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Transcript

Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Entertainment Guide
Thursday, April 14, 2005; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's Entertainment Guide experts share their best bets for local flavor, great dates and family fun. Got plans? Great. Need plans? Just ask. We have the skinny on the bars and clubs, concerts, kitchens, theaters and special events that keep life interesting. We're going out gurus, and we're at your service.

Of course, we're happy to answer questions about local entertainment, but we need to hear from you, too. Introduce us to the coolest DJ or the fastest bartender you've encountered. Sound off on the week's best concert or the city's best burger. Tell us about the best place to amuse little kids or a big art fan. Together we can plan fun ways to spend weekdays, weekends, dates and holidays. The pleasure is ours, and yours.

Each week a different guru will act as host or hostess, but the entire staff is at your service. If you're looking for more ideas, see the Entertainment Guide.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

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Herndon, VA: Hi, I am responsible for picking a location for brunch on Sunday for friends who will be visiting from LA, Atlanta and Delaware. One of the women has suggested that she wants to go to the National Cathedral that morning, so I'm looking for a place in that area. Any suggestions? Thanks!;

Erin: Well, if you're looking for a special occasion brunch, then go for Seasons at the Four Seasons in Georgetown. If you'd rather something lower key, try Ardeo in Cleveland Park, The Diner in Adams Morgan or Gabriel in Dupont.

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The Going Out Gurus: Today we're starting off today with a response from our newest -- most eager? -- Going Out Guru. Erin joined the GOG's just last week and we couldn't be more thrilled to have her. You should be too. Of course, she's got back up -- David, Anne, Alexa, Rhome, Fritz, Jen, Joe and Maura (that's me), so let's hear what you have to say. Fire away.

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Washington, D.C.: Howdy!

I have been charged with arranging a weekday brunch and spa afternoon for a small group of colleagues to celebrate an upcoming wedding. Work is paying (Nice!)- so I'm looking for a great & fun brunch/lunch place - downtown or Georgetown area - and spa.

Any suggestions?
Thanks!

Erin: Lucky you! Well, for spas, the Four Seasons in Georgetown is consistently rated among the best in the country, but look into options at the brand new Somafit. As for lunch, go for a spa sushi lunch at Sushi-Ko or a power meal at Cafe Milano. If you end up downtown, lunch at Zola.

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Arlington, VA: Hey guys - submitting early in hopes of making the cut today!;

Im going to an afternoon wedding this weekend and I need a good place to grab brunch in Arlington or DC!; Basically some place nicer than Whitlow's but not too expensive... I really wanted to go to Georgia Brown's, but they're booked. Nice decor w/ outdoor seating is a plus. Thanks!;

Alexa: The Evening Star on Mount Vernon Ave.? Carlyle? Those are two brunches I like, and not expensive.

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Arlington, VA: Hi gurus,
Apologies for posting early, but I've got a dilemma I know only y'all can solve!; Widespread Panic is playing at DAR on Tuesday so we'll have a good crowd visiting. Any suggestions on a good happy hour/meeting place that's easily accessible to DAR and out of towners?
Thanks much!;!;

Joe: DAR is not great in terms of having places nearby where you can meet up. Your best bet is finding somewhere in Foggy Bottom. Fritz recommends 51st State or the happy hour at the Circle Bistro hotel bar.

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Arlington, VA: I moved to the area from Texas about 7 months ago and am still searching for good mexican and tex-mex restaurants. With the exception of a few Sunday brunches that end in the early afternoon, I haven't found a restaurant that does mexican breakfast anywhere. I'm looking for a place that does migas, huevos y chorizo breakfast tacos (which should be dirt cheap), huevos rancheros, etc. And they should preferably serve it up all day, but I will take suggestions for those with limited breakfast hours. I think Fritz mentioned el Tamarindo in his blog last week, which sounded like a start. In that vein, I'm also in search of good 24-hour mexican fare. Thanks y'all.

Alexa: Wow, Texas. You know what you want. Have you been to the brunch at Taqueria Poblano? Not an all-day breakfast, no. But a brunch and a fine one. I'm not sure about huevos y chorizo breakfast tacos, but they do some excellent other kinds. The Burro is cheap and they have a fish taco we like one helluvalot, but I don't think the breakfast part of your request is met. Can anyone help?

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Washington, D.C.: My friend and I are going out tomorrow night to enjoy some drinks. We are both in our mid 20s and do not want to spend a ton. Do you have any suggestions where to go that is fun, a young crowd and has well priced drinks?

Erin: Surely -- The Common Share in Adams Morgan has some great specials (I recall $2 drinks), Crush's happy hour lasts until 10:30 and if you're in the Farragut area, Recessions is a favorite for the bargain-hunters looking to drink AND eat.

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Basaball been berry, berry good to me...: Shouldn't any "Got Plans" plan over the next few days include watching a little baseball at RFK? Unless you're looking forward to this team being called the Las Vegas Crapshooters or the Mexico City Jalapenos, this is the time to show MLB and future owners that it wasn't a horrendous mistake to move the Expos here instead of the other contenders...

David: I'm not worried about the next few days; I think RFK will be plenty packed for this first homestand. It's when it gets to mid-August and the Nats are a dozen or so games behind the Marlins or Braves in the standings and are playing basically meaningless games against the Reds. That's when we'll really see if this is a baseball town or not.

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Bethesda, MD: I am getting together with a few friends this weekend in Bethesda. I noticed there are a lot of nice outdoor eating restaurants along the Elm Street/Woodmont strip. Can you suggest any above the others? Maybe Ri-Ra (anygood) or Olazzo (??). Thanks Guys!;!;

Jen: I've never eaten at Ri-Ra, so I'm not sure what the food is like. I like Olazzo, but part of the charm of the place is eating inside its cozy dining room.
Try Austin Grill, Raku or Jaleo on Bethesda Ave. If you're up for a splurge, I believe there's nice outdoor seating at Black's as well. And then there's my favorite outdoor area in Bethesda -- the rooftop at Tia Queta. Unfortunately the food isn't always the greatest. But it's worth a stop if you just want appetizers and drinks.

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Washington, D.C.: The other day I went to Cafe Citron and before I could order food and beverages at the bar, they asked for my credit card. When I asked why the girl said, "We get a lot of people that don't pay and just leave." Umm, this is in Dupont?..

On another note some GOG mentioned being surprised at $6 beers in some places in the city. I'd expect this from anybody but the GOGs. At Citron or some other Dupont bars $6-7 is normal for a beer.

Fritz: Yes, it is in Dupont, and yes, there are people who pay and leave -- or purpose or not -- at lots of expensive bars and restaurants. I don't think it's a Dupont thing.

