By Kate Masters
Independence Day may be filled with fairs, fireworks and festivities, but some people just can’t handle the fizzle of firecrackers or the influx of festal families. If pyrotechnics aren’t your thing and you’ve never been able to pull off red, white and blue, try one of our alternative weekend plans, specifically conceived to help you avoid the patriotic crowds.
Karaoke at Cafe Chocolate
Anything but average, Cafe Chocolate in Annandale offers a taste of the East on a day otherwise filled with red, white and blue. The bar rents out private karaoke rooms for $30 to $50 an hour, and groups can belt out their favorite hits in English or Korean. Summon staff with a buzzer built into the room and stock up on soju, a vodka-like Korean liquor, or try a few orders of fusion dishes like kimbap or kimchi fried rice. The restaurant also offers hookahs and a separate room for smokers who like to indulge indoors. While firecrackers may light up the sky inside, Cafe Chocolate provides a temporary ticket to a country far from the USA.
7129 Little River Turnpike, Annandale
Patriotic Punch at TNT Bar
Sister bar to the ultra-hip PX in Old Town Alexandria, TNT Bar in Arlington offers a trendy alternative to the usual Fourth of July pub rush. Though it’s closed the day of, TNT will reopen on Saturday for a belated celebration, offering bourbon-based “patriotic punches” in addition to its regular lineup of rock-n-roll-inspired cocktails. The punch flows for $4 a glass during the bar’s happy hour (5 to 7:44 p.m.—don’t ask), and it’s worth stopping by for an early indulgence to avoid the big-ticket prices later in the evening. No, your night out won’t actually fall on the Fourth, but there’s nothing hipper than running fashionably late.
2413 Columbia Pike, Arlington
Catch a Flick at the Angelika Film Center
Housed in Fairfax’s burgeoning Mosaic District, the Angelika Film Center is the perfect place to hide away from typical Fourth of July festivities. The boutique cinema screens independent and specialty films, and its Independence Day lineup runs the genre gamut. A screening of Snowpiercer, a post-apocalyptic odyssey from renowned Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho, closely follows a showing of Begin Again, a gentle romantic comedy starring Keira Knightly as an aspiring folk singer. If there must be a patriotic flair to your evening, try to catch the 11:45 screening of Coming to America, Eddie Murphy’s 1988 comedy about an African prince looking for love in the USA. Part of the Angelika’s weekly after-hours series, tickets to the flick only run $7.
Angelika at Mosaic
2911 District Ave., Fairfax
Soar High at Flight
If you have lofty expectations for Independence Day, you just might find satisfaction at Flight, an indoor trampoline park in Springfield. The facility is open all weekend, and it’s the perfect place to release some pent-up energy while enjoying a less-stereotypical observance of the Declaration of Independence. The park sets aside time for kids-only jumping from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., while grown-ups can burn off July 4 barbecue bellies with a boot camp trampoline workout on Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. Take advantage of the Fourth of July festivities and head to the park later on Friday, when most of Northern Virginia will be transfixed by pyrotechnic displays.
Flight Trampoline Park
7200 Fullerton Road, Springfield
Try an Art Camp for Grown-Ups
The Nats may battle the Cubs every day this weekend, but you can avoid beer stands and brats with a grown-up art camp from the Del Ray Artisans. On July 5, unleash your arty side with an all-day drawing marathon from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Coordinated by local artist Ricardo Pontes, the event allows aspiring Vermeers to drop in and out of the gallery, sketching from nude models or still life displays. Your painting might not incorporate red, white, and blue, but you will leave the studio with a one-of-a-kind work of art. Pre-register for the event with a $25 advance fee, or show up at the door for a $35 admission.
Del Ray Artisans
2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria