Transcript

Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Entertainment Guide
Thursday, July 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 .

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washingtonpost.com: Hello everyone and thanks for checking in on this muggy day. Let's see, who's here? Jen, Fritz, Rhome, Anne, Janet, David and Erin and me, Joe. Let's get started.

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Washington D.C.: Hi Gurus,

I've some friends coming in from out of town to dine with myself and the wife. Halfway point is Tyson's Corner and we're looking for something new. Do you have any suggestions for us?

Erin: If you're willing to go ethnic, Infusion, by the Connaught Place and Raaga team, offers up some innovative Indian dishes and particularly good falafel. The newest outpost of Lebanese Taverna is churning out garlic goodness. Tachibana is a good Japanese pick or the nearby Cafe Oggi . Next time you meet, Pauli Moto's Asian Bistro could be up and running.

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Storage Units: Sure, sure, this is random, but isn't that what Guru chats are all about? Does anyone know where I can find some storage units? How much do they generally run?

Janet: Hi,

You can find storage units at Container Store, Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond, to name a few. As for price, it really depends on what you want and/or need.

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Logan Circle: Bon jour! What's the deal with tonight's Bastille Day celebration at Bistrot du Coin? I know there's a list. Is there a cover? Are they serving regular menu? Music? I can't seem to find anything about it online...Merci.

Fritz: No list, no cover, just huge, huge, huge crowds. There's no way to get a reservation at this point, so you're going to have to arrive tres early or wait in line outside.

That said, I'm incredibly partial to spending Bastille Day at the Bistrot -- I think I've been there every year since they opened -- and you won't find a more raucous celebration in town. Where else can you sing French football songs and dance on the bar?

(BTW, I mentioned the Bistrot and several other Bastille Day option in theNightlife Agenda column.)

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Washington, DC: Just wanted to report in that I went to the newly opened Union Pub (old Red River Grill) and had a terrible time. The service was bad and the food was average at best. With such a good location, this could be a great place but I predict that it will be mediocre before closing in 2 years.

Fritz: I partially agree. The place has service issues (ranging from overly friendly to invisible) and the food I've sampled has been okay, nothing special. I'll give it time, though, and I think the happy hours will keep Hill staffers verrrrry happy for a while.

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Washington DC: Dear Gurus, after living here for 1.5 years I thought I'd share with you why I strongly dislike this town. (1) It's a phony, pretentious, overpriced place, roamed by "Euro-singles" blowing smoke up each other's rear ends; (2) It's so small that you can always expect to bump into someone you know. Do you agree?

Rhome: 1. Phony people, high prices and Euro-singles do indeed exist here but they're easily avoided if you make a small effort. There's something for everyone, you just have to broaden your horizons.

2. There is truth to this one. Doing what I do, I'm probably connected to more people than the average D.C. denizen but even some folks I know who are not very social have tales of experiencing some of the same phenomena to which I've long grown accustomed: seeing people I know EVERYWHERE I go (I even ran into a co-worker in CDG airport in Paris on my way home from vacation), situations of "overlap" when dating, etc. It can be annoying if these are people that you don't like but for me there's a certain charm to it. I feel like I'm a member of different communities that are rooted here and it can be comforting when compared to the transience that's so common in our generation or the vast anonymity of other cities.

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Washington, DC: I've posted several reviews of restaurants on the Washington Post entertainment section in 2003 and 2004 that have disappeared. I know one I posted only a few months ago, regarding Eleventh, disappeared too. I don't use bad language, but some of the reviews have been negative. How long does the Post keep a review up?

Erin: Well, maybe they just weren't good reviews. Just kidding. My sources say that user submissions generally come down after six months to keep things fairly updated.

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Washington, DC: Is there some sort of Italian festival going on downtown this Sunday? Any more info?

David: There is indeed. It's Festa Italiana, it's at Third and F Streets NW, and it runs from 11:30 to 5. There looks to be a lot of the usual outdoor summer festival activities -- live music, children's activities (face painters, jugglers, magicians, etc.), games, mostly with some sort of Italian angle. But there will also be ceramic making, Italian card games and some language classes for travelers, which would have come in handy for me, since when I went there a few months ago all I knew how to say was, "Wake me up at 7."

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Columbia Heights, DC: Friends are trying to convince me to join them at Cubik tomorrow. Can you give me an idea of the crowd? I've never been to Nation, and while I'm down for dancing (and hearing Oakenfold), I don't want to pay $12 to be jammed into a 100 degree room with sweaty college kids. Thanks. (Oh, by the way, my usual spots include Wonderland, Blue Room, ESL, Red Room...)

Fritz: I think you'll find the contrast between your usual hangs and Cubik is pretty staggering. Cubik's crowd is young, exuberant and pretty knowledgeable about its DJs, but Nation is a dark, vast box of a concert hall that can be really hot, especially once everyone starts dancing. (You can always cool off on the patio, though.)

I'm guessing Oaky's crowd will be a little older than usual -- his first impact was over a decade ago -- but you're going to have to brave the crowds if you want to see him. (And tickets are $25, not $12, but still worth it.)

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Manassas, Va.: My husband is freaking out that they aren't showing Charlie and his Chocolate Factory at the Cinema De Lux.....can anyone tell me of a good theater with a great sound system between Manassas-Fairfax? Thanks!

Jen: As I've said before on this chat, I don't know Virginia theaters as well as I do those in Maryland and D.C. I've heard good things about AMC Hoffman Center . It's not quite in the same area, but perhaps you could make a special trip to Alexandria out of it? Sounds like it may be worth it if he really wants to see the movie in a better-than-average theater.

