Now Playing

20 Unique Ways to Spend Your Summer Nights

Thrill seekers, take note! Savor our VIP rundown of the most outrageously fun and conspicuously captivating diversions for the next 90 evenings around DC.

Couched in Luxe
The exclusive table No. 203 at Echostage

1. Get Sky-High
When Jay Z and Beyoncé play Baltimore on July 7, DC fans can forego the Beltway traffic in favor of flying to the concert venue. Book a bird for you and three of your closest friends through Baltimore Helicopter Services to shuttle you—glass of Veuve Clicquot in hand—the 18 minutes from Reagan National Airport to a helipad in Charm City, where a car service will whisk you the 2 miles to see Mr. and Mrs. Carter at M&T Stadium. Raise the summer concert bar even higher with The Front Row Experience package from LiveNation, featuring access to a private, catered pre-show lounge; VI P swag; and, of course, front-row seating. Once you’ve finished rocking out with Blue Ivy’s parents, your ride will be waiting on the helipad to take you back home—where the nighttime flight will feature spectacular views of the nation’s capital. Roundtrip flight for four $4,511, Baltimore Helicopter Services, 443.794.8922; The Front Row Experience $1,750 per person, 888.458.8297

2. Think High Society

Gather nine friends to enjoy the Arbiter of Taste package from recent James Beard-nominee Cathal Armstrong at Society Fair, his gastro emporium in Alexandria. Armstrong’s longtime collaborator at Restaurant Eve, mixologist Todd Thrasher, is on hand to serve bespoke beverages and inspired wine pairings. The five-course meal unfolds in front of the open kitchen, where you can join Armstrong and learn his culinary secrets. “He’ll walk you through every dish,” says Thrasher. $3,500, 277 S. Washington St., Alexandria, Va.; 703.683.3247

3. Go Undercover

The Jefferson now offers private James Bond dinners in its wine cellar. The Jefferson’s team will send invitations that reveal the secret hotel location where your 15 guests—donning Bond-movie attire—will meet for a round of cocktails. Hint: It’s usually the hotel’s gorgeous Book Room. A night of fun and a private escape from the hotel (usually reserved for heads of state) prevail. Count on outstanding fare and wine and cocktail pairings. Bond would be pleased. $4,000, 1200 16th St. NW, 202.448.2300

4. Hail Couture

Spend an evening out, and stock your closet for those hot summer nights at the W’s exclusive beauty pop-up party, featuring a bevy of L.A.-based designers. The latest in the sleek boutique hotel’s Living Room series, W invites fashionistas to browse collections from M Dot, Costella Handbags, MAU Jewelry and Amy Agamemnon Jewelry while sipping Champs in the posh lobby. Our fave DC jewelry designer, Sophie Blake, will also be on hand to share her baubles. Top off the fashion frenzy by heading to the rooftop P.O.V. Lounge, where you can toast purchasing power with one of several engaging cocktails on the new menu—including our favorites, Smash and Run (rum, rhubarb, lemon, ginger and mint) and Awkward Situation (Scotch whisky, apple, lemon, ginger, egg white). VIP table with bottle service, from $2,000, June 11, 6-9pm. 515 15th St. NW, 202.661.2400

5. Dive In!

The U Street Penthouse Pool & Lounge headlines the summer swim scene with its South Beach vibe and see-andbe- seen milieu. For the poshest pool party, rent the VIP cabana, which accommodates up to 25 people and includes top-shelf bottle service and a sultry king-size bed behind a red velvet rope. And in August, swim fans will have another sexy hot spot for late-night swims when Vida Fitness’ members-only Penthouse Pool & Lounge opens its second location at The Yards along the Southeast waterfront. “We intentionally designed this to be a getaway, so the ambience will certainly remind you of Miami Beach,” says David von Storch, president and founder of Urban Adventure Companies. “People can gather around the pool, relax and enjoy the city skyline.” Von Storch has just recruited Matt Benkert—fresh from a stint in Las Vegas—as the new food and beverage director, making the lounge experience rival that of a tony resort. VIP cabana rental from $500, U Street, 1612 U St. NW, The Yards, 1212 14th St. NW, 202.939.2577

6. Escape to the Garden

There’s something altogether sensual about summer gardens cloaked in the long shadows of dusk, especially if the setting includes a private wine tasting. At Salamander Resort & Spa this summer, you and your partner can experience culinary garden bliss, along with an evening horse-drawn carriage ride around the 340-acre property, a 10-course organic tasting menu for two at the resort’s cooking studio and a stay in Sheila Johnson’s owner’s suite—offering the finest views in horse country. From $1,999, 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg, Va., 866.938.7370

