"A speakeasy for parents" - get a glimpse inside our uniquely-DC family club in Capitol Hill
It’s Friday evening and the band is rockin’ a great mix of original tunes and covering the hits. Beers are cracking open as the more carefree in the crowd shake the week’s stresses away on the dance floor ... doing the hokey pokey. The song is one of the biggest crowd pleasers because most of the audience is under four years old.
Friday member socials are just part of the fun at elemeno, DC’s only club for young families, but co-founder Michael Campbell says they’re so popular they sell out every time. “’It’s like a speakeasy for parents’ – that’s what one of our members said to me recently as he drank a craft beer and watched his two-year-old bounce to the live music.”
Co-founder Liza Fox added, “We just love helping our member families take the stress out of the end of the week. Before you have kids, Fridays are a great time for happy hour and dinner out.” But parents of young children have fewer options, she notes, “and taking a toddler – or two – out to a restaurant is not exactly a relaxing experience.”
On Fridays from 5:00 to 7:30pm, members of elemeno can bring the whole family to come play, get some food, and even have a drink while socializing with other young families. And at least once a month there’s a special event like live music from King Bullfrog, a duo of Capitol Hill dads who play the kids’ favorites and mix in some fun songs for the adults too.
“We call it effortless family time,” said Liza, referring to the services member families enjoy, “because you can come to engage and be together without having to worry about any of the planning, details, or especially the clean-up.”
"Several families have become good friends after meeting here - including us and some of our best friends in the city"
Making family life in the city a little bit easier is what elemeno is all about. It started with SkillZone, a Montessori-inspired indoor play and learning environment, but in less than a year the waitlist-only business expanded to provide a suite of services for the whole family. Parent-only coworking is the newest offering, where babies are welcome and parents can make an appointment for a “Play Buddy” to watch their kids while they work or relax in the surprisingly stylish second floor lounge.
Many member families treat elemeno as an extension of their home, coming several times a week to play, co-work, socialize and breathe a bit easier for a while. “Several families have become good friends after meeting here – including us and some of our best friends in the city.” Helping parents of young kids reclaim some of their social lives is a point of pride for Michael, who has experience raising two children in Capitol Hill. “I liked being a bartender in college because I loved the social part. Now I get to have a similar experience meeting parents like me, but thankfully the shift ends at 8pm these days.”
Elemeno is located on Barracks Row in Capitol Hill and information about membership and services can be found online at elemeno.club.