donate $5 at the door and get drink specials all night, including $5 gin and tonics, $4.50 Heinekens and $3 domestic beers.

Labor Day Weekend = the '80s Dance Party's annual "Rock Lobster" Beach Party. Dance the night away to the Go-Gos, the B-52s and other favorite retro summer jams. There's no cover at Chief Ike's Mambo Room. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Friday, Sept. 3

Salsa options abound in the District, and for those over its western border, some of the best dancing can be had at the Salsa Room on Columbia Pike. But if you're right in the middle of Clarendon's residential and nightlife mix, you're within walking distance of Gua-Rapo's Friday night latin dance session with Rudy Gonzalez Y Su Locura. Rudy Gonzalez is a home-trained talent, moving on from Duke Ellington School of the Arts to seasoning in the D.C. and international jazz scene. It's quite a coup to mambo with his combo for free in an intimate environment when his session resume includes such names as Celia Cruz and Ozomatli.

Let's class-up Friday after all those happy hour options. The International Club of D.C. is sponsoring a night at the Russian Cultural Center with classical and popular works performed by musicians from Moscow and Azerbaijan. The evening starts at 7 with a wine-and-caviar reception. (Appetizers are included in the $29 ticket price; drinks come from a cash bar.) The concert includes works by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Dohnányi, followed by some time to mix and mingle. (And boy, do the crowds at these events love to mingle.) Advance tickets are available from Cocktail attire is requested.

The return of Story/Stereo, the Writer's Center event that pairs local authors and musicians for an evening of readings and songs, should be one to remember. Local novelist Aryn Kyle and local poet Allison Benis White will read from their latest works, and John Davis will perform a selection of songs from his deep catalogue. Over the past decade Davis has pretty much always been a member of one of the city's best bands, starting with punk faves Q and Not U, then with sugary pop group Georgie James and now with power pop trio Title Tracks. He'll perform songs by each band with members of each band joining him. And that includes our Post colleague and former QANU singer/guitarist Chris Richards. As always with Story/Stereo, the event is free.

Saturday, Sept. 4

We know summer doesn't officially end until late September, but Labor Day always feels like the end of vacations and seasonal fun. For example: The Brightest Young Things Summer Camp pool parties, which wrap up for the year after today's event. The $15 ticket includes a free drink, squirt guns, DJs and general mayhem from noon to 8 p.m.

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles turns 29 on Saturday. Jay-Z is reportedly going to buy her a yacht to celebrate. She might actually have more fun at Town, where a "Beyoncepalooza" features DJs spinning her music, Beyonce impersonators, live performances, videos playing on projection screens and other surprises. Doors open at 10 p.m., with $3 rail drinks the first hour.

When Andy Butler of much-blogged-about dance act Hercules and Love Affair DJed at U Street Music Hall in May, he had the crowd in a dancing rapture with an artfully spun selection of '70s disco classics. (Butler also did plenty of boogying in the booth while playing.) He's back for a second go-round, and this time, admission is only $5 if you RSVP in advance.

Rangda is pretty much the Them Crooked Vultures of experimental rock. You've got guitarists Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) teaming with drummer Chris Corsano, who has played with everyone from Bjork to Thurston Moore. For fans of forward-thinking improvised psychedelic rock, that's certainly equivalent to Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones. The trio's album "False Flag" is a relentless parade of sinister electric-guitar freakouts, vicious drumming and long and winding jams that never lose focus or intensity. As impressive as the recording is, all three musicians shine brightest in a live setting, which means Saturday's show at the tiny Velvet Lounge has serious mind-melting possibilities.

Sunday, Sept. 5

Holiday weekends always deliver a packed menu of dance party options, perfect for those who wouldn't otherwise sample them without an extra day off of work. The Metaphysical, Cam One and Mic_L tag-team the decks with classic club bangers, mash-ups and far-ranging dance sounds for their For the People, By the People party at Rock & Roll Hotel. The Daylight DC crew are at the Caverns going from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. with the deepest old school R&B, funk and house. And DJ Dredd keeps his grand experiment in head-to-head matchups rolling along with Prince vs. the Neptunes at The Black Cat.

Host DC, the promoters behind the popular Recess board-game nights for adults, is turning 3 this weekend and celebrating with a yacht party on the Potomac River. At 9 p.m., the three-hour tour heads out of National Harbor. Aboard are DJs, satellite TVs, a lavish buffet and a fully stocked bar. Chairman's Reserve Rum cocktails are $5 all night, and everyone on board gets a free drink with the St. Lucia rum. If it's anything like past Recess events, expect a fun and very social crowd. Tickets are $55 in advance.

Okay, the PBR-BQ at Solly's is one big corporate promotion for a certain beer from Milwaukee. But it's really hard to argue that it won't be fun. Between noon and 8 p.m., the party features free ribs from the Rib Pit and free sides from Sticky Fingers, $2 PBRs, bluegrass performed by Chester River Runoff, corn hole and oversized Connect 4 games, and artist Kristina Bilonick silkscreening shirts, bags and whatever else you want while you wait. There's no charge for admission, though the bar will be accepting donations for the Capital Area Food Bank.

The thunderous sound system at Patty Boom Boom will get quite a workout Sunday, when dubstep DJs substitute gut-punch low-end bass lines for the usual reggae beats during a party called Dive and Lie Wrecked. DJs Tiernan, Robert Manos and Inflictz will be spinning of-the-moment underground dance music from 9 p.m. on.

Monday, Sept. 6

Sunny weather is predicted for the Labor Day holiday. Let's hope that holds so you can hit one of these outdoor parties.

The upscale Adult Swim pool party, which pairs bikinis and bottle service, is returning to the Capitol Skyline Hotel after a short run earlier this summer. The End of Summer Pool Party and BBQ features a cookout, outdoor bars and bottle service tables for groups, with a minimum of two bottles purchased for a group of 10. Of course, you can just show up and take your chances at getting one of the dozens of unreserved lounge chairs. The 18-and-older party runs from noon to 8 p.m.; there's a $20 cover after 2 p.m. and discount admission before if you RSVP to

Cafe Saint-Ex and Bar Pilar are teaming up for a block party on T Street NW between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. They're roasting a 400-pound pig and serving picnic treats; a pulled-pork sandwich with house-made coleslaw and potato salad will run $10. Entertainment comes from the bluegrass band Amanda Murphy and the Lost Indians, and kids can try their hand at painting in an arts area. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Fillmore Arts Center, which provides arts education to local public schools.

The best bar on Capitol Hill? It's hard to argue with the Tune Inn. It's an institution, having served burgers and cold beers since 1947, and its dive-meets-greasy-spoon atmosphere is enhanced by the animal heads and well-aged signs that hang on the walls. (The deer's rear end is a crowd favorite.) The most common order is a beer and a shot; the menu is packed with patty melts, scrapple and open-faced sandwiches with gravy. The Tune Inn is also one of the few places on the Hill where no one cares if you work for a Congressman. No wonder the place is being featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive Ins and Dives." The episode airs tonight at 10, and the Tune Inn is naturally throwing a viewing party to celebrate, complete with $1 PBR pints and "PBR battered treats."

Tuesday, Sept. 7

DJ Neville C.'s long-running Brazilian party emerges from the small confines of St. Ex and moves over to U Street Music Hall to celebrate Brazilian Independence Day. Neville C. regularly crosses the equator to dig for Brazilian vinyl gems to bring back to his shop, and he pulls from classic samba and MPB sounds as well as modern club-rocking baile funk, axe and hip-hop.

-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 31, 2010; 5:45 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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