Since the Fourth of July falls on a Thursday this year, holiday parties kick off the night before and go right through the weekend. (You already asked your boss for Friday off, right?) From concerts with firework views to a good old-fashioned American cookout, here's where to celebrate America's birthday with a bang:
Starting Monday, July 1
All three branches of Pizzeria Paradiso will celebrate America's favorite craft beer style from July 1-14. The annual "JulyPA" means that every tap - 16 in Georgetown, 14 in Old Town Alexandria and 12 in Dupont Circle, as well as the special cask beer at each spot - will pour hoppy India Pale Ales or hoppier double or imperial india pale ales. Each location will have its own menu, so you may have to do a little bar, well, hopping to try all the beers you're curious about.
Meridian Pint Birthday and Independence Day Week
The Columbia Heights beer bar is marking its third year in business with four days of specials. The unifying factor: Each night will feature a dozen local draft beers for $3 each from 3 to 7 p.m., plus cooks preparing dinner on an outdoor grill. Monday is the actual anniversary, with local beers for $3 all night and 25 percent off all bottled beers. On Tuesday, kids eat free from the special grill menu. Wednesday brings a special all-American game of trivia, with a pair of club level Nationals tickets up for grabs. Thursday is all about grilling.
Wednesday, July 3
The Big Boom
Afrika Bambaataa, the New York DJ who fused hip-hop and electro beats on "Planet Rock," headlines the Fort Knox Five's annual July 3 party at U Street Music Hall. He's joined by the innovative British breakbeat DJ A Skillz, Los Angeles genre-smasher Pumpkin, local reggae artists Nappy Riddim, drum'n' bass DJs Proxxy and Lantern, and the whole Fort Knox Five crew, who will be trading off on four turntables.
Marx Cafe's monthly country night draws crowds of 20-somethings that boot-scoot to Big and Rich and cheer the first notes of their favorite Johnny Cash song. It's usually on the first Tuesday of the month, but is moving a day later to take advantage of the July 4 holiday. Grab the all-American house special - a shot of Jim Beam and a can of beer for $5 - and get ready to sing along to Waylon, Willie and the boys.
Midtown Liberty Bar Tour
Admit it: You're not going to get much work done on July 3. So you might as well walk out of the office early and head right to a bar. Eighteen Dupont Circle venues are offering $2 Coors Lites, $3 Blue Moons and various food and shot specials from 5 p.m. to midnight during the Midtown Liberty Bar Tour. It can get chaotic as the night goes on, but the large number of participating bars means there's something for everyone, from pool and other games (Buffalo Billiards) to DJs spinning Top 40 (Rumors) to watching sports on a rooftop deck (Public Bar). Festive patriotic attire isn't required, but many participants go all out.
Independence Day at the Rock and Roll Hotel
The Rock and Roll Hotel realizes we're dealing with two holidays here: Wednesday night, because you don't have to go to work on Thursday, and Thursday, because you don't have to go to work before the fireworks start. On Wednesday, the bar opens its rooftop deck at 6 p.m. for happy hour with $3 PBR tallboys, $2 rail drinks and half-price wings until 8 p.m. DJs Ed the Metaphysical and AutoRock spin all night and there's no cover charge. On Thursday, the roof opens at 11 a.m. for a special edition of the weekend brunch: Pay $13 for bottomless bloody marys and mimosas until 3 p.m., followed by drinking and playing corn hole at the rooftop bar, which now has 28 different canned beers.
Thursday, July 4
Before we go any further: The SoberRide program is back and offering free taxi rides home to anyone who overindulges on July 4. Call 800-200-TAXI between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. and you get a taxi. SoberRide pays up to $30 of the fare. (Anything over that is the responsibility of the rider.) Last year, SoberRide kept 215 drivers off the road on July 4. You can read more about the program and get additional details here.
July 4 at Hill Country Backyard Barbecue
Expect a small-town Americana vibe at Hill Country Barbecue's pop-up party on the National Building Museum's lawn. Gates open at noon on Thursday, with live music all day by country singer-songwriters Mic Harrison & Kevin Abernathy (beginning at noon), local rockers South Rail (3 p.m.) and alt-country singer Justin Jones (6 p.m.). The chefs will be grilling a whole hog; a plate of meat and a side sells for $10. If you're playing hooky on Friday, there's a special lunchtime set by blues-rockers Timothy Bracken Complex, but no pig roast - just the usual delicious barbecue, Shiner Bock and margaritas in a park-like setting.
