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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Entertainment Guide
Thursday, July 28, 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 .

A transcript follows.

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washingtonpost.com: What's up guys? It's that time again. Now that the heat has broken, we are itching to get out and enjoy the weather and hope that you are, too. We are hungering for Restaurant Week , county fairs and other summer sweetness. So, let's get to it. We are David, Anne, Janet, Fritz, Rhome and me, Erin.

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Clarendon, Va.: Hi GoGs! What does it take to get a restaurant listed in the Post Entertainment Guide? Delhi Club in Arlington (right opposite the Clarendon metro) needs to be on there! it is some of the best Indian food I have eaten in the area. the food is hearty and very tasty, and the waitstaff very polite and friendly. the place is tiny and unpretentious and really worth a visit. You guys should check it out some time. so good!

Erin: Ouch, Clarendon. Have a little faith in us! The beloved Delhi Club is (and has been) listed right here .

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Arlington, Va.: Good afternoon! I heard about a new bar called Breeze on 18th and M. Do you know anything about it?

Thanks!

Fritz: Yes. It's going to be a big ol' party with DJs and dancing at Yuca, but utilizing the building's covered courtyard as well as the Cuban restaurant and nightclub. Some people from Air are involved, so it may be hot.

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Fairfax, Va.: I'm sending my boyfriend and a buddy to a one-night bartending class at Mantis as a birthday gift. What should they expect in terms of atmosphere, dress, clientele, etc.?

Fritz: Is this one of those Pros in the City/Things to do classes? Khakis and a button-down shirt should be fine. It's a great lounge, but these classes don't have the same upscale atmosphere. I'd wear clothes that you can splash alcohol on, though.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey GOGs! It's already Monday and the weekend can't get here fast enough! What can you guys tell me about Palette in the Madison hotel? The menu sounds great, but I'm a little concerned that Tom Sietsema gave the restaurant 1 star out of 4. What are your thoughts?

Thanks!

Erin: I don't have first hand experience, but I am going this week and will be well-equipped to answer at the next chat. My friends who've eaten there like it and the menu always looks great.

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Washington, D.C.: Any hairdresser recommendations for a curly-haired girl? I have tried Elie Elie and was hoping for a different recommendation. I tried to call Garrett Johnson with Fiddleheads but he is no longer there...

Thanks!

Janet: Try Dennis at Roche . He gets high marks for curly hair from some of our readers. Anyone else have a suggestion for a hairdresser for curly tops.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi GOGs! I read some tips last week on things to do, places to eat at some of the northern beaches (Bethany, Dewey, etc.)... however, I am planning on going down south to Virginia Beach for the first time this weekend. Any great suggestions for places to eat/things to do down there? Perhaps along the boardwalk? Thanks!

Janet: Don't have much personal knowledge of Va. Beach, but here's a story from the Post that might help you find things to do and places to eat.

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Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: I'm looking for bars with the best jukeboxes...rather a new bar with a sweet one I don't know about. Any suggestions??

My former favorites include Townhouse Tavern, Pharmacy Bar, and Wonderland.

Thanks gurus!

Fritz: Those are three of my favorites, too. I'd add Bedrock Billiards to your list. If you like oddball and retro jukes, check out JV's in Falls Church (classic country and honky tonk) or the Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring (classic rock, '70s outlaw country).

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16th Street, Washington, D.C.: Hey Gog's, What's going on on DeSales St? Are they filming a movie or something?? I saw trailers parked all along the National Geographic building too. Any celebrity sighting potential??? Clue me in!!

Erin: Hey, 16th. That would likely be the crew for "The Sentinel," Michael Douglas's new film with Eva Longoria and Kim Basinger. As for celebrity sightings, I might suggest the Georgetown area.(Cafe Milano, Four Seasons, etc.) Any sightings, chatters?

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Chevy Chase, Md.: Hi! As to the common GOG convo of where to locate an athletic shop near a Metro stop, I just recently went to Pacers in Clarendon (about 1 block from the station) and it is a great shop with great shoes and apparel, tons of helpful information and felloe-runner associates. They even organize a group run for any runners on Tuesdays at 7pm- a nice way to meet other runners and not have to work out alone!

They also said they have another store right near the King Street Metro. A great find!