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Washington, DC: I'm looking for a place to watch the Bernard Hopkins/Jermain Taylor Middleweight championship bout on Saturday. I've been told that many sports bars are reluctant to show pay-per-view events because they must pay a lot more than the $49.99 required of individual customers in order to receive the telecast. Do you know of any place in town that'll bite the proverbial bullet and cough up the money to show the fight?

Fritz: Not to sound like a broken record, but we covered this in the Nightlife Agenda column (and in today's Express, which features Coverboy Rhome). Both Dream and Republic Gardens are showing the fight; hit the Gardens early with a pass from www.hypnotikentertainment.com/theremedy/ and you can get half-price drinks from 9 to 11.

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Washington, DC: Any word on whether Batman Returns will be showing at any IMAX theaters in the area? I thought I saw something a few weeks ago, but now can't find it anywhere.

Jen: I've contacted someone with the Smithsonian Imax theaters (all of our local Imax venues are operated by Smithsonian) and am waiting to hear back. My guess is that it won't be showing around here, but I'll let you know what I've heard as soon as I've heard it.

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D.C.: Does anyone know of a D.C. area equivalent to the New York based Scratch Academy or anywhere that one could get lessons on scratching and other DJ techniques?

Rhome: Metratrack Studios is long gone I'm sad to say. The link is actually to an archived version of the site saved by its designer. I bet you could make a friendly inquiry at DJ Hut or Capital City Records and they'd be happy to refer you to someone. Or post on forums at sites like DJGeometrix.com (turntablism) or DistrictSoul.com (dance music).

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Arlington, VA: Dear GOGs,

I have a question. Last Friday, my boyfriend and I wanted to find a local hang out with good and inexpensive drinks in Arlington. We ended up in Clarendon because we didn't know were else to go. Can you offer any suggestions (other than Clarendon)? Clarendon was ok, but we wanted more of a local flavor but was still a cute place. Help?????

Fritz: Did you try Jay's in Clarendon? This little gem of a neighborhood bar isn't much of a scene, but it's filled with locals and you can't get much more flavorful than its Astroturf-covered patio and ice-cold beers.

Okay, with that out of the way, I'd suggest hopping the Orange line down a stop to Dr. Dremo's for the covered patio and laidback atmosphere, or grabbing a pint at Ireland's Four Courts.

Any other Arlingtonites want to share local hangs with cheap drinks?

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The Zoo: I am the poster who asked about a hippo a few weeks back. Needless to say, I have a Zoo connection (I will not say which zoo), who has agreed to let my daughter "swim" with the hippo for a small fee. Thanks to the poster for the helpful advice last week.

Joe: Wow, that just might be the worst idea ever. But, we'll continue to assume (and hope) you're joking.

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Washington, D.C.: Dearest All-Knowing Gurus...help! I am organizing a dinner next Friday for a group of my six closest friends and myself. We're all in the 22/23 age range, not really making the big bucks (yet), but want to treat ourselves to a nice dinner where we can have some great drinks with a fun atmosphere and enjoy each other's company. What can you recommend for the young professionals that are looking for a great night out in the city? Thanks for the awesome and oh so informative chats!

Erin: There are some good drinks at Cabanas on the Georgetown waterfront and at Mie N Yu , but I don't recommend the excruciatingly slow restaurant service. In the Dupont region, the upstairs lounge of Mark and Orlando's is swanky and Firefly is good. You can also keep Helix in mind.

Straits of Malaya has a fabulous Singapore Sling and a rooftop terrace or you can do blended margs at Lauriol Plaza across the street. If you can get there before 6:30, Zola has a great early fixed menu for $28.

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FairfaxGOGfan: Hi GOG's,

I have to post early but want to make sure to say THANX for directing us to Dale Watson. His show at IOTA on Monday was fabulous! Can't understand why we had never heard of him, he and his band are great musicians, put on an energetic and irreverent show that was such a breath of fresh air!

Thanks again for being such great GOG's.

Joe: Dale is great. Glad to hear you went and saw him.

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Washington D.C.: Hey y'all. I just bought a sewing machine so I could start making the clothing I can't find in stores. Any suggestions for somewhere metro accessible where one can take Intro to Sewing classes?

Thanks!

Janet: G Street Fabrics in Rockville is Metro accessible. Take a look at the Web site to see what sorts of sewing classes they offer.

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Washington D.C.: To the folks who help me uphold my image of being "in the know" - thank you! It wouldn't be Thursday without you guys. I have a question about the 930 Club. I usually cab it but have had trouble finding a cab after shows. I'm going to David Gray and saw that you can purchase a $10 parking pass ahead of time. What's the deal? Is it worth it?

David: First off, if you buy that $10 parking pass online, thanks to service charges and "other processing" fees -- voila! -- it magically becomes a $15.25 parking pass. That seems like -- no, it IS -- a whole lot of money to pay for parking, but I guess if you were going to cab it, it evens out. I will say that the nice thing about buying the parking pass ahead of time is that you don't have to worry about showing up super early to get a spot in the lot, since it's reserved for you. There is a good amount of street parking around the club, and the area's not as bad as some people make it out to be. Basically it comes down to how much convenience is worth to you.

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Rosslyn, VA: Hi Gurus! Please tell me you have good news and Kingpin is opening again soon. I can't take it much longer!!!

Fritz: I wish I had good news for you. Last time I talked to the owner about this, there were some loose ends to be tied up insurance-wise. When we hear something, we'll let you all know.

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Arlington, VA: What will the crowd be like tonight at the Blue Room for Uncle Q's Living Room? I am hoping for a mixed crowd that is more in their late 20's than early 20's....will I be disappointed?

