Nightlife Agenda: Free French wine, sideshow performances and Duffy’s wings

May 6

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

Note: If you're looking for beer-tasting events connected to the Savor festival, please see our list of events that require advance ticket purchase or our daily rundown of the day's best happy hours, tastings and brewer meet-and-greets on the Going Out Guide blog.


The Hill Country Backyard BBQ, which opened May 1, features a large bar and stage area. It will feature live music through Labor Day weekend. (Fritz Hahn/The Washington Post)

Tuesday, May 6
Duffy's Irish Pub celebrates its eighth anniversary by focusing on the things that have made it a fixture around U Street: wings, tater tots, beer, shots and Nationals baseball. The 8th Anniversary Happy Hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m., features free tots and wings; $3 draft beers from Bell's, DC Brau, Dogfish Head, Flying Dog, Atlas and Evolution; $4 Jameson shots; and $3 house wine. At 7 p.m., all of the TVs switch over to the Nats vs. Dodgers game. There's no cover charge.

Residents of H Street NE know Le Grenier as the neighborhood's cozy, reliable French bistro – a good place to go for cheese and drinks after work or for a full meal of traditional specialties. It's equally friendly to folks from outside the neighborhood, though, and the first Tuesday of the month is a great time to make an introduction. From 6 to 8 p.m., the bartenders introduce the six French wines that will be featured on that month's rotating by-the-glass list and offer free pours while talking about the grapes and producers. May's selection of three reds and three whites includes the Cote Mas Crement de Limoux Brut; the Domaine des Rochers Macon Chaintre, a chardonnay that's bottled without any aging in oak; and a fruity merlot and Cabernet blend from Chateau de By in Medoc.

After making an artistic and commercial breakthrough with its 2011 album "Civilian," Baltimore indie duo Wye Oak made the decision to abandon guitars entirely on the brand-new "Shriek," stripping down to just keyboards and bass. Thankfully, the new instrumentation hasn't changed the band's knack for crafting interesting melodies and hazy, dream-like pop songs. Wye Oak performs with Braids at the 9:30 Club.

Wednesday, May 7
"The Scorpion King," a beer throwdown between DC Brau and Baltimore's Union Brewing at Crios Modern Mexican, would have been a perfect Cinco de Mayo event. For this friendly competition, the two breweries each prepared a cask-conditioned beer aged with Scorpion Mezcal. DC Brau chose Citizen, its Belgian pale ale, which was aged with Mezcal-soaked oak chips; Union took its sour Old Pro Gose and added mezcal-soaked oak chips, agave and lime zest. In addition to a taste-off between the Mezcal-infused casks, each brewery will have five of its beers on draft, beginning at 5 p.m.

Thursday, May 8
Suzy Bogguss's newest album is a heart-on-sleeve homage to Merle Haggard, featuring a dozen songs written or co-written by the singer Bogguss calls "the poet of the common man." These aren't rote covers, though: Bogguss adds her own bluesy honky-tonk swagger to such classics as "The Bottle Let Me Down" or "I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink" and a fresh, sensual edge to "Let's Chase Each Other Around the Room" and "I Always Get Lucky With You," all while keeping Hag's spirit intact. A bonus: All tickets to this show at Gypsy Sally's include a post-concert meet-and-greet with Bogguss.

After more than a decade playing bass and writing songs for the Drive-By Truckers, Shonna Tucker left the Southern-rock staples in late 2011. Her first solo album, "A Tell All," was released in November, and it's a strong collection of muscular Southern rock, pop-edged country and swaggering blues. A February visit to Hill Country's basement Boot Bar played up the country edge of the new material, letting the spotlight fall on Tucker's Dolly Parton-esque vocals and some shimmering pedal steel guitar. Expect to hear more of that material during a free concert at Hill Country's outdoor Backyard BBQ, the down-home party on the lawn of the National Building Museum. The show begins at 5:30 p.m., but gates open at 4 for pre-show beers and margaritas.

The sold-out Sweetlife Festival isn't until Saturday, but revelers who just can't wait can get an early fix at U Street Music Hall on Thursday night. The "Sweetlife Festival Kickoff Party" is headlined by Haerts, a Brooklyn quintet that makes the kind of sunny, catchy '80s synthpop that gets you named "Song of the Summer" by Elle Magazine. X Ambassadors and Badboxes also are on the all-ages bill.

Saturday, May 10
Magicians! Sword swallowers! Hypnotists! Contortionists! Indie rockers! No, this isn't a game of "One of these things (is not like the others)" – it's the entertainment llineup for the first Side Yards, a celebration of sideshow entertainers on multiple stages at Yards Park. When you're not watching the Circus of Wonders' fire-eaters or having your future predicted by a fortune teller, you can rock out to U.S. Royalty, Shark Week and Drop Electric, or have a drink in the Bluejacket-sponsored beer garden. The fun runs from 5 to 10 p.m., and the kicker is that there's no entry fee.

The Eurovision Song Contest, which pits 39 European countries against each other in an effort to produce the best pop song, is an over-the-top combination of the Miss America pageant, the "American Idol" finals and nationalistic Olympic pageantry. Denmark's Emmelie de Forest handily won the competition last year with her hit "Only Teardrops," so Copenhagen is playing host to this year's concert, and the Danish Embassy is hosting the D.C. viewing party. Big screens, entertainment, DJs and a barbecue will be featured in the embassy's gardens from 2:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets include pork ribs and coleslaw, with drinks and other snacks sold at cash-only booths. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger, and advance purchase is strongly recommended.

The D.C. Love Festival moves to even bigger digs at the Washington Convention Center this year, but welcomes another exciting slate of national and hometown performer combos for its concert at DAR Constitution Hall. Yasiin Bey, the artist formerly known as Mos Def, brings his mix of jazzy bluesman and renaissance b-boy stylings to DAR Constitution Hall, joined by an all-star D.C. high school drum line. Chrisette Michelle will be paired with Wale, and Bilal will have D.C. soul and go-go songstress Lysette Titi join his set.

The arrival of spring weather means the day parties start popping off. With so many new decks and patios popping up around town, you have to be discerning to find the right combo of music, drink menu and lounge space. This week, we have to recommend an old staple, simply because it's a production of the Rock Creek Social Club and DJ Jerome Baker III will be in the mix. The Grilled Cheese Social, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Marvin, will meet your Saturday pre-gaming or pre-dinner needs nicely.

Takoma Station is one of the last spots within D.C.'s borders where you can see a live go-go show. All-lady band Be'La Dona will be throwing down that good crank for their pre-Mothers Day jam. They've got a classic go-go pocket but also a party-smashing repertoire of R&B, pop and rock covers. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Sunday, May 11
Over her career, Keren Ann has cooed French lyrics over jazzy bossa nova tracks, sung gorgeous Susanne Vega-style folk-pop and even embraced gently rocking trip-hop and electro-lite. The constant, though, has been her gorgeously wispy voice, which floats delicately through any arrangement. After devoting a few years to motherhood, the polyglot singer -- born in Israel, raised in Paris, living in New York -- is returning to the stage. Her tour brings her to the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.

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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