Dress in White and BYO Table: Dîner en Blanc Comes to DC

A white-themed pop-up/culinary flash mob is planned for September.

Dîner en Blanc in Paris. Photograph by Flickr user Luc Legay.

Call it the Guilty Remnant of culinary pop-ups. Dîner en Blanc, a somewhat mysterious, white-themed supper club/flash mob, is coming to DC on Thursday, September 4.

“True to tradition, bystanders will witness groups of 100 to 300 people gather at specific rallying points across the city,” says a press release from the organizers.

“These groups will then converge on one of the most beautiful settings in the city, either on foot or by other organized means of transportation. Guests are asked to dress elegantly in white, from head to toe, bring their own epicurean feasts, tables, chairs, fine china, silverware, and white tablecloth. Over the course of the evening, the diners eat and celebrate amid live music and dancing, complete with festive white balloons. Visually breathtaking moments include the waving of a cloth napkin to mark the beginning of the dinner, as well as the lighting of sparklers to let participants know they are now free to circulate, mingle, and dance. When the trumpet call sounds the end of the evening, guests pack up their crystal, dinnerware, and tables, pick up all their litter, and head into the night, leaving behind no sign of their elegant revelry.”

The bad news, should you want to don all white and haul a three-star table setting to an undisclosed location: There’s a waitlist of “several thousand people,” according to the dinner club’s website. Typically, guests must be invited to these dinners by a supper club member from a previous year, or register for the waiting list. Other rules require a BYO policy on pretty much everything (minus sparklers and white balloons), no alcohol besides wine and Champagne, and mandatory participation once registered, “regardless of weather conditions” (because nothing beats an all-white outfit in the rain).

Despite all of the rules, the dinners in white appear to be popular events in Paris, where they originated 1988, and have spread around the world. If you want to try the DC version, there are a limited number of spaces available for registration August 13. Once registered, gourmet picnic baskets and wine are available to purchase.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.