America’s Capital Celebrates Bastille Day

A beret-sporting server deftly balances his tray in last year’s Bastille Day race.

Sick of sluggish service? There’s nothing slow about these servers, who will race down Pennsylvania Avenue today between 7th and 13th Streets, balancing a glass and bottle on wobbly trays. It’s part of the Bastille Day tradition for downtown restaurant Brasserie Les Halles. The Parisian bistro has been holding the Waiters’ Races for thirty-three years as part of a ten-day Liberty Festival (it begins on the Fourth of July and ends on today’s Fête Nacionale, honoring both American and French independence).Think you’ve got what it takes? Brasserie Les Halles is still accepting entries from experienced servers between noon and 1:45PM. No waitstaff credentials? Watch the 2PM races for a suggested $10 donation. The day will also include dancing, music and the restaurant's steak and Merguez sandwiches, grilled on the street between noon and 3 PM.

Brasserie Les Halles is located at 1201 Pennsylvania Avenue.