And I'm not really surprised by $6 beers -- just annoyed. I don't mind paying, say, $6 for a unusual Belgian draft or a special microbrew. But a bottle of Heineken? I can get that for $8 a six-pack at the convenience store near my apartment. At least when I pay $10 for a martini I (usually) have a reasonable expectation that it's not something I can whip up in my kitchen.

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Flying for the Weekend: Good Afternoon...meant to ask tom this yesterday but figured you guys could help too, flying out of national tomorrow and want to grab a light lunch at the airport? any suggestions? is the sushi place there any good? thanks!

Alexa: Yes, it's nice. Also nice is the grilled scallop salad at Legal Seafood. Otherwise it's old Ruby Tuesday ot the California Pizza Kitchen.

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Washington, D.C.: All the happy hours I've been going to seem to have many more men than women. Am I going to the wrong places or what? Any recommendations?

Rhome: You should go wherever there are deals on fruity "martinis".

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Washington, D.C.: Need to take out my boyfriend of less than 6 months in DC soon - any ideas?? Don't want to spend more than $100-$125 for two.

Alexa: Please, more details.

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Washington, D.C.: As someone who only moved here in October the GoG thing has been great - at least I can now pretend I know what's cool! My mom's coming to visit - a few questions please? Where's this you recommended for good scones and where's a good bar that we'd both feel at home age-wise (not too loud music, decor doesn't have to be fancy, NW DC if poss). Thanks GoGs!

Joe: If you're pretending to know what's cool, then you've already got this town figured out. And you've definitely got us figured out! As for your mom's visit, you could take her to Tryst in Adams Morgan for a fairly low key bar/cafe scene. If she likes bluegrass, you can take her to Madam's Organ on Wednesday night for great music and a crowd that ranges from 21 to 71. As for scones, I have no idea. Anyone have a favorite place for scones that they want to share?

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: First question is for the ladies - on first and second dates, is it preferable to meet up in groups or go solo?

Now a question for everyone, where is a good bar to meet up with a group of girls (age - mid 20's) when it is a second or third date situation (desirable traits being: you can hear yourself talk, nice atmosphere, places to sit, kind of classy but not stuck up, etc.)located preferably but not necessarily in adams morgan, U street, or midtown?

Thanks GOGS!

Maura: The ladies (with a little wavering from Jen) agree that on first and second dates, you gotta go solo. Fritz disagrees, but hey, you didn't ask him. The gurus had their own heated discussion on this, anyone else want to weigh in?

As for good bars for a group to meet up in, try Mantis (upstairs), Chi Cha or Saloon.

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Bethesda, MD: Not a question here, but a comment: Great DJ--Jesse Tittsworth at a party called "Krunk" at Singapore Bistro in D.C. Check him out!

Rhome: Krunk has definitely earned the kudos it receives around here.

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Washington, D.C.: Out of some newer bars (chloe, inde blue, panache or avenue)which do you recommend? What are the scenes like on the different nights? Kind of music? Thanks!!!

Fritz: This is a composite answer; Of those, I haven't been to Avenue -- and Rhome's been there, but not to the others. Chloe has hip-hop and house music on weekends, but has long lines and a cover after 10. IndeBleu is better during the week (Wed-Thurs) when you can actually relax and enjoy the specialty cocktails and not worry about (a) bouncers and (b) spending $500 just to get a seat in the lounge. Panache is better for happy hour -- the club nights can be hit or miss, but Saturday's parties are usually crowded with well-dressed folks dancing to a variety of musical styles.

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Washington, D.C.: I am in full on dress panic mode. A good friend of mine is getting married next weekend and I still don't have anything to wear!! It's at night, in DC at a very nice hotel so it has to be pretty formal but not black tie. I usually don't have any trouble shopping but every dress out there is all pastel colors and icky ruffles. I have been almost everywhere but I was hoping someone would have a more creative idea than me (already been to Neimans, Bloomingdales, Saks, Hects). Thanks!

Erin: Hmmm...I usually rely on those giant dept. stores for my formal occasions. I also have found some great dresses at BCBG from time to time. In this case, try looking at Hysteria in Alexandria. For future reference, Sugar and Wink have some cute short dresses that would work for less formal day weddings.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus,

Looking for a bakery in the Dupont Circle area that sells great chocolate chip cookies that are on the moist and chewy side. Any suggestions?

Alexa: Firehook? Marvelous Market?

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Stuck in Ohio Drive Traffic, D.C.: So, last week and weekend on and around the Mall was an absolute nightmare because of all the Blossom Gawkers... Should we expect a reprise this weekend? I am tempted to tell some friends who may come in town for non-tree-related tourism that "It's great when the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom, be careful about traffic or just come next week." Or am I overreacting?

Anne: That's a good guess, if the weather stays similarly magnificent. The mega crush last weekend was the convergence of the first springlike weekend so far, peak bloom and the Cherry Blossom parade and street festival, but I think tourists are smart to come to D.C. not just for the festival (which is over) but for spring, which Washington does so well. So I wouldn't tell your friends not to come, because this is the best time to be here. Your caution to them is good advice. I'd second it by recommending visitors keep their cars far away from downtown, park elsewhere and walk or Metro to get around. If you want to take in the springtime, just plan to be out in it, in your walking shoes. And if your friends would rather skip downtown entirely, here's some alternative parks to visit.

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Mojito's?: Where's the best place to enjoy the best mojito outside in DC or NoVA?

Fritz: Great mojitos and patios seem to be mutually exclusive, as I'm having trouble coming up with a place with both. I know Island Jim's in Brookland has them, and rum drinks are usually outstanding. You may also try Mango Mike's in Alexandria.

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Arlington, Va.: I didn't think Gabriel did brunch anymore. Has it started again?

Alexa: No. It's open for private dining arrangements only and no longer for dinner or brunch. Strange.

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Alexandria, VA: Do you all know anything about nice museums and garden areas aside from the Smithsonian-Mall stuff?

Maura: Dumbarton Oaks is a good start. I have to say that right now is a terrific time to check out Hillwood. I was there on Monday and their gardens are in perfect bloom. On top of that they have a great new exhibition on designer Eva Zeisel. You need to make a reservation to visit, so call soon.

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Bethesda, MD: Hi Gurus...need a vote of confidence...I have a date tonight and haven't been on one in a VERY long time. Plans are all set, but any last minute pointers?

Rhome: I think we often forget that dates are supposed to be fun. It's such a loaded term now, like a date is supposed to put you on a path to a soulmate. It's really as simple as partaking of the company of someone else so that you can both facilitate each other's enjoyment of a shared activity. And it's a nice means to meet new people. The stakes really aren't high so if you keep that in mind and focus on just having a good time, you'll be fine. And be yourself, that's crucial.

