Nightlife Agenda: ‘Game of Thrones,’ a Cherry blast and oysters al fresco

April 1

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.

Doggie Happy Hour at the Hotel Monaco includes free dog treats and discounted adult beverages. (Dayna Smith for The Washington Post)
Doggie Happy Hour returns to Alexandria's Hotel Monaco on Thursday, complete with free dog treats and discounted adult beverages. (Dayna Smith for The Washington Post)

Tuesday, April 1
The fourth season of "Game of Thrones" is one of the most hyped and anticipated TV events of the year, and bars are trying to capture some of that magic in the buildup to Sunday’s first episode. Fun begins Tuesday night at "Game of Gnomes," an all-around geekfest on Jack Rose’s rooftop from 6 to 9 p.m. Beer geeks can sample all three of Ommegang’s "Game of Thrones"-inspired beers, including the spicy new Fire & Blood Red Ale, as well as other Belgian and Belgian-style draft beers. Gamer geeks can play Settlers of Catan, Dungeons and Dragons or Heroquest. (Bring your own 20-sided dice.) Either way, anyone wearing a costume gets $2 off beers all night.

Spring has finally arrived, just in time for the return of oyster happy hour on the P.J. Clarke’s patio. Beginning this week, the downtown restaurant is offering 50-cent oysters and $4 pints of Port City beer every Tuesday from 2:45 to 7 p.m. The oysters were developed for P.J. Clarke’s by Virginia’s War Shore Oyster Company. To get everyone in the mood, the restaurant hosts a special celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. on its patio today. Not a fan of bivalves? Stop by between 3 and 6 p.m. and get 50 percent off anything on P.J. Clarke’s raw bar.

KRS-One's role in hip-hop over the past three decades is vast. He founded the seminal group Boogie Down Productions. His epic diss battle with the Juice Crew still stands as one of the best rivalries of all time, even if things have been patched up since then. KRS brought a dancehall reggae influence into hip-hop, and simultaneously set the stage for both conscious and hardcore rap. A vicious freestyler, KRS-One remains one of the best live performers in hip-hop. The Teacher, also known as the Blastmaster, puts it down at the Howard Theatre during a week packed with great hip-hop.

South Africa's most famous musical export has never paid much attention to musical boundaries over his five-decade career, recording with Bob Marley and Herb Alpert, touring with Fela Kuti and Paul Simon, and writing the anthem "Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)." At the age of 74, Hugh Masekela still tours like a nomad, and he's in the area for two concerts in two different states this week: Annapolis on Tuesday at the Rams Head, and Alexandria's Birchmere on Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 2
When discussing the history of D.C. music, it’s all too common to have to inform someone that Marvin Gaye had roots in this town. Marvin, a restaurant named after Gaye and inspired by the singer’s time in Belgium, has thrown a party in his honor every year since 2007, but this one, called Marvin 75 because it marks Gaye's 75th birthday, is special. Performers include members of Gaye’s original band, the Marquees, joined by local R&B singers Martin Luther McCoy and Maimouna Youssef. Rockers U.S. Royalty also will play a set, and neighborhood vinyl resource Som Records will be selling albums and singles by Gaye, his Motown peers and other similar funk and soul artists. Admission is free, and festivities begin at 4 p.m. The evening’s proceeds will benefit the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization specifically chosen by the Gaye family.

Spirits in Black, the long-running party that fuses creative cocktails and DJs spinning the best in heavy metal and thrash music, has been on and off hiatus over the last year, but the Headbangers Ball makes a welcome return this week at the VeraCruz Gallery. Frank Jones of the Gibson, and Patrick Owens and Ashley May of the forthcoming Seven Faces Barroom mix up the drinks while Harry Hotter and Jimmy Rhodes join Andy O and Treebeard on the decks. There’s no cover charge, but you can expect to pay around $10 per drink, which at previous editions have included everything from pig’s blood to Hellfire bitters.

