DC-Based Fitness and Lifestyle Company Unveils VIDA Fitness, Penthouse Pool Club, Bang Salon and Aura Spa in Washington’s Capitol Riverfront


Washington, DC – Health, beauty and wellness have stylishly arrived all under one roof to DC’s Capital Riverfront neighborhood. Urban Adventures Companies, Inc. announced today that its Fitness and Lifestyle Complex has opened for business at The Yards mixed-use development project at 1212 4th Street, SE. Fully encased in a floor-to-ceiling, wrap-around glass façade with panoramic views of the Potomac River and Nationals Park, the four-level VIDA Fitness anchors the 30,000-square-foot complex and like VIDA’s U Street flagship location, the venture also includes its affiliated concepts Bang Salon, Aura Spa and the Penthouse Pool & Lounge. This is VIDA’s sixth location, the fourth sites for both Bang Salon and Aura Spa and the second rooftop home for the Penthouse Pool Club.

VIDA Fitness at The Yards includes the club’s full suite of deluxe services, well-appointed facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and more than 100 customized exclusive classes with fresh additions that are unique to this location. The Experiential Cycling Studio offers cyclists an immersive experience in real world biking situated in a tri-level, stadium-seating atmosphere with 30 stationary cycles. The Synrgy 360 globular multipurpose exercise apparatus presents a full-service training nerve center that can be individually tailored to exerciser goals focusing on interval training and functional movement. The Hot Yoga Studio provides an intensified heat environment with a specially designed, wall paneled insulation temperature-warming system in a 1,500-square-foot studio space. Well-appointed, gender-specific European sauna and steam rooms are located in both the men’s and women’s locker rooms. New top line enhancements introduced at The Yards location include cutting-edge Concept2 indoor rowers and Woodway treadmills. Also new to VIDA Fitness at The Yards is a 1,000-square-foot Kids Zone where parents may closely watch their children play. Child babysitting assistance is also available.

Designed by Stoneking-von Storch Architects of Charlottesville, VA and Hallock Design Group of Miami, FL, VIDA Fitness at The Yards displays a nautical design aesthetic throughout the multi-level facility that pays homage to the Navy Yard locality. Special to this site is an LED high-ceilinged illuminated atrium that extends 1,200 square feet.

VIDA Fitness at The Yards also houses the popular Penthouse Pool & Lounge. The 10,000-square-foot private rooftop pool club features a 60-foot pool, pool deck, five resort cabanas, eight poolside day beds on deck with several stretching into shallow waters. The member lounge holds 78 chaise lounge chairs, modular furniture with communal fire pits, café tables, chairs and bar stools with a full food and beverage menu identical to its U Street counterpart (the Penthouse kitchen will open at the beginning of the 2015 summer season). The Penthouse also plays on the nautical theme featuring ship and aquatic elements; porthole windows, blue lighting, rope finishes, bubbled accent walls and gray flooring.

Located off the VIDA lobby is the sophisticated Bang Salon, which officially opened for business on Thursday, October 2. The 2,200 square foot hair salon features 15 styling stations and boasts its full collection of services and treatments that are characteristically found at its other three DC-area locations. Bang Salon at The Yards showcases an entirely new interior design — a fusion of lively configurations that incorporates elegant hues of purple, black and white creating a classic, chic retro look.

The luxurious Aura Spa also opens at The Yards featuring an expanded menu of services and cutting-edge design finishes. Positioned just off the VIDA lobby, the 1,500 square foot tranquil day spa offers therapeutic and rejuvenating services in four large massage therapy and esthetician treatment rooms.

“We’ve made The Yards fitness and lifestyle complex a desirable urban destination and are excited to introduce our wellness concept to the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood,” said David von Storch, president of Urban Adventures Companies, Inc. “Whether you want to workout, chill out or simply hang out, this facility has something for everyone and we believe it is a valued addition to the growing waterfront community at The Yards.”

By 2017, von Storch plans to have a total of eight VIDA Fitness locations opened and operating throughout the national capital region. This project brings the company 75 percent toward that goal.

