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Where to go for pomegranate margaritas, cinnamon churros, and Bloody Marias. By Douglas Bair
El Centro D.F. is one of many spots offering Cinco de Mayo specials on Sunday. Photograph by Erik Uecke.

That maraca ringtone reminder that just went off on our iPhone means it’s time for our favorite holiday celebrating bartenders who can pour a tasty lime-and-tequila beverage. Okay, yes, Cinco de Mayo has more of a backstory—but let’s skip the history lecture and map out the route for the this weekend’s Tour de Margarita. Here’s where the fiesta is going full force throughout the District.

Happy hour lasts Friday through Sunday with specials such as $4 Tecates, PBRs, and Espolon shots and $6 margaritas. No need to rush through lunch or dinner—all weekend long, “crazy corn,” pork, or chicken tacos and Mexican Pizza are just $5.

The Brixton
It’s a circus over on U Street Sunday from noon to 8 as the Brixton debuts its Circus de Mayo with $4 Coronas, $6 Hornitos sno-cones, $7 frozen Sauza margaritas, and cotton candy. We hear there’s going to be a dunk tank on the patio, too.

Casa Oaxaca & Guajillo
Celebrations started on Wednesday and continue through Sunday with $7 margaritas—find a passionfruit-jalapeño flavor on Thursday and a tropical guanabana flavor on Friday. Don’t worry, the restaurant will still offer its signature drinks, such as the MargaChela—a baby Corona inside a house margarita—and the Orangita Picate, a fresh orange juice margarita with chile piquin. During happy hour (3 to 6 PM), house margaritas are $5 and Coronas are $4. Saturday and Sunday brunch is offered from 11 to 3; reserve a spot through OpenTable.

This Latin-inspired venue offers an assortment of Mexican street food, including chicken tamales, mole-glazed pork ribs, Mexican hot dogs, and warm cinnamon-dusted churros, for $5 each. As you sample your way through the menu, sip one of the $5 margaritas to cleanse your palate. Stop by from 3 PM until close Friday through Sunday to celebrate.

This Logan Circle spot celebrates throughout May with two special margaritas. The Speedy, which features house-infused jalapeño tequila, is $7.50, and the Sparkling Fiesta, topped off with sparkling wine, is $9.

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Posted at 03:30 PM/ET, 05/02/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
We have a pair of tickets to give away for the Corcoran event this Friday. By Sophie Gilbert
Art + cocktails = a fun time. Photograph by Kevin Allen.

If there are two things we’re passionate about over here at After Hours HQ, those two things are fine art and cocktails. Luckily both come together in fine form at Artini, the Corcoran’s annual event dedicated to a fusion of mixology and art.

Hosted by the 1869 Society, Artini brings together eight mixologists from local hotspots such as the Passenger, Daikaya, Jack Rose, and the Gibson. We have two tickets to give away to this year’s event, happening this Friday, March 22. To win, simply tweet @AfterHoursBlog the name of your favorite Washington bar with the hashtag #Artini, or e-mail us the name at before noon on Thursday. We’ll pick a winner at random and notify them Thursday afternoon.

For more information about Artini, visit the Corcoran’s website, or visit our Washingtonian Artini page with links to recipes and videos.

Posted at 02:45 PM/ET, 03/19/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Ambar mixologist created a drink inspired by Albert Bierstadt’s painting “Mount Corcoran.” By Tanya Pai
Albert Bierstadt, Mount Corcoran, c. 1876-1877. Oil on canvas, 60 11/16 x 95 7/8 inches. Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Museum purchase, Gallery Fund, 78.1. Photos: Daniel Swartz.

The final feature night for the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Artini event happens Tuesday, March 19, at Barracks Row Balkan spot Ambar. Mixologist Milton Hernandez will stir up Le Corcoran, a cocktail inspired by Albert Bierstadt’s painting “Mount Corcoran.” Says Hernandez, “I chose three different liquors to represent the major natural forms in [the painting]. The mezcal infusion represents the clouds, the absinthe conjures up the clarity and emerald green color of the river, and the apple whiskey brings out the redness from the trees in the background.” Head to Ambar to have him make you one, or attempt it yourself with the help of the video.

2 ounces Dark Corner Distillery apple-flavored corn whiskey
1 ounces Mezcal Benevá-Añejo infused black tea
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
½ ounce La Muse Verte Absinthe Traditionnelle
1 teaspoon gelatin

Blend the milk, cream, and mezcal together to infuse, and allow it to sit in a refrigerator for a day before use.

At a low heat, warm up the absinthe and, using a whisk and a teaspoon, add one teaspoon of gelatin to the warm, but not boiling, absinthe, then let it cool in a refrigerator for five hours.