Anne: That's the kind of shoe-leather (er, rubber) reporting we like to get. Thanks for the Pacers suggestion, runner.

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Over here! : Hi Gurus,

Boyfriend is craving ribs, but we are dreading the drive to north Baltimore for Corner Stable, any good suggestions for ribs in D.C.?

Thanks, have a great weekend!

Erin: Capital Q and Rocklands come to mind as places in D.C. proper.

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Washington, D.C.: What are your takes on the new K street Lounge that is opening up?

Erin: I answered a question on Maté (rhymes with latte) last week. Thanks, but it just doesn't come together. It's an older crowd trying to be younger, so I'll pass.

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Centreville, Va.: My wife and I recently watched Lagaan, a wonderful Indian movie about a small Indian town winning a cricket match against British soldiers in the mid-19th century. It was a sports movie/Bollywood musical, and I really got interested in the cricket sequences. Now I want to find out if I like watching the real sport. Is there a bar or restaurant in the Metro area that shows matches (maybe that caters to a particular ethnic group's immigrants)? Doesn't have to be English- any cricket will do.

Fritz: This is an excellent question, actually. I heard you could catch some of the most recent tests out at Indian restaurants in Falls Church or Fairfax, but I don't have details. Can anyone help? (And no, Summers doesn't do much in the way of Cricket.)

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Washington, D.C.: I want to surprise my girlfriend with an afternoon or evening out at a cooking class for our one-year anniversary. I want something hands-on, not just a demo. Any suggestions? I've heard about Sur la Table's classes and Laboratorio del Galileo. Any feedback on either of those or recommendations on other places?

Thanks!

Erin: Actually, I was just at Galileo for dinner two nights ago and watched some people making pasta. It looked like a lot of fun, but it's a bit pricier than many people would want to pay. $100-$110 gets you food, recipes, wine and an apron. I suggest Sur La Table, but you should check out TasteDC for other choices.

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Dupont, Washington, D.C.: What up GOGs?

I got some friends coming in from out of town this evening and need to hatch a plan. They're serious rock'n'roll fans. I prefer the indie scene. They like live music. I prefer hanging at a bar. What should we do tonight?

David: What's serious rock'n' roll, if I may ask? Like, John Cougar? Or The Stooges? Or AC/DC? Or what? Anyway, if they like live music and you like indie, perhaps you can compromise on Love as Laughter at the Warehouse Next Door. I've really been enjoying their new album, sort of a midway point between The Shins and Modest Mouse. Or you could try the Black Cat , there will be some rock on the backstage with the Assrockers, and you can always hang out in the Red Room. Maybe Velvet Lounge, too, which offers live music/hanging out at the bar options as well.

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Metro Center, Washington, D.C.: Gurus--

Do you know of any place in the area where you can brew your own beer? If so, is it worth the time and money?

Fritz: Shenandoah ! I've made beer there before for a friend's birthday. We made five cases (120 bottles) of Scottish ale for around $200. Making the beer was a lot of fun, especially rolling the barrels all over the floor to "agitate" the mixture. Putting labels on the bottles and pouring beer into them? Not so much.

It's a good learning experience for anyone who likes beer and/or chemistry projects.

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L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I was just wondering if any of you have heard of a restaurant in D.C. that offers an all-bacon menu? This sounds bizarre - but someone I know said there is actually a place where you can order a multi-course bacon-laden meal. What is the name of the place? Have any of you tried it?

Erin: I haven't heard of such a place...anybody else?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, I need to find a place to get a good haircut. I work in Bethesda, live in Montgomery Village. I've done the whole Bubbles, Hair Cuttery thing and found them very inconsistent. I'm a 29 year-old guy, not looking for anything fancy, more than a crew cut, less than the cover of GQ, around $30 or less. Ok with Salons or Barber Shops. If you could rec a place or a specific person that would be great.

Janet: There's a place in Bethesda called Hugo's. Men's haircuts start at $35.

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Washington, DC: Hey GOG's!

Can you guys settle a minor debate for me?

Is Ludacris actually performing at Dream tomorrow night or is he just hosting a party there? Thanks!

Fritz: He's performing, last we heard, although it won't be a full-on concert experience. The only band I've seen do that at Dream was the Roots. Instead, I'd expect him to play for half an hour or so, rock all the hits and head for the Cristal in the VIP room.

