Stephanie Rudig
Stephanie Rudig

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Church and State, the quaint H Street NE cocktail bar outfitted with church pews and its own private confessional room, has always felt like a religious experience. Now visitors will be able to worship the rock gods while they sip cocktails. The bar is launching “requiem” nights to pay tribute to artists who have passed away starting with John Lennon on Oct. 7.

Church and State first test-piloted the idea two summers ago with a Prince event that included a viewing of Purple Rain at downstairs sister bar Atlas Arcade, followed by a discussion of Prince’s work, with a custom purple cocktail on the menu. They also recently held a celebration for Amy Winehouse, whose work owner Erik Holzherr admires.

“It’s not just business as usual. People will be reminiscing,” Holzherr explains. “People can walk in and not know anyone, but enjoy talking about the artist and the music.” Atlas Arcade will show documentaries or concert footage to kick the night off, then play the featured artist’s work. Attendees will be able to reminisce and share stories about the artist while drinking unique cocktails. 

They may also bring in guest speakers, because as Holzherr says, “We have a lot of regulars connected to the industry or who have interviewed some of these artists.”

The themed requiem evenings will be held on or close to each artist’s birthday, marking the occasion less like a vigil and more like a celebration. Church and State plans to repeat the events each year and has already filled out a full year of festivities, so mark your calendar for the birthdays of Ella Fitzgerald, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and more stars. They will also be taking suggestions of artists to worship.

 Additionally, Church and State will debut new seasonal selections for the rotating “Deadly Sins” portion of their menu next Wednesday.

Church and State, 1236 H St. NE; (202) 399-2323;