On Sunday, May 19, V street in front of the 9:30 Club was shut down to make room for a taste of Washington’s best food, battling bars, and great music at the fifth annual Sound Bites festival.
What started as a gloomy day didn’t stop hungry Washingtonians looking for food and entertainment. The streets were lined with some of DC’s hottest restaurants serving up bites to hungry attendees. Next came the entertainment starting with DC’s own Batala all women percussion band that got everyone’s feet moving with their Latin beats.
Next came Battle of 14th Street Bars. In the first ever mixology battle at the Sound Bites festival, four of DC’s most popular craft cocktail bars faced off in an Iron Chef style battle that featured a secret ingredient that they then had to feature in an original cocktail that they made within 3 minutes. Points were given for creativity, taste and overall use of the secret ingredient. In round one, the speakeasy Gibson faced off against Bar Pilar in battle Rose Scented Geraniums. The four judges were Todd Thrasher of PX and Bar TNT; Fritz Hahn from The Washington Post’s Going Out Guru; Chef Anthony Lombardo of the acclaimed 1789 Restaurant; and a special guest who won a Sound Bites contest on Twitter. The Gibson claimed round one with their martini. Round two featured the ladies from Birch and Barley against Black Jack. The secret ingredient was Moonshine Milkshake, a milk and vanilla infused 40 proof libation from local Bloomery Distillery in West Virginia. Black threw down their take on a Brandy Alexander with blueberries and chocolate, but it was no match for Birch and Barley’s martini with Cachaça and citrus with muddled lime and basil. The final match pitted Birch and Barley against the defending champs the Gibson in battle Rappahannock Oysters. Incorporating a freshly shucked raw oyster into their beverages, the Gibson chose to pair the martini with Royal Black gin, lemon and Velvet Falernum. Birch and Barley created a martini with Cachaça, Elderflower, dry vermouth and creme de violette with a black pepper rim. In the end, Birch and Barley took the win.
After the mixology battle, everyone took shelter from the heat inside the 9:30 club for an afternoon of entertainment from Kid Congo Power Hour, The Razz with Ron Holoway, Rich Morel’s Hot Sauce, Deathfix, and Lee Fields & the Expressions.
For a look at some of the best food from the festival, check out the Top 7 tastes at Sound Bites 2013.
Sound Bites 2013 was an overwhelming success with the proceeds benefiting DC Central Kitchen, a local nonprofit that seeks to end the cycle of poverty, hunger and poor health through nutritious meals and culinary training for the disadvantaged. Click HERE to learn more about DC Central Kitchen.