This weekend’s Capital Pride nightlife guide

Bianca del Rio (Courtesy of Project Publicity)
Bianca del Rio, the winner of "RuPaul's Drag Race," performs at Town on Saturday night and on the main stage of the Pride Festival on Sunday. (Courtesy of Project Publicity)

Capital Pride officially began last week, but things really heat up this weekend with the Saturday parade through Dupont and Logan circles, and Sunday's big street festival on Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course, there are many parties around the city to celebrate. Here's our guide to four nights of fun.

Thursday, June 5
If the forecast is true, this is going to be a great night to be outside. Make your first stop the Liason Hotel's rooftop bar, where Chef Art Smith of Art and Soul is hosting a PowerBear Party for Equality. The $30 tickets includes passed hors d'oeuvres, hot dogs and unlimited beer and wine. (If you want to drink something stronger, there's a cash bar.) DJ Neekola spins party hits, and the dress code is "power suits, bathing suits or anything in between." Proceeds from the event benefit the Human Rights Campaign and the DC Center.

The annual Latino Pride party at Town features a performance by Lineysha Sparx of season five of "RuPaul's Drag Race," DJs El Especialista and Xtasis, and a number of drag kings and queens. Doors open at 10 p.m., and admission to the 18-and-over party is $10.

Friday, June 6
Previous Brightest Young Things Pride parties have encouraged guests to dress as cavemen and superheroes; this time around, it’s called Blast Off and features an outer space theme. (Costume suggestions include “Star Trek” crew members, Dr. Frank-N-Furter or the Curiosity Rover.) The party at Union Market’s Dock 5 should be the usual over-the-top experience, with moonbounces, go-go dancers, a photobooth and music. The headliner is Big Freedia, the queen of New Orleans’ hard-driving sissy bounce music, but the lineup also includes singer (and former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestant) Willam, DJs from Cobalt’s monthly CTRL dance party, burlesque by the Epic Win crew and a performance by the Team Peaches drag ensemble. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the event. Word of warning: This party sold out in advance last year at the Howard Theatre.

While the DC Eagle builds out its new location on Benning Road NE, the area's top leather-and-bears bar is hosting pop-up gatherings at Fort Fringe, the Fringe Festival's headquarters at Sixth Street and New York Avenue NW. Stop by after 6 p.m. for a Pride party with beers and music.

Speaking of bears, it's time for another Bear Happy Hour on the rooftop deck at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Music and drink specials are offered from 6 to 11 p.m., including $3 drafts, $4 mixed drinks and $7 pitchers of PBR. There is no cover charge.

Saturday, June 7
The Capital Pride Parade is taking a different route this year, starting at 22nd and P streets NW at 4:30 p.m. and winding up to 14th and R. To cap the night – or kick off the day – you’re going to want to go dancing, and there are plenty of choices in the neighborhood.

Marvin's popular Sunday afternoon party Out on the Deck With Keenan and Smudge is hosting a special Saturday version on the bar's rooftop, beginning at 2 p.m. Look for drink specials, including Stoli lemonade. Admission, as always, is free.

The City Paper is sponsoring Proud, an afternoon garden party at a "secret location" near 16th and O streets. Expect croquet, twister and other lawn games; cocktails and beer; and music from DJ Shea Van Horn from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $15, which includes one drink, or $55 if you want all drinks, snacks and access to a wading pool included.

Town Danceboutique has a treat for fans of "RuPaul’s Drag Race": Season 6 winner Bianca Del Rio will be joined by the other two finalists, Adore Delano and Courtney Act, and Darienne Lake, the last contestant to be eliminated, for two performances Saturday night. (If you watched the episode where the queens had a '90s rap battle, you know how amazing this could be.) The guests will perform in the drag show with the resident Ladies of Town at 9:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. Town expects to be busy: The club warns that the only way to guarantee admission is to purchase $25 advance tickets and show up at 9 p.m., when doors open. And, hey, beyond seeing television stars, you'll get to dance to the dynamic duo of DJ Ed Bailey and Wess on two floors.

The Black Cat is turning both floors over to DJ parties. The main room will feature a cool mix of DJs: Keenan Orr of Cobalt and Marvin, Dean Sullivan of the Cat’s monthly Gay/Bash, Natty Boom of the Anthology of Booty and Tommy Cornelis of Velvet Lounge’s Needle Exchange. Things will get funky on the back stage with DJ Rich Morel — the expert EDM remixer who founded the Blowoff parties with Bob Mould — and Bil Todd, the co-creator of the RAW parties at the Green Lantern. A $10 cover charge gets access to both floors, beginning at 9:30 p.m.

DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer will bring their fantastic Mixtape party to the Howard Theatre, where they’ll play electro by Chromeo, the Knocks and Rocky alongside remixes of Beyonce and Kylie. Doors open at 10 p.m., and there's a $10 cover.

Staff from the British Embassy will have a float in the Pride parade, and once it wraps up, they're moving over to the Brixton for a free British-themed Pride party, beginning at 7 p.m.

After organizing the big women's Pride kickoff party at Phase 1 last week, the ladies of Tagg Magazine are teaming with Lure, promoters of some of D.C.'s best lesbian events, for a big women's Pride party at Dirty Martini. Fuse features DJs and drink specials over three floors, including the rooftop deck. Doors open at 9 p.m., and happy hour runs until 11. Admission is $15.

Sunday, June 8
For those who want to dance after the big Pride Festival on Pennsylvania Avenue, there's no better place than U Street Music Hall. San Francisco's Honey Soundsystem brings its "hard NRG" mix of disco and underground house; New York's Honey Dijon spins Chicago house and techno; and former LCD Soundsystem member Nancy Whang will just get people out onto the dance floor. Seven hours of dancing starts at 7 p.m., and the 18-and-over party has a $10 cover.

Ken Vegas and Rocky host a special Pride edition of the DC Kings Drag King Show at Phase 1. There are 18 other performers on the bill, ensuring there should be something for everyone. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission is $10.

All good things must come to an end, including Pride weekend. The official Pride closing party takes place at Cobalt, with DJ Mike Babbitt spinning on the main level, beginning at 10 p.m. Admission is a $5 donation to Capital Pride.

Fritz Hahn has written about 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. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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