You don’t need a theme to drink, anytime anywhere, not even during the coldest months, not even at Wunder Garten — but it helps. The large beer garden in NoMa is a popular draw pretty much year-round, and that has remained true during COVID-19 with the all-outdoor environment — as well as new pandemic-instituted measures, such as contactless ordering — only enhancing the appeal.
Yet a few times each year, Wunder Garten becomes hoppier than usual, the result of well-planned, multi-week programming centered around buzzworthy themes, including Oktoberfest and Winterfest. In recent years, the venue has also managed to lure people to come spend prolonged periods of time outside in the cold with the resort-themed Après Ski Festival.
For the next two Saturdays, from noon to 10 p.m., guests can warm up with one of 10 different boozy options from the festival’s Hot Chocolate Bar, fueled by Stoli Vodka and Redemption Whiskey, including one that embraces the venue’s LGBTQ patrons: “Unicorns Are Real,” a mix of vodka, white chocolate, and marshmallows topped off with — what else? — edible glitter. Also available beyond the usual beer and beverage menu are themed non-alcoholic drinks plus whiskey flights providing a trip through Old Forester’s years from 1870 to 1920. Options for sustenance include onsite food trucks La Buena Empanadas (Thursdays through Saturdays) and Swizzler, the acclaimed fried patty vendor that recently launched a new BBQ Bacon Burger.
Additional activities include Ski Simulator Wednesdays, a downhill ski-racing game allowing two friends the chance to virtually race each other down ski run for only $1 per race, free Stein Holding Contests, and on Friday, Feb. 19, an Après Ski Onesie Party with prizes going to best ski-themed one-piece ensemble.
Après Ski runs through Feb. 28. Wunder Garten is at 1101 First St. NE. Free admission, with tables for up to six guests available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cabanas for up to six can be rented in advance. Visit www.wundergartendc.com.
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