Going Out Gurus: Date ideas and more for after the storm

October 30, 2012

Daytime date ideas and a place to blow off steam post-election and post-pregnancy were on the agenda in last week’s chat with the Going Out Gurus. Check out the highlights below, and for more information, search the boldface terms at goingoutguide.com. Note that Hurricane Sandy will cause restaurant closings and event cancellations that could continue for several days, so be sure to call ahead before heading out.

Sunday afternoon

Hello, love the chats. I think this question is for one of the guys. I am having a first date Sunday afternoon and was thinking H Street Country Club, a place to get a drink and talk while we mini-golf or play Skee-ball. It doesn’t open til 4. Are there any other places that may be open earlier? D.C. or Virginia will work.

Fritz Hahn: Penn Social (Eighth and E) opens at noon, and offers more games than just about anywhere else in the area: Skee-ball, shuffleboard, darts, pool, air hockey, foosball, pop-a-shot basketball, a three-foot-high Connect Four board, a Jenga set made of two-by-fours.. . . I think it’s pretty much perfect for a first date. Lots of beer, plus TVs for your football games. Bedrock Billiards is one of my favorites because it’s smaller (and has a killer jukebox), and a ton of things to do, including Wii bowling.

Sorry, I know you get this question every week . . .

. . . but you’ve never steered me wrong before! [In search of:] a not-too-cramped bar for hanging out on my husband’s (31st) birthday. We’ve done Meridian Pint, Bedrock Billiards, Atomic, Mellow Mushroom (our usual haunts). I’m thinking Smoke and Barrel in Adams Morgan. Only about 10 people or so, not a private party, just a new-ish place to have a fun Friday evening. This is Nov. 9, so not a particularly busy Friday, I think. I’m happy to go back to one of those, but have been hunting for someplace different. He loves his scotch, but we’ve done Bourbon already. Looking for Adams Morgan or Columbia Heights since they’re close to home. But hey, open to new ideas. Thanks, as always!

Hahn: I would definitely consider Smoke and Barrel. But what you want to do is call and see if you can reserve a couple of tables downstairs in The Space That Used to Be Asylum. I’ve been to a birthday party down there (a little larger than yours) and it was a lot of fun. It’s also easier to move around down there than if you had it upstairs.

Another option would be the upstairs at Bourbon — they’re open on Fridays, and usually not busy until late.

Is brunch possible this weekend?

Hi, Gurus! I have two girlfriends (we’re all in our 20s) in town this weekend, and I’m looking for some ideas. I wanted to plan a small activity during the day on Saturday, doesn’t necessarily have to be super-touristy (both have been here many times) and we’re not bent on doing anything Halloween-themed. But it needs to be in D.C. proper and Metro-accessible. I also was hoping to take them to a nice brunch early on Sunday before they head back to their respective cities. Any ideas?

Ramanathan: Why not a fun trip over to Eastern Market? I always swing my cool visitors over there to shop for jewelry and art, sift through flea market purses and faux furs, and then stop at Market Lunch. There’s also a cool show at the Fridge, and you can trek over to Hank’s Oyster Bar for lunch, and the Sweet Lobby is a “Cupcake Wars” winner for its mac-top — a cupcake with a macaroon on top. [For brunch] you might try one of our fave spots, the Bombay Club, which has live music, or better, the Gospel Brunch at the Hamilton, which is attracting lines literally around the block (get reservations in advance).

Friday HH on the Hill

Hey, GOGs, love your chat! My friend and I would like to do a happy hour on Friday somewhere on the Hill (just to mix things up because we usually don’t head down there). What’s your best bet for a happy hour? We’d be getting there around 5:30 to 6, would like food specials/options as well, and preferably a place where we’d be able to get a seat! We’re in our mid/late 20s so it would be nice to find something not very young (interns) or very old.

Hahn: For the political side of things, there’s Capitol Lounge ($1 off everything til 7) and Tortilla Coast ($3.50 beers, $6 frozen margaritas, $4 snacks). I’m also a fan of the new 201 Bar, formerly Lounge 201, which is more upscale than the others, and therefore less likely to be crowded with interns.

Post-pregnancy night out

I’m tasked with finding the perfect location for a ladies’ night — a much-deserved post-pregnancy and post-election bender. Requirements included a place where seven ladies in their early 30s can be a bit dressed up, dance (maybe some Madonna? Am I pushing it?), and not feel too old or too young with the rest of the crowd. Extra points if there’s a nearby restaurant for dinner and wine beforehand. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Hahn: You don’t say when exactly this is, but you’re going to want to keep an eye on the calendar for the Becky or DJ Dredd Madonna/Prince/Michael Jackson dance parties. Becky (fourth Friday of the month at the Rock & Roll Hotel) is all guilty-pleasure pop hits: Beyonce, Madonna, “Call Me Maybe,” etc. Best girls’ night out going. Dredd’s long-running party, which happens at both the Hotel and the Howard Theatre, is just nonstop classic dance music. (When you’re choosing from the collected discographies of those artists, how could it not be?)

If you’re going to the Rock & Roll Hotel, I’d steer you toward the Atlas Room or Boundary Road for dinner before. If it’s at the Howard, then Dickson Wine Bar or Vinoteca would work for the pre-dancing gathering.

Have questions of your own? The Going Out Gurus will be online at 1 p.m. Thursday. Submit questions in advance at goingoutguide.com.

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