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St. Nicholas Greek Festival - June 8-11, 2017 - Greektown Square, Baltimore, MD.  Click here for details!
St. Theodore's Greek Festival - June 15-18, 2017 - Lanham, MD.  Click here for details!
Annapolis Greek Festival - June 1-4, 2017 - Ss. Constantine & Helen Greek Orthodox Church, Annapolis, MD.  Click here for details!
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St. Katherine's Greek Festival - June 2-4, 2017 - Falls Church, VA.  Click here for details!

Relaxing with Greeks

It was surprising to find actual Greek life in DC only a few days after YAL Washington, DC Weekend.  One would have thought that everyone would have been just too Greeked-out to even want to hang out with anyone with an “-as,” “–is,” “-os,” “-us,” or “–ou” at the end of their last name.  But what set the three events of this week apart was their size, format, and location making these atypical Greek events a great way to wind down after the prior weekend's festivities.  The three events were talking about are: Third Thursday (a young Greek professionals happy hour), Frappe Night at Dean & Deluca with GW Kosmos Club and Sfinakia Nights at Aleko’s.  (But wait a minute, Guys, wasn’t Aleko’s just another Greek Night?  We’ll explain in a minute.)  

Third Thursday:  A few young Greek professionals hanging out in a classic setting.  

Third Thursday, a young Greek professionals happy hour, debuting at the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant near the MCI Center, was organized by a few emails sent around town by Mike Manatos and Ted Theologis.  The email promised simply a night for young Greek professionals in the area to get to know one another in a relaxed atmosphere.  The premise seemed to work as a couple dozen Greeks descended upon the place for some good beer and good times.  Sure, there were the third party introductions and exchanging of business cards that typifies DC, but for the most part it was just people hanging out getting to know one another. 

Frappe Night at Dean & Deluca...Too much Frappe will put a smile on any Greek's face.  

Frappe Night at Dean & Deluca, organized by GW’s Kosmos Club, took a small group in a relaxed environment and made it work like only Kosmos can sometimes.  The simple switch from the regular Greek drink of choice – anything 80 proof or above – to the Original Greek Frappe, as interpreted by Dean & Deluca for $4.15, or about 1600 drachmas, gave the 20 or so people there a chance to just sit outside and enjoy an autumn evening with friends.  Despite the game of tavli running in the beginning and the premium being paid for shook-up instant coffee with a straw, this wasn’t a stereotypical “Greek” event.  It was nice to be in the middle of Georgetown and to be able to hear a smattering of half-Greek, half-English conversations amongst the cell phone chatter, car horns and Medivac helicopters flying overhead.  And to be able to come home from a Greek event three hours before standard Greek-Time was a welcome change of pace. 

Sfinakia Nights at Aleko's...  Hey, I don't see a sfinaki.

Even the Greek Night at Aleko’s in Wheaton, MD wasn’t like an ordinary Saturday night, despite many of the same ingredients of one.  We were initially surprised to hear that Aleko’s was replacing its Bouzoukia with a Greek Night.  The double sided 4” X 5.5” glossy card proclaiming its “Sfinakia Nights,” with the standard DJ, cover charge, and drink special routine, every other Saturday night, was indication enough that Aleko’s was looking to make a change.  We didn’t even realize until we got there, that they have discontinued Bouzoukia there on the alternate Saturdays.  Still, this Greek Night managed to retain some of the flavor of more traditional entertainment despite its recent modernization.  Simply put, Aleko’s is a Taverna.  It is not a huge DC nightclub, although it does have a small dance floor.  What Aleko’s lacks in size it makes up for in pure entertainment value.  The crowd that was there, including the mostly Greek staff of Aleko’s, knew how to have a good time.  Toward the end of the night, the waitresses and managers were out on the dance floor along with everyone else.  Everyone in the place was dancing at some point or another, with the intimate setting allowing some of the more polished dancers to go to work.  

Perhaps the most unique thing about all of these events was that each of these events drew in people that many of you, us included, have never met before.  For all you skeptics out there who think that every Greek event is the same because its always the same people who go to them, you would have been sadly mistaken.  For example, Third Thursday, despite being advertised in the same way as most events in DC, through the same handful of email lists, drew some people who weren’t at YAL Washington, DC Weekend or have never stepped foot in a YAL meeting.  Kosmos, regardless of its GW base, always manages to have at least one new person at every event, some who are students, but many who are not.  Aleko’s saw a resurfacing of many members of the University of Maryland’s Digenis graduate student group as well as many Marylanders you hardly see inside the Beltway.  Ultimately the lesson to be learned from the three events this week is, when it comes to Greek events, it doesn’t have to be big or necessarily all that "Greek," for the event to be fun and to get a chance to meet someone new. 

Read past feature articles.