For more information on all of the fitness, beauty and lifestyle offerings located at The Yards complex, please visit the Urban Adventures Companies website that directly links to each affiliate business at: www.uacompanies.com also at the VIDA Fitness website: www.vidafitness.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/vidayards.

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About Urban Adventures Companies, Inc.

Since 1986, Urban Adventures Companies, Inc. has been providing urban lifestyle services and entertainment destinations to Washingtonians and visitors alike in the national capital area. The DC-based company is the umbrella corporation for Capitol City Brewing Company, VIDA Fitness, Bang Salon, Aura Spa and the Penthouse Pool Club & Lounge. Urban Adventures Companies owns and operates each facility and together employs more than 2,000 in its 14 establishments citywide. Its mission is to help DC area residents live more interesting, exciting and healthier lives with a goal to take care of you, make you look great, and reward you each and every day. The corporate headquarters is located at 1612 U Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009.



METrio Performs at Evermay


I joined well-heeled Washingtonians at Georgetown’s beautiful Evermay estate last weekend for an intimate perfomance by METrio, a New York-based act comprised of pianist Tanya Gabrielian, violinist Emily Daggett Smith, and cellist Matthew Zalkind.

Like every Overtures Series event, the evening began with guests swilling wine, nibbling on savory passed hors d’oeuvres, and lounging around the estate’s beautiful parlor, living, and dining rooms. After cocktail hour, we all gathered in the performance room, a small, open space where cafe tables and chairs surround a beautiful Steinway.

Following remarks from Dr. Kuno and Dr. Ueno, the married couple who own Evermay, METrio processed into the room to begin their show. The spunky Tanya gave a few opening remarks, breaking the stiffness of the room with her cheerful manner and bright smile. Emily at the Violin was composed and elegant, and Matthew the cellist was extremely passionate and emotional thought the hour he spent performing.

First on the list was Trio for Piano, Violin, and Cello in D Major “Ghost,”Op. 90, B.166. Tanya instructed the audience that the name of this Beethoven suite came from the frenzied images conjured up by the mobile, fluid pieces, reminiscent of Shakespeare’s King Claudius of Hamlet. Rumor has it that the music may have been inspired from a Macbeth opera that Beethoven was contemplating during the time of its composition. Ghost was fitting for the crisp fall evening, with Halloween just around the corner.

Piano Trio No. 4 in E Minor “Dumky,” Op. 90, B. 166 followed, and was masterfully executed in the way  technically-challenging Dvořák demands. The six-piece suite alternated between upbeat, bright, pieces and pensive, moody counterparts, as defined by the pieces title; a “Dumky” is a Slavic folk song that alternates in character between sadness and gaiety.

METrio was formed in 2013. Each of the trio members has distinguished themselves as leading soloists, recitalists, and chamber musicians of their generation and in their own right, though their musicality as a group is certainly unquestionably impressive. Each international prizewinners, METrio has performed at prestigious venues on six continents.

As a piano trio, they are passionate about inspiring new generations of music and art lovers in both traditional and untraditional settings, dedicated to community engagement and education. METrio aims to blend their unique cultural diversity through collaborations promoting social causes, art as activism, and inviting audiences to become active participants in the experience.

Playtime Project’s Fall Fundraiser

Please join us to support the Playtime Project and celebrate the power of play through time.


October 8, 2014
6-9 pm
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Ave, NW

All proceeds ensure that 600 youth have the opportunity to play and heal from the trauma of homelessness each year.

Remembering our past. Securing their future.

“Chefs Take a Stand” Returns to Washington, D.C.


Top Women Chefs and Mixologists Unite to End Domestic Violence 

WHO:    The National Network to End Domestic Violence is partnering with top women chefs and mixologists to bring Chefs Take a Stand, a one-of-a-kind event combining great food, creative cocktails and an important social cause.

