The Hotlist: March 2014

February 27

Welcome to the Hotlist, a monthly rundown of everything we're looking forward to tasting, seeing and doing in the weeks ahead. Here's what we're doing in March.

Emerging from hibernation

The surest sign that it's almost time to leave behind your winter doldrums? The March 1 reopening of Garden District. The 14th Street beer garden opens at noon, ready to serve some of Washington's best barbecue and giant mugs of German beer. If that's not enough, March 4 marks the seasonal return of Cantina Marina, the wonderfully scruffy bar on the Southwest Waterfront. It can get chilly when March breezes blow in off the Washington Channel, a small price to pay for a drink in the sun.

-- Fritz Hahn

Browsing vinyl in Georgetown


(Linda Wang/Hill & Dale)

It might seem like a gamble to open a brick-and-mortar music store in the world of streaming, but vinyl still draws a crowd among audiophiles and collectors. Enter Hill & Dale, a new record store in Georgetown carrying LPs, posters and photos. Unlike most collectors' havens, the records here are all new, but the music leans classic, from a reissue of Billie Holiday's "Body and Soul" to Rush's most recent studio album, "Clockwork Angels."

-- Margaret Ely

Drinking rare rye

Local whiskey drinkers should already be familiar with Virginia distillery Catoctin Creek's Roundstone Rye. But the Passenger is the only place where you can try the distillery's delicious new single-barrel version. The rye has a butterscotch flavor with less vanilla than the usual Roundstone, and it's fantastic in a Sazerac. Only 168 bottles were made, an amount Passenger bartender Alexandra Bookless hopes will last a couple of months. She may be underestimating this whiskey's appeal.

BLOG: The Passenger has its own rye whiskey, thanks to Catoctin Creek

-- Fritz Hahn


Globetrotting at the Kennedy Center

Where else can you see performance groups from France, South Africa, China and Chile in March? The Kennedy Center's World Stages festival brings together performers from 20 countries March 10-30, and the schedule looks splashy. Academy Award nominee Janet Suzman (1971's "Nicholas and Alexandra") will star in the U.S. theatrical premiere of "Savannah Bay" (March 19-22). And the collaborators behind the uber-successful "War Horse" play offer a fresh take on "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (March 20-23).

-- Stephanie Merry

Celebrating four years beneath U Street

U Street Music Hall marks its fourth anniversary with nine nights of parties March 16-24. The festivities begin with a set by a DJ duo, cryptically listed as >>>> >>>>, specializing in house; we trust electronic dance music fans won't want to miss it. Set times and cover charges vary.

-- Fritz Hahn

Navigating a sea of blossoms (and backpacks)

They're everywhere! Tourists, that is, an estimated 1.5 million of whom annually descend upon the District to witness the blooming of 3,000 cherry trees each spring. We don't yet know when the trees will bloom, but the National Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 20 through April 13. Highlights include the glitzy Pink Tie Party (March 20), the CineMatsuri Japanese Film Festival (March 23-27), the Blossom Kite Festival (March 29) and the Cherry Blast Art + Music Dance Festival (March 29).

-- Macy Freeman

Going underground at Jack Rose

The Ode to Omaha cocktail at Dram and Grain, made with dry-smoked hickory chips. (Photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)
The Ode to Omaha cocktail, made with dry-smoked hickory chips. (Photo by Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

The criminally underused basement bar at Jack Rose is finally being put to good use. Bartenders Trevor Frye and Nick Lowe have turned the cozy space into the 20-seat Dram and Grain, where they'll craft a mix of pre-Prohibition cocktails using house-made spirits as well as more avant-garde concoctions. Dram and Grain is open only on Saturday nights, and you have to go through some "speakeasy" rigmarole to make reservations: Ask for a phone number at the Jack Rose bar, which you'll then call to ask about availability. It's a pain, but it's worth it.

BLOG: Six things to know about Dram and Grain, the new cocktail lounge below Jack Rose

-- Fritz Hahn

Dining among the dry goods

One of the District's best young chefs, Travis Olson, left, does not work in a restaurant; he works at Glen's Garden Market, where he makes salads, pizzas and custom-made sandwiches for the store's prepared foods section. Fresh off a three-month stint at Rene Redzepi's Noma in Copenhagen, Olson is presiding over a twice-monthly Tasting Table series with seven inventive courses for $75 served family-style in the Dupont Circle market space. The dinners are held on the last Thursday and Friday of the month; with only eight spots per seating, these meals will fill up fast. Next up: March 27-28 and April 24-25 at 8:30 p.m. Reserve at glensgardenmarket.com.

BLOG: Glen's Garden Market launches dinner among the dry goods

-- Tim Carman

Bouncing off the walls in Springfield

This 14,000-square-foot trampoline gym won't need a bouncer at the door; it has dozens inside. (Rimshot!) At Flight Trampoline Park in Springfield, $13 gets you an hour to ricochet off the gym's many springy surfaces, which include a dodgeball court and Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course. There's also a giant foam pit to dive into - like those McDonald's ball pits, but less likely to cause injury.

-- Maura Judkis

Trying a splashy sequel in Georgetown


(Greg Powers)

Chef Fabio Trabocchi's Fiola Mare, the long-awaited piscine sequel to Fiola, is open at the Washington Harbour in Georgetown, where waterside seats and tableside fillets of fish await. And while it's no Italian Riviera, the Potomac River should make an appropriate backdrop for the $5 million, 7,500-square-foot space.

-- Maura Judkis

Getting sentimental at the Corcoran

It's not yet clear when the dramatic changes announced by the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art will take effect, but the oldest private art collection in Washington, which was founded in 1869, will soon cease to exist under one roof. The sentimental among us will appreciate the chance to spend time in the historic museum -- especially with its permanent collection -- before its period of great upheaval.

-- Maura Judkis

Watching sports played on grass


So lush and so green. (Robert A. Reeder/The Washington Post)

The Winter Olympics were great, but that emerald glimmer at the end of winter's tunnel? It's the green grass of soccer and, if you really squint, baseball bidding us forth. D.C. United returns to face the Columbus Crew on March 8 at RFK Stadium ($25-$55), and the Nationals open March 31 in New York against the Mets before the home opener April 4 against the Braves at Nationals Park ($22-$375).

-- Margaret Ely

Tasting Hawaii in Cleveland Park

(Dave Hansen/Tapper Restaurant Group)
(Dave Hansen/Tapper Restaurant Group)

The erstwhile Hula Girl food truck is back - in pop-up form. Through March 16, the former Pulpo space will host proprietor Mikala Brennan's Hawaiian street food favorites, such as Spam musubi and Hawaiian banh mi sandwiches. But the weekend brunch is when you'll get a real taste of the islands, including luau-style crispy roasted pig, right, served with Hawaiian sauces and other condiments.

BLOG: Hula Girl pop-up in Cleveland Park

-- Alex Baldinger

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