Wednesday, February 13, 2008; 7:27 PM
Thursday, February 14
Liv will be bridging the gap between singles and lovebirds tonight, two groups that generally don't mix and mingle on Valentine's Day. Just Friends starts as a happy hour, then segues into a lounge experience that mirrors the cafe setting of the black love classic "Love Jones," which will be showing on the big screen. DJ 2-Tone Jones takes over the later shift with '80s and '90s R&B. Remember when DJs used to bust a slow jam set at the party with some Keith Sweat, Johnny Gill or Shai? 2-Tone got you.
Two of our favorite D.C. Valentine's Day traditions go head-to-head tonight, as they have for the last five years. First up is the delightfully wicked Voodoo Valentine's Day party at Leftbank, which hands out voodoo dolls and pins at the door and invites you to, uh, imagine that you're extracting revenge on your favorite ex. (Don't stab too hard or you might accidentally stick yourself -- not that any of us would know.) It's a good chance to meet other bitter and/or fun-loving singles, though some couples do show up, too. Admission is free when you RSVP to voodoovalentines.com and show up by 11. Need incentive to arrive early? How about free champagne between 9 and 10?
Meanwhile, Chad America's Rock & Roll Dance Party is in its ninth year at the Black Cat. Couples and singles alike turn out to listen to Glenn, Max and Handsome B. Wonderful spin old rockabilly, jump blues and '50s R&B songs, have a beer and chat with one of the Black Cat's coolest bartenders. There's no cover, no pressure -- just show up to the Red Room and hang out.
Fritz has raved about Birreria Paradiso's amazing beer selection before, and tonight, there's magic in the air at the Georgetown beer bar: The Un-Valentine's Day Special includes a personal pizza and any beer on draft for $14. (We recommend Bells' amazing Hopslam, the refreshing Blanche de Bruxelles or Fuller's classic London Pride.) Quite a wonderful way to drown your sorrows or celebrate being single. (We should note that this special is also in effect at both Pizzeria Paradiso locations, but we have a soft spot for the Birreria.)
H Street Martini Lounge seems to be in two minds about this whole Valentine's Day thing. Tonight's happy hour and party is called "Valentines 'For Singles Only'" but the invitation points out that "couples are welcome also." Hmmm. No matter your status, though, the party features a "meet and greet" happy hour from 5 to 7 with half-price martinis and $5 margaritas, plus romantic tunes and dance music spun by DJ Andy "Hynotik" Yorke. If you arrive after happy hour, there's a $10 cover.
On Valentine's Day, even a punk bar like Asylum gets all sweet and romantic. Sure, it seems all tough, calling tonight's party the "[To Heck With] Valentine's Day Boozer" and lining up the always-fun Riff Raff DJs to spin a mix of "metal, punk, hardcore and pop ballads." But the featured event of the night is that old standby of singles events, the Lock and Key party. For those of you fortunate enough to have never had to go to a singles night, here's how it works: When you buy a pint of Stella Artois, you'll get a random lock or key. You then have to go chat up -- er, talk to -- all the other lock-or-key bearing singles in the room to find your match. When you do, you get a free beer, but more importantly, you've broken the ice with a bunch of people. There's no cover.
Nothing says "We hate Valentine's Day" like beat-the-clock beer specials! The Black Hearts Party at Caddies on Cordell in Bethesda offers $1 Miller Lite drafts from 5 to 6, which rise to $1.50 from 6 to 7 and then $2 from 7 to 9. (You can also get a bucket of five icy bottles for $10 at any time between 5 and 9.) DJs spin pop music from across the decades, and all appetizers are half-price from 5 to 9. No RSVP or list of any kind is required.
The Break Up Ball at Tattoo had us all excited -- singles only? Free shots to help us forget? Alas, it's for singles "ready to mingle, or party it up with your special valentine." Kind of a misnomer, then, unless you're encouraging people to break up at the ball ... which doesn't sound like a good scene. But we digress. What you get tonight, whether you show up with your sweetie or a group of single friends, is free admission all night. VJs spin Top 40, rock and hip-hop. Hit absoluteaddiction.com to get on the list.
Friday, February 15
With their hit "Cupid," '90s R&B sensations 112 should be able to eat well off of Valentine's compilations for years to come, unless Diddy owns all of their back catalog. The Atlanta quartet is making a comeback, despite the fact that the game has changed drastically since their Jodeci-meets-Hi-Five-style lit up charts and dance floors over a decade ago. Find out if they still have it at Juste Lounge tonight. Tickets are half price if you get them in advance at justelounge.com.
We've hyped up DJ Divine's Rebirth nights in this column before, as his blends of soulful house, deep funk, Latin shuffles and soaring vocal tracks never fail to fill dance floors and keep the crowd moving until 2 a.m. Starting this week, Divine's hosting a new event at Mirrors called the Mocha Jazz Lounge, which will offer a chance to kick back and listen to live jazz at happy hour before the night segues into a livelier atmosphere. Smooth saxman Marshall Keys (listen), who's been gigging around D.C. for decades with the Blackbyrds and on his own, is up tonight, beginning at 7:45. Doors open at 7 for drink specials ($6 martinis and Long Island ice teas) and dinner. Once Keys wraps up, Divine takes control for another episode of Rebirth. There's a $10 cover for the whole night.
Saturday, February 16
Just released on DVD this week, the documentary "Africa Unite" adds a new dimension to the existing body of work that aims to capture Bob Marley's musical and cultural legacy. This film records Bob's musical brood and Rita Marley as they celebrate Bob's 60th birthday in Ethiopia. It's part concert film, part Marley family scrapbook and a good amount of heartwarming pan-Africanism. Bob would surely smile approvingly upon the Ethiopian youngsters in the film singing along to "Get Up, Stand Up." If you haven't copped the DVD yet, you can get your first experience of the film tonight at Zanzibar. The Catch A Fire celebration starts with a screening of the film followed by performances by the reggae bands S.T.O.R.M., Inspiration and Proverbs.