Fritz: No. That's about on the head. And it's one of the best hip-hop nights in the city.

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Rockville, MD: I just moved to the Rockville area around the White Flint mall and am looking for good bars and restaurants (that are NOT The Cheesecake Factory, which I like but in moderation). I'm open to any ideas -- am in exploratory mode! Thx.

Jen: Hey, you're a neighbor! (Sort of; I live five to 10 minutes from you).

I'm sure you know this, but downtown Bethesda is not very far away and has the most restaurant-and-bar-options per square mile in Montgomery County. Closer to where you are, there's Addie's (very good, but a little pricey); Oakville Grille (also a little pricey, in Wildwood Shopping Center off Old Georgetown Road); Hamburger Hamlet; Ambrosia (good Greek place in Montrose Crossing Shopping Center); and, if you're ever in the mood for subs, Continental, which is technically in Kensington but is a short drive away, at the corner of Knowles and Connecticut. Bar-wise, there isn't much but you've always got Hank Dietle's, which is right next-door to Addie's and probably walking distance from your place. Anyone care to chime in with other options?

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Washington, DC: I have recently moved into a new apartment and have a lot of wall space to cover, and sadly, very little to cover it with. Where can you suggest to buy somewhat inexpensive, yet interesting art? When I was in college the students used to sell original art for somewhat reasonable prices, any chance the schools around here have any similar art sales?

Janet: How about trying Eastern Market ?

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Washington, DC: Hi, It is my birthday on Sunday and my husband and I are going out to dinner. I would like to go somewhere not too pricey but romantic. Any ideas? I have been to the place that everyone raves about in Adams Morgan (Little Fountain) and I wasn't blown away. Thanks for your help! Love the chats!

Erin: How about Komi, Montmartre, Al Tiramisu, Tabard Inn or 15 Ria? I also think Corduroy is very nice.

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Bethesda, Md.: Hi Gurus,

So I haven't been down to Nation in YEARS, but Paul Oakenfold and Sandra Collins are there this weekend, and I'm thinking about heading down to re-connect with my love for great house and techno music. Has the place changed much since Fox 5 did it's undercover investigation, or is it pretty much the same as I remember it from 1999-2000. And do you know how much tix costs?

Thanks!

Fritz: It's not as bad as it was (and I went a bunch of times back when I was in college). If you liked it then, you might even enjoy it more now -- they've done some work inside to add more balconies, bar service is better, and for some reason, I've enjoyed it more.

Tickets are $25, or $35 if you want VIP tickets that let you skip the main line and access a special "VIP balcony," which would have been an anathema a couple years ago.

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Washington, DC: I want to go dancing. I don't want to feel like everyone's chaperone, which I felt like at some places because I am 28 and everyone else is 19-21. I am open to most any type of music, but prefer top 40 to dance to (which is strange, cause I never listen to it on the radio!).

Any suggestions, preferably in NoVa, but my dancing shoes will travel!

Rhome: You could try Clarendon Grill. You should be able to mingle with other grown folk and dance to songs you know. Blue Gin has recently just started playing top 40 and mainstream hip-hop on weekends. And if you're not afraid of some "divey" action, check out Chief Ike's.

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Washington, DC: Are there any bookstores staying open until midnight for the Harry Potter release in the District, or do we have to head out to the suburbs?

Erin: Our Potter page has links to some local bookstores. Politics and Prose is hosting a big party. If you just want the book, Kramerbooks is open that late and will put it out without any funny business.

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Washington, DC: Did you ever find out why the Uptown is still showing Star Wars? Is there a large contingent of nerds eager to see the movie for the fifth time or does Loews have a sucker deal with Lucas? Any idea when the theater will be switching movies, and, if so, what the new movie will be?

Jen: You will be happy to know that this is the last week you can see " Revenge of the Sith" at the Uptown. Its final day is July 21; after that it will be replaced by Michael Bay's latest, "The Island."

Regarding your other questions, I believe the Uptown generally commits to showing each individual movie for a certain period. It's not uncommon for a movie like "Star Wars" to stay for six weeks or more. The "Lord of the Rings" movies hung around the Uptown for a similar length of time, so I don't think it's a Lucas thing necessarily.

It's too bad that "Batman" or "War of the Worlds" didn't play there, though. Both would have been perfect for that big screen.

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Foggy Bottom Frenchie: My friends and I are ready to go all out for Bastille Day, but we haven't yet decided on a location for our fete. Between the parties at Bistrot du Coin, Les Halles, and L'Enfant - which one would you recommend? Please use the Rule of B's in your judgment: Brie, Baguettes, and Bordeaux (we may consider a nice Beaujolais). Got any suggestions that will meet our needs? Merci!

Fritz: Well, Bistrot has no more reservations tonight and doesn't do food during the party, so that's ruled out. I'd say go to Les Halles if you want to sit, eat, talk and maybe dance a little, or L'Enfant if you want a younger crowd that will be drinking more Kronenbourg than Chateauneuf de Pape and crowding between tables.

Or you could hit Bistro Lepic or Lavendou for their prix-fix menus (around $35) before moving on to party somewhere else.

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Takoma Park Md: Well I am getting ready to leave this road rage-infested, wonk-overrun, pretentious small town they call DC and i wanna make sure i cover all my bases before i move (seeing as how i never plan to return). what are the going-out gurus' must-dos or must-sees before leaving DC?

Joe: Hmm, what a contradictory question. Hate DC but want to get to the must-sees before you leave town. Why bother. Just roll.

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Alexandria, VA: I was wondering if there are any theatres in the area doing a midnight/12:01 am showing of the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.

