Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.
A name like Houlihan's points to a menu of hearty comfort food, and although the eatery certainly has staples such as Cajun jambalaya and reuben sandwiches, it also has dishes not found in your typical American pub. Soy-glazed char-crusted ahi tuna and sesame-chicken salads show off Asian-inspired ingredients, and Italian dishes include chicken fettuccine alfredo dripping with three types of cheese and flatbread pizzas topped with roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella. Some meals can even be made with gluten-free ingredients.
Like the food, the drink menu is a mixture of old standbys?from Yuengling to Amstel Light?and new favorites such as Fat Tire and Angry Orchard Hard Cider, plus a variety of specialty cocktails. And a well-edited wine list provides options at all price points without making customers read a menu twice as long and three times as complicated as their last tax returns.
For almost 50 years, Virginia Ballet Company and School has borrowed from the rich, centuries-old traditions of Russian ballet to mold fledgling tip-toers into strong, agile, and graceful dancers. Following the expertly adapted choreography of the studio's late co-founding artistic director, Tania Rousseau, a cast of professional dancers prepares students ages three and up to participate in school-run classical productions, granting them the opportunity to twirl into important roles such as The Nutcracker or The Helicopter Propeller. The company hosts classes of varying difficulties in a studio with raised, spring-loaded floors that reduce injury, fixed and portable handrails, and wall-length mirrors for checking and correcting posture.
The owners of First Break Sports Bar & Grill turned a tragic fire into an opportunity. After the loss, they took time to update the space beyond its original condition, and today gleaming granite tops the bar and hardwood floors shine throughout. A typical night sees the latest sports events flickering on 25 HDTVs, while smokers retire to a separate lounge where they can throw darts through the smoke rings they blow. Players send billiard balls cracking at 9-foot Diamond Pro-Am tables, and on Wednesday nights, participants count their chips during Texas Hold 'Em tournaments. But whether they're spectating or playing, diners can fuel up with selections from the bar's menu with sandwiches, wraps, and pasta until 2 a.m.
At this authentic South American steak house, customers never want for options. The menu of Argentinean meats and seafood is buttressed by a selection of more than 30 hot and cold tapas and a colossal wine and martini list of international libations. The sips cool overexcited taste buds and pair with lauded entrees such as the parrilla of bone-in short ribs, singled out by Washingtonian as one of Bethesda's greatest dishes. Popular seafood platters arrive in the form of whole lobsters, accompanied by enough seafood paella to sate two diners. To ensure that their sizzling meats are shared with the masses, chefs can also export the fare to private bashes or teddy-bear picnics with catering services.
The eatery's décor reflects its exotic eats: spotlights set orange walls ablaze and highlight paintings more colorful than a Rubik's cube hidden in jello. Clusters of leather couches exude a casual air, providing a sleek contrast to the chic table settings and white linens at booths and tables. Proving that elegance needn't be fussy, customers can also master dance steps at milonga lessons on Wednesdays or host parties in the space almost every day of the week.:m]]
DC Dance Collective is on a mission: to open the world of dance to everyone. And it takes that seriously—low-income dancers are encouraged to volunteer at the front desk in exchange for class credits. This communal spirit of creative exercise and collaboration realizes the dream of founder Nancy Newell, whose impressive 49-year dance career includes curating two Smithsonian series based on tap.
Dance Studio Life rightly describes DCDC as "an anomaly among studios in its region for both its collective approach and its vast offerings." In the lobby, which "feels more like a living room," the friendly instructors welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to pick from an eclectic assortment of dance styles, ranging from classics such as tap, ballet, and jazz to diverse styles such as hula, salsa, flamenco, belly dance, and Sri Lankan dance. Hip-hop and break-dancing classes help dancers find their inner funk without GPS, and Zumba fitness dance classes get everyone sweating to global party beats with Latin-inspired moves.