To put the drink together, pour the apple whiskey over ice and stir twice, add one tablespoon of the absinthe emulsion so it floats over the whiskey, then add the remaining mezcal infusion over the absinthe emulsion to create three layers.

Posted at 01:35 PM/ET, 03/19/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Movie-themed cocktails and giveaways abound at these Academy Award viewing parties. By Jeesoo Park
See who picks up their Oscar trophy at one of these parties. Photograph courtesy of Joe Seer / Shutterstock.

You’ve recovered from the shock of Hangover star Bradley Cooper being nominated for Best Actor, and heard all about how Jessica Chastain is upset over Zero Dark Thirty’s Kathryn Bigelow being passed over for Best Director. You have your own opinions on the Oscar contenders, so we’ve rounded up a few places where you can enjoy disagreeing with the Academy’s choices over cocktails.

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Posted at 10:15 AM/ET, 02/22/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Not into the prix-fixe thing? We’ve rounded up more creative options around town. By Chelsea Boone, Hannah Lauterback
Learn about the mating habits of animals at Woo at the Zoo on Saturday. Photograph by Mehgan Murphy/National Zoo.

February 8 through 17, Perchance to Dream Theatre presents Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night at Fort Fringe. A traveling troupe of circus style performers use music, puppets, and magic in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic. Tickets ($10 to $15) are available online.

Get wild at the National Zoo’s fifth annual Woo at the Zoo. The February 9 event features presentations where you can learn about the mating habits of animals. Tickets are $30 per person ($20 for FONZ members) and include a commemorative glass, a complimentary drink, and hors d’oeuvres. There’s also a cash bar.

Check out naked women and men without your other half getting mad at a Naked at the Art Museum scavenger hunt on February 10. Search the American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery’s nude pieces for answers to various questions and take part in a little friendly competition. If you’re the lucky duo that finishes first, you’ll go home with a prize. More details and tickets ($24.50) are available online.

Disney on Ice comes to the Washington Harbour Ice Rink on Tuesday, February 12, at 4:30 PM. Children can skate with the characters from the show, sample hot chocolate, and receive a special Disney on Ice Valentine’s Day card.

To accompany the exhibition “Angels, Demons, and Savages,” the Phillips Collection presents A Valentine’s Day Trilogy February 13 through 17, with short vignettes inspired by Pollock, Ossorio, and Dubuffet. Head to Tryst at the Phillips before the show starts for a Prosecco-based Pretty in Pink cocktail or the spicy beer-and-sangria fusion Heart on Fire. A tour starts at 6:30 PM and the performance starts at 7; tickets are $20.

Join the Washington Ballet for L’Amour (Love, Baby . . .) at Sidney Harman Hall. Featuring three stories inspired by romance— Dangerous Liaisons, Opposites Attract, and Under Covers—the show explores all different aspects of love. Wednesday the 13th through Sunday the 17th. Tickets are available online.

On V-Day itself, catch a movie, a comedy show, and a bonus wine-tasting at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse for just $8. Even better: The movie is The Princess Bride. Shows start at 7 and 9:50 PM; tickets are available online.

Love is all you need, at least according to the folks of Art Soiree’s Love Power. Whether you’re single, crushing hard, or in love, head to Powerhouse on Valentine’s Day at 9 PM for a night of music, art, movies, and dancing, all inspired by the power of love. Tickets are $20 online or $30 at the door.

An alternative to an overpriced Valentine’s Day dinner is lunch—made by you. CulinAerie hosts an Intimate Valentine’s Lunch: Foods of Love cooking class, where couples can make foods known for having aphrodisiac properties. The class runs from noon to 2 and is $150 per couple.

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Posted at 04:55 PM/ET, 02/08/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Our list of parties, galas, shows, and events sure to help you bid adieu to 2012 in style. By Nicholas Hunt, Colin Daileda
Here’s where you’ll want to be when the clock strikes midnight. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Parties and Galas

Bond, James Bond

Celebrate the New Year and James Bond’s 50th anniversary at the Washington Plaza Hotel with the 11th annual Bond-themed New Year’s Eve bash. There will be mock gambling, party favors, a live band, deejays, and, of course, martinis at the open bars.

Where: Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle, NW
Doors open: 9 PM
Tickets: $129 and up

Big Night DC

Last year’s party at the Gaylord National drew more than 7,000 revelers. This year’s features 15 themed party areas, five dance floors, party favors, food, and several fully stocked open bars.

Where: Gaylord National Hotel & Resort, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD
Doors open: 9 PM
Tickets: $130 and up

Downtown Countdown

For the second year in a row the self-proclaimed largest New Year’s Eve party in DC will be at the Washington Hilton. Headlined by indie artists Grouplove and the alternative hip-hop group G. Love & Special Sauce, the party promises a full dinner buffet, one bartender for every 75 guests, a balloon drop, and party favors.

