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Posted at 3:01 PM ET, 12/21/2010

Nightlife Agenda: The final Mousetrap, Falafel Frenzy and the Roots

By Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson

The Roots keep touring and releasing albums despite their role as Jimmy Fallon's house band. They hit the 9:30 Club for two nights this week. (Justin Francis)

The big story this week is the final Mousetrap dance party at the Black Cat after 11 years of bringing Britpop and indie tunes to the masses, but the days leading up to (and including) Christmas are full of good cheer and good beer. Try rare Stone brews, including "Lukcy Basartd" at Bourbon's Get Stoned Evening; drink well and help charity at the new Falafel Frenzy party on Christmas Eve; sip free beers while checking out Petworth's new Blue Banana sports bar, settle next to a fire and sing Irish drinking songs in Alexandria, or sip free drinks at the Park's Christmas night party.

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

Wednesday, Dec. 22
If we were forced to pick the one greatest revelation of D.C. nightlife for 2010 it would be the bass at U Street Music Hall. It's a heavenly throb, one that reverberates through your entire body. So when the club hosts an evening titled Baltimore Bass Connection, we will of course take notice. Charm City knows a thing or two about low-end, and it also knows how to throw a party. Wednesday's smorgasbord show with underground rap faves, Spank Rock, Baltimore Club DJs Devlin and Darko, and spastic rockers the Death Set and Ninjasonik would be an auditory assault no matter the venue but should be even more special on our favorite below-street level dance floor.

The Stone Brewing Company is best known for Arrogant Bastard Ale, an aggressively hoppy beer with an exquisitely bitter taste and a gorgeous citrus aroma. Tonight, Bourbon in Adams Morgan is hosting a very special evening of Stone beers, including a rare keg of "Lukcy Basartd" -- a blend of Arrogant Bastard, its evil, hoppier twin Double Bastard Ale, and the aged Oaked Arrogant Bastard. The special "Get Stoned" tapping also includes Stone Smoked Porter on draft and special bottles of Oaked Arrogant Bastard and Stone Ruination. Throw in the sound system blasting the Guns N' Roses Pandora station all night and you have the rockin'-est party in Adams Morgan. Doors open at 6 p.m., and this beer will go fast.

Last week, Fritz wrote a blog post previewing Blue Banana, a new sports bar in Petworth that was supposed to open on Friday night. Snow and delivery problems meant things weren't quite ready, so the grand opening celebration is this week. Stop by tonight for an open bar from 8 to 9 -- the 12 draft options include Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Victory Golden Monkey and Brooklyn Lager. If that's too early, swing by on Thursday, when all beer is half-price all night (drafts cost between $2.50 to $3.50).

Thursday, Dec. 23
The annual Santa Jam benefit show at the State Theatre regularly boasts an impressive roster of local stalwarts. This year's lineup features blue-eyed soul belter Tommy Lepson and blues scorcher Linwood Taylor. As always, the show benefits Doorways Homeless Shelter of Arlington; attendees are asked to bring an unwrapped gift for a child.

On a cold night, there are few places as welcoming as Murphy's Irish Pub in Alexandria. Grab a pint of Guinness or a mug of Irish coffee, settle down next to the stone fireplace and sing some traditional drinking songs with Irish troubadours Rocky Guttman and Ronan Kavanagh. The pub's hearty, lively atmosphere is perfect for celebrating the holiday season. (Looking for more bars with fireplaces? Try our list of favorites.)

Friday, Dec. 24
Around Christmas, the Jewish nightlife scene has long been dominated by two parties, the Matzo Ball and the Gefilte Fish Gala. They're the usual mix of singles trying to meet that special someone and groups of friends looking to get down. (The result can sometimes be like an awkward high school dance. With booze.) Shaking things up this year is the Falafel Frenzy at Local 16, which mixes philanthropy and throwing down on Christmas Eve. Head to U Street for a DJ, dancing and drink specials ($5 cocktails, beers, wines and shots), spend the night meeting and greeting, then leave knowing you've done good. All proceeds from cover charges and 10 percent of the bar sales will be donated to the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, which will use the money to fund food programs in the city, including D.C. Central Kitchen. Save $5 on tickets if you buy them in advance from the Falafel Frenzy Web site.

Speaking of the Matzo Ball, the singles-heavy party is moving to I Street this year, taking over both Eden Lounge and Cafe Asia. Each floor will have its own DJ and style -- hip-hop, salsa, top 40, '80s and '90s retro -- and guests can move between the two buildings. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door; the price include drink specials.

Saturday, Dec. 25
It's the end of an era at the Black Cat: The Mousetrap, D.C.'s longest-running indie and Britpop DJ night, is winding up after 11 years. Eleven years of spinning Belle and Sebastian, the Smiths, the Stone Roses, Pulp, Blur, Oasis, Suede - and plenty of non-cult hits, too. It was a groundbreaking DJ night, paving the way for countless other DJs to bring their CDs and records into rock clubs, and it was consistently packed, as it was again last month, for crowds who wanted nothing more than to jump up and down to "Girls and Boys" and shout along to "Common People." Take one last spin around the dance floor to "The Boy With the Arab Strap," courtesy of DJs Mark Zimin and Stereofaith.

Meanwhile, the Black Cat's back stage hosts one of our new favorite holiday traditions: The James Brown Death-mas Bash, honoring the Godfather of Soul, who passed away on Christmas Day 2006. You'll hear nothing but funk all night long, and probably a few choice holiday cuts - maybe "Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto."

Many bars close up shop on Christmas Eve and Christmas to give their employees a chance to spend the holiday with their families, but others are open and ready to entertain.

The Park at 14th is hosting Christmas at the Park, and there will be free cocktails from 9 to 10.

JV's brings the rip-roaring alt-country of Honky Tonk Confidential ("and special guests") to its stage at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 if you need some pre-show Christmas cheer

The Gefilte Fish Gala is a serious singles party: There's even separate floors for the 35-and-over crowd and for the 21-to-35 crowd to make it easier to find someone your own age. (Or not, if you're a cougar.) With DJs spinning dance tunes from the '70s forward on Muse's four levels, plus drink specials, free kosher pizza and plenty of door prizes, everyone is having fun by the end of the night. As always, the Gala is a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and a $5 donation at the door is suggested.

Sunday, Dec. 26
It's been three years since Jihad Muhammad rocked D.C., but the Choice crew is bringing the New Jersey-style house spinner back for this new jam at Fab Lounge. It should definitely be on your regular house rotation along with Red Fridays at U Street Music Hall and the Sunday Soul Solution at Eighteenth Street Lounge.

Monday, Dec. 27
The days of seeing hip-hop's best live group for a Jackson or less are long gone, but The Roots have earned the right to boost those ticket prices. Playing marathon three-hour shows a couple hundred times a year for more than a decade is an incredible record of paying dues. They also managed to squeeze out an album a year at that pace, consistently evolve as a band and contribute to numerous quality side projects. So when drummer ?uestlove and nearly peerless rapper Black Thought and the crew decided to take a cushy gig as Jimmy Fallon's house band, the concern was they would put themselves on cruise control. Two more solid albums released during their Fallon stint and a sustained tour schedule put those fears to rest quickly, and now a whole new wave of admirers experience what original Roots fans have raved about since the early '90s. They'll crank out the hits at the 9:30 Club for two nights in a row.

Tuesday, Dec. 28
The Roots at the 9:30 Club (see Monday listing)

By Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson  | December 21, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Holiday, Music  
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