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La Boum offers carnal daytime frivolity every weekend

Mixed-gender tables and reservations preferred for wild, loose brunches

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La Boum, gay news, Washington Blade

Christopher Lynch holding court at one of his brunches. (Photo courtesy La Boum)

The shades are drawn. The lights are low. The music is loud. Tassels twirl, whipped cream has made an appearance and past a plate of half-eaten French toast, a champagne bottle is popped. And of course, shirts are off.

Founded in 2010, La Boum Brunch (held at Abigail at 1730 M St., N.W.) has cornered the mid-morning hedonistic market and shows no sign of slowing down. All of this thanks to its founder, restaurateur and entrepreneur Christopher Lynch.

“La Boum strips people of inhibitions,” Lynch says. “People are almost made to interact with each other and then discover something new about themselves. At La Boum (French slang for “house party”), anything is possible.”

La Boum Brunch has seen it all since it got started in 2010. Lynch’s story, though, starts before then.

Lynch began his career in New York City, working for more than 14 years at Estee Lauder. Looking for a career change, Lynch moved to Washington in 2002. Though possessing scant experience in the restaurant industry, he decided to open a small, unpretentious French bistro in called L’Enfent Cafe on a quiet corner in Adams Morgan.

Though Lynch is gay, he did not open an LGBT-focused restaurant. Instead, his café was open to all, attracting a mixed and trendy crowd eager to hang out at a place that was neither gay or straight, a fairly novel concept at the time.

“L’Enfent Café became emblematic as a place where everyone was comfortable,” Lynch says. It was more than a French Café; it became his stage. “If I wanted to do drag show I’d do that; cabaret I’d do that; if I wanted to throw a trapeze up on the ceiling I did that.”

On a weekend jaunt to New York City, Lynch visited an afternoon party that he called, kindly, “a shitshow,” at a favorite restaurant. Looking to plug the quieter post-brunch hours at his café, he decided to take inspiration from the party, and began operating La Boum in the 2-5 p.m. slot on Sundays.

The brunch caught on like wildfire. At its inception, it attracted a mostly gay clientele, but soon morphed into a mixed crowd. It’s now held on Saturdays and Sundays from 2-5 p.m. every weekend, currently at Abigail but not always at the same location.

“This was a completely original brunch experience for D.C.,” Lynch says. “We give people a safe house. They can be weird.”

La Boum Brunch starts out innocently enough, with a glass of bubbly and food service. But as soon as the blinds are closed and the lights go down, all bets are off. Lynch and his crew have created games sexual in nature, designed to integrate tables of customers who don’t know each other. There’s an emcee, burlesque-style performances and dancing. Lots of dancing.

The larger-than-life brunch, however, was taxing on the building. Bistro chairs, after all, are not crafted to support two grinding and tipsy revelers. In 2016, La Boum Brunch moved to a downtown club space that, though less intimate, allowed for a bigger party to rage.

Today, there’s also a second, evening party called La Boum Boum Room, which incorporates all the non-food elements of the brunch (“the shirtless, sexier, grittier parts,” he says). Lynch soon founded a company to control the La Boum brand.

Soon after La Boum Brunch moved, Lynch decided it was time for a change for him, too. He had bought the building but closed down L’Enfent Café, and now rents the space to the trendy burger joint Lucky Buns, run by Alex McCoy.

Lynch soon opened Red, White and Basil, a traditional Italian restaurant, which he later sold. Today, he owns and manages Wundergarten, a beer garden in NoMa (1101 First St., N.E.).

Lynch is still honored, though perhaps not so surprised, by the reception La Boum Brunch has received. He sees it as part of the evolution of the gay scene in D.C. When he first moved here, he says the community, “really only went to places we felt safe in; it was more segregated.”

Today, there’s much more assimilation.

“I think it’s gorgeous that people can be together and recognize how similar we are and overcome our differences through several bottles of champagne,” he says.

In 2016, Bravo TV called out L’Enfent Café as one of the top “5 Ranging Brunch Restaurants” in the country, along with others hand-picked from Vegas and L.A. Today, Lynch is looking to expand the franchise, perhaps in D.C. or even in other cities around the country. Make reservations online at laboumbrunch.com.

“La Boum brings together all different people, different races and sexualities. It’s a social experiment. People you’d never expect to party with and barriers are broken. And that’s the essence of La Boum.”

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Bars & Parties

KINETIC: Pride DC launches with 3 major events

Weekend kicks off Friday with UNCUT XL at BLISS

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KINETIC: Pride DC will partner with Capital Pride Alliance to celebrate Pride month with three official events that will feature leading gay DJs: Abel, Ben Bakson, Joe Pacheco, Dan Slater and Alexis Tucci.

The weekend kicks off Friday, June 10 at 10 p.m. with UNCUT XL at BLISS Nightclub. Grammy-nominated DJ Abel will headline the city’s “most risqué circuit event of the year” at BLISS nightclub.

