The essential dance parties, concerts, happy hours and events to hit this weekend. Looking for more ideas? Don't miss our guide to Capital Pride nightlife.
Thursday, June 5
Mockingbird Hill celebrates both its first birthday and International Sherry Week by having Brendan Canty – the drummer in Fugazi and Rites of Spring – DJ his favorite punk records from 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The bar will serve sherry happy hour specials, with a portion of proceeds benefiting D.C. Central Kitchen.
Washington D.C.'s Ab is often seen as the antidote for those who have lost hope in D'Angelo's return. The problem with that comparison is that it only covers one dimension of his soulful sound, which also includes gospel, hip-hop and falsetto-drenched classic soul. Ab has been heard with hip-hop stars Slum Village and Black Milk, and rips his own originals with his band Nat Turner. Ab returns home for an intimate show to Bohemian Caverns, where he first started building the fanbase that he now enjoys.
Mason Inn loves to show off its Southern roots, which are on full display at its summer Boot Scoot parties. The first one of the season takes place tonight, with classic country tunes from the Wil Gravatt Band and a number of drink specials, including $4 Alabama Slammers and $11.75 pitchers of Bud Light. The party starts at 9 p.m., but you should get there early, because the Glover Park bar gets crowded.
Friday, June 6
The National Museum of Women in the Arts' NWMA Nights series is helping make the museum a fixture in the city's after-hours cultural scene. To launch the new "Total Art: Contemporary Video" exhibition, the Young pARTners Circle is hosting a Total Art happy hour with exhibition tours, a discussion with museum staff, an open bar and hors d'oeuvres. (Beats the usual Friday night bar plans, eh?) Tickets are just $10 in advance from nmwa.org, or $15 at the door. Reservations are recommended.
Back to Mockingbird Hill's birthday celebrations, which find the Shaw bar resurrecting Punch Club, a happy hour dedicated to socializing while drinking old-school punches from communal bowls. (It launched in 2009 at the bar of the Warehouse Theatre, a space now occupied by the Passenger.) Punch Club founder Dan Searing – now known as a partner in Room 11 – and Mockingbird Hill bar star Chantal Tseng are whipping up large batches of sherry cocktails and serving them for $6 a glass from 5 to 7 p.m.
When it comes to music, D.C. is truly an international city. If you know where to look, our scene yields great performers from scores of countries, working in genres familiar and foreign. One international treasure who calls D.C. home is Janka Nabay of Sierra Leone. The bubu music he brings from his homeland is a feverishly intense form of party music that almost mandates workout gear for patrons at his shows. Like many popular music styles of the diaspora, bubu has very old roots but its sound gets modernized by successive generations. Janka Nabay and The Bubu Gang have been spreading their beat with successful tours away from this area, but you can catch them here tonight at Tropicalia.
Saturday, June 7
Pride shifts into high gear with the parade through Logan and Dupont, followed by numerous after-parties. Refer to our Pride nightlife list for numerous options. Also, don't forget that one of the best ways to see the parade this year is from restaurant and bar patios: Consider Tortilla Coast at 15th and P, Bar Dupont on Dupont Circle, or Red Light near the finish line at 14th and R.
Looking for an international dance experience but missed out on tickets for the sold-out Asia After Dark? The French Embassy is opening its doors -- and its dancefloor -- for Alors on Danse, a party celebrating the best French-language dance music from the '70s to the '00s, including, we're sure, Stromae's infectious "Alors on Danse." Tickets, which include a snack buffet and one drink, are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. The party runs from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., and half of all proceeds will be donated to charity.
In the early '80s, D-Nice was a teen wunderkind producer and DJ who found himself at the center of an early hip-hop dynasty. Linking up with the venerable KRS-One and DJ Scott LaRock, D-Nice made classics with Boogie Down Productions before he was old enough to vote. Since then, he's had the type of longevity that's rare in hip-hop. His two solo albums yielded golden era classics "Call Me D-Nice" and "Crumbs On The Table," his production credits include work with Queen Latifah and Kid Rock, and his status in the top tier of celebrity DJs puts him at the helm of the swankiest parties worldwide. D-Nice is usually rocking for the rich, powerful and famous, but he'll be throwing down in D.C. this Saturday at the Lodge at Red Rocks with Jerome Baker III and Sharkey, which means no one has to pay a cover charge. Doors open at 9 p.m.