But that's just a guess.

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Fairfax, VA: Hey gurus! I am entertaining a few out of town college friends, and was wondering if you could recommend a place for groups to go to for some good food and fun atmosphere in D.C., something bustling but not so crazy loud that we can't hear each other speak. Thanks!

Rhome: We can give you some better ideas if you specify type of food and type of atmosphere (live music, bar games, dancing, lounging?) but a good start is the Chinatown area . You can make up a bunch of really good dinner & drinks combos by picking almost any two places within in a couple blocks walking distance of each other. Zaytinya stays popular and is always a great people-watching scene. I've gotten a decent sized group (5 - 7) at the tables upstairs. Get there early and reserve a spot because the wait can get you.

Ethiopian is always good for groups, as the style of the cuisine caters to communal dining. Give Dukem a shot. They often have live Ethiopian music and dancing later in the evening on weekends.

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Fairfax, Va.: Hey GOGS- Speaking of Air, I take it they are not opening this season?? What happened??

Fritz: It should have been taken out and shot in the middle of last summer. They weren't booking very good DJs, they alienated half the crowd, it was too expensive and just felt tired.

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Alexandria, Va.: Is Southside in Old Town a decent happy hour or evening bar? I've heard mixed reviews...

Erin: Southside is super eclectic. They offer a great happy hour with half-priced burgers, $0.25 wings, $1.50 mini-oyster po' boys and the usual drink specials. At night, the crowd ranges from college kids to elderly men, preps to bikers...I like that they have plenty of big TVs for sports and friendly bartenders.

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Re: Ribs: Rocklands and Capital Q are great suggestions, but I would add Old Glory in G-town to that list too.

Erin: Yes, yes, I can't believe I forgot it. Love the hush puppies!

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Washington, D.C.: Hail the almighty Gurus!

Thanks for taking my question (submitting early due to a lunchtime conflict with the chat).

Any good ideas for something fun to do tonight in the city? The weather looks a bit iffy, but outside suggestions are still welcome. Any new restaurants to try? Random events going on?

Any and all help is appreciated! Thanks!

Anne: You have one sure-fire celebrity sighting tonight: Television comedy writer Kristin Gore (also the daughter of the former vice president) will be downtown at Olssons reading from her chick-lit book about a Hill staffer. Afterwards, you could head for snacks in the lounge at IndeBleu . Thursdays are great nights for culture outings -- the Corcoran and Phillips are open later than usual, too.

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Washington, DC: I'm going on a first date this weekend and we were looking to grab some drinks or dinner outside if the weather's nice. We're both pretty new to the city and would like some suggestions besides Georgetown waterfront. Thanks for your help.

Janet: I've been to 701 Pennsylvania Avenue in the winter, but I liked the setting and the food, and can imagine it would be a classy place for a first date.

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Gallery Place, Washington, D.C.: Do you know when the Clyde's in Gallery Place will be opening? Also, will they be offering the same great food happy hour special as the Georgetown location?

Thanks--

Fritz: I heard next year, and I'd assume they'll have similar specials. (Mmmm... half-price burgers)

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Sentinel Sighting: Oh no! That was EVA LONGORIA I saw outside Four Seasons? I thought it was a look-alike!!

She needs some new shoes, man.

Erin: Now, now. Be nice.

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Curleyheaded Girl: Definitely Adil at Andre Chreky. He's awesome, quick, smart and will give you the best haircut you've ever had. And just cause Chreky is fancy it doesn't mean it's out of this world expensive (wash and cut $60, add a blow dry and it's $70ish).

Tip- ask for Carla to wash- she's AMAZING!

Janet: For the curly-headed girl, here's a suggestion.

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Re: Cooking Classes: A cheaper option for cooking classes is the Lebanese Taverna market in Arlington. I think they do classes every Tuesday night. Plus, nothing beats Lebanese cuisine.

Erin: Oh, absolutely!! I wonder if they give you unlimited garlic paste? That's my favorite date-repellent.

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Long Island - Wedding Hair Help!: Hey Gurus -- Just left D.C. a few months ago but still LOVE the chats! Am going to be a bridesmaid in a D.C. wedding in October -- any recommendations of a place where a bridal party of 6 (including the bride) can go early on a Saturday morning to get their hair done? Or do you know any salons that would send someone to the house? Any and all help is GREATLY appreciated!