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Arlington, VA: Do you know if the Clarendon Ballroom rooftop happy hour is going to go until 8pm this year? Last week it ended at 7 which is absolutely ridiculous!;

Fritz: It appears that happy hour on the Ballroom's expansive deck "only" runs from 5 to 7. But come on -- two hours of $1 beers on a sunny Wednesday afternoon isn't enough?

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Arlington, VA: Hey Gurus,
Got any suggestions on what to do in the area for a bachelorette party? We're looking for something that doesn't involve the typical drinking and rowdyness. Thanks!;

Jen: It's been a while since I've answered a bachelorette question, so here goes. My best suggestion is to consider what the bride's interests are and try to develop activities around that. Are there certain restaurants and bars that she especially likes in, say, the U Street area or around Arlington? Then plan to have dinner and drinks there. Would she prefer a luxurious afternoon tea? Then make a reservation for tea at a place like the Four Seasons. Is she a beach-lover? Plan a weekend away for a few friends in Rehoboth.
There are really no rules about what to do or not to do; the point of the bachelorette party is to let the bride relax and celebrate with her girlfriends. The best way to accomplish that is to do something the bride enjoys (within reason, of course), whether that includes Jello shots or not.

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Arlington, VA: I'm going to the Moby show tonight, first time to 9:30 club, what is the digital camera policy there?

Joe: It depends on the artist. Some bands don't care, others don't allow it. As for tonight, my guess would be that cameras won't be allowed. Moby's pretty high profile. Still, you can call the club directly and ask them. If you drive, bring the camera and if they don't allow it you can just put it back in your car.

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Bethesda, MD: With the Nationals home opener happening today I was wondering if you have any insights into which players we could really get into and root for. Do any have especially interesting backgrounds or quirky hobbies or personalities? I need to have some instant favorites until I learn more.

David: Here are three. First is right fielder Jose Guillen, who is off to a great start, leading the majors in home runs through the first week and a half. He has a reputation as a bit of a hothead (he's been on 7 different teams in the past 7 seasons), but he's only 28 years old and could really excel under the tutelage of Frank Robinson. Centerfielder Brad Wilkerson is a hard-worker who does whatever the manager wants. He can play any outfield position plus first base, and is one of the few players who can be an excellent leadoff hitter and cleanup hitter. I've seen him in Chevy Chase Bank ads, so I think he might be the first choice for "face of the franchise." And then there's staff ace Livan Hernandez, a Cuban defector who was the 1997 World Series MVP when he was with the Marlins. He's another blue-collar sort. Pitching injuries are extremely common these days, but he hasn't missed a start in more than five years. He's also a better hitter than the Nats starting shortstop. OK, Thomas Boswell impersonation over ... now!

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RE: First Dates - Bethesda, MD: Unless there is a special event where a bunch of his/her friends are going, the first several dates and most of the first month or two should ideally be solely the couple. If friends are constantly around, both of you will not have ample opportunity to really get to know each other more than at a cursory level.

Some people use their friends and situation to sell themselves and you also might not be able to see through the haze before you realize he's not as perfect as the show he put on.

When it comes down to it, all that matters is how girl A and boy A interact and relate to each other. The rest is just gravy, though many people are also happy to live off that...

Maura: Some wise word from Bethesda.

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Scones: Ginger scones at Teaism are the best!;

Joe: Thanks for that tip. (The salty oats biscuits at Teaism are pretty great too).

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Scones: If you're just looking for a place to buy some, Marvelous Market (on Connecticut just north of Dupont next to Kramerbooks) is my FAVORITE place for scones (and bread and brownies and any other baked good....) Definitely try the currant scones. Plus, they serve the locally roasted Mayorga coffee........

Joe: More scone info. Thanks.

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Baked Alaska?: Hi! Do you know of a restaurant in DC or Baltimore that serves Baked Alaska? Thanks!

Alexa: Oceanaire for one. Any others to report? There was quite a trend for it a few years ago, but I wonder if it's trailed a bit.

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Washington, D.C.: Where can I get the best professional massage at the lowest price? I recently tried Cleveland Park Day Spa but was not happy with my experience there.

Janet: Personally, I really like Sugar House Day Spa, but it's probably not the least expensive option. Anybody else?

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Arlington, VA: The Virginia Gold Cup is coming up in a few weekends. I went with some friends on the Whitlow's bus last year and had a blast, but checking their website it doesn't look like they're hosting a bus this year. Do you guys know which bars in the area are having buses, and for how much?

Fritz: McFadden's is doing one for $80. DC Hotspot (dchotspot.com) is running them from Clarendon Grill, Mister Days and two branches of Bungalow Billiards for $70. All of these include post-parties at the bars.

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Washington, D.C.: No tickets to tonight's Nationals home opener. Any suggestions of where to watch the game with a good/fun crowd?

Fritz: Coyote Ugly and Mister Days are among the bars throwing parties -- Mr Days has a special baseball buffet and drink specials, plus three 100" screens.

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U Street DC: Marvelous Market hands down for best Chocolate Chip Cookies in Dupont. Awesome salty oat cookies and hazelnut cookies too. Avoid the double chocolate ones, their two loaded with conflicting flavors.

And to Bethesda, MD dater-- whatever you do, get to the date spot early or on time. Find a spot to settle in, and have a small glass of plain tonic water and lime. Always helps to ease the nerves and allow you to get your comfort zone and space established at whatever spot you're meeting the date. Just relax and definitely have fun, you're going to have a great time and you're going to get along great with the date. Good luck!

Alexa: Ah, an expert. I knew we had one.

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Tysons, VA: Hello- I've got to respond to Tysons from last week about no 'chill' bars around Tysons Corner. They're so right. I found one though- Marks Pub, behind Fresh Fields by the intersection of Rt. 7 and 66. It's very chill, people are friendly and regulars; on warm days there will be Harleys out front. A good place to go when you just want to sit, have a beverage and a conversation.

Fritz: Great advice, Tysons. It's a bit biker in the summer, but that never hurts...

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Tapatini's?: Does Tapatini's really have ladies night were women drink wine --- all they want -- FREE from 5-8pm on Wednesdays?

Fritz: Yes. But tonight, it's FREE TANQUERAY 10 GIN drinks for everyone from 9 p.m. until the bottles run out.

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Bethesda, MD: Hi, I have tickets for the opera at the Kennedy Center tomorrow evening. Planning on getting there by car and dining at the cafe before the 7:30 performance. I've never driven there but know parking is tight and quite a hassle. How long in advance should I plan to arrive there in order to have a pleasant, unrushed pre-performance time? Thanks!;

Jen: Allow for as much extra time as you reasonably can. Traffic is always bad on Fridays, especially on a Friday with nice weather. Give yourself an extra 45 minutes to an hour. That might seem extreme, but I've spent 45 minutes trying to get to the Kennedy Center from Arlington, which should only take 10 minutes. You just never know how congested it will be. And if you get there early, you can always walk around or spend some time on the terrace admiring the view. Better to do that than have a panic attack because you're stuck on Virginia Ave. (not that I've ever done that...)

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Jazz: When do the free jazz concerts in the sculpture garden begin? any other places to go to listen to music outdoors for free?

David: The Friday evening jazz concerts in the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden start on June 3 this year. Other places for free outdoor music over the summer include Carter Baron, Fort Dupont Park and Fort Reno.

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Arlington, VA: Is the flea market in the upper Georgetown (near the Safeway) still around? If yes, Sat or Sun? Thanks.

Janet: It's on Sunday. There's also a second Georgetown Flea at a larger location in Courthouse.

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Arlington, VA: I'm submitting before the chat b/c I have a long boring meeting to go to at 1. Where's the best happy hour on a Friday in the U street area?

Rhome: This is an easy one: Republic Gardens. If you're ever trying to make it happen on a Tuesday night though, try Jo-Jo.

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Tex Mex Breakfast: Chadwick's in Georgetown isn't tex mex, but they serve up a mean Huevos Rancheros at their Sunday brunch!;

Alexa: Goodness huevos.

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Wedding Attire: Hey Gurus,

I've been invited to a wedding where the attire is "cocktail attire." What does this mean for a woman? any suggestions for what to wear or where to find it? Thanks

Erin: Check the board above for my answer to a similar question on where to find dresses. When I see cocktail attire, I think semi-formal and try to dress in black. The dress doesn't need to be long, but it should look smart. Saks Fifth Avenue often has great dresses.

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Washington, D.C.: My question is for Joe. It seems like you have music reviews in the Post every other day. How can you go to so many shows and don't you get tired of hearing so much music?

Joe: No, I'm tireless. Except when I have to see a really lame band. That tires me out pretty quickly. Luckily, most of what I get to write about is pretty good. And there's a lot of great stuff (concerts and CDs) coming up that I'm excited about, especially the new Sleater Kinney cd which I'm listening to right now. (It's amazing, really hard and loud. Look for it to come out next month.)

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Washington, D.C.: This is a tough one, but hopefully, you brilliant GOGs can help me! I attended the International Drumming Exhibition in conjuction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival last Friday at the Kennedy Center and heard an amazing Steel Drum Band who had traveled in for the weekend. I was impressed and fascinated; it looked like a good time! Do you know of anywhere one could take steel drum band lessons? (Locally, not in Jamaica!) Betcha never saw that one before! Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

Anne: Rhome and I first thought of the band Pan Vibes, I think their name is, of Hyattsville. And you know what, this weekend is Hyattsville's birthday, so the town is celebrating with a parade and festival. I'd be willing to bet you could find some steel drummers there. The D.C. Caribbean carnival coming up on June 25 would be another good place to meet some drummers. There's a few bands based in Prince George's County that play at lots of parades... I just can't think of the name right now.

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Re: Washingotn, D.C.: Do tell! Where ARE these happy hours that have so many more men than women?!

Fritz: Everywhere. My theory is that most women would rather not go to "happy hours" that involve swilling cheap beers in a room that's stuffed over capacity. That's why most non-interncentric happy hours (Lucky Bar, Front Page) are packed with guys.

Ladies?

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Washington, D.C.: What is Erin going to contribute as a GOG? What's her deal, is she young, into what types of scenes? GOG advice is colored by the background and likes of individuals. I am still waiting for actually good advice for single, twenty-something girls that doesn't come from an older male GOG.

Erin: Do I sense some frustration at the Gurus? To assuage your worries, I myself am a twenty-something girl and I promise to do my best to keep up with the the DC scene and to steer you in the right direction! Check out my bio for more info on me.

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Washington, D.C.: Wow. After reading your review of Chloe, I am so relieved I'm not a materialistic, self important ninny like so many of my DC compatriots. These are the same people who write into Sietsema's chat bragging about how their jeans cost more than a meal at Nora's.

Fritz: You know, I don't hate Chloe. I like the space. I don't like the lines or the wait. People wouldn't have to say "but I know the bartender!" if the door situation was handled better, and you could get an estimate how long it would take to get it. Also, showing up to a new, popular club after midnight is almost NEVER a good idea.

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Rockville, MD: scones: little british-ish tea room around the 100 block of south royal in alexandria. atmosphere and service somewhat lacking, but the scones are by far the best in the metro area (take them to go and sit on the waterfront, lovely).

Alexa: I'm so glad to hear you say "British-ish." Britain of the dark and gloomy seventies perhaps. I fear the dear old Tea Cosy gives the UK a bad name, but I'm glad to hear the scones are ok. The scones, however, at Cafe Mozu are some of the best I've ever had. And I do know scones. Also good -- Greenberry's blueberry lemon.

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Denver, CO: A few friends and I are coming into town next weekend. We're looking for a relaxed way to spend a Saturday evening, perhaps at a blues club. Any recommendations? Any opinions on the New Vegas Lounge (one of the Post's picks, but one of my traveling companions said the neighborhood is kind of sketchy...)?

Fritz: It's across from the Whole Foods! Maybe that strip was sketchy five years ago, not really any more. I really like New Vegas, especially the band.

You could also try the cozy little Cafe Toulouse in Adams Morgan, which has live blues and jazz on weekends.

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Washington, D.C. : Clarification to, "then we'll see if this is a real baseball town." Whenever I watch baseball, the stands are mostly empty. I just want to make sure you aren't holding DC to a higher standard than whatever team you hail as yours.

Since this is such a transient area, I think having a team of our own is a nice sentiment. Go Nats!;

David: Believe me, as a Pirates fan, I am plenty familiar with empty stands. But I still think it would be disappointing to see low attendance for the Nats in their first year given everything it took to get the team here. For comparison, the Colorado Rockies played their first season in Mile High Stadium -- like RFK, not a stadium built for baseball -- and despite a horrible record still drew more than 4 million total fans.

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Arlington, VA: Last night we arranged to have a happy hour at Clarendon Ballroom. We had this planned for about a week. I personally checked the website to see if it would be open knowing it has odd hours of operation. The website indicated that everything was good to go. Unfortunately, when we arrived at Clarendon Ballroom, a manager was outside informing tons of patrons that the rooftop was closed for a private party. I couldn't believe they would advertise the rooftop on a night it was clearly booked. We spent the next 30 min. calling all of the people we were expecting at the happy hour and telling them to regroup at Clarendon Grill, which actually had some great happy hour prices. I just wanted to put this out there so other people can know to call ahead at Clarendon Ballroom or face the same problem we did. Poor form.