I suppose there aren't as many of us Charlie/Willy Wonka fans as there are Star Wars fans. I am a huge fan and have been anxiously awaiting the Burton/Depp version and would love to see it as soon as I possibly can!

Thanks!

Jen: We have midnight showtimes for "Charlie" at these two theaters at least. Please ignore the 11:59 a.m. (which should be p.m.) and the 12:01 p.m. (which should be a.m.). We receive our showtimes from an outside vendor who collects them from the movie theaters, and they consistently send screwy midnight showtimes. We're hoping to fix that as soon as we can.

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Arlington, VA: Hi! I would really like to go rollerblading sometime this summer, but I do not own a pair of rollerblades, therefore...where can I rent rollerblades? Where is the best place to go rollerblading in the D.C. area? Thank you!

Anne: Ski Chalet in Arlington rents inline skates for $15 per day. It's not a far drive to the paved W&OD trail from there, and staffer Ryan could give you directions.

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WDC 20009: Oh Wonderfully Wise Gurus - what's a girl to do?

I just moved from Arlington to a new apartment, and am living all by myself for the first time ever! I'm on the DuPont Circle side of Adams Morgan (19th St, above California) and I'm dying to explore my new neighborhood, but don't even know where to begin! Most of my friends live in Arlington, so I'm alone a few weekday evenings after work... where can an early/mid twenty-something girl go by herself in that area and not feel threatened/leered at or just incredibly self-conscious about being alone?

I'm all for hitting up some great shops (still decorating the new apartment, and love clothes and shoes...), but would like to drop in and have a drink somewhere, see some live music or just experience some new things.

Thanks, guys - you're incredibly brilliant!

Fritz: Quick survey of female friends says that you'd be fine at the Reef, Bedrock Billiards, Toledo Lounge or Pharmacy Bar. I concur -- all of them have friendly bartenders who are worth getting to know, can help you meet/converse with new people and should be able to defuse any "situations."

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Washington, DC: Hey Gurus,

I decided to donate my hair to Locks of Love a while back and got a great, short haircut from a local salon kind enough to donate its services. The problem is, now I want to keep my hair this way, and I can't afford to go to a high-end salon every time it starts to get a little long. Is there a styling school nearby that gives cuts at a discounted price?

Erin: Check with Graham Webb in Rosslyn or Salon Cielo in Dupont.

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Adams Morgan: What do you think about the White Party that's being held at Vida? Is it going to be extremely crowded?

Fritz: Yeah, probably. But if you dress in all white, you can win an iPod!

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The Zoo: Um - does that woman know hippo's are violent/dangerous/deadly? This is from wikipedia.com

Despite the popular image of the animal being easygoing and peaceful, the hippopotamus is actually one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, and is said to account for more human deaths than any other African mammal. This is not because they are more aggressive than other African mammals but rather because they are highly territorial and their space often conflicts with that of farmers and tourists.

Erin: Don't you think that you're unfairly stereotyping the entire species?

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Washington, DC: Last Thursday, I was going to go on a date to see the Fort Reno show and have a picnic dinner from Whole Foods. Unfortunately, the rain ruined those plans. We're trying for date #2 and to do same thing as before, however if the rain also ruins the outdoor activities, could you recommend a good second date idea? Possibly involving live music?

Thanks!

David: I'm hoping the weather holds out for Fort Reno tonight as well, should be a good show. If it doesn't cooperate, and you still want to see some music in the Fort Reno vein, you might want to try DC9 or the Black Cat. Checkout Nightlife Agenda for more on what's going on at DC9, where there will be Fleetwood Mac and R.E.M. cover bands featuring folks in local bands. Could be entertaining, could be ... quite un-entertaining. Dressy Bessy is at the Black Cat, they are a fun little indie-pop band. Both of those places have good bars that could let you have actual conversations, too.

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Dupont/Logan, DC: I really hope the hippo woman is joking. First, I can't imagine anyone arrogant and ignorant enough to think she can rent a hippo and have it swim around in her backyard pool. Second, if she's planning on having her daughter swim with a hippo, she should know that hippos kill more people each year than any other animal in Africa (yes, that includes lion and leopards, et al.)

Joe: Yeah, really. Maybe she should rent a lion or leopard instead.

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Washington DC: Hello Gurus,

Do you know of any shooting ranges in the area. I don't own a gun so I need a place that would rent one to me. I think a little target practice would be a good way to blow off some steam. Thanks for your help.

Fritz: A good friend of mine went trap/skeet shooting out in Greenbelt the other day and really enjoyed it. I'll see if I can come up with the name by the end of the chat, or throw this out in case any chatters have (a) the name or (b) other ideas.

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Batman isn't returning...he's BEGINNING.: If you don't know the difference, perhaps Ya Ya Sisterhood may be more along your lines...

Jen: Oh, you know he/she meant "Batman Begins." Give the reader a break.

And please, let's all keep our "Ya Yas" to ourselves. No one deserves to be subjected to that.

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Alexandria: Re: AMC Hoffman--Don't go unless you plan to arrive one hour before show time (or enjoy sitting in the first row and getting a stiff neck by the end of the movie). Crowds are horrible and tickets sell out early (often a few hours beforehand).

Jen: Good to know. Thanks, Alexandria.

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Washington, DC: I thought that a vegetarian restaurant was supposed to open downtown called Vegetate in the spring. What happened to it and is it still going to open?

Erin: Believe it or not, it's still in the works. They're working out final kinks and hoping to launch before the end of the summer.

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Washington, DC: It has been so hot and humid this week - need a fabulous margarita to cool off. Where would the gurus recommend as having the best margaritas inside the Beltway?