Where: Washington Hilton, 1919 Connecticut Ave., NW
Doors open: 9 PM
Tickets: $109 and up

W Washington DC 

Grandeur and Glamour is the theme of this year's W Washington DC New Year's bash. Deejays will be spinning all night, and there will be a Champagne toast at midnight to go along with a cash bar. 

Where: 515 15th St., NW 
Doors open: 8 PM 
Tickets: $75 per person for early booking; $100 per person at the door


ArtJamz Glitter Ball New Year’s Eve

If you are in the mood for music, art, hors d’oeuvres, and lots of glitter, this is your spot for New Year’s. Each reveler will have an individual canvas to paint, and there will be a large group canvas for everyone. Tickets include an option for an open bar.

Where: ArtJamz Dupont Studio, 1742 Connecticut Ave., NW
Doors open: 10 PM
Tickets: $60 and up

Public Bar

The festivities at Dupont Circle’s Public Bar include happy hour prices from 8 to 10 PM, when the open bar begins. A buffet of heavy appetizers runs from 10 until the ball drop and Champagne toast.

Where: Public Bar, 1214 18th St., NW
Open bar begins: 10 PM
Tickets: $90

Yuletide Ball’s Black-Tie Gala

This year marks the dance competition and New Years Eve party’s 25th anniversary. The black-tie gala will feature dinner, a Champagne toast, and a performance by the American Rhythm Champions, Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine and Liana Churilova.

Where: JW Marriott, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Doors open: 7:30 PM
Tickets: $180 and up

Celebration of Many Nations

With eight party rooms themed around ten world destinations including Times Square, Bollywood, Tokyo, and Paris, this party at the Omni Shoreham Hotel promises to be a international affair. There will be live bands and deejays, a high-flying circus performance, salsa lessons, karaoke, and an open bar.

Where: Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St., NW
Doors open: 10:30 PM
Tickets: $105 and up

Fancy Schmancy New Year’s Eve Ball

Looking for something a little smaller? Check out Brightest Young Things’ Fancy Schmancy New Year’s Eve Ball at the former Spanish ambassador’s residence. There will be deejays, dancing, lasers, and, of course, a full open bar.

Where: former Spanish Ambassador’s Residence, 16th St., NW
Doors open: 8:30 PM
Tickets: $80 and up

Sin City New Year’s Eve

Enjoy the excitement of Las Vegas in DC this New Year’s at Lucky Strike, the bowling alley/nightclub/lounge. Hit up the open bar or snag some appetizers and party favors as you watch a live feed of Times Square.

Where: Lucky Strike DC, 701 Seventh St., NW
Doors open: 8 PM
Tickets: $65

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Posted at 02:50 PM/ET, 12/10/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
No matter your affiliation, here’s where to celebrate the close of another election cycle in the nation’s capital. By Erin Keane Scott
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Whether you lean red or blue, it’s fair to say the 2012 presidential election has been something of an emotional roller coaster on both sides of the aisle, leaving everyone in its wake feeling like they may never see the end of “BroncoBama and MittRomney.” After Romney’s binders of women, Obama’s long snooze through the first debate, and the continuously confusing polls, Washingtonians deserve to take a load off and be happy it’s all over—at least for another four years (or two if you’re looking forward to primary season). We’ve rounded up a bevy of election-night parties to watch results fly in while sipping a cocktail or two.

For Cocktail Connoisseurs

Voters who enjoy the art of mixology should party at Art and Soul, where election-themed “swing state cocktails” will be buy one, get one free if you show the bartender your “I Voted” sticker. Watch as the election results roll in—the drinks will be half off within 15 minutes of their corresponding state’s announcement.

Lincoln Restaurant is holding an election night fete starting at 6, complete with a special menu modeled after the candidates’ favorite foods, election-themed cocktails, and extra TVs for monitoring the results.

Pennsylvania Avenue’s Sonoma is hosting an all-day happy hour, with complimentary snacks for people rocking their stickers, and $3 beers, $5 house wines, and $5 specialty cocktails called the Birth Certificate and the 47 Percent. There’s also an election pool to guess which states will go which colors, and prizes to be won.

For Music Lovers

The Kennedy Center is holding a free Election Night Jam with new artistic director for jazz Jason Moran and the Bandwagon in their Grand Foyer. Jazz lovers can dance and enjoy the music while results are broadcast on a big screen.

Though not actually on election night, HeadCount, a voter registration organization, and Magic Hat Brewery host a “participation party” at the Howard Theatre. The concert, headlined by Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and Anders Osborne, is November 4 at 8 PM. Keller Williams and John Kadlecik also perform. You can buy tickets through the Howard’s website.

