Metro Weekly

Nightlife Highlights: Gay Day at the Zoo, DC Rawhides, Ladies Tea at Hank’s, and a Freddie’s Drag Contest!

Our picks of the best LGBTQ nightlife in the D.C. area this week!

Country Dancing — Photo: Ward Morrison/file photo


Where to go after spending the day on Sunday, May 5, exploring the National Zoo for the annual DC Center fundraiser? Down the hill and through the urban wilderness to Trade, of course, where your reward is a drag performance by 17th Street High Heel Race Winner Madame Chevitz at 5 p.m. Other attractions at the 14th Street hotspot include a face-painting booth to channel your “inner gay animal,” free food tasting by Galley Kitchen, and a specialty “Zeebra” cocktail. The afterparty officially ends at 8 p.m., but the bar will be open until the early hours as a refuge for all the nocturnal critters in town. Trade is at 1410 14th St. NW. Call 202-986-1094 or visit


The DC Rawhides showcase their boot-scootin’ brand of social dancing every other Saturday — now on both floors of the Ziegfeld’s/Secrets in Southwest. Starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, the group presents an hour-long session of lessons in intermediate/advanced two-step dancing taught by Lee and Michael on one floor, with the other open for a solid hour of “your favorite line dances back-to-back.” No worries if you don’t know how to line dance or don’t yet have a favorite: the Rawhides “love beginners and always teach basic two-step.” The evening continues with open dancing to former Remington’s DJ Chris P. until 10:50 p.m. — roughly an hour before Ella Fitzgerald and her Ladies of Illusion take to their regular perch. By then, you’ll also find fully exposed “freestyle” dancers and their admirers shaking it to house music by DJ tim-e upstairs, if you’d like to see and do it all. Ziegfeld’s/Secrets is at 1824 Half St. SW. Cover is $5 until 9 p.m.; $10 after. Call 202-863-0670 or visit or


This Sunday, May 5, the original Dupont location of the chain of restaurants run by Jamie Leeds kicks off a new season of its monthly summertime party for lesbians and all others “under the rainbow.” New this year to the 21+ event are partnerships with local and national LGBTQ organizations, with SMYAL first out the gate. Each month will also feature a different color Ladies Tea bracelet in honor of the selected charities, allowing for the truly devoted to #CollectTheRainbow. From 3 to 5 p.m., Ladies Tea has the run of the place, with exclusive drink and food specials at the downstairs bar, finer libations in the upstairs space rechristened Hank’s Cocktail Bar, plus the venue’s new garden patio. The party moves to the Ladies Lounge after 5 p.m. to make way for dinner. Hank’s Oyster Bar is located at 1624 Q St. NW. Call 202-462-4265. Visit


Ophelia Bottoms hosts an amateur drag competition at Freddie’s in Crystal City on the first Sunday of every month, including this Sunday, May 5. Contestants vie for the most audience applause, with the winner earning the proper zodiac title — in this case, Miss Taurus — plus a $50 prize and a spot in the annual competition to crown the yearly Miss Zodiac. Showtime starts at 8 p.m. Freddie’s Beach Bar is at 555 South 23rd St., Arlington. Cover is $5. Call 703-685-0555 or visit

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