This week's essential DJs, happy hours, dance nights and parties.
Wednesday, December 10
The main attraction at the Roofers Union Ugly Sweater Holiday Party is the chance to try holiday beers from 16 local breweries, including Bluejacket's Figure 8, aged in an Old Scout bourbon barrel, and Right Proper's Year One. Prizes will be awarded for the best holiday sweaters, socks and tie, but the event also serves as a fundraiser for Mary's Center, an Adams Morgan charity that offers health and education services. Bring a new toy valued at $10 or more and get any beer free. (Read about more charity happy hours and parties.)
The Front Page's fledgling Wednesday Bingo Night is officially relaunching this week after a short hiatus, and organizers – the Heidenberger brothers, who happen to help run the bar – are promising it's going to be bigger than ever, with at least six rounds of games, half-priced draft beers and $5 appetizers. This isn't a staid game of bingo: Music plays between rounds, there's a dance party when O-69 is drawn, and prizes include Capitals tickets and restaurant gift certificates. It's free to play, and starts at 8:30 p.m. (Oh, and because it's December, the suggested dress code is "ugly Christmas sweaters."
Adam Mansbach, the author of the delightfully profane "Go the F--- to Sleep!," has finally written a second children's book for parents. This time, "You Have to F—- Eat!" takes aim at picky little eaters. Mansbach visits Marvin tonight, where he'll host a reception and book signing. (Books will be for sale if you want to pick up a present for your favorite beleaguered parents.) The party runs from 6:30 to 8:30, and happy hour runs until 7:30.
Thursday, December 11
One of the most fun events of summer's D.C. Beer Week was a DC Brau-sponsored pinball tournament at Lyman's Tavern. The brewery has organized a second edition of Braubrawl this week: Bring a handful of quarters if you want to compete – we heartily recommend the new "Walking Dead" machine – or just hang out and drink the brand-new smooth-pour nitro version of DC Brau's Alpha Domina Mellis double IPA. The tournament starts at 7 p.m., and prizes include T-shirts, gift certificates and brewery swag.
Panamanian hip-hop and tropical bass duo Los Rakas finally return to D.C., though this time they'll perform in a larger room than Tropicalia, befitting their rising status. Headlining this blowout Latin dance party at the Fillmore is 3Ball MTY, a Mexican DJ trio who brings their guaracha sound to techno and EDM dance floors. Rounding out the lineup is Washington's own DJ Kristy la rAt of Maracuyeah, who performed with Los Rakas back in February 2013.
How long does happy hour run at the Rock and Roll Hotel's monthly '80s dance party? "All Night Long." (Seriously, that's the name of the event.) Four DJs start spinning at 8 p.m., and customers get $3 PBR cans, $4 rail drinks, $5 Svedka and $1 off everything else until last call.
Friday, December 12
Pan-genre party band La Unica plays the subterranean global stage of Tropicalia, fusing roots music ranging from Irish folk to Latin rhythms. Based here in Washington, their 2013 debut album set them on a touring tear locking down the East Coast with their melting pot grooves.
An all-star team of burlesque dancers are assembling on the Black Cat's backstage for The Best of Burlesque(er): Down and Dirty Holigay Blues. Dainty Dandridge, Glam Gamz, Pussy Noir, Cherie Nuit, Gypsy Dantes and Fox Martin are the featured performers heating up this winter-themed show, and the whole shebang is hosted by Dutch Oven. Admission is $12 in advance or $15 at the door.
Meanwhile, upstairs at the Black Cat, it's the fifth anniversary of the Eighties Mayhem Super Holiday Extravaganza Dance Party with DJs Steve EP, Krasty McNasty, Killa K and Missguided. This '80s party tends to focus on the more alternative side of the '80s – think Cure, Smiths and New Order instead of endless MTV pop hits. Admission is $10, and doors open at 9:30.
Saturday, December 13
Nerd Nite turns five this week, and we're happy the smartest, nerdiest bar event in D.C. is still going strong. Every month, a group of scientists, researchers and scholars takes over the main room at DC9, and lead Powerpoint presentations on a wide variety of topics, such as sex lives of insects, the geology of volcanos or schemes to ensure victory at Scrabble. For the anniversary party, you'll have a postdoctoral fellow at NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke talking about what happens if you don't get enough sleep, a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Energy discussing problems with sustainable energy, and biologist with a Ph. D. in testes development covering "A Panoply of Penises: Bizarre Genitalia of the Animal Kingdom." Admission is $10. Doors open at 6 p.m., and talks begin at 6:30.
A popular question at this time of year: "I'm looking to buy my dad/spouse/in-laws/co-worker a really awesome bottle of bourbon. What do you recommend?" We recommend talking to J.P. Fetherston, who buys whiskey for the bourbon-centric Southern Efficiency bar in Shaw. This Saturday, he's leading a class called "Whiskey 101: Buying Whiskey," which will go over different style of whiskey, with plenty of tasting, and talk about why some bourbons and ryes are better than others, and how to find the best bourbon at different price points. It starts at 3 p.m., and the $45 ticket includes all samples and hors d'oeuvres.
The Whiskey Barons love funk, dusty soul and tropical sounds. As producers, they mash the sound of southern fried, crackly 45s with Nigerian Afrobeat and Nuyorican salsa. The duo pulls from the same influences in their DJ sets, grabbing lost classics from south of the Mason-Dixon and south of the equator. The Boston duo return to the patio of Eighteenth Street Lounge.
Still itching to wear your ugly Christmas sweater? There are two more opportunities on Saturday:
Scythian, the D.C.-based band that fuses Americana, Celtic, klezmer and folk into an unstoppable violin-led dance party, returns for its annual Ugly Sweater Concert at the 9:30 Club. It's a great chance to hear songs from new record "Jump at the Sun," which was released during a tour of Ireland with 90 of the group's fans, and old favorites from the days when Scythian packed Fado every Thursday night.
Town Tavern is offering a financial reward for dressing tacky: Wear an ugly holiday sweater to the Adams Morgan bar on Saturday night and you'll pay $10 for an open bar from 8 to 10 p.m. (It's $15 for anyone not wearing one.) After that, specials include $4 rail drinks and $5 drafts until midnight.
Sunday, December 14
Paperhaus has never stuck to one particular style: The D.C. group has been influenced by British indie pop, psychedelic rock and alt-country, which have all bubbled to the surface of the Paperhaus sound at various times. But this weekend's show at U Street Music Hall is something else entirely: The band will cover Kraftwerk's landmark electronic album "Trans-Europe Express" in its entirety. The show is free if you're of legal drinking age; those aged 18 to 20 pay $5. The concert starts at 8, and is followed by a listening party for Kraftwerk's "The Man Machine" and "Computer World," the two albums that followed "Trans-Europe Express."
3 Stars Brewing, one of Washington's best and most experimental breweries, is throwing open its doors for its annual Artists & Artisans Holiday Extravaganza, held among the tap room's gleaming tanks. Sample rare seasonal ales, including Desolation, a rich and complex imperial porter aged with Qualia coffee beans in a bourbon barrel, and snack on treats from Buttercream Bakeshop, Jerkface Artisanal Beef Jerky and other local vendors. DJs Keenan and Smudge of Marvin will provide a festive soundtrack while artists paint murals on the brewery walls. Don't wait to buy tickets, as previous events have sold out.