Welcome to the Hotlist, a monthly rundown of what we're seeing, trying, tasting and doing in February.
Adams Morgan's best view returns
Roofers Union, the long-awaited replacement for the Reef, has transformed the three-story Adams Morgan space into something more low-key and rustic, with a menu of house-made sausages and pub fare from Ripple’s Marjorie Meek-Bradley. The restaurant expects to open in early February; access to those stunning rooftop views will come soon afterward.
Art-O-Matic for the People
Art-O-Mats, vintage cigarette machines retooled to dispense miniature works of original art for $5 a pop, are a novelty from the turn of the millennium. They'd disappeared from the Washington area over the years, but one has appeared at District Taco on Capitol Hill. While you're waiting for your tacos to arrive, take a chance a buy a pocket-sized painting or sculpture.
Cramming for the Oscars
You have about a month to catch up on Oscar contenders before the Academy Awards take place March 2, and local theaters are making it easy. You can find some of the less-heralded Oscar contenders now at E Street Cinema (live action shorts and animated shorts) and West End Cinema (documentary shorts), and both theaters are screening some best picture nominees as well. All five nominees for best foreign language film will screen at National Geographic from Feb. 14-16, and the National Archives will host free screenings of the shorts and documentary feature nominees from Feb. 26-March 2. If you have a long attention span and no problems with restless leg syndrome, AMC’s two-day Oscar showcase screens the nine Best Picture nominees on consecutive Saturdays, Feb. 22 and March 1, or in one 24-hour burst on March 1.
If you're perfectly happy with your daily drip coffee, you probably couldn't care less that this double-barreled contraption is the Steampunk Coffee Brewer, and it's becoming the latest fixation of coffee nerds. Cleaner than a French press and much faster than a pour-over or siphon brewer, it's fully automated and allows the barista to customize brew time, brew temperature and other factors to bring out new flavors from quality coffee beans. The area's first Steampunk appeared at Kaldi's Coffee in October, and the brand-new La Colombe in Blagden Alley has one too.
Viewing art through Google glasses
A reason to visit the National Portrait Gallery on Presidents' Day weekend: You can try on Google Glass to experience David Datuna’s “Viewpoint of Billions, Portrait of America” from Feb. 15-17. The wearable tech glasses are activated when you stare at the 12-foot American Flag covered in eyeglass lenses, bringing you videos and photos of historical and contemporary figures from America.
Malort gets its shot
Malort has been a cult favorite in Chicago for decades. It has even inspired an internet meme, #MalortFace, showing people's horrified reaction to its strong flavor. The bitter wormwood-based liqueur is suddenly available at several D.C. bars, both on its own and as the base for cocktails.
Playing games in Georgetown
Other than Chinatown's Lucky Strike, the District is a bowling desert. (Unless you happen to know someone who knows someone who can get you a lane at the White House.) But here comes another place to roll: The 14-lane Pinstripes will bring bowling and bocce to the refurbished Shops at Georgetown Park this month.
Richard III in the round
The Folder Elizabethan Theatre underwent a significant overhaul in preparation for this staging of Shakespeare's "Richard III." Rows of seats were ripped up and relocated, and the proscenium stage was essentially wheeled into the middle of the room to create the first in-the-round setup in the Folger's 22 seasons. Most of the seats are within 30 feet of the stage. The play runs through March 9.
See a truly independent movie
Indie films aren't what they used to be. Once shoestring affairs, independently financed movies might now manage to corral a budget in the millions. That’s not the case with the movies selected for the annual DC Independent Film Festival. From Feb. 19-23, the reliably well-curated fest spotlights features, documentaries and shorts from unknown directors that are Kickstartering their way to becoming the next great auteur.
Shop and dine in a market
With the opening of several new market-restaurant combinations, you can get dinner and artisanal groceries under one roof. Try Menu MBK for Belgian bistro fare on the top floor and seasonal produce on the bottom. Lupo Verde will sell pasta and cheese downstairs, and serve them to you upstairs when it opens Feb.
10 20. And Bidwell is a new spot for Southern fare within the bustling Union Market.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at Bluejacket
The Bluejacket brewery didn't have the smoothest January: An unfavorable Tom Sietsema restaurant review was followed by the (completely unrelated) departure of well-respected brewer Megan Parisi, less than three months after the multi-million-dollar brewery opened. The beer, though, has remained stellar. The brewery began offering Friday and Saturday tours on Jan. 31. A free option includes one taster of beer; the more extensive $22 tour offers five, one of which comes fresh from a brewery tank.
Twist and Shout
The 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first American concert -- held Feb. 11, 1964 at the Washington Coliseum in Northeast -- opens the floodgates for aged tribute bands in shag wigs and shiny Sgt. Pepper jackets on Feb. 11. Choose from Beatlemania Now at the Coliseum or the Fab Four at the Howard Theatre, or Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles March 14 at the Warner Theatre. Even better still: Julia Nixon, Vandaveer and others pay tribute by performing the Beatles’ love songs at the Hamilton on Valentine’s Day.