Janet: I know Salon Jean Paul has some stylists who have done bridal parties. Give them a call.

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5 O'Clock Shadow: Hi! I'm trying to find a creative suggestion for a guy friend and I was wondering if you could tell me where a guy can go to get an old-fashioned shave from a barber?

Erin: Word on the street is that the Grooming Lounge will treat you right.

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Washington, D.C....: Do you know of a great tailor I can trust with a formal dress? I need a lining sewn in it and some work done with a ribbon -- cost isn't really an issue -- I'd rather pay more for really good work. Decent turnaround time would be a plus. thanks!

Janet: If price really isn't an issue, the folks at Parkway Custom Drycleaning have excellent tailors who specialize in repairs on formal gowns.

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Springfield, VA: Please Help!

My friends and I want to go dancing on Saturday night, and last time we went to Habana Village and took salsa lessons before the real night of dancing began. We'd like to do the same this time, but preferably somewhere closer. I've heard of Cafe Salsa in Old Town Alexandria, but I really don't know anything about it. Are there any other places that give lessons on Saturday night followed by dancing?? Thanks so much for your help!!!!

Fritz: Cafe Salsa is great -- mojitos, South American beers, tasty food -- and the dancing is free. Problem is, when I last wrote about it, you had to pay for lessons.

Cecelia's, on Columbia Pike in Arlington, is a very cool place to go. The crowd is almost entirely Latino, the bands and DJs are top-notch, and I've found myself spending more time watching the dancers than actually dancing. If you go on a Friday, you get beginner classes from 7:30 to 8:15, intermediate from 8:30 to 9:15, and another lesson (cha-cha, mambo, etc.) from 9:30 to 10:15. It's $10, and includes dancing the rest of the night away to DJs and La Orquesta La Romana, my favorite local salsa orchestra.

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Bacon: From the David Greggory restau-loungey whatever's site:

Aphrodisiac Bacon Dinners

Chef Hill is hosting a series of bacon dinners with co-host The Grateful Palate's "Bacon of the Month Club." The dinners are held on the third Monday of each month beginning at 7 pm.

Enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres, four wine paired courses and a take-home pound of Artisinal Bacon! The cost is $75 per person plus tax and gratuity.

Reservations & Deposit Required

202-872-8700

Erin: Thanks, Bacon!

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Rockville, Md.: Going dancing in Baltimore on a Saturday night next month for my birthday. Wanted to have dinner in Montgomery County or surrounding area first. Might just be a few people, but could be a few more. Any suggestions for restaurant that will be accommodating. Thanks.

PS My husband, son and I liked The Fantastic Four.

Anne: Sounds like you need a restaurant where it's easy to hop on the road, so I'm thinking Clyde's Tower Oaks Lodge or 94th Aero Squadron . At the latter, you can stick around and dance there if you like. Can't promise any "Fantastic Four" tie-ins, though.

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Silver Spring, Md.: For Joe or whoever can answer: How is Thievery Corporation able to sell out three nights at the 9:30? Are they really that popular? Or is it just because they're local?

Thanks. A loyal reader.

David: Well, we regret to inform you that Joe has traded in his GOG badge for, um, whatever they give you at the Sunday Source. We will miss him, as will all of you, I'm sure. As for Thievery Corporation, I'd say it's a combination of popular/local, but also their live performances are pretty rare. I think these are the only U.S. shows they are doing now. And back to their popularity, they really are pretty huge, especially internationally. And their shows are certainly "hip" places to be seen, which could play into it as well.

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Washington, D.C.: Are there any good places to get a crab feast in D.C.? And how much do they cost? I heard Adams Mill has one on Sundays.

Rhome: Quarter Deck ! Well, it's not exactly D.C. The Dancing Crab is technically an option but was just universally panned in a quick poll of this group. Phillips? Chatters?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs - I am looking for a fun bar scene tonight after the Kristin Gore reading at the Penn Quarter Olsson's - any thoughts for fun places down in that general area?

Fritz: The best bar scene in Penn Quarter on a Thursday is Fado, for Scythian. You'll get an evening of high-energy Irish folk and rock, with a lively crowd that dances, sings and plays along.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey guys,

Why the love for Wonderland? I thought the jukebox was fine, but the area is so shady. I can't see any reason to hang out there. Just my opinion but that neighborhood is a war zone. Ughhh!

