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10932637_1549248528668087_1500328132_nMeet the #OffseasonSundays brunch club, which trust us – should be your new weekend thing. At least until next football season. From 12-3 on Sundays in the basement of Adams Morgan’s Smoke and Barrel, the #OffseasonSundays crew hangs out and listens to themed jams – most recently they hosted T-Pain Brunch and Yacht Rock Brunch.

This Sunday, the theme is Mr. and Mrs. Carter, as in Jay and Bey. It’s the brainchild of DC’s Rat Pack – Clinton Yates, Lauren Wall, and Freeman Thompson. We chatted with them a bit more about what to expect at #OffseasonSundays.

What’s a usual conversation at this brunch? Any insights riffed from listening to yacht rock?

Freeman: The usual conversation that one would normally have at brunch can also be found here. The difference is that while discussing the future of Brian Williams’ journalism career , Destiny’s Child “Say My Name” is going to come on, and you’re going to instinctively start body rolling, followed by a lot of giggling and then shout-singing the words to the next 10 songs. As for Yacht Rock, we realized that the music was definitely more about the lifestyle than any hard and fast definition. And a lot of synthesized horn sections.

Lauren: Conversation mostly revolves around the music that’s playing. That’s how this whole thing started, and that’s how it’s been playing out. There’s a fair amount of yelling when a song comes on that you haven’t heard in a while… and a lot of conversations cut short mid-sentence to yell about said song. So it’s a good time.

T-Pain was initially a source of inspiration for this event – tell us more.

Lauren: Someone asked the question, what’s T-Pain’s best song? The usual suspects came up, and then so many more. I honestly forgot just how many songs tpain has made and has featured on – way more than enough to fill 3 hours of brunch time, which is crazy. And they’re all songs that everyone has a specific memory about, or wants to laugh at or dance to. Which is exactly the vibe that we were going for.

maxresdefaultFreeman: NPR Tiny Desk Concert made everyone remember that T-Pain had hits. We, however, did not forget. This turned into the quintessential bar argument everywhere we went out for the next couple of weeks, “So… What’s your favorite T-Pain song?” Some people immediately knew exactly what it was and what verse and would immediately start screaming adlibs. Most people scoffed, but then after a few seconds of discussion, would come up with a quality song and then laugh, and then go into a goofy story about that particular song. From there, we started talking about how many hits T-Pain had and how funny it would be to just listen to all of the hits and watch everyone laugh and talk about the last time they heard those songs. All three of us are fairly goofy, silly people by nature, and so the plan around the brunch was to try to get everyone to loosen up and laugh a little bit. Have ridiculous bar arguments about stupid songs. Tell embarrassing stories to each other. It is impossible to be serious when “All I Do Is Win” is on.

What’s the signature #OffseasonSundays drink? Because we know it’s not mimosas.

Freeman: The hope is to switch it up each brunch. And all of these ideas really come from Jason Casper, who bartends and serves for the shift. (Jason and I are actually buddies from HS in Norfolk, VA) First we had “The T-Cain” which was a Tallahassee Hurricane (just a regular ol’ hurricane.) After that we went to a Loggins and Messina (Radler and Campari) that was just light and refreshing enough that you would drink 8 of them after dropping anchor and frolicking on the boat. This week I believe it’s going to the Beyonce Bellini but again, we’re gonna leave it up to the mixologist to come up with that. I still don’t know how he’s going to come up with an HFStival drink that somehow uses lots of flannel.

Lauren: Drinks change weekly with the theme. That’s Jason’s job. But of course, being at S&B, there are definitely going to be shots of whiskey. Unavoidable.

How early and how much effort goes into the playlist beforehand?

Lauren: I’ll leave this to Freeman… we do all get some input which is fun. I was new to the yacht rock lifestyle, so I didn’t contribute much that week. For tpain, I basically came up with a list of jams that I needed to hear and forwarded them on. I fought hard for Cyclone that week. Freeman let it play, so thank you.