“Uncut is returning to DC Pride for the first time in four years so there will be lots of sweating, dancing, and men bumping and sliding into one another on the main floor as well as in the play zone,” said producer Jesus Quispe in a press release late May.

 KINETIC: Pride Galactic Edition will be on Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. at Echostage. DJs Dan Slater and Ben Bakson will perform back-to-back sets. DJ Joe Pacheco will open the night.

The series of events will wrap up on Sunday June 12 with DC Pride’s official closing party, “discoVERS” at 10 p.m. at SAX in Downtown D.C. Disco-diva Alexis Tucci will spin an open-to-close set with Disco, Nu-Disco, and Disco House music all night long. Special performances throughout the night will be integrated into her high-energy disco set as well.

To purchase tickets, visit KINETIC: Pride DC.

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Bars & Parties

Beyonce vs. Rihanna dance party

Music provided by DJ Just Different at Union Stage

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R² Productions LLC and Union Stage are teaming up to host  R² Productions’ inaugural “MEGA Dance Party” on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Union Stage at The Wharf.

The event will be a night full of dancing to music by pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna. DJ Just Different will be performing at the event. 

General Admission tickets cost $25 and Premier Plus tickets cost $35. For more information about ticket purchases, visit Union Stage’s website.

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Bars & Parties

Kiki quickly becomes popular LGBTQ destination

New bar on U Street plans summer expansion, patio space

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Kiki, at 915 U St., is already drawing crowds. (Blade photo by Michael Key)

After a New Year’s Eve soft opening, Kiki has become one of the most popular LGBTQ destinations in Washington, D.C.

The two-floor bar takes over the space vacated by Velvet Lounge and Dodge City on the 900 block of U Street. Both closed during the pandemic. The locale is directly adjacent to another gay bar, Dirty Goose.

Owner and gay man Keaton Fedak, a general manager at Dirty Goose, noticed that these two next-door bars had gone dark during the pandemic, and met with the owners of the two buildings, who are cousins. Plans quickly developed to use both buildings to craft an expansive, interconnected, inclusive space to transform the city’s gay bar landscape.

Fedak called the bar “Kiki” both after himself (it’s a nickname) and for its connection with the LGBTQ community. “The word wasn’t invented by the Scissor Sisters song,” he explains. “It’s been an important concept in the community for decades.”

The first half of Fedak’s vision has already opened. The ground floor of the 915 U St. building is open-plan space with bar stools and a color-block wall of rainbow panels. A bar sits in the back up a short flight of stairs. This level will feature music, but quieter than the second-floor space. There, a DJ booth presides over a large dance floor. Disco lights flood this space; there is a bar on this level as well. The elevated dance floor is set to hold drag shows.

In the spring, a small patio will open, strung with fairy lights. It will have a “backyard aesthetic,” he says, to be green, bright, and relaxing. “It’s a good place to chill on a nice day outside.” It may even be reminiscent of Town Danceboutique’s popular patio.

The second half, at 917 U St., is still waiting for permits, and Fedak hopes to open this section in the summer.

It will connect to the current space via the outdoor patio. This section will have more of a sports bar feel, given Fedak’s connection to D.C.’s Gay Flag Football League (he is a former board member). The bar will welcome Stonewall Sports and other LGBTQ sports teams, and will be replete with plenty of mounted TVs to show various games.

After the closing of Cobalt and Town, Fedak wanted to ensure that Kiki was “an inclusive space, so that there’s vibes for everyone,” he says. “It should be a place where regulars would just show up and hang out.” He made sure that he recruited staff from different professional and personal backgrounds.

Fedak began working in food and hospitality at age 17 in his hometown in Pennsylvania. After moving to the D.C. area for work, he continued to moonlight as a bartender. Fedak joined Dirty Goose as general manager in 2019 before starting his Kiki journey.

To stock the bar, Fedak has plenty of spirits to go around. There is a focus on the vodka offerings, but he ensures that local distilleries take center stage: He carries District Made Vodka and Rye Whiskey, as well as Green Hat Gin. The beer game is also a winning strategy: there are more than 25 bottles and cans available, with three beers on tap. Local options are first-string, including selections from DC Brau, Right Proper, and Anxo Cider. Finally, the bar comes complete with a house margarita on tap (“ it’s a homemade recipe,” notes Fedak, using agave nectar syrup instead of sugar). The 16-ounce marg is always on special for $10.

While Kiki doesn’t serve food, Fedak is exploring options for a small truck or stand in the backyard.
Moving forward, Kiki will host weekly events. The bar already hosts drag shows during “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties. Fedak plans to begin a “Cobalt-style underwear contest” as well. Once COVID cases decline, he also wants to resurrect the Sunday funday parties that Cobalt would host with sports teams.

Fedak’s mantra for Kiki is evident in the mural that will take up the backyard patio – a quote from “Schitt’s Creek”: “I like the wine and not the label.”

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