What would President Woodrow Wilson do on a quiet night in? Probably have a glass of wine or a beer, snack on pretzels and other munchies, and play a game with his wife Edith, her siblings or their friends. Maybe Camelot, a 1930s board game similar to checkers; Pit, a rapid-fire card game about cornering the commodities market; or the 1920s road-race car game Touring. All these are on the menu at Vintage Game Night at the Woodrow Wilson House, the one-time residence of our 28th president. It’s a chance to play games that Wilson and his family members owned, though they aren’t Wilsons’ personal copies, while enjoying snacks and drinks and having a peek around the house, which is decorated as it was when the Wilsons lived there. A $15 ticket includes food, gaming from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and two drinks; this month’s featured beers come from the new Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling. Games are held in two rooms on the second floor, and guests are sociable– don’t be afraid to ask if you can join a game.

Thursday, April 3
More reasons to love spring: This Thursday is the return of Doggy Happy Hour at the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, though you should not that it’s only happening on Thursdays this year, instead of both Tuesday and Thursday. (Sorry, pups.) As always, dogs receive free water and treats, while humans take advantage of discounted food and drink from the hotel’s Jackson 20 bar. It’s literally a zoo, with dozens of canines in attendance, so remember that dogs must be on leashes, behave and have had all their shots. On opening night, 15 percent of all proceeds from 5 to 8 p.m. go to People Animals Love, which pairs cats and dogs with people who could benefit from spending time with furry friends, such as nursing homes and hospitals.

Back to "Game of Thrones": Thursday brings an official release party for Ommegang's HBO-endorsed Fire & Blood Red Ale at Penn Social, with glassware giveaways, a costume contest and other games, beginning at 6 p.m.

Friday, April 4
Dancing and having a good time for a great cause: That’s the theme of the annual Cherry weekend, which has raised close to $1,000,000 for local programs that fight HIV/AIDS since 1997. This year’s events kick off with a Friday-night happy hour at Hotel Rouge (complete with cherry cocktails) and then a party at Cobalt with New York DJ Eddie Elias. (Music runs from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., with free vodka for the first hour.) On Saturday, there are two events at Town: A tea dance called I Love Moocy! from 2 to 7 p.m., and the main event with tribal DJ Paulo from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Those who don’t want to stop dancing at the end of the night can head to Tropicalia around 3:30 a.m., where DJs Alain Jackinsky and Mike Reimer will keep the dance grooves going until 9:30 a.m. All-access weekend passes are $70; Saturday-night-only tickets to DJ Paulo and the after-hours are $50.

Carl Craig is one of the heroes of the Detroit techno scene. He was crafting new sounds in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, such as the seminal "Bug in the Bassbin," and expanding his outlook to incorporate elements of jazz and world music. Craig still runs Planet E Records, dropping house and techno singles and keeping himself fresh. He visits Flash this weekend, where D.C.’s Solomon Sanchez opens. Buy tickets in advance and save a few bucks at the door.

A dynamic and dynamite night of alt-country at Iota finds Sarah Borges and Girls Guns and Glory promoting their new albums, "Radio Sweetheart" and "Good Luck." You won't want to miss either one.

Saturday, April 5
"Snake Oil, Holy Water and Sweet Tea" seeks to blend elements of New Orleans and Washington D.C. into one provocative package of performances. This benefit for the Washington Animal Rescue League includes live music by the Dixie Power Trio, an art exhibition at Gallery O on H, and a variety show with magic, sideshow stunts and burlesque dancers. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the show.

When the camera captured Grandmaster Flash rocking advanced turntable techniques in his kitchen in the seminal 1983 hip-hop film "Wild Style," there was no way to know that the artform he helped pioneer would rule the world 30 years later. Almost as surprising: The Grandmaster is still continuing his adventures on the wheels of steel. The Kennedy Center's One Mic festival is an embarrassment of riches for true lovers of hip-hop. Check out Flash at U Street Music Hall and understand the roots to put the rest of the festival in context.

Sunday, April 6
Finally, the fourth season of "Game of Thrones" makes its debut at 9 p.m. If you actually want to watch the show, Little Miss Whiskey’s will again showing every episode on a six-foot projection screen in the upstairs bar. Unlike at the week's other "GoT" events, owner Mark Thorp stresses: "Costumes are not mandatory."

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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Alex Baldinger · April 1