Freeman: The playlist is the most important and least important thing at the same time. At no point in time am I slaving over a turntable to get the best fades into and out of songs. If people want to hear Beyonce “7/11” 5 times, we just might play it. But for the most part, a lot of these mixes got started when we first started kicking around the idea a month ago, mostly so I wouldn’t forget songs. A lot of cutting, a lot of putting on songs that I absolutely hate but know that other people love them, a lot of “If I don’t hear Toto- Africa before it’s over, I’M NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE.” Basically a lot of posturing because in the end, we’re in our late 20s – early 30s and it’s not that serious
What’s the inspiration behind making this a bigger event, rather than an informal friends brunch?

It also isn’t going to be necessarily a greatest hits playlist. Some jams will hopefully make people say, “holy shit, I forgot about that song.” So it’s important that we get the songs that people want to hear on there, but usually right before brunch starts we say, “yo, whatever comes on, people are going to dig it” and it’s fun. It might not necessarily be the case for Jay and Bey because people are very intense about their Beyonce, but should still be fun.

What’s the inspiration behind making this a bigger event, rather than an informal friends brunch?

Freeman: To me, at least, I think it’s because we are bar people. We go out and we have fun talking to random strangers about random 10919749_866810026675203_1475011475_nthings. We also know that there are a lot of people out there who just want to be silly and goofy. A lot of this is about trying to find the types of people that we would want to hang out with on a regular basis. It’s very much a house party vibe. Bring your friends that we might not know, but soon they may become friends of ours. No one is trying to turn this into a profession… unless, ya’ll are hiring or something, then holla at your boy.

Lauren: We just wanted to laugh and joke around with our friends, but thought it would be fun to do in a social setting. The original T-Pain conversation took place in a bar, lots of polling of random dudes that happened to be on the outskirts of our conversation. I think we all like socializing and meeting new people, so this was an easy way to extend the fun a little beyond our immediate friend group.

Is this more club brunch or football sunday?

Lauren: Definitely more football Sunday. That’s what it was replacing after all. Just a setting to hang out with friends, make new ones, talk about random bullshit, and just have a good time.

Freeman: Clinton and I are big Nats fans, so Offseason is really until baseball season kicks off. We’ve discussed bringing back T-Pain in the future because it’s pretty hilarious. We’ll have to see how the rest of these go. In the end, Sunday afternoon has become my favorite time to hang out waaaay over Fridays and Saturdays and we wanted to continue doing it with fun people. So if people want to drink beers and tell lies with us, we’re bout it.

 What is the format? Who shows up?

Freeman: Very much a house party vibe. Drink some drinks with your friends, or friends of friends. As the house party keeps going and music gets a little louder, someone’s going to do a stupid dance. And we’re all going to laugh and have a good time. No too cool shit.

Lauren: Casual is key. We invite our friends, and tell them to invite whoever they want. I think we already have some #offseasonsundays regulars. And we did have someone show up last weekend just because he lives the yacht rock lifestyle and had to check it out after he heard about it. That’s pretty awesome.

Will you continue this through football season? What if the Redskins are good? Would you let Dan Snyder in?

Lauren: The plan is to go til baseball season. We will wait and see what happens after that. I personally could care less if Snyder shows up. Go Giants.

Freeman: Listen. Washington Futbol Club is never going to be good again. Dan Snyder’s favorite beer is Bud Light. Something tells me Smoke N’ Barrel is gonna be too difficult of a concept for him. He can come though.

President Obama decides to join in on the #OffseasonSundays brunch fun. What do you play while he’s there?

15215890939_0321c5d550_zFreeman: I believe that Obama, while a dorky dad, was heavily in these streets when he was our age. Do not let his stature as the President fool you. Barack Hussein Obama was here to drink these beers in these basement bars when he was 29. So I think the Pres would be an #OffseasonSundays fan. Most of the music would probably be 60s-80s, soul… funk. A lot of Teddy Pendergrass. Obama needs music to slide in your girl’s DMs. I also think Obama likes hip hop more than he’s leading on. So there’d be more of that towards the end. I can assure you that Obama can rap the entirety of A Tribe Called Quest – Scenario. That and Let Me Ride from “The Chronic.” The shit would be awesome.

Lauren: I think we’d obviously have to repeat the T-Pain brunch. Give him a taste of the original #offseasonsundays fun. And I really, really need to know his T-Pain medal stand.

Join the #OffseasonBrunch crew Sundays 12-3 at Smoke and Barrel, basement. This week’s theme is Mr. and Mrs. Carter.