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H Street Life – December 2017

While it’s true the nights are getting longer, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. H Street NE has many opportunities to explore and enjoy those longer nights, as well as the more compacted days.

Winterfest Comes to Wunder Garten
A new celebration of our coldest season is headed to NoMa this month with Winterfest (http://www.winterfestwg.com) starting Dec. 1 and running though Dec. 17. During Winterfest, Wunder Garten (1101 First St. NE, http://wundergartendc.com) will transform into a winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights and decorations galore.

A main draw of Winterfest will undoubtedly be a makers market featuring District artists and vendors selling locally made art and goods such as clothing, greeting cards, accessories, special ingredients for your home bar, and more. It’s a great opportunity to cross a few items off your Christmas list.  You’ll want to visit the market more than once as the vendors and artists will rotate over the course of the festival.

Winterfest is more than just a fun place to shop. Grab a seat by the fire and linger while you sip a spiked hot chocolate, mulled wine, warm cocktail, or one of Wunder Garten’s winter brews. Perhaps you’d care to roast a marshmallow or two for your s’more? If you desire something more substantial, Timber Pizza will bring their mobile wood-fired oven along, and Holy Crêpes and CaliBurger will also make appearances. The combination of drink, fire, good food, and festive spirits calls for a healthy dose of live music, and Winterfest will provide plenty of that.

The centerpiece of Winterfest will be an interactive installation by local artist Hernan Gigena (http://hernangigena.com). Always dog-friendly, Wunder Garten also invites you to bring your furry friends for photos with Santa. You’ll even be able to snag a Christmas tree. Their tree lot will stock mostly Frasier firs from four to ten feet tall, and there will be staff on hand to help you bundle and tie your trees to make sure you and your tree make it home safely.

The hours for the Makers Market are Thursdays from 4 P.M. to 8 P.M., and Fridays through Sundays from noon to 8 P.M. Overall hours for Wunder Garten will be Monday through Thursday from 4 P.M. to 10 P.M., Friday and Saturday 12 P.M. to midnight, and Sunday 12 P.M. to 10 P.M. Winterfest is a collaborative effort of Wunder Garten, NoMa BID (https://www.nomabid.org), and People Make Place (http://www.peoplemakeplace.org).

Dr. Chris Miller & Dr. Matt Antkowiak snap a selfie at the AtlasVet construction site. Photo: Matt Antkowiak

AtlasVet Expanding to Serve More Local Pets
AtlasVet (1326 H St. NE, http://atlasvetdc.com) is growing. The veterinary hospital begun by Capitol Hill residents Dr. Matt Antkowiak and Dr. Chris Miller in 2012 will be expanding into adjacent building space at 1334 H St. NE. While the additional space will allow them to better serve their four-legged patients, it may mean some construction, and accompanying dust and noise, in the short-term. However, they are hopeful that the construction will be out of the way before the new year begins.

The Darkside Bar Welcomes Fans of Star Wars & Cocktails
Just in time for the release of The Last Jedi, a new Star Wars-inspired pop-up, The Darkside Bar (http://www.thedarksidebar.com) is coming to the 2nd floor of 816 H St. NE (above Mythology http://www.mythology-lore.com). Sip one of the Darkside’s custom cocktails: the Red Force, Blue Force, Imperial, Dark Side, Galaxy, and Mindtrick.  Sample the changing menu of small and shared plates, including Tentacles on Sticks (soy BBQ glazed octopus skewers) and Bantha Fodder (vegan sushi egg rolls). Attend nightly events including games of chance, dj nights, trivia, alien speed dating, and an “Intergalactic Burlesque” show. Guests are also welcome, although not required, to engage in a little cosplay and come dressed as their favorite Star Wars hero or villain.

Reservations are $33 a person in advance, and that includes two drinks. Walk-ins are accepted, but that raises the price of admission with two drinks to $40 a person. This winter will see similar pop-ups operating in Los Angeles and New York. The H St. NE pop-up will be open Wednesdays through Sundays, through New Year’s Eve.

Annual Holiday Concert & Sing-Along: a Local Tradition
The Capital City Symphony (http://www.capitalcitysymphony.org), Congressional Chorus, and American Youth Chorus (http://www.congressionalchorus.org) will delight audiences with a variety of holiday favorites at the Atlas Performing Arts Center (1333 H St. NE, http://www.atlasarts.org) for the 12th Annual Holiday Concert and Sing-Along. There will be two hour-long performances on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 4:30 and 7:00 PM. Tickets to either performance are $20 for adults, and $12 for children.

This family-friendly performance is truly fun for folks of all ages. Put on your favorite Christmas sweater and get ready to join in on the audience participation renditions of well-known holiday classics such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Spread the holiday cheer with complimentary post-concert cookies in the lobby.

Craft Beer Cellar has the Perfect Gift for the Beer Geek in Your Life
It’s too late to snag one of Craft Beer Cellar’s (301 H St. NE, https://dc.craftbeercellar.com) advent calendars of brews this year, but if someone you know has an affinity for things hoppy and fermented you might do well to consider CBC’s Beer of Month Club. It’s available in either full sampler of 12 small bottles (9.3 – 12oz) and three large bottles (12.7oz – 25.4oz), or half sampler of six small bottles and two large bottles. Those are priced at $57.95 and $32.95 a month. Either way, the staff selects the bottles, but you can tell them if you prefer to avoid certain styles altogether. It’s a great way to expand your beer horizons.

Republic Restoratives. Photo: Elise Bernard

A Local Apple Brandy to Chase Away a Cold Evening’s Chill
Ivy City Distiller Republic Restoratives (1369 New York Ave. NE, http://republicrestoratives.com) recently released Chapmans Apple Brandy, and it might be just the thing as the temperature begins to dip. Chapmans takes its name from Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman, a nod to apple brandy’s deep historic roots in America. Apple brandy is the original American spirit, with its production in the colonies dating back to the 17th century. American apple brandy making declined in later years, sustaining a powerful blow from the temperance movement and Prohibition. But the past decade has seen a renewed interest in rediscovering the romance of apple brandies. Republic Restoratives’ contribution is a handsome addition to any fitting cocktail, or a fine choice for sipping on its own. You’ll want to pick up a bottle soon, as they only produced 266 cases.


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.

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