Going ‘Great Gatsby’ with food, drink and sights around D.C.

When it comes to summer movies, "The Great Gatsby" is the best eye candy on the silver screen, and it's likely to inspire moviegoers to seek a bit of the Jazz Era's hedonism after the end credits roll. Suddenly interested in flapper style, Prohibition cocktails, Art Deco architecture and literary history? Here are some local places to visit.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Sights:

Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald's grave: The Fitzgerald family has roots in Maryland, so when F. Scott died in Hollywood in 1940, he was originally interred at Rockville Cemetery, and later buried at the family gravesite at St. Mary's Church in Rockville. His wife, Zelda, who died eight years later after a sanitarium fire, was buried alongside her husband. Their gravestone is inscribed with the final line from "The Great Gatsby": "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

"Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes" at the National Gallery of Art: The fashion of the era is reflected in this exhibition about a Russian ballet's collaborations with the House of Chanel, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and others. The show, which features costumes, paintings, set designs and film from 1909-1929, will open May 12.

Art Deco design: While there's no cohesive Art Deco tour of D.C., you could cobble together a self-guided one with various lists of historic structures. It's a bummer that two of the region's best Art Deco theaters -- the Uptown and AFI Silver -- won't be screening the film.

Prohibition at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment: This year is the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition. To put those decadent West Egg parties into context, this Prohibition exhibition delves into bootlegging, crime and the era's outlaws.

Drinks:

The Gibson: As nightlife reporter Fritz Hahn wrote, "The cozy, romantic space, with its dark, candlelit decor, evokes the glamour of the '20s and '30s, as do such vintage drinks as the Sazerac (strong rye whiskey and bitters in a glass washed with absinthe) or the rich Japanese Cocktail (brandy, orgeat syrup and bitters)."

The Carlyle Club: The Alexandria supper club has a classic Roaring Twenties look. The music isn't always of the era, though (Ahem, Celine Dion tribute night) so make sure you check the schedule and pick a night with jazz.

The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club: This new, elegant bar and performance space carved out of the former Bethesda Theater has the look and the sound: a classic art deco facade, and a Gatsby-themed night on May 9. Big Band leader Doc Scantlin will lead dancers through Prohibition classics like "Puttin' on the Ritz" and hits of the swing era. Tickets are $20.

The Bar at the Saint Regis: The St. Regis was built in 1926, and the marble and crystal accents and Chesterfield chairs in the handsome lobby bar will bring out your inner Nick Carraway or Daisy Buchanan. The cocktail menu features pre-Prohibition classics that are served with a giant block of ice.

Eats:

Caesar salad is a product of the era: it was invented in 1924 by San Diego restaurateur Caesar Cardini. According to legend, he was short on ingredients and prepared the salad with ingredients he had on hand, tossing it in front of his patrons to add a special touch. Critic Tom Sietsema has praised The Majestic in Alexandria for having one of the best Caesar salads in town -- and it's tossed tableside, the old-fashioned way.

Popsicles are another invention from the Roaring Twenties: they were patented in 1923.  And they've come a long way from simple fruit flavors, as Adams Morgan's Pleasant Pops can attest. There, you'll find flavors like honey lavender, Thai coconut curry and hibiscus.

Le Diplomate: It's more Paris than West Egg, of course, but there's an undeniable influence of 1920s decor in Stephen Starr's new D.C. brasserie. Prohibition cocktails like the French 75 and decadent dishes - like the "petit plateau," a staggering assortment of lobster, oysters, shrimp and clams about which there is nothing petite -- all contribute to the opulence of the Gatsby era.

Correction: An earlier version of this post did not include the information that the Fitzgeralds were originally buried at Rockville Cemetery, before being moved to St. Mary's.

Gbenga Ajilore is an economics professor at the University of Toledo, who research centers on public finance and sports economics.
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