Fritz: That is poor, poor, poor form -- almost unexcusible. I'd be pretty ticked off if that were me.

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Plays?: Will there be any good plays in DC the weekend of June 3rd. I only know of Mama Mia.

Jen: If you want to see a good play, skip "Mamma Mia." To each his own, of course, but I think there are far better performances to see than bad renditions of old Abba songs.
For example ... "Hecuba" starring Vanessa Redgrave will be at the Kennedy Center that weekend. That absolutely sounds worth seeing. So does "Take Me Out," which runs at Studio Theatre around that time. Or Stephen Sondheim's "Pacific Overtures" at Signature Theatre. Closer to the date, you may want to check out the Ticketplace listings, too. You might be able to get cheaper seats that way.

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Moby City, Baby!;: Have tickets to see Moby at the 9:30 tonight -- showtime is listed as 7:30. Have not seen anything advertised about an opening act -- does this mean that Moby, in all his bald-headed glory, will start as early as 7:30 p.m.? Thank you!;

Joe: There is an opening act, Buck 65, who will go on at 8:45. I've never seen him, but he's supposed to be good. Moby goes on at 10.

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Ledroit Park, Washington, D.C.: Butterfield 9 downtown had great Baked Alaska and I don't even like Baked Alaska!

Alexa: And they still do -- $14 for two people.

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Eating in G-Town: Going shopping with a new beau in Georgetown tomorrow evening. Would love to get a bite at some place fairly inexpensive, but want to avoid Clyde's, J.Paul's, Paolo's and the like. Any ideas? Does Bistro Francais fit the bill? Maybe the new Au Pied?
Thanks GoG's!;

Erin: Bistro Francais would certainly fit the bill, but how about Filomena Ristorante, Peacock Cafe or Paper Moon? I think they all have great food and nice atmosphere. Peacock has great tomato bisque and calamari. As for the new Au Pied, I have not yet been, but I never felt too keen on the old Au Pied de Cochon.

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Dupont, Washington, D.C.: PLEASE HELP ME ALL KNOWING GURUS!! i'm organizing an event to bring together several different college alumni groups. we tried a couple months ago at tom toms--we had the whole second floor reserved--and we just had waaaaaay too many people to fit. can you recommend any bars in dc/md/va that could comfortably accommodate a crowd of about 200 but wouldn't require the organizers to rent the space???

i feel like virginia might have places like that, no? places with an outdoor component would be a bonus...

i'm begging you!! PLEASE answer my question!

Maura: I think it's going to be tough to find a bar to fit 200. You could try a really large one -- Dream, Nation -- but I can't imagine you wouldn't pay a fee. You might be looking at renting a room at a club (if you know anyone who belongs to one and they'll waive the room fee) or a you might try a local government-owned center (they might waive the fee if you're a resident).

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Scones, scones: Firehook Bakery has the BEST yummiest scones. Dried cherry are my favorite. For the person who asked, here is their site so you can find locations. http://www.firehook.com/locations.html

Alexa: Thanks for your vote, scones.

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Fairfax, VA: Who's got the best fruity mixed drinks in Arlington? We (mid to upper 20s) are looking for a place to chill in Arlington this Saturday night. Thanks!;

Fritz: If you're set on Arlington ... hmmm. I've not been wowed by very many cocktails in the Court House-Clarendon-Ballston corridor. Maybe Tallula?

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Washington, D.C.: Hey GOG's!!! I would really like to go to a live Go-Go show. Are they safe to go to? Is there any club in particular that you could recommend that might be more safe than others? P.S. I'm white.

Rhome: Go-go itself isn't a primary cause of violence. It would be easy to run down a list of places that have had violent situations where not a single go-go beat was struck. That being said, try the Gardens on Thursdays for L!SSEN Band. Takoma Station is another mature spot that sometimes has go-go bands.

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Washington, D.C.: when do u think is the best time and day...to go see the cherry blossoms...so i can avoid all the tourist and chaos.

Anne: The park service says the blooming period goes til the 18th, but my sense is many blossoms at the Tidal Basin are swiftly falling and the trees are changing to green. It's really only a small window for those particular blossoms -- that's why everyone gets hepped up about peak bloom, which was April 9. So if you must be at the Tidal Basin, go now, or go tonight and tell us what you find. But remember, trees all around the city are blooming, and if you just want to see some blossoms, you can go anywhere. Here are some more gardens with cherry blossoms, but you could really pick any park.

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Re: Kennedy Center : I just wanted to add a comment about parking around the Kennedy Center (in case Bethesda wasn't aware of this) - it's easier to park at the Watergate - so you avoid the mess of everyone trying to get out at the same time from the Kennedy Center's parking garage. Plus - parking at the Kennedy Center is $15 where at Watergate (last time I was there) is $10. I'm afraid my secret is out now - but why not share!;

Jen: That's right, sharing is caring. Thanks for the terrific tip. I've never had too much trouble exiting the Kennedy Center, but it's worth it to park at the Watergate if only to save the $5.

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Mojitoes: Mojitoes + Patio = Porter's in Dupont

Fritz: Really? Mojitos at Porter's? Never would have expected/ordered one there. I met a few female friends there for happy hour last weekend, and they stick to lightish beers. Good to know, though.

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Washington, D.C.: While I plan on spending a significant portion of my summer at RFK, where are some good bars to take in the Nats away games? I'm an Adams Morgan girl and would be going to most alone (stupid non-sporty friends...).

Fritz: I'm guessing that, in your neck of the woods, T.S. Muttly's will have many of the games on its flat-screen televisions.

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For the stressed dress shopper: If you can't find anything - you may just go to a bridal store and get a plain black strapless "bridesmaid" dress (they usually come short of long) and accessorize with cool shoes, bag, earrings, etc. This is perfect for non-black tie weddings - not too formal, not too casual.

Janet: Another option is J Crew, which has a few very pretty styles in their "wedding" collection, which would also work well for cocktails.

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Washington, D.C.: Re: Mexican breakfast

This is only going to be marginally helpful, but the Post did a piece a while ago on a neighborhood in MD that is the new place to go for authentic Mexican. I've been to one of the listed restaurants twice, and one of those times had migas that were the best I've had since moving here from LA. Unfortunately, I can remember neither the name of the town nor of the restaurant.

Erin: Ahh, I empathize. I am also an LA transplant in a long search for authentic Mexican! I say try Taqueria Poblano, but I've also heard rumors of a great place called Pepito's Mexican II on Columbia in Adams Morgan across from the Safeway. I may even go to check it out tonight!

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: I am having a hard time finding happy hours that run later than 7 pm. I think many folks in DC have a hard time getting out of work and to a bar in time to get one drink, much less several. Do you have any suggestions on happy hours that last until 8, or later, in DC or Northern VA?