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Posted at 01:05 PM/ET, 11/01/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
From Dos Equis to sake bombs, here’s how to entertain yourself during the third and final presidential debate. By Sophie Gilbert
Maybe drinking will help their points make sense. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Well. Well, well, well, well, well. We were expecting President Obama to up his settings from “professorial” to “paranoid android” in the last debate. What we weren’t expecting was for the two candidates to circle each other like dogs in Michael Vick’s garage before jabbing at each other so awkwardly they made even the assembled Long Islanders uncomfortable.

What this means for tonight’s debate is, again, anybody’s guess. But at least now we’ve had a taste of what Barack is cooking, and with foreign policy firmly on the agenda, we’re going to go ahead and recommend liquor. Lots of it. And Buffalo wings, because, you know, this is America.

Round One: Warmup

In the spirit of tonight’s international theme, we recommend Guinness, Heineken, or Dos Equis, because there’s no one less like the Most Interesting Man in the World than Mitt Romney.

One sip: Whenever Iran is mentioned.

Two sips: When Obama and Romney pronounce “Ahmadinejad” differently.

Swig: If poor old neglected Iraq gets a look-in.

Chug: If anyone pronounces it “new-kyoo-ler.”

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Posted at 11:30 AM/ET, 10/22/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
No matter where you’re watching this evening’s debate, here’s how to make sure it stays interesting. By Sophie Gilbert
Drinking rules to follow whether your state is red or blue. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Whether you’re red or blue, conservative in matters fiscal or social, or one of those wishy-washy commitment-phobes who insist they’re still undecided, there’s one thing we can all agree on: The first presidential debate was a complete bust, entertainment-wise. There were no raised voices, no “malarkey” moments, and no irate references to dead presidents à la Biden’s “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?”

Whereas for the first debate both campaigns attempted to outdo each other in an epic battle of low expectations, Team Obama has no such need this time around, having sent public perceptions of POTUS’s debate skills plummeting faster than Felix Baumgartner from the sky. Who will win? It’s anybody’s guess. But in case tonight’s town hall debate at Hofstra University is another all-around bore-fest, you can always play along with our debate drinking game to liven things up a little. (But please remember to drink “responsibly,” and leave your car at home, obviously.)

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Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 10/16/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
More than 20 costume parties, children’s events, scary movie screenings, and more in the definitive guide to All Hallow's Eve. By Laura Wainman
Where will you be celebrating Halloween this year? Image courtesy of Shutterstock.


Don your best neon for the W Hotel’s ’80s Halloween Bash, where DJ Oz and surprise guest artists blast ’80s remixes all night. Costumes are required to attend, and you’re going to want to bring your A-game: The best costume wins a sleepover package at the W, including Champagne and breakfast in bed. Did we mention you’ll be dancing to benefit Fido (human attendees only please), as a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Fashion for Paws? The party’s on the P.O.V. rooftop from 8 PM to 3 AM. Tickets ($40) can be purchased through Eventfarm.

Be forewarned: You may have a nightmare hangover after you join 9,000 of your closest friends for the Nightmare on M Street bar crawl. Enjoy $2 Coors Lights, $3 Blue Moons and Red Bulls, and $4 Bacardi drinks at more than 27 downtown DC bars, including Madhatter, Rumors, and Dirty Martini. Hit McFadden’s at midnight for an exclusive costume contest and be on the lookout for the 6,000 specialty beer steins being given away at select bars. The fun lasts from 5 PM to 1 AM, but you must register before 10 PM at either the Front Page, Mackey’s, BlackFinn, or McFadden’s (on Pennsylvania). Snag tickets in advance for $17.50; the event sold out last year, so it’s good to plan ahead.

Tricks and treats await all Halloween weekend long at Town Tavern. Head there Friday for a $10 power hour open bar from 10 to 11 PM and tunes from Redline Addiction. Saturday’s open bar is extended from 8 to 10, also for $10, if you RSVP online before 6 PM. Stick around for the annual costume contest and a chance to win $100. Drink the hangover away on Sunday with a bottomless Bloody Mary brunch from noon to 3 for $12.

The winner of Elliot in the Morning’s annual costume contest at the Clarendon Ballroom on October 26 wins a not-too-shabby $3,000, so get creative. There’s also live music from Scott’s New Band and Toxic Mouse in the basement lounge starting at 8 PM. Cover charge is $15 before 10.

Rub elbows with politicos, lawyers and other young professionals at Things to Do’s Graveyard Jam at Hard Rock Café on October 27. Compete in the costume contest for a trip to the Caribbean, bob for apples, have a caricature drawn by the artist from Frankenstein’s Castle, and jam out to resurrected tunes from the past 30 years on the dance floor. The party starts at 9, and tickets are $22.

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Posted at 12:20 PM/ET, 10/12/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()