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Since reopening in June, Wunder Garten has proven to be an attractive option in the ongoing pandemic, given its large outdoor environment. The popular beer garden in NoMa has also benefited from pandemic-instituted measures such as contactless ordering, which saves patrons from the stress of having to move around or wait in line.
“We have performed better than expected in light of the closing measures in the pandemic,” says Brandon Bayton, Wunder Garten’s director of development. In addition to its outdoor setting, Bayton also attributes success to the venue’s function as “a key focal point for the neighborhood” and to its reputation as a place that “values diversity,” endeavoring to “make sure that our staff is diverse [and] that we’re welcoming to everyone.”
While Wunder Garten is not an LGBTQ-specific venue, it is gay-owned and operated, and has enjoyed “a really strong LGBTQ following” since it first opened as a pop-up five years ago. Bayton, who is gay, came on board last year to oversee events and special programming at the beer garden, including Oktoberfest and Winterfest, both multi-week, multi-event affairs for the general public that always offer select events geared to the LGBTQ community.
After kicking off last weekend, Winterfest 2020 has already offered a night of Drag Queen Trivia and the LGBTQ-focused “Girl What? Ugly Sweater Party.”
The gay festivities, proceeds of which will benefit Capital Pride, pick back up with Drag Queen Bingo hosted by Crystal Edge and Katrina “The Hurricane” Colby on Monday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m., and a Holi-Gay Onesie Party hosted by Edge and Colby with patrons welcome to wear their best “sexy onesie,” on Thursday, Dec. 17, starting at 7 p.m.
The full slate of programming also includes Night of 1,000 Santas, which promises to be “the biggest socially distanced Santa Party D.C. has to offer,” on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m.
Over the years Wunder Garten has also become known for the popular food trucks always on hand, including mainstays Caliburger, featuring a Bavarian-style delicatessen menu, and La Buena Empanadas, which Bayton refers to as a “gay-owned establishment selling authentic Argentinean empanadas.” Trucks run by the popular Petworth restaurant Timber Pizza and Little Stable, the H Street Corridor’s fondue-focused Swiss outpost, are among a rotating lineup planned for the remainder of Winterfest, which runs to Dec. 20.
Tables for up to six are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, while cabanas for up to six can be rented in advance. Wunder Garten is at 1101 First St. NE. Visit www.wundergartendc.com.
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