Fritz: I'll get to work compiling a list for you, but here are a few Hill-centric specials:

* The Pour House has its beat-the-clock beer specials tonight ($1 from 4 to 8, then $2 until midnight, then $3 after)
* Lounge 201 has half-priced martinis all night on Tuesday and half-priced wine on Wednesday
* Tapatinis happy hours run from 5 to 8, and then there's free drinks Thursdays after 9

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Washington, D.C.: Do you know where I can find a hookah bar, that serves liquor??

Fritz: Tapatinis, Chi-Cha Lounge or Gua-rapo would be my picks. Note: the pipes at Tapatinis are free to use

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Just curious: Who are your favorite local bands? Just moved here and I'm not familiar with the local scene yet. I like a lot of different music styles, and I'm wondering which DC-based bands are worth a listen.

Joe: We'll probably all have different answers for this, but here are mine:

Washington Social Club (rock), the Medications (post-punk), Storm the Unpredictable (hip-hop), Of Unknown Origin (hip-hop), our own Rhome's Poem-Cees (hip-hop), Brindley Brothers (rock/folk), Fugazi (if they still exist), our own David's Fake Accents (actually, I've just heard two songs, but I liked them), Bob Perilla's Big Hillbilly Bluegrass. That's a start anyway.

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Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.: GoGs - You've probably been asked before but where's good to go bop to '80s house music or just plain '80s music. Or even early '90s? Myself and my friend want to relive our college days this weekend. Thanks as always

David: There's always Saturday Night Fever at Polly Esther's. Maybe Heaven and Hell. And Crush is right there, too.

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Ashburn, VA: For the best mojito's try Coastal Flats in Fairfax.

Maura: Sounds good to me. I just sampled a delicious one at Carlyle a few days ago.

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Arlington, VA: Hey Gurus, Love you chat!; I'm heading up to Merriweather to see Maroon 5 on Saturday. Last time I saw a concert there it took an hour just to get to the pavillion from the highway exit, do you know of any good backways I can use to get there? Thanks- A non-Marylander

Joe: Can any regular Merriweather-goers out there please supply their shortcuts?

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Washington, D.C.: What is the cheapest place for a Happy Hour tonight downtown DC? Preferably outside, but more important are the cheap drinks and bar food. I seem to remember that M&S Grill has a decent one. Anything else?
Thanks! You GOG's rock!

Fritz: How about Cap City Brewing Co. at Union Station? Half-priced beers and bar snacks from 4 to 7. (That's $2.50 beers and $3-4 appetizers.) The $1.99 bar food menu at McCormick and Schmick's is a longtime favorite, but you need to buy two (full-priced) drinks to get the deal.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus! I am in need of advice. Where's a good outdoor place to have dinner and cocktails in Rockville? Trying to avoid Bennigan's and TGIF's. Ack!

Jen: Make that double Ack.
Addie's, across from White Flint Mall, is a great choice, though it's a little on the expensive side for dinner. The food is excellent, though. Definitely worth a splurge if you can manage it.
Otherwise you could try Mykonos Grill, adjacent to Congressional Plaza. It's a cute Greek place that has a nice turquoise and white front porch. Unfortunately, the view leaves a lot to be desired, unless you enjoy watching cars come and go from the Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot. On the up side, if you happen to realize you need a new hair dryer during dinner, Bed, Bath and Beyond is right there to satisfy your grooming needs.

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Arlington: To the person looking for a spot to organize a group of 200 alumni--you may want to try the Clarendon Ballroom Deck or downstairs.

Maura: A good spot, but they do charge a rental fee, we believe. Thanks, Arlington

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Curious:: Is there anyplace on the Post's websites where we can check out your PICTURES?

Joe: Right here

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Washington, D.C.: I've recently lost Gabriel's as my favorite brunch in the district. Do you guys know of any brunch that is as tasty, as different and is served buffet style?

Alexa: Yes, we all mourn the loss of the pig. You've been surely to the Bombay Club. That certainly meets all three of your requirements. Other buffets I know of: The Kennedy Center Roof, Georgia B, B smith ... Buffet fans speak up.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, my boyfriend is coming in from out of town and I was wondering if you could recommend a spot for a romantic picnic?

Erin: Oh, that sounds like fun. If you're willing to travel a bit for the right ambience, then have a look at these places.

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Saturday Game: Hi. If you were me and going to the Nats game on Saturday, taking the Orange Line from Vienna, what stop would you get off on and where would you eat before the 7:05 game? Please don't direct me to the article from the weekend section...all it says is that the bar and restaurant at RFK will be open by july. Thanks!;!;!;

Fritz: 1. Get off at Stadium-Armory for the stadium.
2. Check my list of places to go for drinks and food near Eastern Market and Capitol South Metro stations -- they're just two or three stops before the stadium.

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Clarendon, VA: Re: Fruity drinks....go to Eleventh

Fritz: Do they have a cocktail menu yet? Good beer/wine specials, but never had anything beyond an "and" cocktail there. (ie "gin and tonic," "rum and coke")

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus,

Can you please provide a link to your blog. I know it is out there, I just can't find it.

thanks

Erin: Here it is! It's right on the front page of the Entertainment Guide under "What's New?"

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Smoke free Nats: Just walked by Founders in Alexandria on way to lunch and they had a big sign out for the Nats game tonight, so there's another place.

Fritz: Great brewpub, smoke-free, baseball. I think we have a winner.

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Re: Mexican Breakfast: I have been to Taqueria Poblano (I live right next to it), was kind of unimpressed with their brunch and the service was horrible. Currently, they are my go-to for a takeout breakfast burrito ($8!;), just figured I'd consult the experts. Thanks for the suggestions, I will definitely try out Chadwick's and The Burro. I should probably lower my standards. . .

Alexa: I think you'll like the fish at the Burro.

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15th and L, Washington, D.C.: Quick: Any bars around here (15th and L) with outdoor seating that would be open today?

Fritz: McFadden's would be choice #1.

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Petworth, Washington, D.C.: You could send Arlington (from TX) to Mixtec. I dunno how tex-mex it is, but I know that they do some Mexican breakfasts.

Alexa: And of course, the Austin Grills do a brunch.

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Dupont Circle: Call me crazy - but I have no idea what a Go-go show is? Can you enlighten me?