Fritz: You don't live in Columbia Heights, do you?

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Washington, D.C.: Sorry, I submitted too late last week...

I am the father, who was looking for a way for his daughter to spend some time with her favorite animal, a hippo. In any case, two weeks ago we were able to finally get her that chance at the zoo thanks to a zoo connection and a fee. She had a wonderful and safe time, swimming around with the animal until it started to become a little irritated and aggressive. Needless to say, we pulled her out of the water after the bumping started.

It was definitely worth the drive to the zoo and the money to see the look of joy on her face. I really don't know why hippos get such a bad rep.

Rhome: You need to be getting some of that America's Funniest Home Videos money instead of chatting it up here with us.

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St. Michaels: Hey GOGs,

Is St Michaels, Md. a good place for a day trip? We were thinking of going there this Sunday. We don't own a boat nor know how to sail. Is there other stuff to do there?

Thanks.

Janet: Depending on how long it takes you to get there, it can be a good place for a day trip. Keep in mind that it's about a three-hour drive and can be more, depending on traffic. So, if you set out early enough, it could work. As far as stuff to do, the main activity is walking around town, browsing shop windows and eating at the restaurants, many of which specialize in crabs. There is a small maritime museum that is interesting and some weekends there are crafts fairs and such.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you know if there is a Web site for those new Circulator buses? I am curious to the exact routes they take. I see them on 7th St SW all the time.

Anne: You can find the Circulator Web site here. There are interactive maps on the Circulator site, so it's easy to see what the route is.

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Washington, D.C.: Regarding cooking classes: if you're going for a more casual and relaxed atmosphere, you should look into Just Simply Cuisine, run by a woman who teaches private or group cooking classes in her beautiful home on Cathedral Ave in NW. She'll come up with a really good menu or you can choose what you want her to teach you-- she's lots of fun.

Erin: Yes, I should have mentioned this before. Here is last year's list of cooking classes (available on the Food/Dining front). This year's list will be published later this summer.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm looking for good places for guys' clothes. My tastes run fairly "urban outfitters" (maybe a little more upscale) but I don't like shopping there because I don't like wearing the same thing as everyone else. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Janet: A couple of suggestions: There's District Line if you're an Anglophile and The Denim Bar if you like jeans and Fred Perry.

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Washington, D.C.: What's a great place/idea for a second date? The first one went really well and I'd like to keep it going -- without breaking the bank. Thanks.

Erin: How about Meskerem Ethiopian in Adams Morgan, Cafe La Ruche in Georgetown or Heritage India in Dupont? Rosa Mexicano is also fun across from the MCI Center.

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NW Washington, D.C.: Gurus, I'm looking for any place that is fun for both gay and straight people. I have a gay friend visiting and it would be cool if we could hang out some where the vibe is good for both of us.

Fritz: It really depends on what you like. Gay and straight people can be found catching rock shows at the Black Cat, dancing at Red, sipping cocktails on the patio at Gazuza or lounging at Halo.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I love you guys!! My parents are coming in next weekend and they don't feel like they've had a vacation unless they do something on or near the water. I was thinking maybe dinner one night near the water - do you have any restaurant recommendations? The one caveat is that I'm a vegetarian, so a place that is veggie friendly is a plus. Thanks!

Janet: There's Potowmack Landing , which is a lovely setting, and I think you'd be able to find some vegetarian items.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi,

Where can a nice late-twenty-something girl meet a nice guy this weekend?

Fritz: Did you know that Forbes just ranked D.C. and Baltimore the #5 market for singles in the U.S.? I should think that bodes well for going out to a place you like and participating in an activity you enjoy, then going up to someone and making small talk.

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Fairfax, Va.: Is it possible to actually play pool at Continental on a Saturday night? Or is it taken over like CarPool?

Fritz: It can be, but because it's in Rosslyn, there's not the built-in crowd, you know? I'd give it a shot.

