When servers aren't serving and bartenders aren't tending bar, these hospitality industry workers need places to let loose among people who understand their daily struggles. Usually held on weekday nights (there's no no such thing as the "weekend" in the restaurant industry) these are safe spaces for these hardworking people.
During work hours, they have to grit their teeth, bite their tongues and smile no matter what the issue because that's what hospitality is all about. But when industry workers want to relax with their peers, they go to these spots to be taken care of for a change.
A Creative DC: This pop-up event hosts food and non-food related talks and meet-and-greets. When it's food-centric, many people in the industry turn out to gather, brainstorm and network. Tickets go fast and registration usually happens at 10 a.m. on random Fridays. Register online to find out what's happening next.
All Souls Bar: This Shaw bar was started by industry vet David Batista who worked for José Andrés for many years. The bar attracts many in the industry because of Batista himself and because of its location off of both U and 7th Streets. But it's mostly because of the vibe. All Souls may be small, but it's usually packed with people who are in the know.
Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery: Every few months, Bayou Bakery hosts a coffee event frequented by caffeine industry insiders and workers. The Counter Culture coffee pouring starts at 9 p.m. and there are complimentary snacks and beers for those attending. It only costs $5 to pour.
Brine: This Merrifield bar just started its own industry night on the last Tuesday of every month, giving suburban bartenders and workers their own opportunity to party. There's discounted drinks and complementary apps.
Closed Sessions: On the first Monday of every month, Closed Sessions brings together guest bartenders and musicians for a "rotating house party". Past events have been at U Street Music Hall and the Howard Theatre. You'll need to "join the fam" to find out more.
Kabin: Every Wednesday Night is Industry Night at the Dupont nightclub attracting managers, bartenders and others in the hospitality industry to let their hair down and shake it off. Doors open at 10 p.m. and entry is free.
Old Ebbitt Grill: When the night shift is over, many in the food and beverage industry head to Old Ebbitt's late night happy hour with half-priced oysters. Not only is it a favorite of people who have to work late, but word has it that chefs and industry leaders David Guas and Robert Wiedmaier are fans of this late night nosh fest as well.
The Royal: On the second Monday of each month, it's "Royal Nights" from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. The industry event features guest bartenders and a special theme for the night. For December, the theme will be sparkling cocktails. January will be all about tiki.
Thursday Night Throwdowns: On one Thursday a month, all the best baristas gather at a cafe to showcase their best latte art. Three judges keep score and crown a coffee art winner at the end of the night. This night time gathering is for those who have to wake up early to make sure the commuter crowd gets their morning caffeine. Check out DMV Coffee's Twitter feed for the latest on where the next one is happening.
Editor's Note: Graffiato is no longer hosting industry nights, so that listing has been removed.