We’re in the home stretch of the holiday season, with only two more weekends until Christmas. This week’s highlights include candlelit concerts, break-dancing nutcrackers, a Cher dance party and markets stocking last-minute gift ideas. Need a break from the holidays? Try a “Mario Kart” tournament, Madonna-themed celebrations, the year’s best storytellers or seasonal beer tastings.
Thursday, Dec. 14
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Belgian Holiday Bash at the Sovereign
Belgian brewers are famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for their annual winter and holiday beers, which star seasonal flavors, such as cloves, nutmeg and sweet dark fruits, and traditionally amp up the alcohol to help get fans through long, dark nights. The Sovereign, D.C.’s top destination for Belgian and Belgian-style ales, holds its annual Belgian Holiday Bash with 25 drafts and bottle pours, including Delirium Noel, Dupont’s Avec Les Bon Voeux, Scaldis Noel and Straffe Hendrik’s Xmas Blend, while the Bruery and Oxbow represent this side of the Atlantic. Of note for serious zythophiles: A vertical offering of De Dolle’s Stille Nacht covers every year from 2014 to 2022, providing a rare chance to see how the beer changes with age. 5 p.m. Free; beers priced individually.
Hanukkah Bar at Ivy and Coney
If you haven’t made it to Ivy and Coney to celebrate Hanukkah with dreidel games, homemade latkes and shots of Manischewitz out of an oversize, menorah-shaped shot ski, or “ShotNorah,” your time is running out. The menorah is lit at 7 p.m., though the bar will be celebrating all month, including “Chinese Food and Movie Day” on Dec. 25. Doors open at 5 p.m. Free.
Holiday Tree Lighting at Canal Park
You thought all the lights had been lit around D.C.? Think again. The Capitol Riverfront flips on the light at Canal Park’s ice rink at a party featuring free skate rentals for the first 150 attendees; live music from the Crush Funk Brass Band; a DJ; a photo booth; and s’mores, hot cocoa and mulled wine. Be on the lookout for a special guest dressed in red. 6 to 9 p.m.; tree lighting at 7. Free.
The Slackers and Mustard Plug at the Black Cat
Third-wave ska was a staple of alt-rock radio and venue stages in the ’90s. While its popularity waned, the sound is now revived by contemporary acts like the Interrupters, Jeff Rosenstock, We Are the Union and Jer. However, the well-dressed men of the scene never really went away. New York act the Slackers continues to cross-pollinate ska with other sounds of the Jamaican diaspora, along with soul and jazz, while tour mates Mustard Plug stick to the horn-led, pop-punk sounds that set the tone for countless skate park sessions. As far as recent songs serving as mission statements, the Slackers are “Hanging On” while Mustard Plug wonders “Where Did All My Friends Go?” 6:30 p.m. $32.