Fritz: I had a fantastic margarita at Blue Gin the other week -- Patron silver and fresh cactus fruit puree.

For standard margaritas, though, I often fall back on Atlantico; for the frozen swirly variety, the consensus seems to be Cactus Cantina or (sigh) Lauriol Plaza, though the sip I had at Tortilla Coast wasn't bad.

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Penn Quarter: How come you guys take questions that aren't your specialties? Like Jen, with the question about VA movie theaters? Why didn't you just pass it on to another guru to see if someone could help the person out? It's something I've noticed before, and it's rather frustrating.

Jen: My specialty is movies. I just don't know the Virginia theaters as well as the ones in Maryland and D.C.

Plus, we don't consider this chat to be one-sided. All of you readers are gurus just as much as we are, so we hope you'll fill in the gaps that we may occasionally leave. If someone else has a Virginia theater recommendation, they're more than welcome to voice it.

We gurus may be "experts" but we can't possibly know everything. Well, Joe does, but the rest of us, not so much.

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Glover Park: I hope one more issue Kingpin is working out is getting their employees to drop the indier-than-thou attitude. Getting openly sneered at for not wearing thrift-store clothing is not my idea of a fun night out.

Fritz: My thrift-store clothing days were long behind me and I never got sneered at when I went to Kingpin. (Of course, it could have been behind my back.)

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Woodbridge, VA: My friends and I are not clubbers, but we do like to go out. We enjoy live jazz, soft music, dancing etc - an evening out. Were educated, modest, quiet, polite, non-smoking(includes second-hand smoke), non-drinking African American young women (early to late thirties). Where can we go out?

Rhome: I was soooo ready to hook you ladies up, but I fear that your query hinges on smoking. It's nigh impossible to find dancing that's smoke-free, and I'm not sure if Clarendon Ballroom would be your scene. Fortunately, your options for live jazz are better. Blues Alley and HR-57 are both smoke free. You can even avoid the carcinogens while having a meal, a movie and some music at the Smithsonian's IMAX Jazz Cafe. And if you haven't yet been to a night of jazz at the Sculpture Garden, you're missing out.

I guess I hooked you up after all. Come back and tell us how it went!

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Washington: Would you please explain why you devote time to talking about storage units and places to get your nails and waxes done? Thanks!

Joe: Believe it or not, we get 300 to 400 questions about storage units every week. People just love talking about them. And reading about them. That's what makes this such a fascinating chat. Next week, that's all we're going to talk about. That and hippos.

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Woodley Park: I live next to the space that is supposed to become the next "Tryst" at 24th and Calvert. Is it ever going to open? Construction has been going on for a year now.

Fritz: Or over a year. The owner of Tryst is opening a new diner/coffeeshop/bar hybrid there called the Third Place. The pace has picked up, though, and I hope they'll be done in time to enjoy the patio.

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Wash DC: Hi - I have a friend who is a sushi snob. He maintains that there are no good sushi places around here (he's from the west coast). I don't eat sushi myself, so I'm really at a loss for how to defend the sushi establishments of my city! Any suggestions for good sushi?

Erin: If you're willing to go all out to prove your point, then it is all about Kaz Sushi Bistro, Sushi-Ko and Makoto. Any other musts from the chatters?

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Adams Morgan, DC: Hi Gurus - What's the real story on alcohol and the Screen on the Green? Can we stealth?

Jen: In theory, you can stealth wherever you want. Heck, you could be stealthing right now.

But the official Screen on the Green policy is that no alcoholic beverages are permitted at the event. That's our story, and we're sticking to it.

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Adams Morgan: I'm looking for a good place to salsa this Saturday in DC. Got any recommendations? If they also serve good Mojitos, that's a bonus!

Erin: Are you a publicist for Habana Village?

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Adams Morgan: So a group of us have decided to do an every-couple-of-weeks alphabet happy hour. Each time will be at a bar that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. We're having trouble with Q and X. Can you help us out? Would rather it be within DC city limits, although close-in suburbs could work as well.

Fritz: I know some people who tried this! I recommended the Quarry House Tavern, a great little 1940s dive bar in Silver Spring. Country on the jukebox, huge homemade burgers, your stereotypical dive bar waitresses and a great beer selection.

Option #2: the Quarterdeck in Arlington for awesome crabs and cheap, cold beer.

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Arlington, VA: The heel of one of my g/f's boots broke last winter, I was wondering if y'all had any good places to recommend to get that fixed and roughly what the cost is to fix that type of thing? Thanks!

Janet: Don't know any place offhand around Arlington, but Fortuna Shoe Repair in Bethesda is good, but not so cheap. Anyone have suggestions?

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Alexandria, VA: The Old Town Theater in Alexandria is also showing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, beginning tomorrow. While the screen isn't as big as the Uptown, it is still a vintage theater. The new owners have done a lot to bring in customers, including access to first run movies (Batman, Charlie, etc). Plus it was one of the only places in the area to show Enron. The seats are decent. There are cup holders and great trays that hold food and rest on the arms of the chairs so you don't have to balance everything. The ticket prices are about the same as everywhere else, a little cheaper. But concession food is much less expensive - and they serve beer. Parking isn't so bad except on weekend evenings and then there are a couple $2 garages within 2 blocks. And, as a bonus, they have live music occasionally when the movies aren't playing. While Hoffman is great in terms of the variety, the Old Town Theater is just that much better.

Jen: Thanks for this note. The Old Town Theater is also an independently run venue, and it's always good to support those.

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For the person organizing the 6 person dinner: I just wanted to give him/her a head's up about Firefly. My friends and I did a similar dinner and drinks night there a couple of months ago. We had a great time (and the food and drinks were fabulous) however, be forewarned that the mixed drinks at the bar were pretty pricey--$12 for what we had. Worth it, but I am in the same financial boat and could only order one. Maybe there is a special sometimes, though.

Erin: Good to note -- it is easy to get carried away, so it's best not to spend all the money on that liquid gold.

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Reston, Va.: I'm looking for a primo spot to watch the sunset in the area. Preferable in DC somewhere. Any suggestions??

Fritz: Afterlight is my pick -- that's the rooftop poolside happy hour at the Embassy Row Hilton. (You can read more about it in Weekend tomorrow.)

The sunset at the Sky Terrace at Hotel Washington is pretty cool, too; you can watch the sun set over the White House.

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metro accessible fabrics etc: Exquisite Fabrics on K St at 17th is great and couldn't be easier to get to

Janet: Good suggestion for the person ISO sewing classes.

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Please don't be a "ruiner"!: If you dislike Washington, DC so much, why don't you just move!?! I and many others think this city is fabulous and adore DC, so please don't "yuck our yum". I don't mind opinions regarding restaurants or clubs, etc., as I like to know what's good and what is not in the city where I live. I just don't feel a need to tolerate a person unhappy with where they live. Again...move if you hate DC. And like the gurus said...there are plenty of places in the city where you may find a crowd to fit your high standards.

Joe: OK

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9 to 5: it's one of my best friend's 24th bday on sat. and we wanted to do something fun and quasi-active during the day (we were going to go to king's dominion since we haven't been in ages but didn't want to be crowded out by the kids and tweens)...given that "scattered T storms" are likely, do you have any suggestions of stuff to do for 3 or 4 people in NoVA or DC.

Anne: What about ice skating? You can move around, chill out and completely ignore any thunderstorm predictions. Fairfax Ice Arena is open year-round. It's cheaper than an amuseument park, too.

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Gun-Totin': The shooting range you're thinking of is Prince George's County Skeet & Trap Glen Dale, Md. 301-577-7178. It's a good one, though shotgun sports only, no riflery or handgun ranges. And yes, they rent guns. It's right off the BW Parkway.

Fritz: Thanks.

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Sushi: As an admitted sushi snob (too much time in Japan), I'd add Kotobuki (next door to Makoto) and Sushi Taro to your list. And, to be honest, I'd put them above Sushi-Ko and Kaz.

Erin: The experts are weighing in.

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WDC, BABY!: Darling Gog's - I think I'm heading to DC-9 for the first time ever on Friday night... what's the deal there? Cover? Dress code? Crowd? Drink prices/specials? Music? When does the crowd pick up? Get there early? Or wait until late?

You guys are positively brilliant. Love you.

David: Friday at DC9 is Liberation, a DJ dance night that plays newer, "hip" rock, electro and some hip-hop. It's free if you get there before 10, and then you can get $2 Yuenglings from 9 until 10. After that there's a $5 cover the usuallly priced drinks. Dress code? Some hipsters might sneer at you if they don't like your clothes. But there's no code.

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Re: Defending Sushi: Flying Fish in Alexandria is innovative and some of the best sushi I've ever had (that includes the west coast!). It's new, so the service is still a little shakey, but sit at the downstairs bar and let them take care of you!

Erin: I hear good things about the boom boom and spring garden rolls...

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Harry Potter: How come all the celebrations are for Children? There are a number of adults who enjoy the books. Is there anywhere in town that will have themed drinks?

Fritz: If there are, I'll gladly write about them, but I've heard of none.

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Dupont Circle: Hi Gurus,

Where can a very picky girl go to find a great new swimsuit?

Janet: washingtonpost.com recently interviewed a swimsuit expert, who is a merchandise manager for Water, Water Everywhere. Read that discussion for starters.

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Relax!: People are way too intense about this chat. If you don't find what you're looking for here or don't enjoy reading the chat, look elsewhere, do a google search, ask a friend or co-worker. Don't hedge all your bets on a once-per-week online forum then get upset when it isn't what you want!

Joe: Yeah!

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Washington, D.C.: Does anyone know of an affordable/reliable place to board a dog for 2-3 days? No doggie spas, though.

Erin: I've been to Wag Time on Q Street and they seem to have a nice cageless facility, but I don't know if they could be categorized as a spa...

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Cheap Art?: Not sure I would ever use the words "cheap art" and "Eastern Market" in the same sentence. I bought some cheap large frames at IKEA (one is taller than I am at 5'2") and put in some travel posters I found on-line. (a la www.allposters.com)

What's the deal with Crush these days? Still fun place to go dancing?

Janet: An option for the chatter looking for inexpensive things to put on the wall for a new apartment.

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Alexandria, VA: Any suggestions for wine bars that cater to the common folk (ie not too pretentious to be fun)?

Fritz: I like Tallula because you can buy half-pours of everything on the list. That means you can sample two different shirazes for the price of one and figure out why you enjoy the taste of one more than the other. Grapeseed is pretty good about this, too.

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Q and X bars: Thanks so much for the two Q suggestions! Now - how about an X place?

Joe: You could go to Cosi (formerly XAND0). That's sort of cheating, but what are you going to do? Also Saint Ex might be acceptable.

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9:30 club fan!: To the reader asking about parking near the 9:30club. I concur with the gurus! Parking on the street is not difficult and not as bad as it used to be. Just use urban common sense and don't leave anything inviting out in your car (ie cds, clothing etc).

David: Exactly. And especially for the person going to the David Gray show, that's a sold out show on a Saturday night. There will be a whole lot of people around.

