Every week, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s top concerts, dance parties and spirits tastings. Here are five we think you can’t miss:
Tuesday: Short version: Mean Jeans sounds like the Ramones. Slightly longer version: Mean Jeans plays straightforward, snotty party punk better than hundreds of bands who think that counting to four and fast power chords are all it takes to play “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The Portland, Ore.-based trio (which has roots in the District) released “Mean Jeans on Mars” this year, and it’s on the shortlist for Most Fun Albums of 2012. The District’s own bulldozing punk favorites, the Shirks, and Baltimore rabble-rousers Hollywood round out a perfect punk lineup at Comet.
Thursday: Eminem and Slum Village are two of the more prominent names in Detroit hip-hop, but there’s one artist who has carried many Motor City rap acts on his back and pushed them to the world. That would be DJ House Shoes. As a DJ, tastemaker, producer and curator of talent, House Shoes has worked tirelessly to bring shine to Detroit. This year, he finally focused some of that effort on himself and dropped “Let It Go,” an album that underground hip-hop fans have been waiting for. Shoes will be a featured guest on the wheels at the ‘95 Live party at Liv, along with residents Cuzzin B and DJ Face.
Friday: For 10 years, D.C. Soundclash has been a monthly refuge for fans of classic Jamaican reggae, ska, rocksteady and dub tunes. DJs do a fantastic job dropping longtime favorites for dancers while reintroducing overlooked gems for the folks nodding their heads at the bar. Soundclash marks a decade at Marx Cafe with the Kaiser, Bobby Babylon, Sammy Gong and Rice & Peas at the controls. There’s no cover charge, the potent rum punch will be flowing (courtesy of Room 11’s Dan Searing, author of “The Punch Bowl”), Red Stripe beer will be discounted all night, and anniversary CDs with a mix of strange, rare and beautiful songs will be on sale for $5 a pop.
Friday: Oh, Canada: The Canadian Embassy, the Eat Wonky food truck and Rhino Bar have joined forces to host D.C.’s first Poutine Party in honor of Canada Day (celebrated July 1) and the country’s favorite snack: french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds. For $25, you get access to an all-you-can-eat poutine bar and unlimited drinks, including Chocolate City and Yuengling beers and Jose Cuervo, Bacardi and Smirnoff cocktails. This is either going to be awesome or scary. Or possibly both.
Sunday: Our favorite thing about visiting Alexandria’s Port City Brewing Company ? Hitting the tasting room for samples. Because of Virginia law, the company has been able to offer only taster glasses of its beers instead of full pints, but this changes Sunday, when the brewery can begin serving just like a bar. Port City is celebrating by showing off its expanded tasting room — don’t miss the new bar and a dedicated growler-filling station — at a special party. There will be brewery tours, grilled cheese sandwiches from the Big Cheese food truck, and singer-songwriter Justin Trawick performs from 2 to 4 p.m.
Need more ideas? There are six after the jump.
Tuesday, June 26
Last Friday, our Intern Guide had a list of bars that regularly host happy hours where beers cost no more than $1. Here’s a special one in the same vein: The Bottom Line, Sam Adams and DC101 are partnering for a happy hour where Sam Adams Summer Ale costs a buck from 6 to 8 p.m. (The radio station is hosting a similar event at Madhatter on Thursday but with $1 Yuengling and Yuengling Light from 6 to 8.)
Wednesday, June 27
The boutique Avenue Suites hotel in the heart of Foggy Bottom quietly opened its A Bar last Thursday — a cozy little spot with top-notch cocktails and a secluded and posh patio. Get an early look at the bar’s official opening party on Wednesday, which features the bar’s happy hour specials all night long -- $4 seasonal punch, $4 bottled beer and a $4 cocktail from the house list, $5 red and white wines, $6 flatbread and paninis -- instead of the usual 4 to 7 p.m.
Many people think of whiskey as a winter drink, which is true — Scotch is always better than a mojito in front of a fire — but it can be used in plenty of summery drinks. Scott Harris, the distiller of Virginia’s Catoctin Creek whiskey, visits the J&G Steakhouse at the W Hotel to talk about his spirits and how to use them in seasonal cocktails. The $41 ticket (which must be purchased in advance) includes drinks and snacks.
Thursday, June 28
It has been more than 15 years since The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur were killed in separate incidents. Grits and Gravy , one of the city’s top old-school hip-hop and R&B parties, pays tribute to the rappers at this month’s free Soul Kitchen party at Jin. DJ Coz is on the decks, and happy hour food and drink specials are offered from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Live hip-hop bands are scarce in the rap world, but D.C. still has a few solid ones to choose from. Mello-D and the Rados are one of the longest consistently active groups, with the band’s namesake pulling triple duty on rhymes, sax and keys. Catch them as the feature of the Upper Room Showcase on the second floor of Red Lounge.
Friday, June 29
Thaylobleu is a band with P-Funk’s chassis, a punk engine and hip-hop transmission. The Velvet Ants get inspired by Pink Floyd and the Cars. The two acts team up at Axum on Ninth Street.