Nightlife Agenda: National Rum Day and the first beers of fall

August 12

The DJs, bands, dance nights and parties you need to plan for this week.

Rock Creek Social Club
Rock Creek Social Club, which packed Recess every Tuesday for two years, celebrates its fourth anniversary at U Street Music Hall this week. (2011 photo by Evy Mages for The Washington Post)

Tuesday, August 12
Over the last four years, the Rock Creek Social Club has thrown some of the most lively and interesting parties in D.C. No matter the venue, a diverse, ready-to-party crowd shows up to socialize and dance to hip-hop, moombahton, bedroom house and future R&B. Rock Creek Social Club celebrates its fourth anniversary tonight at U Street Music Hall with a special performance by New York tastemaker Va$htie alongside DJ sets by longtime RCSC fixtures Jerome Baker III and Spinster Tracy. Buy tickets in advance for $10 – they'll be $20 at the door – and show up before 11 for an open bar.

Wednesday, August 13
We aren't halfway into August, and the seasonal beer creep is already underway. When it's 85 degrees and sunny, we're itching for light, thirst-quenching radlers and summer ales, not Oktoberfest beers. And yet, the Lost Rhino Brewing Company is tapping the first kegs of its seasonal RhinO'Fest. We like the award-winning RhinO'Fest a lot; it just seems too early to be sipping it on a patio. But hey, we're grumpy old men, and if you're dying to drink the first Oktoberfest of the summer, it will be available at Lost Rhino's Ashburn brewery beginning at 4 p.m.

Thursday, August 14
This Saturday is National Rum Day, but if we're being honest, rum is too important for just one day of drinking. Celebrations begin tonight at the Graham Hotel's rooftop deck, where flights of aged rums and cocktails featuring aged rum will be paired with a free cigar from Georgetown Tobacco. Tickets for Rum and Smoke are $45, and the party runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

Since Eric Hilton repurposed Den Of Thieves as a DJ-focused bar, Washington's musical selectors have been filling the space with a variety of sounds you won't find anywhere else. The attraction is its unpredictability: You may end of dancing all night, or you may post up at the bar with a fine cocktail and get exposed to new genres of music. This week, Brazilophile DJ Neville C brings his Samba Social to Den Of Thieves, pulling from a vast collection of vinyl cutting across all eras and styles of Brazilian music.

Lots of names get tossed about as "talents" now that deep house is popping a little more on the local dance music scene than it has in the past. But if you're talking about serious, vetted house maestros, you have to mention DJs Kostas and Double o7. If you're not hip, catch them at Tropicalia, joined by David Gandy.

Friday, August 15
With 24 hours to go before National Rum Day, the events keep coming. The big event today is the Rum Runner Bus, which will make multiple stops at ports of call around D.C., including Farmers Fishers Bakers and Smith Public Trust, for rum cocktails and appetizers. (Don't worry if you get stuck in traffic, as there will be rum punch served aboard the bus between destinations.) Tickets are $45, which includes food and drink at four bars. The bus leaves from the Flats at Atlas at 5:30 p.m. and finishes at 10:30.

Too much of a commitment? Head for Cuba Libre, where all 90 rums at the bar will be half-price from 5 to 7 p.m., whether you want a glass of the basic stuff (regularly $8) or the much fancier $34-per-pour varieties. There are also flights of mojitos (three choices, $12) and straight rums (three choices, starting at $16, depending on your selections).

Moving away from rum: Beginning tonight, the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Fairfax marks its fifth anniversary with eight days of parties, leading up to next Saturday's unveiling of this year's Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. The kickoff features an extended happy hour from 4 to 9 p.m. and includes live music from melodic hard rock band Madrone.

Rich Medina is many things: a former Division 1 basketball player, a renowned poet, a music producer and educator. But you get to know him best when he expresses himself through his record collection. A Rich Medina set is sublime, deep, soulful and expansive. Medina's loyal following doesn't show up to hear a lazily assembled stretch of pop hits; they come to dance hard and go on a musical journey. If that sounds like something you'd be into, catch Rich Medina during a free set at the Lodge at Red Rocks.

The raucous fusion of soul, funk and reggae at the monthly TNT parties at Haydee's have long been a good excuse for a night out in Mount Pleasant. Tonight, DJs Michael Saretsky and Manolo "Dos Dedos" Garcia are moving the party up the street to Marx Cafe, where they'll be spinning nothing but old-school reggae, ska and rocksteady 45s while the bar pours $5 glasses of rum punch. There's no cover and the grooves begin at 10 p.m.

Saturday, August 16
Actual National Rum Day arrives. Cuba Libre brings back Friday's happy hour (half-price rum from 5 to 7) as well as those discounted flights. The main event at Jack Rose is a "Rum-B-Que" from 1 to 5 p.m. with an open-bit barbecue on the rooftop deck. Food will be paired with rum punches, rum cocktails and rum tastings coordinated by Trevor Frye – the man behind Jack Rose's speakeasy-ish Dram and Grain cocktail bar – and his team. All-inclusive tickets are $65.

If we had to guess, more people in Washington consume their rum through mojitos than tiki cocktails. That explains why National Rum Day also features the Mojito March, a Dupont Circle bar crawl with six stops, including Cafe Citron and Mission. Each participant offers its own take on the classic combination of rum, sugar, lime and mint. You get to try all six (or fewer, if you want) for $50. (Deal alert: Living Social currently has the tickets for $25.) Check in at Buffalo Billiards between noon and 3 p.m., then drink mojitos until 10.

The upbeat reggae band Nappy Riddem is enjoying a big week with the release of "Rock Steady Remixed," an EP that finds the band's conscious tunes reworked into deep house, moombahton and drum'n'bass tracks by producers from around the world. (Have a listen below.) To top it off, Nappy Riddem and its six-piece band headlines the 9:30 Club at a birthday bash for singer and co-founder Rex Riddem.

Sunday, August 17
Doc Scott is a godfather of drum'n'bass. He was present for the original raves and the first releases on Goldie's influential Metalheadz label, he leveled clubs with "VIP Rider's Ghost" and original tunes in the 1990s, and continues to produce tracks and tour the globe. He's joined at U Street Music Hall by Bailey, another of Metalheadz's most important 1990s selectors and a longtime BBC DJ, as well as Slant and MC T.R.A.C of the local 2Tuff d'n'b team. Tickets are $10 in advance, but jump to $15 at the door.

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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