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LaDroit Park: I'm going to the Femi Kuti show at 9:30 Club on Saturday night. I know there's no shortage of Ethiopian restaurants in the area, but I was wondering if there were any WEST African restaurants around?

Erin: Roger Miller in Silver Spring, Chez Auntie Libe or Ghana Cafe?

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Arlington, VA: Hello GOGs,

First, just want to say thanks for all of your helpful advice.

Next Saturday night, we are celebrating my roommate's 25th birthday. We have a group of friends coming in from out of town and we are looking to go out somewhere that offers the best of everything! We'd like to spend the evening at a bar that has dancing (Top 40), but is also fun for those non-dancing types. We've lived in DC for years and usually frequent places such as Clarendon Ballroom, Lucky Bar, Chief Ike's, Adams Mill, Rumors, and an array of Georgetown bars. We need to try out a new place but we're completely lost on where to go! Please help!

Fritz: When it comes to places that have dancing but are not about dancing, choices get more limited. You could do okay at Blue Gin (cocktails and people-watching for those not on the dance floor) or Modern (lots of hip-hop and R&B). Ike's might work, too...

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Alexandria: Storage Units: If you are looking for off site storage units for extra furniture etc, there are a bunch in Alexandria on Route 1 and Eishenhower Ave. Prices depend on the size, but I do suggest going for climate controled ones to better protect your furniture etc from damp, heat, etc.

Re: not liking DC. Eh - there are those elemnts but I have also met some of the nicest people of my life here. But if you are miserable here, why are you here?

Janet: Sorry, maybe I misunderstood the question. Looking for storage units to extra furniture and such, here's a suggestion.

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Hippo Lady: Perhaps Hippo Lady can rent a baby cheetah from the zoo. I hear they have plenty of them. I was actually hoping on of the baby cheetahs would escape and run directly to my aparment. They're so fluffy and cute

Joe: Or maybe a stick-of-butter sized Panda.

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Ledroit Park: Boot heel repair: Try George's on the corner of 13th and U Streets, NW. It's a hole-in-the-wall place that did a great repair job on my slingbacks earlier this year.

Janet: Shoe repairs, anyone? Here's a suggestion.

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AM Guy: I saw Wedding Crashers the other day at a preview. Will be the comedy of the Summer. The movie had some slow parts, but otherwise VERY funny. Plus it's set in DC and the Eastern Shore.

Jen: I've been on vacation, so I actually missed it. Glad you liked it -- I'm hearing good things overall, so I think, as you said, it will do well at the box office. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Washington,DC: We are having a party this weekend, and I am going out to buy the liquor. Should I head to VA, MD, or stay in DC? In short where is the cheapest place to buy alcohol.

Erin: The experts say total beverage for beer. I vote (seconded by Fritz) Pearson's Wine and Spirits in Georgetown for sure.

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Washington, DC: Hey Gurus,

Got any recommendations for some good and quick gelato in the area? The only place that I've found is Dean and Deluca in Georgetown, but it was too average to satisfy my gelato cravings.

Erin: National Gallery's cafe has great gelato.

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Washington, DC: I keep hearing that the Smithsonian is having salsa bands play on Sunday afternoons but I never see it advertised in any salsa-related medium. What do you guys know about that? Also, any word why Mirrors decided against salsa on Saturdays after it advertised that it would?

Rhome: Salsa on Sundays at the Smithsonian? Maybe you're thinking about the other jazz events that I mentioned in a previous post. Fritz and I both seem to vaguely remember a latin jazz series going on at the Smithsonian some time ago. Chatters? As for Mirrors, it's a new club. That pretty much explains everything. We don't know what happened but we know that the nightlife business sure isn't a stable one and things change all the time.

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good quality shoe repair: Don't know Arlington, but I go to:

Duke's Shoe Repair

(202) 667-3161

2000 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

at 14th and V

The man who owns it and repairs the shoes is a WWII vet

and does 'old fashioned' workmanship. He's fantastic for

fixing suitcases etc too. Not outrageously expensive

either!

Why not take in your shoes and eat/hear some music in

my faboulous U St neighborhood?

Janet: Another shoe repair suggestion.

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Washington, DC: Do you have any good day trip ideas to get out of the city?

Anne: The Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, W.Va. is going on now, about a 75-minute drive from the Beltway. You could get tickets for a matinee and plan time to explore the nearby area, browse a few antique shops or visit Harpers Ferry, about 10 miles away.

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Boot Repair in Arlington: Best Foot Forward in Pentagon Row next to World Market...they do a fantastic job on shoe repaid.

Janet: And another...

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi Gurus,

Can you suggest a nice outdoor cafe, along the blue line, that my friend and I can meet up and have a nice, leisurely late lunch on Sunday?

Thanks!

Erin: Well, blue is a long and winding line. If you go into D.C., you can hop off at Rosslyn or Foggy Bottom and eat in Georgetown. The Pentagon City stop offers a few choice spots in Pentagon Row. The patios of Jaleo and Oyamel and the roof of Ruth's Chris (if your leisurely lunch is more of an early dinner) in Crystal City also beckon. Since you're from Alexandria, some of the terraces along King St or Taqueria Poblano off Braddock Station fit the bill.

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Dupont Circle: Hi GOGs,

I remember last year there was a massive sidewalk sale in the U Street area (I think that's where it was) do you know if that is going to happen again? And do you know if Taste of DC is coming back?

Thanks!

Janet: I don't know about the Taste of D.C., but the U Street Sidewalk Sale usually takes place the beginning of August.

