This Week in Nightlife

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn and Rhome Anderson Staff Writers
Thursday, May 5, 2005; 12:00 AM

Thursday, May 5
It's Cinco de Mayo. If you'd like to celebrate the Battle of Puebla with tequila, mariachis and salsa dancing, check out our list of activities here.

To avoid all the tequila-shot craziness, we recommend a trip over to Republic Gardens' new R&B Thursdays. Performing are two of our favorite jazzy go-go groups, the Lissen Band and the After Hours Band, with a focus on classic R&B material. According to the flyer, doors open at 5, with no cover until 9, when an hour-long open bar begins and After Hours takes the stage.

Friday, May 6
Buzz/Cubik/Sting/etc. founder and all-around superstar DJ Scott Henry celebrates his birthday with a special Bit O'Honey set of classic dance tracks on the patio at Nation tonight. (Working on your birthday? That sounds rough.) To celebrate, the Cubik crew is firing up the grills and cooking hot dogs (and tofu dogs) on the two-level deck. Inside, buzz-worthy Brazilian drum 'n' bass DJ Marky V takes control. Tickets are $15 in advance, and the 18-and-over party runs from 9 to 4.

Herndon's annual outdoor Friday Night Live! concert series kicks off another summer on the town green tonight with the modern rock cover band JunkFood. There's no cover, and food and beer are available from vendors; just bring a blanket and chill out. Afterward, wander a short distance over to Jimmy's Old Town Tavern -- one of the coolest neighboring watering holes around -- where a DJ spins dance music all night.

It seems like any DJ who plays Wonderland can really do no wrong -- the place is consistently filled with an energetic crowd of young party people with a jones to start a house quake. It's one of those spots that has become a scene of its own. Still, we'd bet that a DJ Eurok set at this popular Columbia Heights destination might elevate the excitement levels. His pedigree in this town merits a big-up on this page (Reunion Thursdays, Local 16, Gazuza, etc.), and a new item on your to-do list if you've never checked out either Eurok or Wonderland. He'll be dropping rare grooves, hip-hop, reggaeton and more, beginning around 9:30. There's no cover and no hassle.

One day after Cinco de Mayo, the International Club's Tex-Mex Sunset Margarita Cruise offers more margaritas and food -- but the after-dark view of the monuments and landmarks from the Potomac River sounds more interesting than slurping down more tequila. Some "discounted" $28 tickets are still available from Move fast before they jump to $38. The boat leaves from the Georgetown dock at 7 and returns at 9.

Saturday, May 7
If you can't make it to Millionaire's Row at Churchill Downs this afternoon, we can't think of a better place to watch the 131st Kentucky Derby than the Willard Hotel's Round Robin Bar's annual Bonnets and Bowties party. Folks really do dress in their racing best for this annual party, which features a large buffet and an even larger singalong during "My Old Kentucky Home." Besides the ponies, the star attraction is bartender Jim Hewes's mint juleps -- based on Henry Clay's original recipe, they are certainly the best in the city. Doors open at 4; post time is 6:05.

Most Saturday nights, Tom Tom is filled with interns and twenty-somethings dancing, pounding shots and trying to expand their social circles. Tonight, though, we're hoping the Adams Morgan club will be packed with crowds raising money for the D.C. Central Kitchen, a nonprofit group that provides food and job training for the area's homeless and hungry. From 8 to 11, a $25 cover charge includes an open bar, raffle, door prizes and dancing to DJ Primo.

The most recent emerging star to bound forth from the fertile talent incubator of the Roots camp is Martin Luther. Take the vocal sensibilities of a gospel singer, put him in the gym to get diesel for the ladies, strap on a Stratocaster and you've got the makings of the soul scene's newest R&B rock star. The one-two punch of guitar and vocal duties on the Roots' latest tour and his breakout album, "Rebel Soul Music," equals mucho buzz. Catch him with Washington's own Oktbrwrld and the Sentiment at the Black Cat tonight.

Before there was house music there was garage, which isn't a particular genre of music but a catch-all vibe that could be disco, funk, R&B or electro -- anything, really, as long as it keeps the club and the dancefloor pumping. In the hands of the right DJ, the concept clicks together: The Donna Summer and Blackbyrds recordings of yesteryear weave the same emotions that Masters at Work or Kerry Chandler records do today. If that still isn't clear, let some of Washington's masters of dancefloor sounds connect the dots for you at Zucchabar tonight. DJs Sam "The Man" Burns, Divine and Curtis Lee are joined by Baltimore's DJ Mark Moultrie and Virginia's DJ Marv for Vintage Vibez, a night of the best deep underground house classics. Doors open at 7 and the cover is $5 -- one for each DJ.

Sunday, May 8 Cabanas is a new restaurant in the old Solé space in Georgetown's Washington Harbour, and it's jumping into the social scene with Sunday Sessions -- just in time for spring patio season. Each week features local live music talent of the acoustic or jazz variety, followed by a DJ. According to reports from last week's opener, the real draw is the convergence of socialites from the young professional and international scenes. The tunes, schmooze and food and drink specials run from 6 to midnight and there's no cover.

Monday, May 9
Tonight, we have dueling wine events to please any onephile. The Wine Tasting Association and the Washington Wine Academy host the New Zealand Wine Expo at the Madison Hotel, which offers tastes of more than 100 wines, as well as a selection of snacks from Down Under. Tickets are $38. Meanwhile, Alexandria's Vermilion Restaurant offers a five-course wine dinner with eight selections from Italy, Germany, France, the United States and New Zealand. (Vermilion is owned by the same people who run Tallula, the Evening Star Cafe and the Daily Planet wine shop, so we're guessing it's going to be good.) Reservations are required for the $80 event, so call soon.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company