WHAT:   Chefs Take a Stand includes Amy Brandwein of Alba Osteria; Mikala Brennan with Hula Girl; Gina Chersevani, Mixologist at Buffalo and Bergen; Sonya Farrell of Tarara Winery; Ruth Gresser of Pizzeria Paradiso; Carla Hall from The Chew / Cooking with Love; Kate Jansen & Tracy O’Grady of Wheatless by Willow; Mary Kelly, Mixologist at Del Campo; Ris Lacoste of Ris; Jamie Leeds with Hank’s Oyster Bar;Marjorie Meek-Bradley with Ripple; Doron Petersan from Sticky Fingers Sweets &   Eats; Michelle Poteaux with Bastille Restaurant; Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora; Elli Benchimol, Mixologist at Range by Bryan Voltaggio; Rachel Sergi, Mixologist at Lincoln; Susan Soorenko of Moorenko’s; Laurie Alleman Weber with Swiss Bakery; and more!   The evening will be hosted by Carla Hall, celebrity chef and co-host of ABC’s The Chew.  She will also be auctioning off some fabulous items.

WHEN:   Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 7 p.m.

WHERE: Carnegie Library (801 K St., N.W.)

Additional info:  The event, presented by Google and The Allstate Foundation, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.  VAWA is groundbreaking legislation that has made a positive difference in victims’ lives since 1994.  VAWA has changed the way society responds to the crime of domestic violence and has helped keep survivors and their families safer.


Folger Theatre Opens the 2014/15 Season with Julius Caesar

Robert Richmond to direct Anthony Cochrane, Maurice Jones, Louis Butelli, Michael Sharon, and others in Shakespeare’s political thriller.


Folger Theatre launches its 2014/15 season in Rome with William Shakespeare’s enduring political tragedy, Julius Caesar from October 28 – December 7, 2014. Robert Richmond (Richard III and Henry V at Folger) directs the epic portrait of the battle between ambition and honor, conspiracy and loyalty, leading an outstanding ensemble including Anthony Cochrane (Broadway’s War Horse and Folger’s Henry VIII) as the honorable Marcus Brutus, and Maurice Jones, making his Folger Theatre debut as Caesar’s closest ally, Mark Antony.

When Julius Caesar returns to Rome with immense power and popularity, a group of political leaders, fearful for the Republic and driven by their own ambition, conspire to assassinate him. Caesar’s death sends the city into chaos, creating factions of power alliances and plunging the Empire into civil war. This ferocious examination of power and democratic responsibility to the people will play on stage one block from the nation’s Capitol Building, amidst midterm elections. “Julius Caesar is a very important and telling play for our time,” states Richmond. “It exemplifies the very best – and worst – in our political beliefs. Shakespeare’s work brilliantly demonstrates that ego is always present in human nature and the very democratic freedom that nations continuously strive for is often unachievable.”

Folger Theatre’s Julius Caesar features an extraordinary cast that includes Louis Butelli as Cassius, the wily mastermind behind Caesar’s assassination, Michael Sharon as Caesar the Roman emperor, Shirine Babb as Portia, the proud wife of Brutus, and Deidra LaWan Starnes as Caesar’s wife Calpurnia. The production also features JaBen Early (Octavius Caesar), Maboud Ebrahimzadeh (Casca), Joe Brack (Cinna), Nafeesa Monroe (Soothsayer), Robbie Gay (Cinna the poet), and William Vaughan (Lucius). “We are very excited that Folger Theatre kicks off its new season with Julius Caesar,” stated Janet Griffin, Artistic Producer of Folger Theatre.

“DC is the political capital of the nation which makes this the ideal play to perform just steps away from the nation’s Capitol in our intimate, Elizabethan theatre. We have once again assembled a brilliant creative team and an extraordinary cast to stage this very timely piece of theatre. We are sure our audiences will find this production unique, thought-provoking, and of course, entertaining.”

The award-winning creative team includes four-time Helen Hayes Award-winner Tony Cisek (set design), Mariah Hale (costume design), Jim Hunter (lighting design), Eric Shimelonis (composer and sound design), and Casey Kaleba (fight director).

Fall Wine Tour with Coravin


Last week, I joined a private group of writers and foodies to enjoy a tour around DC’s best restaurants, sampling wines through the Coravin System.

