Tag Archives: Moms Night Out

KidFree: Surprise, Secret Music Events with Sofar Sounds

Local bluegrass band By & By performs for Sofar Sounds

Local bluegrass band By & By performs for Sofar Sounds



In case my blog doesn’t make it obvious, I love discovering new adventures and having different kinds of experiences, both with my kids and without. I value my “grown-up” time, whether it’s a night out with my husband or friends, a daytime venture, or just doing something for myself. Having some time sans kids is important for my sanity life balance. I know this is a sentiment echoed by many parents, so I thought I’d put this all together and, every now and then, share some ideas for those “KidFree” occasions. And I’m starting with one of the cooler things I’ve recently experienced: Sofar Sounds.

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So, it’s a random Thursday evening, and I’m hanging out at a nondescript row house in the heart of Petworth with a roomful of people I have never met before watching some local bands play. (You know, a typical Thursday night for a mom of two elementary school-aged kids.) And while I’m there for the concert, I didn’t know who would be playing until I arrived at the house. Even more, I didn’t know exactly where it would take place until the day prior.

Broke Royals kick off the concert with a 4-song set

Broke Royals kick off the concert with a 4-song set

What I did know beforehand was that Sofar Sounds, the global music series producing the concert, was right up my alley. When I received an invitation to attend, I learned that Sofar (which stands for ‘Songs from a Room’) creates unique live music experiences through secret shows hosted in intimate spaces. I love live music in small settings as much as I enjoy new, unique adventures. I also really like neat surprises. So, I RSVP’ed a zealous “hellz yeah!” (well, not really, but I was excited), worked out a date to go, then waited over a week for the rest of the details.

sofar_deckview

That’s not normally how it all works, however. Sofar Sounds hosts these music events in over 250 cities around the world. If you want to attend one in DC or elsewhere, you can see dates and areas of upcoming shows, then you have a couple of options: You can buy a ticket to guarantee entry in many locations or you can apply for a free ticket (though how guests are selected, I’m not sure).

So, the day before my show, I receive an email with an address, arrival time, and a heads-up that the event is BYO and that we’d likely be sitting on the floor in case I want to bring a pillow or something for comfort. I still have no clue what to expect music-wise.

sofar_lineup

The next day, a friend and I Uber to the address, which turned out to be said rowhouse in Petworth. A Sofar rep greets us and gives us the lowdown on the show. A sign hanging by the door lets us know that By and By, Be Steadwell, and Broke Royals would be the artists performing. I hadn’t heard of any of them, but that’s all part of the adventure — discovering new music. So, we pour our wine (we brought our own cups, too) and take it out on the back deck where other concert-goers and band members are hanging out. People are mingling, and we chat a bit with the Broke Royals lead singer about his day job at the Apple Store.

Guests and band members hang out before the show

Guests and band members hang out before the show

Sofar Sounds gigs aren’t always hosted at a house. The location might be a warehouse, store, pop-up space, office, theater, even a museum. And a cool thing regarding the venue, is that anyone can apply to host it — yes, you could potentially have a concert in your living room (or basement or bedroom) with a random group of people you don’t know in the audience.

After about 20 minutes, the show is ready to begin, and we all gather in the living room, some people on sofas, most on the floor, others standing along the wall. Everyone is there to enjoy the music, and the rule is no texting, talking, or filming (ok, so I broke it, but I was there as “media” and, hopefully, low-key about it).

Be Steadwell mesmerizes the audience

Be Steadwell mesmerizes the audience

I don’t know if we got lucky, or if they always get good acts, but all of the performances were fantastic — and all so different. Broke Royals played acoustic versions of their alternative rock songs, encouraging audience interaction as we sang parts of the chorus. The super talented Be Steadwell described her unique sound as queer pop. And By and By closed it out with a fun set of jubilant bluegrass. It was great entertainment, and something about being in that intimate space under those “secret” circumstances added a bit of enchantment to the whole experience.

The concert ends and we hang out a little while longer, talking with other guests on the front porch before heading home. I’m back at my house before 11 — the concert started a bit after 8 — in time for a good night’s sleep, with nw tunes playing in my head and grand ideas of hosting a Sofar gig at my house.

Ready for a KidFree evening with Sofar Sounds? Visit the website to read more about their mission, and check out upcoming concert dates in DC.