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Washington, DC: Is there an interesting bar / event / venue to check out in DC (preferably metro-accessible) on Friday night? Something where the average person, not college age, can attend without dealing with (a) a dress code; (b) $8 drinks, and (c) pretensions? In other words, a "we're here to have fun and don't care whether we look it or other people notice" kind of place? We usually like the Black Cat, Raven, Velvet Lounge, DC9 and HR57. Any other options (other than lounge bars, St. Ex or Bar Pilar, please) or this-weekend-only events you can suggest? Thanks!

Fritz: Wonderland is that kind of place, as are Pharmacy Bar, Atomic or Bedrock Billiards and the Saloon. I think the Hideaway DJ night at the Black Cat this weekend will have the right vibe -- a free night of funk, soul and vintage rock. And I'd hit the Mac Attack show tonight at DC9 -- memebers of Washington Social Club and the Carlsonics covering Fleetwood Mac sounds awesome.

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Washington, D.C.: GOGs: If you were an early 20's woman going on a blind date (talked on phone, but never met) with a mid 20's man, where would you want to go (dinner and or drinks) in the Alexandria (preferred)/Arlington area? Thanks!!

Erin: Mai Thai, Taqueria Poblano, Vermilion, Southside 815, Tallula or Carlyle.

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Arlington, VA: To answer the question from the person who looking for places to go out in Courthouse, try Ragtime. It's on the corner of N. Courthouse Rd. and 14th St.

Fritz: It's like a block from our office, I've been in a couple of times, and outside of the wings and covered patio, I don't see the appeal.

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Washington, DC: I was hoping you could update us on tubing, rafting and hiking spots in the DC area. Thanks!

Anne: Here's a few ideas on tubing. Most of these are a healthy road trip from the city, and the guides near the river could offer ideas on other water sports or outdoorsy options. Happy floating.

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Washington, DC: Can you suggest a bar or two that's in chinatown or by the MCI center that would be considered a romantic place, and conducive for talking, to go for drinks after dinner on a Friday night?

Fritz: I'd hit Poste, especially if the weather cooperates and you can get a table in the courtyard. Jaleo is another option -- sharing tapas is romantic, at least to me -- but it's kind of loud. There's always Cafe Atlantico, too.

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Washington DC: Hi!

I'm looking to take a guy I'm seeing to a baseball game soon for his b-day. Do you have any thoughts on how to make it special besides beer and hotdogs in the stadium? (No prob with Beer and dogs, but just curious) I've never been so I'm unsure about the food options and since we'll be going right from work with no time to stop, we'll have to eat there. How about for dessert on the way out?

Go Nats! Go Gurus! Thanks!

Fritz: Going to see the Nats and enjoying dogs and beers with a pretty girl sounds incredibly special to me as-is.

There's not much else there worth raving about, food-wise.

Chatters, any post-game dessert options worth knowing about?

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Haters.: Why is everyone hating on DC? I've been here 10 years, and I love it. Imagine growing up in Pittsburgh (which I did), or even worse, Cleveland. And yes, it's not New York, but there are maybe 2 other places in the world that are like New York. Stop hating and explore a little.

Fritz: Word!

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Washington, DC: Dear GOGs,

What can you tell me about H2O? We are thinking about going there with a group of friends (mid 20s, co-ed) on Saturday night. Thanks!

Fritz: Saturday is hip-hop night, and reggae star Luciano is performing live. It should be a lot of fun. If you get there early, it won't be such a madhouse and you can check out the outdoor grill and open-bar specials. It gets packed, but H2O is such a sprawling place that it's always okay. If you like Dream and megaclubs of that sort, you'll like H2O.

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College Park, MD: Hey gurus,

I need help finding a nice, quiet bar to grab a pint with some 20-something friends. Imagine an English pub; a few interesting beers and a table that can hold 6 but wood floors and walls not required. I like the 4P's, but after 9pm it is so loud it is impossible to talk. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Fritz: You just described the Saloon on U Street. Honestly, you'll thank me for this one. No music, no television set. (It's just like a Wetherspoon's!)

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Bastille Day in, Washington, DC: How many places do you GoGs go to on Bastille Day. Fritz says he goes to Les Halls AND Bistro du Coin. How do we keep up with you guys when there are already lines and crowds at each.

Fritz: I'm not going to both. (I think) I'm going to L'Enfant early at Bistot du Coin later. I don't know how I keep up with me.

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Farragut North: Suggestions for reasonably priced golf lessons?

Joe: Try Hains Point, aka East Potomac Park Golf Course and Driving Range. Inexpensive and convenient.

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NY, NY: Hi GOG,

I am coming into town this weekend and would love to find out where the great hip hop djs (like Dirty Hands and DJ Dredd) are spinning these days? If they aren't, I would love to know where to go to dance to that type of music this weekend?

Thanks!!

Rhome: Dredd is still at Aroma on Fridays. You might also want to check out Modern . If you know Dirty Hands from the State of the Union days, you definitely know Bill Source. He's at Avenue on Fridays. Omnipresent veteran Dirty Hands is at Dream on Saturdays.

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Pentagon City: Submitting early b/c I won't be around for the chat. Do you guys know anything about the squash festival going on at Oyamel this month? My buddy and I are thinking about checking it out tonight for dinner.

Also I am moving soon and need to get rid of my old computer. I was wondering if you or the gallery knew of any organizations that take donated computers. Thanks.

Erin: I blogged about it last week. If you like blossoms, it's a good place to find several varieties of 'em. I'm a fan of squash blossom quesadillas, so that was great. You definitely don't need to go during the posted festival times unless you want to buy some and see a cooking demonstration.

As for computers, donate it to a needy school.

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washingtonpost.com: OK, that's it for today. Thanks for reading and for your questions. I think we all learned something valuable today. I'm just not sure what it was. Next week, it all happens again.

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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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