Rhome: Go-go music is the native sound of Washington, D.C., is considered to be birthed by Chuck Brown and has been around for roughly three decades. In its earlier forms, it resembled funk but with a much more muscular base of percussion. Listen to Grover Washington Jr.'s "Mr. Magic" for the basic go-go rhythm. At present, the younger sound is more hip-hop driven, with rapping, slower tempos and more hardcore percussion replacing the intricate funk arrangements of the past that featured horn sections, multiple guitars, etc. Another current style is "pocket jazz", which is basically covers of R&B tunes or smooth-jazz like arrangements bolstered with the go-go beat and its accompanying array of percussion (congas, timbales, roto-toms, cowbells). It's popular with older patrons. The music never caught on outside of D.C. and pretty much has to be experienced live. There are few official recordings, it's mainly consumed in the form of live recordings of shows ("PA tapes"). The live format is crucial to the character of the music as the performer/audience interaction dictates the structure and energy of the show.

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A few thoughts...: For the Texan looking for Tex-Mex breakfast, try Texas!; DC doesn't match Austin for Tex-Mex, just as Austin doesn't match DC for Ethiopian. I'd advise enjoying what DC does have, rather than looking to recreate your home town faves.

Also, the person who suggested a tonic water pre-date perhaps needs to chill out a bit. It's two people chatting over dinner/drinks, not the Wimbledon final.

Alexa: Awww. No sympathy for homesickness?

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Reston, VA: Can we please NOT call them the nats? How about the Nashes? Let's nip this in the bud right from the beginning.

David: Yeah, Nats is pretty bad, I agree. But Nashes isn't much better. If you're going to do that, you may as well just go for Nationals. Saving two syllables -- that's cool. But just saving one syllable? Eh. This whole problem would have been avoided had they not been given the hopelessly bland name of Nationals, of course.

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Washington, D.C.: What are some good lounges/cafes/etc. that are NOT dead Monday nights and Tues. nights? My experience has been that Dupont Circle's spots (Citron, Front Page) are pretty dead on those nights. Ideally I'm looking for the same crowd: young & international. thanks

Fritz: I haven't found Monday at Citron to be dead -- they have great flamenco music there. Gazuza usually has a DJ, and the patio scene is pretty lively seven days a week. And what about the bars at Sette or Bistrot du Coin?

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Re: E-Newsletters: Sorry for a technical question, but I'm signed up for your and Boswell's e-newsletters, and I haven't been getting either. I checked my profile, and it's all set up right. Is the problem in my email account? Anything I can do to fix this? Thanks!;

Maura: Hmmm...Sorry to hear that. Wish the answer was a one-step process, but here goes: Go to our e-mail page and clik on FAQ/Help at the top of the page. From there you're given a standard list of common questions. Scroll down and find your question (#33, I just checked and fill out the complaint. We'll follow up to make sure you keep getting our newsletter (For those of you that don't get our weekly e-mail yet, sign up right here.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi gurus-- Where would you recommend single mid-20's girls go to salsa dance? I know Habana comes highly recommended, but I've been told girls shouldn't go alone. What do you think?

Thanks!

Fritz: I've heard the same things about Habana.

Try Lucky Bar or Clarendon Grill early in the week, Divino in Bethesda on Friday, and maybe Yuca on Saturday; Yuca and Divino get a slightly older crowd, but they're filled with excellent dancers of all ages.

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Re: Eleventh: The bartenders there whip up mean flavored martinis...I usually just ask to surprise me after giving a few likes/dislikes, never been disappointed yet!;

Fritz: Good to know. That place is one of Clarendon's gems.

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Re: Tex Mex: I moved here from Austin too and the answer is simply this: there are no great tex mex restaurants here. My suggestion- try something else- there are great little place in Arlington for Mexican, Guatemalan, El Salvadorian, and who can beat any of the many Peruvian chicken places!;

Alexa: Yes. Hurra for El Pollo Rico.

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Re: Mexican: Pepito's is the only restaurant I have found in four years of being here that serves up authentic tacos. On the weekends, there is a cart near 16th and Columbia that serves equally good tacos (though not as wide a selection).

As for breakfast, try some of the places on Mount Pleasant St. They can be hit or miss, but they are definitely dirt cheap.

Erin: Adding them to my to-do list!

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Annandale Va: I'm looking for a good place to take my girlfriend for dinner that has patio seating in Northern Virginia area any suggestions?

Alexa: Carlyle, THAI Shirlington? 2941 has a very pretty outdoor setting.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Rhome. Perhaps you would know the answer to this one: Where is the best place for a young lady to check out her first Go-Go show? I know Go-Go clubs have reputations for being a little out of control sometimes, and I think that it would be easier to take it all in at a smaller venue. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!;

Rhome: I mentioned Takoma Station and L!SSEN at the Gardens earlier, you might also want to check out any of the gigs Cherie Mitchell is playing on. And I'm not bigging her up just because I have a little crush on her either. She's dope! I've seen some more grown-up go-go shows at Xcalibur too (2519 Penn. Ave).

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Re: Brunch in Arlington: Harry's Tap Room has a pretty good brunch - Saturdays and Sundays.

Alexa: Yes. Harry's.

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Outdoors on Rockville Pike: Be sure to check the Strathmore's performance schedule.
If there's a show, I would not attempt Addies.

Jen: Ah, good point. I haven't been to Addie's since Strathmore opened, but I'm sure it does get pretty packed. A later dinner might still work, though, depending on when the performance crowd starts to empty out.

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More on Chloe...: Fritz, in line with the previous poster, when I read your review, all I could think was what do these people enjoy about this place?

Can you explain it to a girl like me who'd rather shoot pool or drink beer in a dive bar? I do go out for the hip, cocktail-driven bars from time to time, but I haven't heard anything about Chloe that would make me want to visit for the next time I break out of the quiet bars.

Fritz: Well, I'd also rather hang out and drink beer at Bedrock Billiards than deal with Chloe on a weekend, but I got the distinct impression that some of the see-and-be-seen folks wouldn't set foot in the place. Different strokes for different folks, you know?

What people like about Chloe: It's large and stylish, the music is pumping, cocktails are well-made, there's plenty of room for them to dance and have fun with their friends -- and maybe meet someone of the opposite sex. And right now, it's pretty hot (hence the lines), so they can tell their friends they were at the "hot new place."

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Tysons Corner, VA : Good Afternoon

I am on the prowl for the bar where the hottest women in DC hang out!; any ideas/suggesions......?

Wayne

Erin: Well, in my experience, the hottest bars attract some of the hottest chicks (or at least the chicks who think they're the hottest). Try Smith Point, Chloe, Indebleu or Oya. Otherwise, prowl Adams Morgan and Georgetown. It's not like you're going to have to go hunting under rocks.

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Chinatown, Washington, D.C.: Great GoGs,
I'm going to tomorrow night's Cavs-Wizards game (go Wiz!). I have just over 2 hours between work and the game, and am not meeting my friends until the game. So where's a solo gal to go to pass the time? Something that involves food would be nice, too. Thanks!