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Filed under Date Night, DC, Live Entertainment, Parents, Weekdays, Weekend

Night Out at National Harbor

nhnight_wine

Considering the vast range of the DC-Metro area I explore with my kids, it’s kind of funny how close to home I tend to stay on kid-free nights out with friends. That’s probably a testament to how great my neighborhood is for an evening on the town — and how infrequent those occasions seem to be these days. But I do enjoy eating, drinking, and being merry beyond my nearby haunts; sometimes it just takes an extra something to get me there.

nhnight_jody_torey

That’s exactly what brought my friends and me to National Harbor on a recent Friday evening. The folks there invited me to enjoy a night out to share my experience with the KFDC community. And after a great a time there over the summer with the kids, I was excited to see what a visit sans children would be like. Packed with dining and entertainment options, plus located right on the water, it was bound to be a good time.

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We caught an Uber taxi from DC to National Harbor, then began our evening at the Walrus Oyster & Ale House — and this was a fantastic place to start. The drinks and food were delicious, the staff extremely friendly and attentive, and the whole place had a fun, relaxed vibe. We devoured starters including oysters, deviled steak and eggs, tuna tartare, and mussels then went on to consume entire entrees of scallops, crab cakes, and lobster mac ‘n cheese. It was all accompanied by tasty cocktails and a nice bottle of wine.

nhnight_tor_me

After dinner, we headed to Bobby McKey’s, where a reservation was set up for us. I hadn’t been to a dueling piano bar since my early 20’s, so was interested to see if I’d find it fun now.

nhnight_pianos

The verdict: So much fun! So, maybe singing drunkenly along to nostalgic tunes being played on piano by guys making lewd jokes isn’t what I’d opt to do every weekend, but on this occasion, it was a blast. Those guys are pretty talented (they know, like, every classic song!) and funny (after several drinks, anyway), plus it was fun to recall lyrics to old tunes (..he’s just a poor boy from a poor family spare him his life from this monstrosity…) and dance and let loose. We didn’t even mind what my friend Jody called the Gatorade margaritas, so you know it had to be fun.

nhnight_dance

We closed out the place along with many other dueling piano-goers, then got another Uber taxi for the ride back to Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, it was rainy that night, so we didn’t get to take advantage of the riverfront location, but a walk on the boardwalk or drinks by the water would probably be great on a nice night. No complaints from any of us, though — the food, drinks, and entertainment were thoroughly fun, and we all had the hangovers Saturday morning to prove it. :-/

nhnight_drink

Ready for a night out at National Harbor? Here are some details to help you plan:

* The Walrus Oyster and Ale House is located at 152 Waterfront Street in National Harbor. Hours are Monday – Saturday 11am – 11pm for food and the bar is open until midnight, Sunday 10 am – 10 pm (brunch served 10am to 3pm). Even though this was a grown-up night out, the restaurant is family-friendly with plenty of dishes that would appeal to kids, plus young diners are welcome to watch the oyster shucking.

* Bobby McKey’s is located at 172 Fleet Street in National Harbor. Hours are Monday – Thursday 6pm – 12am, Friday & Saturday 5pm – 2am. Be sure to check the calendar for special events or specials. (FYI: They occasionally have kids shows during the day on weekends.)

* Keep in mind you can make this a date night or an evening out with a big group.

* Read about more restaurants and entertainment at National Harbor on the website.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by National Harbor, however, I only promote programs, events, and products that I truly believe in and/or think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under Date Night, Eats, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Moms, Music, Parents, Sponsored Post, Weekdays, Weekend

Enter to Win Tickets to “Chicago” at the National Theatre!

Chicago-ecard

This one is for grown ups, so plan for a date night or mom’s night out!

“‘Chicago’ still GLITTERS HYPNOTICALLY.”
Ben Brantley, The New York Times

A true New York City institution, Chicago has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz; one show-stopping song after another; and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. No wonder it has been honored with six Tony Awards®, two Olivier Awards®, a Grammy®, and thousands of standing ovations. It’s also no surprise that Chicago has wowed audiences all around the world, from Mexico City to Moscow, Sao Paulo to South Africa.

Whether you’re looking for your first Broadway musical, whether you’ve seen the Academy Award®-winning film and want to experience the show live on stage or you’ve seen it before and want to recapture the magic, Chicago always delivers.

Chicago will be on stage at the National Theatre February 10-15. Tickets are $48-93.

Giveaway: For a chance to win two tickets to see Chicago at the National Theatre on February 10, simply leave a comment below naming your favorite Broadway musical. To be eligible, you must follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook. The giveaway will run through Sunday, February 1. A winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


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Filed under Date Night, DC, Giveaway, Theatre, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter