Hamilton Leithauser, 39, was born and raised in D.C., but he moved to New York for college in 1996 and never looked back. Still, the former singer for indie rock band The Walkmen occasionally pops back into town for shows or to visit his parents in the Cleveland Park house he grew up in. He recently spent time holed up with ex-Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij in Georgetown while writing “I Had a Dream That You Were Mine,” their 2016 collaborative album that features Leithauser’s distinctive crooning. Touring brings him back to D.C. next week (9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; Wed., 7 p.m., $25), and if he could find the time, he’d spend his perfect D.C. day at his dad’s work, the movies and the golf course.
The first thing I would do is go to the National Gallery of Art, where I always take my daughters [who are 6 and 3] and where my dad [Mark Leithauser] works. He’s been there for 40-something years and is the head of the design department. I got dragged there as a kid — it was so boring — but as I’ve grown older I’ve realized how fun it is to take the kids and go through the Sculpture Garden and show them all the great paintings, the triangles out on the plaza and the light-show walkway where you’re not allowed to run, down by the cafeteria.
I always had a really good time going down to Hains Point Golf Course [aka East Potomac Golf Course]. I really miss that about D.C. because I live in New York and there’s no options. I’m not a big golfer or anything, and neither are my friends, but we all enjoyed going out on the course and hitting the ball around. I love all the old guys kicking back in the clubhouse there. It’s a great scene, it’s a public course, it’s cheap and there’s no pretension.
I love the Uptown Theater [aka AMC Loews Uptown 1] — it’s my favorite theater. I think I saw “Star Wars” there when I was like 5. It’s such a big, old, great movie theater. They just do it right and it’s just exciting. We might eat at Vace, [the Italian deli] across the street — that’s been there forever.
For a beer, I might go to The Tombs. [When writing “I Had a Dream That You Were Mine”] we went down to The Tombs a couple of times, which is sorta in that Georgetown University scene. It’s near Rostam’s parents’ house and we would go take beer breaks there.
Last time I was in D.C. I was playing at the Rock and Roll Hotel, and I do like that ramen restaurant nearby, Toki Underground. I thought it was pretty fantastic, just authentic and good. I go to a lot of a ramen restaurants — I’m a little picky — and I felt like that one really passed muster.