The Coravin uses technology that keeps the cork in the bottle, where it’s been since the bottle was sealed. Pour glasses whenever you like, and know that instead of oxidizing, the remaining wine will continue to age naturally.

The Coravin System was inspired founder Greg Lambrecht’s love of wine and the never-ending discovery in taste and aroma that it provides. His dream was to magically pour wine from bottles without ever pulling the cork so the remaining wine could then go back in the cellar to be enjoyed whenever he desired at a later date. What followed was a decade of development and testing until he had a system that left the cork in place, but still delivered great glasses of wine, indistinguishable from untouched bottles.

The tour began at ENO, and continued to Kapnos. I joined the group at its third stop, Barmini, the libations laboratory associated with Jose Andres’ storied Minibar right next door. The ambiance is eclectic chic, with Spanish furniture and mesmerizing cocktail contraptions all over the sleek white space. Atop a funky couch printed to look like a shrub cactus, I sampled the most fabulous 2003 Château d’Yquem Sauternes. Michael Echeveste, the Beverage Manager (a commanding station at such a renowned venue) informed us that the golden sweet French wine is sold at $35/ounce. Clocking in just under $900 a bottle, the Coravin has allowed Barmini to serve the precious wine without having to sacrifice the contents of the bottle for every pour.


The wine, of course, was fantastic. Paired with Andres’ innovative foieffle, the cuisine experience at Barmini is one of the best I’ve experienced. It’s hard to go wrong with a foie gras-stuffed waffle, which is exactly what the foieffle is. Balancing sweet and savory, creamy and crunch, the foieffle paired with the Sauternes exquisitely.

Our chauffeur then drove us to 701. Located in Washington DC’s historic downtown, 701 is steps from Capitol Hill and the White House, and nestled along the sprawling esplanade of National Archives. We enjoyed our tasting al fresco, soaking up one of the last summer evenings. Riojas were 701’s offerings that night, and we tried a Reserva 2003 and Reserva 2002, both from the López de Heredia family. The wines had been breathing for 30 minutes prior to our arrival, as Beverage Director Chris McNeal advised for both wines.

701 restaurant

The  (2003) had a beautiful deep ruby color. The nose was strong but not overpowering, yielding to a full bodied taste rich with matured fruits. Overall, a very smooth wine. Using the Coravin, I enjoyed a glass that would retail at $20. An entire bottle goes for $80.

The Viña Tondonia (2002) provided a counterbalance, with a light nose of vanilla and dried berries. Firm tannins provided balance to the taste, which was also very smooth though quite dry. Aged in the barrel for six years, this wine goes for $24/glass, and $90 for the bottle.

Pair with these delicious wines were 701’s dry aged strip loin, carrot marrow, braised oxtail, red wine jus, and creamed swiss chard, all superbly savory with the bold reds.

Following the sunset on 701’s patio, we hopped back in our arranged transportation and headed to the Oval Room, a sister restaurant to 701. Located a stone’s throw from the White house, the Oval Room is classic Washington, with a swanky dining room and six-seat bar. At the Oval Room, we sampled two wines with the Coravin. The first, a white wine, was A Coroa Godello from Valdeorras, Spain. The perfect summer sipping wine, the nose was citrusy and bright, with herbaceous minerals on the palette. This boldly-finishing wine paired perfectly with crisped, light mushroom eggrolls served on the bar.

alek milford

Alek Milford, Oval Room’s sommelier, then Coravin-poured us the Denis Bachelet Cote de Nuits Villages, a 2008 from Burgundy. Paired with heartier shrimp toast, the elegant wine had a fragrant nose with minerality and earthiness. Medium bodied on the palate, the wine had a sophisticated tannin finish that extended well.

oval room alek milford

The tour continued at Del Campo, but I stuck around Oval Room with a friend and tried more lovely cocktails from Ross, the mixologist. The evening was a lovely night of fine wines at some of the city’s best restaurants, all poured through the game changing Coravin that has benefitted consumers and restaurant professionals alike.