With the inauguration behind us, the most recent Got Plans? chat returned to a focus on date nights and dining out. The Going Out Gurus took questions from readers about ideas for an engagement celebration and where to go in Baltimore. Check out the highlights below, and search the boldface terms at goingoutguide.com for more information.
My company is bringing a bunch of its East Coasters together in Baltimore for a few days at the end of the month. Any suggestions for midweek night life around the Four Seasons?
Fritz Hahn: Ah, Harbor East. The huge and popular Wit and Wisdom bar is right at the hotel. It’s a Michael Mina restaurant, like Bourbon Steak in the District, but with happy hour, so it’s worth a visit even if your company’s not picking up the tab.
You’re not far from Fells Point. I was just up there a few weekends ago. Rye is the cool new cocktail bar. (Baltimore-based friend walked in and said, “Oh, we’re in D.C. now.”) Pretty decent drinks with house-made infusions. It’s next to Max’s on Broadway, one of the best beer bars in the country. (And it’s across the street from the Blarney Stone, a neighborhood bar with cheap shots and cheap bottles of Natty Boh, for when you feel like making bad decisions.)
If you don’t mind cabbing around, I’d also send you to Johnny Rad’s (a skateboarding-themed pizza-and-beer joint with Skee ball), and two excellent beer bars: the Brewer’s Art brewpub, and Of Love and Regret, which is run by the brewer behind Stillwater Ales. Neither of them has been too crowded on my (admittedly infrequent) weeknight visits.
I love the chats and would love a suggestion (probably from one of the guys). I am trying to plan a second date this weekend or next week that is not necessarily going to a bar and getting a drink. We aren’t big drinkers. Live music, art or trying something new would be nice.
Hahn: First, let me point you to our recent list of great first-date ideas, most of which could be used for a second date, too. The influx of new outdoor skating rinks — Washington Harbour and Canal Park — could work, especially given the chilly weather. (Or, conversely, you could play bocce indoors at Black Jack.) For live music, I’d suggest trying a place you haven’t been before. You can find bluegrass at Tiffany Tavern in Old Town, country line dancing (with lessons!) at Nick’s in Alexandria, classic rock at JV’s and dancing to rockabilly in the back room at Quarry House Tavern.
I am looking for a nice place to have an inexpensive lunch with my mom in Georgetown. Anything new there these days?
Maura Judkis: It’s not new, but you and your mom might like Kafe Leopold, especially if you think you’ll be having dessert; no meal at the out-of-the-way Georgetown spot is complete without pastries. New(ish), and also a little more expensive: Bandolero. Although Tom Sietsema’s review cautions against the noise, that probably wouldn’t be as big of a problem at lunchtime.
Hi, I would like to have a dinner for my wife at the end of next month with a small group of 10 to 12. Can you suggest some good restaurants that might have a private room, or at least a secluded corner, preferably in Arlington/Alexandria/close-in Fairfax? The honoree and guests like good food and appreciate most types of cuisines, except steakhouses. Longtime reader, first-time chatter.
Judkis: One of Tom Sietsema’s chatters asked the same thing last week, and he suggested Liberty Tavern in Clarendon, which got high marks in the Fall Dining Guide, and McLean’s Bistro Vivant. Vermillion, in Alexandria, is also a pick from the dining guide. It will have a new chef before your party next month. President Obama ate there for Valentine’s Day last year.
Have questions of your own? The Going Out Gurus will be online at 1 p.m. Thursday. Submit questions in advance at goingoutguide.com.