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Arlington, Va.: Why on earth do the Imax theaters at the Natural History and Air & Space museums have the same movies that they've been showing for what seems like years. Why can't just one of them show "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" -- even for a limited engagement, as they say? I would love to take my kids to see another Imax movie at either place, but we've seen everything they've been showing -- sometimes TWICE. And if the museums want to use the IMAX screens purely for documentaries, great. But let's get some news ones. And soon. The T-Rex film is lame, and "In the Deep" is tired. Any idea why we can't get a better mix of Imax movies?

David: Our movie guru, Jen, isn't here today, so I guess I'll take a stab at this one. It is frustrating to us locals that those same movies have been playing for so long. Seriously, I think I saw "To Fly" there almost 20 years ago. But since the museum plays mostly to tourists that are probably looking for that "classic" Air & Space/IMAX experience, they can keep those same movies and not suffer. Or at least that's my take.

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Agent Jack Bauer: Saw Keifer Sutherland at Burberry yesterday getting fitted for a suit... what's he in town for?

Erin: Same film -- The Sentinel.

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Penn Quarter, Washington, D.C.: GOGs- I'm in search of an after work pedicure in the downtown area to celebrate the weekend (no work tomorrow!)- thoughts?

Janet: One of our colleagues just went to Andre Chreky and got an express (35 minutes) pedicure for $35. It did the job.

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Bethesda Haircut: There is a great barbershop on Old Georgetown Road by the Metro. The barber shop is a few doors down from Chipotle. I am not sure of the name. A haircut is $15. Ask for Brian.

Janet: Wow. Sounds like a good deal for the 29-year-old ISO of a good haircut.

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N.Y.C.: Just a suggestion for the mens clothes seeker- He should go to Pop on U St. upstairs from Go Mamma Go or Home Rule

Janet: Another suggestion for men's clothing...

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Silver Spring, Md.: Could you GoGs ask the general public out there if anyone knows where Garrett went when he left Fiddleheads? I just tried calling and the owner, predictably, acted like Garrett had apparated.

Janet: Anyone out there can solve the mystery of where, oh where has Garrett, formerly of Fiddleheads, has gone?

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Washington, D.C.: Is tonight another ipod jukebox night at St. Ex? And, any thoughts on Bar Pillar?

Fritz: Yeah, but it's only a happy hour (6 to 9 or 9:30) and not the full-on event. There's info at ipodjukebox.com. As for Pilar -- I'm having second thoughts about the layout there. Most weekends when I've been by, it's so packed that you can't fit anyone else in the narrow aisle between the bar and the tables. I wish they'd limit capacity the way they do at Saint-Ex. But I like the beers and the tater tots, the tacos are very good, and the decor is damn cool. It looks like it's been there forever.

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Centreville, Va.: Besides 1223 happy hour Wednesdays (in DC) where else am I likely to meet some fellow young professional African Americans after work?

Rhome: This area has to have the highest per capita concentration of young black professionals in the country. Maybe I should go crunch some Census data.

H20, Zebra Lounge on Tuesdays, Republic Gardens on Fridays, Juste Lounge... this list could stretch out interminably.

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Dupont, Washington, D.C.: Meeting a friend for brunch in Bethesda on Saturday, and, as D.C.-denizens, we're not sure where to go. Don't need a bacon-laden hangover cure, just a spot with tasty food. Folks have suggested Austin Grill and Rio Grande - any other GOG faves out that way?

Erin: How about Thyme Square ?

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Arlington, Va.: Some of my friends are plotting to go out in the Dupont Circle area this weekend. Since I had a hellish Adams Morgan experience last week, I'd like some recommendations. We're mixed gender, combo of straight and gay (straight women, gay men), mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Although some of the group like to believe that they're up for a big ol' club experience (though I'm always up for making fun of the eurotrash/hipster crowd), I'd like someplace saner to fall back on. Someone mentioned a club hop on 14th street? What would some of these places be? Thanks! You guys always steer me right.

Fritz: If I were doing a mixed dupont/logan club hop around 14th, I'd have Halo, the lounge at Merkado, Titan Bar and Helix. Not much clubbing there, but some pretty sceney atmospheres. For clubbing, I'd head to Cobalt.

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U Street, Washington, D.C.: Please help me wonderful GOGs! Where can I get sterling silver jewelry cleaned?

Janet: Before taking your stuff to a neighborhood jeweler, you could try silver polish!