3 Stars Roof Deck BBQ at 1905
The owners of 3 Stars Brewing Company and 1905 chef Joel Hatton are teaming up for a July 4 party on the roof of the Shaw bistro. Tickets include one item from the grill (think burgers, sausages or pork ribs) and two sides (options include smoked coleslaw, orzo pasta salad and charred sugar snap peas). The 3 Stars guys will be pouring $5 glasses of their Citra Lemon Saison and the Movement Pale Ale. The party starts in the afternoon and lasts through the fireworks, which you should be able to see from the deck.
Brightest Young Things Pool Party Spectacular
The eternally hip Brightest Young Things posse is pulling out all the stops for a giant Independence Day bash at the eternally hip Capitol Skyline Hotel. Expect the huge pool to be filled with inflatable rafts, while the deck is covered with sun loungers and people participating in limbo and pie-eating contests. DJs Cale and Sinister Sound provide the tunes at this all-ages party.
Red, White and Boom
The owners of George and the Mason Inn are once again turning the Kastles Stadium into a giant open-bar festival. Play bocce and cornhole, listen to the Morrison Brothers and the Rude Nudies play rockin' covers and originals, or dance to DJs. (There's a great view of the fireworks, too, from the top rows of the bleachers.) Tickets include unlimited drinks from 4:30-9:30 p.m. and a Wednesday-night pre-party at Mason Inn with free booze from 8-10 p.m. A VIP option adds access to less-crowded areas and extra bars.
H Street Country Club
The newest rooftop deck on the H Street corridor has unobstructed views of the Washington Monument. Take advantage of them at a special July 4 party: Doors open at 3 p.m., and there will be $5 margaritas and "LiberTea" cocktails (sweet tea vodka and lemonade) all night, as well as discounted beers.
AmeriCAN Drinkdependence Day
All puns aside, this should be a good time on the roof of Jack Rose: The Flying Dog brewery is selling cans of Snake Dog IPA and Underdog Atlantic Lager for $3 from 3 to 7 p.m. and for $5 after that. (Every purchase includes a patriotic Flying Dog koozie.) The rooftop grill will be fired up with food specials all day.
The Brixton is trying to keep things basic: No cover charge or DJ - just a great view of the downtown fireworks from its rooftop deck. (Well, there is a traditional July 4 hot dog-eating contest for all the would-be Kobayashis at 5 p.m.) Doors open at 2 p.m., and it won't take more than a few hours to reach capacity.
Boom With a View
You're not going to beat the view of the fireworks from a rooftop deck between the Washington Monument and the White House. You know it. The W Hotel knows it. That's why standing-room-only tickets for the annual event start at $60 -- $80 if you buy them at the door. No snacks or gratis drinks are included, though a DJ spins after the fireworks.
The Cookout at the Fairgrounds
With the Nationals playing at home on the morning of July 4, the Fairgrounds is going to be a popular destination between the final out and the fireworks. The huge lot, located directly across from the Navy Yard-Ballpark station, will feature local bands on its stage all day, and an all-American menu of hot dogs, peanuts and Cracker Jacks for $1 from 2 to 11 p.m.
July 4 Brunch
Looking to grab something to eat and drink before heading out for the day? The Rock and Roll Hotel's rooftop deck opens at 11 a.m. Thursday for a special edition of the weekend brunch: Pay $13 for bottomless bloody marys and mimosas until 3 p.m., followed by drinking and playing cornhole all afternoon at the rooftop bar, which now has 28 different canned beers.
'One Night With Janis Joplin'
Catch the Broadway-bound musical at a special 6 p.m. performance at Arena Stage, which should have you out of the theater in time to catch the fireworks. The $55 ticket includes one cocktail.
Duffy's Irish Pub
Duffy's opens at 11 a.m. on July 4 for a Nationals viewing party. The bar is offering a great deal for anyone who wants to linger: $20 gets free hot dogs (veggie or regular) and unlimited PBR, Natty Boh or Miller Lite from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be aware that Duffy's closes for the night at 8 p.m.
The promoters behind Ozio's popular Saturday afternoon Day Trip parties are hosting a special edition with DJs and bottle service from 1 to 9 p.m. on July 4.
- Boomerang Pirate Ship
The Boomerang Party Cruises are sold out, but the group's new pirate ship -- a two-level yacht with an open-air dance floor and a dozen working water cannons -- still has space left for a three-hour trip, which departs from Georgetown's Washington Harbour at 8:30 p.m. and guarantees you'll be able to see the fireworks from the Potomac. Tickets are $79 and must be purchased in advance.