WashingtonPost Going Out Guide by Fritz Hahn:
The Dolcezza Gelato Factory has played host to some of the city's most anticipated pop-ups, including Bad Saint, Mason Dixie and Timber Pizza. Up next: a monthly mix of cabaret and cocktails.
Secret Monkey Social Club, which launches on Monday, Feb. 16, is a collaboration between singer Shayna Blass and cocktail wizard Lukas B. Smith, designed to evoke "the classic cabaret lounges of the '30s and '40s."
Smith, who currently bartends at Dram and Grain after spells at Daikaya and the Passenger, plans to whip up a variety of vintage punches, which will sell for $8 a pop. "The idea is to serve punch five ways," he says, with a mix of classic recipes and original creations. Smith thinks serving punches from bowls is more conducive to a party atmosphere than making each drink to order, pointing out that it means "quicker service, and no waiting. Also, no loud shaker-tin filling, and no ice scoops plunging noisily into ice bins."
That lack of clatter should make it easier to enjoy a jazzy trio playing atmospheric instrumentals throughout the evening. For one set, Blass will join the group to perform covers in the vein of Lake Street Dive and Janelle Monae. "I don't necessarily want to stop the party with the performance. That's why I like the Supper Club [format]," Blass says. "It gives people a chance to continue to mingle and drink and/or watch, if the music moves them."
The plan is for Secret Monkey Social Club to return on the third Monday of each month. Admission is free, and no RSVP is needed. Doors open at 9 p.m.
Dolcezza Gelato Factory and Coffee Lab, 550 Penn St. NE. 202-333-4646. www.dolcezzagelato.com.