Getting the gang together: Smith Commons (1245 H St. NE, 202-396-0038, www.smithcommonsdc.com). “The second level is a big room, and it’s great for groups. It’s also a great beer spot. It’s not a dive bar at all; you can dress up to go there. The second level has this great atmosphere. You can sit on these couches and eat and drink there.”
Tips from some D.C. tastemakers
Marissa Payne, 32
Editor, Scoutmob D.C.
Ever since the D.C. version of the quirky deals site (www.scoutmob.com) launched last July, Marissa Payne has devoted her days to providing amusing and of-the-moment city happenings to those who subscribe to her daily e-mail.
Avoiding the tourist hordes: The Westover Beer Garden & Haus (5863 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington, 703-536-5040, www.westovermarket.com/_BEER_GARDEN.html). “It’s attached to a grocery store in Arlington. I love it. It’s a low-key spot. Their patio is . . . going to have live music.” (Starting April 4: Live music on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m., Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 to 9 p.m.)
Food truck fave: Pleasant Pops (202-596-8440, www.pleasantpops.com). “I’ll make a special trip on a hot day to go to Pleasant Pops. . . . Right now, they just operate out of a truck. I really like the pineapple-basil flavor. ”
Art worth anticipating: Upcoming exhibits at Contemporary Wing gallery (1412 14th St. NW, 202-730-5037, www.contemporarywing.com). “They’re going to have a solo exhibition of this artist named Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi that will be starting in May. She paints on nontraditional materials, [and] they’re very intricate paintings that blend Eastern and Western culture. There’s a lot of bright colors; they’re really appealing to the eye. I would love to own one.”
Happy-hour haven: Panache Restaurant (1725 Desales St. NW, 202-293-7760, www.panacherestaurant.com). “They have a really good drink called the sangria-tini, which is basically sangria with more liquor in it. They have really good prices for happy hour.
Finger-lickin’ good food: The tuna sandwich at Fast Gourmet (1400 W St. NW, 202-448-9217, www.fast-gourmet.com). “If there was something I’d be forced to eat every day, I would choose that. For brunch there’s this dish called torrijas at Estadio (1520 14th St. NW, 202-319-1404, www.estadio-dc.com) — it’s so good. It’s like french toast, but 100 times better.”
Theatrical gig that’s just the ticket: Synetic Theater’s silent “Taming of the Shrew.” (March 31-April 22, 1800 S. Bell St., Arlington, 703-824-8061, www.synetictheater.org, $45-$55). “I like Synetic Theater because it actually made me love Shakespeare again. I hated him a long time after having gotten my lowest grade in college in a Shakespeare class. Weirdly, I think his stories are far more epic without words and told through movement like Synetic’s silent Shakespeare does.”
Kojo Nnamdi, 67
Host, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” on WAMU (88.5 FM)
As the host of his own show (thekojonnamdishow.org) since 2002 and “Public Interest” for four years before that, Kojo Nnamdi keeps area listeners engaged in topics from local political scandals to food science. His one-hour “Tech Tuesday” show is dedicated to the latest gadgets and new media, and his Wednesday food-focused broadcast earned the host and his production team a James Beard Award in 2010.