7. Catch the Rose

Since Rose’s Luxury opened on Barracks Row last fall, the routine has become familiar for DC gourmands: Show up at 5:30pm to put your name on the list, in the hopes of enjoying strawberry-tomato pasta by 8pm. Those days are over. The restaurant’s only table you can now book sits on Rose’s new flower-and-herb-laden rooftop garden, and chef Aaron Silverman emphasizes that “you’ve got the whole thing to yourself—all night.” The culinary team promises an all-you-can-eat bacchanalia of on-menu and off-menu items—from a suckling pig to a Chesapeake crab boil—that doesn’t end until you say when, or until they roll out the last, family-style course. Which begs the question: How quickly can you get seven friends together? $125 per person, 717 Eighth St. SE, 202.580.8889

8. Step Out for an Encore 

Wolf Trap welcomes a star-studded season with marquis musical acts like Diana Ross (June 29), Matthew Morrison (July 10) and Josh Groban (Aug. 19-20) set to perform. While we love wine and Brie on the lawn, pump up your picnic basket this summer with membership in Wolf Trap’s Encore Circle. The exclusive membership comes with plenty of perks, including access to the catered Encore Lounge during performances, VI P parking and invitations to a dress rehearsal for the Wolf Trap Opera Company and member appreciation night. Pre-performance, start your night at another star-studded stop with dinner at celebrity chef José Andrés’ latest entry into his culinary empire, America Eats Tavern. The popular pop-up eatery gets a permanent home at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner and shifts its menu from Americana faves to a focus on Mid-Atlantic farm-to-table options. Encore Circle Membership, from $3,500, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Va., 703.255.1900; America Eats Tavern, 1700 Tysons Blvd., Mclean, Va., 703.744.3999

9. Join the Club

The new Gin Club by Erik Holzherr inside his Southeast bar Wisdom has quickly become an inner sanctum for fellow enthusiasts to sip through his expansive collection and rub elbows with visiting distillers. The gintender’s latest offering has juniper aficionados jockeying for a coveted front-and-center barstool. This summer, take his two-hour private class for groups of four to nine and explore the history of gin precursor geneva, the spectrum of gin profiles and the recent trend of aged gins—and sample Nolet’s Reserve, which, at $100 per ounce, is the world’s most expensive gin. Private gin classes, from $135 per person, 1432 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, 202.543.2323

10. Turn the Tables

The hottest new club in DC , Echostage, also happens to hold one of the city’s most coveted tables—the alluring No. 203. Invite 11 of your friends to carouse with you at the VIP table, which sits in the middle of the venue and boasts 180-degree views. A red-velvet rope frames No. 203, and it’s situated next to the owners’ table—meaning you’ll likely see regulars like international hockey superstar Alex Ovechkin partying deep into the night (don’t tell the coach). The summer lineup includes world beat, pop and ED M, offering an impressive soundtrack for evenings of musical mayhem. From $3,000, Phoenix, June 7; Lindsey Stirling, June 24; The Neighbourhood, July 9; Passenger, Aug. 6; 2135 Queens Chapel Road NE, 202.503.2330

11. Stay Among the Vines

Multimillionaire tech pioneers Jean and Steve Case adored the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains so much they launched a spectacular vineyard in Madison County. The 2-yearold endeavor, Early Mountain Vineyards, is coming into its own as a destination for luxurious evenings. This summer’s VI P favorite is a mashup of Sideways and Eat Pray Love, Virginia edition: twilight dinner for four from celebrated resident chef Jenn Crovato in the renovated barn, followed by a stay in the property’s guest cottage. Salud! $2,500, 6109 Wolftown Road, Madison, Va., 540.948.9005

12. Sip the Coveted

This summer, it’s much easier to spike evenings with consumption of rare wines around town. Westend Bistro’s sommelier Michael Kennedy recently spent $10,000 obtaining 60 extremely rare vintages that are now available by the glass, including a 1971 Bouchard Père et Fils Clos Vougeot Grand Cru ($54 for 3 oz., $105 for 6 oz., $420 for bottle). “For a long time, our list has showcased large producers people know,” says Kennedy. “I wanted to redirect that focus to unique and iconic producers.” James Horn, wine and service director for Mike Isabella’s Mediterranean minded Kapnos, says “the worst enemy of wine is oxygen.” So, he uses the cutting-edge Coravin system to pour glasses of highly prized 1978 Chateau Musar ($118 for 3 oz., $235 for 6 oz.). A slender needle penetrates the cork, and the bottle is pressurized with inert argon gas. This allows the port-like, sugary Bordeaux blend from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley to flow, while not adulterating the remaining vino with air. Guests at Minibar and Barmini can now order 30 to 750 milliliters of a wine. Rare options include 30 milliliters of the 1947 Château d’Yquem Sauternes for $120, and the 1996 Harlan Estate Napa cult Cab for $48. Westend Bistro, 1190 22nd St. NW, 202.974.4900; Kapnos, 2201 14th St. NW, 202.234.5000; Minibar and Barmini, 855 E St. NW, 202.393.4451

