The 2017-2018 theatre season is in full swing, and with it comes the opportunity to visit nearby bars and restaurants for a pre- or post-show libation and bite to eat. We picked spots nestled close to some of DC’s best theaters to see what they offer local theatergoers out on the town.
Shari Davis and Karima Ouazzani
Beverage Director and General Manager, Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar
Neighborhood theatre: Folger Theatre
On Tap: What drinks do you offer theatergoers?
Karima Oazzani: We have a wine special by the bottle. We sell that more than anything else.
Shari Davis: If they’re doing the preshow special, they’re probably going to drink a bottle of wine. But if they’re just coming in right before, they’ll probably go for a cocktail, which makes sense because wine is a little longer. You want to sit and enjoy it.
On Tap: What kinds of drinks do you suggest before a play? Are people ever worried about being a little too loose during the show?
SD: We have an assortment of lighter drinks – from cocktails to even our beers. We have a lot of things beyond wines. Our wine spritzers are also great for that type of event. We make a mean, mean wine spritzer.
OT: What’s your relationship with Folger and other local theaters?
SD: We’re pretty friendly with a lot of people that frequent their shows. On Saturdays, we’ll have a ton of actors come in before their shows, and they’ll tell us what they’re up to.
OT: Tell us more about the preshow menu.
SD: People still want to have a dining experience, so we want to make sure they still [receive one]. And the pre-theater [experience] is designed for that.
KO: We’ve developed the menu in a way that’s delicious and tasty, but can still be done in a short time.
A Glass of Fuso Barbera
Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar: 223 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC; www.sonomadc.com
Folger Theatre: 201 E Capitol St. SE, DC; www.folger.edu
Head Bartender, Dirty Habit
Neighborhood theatres: Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
On Tap: How has the drink menu evolved since opening last year?
Sarah Ruiz: One evolution is the collaboration among the entire bar staff. Almost every team member has put their own drink creation on the menu over the last year.
OT: What new cocktails will be available this fall? Any standouts?
SR: Our new fall menu will be available in mid-October. We will be bringing back some hits from last fall, as well as adding some new seasonal cocktails to transition guests into winter. The “Santor-ini” is our take on the dirty martini, and it’s a fun one!
OT: Tell me about the Fuji-La. What inspired the ingredients?
SR: [It’s] an end-of-summer drink with flavors that easily flow into fall. It is a simple sour with calvados and pear brandy as the base.
OT: Do theater patrons or cast members visit Dirty Habit pre- or post-show?
SR: We hosted a party for the cast of Shakespeare Theatre’s King Charles III, and a happy hour for the Woolly Mammoth team. It was great meeting the actors and chatting with them about their shows. Our team is launching a pre-show menu where guests can enjoy a special multi-course dinner soon.
OT: Have you visited any theaters near Dirty Habit?
SR: I’ve been to the Shakespeare Theatre [and] Woolly Mammoth. Dirty Habit participated in a community partnership night at Shakespeare Theatre in August. We served the Rosa Caraveda. It’s like a floral, summer, negroni-esque cocktail.
1 oz. caramelized pineapple
3/4 chamomile honey syrup
1 oz. calvados
1 oz. pear brandy
Dirty Habit: 555 8th St. NW, DC; www.dirtyhabitdc.com
Shakespeare Theatre Company: 610 F St. NW, DC and 450 7th St. NW, DC; www.shakespearetheatre.org
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company: 641 D St. NW, DC; www.woollymammoth.net