Our nationalist tendencies would never let us entertain the idea that France's own national day could compare to the excitement and spectacle of the Fourth of July. But these events sure come close. Here are our picks for celebrating the start of the French Revolution.
Madison Valley’s Bastille Bash
The event hosted by the city's most francophile neighborhood enters its third year with even more flair. On Saturday, July 12, East Madison Street from 27th to 30th Avenues will be turned over to food, wine, and performances by burlesque dancers, local bands, and even a Marie Antoinette impersonator from 3 until 8pm. The lineup of retaurants includes Bar Cantinetta, Belle Epicurean, Cafe Flora, Crush, Luc, and one Thierry Rauturau manning a barbecue. Also, Carolin Messier's pop-up ice cream company, The Spoon Project, will be on hand to satisfy your sweet tooth. A $20 wine passport gets you 10 tastings and bites start at $2.50. Tickets for the food and drinks can be bought here, but entrance to the bash is free.
Bastille Cafe and Bar
With that name, how could a restaurant not have a celebration? The festivities at Bastille will start Saturday and go through actual Bastille Day on Monday, July 14. Saturday will feature pentanque (think horseshoes, but with hollow balls the size of oranges) in the lot between Anchored Ship Coffee and the Ballard Inn. In case you work up an appetite throwing boules, chef Jason Stoneburner will have a pig roast within easy reach, as well as baguette sandwiches. Pair that with beer from nearby Reuben’s Brews, some rosé from Domaine Bichot, or just head for the beer garden next to Bastille’s back bar. The weekend will feature music from The Verb, Free World Jazz, and the Djangomatics, as well as a burlesque show.
If you’re not one for crowded, rowdy festivals, celebrate with an elegant French feast at chef Michael Mina's downtown restaurant. The five-course dinner will feature Fat Cork's grower Champagne and Taylor Shellfish. We’re coveting the steamed manila clams and confit pork belly. The dinner starts starts at 6pm and you can make reservations by calling 206-456-7474. Dinner is $135 per person.
Ethan Stowell's new French bistro is all in on La Fete Nationale. Happy hour specials, like $5 glasses of wine and $10 burgers, will be available the whole night. Classic dishes like coq au vin and ratatouille will make an appearance for the celebration. If that doesn’t have you exclaiming, “Viva la France!” then well, we’re not sure what’s wrong with you.
This Pike Place Market staple will take over Post Alley again with its Bastille Day event Mondayfrom 4 to 10pm. The Djangomatics and Greg Ruby with Bric-á-Brac will be performing as attendees munch on freshly shucked oysters from chef Daisley Gordon and imbibe from the multiple beer and wine stations set up in the alley. Food ranges from $2.50-12. The event is open to all ages.
The Corson Building
Matt Dillon's Georgetown eatery will host its sixth annual fete Monday, July 14, from 2-9pm. Tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for kids, which include a picnic dinner, live music, a DJ, and games for the kiddos. You can purchase tickets here.
Music will set the mood for Bastille Day at this little slice of Paris on First Avenue. The Bric-á-Brac duo will perform at 7pm, followed by the Post Alley Ramblers at 10pm. Pace yourself—the music will play late into the night.
Music will also take center stage at this newish Capitol Hill bistro. Rouge will play classic French café music as you enjoy the special three-course meal, featuring duck confit, roasted cauliflower steak, and Copper River sockeye salmon. Don’t worry, though. The regular menu and happy hour specials will still be available if you feel like sticking with your go-to favorites. The cost for the special meal is $39.