13. Know the Show

The superb revamp of the Kennedy Center’s Roof Terrace Restaurant has once again made the resto the perfect spot for a pretheater meal. For the best seat in the house, reserve the art deco private dining room for an intimate experience and dine on a multicourse meal from in-house Executive Chef Joe Gurner. This summer, reserve a box seat for Side Show (June 14-July 13), the hit musical from Oscar-winning director Bill Condon about the life of Daisy and Violet Hilton, who find fame as circus performers. Private dining room reservations start at $500, box seats $130, 2700 F St. NW, 202.416.8000

14. Make a Dutch Connection

Music fans were thrilled to hear that Tiësto—the LeBron James of EDM—will appear at Merriweather Post June 26 as the headliner for the Thank You Festival, which benefits the Global Citizen movement and the Childhood Foundation. What many fans probably don’t know is that they can also rub musical elbows with the brilliant Dutch DJ. The Meet & Greet package includes a reserved pavilion ticket, hanging out with Tiësto before the show, backstage VIP lounge access and merchandise, and a separate rock-star entrance. $550, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, Md., 410.715.5550

15. Play It Again 

Romance reigns at the Strathmore as National Symphony Orchestra guest conductor Emil de Cou ushers the Baltimore Symphony into the complicated worlds of Bogart and Bergman. While the classic film screens in digital high-definition, the BSO will perform the classic Max Steiner soundtrack. Amp up the amour with an exclusive package that includes premium box seats, unlimited cocktails from mixologist Ginny Lawhorn, Moroccan-inspired tapas during a private patio party, access to the donor-only VIP lounge and a post-show Champagne toast with conductor de Cou. Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, this is the one not to miss. $200 per person, June 14, 10701 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md., 301.581.5100

16. Salute the Night

Reserve the new and exclusive General’s Booth at The St. Regis, where you and five of your friends can salute General Black Jack Pershing. The legendary general lived at the property during Prohibition and mixed cocktails. Nowadays, Executive Chef Sébastien Rondier teams up with the hotel’s director of beverage and mixology, Orcun Turkay, to assemble an evening of food-and-cocktail pairings in a sleek spot near the famed The St. Regis Bar. The booth’s theme changes each month, and June unveils tequila, mescal and pisco creations riding sidecar to dishes like striped-bass ceviche and charred scallions. $99 per person, 923 16th St. NW, 202.638.2626

17. Cruise the City

Some summer evenings should be savored and even extended to two nights in the 1,900-square-foot Jefferson suite. That’s the idea behind Mandarin Oriental’s brand-new Fan in the City package for four, which embraces the idea that DC needs to be explored in style—but not before a late afternoon Oriental Harmony spa treatment (one hour, 50 minutes, with a total of four sessions) and a six-course dinner for two prepared in your suite by James Beard Award-winning chef Eric Ziebold. From there, it’s a choice of a monuments-by-moonlight tour via a swank ride, a Potomac cruise on a chartered boat or prime seats at a Nationals game. $10,000, 1300 Maryland Ave. SW, 202.554.8588

18. Find Your Style

When a big night out is on the agenda, retiring to a luxe hotel is ideal, and this summer Capella Georgetown offers an all-inclusive package that lets you party without ever leaving the property. Capella’s Escape in the City package features a lavish day and night of VIP treatment with an overnight stay in the presidential suite, spa massages, a cocktail class on the exclusive guests-only rooftop and a multicourse dinner for six prepared by Executive Chef Jakob Esko in The Grill Room’s private dining space. Before indulging, go on a three-hour shopping excursion with Capella’s resident stylist, April Yvonne. Yvonne’s hit list includes Georgetown boutiques like Intermix, Hu’s Wear and Rag & Bone— or the two of you can hop in the Capella’s house car and head to The Collection at Chevy Chase. Yvonne, along with a hair and makeup artist, will also be on hand in your suite to help you get Instagram-ready. $10,000 for six people, 1050 31st St. NW, 202.617.2410

19. Score an Ace

Attending this summer’s Citi Open now comes with a luxury twist: platinum box seats. Sit court-side at the Fitzgerald Tennis Center and gain access to all 11 sessions, featuring 80 of the finest men’s and women’s singles players in the world. Platinum guests also gain access to the on-site Emirates Garden Club bar and an invitation to an exclusive box-seat reception with tournament VIPs. $635 per seat, July 26-Aug. 3, 16th and Kennedy St. NW, 202.721.9500

20. Get Criminal

DC ’s intimate nightclub Heist goes criminal this summer with its Friday night VIP experience, The Vault. The caper-themed club offers bottle-service booths and the best seats in the house for the sought-after DJ Obi-one on June 13. Booking a VIP booth gets you a personal butler, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and two trays of shots to start. But if you really want to add some Vegas extravagance to the evening, order Heist’s Methuselah of Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Champagne for $10,000. VIP tables from $500, 1802 Jefferson Place NW, 202.450.2126

Sophisticated Sips
Erik Holzherr owns Wisdom and is the founder of the new Gin Club—offering private classes on summer nights.