Nightlife Agenda: Motown, Vinofest and a jazzy block party

June 23

The DJs, bands, dance nights and parties you need to plan for in the next seven days. We'll feature more events on the blog throughout the week.

Dimitri From Paris
Dimitri From Paris brings his smooth, sexy disco-house to Malmaison on Friday night. (Photo courtesy of the Windish Agency)

Monday, June 23
Here's your semi-regular reminder that D.C.'s coolest spaces are often most interesting on weeknights, not weekends. Last week, Den of Thieves got a little more exciting with the debut of the weekly Motown on Mondays. Launched in San Francisco in 2009, Motown on Mondays quickly became a hot dance party with DJs spinning not only Motown originals but exclusive remixes and songs by the extended kin of the traditional Motown family of artists. After spreading to Chicago, Brooklyn and beyond, the franchise has expanded to Washington. DJs D-Mac, Rusty B and Qdup are on the decks for tonight's party, which begins at 8 p.m.

Wednesday, June 25
Spirit Animal's heady blend of punk-funk, primal blues and dub has the group primed for big things. Last year's bruising dance tune "The Black Jack White" was a hit on Spotify and even MTV. The Brooklyn-by-way-of-D.C. band performs a free show on the roof of the W Hotel this week, but you have to RSVP to POVLive@BrandLinkDCRSVP.com to get on the list. Special cocktails will be $10 all night.

Geoffery Lively of Bethesda's Rock Bottom brewpub consistently brews some of the area's finest ales. But because he's working for a big-name brewpub chain, and because you almost never see his beers outside of the Bethesda taphouse, Lively tends to be overlooked in the D.C. beer scene. Here's a chance for a reintroduction: Rock Bottom hosts a special brewer's dinner this Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m., which finds Lively's beers paired with a multi-course meal, including crab bruschetta and salmon marinated in Rock Bottom's Devil's Thumb golden ale. All-inclusive tickets are $30, and space is limited. Call 301-652-1311 to make a reservation.

Friday, June 27
In all the rush to anoint the coolest things that are making D.C. a newly cool city among the young bestowers of cool, Washington's jazz output continues to get short shrift. The Jazz Loft is a monthly event that seeks to bridge the divide between the perception of jazz as a stuffy, ivory tower and the artists birthing evolving, exciting approaches to the form. For the D.C. Jazz Festival, the Jazz Loft has organized a Friday night block party featuring pianist Marc Cary. His sound is heavily influenced by go-go, so it's jazz as a participatory experience, even a danceable one. The block party takes place in a lot near the 9:30 Club, at 945 Florida Ave. NW. Joining Cary's Rhodes Ahead ensemble is the Braxton Cook Quartet and Butcher Brown. Arrive between 4 and 7 p.m. for happy hour with drink specials. Performances begin at 7. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door; admission is free during happy hour.

Dimitri from Paris is a disciple of disco, and his journey to become of the gods of house music has always had a sexy disco thump as a guiding principle. Dimitri from Paris produces and plays tracks that are cheeky, playful, body moving and sophisticated. TThis weekend, the Frenchman takes over one of the best sound systems for house in the city, at the French restaurant/lounge Malmaison. After dark, Malmaison transforms from a chic eatery into a boîte of joyous musical release, just the type of spot for house heads looking for a respite from the fist-pumping club crowds. Get your $20 tickets now to avoid lines at the door.

Saturday, June 28
VinoFest isn't your average wine festival. In fact, the day-long event at Union Market's Dock 5 event space is about more than vino. Thievery Corporation, Jessie Boykins III, Body Language and Sugar Bear and E.U. are among the musical guests. The No Kings Collective is curating an art exhibit that includes historic photos and posters of Union Market's neighborhood. And there's no all-you-can-drink orgy of pinot: A "full access" ticket includes a welcoming glass of sparkling wine, and then a guided tasting of eight different wines from 2 to 6 p.m. (After that, you're welcome to buy more drinks in the "beer garden.") Food comes from Union Market's vendors, including Rappahannock Oysters. Admission including wine tasting is $75; a $50 concert-only ticket skips the wine tasting but includes the complimentary glass of sparkling wine. High rollers can buy $125 VIP tickets, which add an open bar and unlimited appetizers and desserts.

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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Fritz Hahn | June 23