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Weekend Pop-Up Opens Saturday at Kennedy Center

A collaboration between HEIST and the Kennedy Center is bringing “socially responsible nightlife programming” to the cultural institution with a weekend pop-up begininning Saturday, Oct. 3.

Described as “a grand, socially responsible experiment in restoring much-needed life to the Washington scene,” the pop-up opens Oct. 3 and features outdoor experiences, bottle service and DJs.

The pop-up is one of the first participants in a Phase Two live entertainment pilot, announced Friday, Sept. 25 by Mayor Muriel Bowser. As part of the pilot, the District  invited operators of outdoor entertainment venues who have already submitted plans to the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA)  waiver process to review the criteria for hosting live entertainment and resubmit their plans. The pilot outlines guidelines for opening, including a maximum of 50 people at any venue, including staff and performers; that attendees remain seated; that seats are at least 20 feet from the stage (30 feet if there is singing) and that records are maintained of all people in the building, among other standards.

The organizations that have been invited to resubmit plans for outdoor entertainment include: Adams Morgan Partnership BID, Arena Stage, Busboys and Poets, Capitol Riverfront BID, District Wharf, Et Voila Restaurant, Heist Group at the Kennedy Center and The Bullpen.

Six participating venues, including the Kennedy Center as well as City Winery, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Pearl Street Warehouse, The Hamilton and Union Stage were invited to participate in an entertainment pilot that could include live shows. The venues can host live entertainment in a controlled environment that can be scaled up or down and will be monitored by the District. All venues were required to submit detailed plans for operation.


Reservations and food + beverage orders must be booked in advance to ensure contactless set-up at each table. HEIST x Kennedy Center will enforce precautions such as temperature checks for patrons, artists and staff; contactless food and beverage delivery; hand sanitizer at each table; maximum group size of 6 and controlled elevator travel, with only groups attending together allowed to ride at once.

The pop-up enterprise from Versus—the parent company behind Castas Rum Bar, Morris American Bar and HEIST—is the first-ever nightclub to open on the rooftop of the new cultural institution.

HEIST has popped up at the SXSW festival, Austin City Limits Live, Baltimore’s Preakness Stakes and more. Emmy-nominated producer Robert Pullen—whose past work has included the Kennedy Center Honors, Mark Twain Awards and President Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural swearing-in ceremony—will produce the series.

“We’re so excited to bring back culture and nightlife experiences for our community here in Washington, which is so in need of uplift this year,” says Versus principal Vinoda Basnayake. “I’m beyond thrilled with the surprise elements we have planned for our guests and can’t wait to see this cultural landmark that I personally grew up visiting alight with the energy of HEIST.”

Following the Oct. 3rd launch, HEIST x Kennedy Center will be open on Saturdays from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. The pop-up’s duration is weather-dependent. To browse the full menu, reserve a table and pre-order food + bottle service, please visit heistxkennedycenter.com. Reservation sign-ups will go live every Tuesday at 10 a.m.

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