David: There are plenty of food options around MCI Center, it all depends what you're in the mood for. Teaism? Jaleo would probably be better if you weren't alone. Here is our big list of restaurants near the MCI Center, you can find a place that meets your type/price requirements. And I'll be there at MCI myself rooting on the playoff-bound Washington Wizards.

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Farragut Square, Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs! I work near The White House, but I like to cut loose after nine hours at the office. I've also just discovered the wonderful taste of sushi.

Can you recommend any great sushi bars around town or in Maryland? I've convinced my friends to try it, but I need somewhere to go! Thanks!

- Chris

Erin: Sakana off Dupont is understated, but good and not too expensive. I've enjoyed their spicy tuna and sake bombs more than a few times. Kaz Sushi Bistro garners cult followers in Foggy Bottom. If you're looking for good salmon up in Gaithersburg, Hakuba is pretty tasty.

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Washington, D.C.: Help me please! I have older relatives coming into town this weekend. They haven't been to DC before, so I want to give them a good taste of the city. However, I'm not sure how much walking around they can do. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Erin: Would you consider taking them on a guided tour of the city? That would incorporate the beautiful cherry blossoms and show them the monuments from afar without hoofing it around town. When my older relatives came into town last year, we went to the Spy Museum, which involves walking, but is a good time. We also hit the Air and Space Museum and the Udvar-Hazy Center and the new World War II Memorial. If they like enjoy theater, take them to the beautiful Kennedy Center for a show and then take in the rooftop views.

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Col. Hghts. : Hey,

I remember when Fritz wrote an article about Bob Mould and his house night at 9:30, Blowoff. I saw that it will be in the main room at 9:30 this weekend; I really don't care about what the crowd is like (I like Husker Du, I like House, so I figure I'll like the DJ), but my friends would kill me if I took them to a party where the only people there are bearded 40 year old gay men. What's the crowd like? I know its mostly gay, but do straight people show up?

Fritz: Hey Col. Heights -- Blowoff is NEXT weekend, the 23rd.

That said, yes, straight people do show up. It's predominantly gay, and they do get their fair share of bears, but you'll always find a mix of races and sexes -- and I'm guessing more so this time because it's on the mainstage instead of the basement bar.

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Dear GoG's,

Has anyone tried the new "VIP" wednesdays at Modern hosted by Absolute Addiction. I crack up whenever I get the email about it. Looks like a lot of posers trying to be cool. And yes, I am one of the many disillusioned by the infamous "club hop"...!!

Fritz: I laugh at those "look how excluseive and cool we are" e-mails, especially the ones about how they're setting up "exclusive" lists of people who drop a lot of money at MCCXXIII every weekend.

Cool is like class -- if you've got it, you don't need a card to prove it.

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Falls Church, Washington, D.C.: Submitting early in the hopes you all will come up with fun, interactive dates for the 15-16 yr. old set. Can't drive; can't drink; metro-accessible a plus as parents are surly. We've come up with zoo, baseball, iceskating. Too late for kite festival ... surely you've got some great ideas ? ... ?

Anne: Are you part of the 15-16 year old set yourself? Easily accessible from a Falls Church Metro is Galaxy Hut, which lets all ages in for the live shows, usually Saturday-Monday. And there's no cover charge. I dig the (free) movies at the Library of Congress's Pickford Theater, (also accessible from the Orange Line) and this month's lineup is especially good. The original "Halloween" made in 1978 with Jamie Lee Curtis (the archetype for all those "Scream" jokes) screens next Friday. And there's so much going on this weekend - you can see if Mayor Williams has game at the Hoops for the Homeless 3-on-3 charity tournament, hear a marathon reading of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" or see a parade Saturday on Pennsylvania Avenue for Emancipation Day (11 a.m. between Fourth and 14th streets).

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Re: Tapatini's: FREE wine and/or gin? Wow, that is the happiest happy hour ever. Is it worth hauling myself to the Hill from Foggy Bottom? Or is it supercrowded, a la all-you-can drink at 1223 and such?

Fritz: It does get crowded -- hint: sneak out onto the back patio -- but it's always a good time. BTW, free wine is every Wednesday 5 to 8, free gin is tonight after 9. That's TWO of the happiest hours ever.

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Go Nationals, Washington, D.C.:
Are there really NO bars within walking distance of RFK? Am going to opening night tonight, and would love to get a drink in beforehand, but don't want to have to get back on the metro right afterwords.

Fritz: None. And there won't be anytime soon -- the area around there is all zoned for neighborhoods, not bars/restaurants. Sorry...

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Farragut West, Washington, D.C.: Hi! I'm hoping you can help me and my co-workers...we are big Long Island Iced Tea fans, but the price can add up. Any bars in the DC or Arlington area that offer specials on this deliciously strong cocktail? Thank you!

Fritz: No idea, but man, those are some strong drinks ... and the one I made at the Ritz bartending class was stiffer than usual.

Seriously, though, I'd try McFadden's or Coyote Ugly's happy hours. They may have discount LIITs.

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Woodley Park, D.C.: The great spring afternoon outside is getting me into a really strong adventuresome people meeting mode, but I'm tired of the same old scenes. I was wondering, what are some of the really great "in" spots in DC for watching or meeting a truly great, diverse, international (Euro, Asian, South American, and African) crowd in a low-key manner (option for dancing, but not the focal point), without either the pretentiousness or usual frathouse vibe afoot?

Anne: Interesting question. I'm not sure there's a place in D.C. that's truly diverse. Or if it is, it's not necessarily a club, maybe a restaurant. Everything I can think of is shifting its demographics as gentrification happens. So here's some plain different ideas --- El Boqueron in Wheaton and Rockville has dancing on weekends. Club Daedalus often draws an Asian crowd. But there are plenty of places where you can escape a frat party vibe.

Rhome: I'll have to keep it real and say that the various international scenes don't really mix. There are tons of great spots and events with a Euro, Asian, South American or African bent, but you won't find all of that together at the same time. The closest I've seen, outside of World Bank happy hours and embassy events is Bossa. You might have an African young professional group having a happy hour upstairs while a latin jazz band plays downstairs.

Fritz: I'll third all thise. Let's take Dream/H2O as an example: you may have a number of hispanic folks filling the salsa floor/room, African Americans dancing to hip-hop and Europeans rocking the house/trance floors, but they don't mix as well as they should. I think some of the lounges with an international flavor, like Chi-Cha or the Saloon, may the the bent you're looking for.

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Back off of Chloe!;:
I don't think Chloe is ALL THAT, but what's with the bashing?!; Different people like different bars. Some like to get dress up. Some like to shoot pool. Stop bashing places and let people be.

PHEW....I feel much better now.

Fritz: Amen.

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The Going Out Gurus: That's it for today. Thanks for chiming in everyone. See you next Thursday.

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