H Street Life – September 2017

Musicians on stage outside Ben’s Chili Bowl at the 2016 H Street Festival.

With the arrival of September, festival season is in full swing in the District. This year the timing of our local festivals is such that you can enjoy a different one three weeks in a row, without even leaving the greater neighborhood.

Made Your H Street Festival Plans Yet?
The H Street Festival is the largest neighborhood festival in the District, drawing crowds of over 125,000 visitors annually. This year’s celebration will take place on Sept. 16. As in years past, the festivities will include a little something for everyone. Live musical performances from many different genres can be found along the 10-block festival grounds. Whether you love gospel, favor hip-hop, or have a soft spot for folk, you can find it at one of the festival’s 14 staging areas.

The art cars are a popular attraction in the 1300 block of H Street NE, where you can often spot painters in action, take in a dance performance, or shop for arts and crafts.

Traditionally, many bars and restaurants along H Street NE set up sidewalk cafes where patrons can relax with a bite and a drink while watching the world go by. In previous years, some yet-to-open businesses have either invited festival-goers to take a peek at the space or manned a booth where you might sample their wares.

Due to the crowds and excitement of the day, many restaurants choose to serve a special or limited menu during the festival. That doesn’t mean your dining options are limited. In addition to the many fine establishments that populate the corridor, the festival brings out vendors who set up booths selling all manner of gustatory delights. And don’t forget the food trucks. Grab a plate of Carolina-style barbecue, a lobster roll, or some falafel.

Those of you with a big hunger might consider entering one of eating contests. Dangerously Delicious Pies hosts one annually, and Chupacabra, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and Po Boy Jim have joined the fray in recent years.

Young festival-goers will find games, activities, and performances specially geared toward them in the Kids Zone. The festival is a great place to snag screenprints, clothing, jewelry, and more from local makers and vendors. The festival runs from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16.

A fire performer entertains an audience during Art All Night.

Stay Up Late with Art All Night
Make sure you rest up in the week following the H Street Festival, because Art All Night (http://artallnightdc.com/h-street) is the very next weekend. The event schedule for this year hadn’t been released as of press time, but last year’s attractions included a concert at Starburst Plaza, fire dancers at Anthology, and live painting, an art exhibit, and a dance performance at the Atlas. If you rode the streetcar to your next destination you could watch a musician entertaining riders as the trolley rolled down the tracks.

H Street NE is one of six neighborhoods around the District that will participate in Art All Night. Hours vary by the specific event, but Art All Night itself runs from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., Sept. 23.

The Bruery Store to Open in Union Market District
The Bruery (www.thebruery.com, 513 Morse St. NE), a craft brewery based in Orange County, Calif., has announced plans to open a store in the Union Market District. The Bruery focuses on experimental and barrel-aged ales. Almost half of its brews are aged in oak spirit and wine barrels. Its team seeks to develop and produce distinctive and intriguing beers, and soon you’ll be able to get them right here in the neighborhood.

The Bruery Store at Union Market District will be the company’s first brick-and-mortar location east of the Mississippi. It will offer bottles and cans, as well as related merchandise. There’s also talk of up to eight rotating taps for growler fills of beers from the Bruery, Bruery Terreux (www.brueryterreux.com), and Offshoot Beer Co. (https://www.offshootbeer.com), brands within the Bruery family.

The Bruery will open this fall in its 5,000 square-foot space, which it will share with a not-yet-named partner. Plans call for a November opening, and fans looking forward to the upcoming release of the Bruery’s Black Tuesday, a bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout available through the website (https://www.thebruerystore.com) starting Oct. 24, will be able to pick up bottles purchased online when the shop opens.

The Bruery runs two societies for folks who take their beer very seriously: the Preservation Society and the Reserve Society. Both give members priority access to the more limited releases, and members of both groups will be able to pick up their online purchases once the new store opens its doors.


For more on what’s abuzz on and around H Street NE, you can visit my blog at http://frozentropics.blogspot.com. You can send me tips or questions at elise.bernard@gmail.com.