Elle restaurant, now open
This new project from Nick Pimentel (co-owner of Room 11 and Bad Saint) and Lizzy Evelyn (founder of Paisley Fig bakery) has transformed the landmark Heller's Bakery in Mount Pleasant. Expect fresh baguettes, muffins, pastries and espresso in the mornings. Dinner service, which should begin the first week of February, is overseen by former Blue Duck Tavern chef Brad Deboy, while Columbia Room and Room 11 veteran Sean MacPherson runs the cocktail program. To answer the question everyone asked on opening night: The place — which styles its name with a diacritical mark — is named after Evelyn's grandmother, and it's pronounced "L-E," like the letters and the feminine name.
Quarry House Tavern reopens, late February
Almost three years after a fire tore through the Quarry House Tavern and the restaurant above it, one of the area's oldest dive bars is preparing to reopen. Yes, you've heard this before: Prospective reopening dates have come and gone. But owner Jackie Greenbaum says they're really ready this time, with new kitchen equipment and a rebuilt space that keeps the essence of the dark basement bar and brings it into the 21st century. "We're doing a really painstaking, loving restoration," Greenbaum says, from the knotty pine paneling on the walls to the selection of CDs in the jukebox.
Actress-turned-#MeToo-activist Rose McGowan heads to the Jack Morton Auditorium for a talk presented by George Washington University and the Politics and Prose bookstore about her new book, “Brave.” Described as part memoir, part manifesto, “Brave” delves into McGowan’s childhood in the Children of God cult, her experience with the dark side of Hollywood and how she’s speaking out against misogyny in the entertainment business and society as a whole. 7 to 8:30 p.m. $12-$35.
National Harbor Restaurant Week, Feb. 4-10
Indulge in a three-course meal and still have some money in your pocket for the slots during National Harbor’s annual Restaurant Week. Restaurants at MGM National Harbor, a year-old casino and resort, are among those offering special deals, making this a good week to have dinner ($38 per person) at the Chesapeake Bay-inspired seafood spot Fish by José Andrés (check out the shrimp and grits) or the Voltaggio Brothers Steak House, where wedge salads, tenderloin and cacio e pepe are options on the discounted menu. $22 for lunch, $38 for dinner.
Alvin Ailey at the Kennedy Center, Feb. 6-11
Alvin Ailey’s sorrowful and hopeful piece “Revelations” has been drawing audiences since its 1960 premiere. Like always, that masterpiece is on the performance schedule for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s annual Kennedy Center engagement, along with works by such choreographers as Twyla Tharp and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. The beloved dance company is scheduled for seven performances featuring multiple programs, including new pieces premiering in Washington. Times vary. $49-$175.
'Something Rotten' at the National Theatre, Feb. 6-18
In this Shakespearean spoof, it’s 1595 and two playwright brothers are desperate to get one up on the Bard by putting on the very first musical the world’s ever seen. You don’t have to be an English major to appreciate the gags in “Something Rotten!” The Broadway musical comedy hit scored 10 Tony nominations, including best musical, and will make a February run at National Theatre. Times vary. $48-$178.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra returns to town, nearly 13 years after the CSO’s last D.C. performance. This appearance, presented by Washington Performing Arts, is led by music director Riccardo Muti in a program that includes Brahms’s Second Symphony and the overture to Giuseppe Verdi’s “I Vespri Siciliani.” The show will also mark the D.C. premiere of “Many Words of Love” by CSO’s 32-year-old composer-in-residence Samuel Adams (the son of composer John Adams). 8 p.m. $50-$165.
Mardi Gras extravaganza at the Wharf, Feb. 13
Washington's most buzzed-about development marks its first Fat Tuesday with a parade along the waterfront Wharf Street; live brass band music; a dance party on the District Pier; and a firework display. Restaurants and businesses at the Wharf are sponsoring (and tossing beads from) parade floats, as well as offering food and drink deals. 6 to 8 p.m. Free.
Dave Eggers at Sixth and I, Feb. 13
Dave Eggers's latest nonfiction work, “The Monk of Mokha,” tells the tale of a Yemeni American from San Francisco who sets up a company to export coffee from Yemen, only to be caught up in the country's slide into civil war. The story, says Michael Lindgren in his review for The Washington Post, “is what certified literary good guy Dave Eggers does best: a true account of a scrappy underdog, told in a lively, accessible style.” Eggers discusses the book, followed by a signing session. 7 p.m. $38, includes a copy of “The Monk of Mokha.”
'Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s' at the Hirshhorn, opens Feb. 14
An expansive exhibition at the Hirshhorn looks back at the 1980s in New York City, a decade when art and consumer culture intersected and collided in new and surprising ways. It features almost 150 works by 68 different artists, from Jeff Koons and Barbara Kruger to groups including the Guerrilla Girls and Fashion Moda. Everything kicks off the evening before the exhibition's opening, on Feb. 13, with a discussion including the Guerrilla Girls, a group of feminist and activist artists, and projection artist Krzysztof Wodiczko. His seminal 1988 work “Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC” turns the museum's facade into a public projection screen for three nights (Feb. 13-15, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.). Through May 13. Free.
This annual festival, run by the Brewers Association of Maryland, focuses on seasonal beers — it's heavy on stouts, porters, barley wines and barrel-aged offerings — but features a wide selection of brewers from across the Old Line State, including a good number that aren't found regularly in the Washington area. In addition to all-you-can-sample beer, the night includes live music and snacks. 6 to 10 p.m. $55-$75.
Cher at the MGM National Harbor, Feb. 17-25
A dream date for Cher fans, this extended run at the MGM's theater is the final of three residencies on the extended “Classic Cher” tour, which has been bouncing between Las Vegas and National Harbor for the past year. Expect all the hits, from “I Got You Babe” to “The Shoop Shoop Song” to “Believe,” with an extravagant stage show and numerous costume changes. 8 p.m. $109-$629.
Tributes to Buck Hill at Westminster Church, Feb. 23-24
Buck Hill was one of the Washington jazz scene's all-time greats, with a robust, buoyant tone and gorgeous melodicism on tenor saxophone. He recorded with Charlie Byrd and Shirley Horn, and played with Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, both of whom reputedly tried to get him to join their bands. But Hill, whose job with the Postal Service led to the nickname “The Wailin' Mailman,” never left his home town of Washington. A year after Hill passed away, at 90, he'll be remembered at Westminster Church: A Friday night concert features the great sax player Davey Yarborough, who worked with Hill, and drummer Keith Killgo of the Blackbyrds. On Saturday, a “Thinking About Jazz” program will use vintage audio and video clips to explore Hill's life and career. 6 p.m. Friday, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. $5.
Tyler the Creator at the Anthem, Feb. 25
Hot on the heels of his Grammy nomination for rap album of the year, Tyler the Creator brings his “Flower Boy” tour to the Anthem, after skipping Washington on the first leg last fall. Vince Staples and Taco open. 8 p.m. $45-55.
— Fritz Hahn and Adele Chapin