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Washington D.C.: Do you all have any suggestion for consignment clothes shopping in the city? I'm looking for decent clothes, preferably a little unique.

Janet: There's Secondi , which gets good reviews from our readers.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Rockville has a great Barber off Washington Blvd. called the Yankee Clipper. He is great and cost under $15.

Janet: more answers to the haircut dilemma ...

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Fairfax, Va.: Gurus,

Is there a place where you can take free beginning Swing Dancing lessons in the D.C./Northern Va. area?

I've written e-mails to a few websites that are D.C. dance based, and have been mostly met with snotty replies about it being free. I know there are free lessons out there, any ideas on where I can go?

David: Glen Echo has pretty regular swing dance events and offers beginner lessons beforehand. In fact, they are having one tomorrow night, the dance starts at 9, but there's a free lesson at 8. Even if that's only one lesson, I'm sure you'll be able to find some folks there that could politely help you out. DanceDC (www.dancedc.com) might have some good links to check out.

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Petworth: Ah yes, someone who says they are in DC in their header, and then slams those of us east of the park as a "war zone." Let's guess where that person lives. Dudes, I thought when my house value passed a half-mil I wouldn't have to listen to that any more!

OK, I have to say, Wonderland bored me. But hey, if it's your scene, I don't see why anyone should be afraid to go there. Yeah, don't wander the streets drunk and alone after closing time. Then again, don't do that anywhere.

Seriously, people, don't the earlier person discourage you. It's a fine neihgborhood, and those of us who live around there aren't scary (Unless you wake us by being noisy when you wander the neighborhood drunk and alone after closing time!)

Fritz: Petworth, I'm curious -- what night were you there? Between the baby happy hour, the live bands, and the hot-hot DJ scene (Rhome and I recommend a number of regular acts there, including Funk DC tomorrow), I thought the place had something for everyone. It's kinda hipsterish, to be sure, but an island of cool in Columbia Heights.

I do agree, however, with a number of my female friends who won't walk to or from there alone from the Metro. That's a long walk down a badly lit street past an unsavory school parking lot.

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Washington, D.C.: Question about Cafe Citron. It's such a tiny corridor (there's no space between the tables and the bar) that it's impossible to have a good time there, it's extremely packed.

Am I alone who thinks it's not worth going there, most of the time?

Fritz: One word for you: downstairs.

Or go to the Monday flamenco show.

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Re St.-Ex: Actually, after the iPod event, you've got Deep Crate Collective spinning at the monthly Modernist Society night - DJs Neville Chamberlain and D-Mac plus DJ Eurok. Better than iPods, no question.

Fritz: Yes, that Neville C. is quite the man, and adding Eurok makes this event a must-do. But then again, I bet the amateurs have just as much fun as the pros, if not more.

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Arlington, VA: Hi Gurus, a couple of questions. What's the scoop with the new Mexican Restaurant at the Waterfront in Georgetown?

Second, We're going up to Dewey beach next month and have been told that we'll be there something called "Bar Golf", any idea what that is?

Erin: First, here is our listing and Eve's lukewarm review of Cabanas . Pretty views and expensive, bland food.

For Dewey bar golf, fun fun! For a set fee ($25 or so...) you get nine "holes" of bar golfing. You go to different bars throughout and, if I understand it, you have one drink for par, two for birdie, etc.

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Fairfax, Va.: My husband are celebrating our 5th anniversary next Friday, Aug. 5th. We want to take the day off to spend time together while our 16month twin boys are at daycare. Can you recommend some 'date' things for us to do as we don't get many chances to go out together without the kids? We live in Fairfax and would not like to venture further than Arlington. Thank you!

Anne: Are you only free during the day? You could splurge on a swanky lunch at a place like Colvin Run Tavern and fit in time for pampering, too.

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Fairfax, Va.: Dearest GOGs,

My friends want to karaoke tomorrow night. Where are there places with personal karaoke rooms? I've heard there are a couple in Annandale, can you help me out??

Thanks!

Fritz: Cafe Muse in Annandale is the best I've been to. Reasonably priced, and Heineken cans delivered to your room.

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Re: Brunch in Bethesda: I absolutely love the brunch at Louisiana Express in Bethesda.

Erin: Oh, that sounds good.

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Thievery Corporation: Very excited for the run of Thievery Corporation shows that kicks off tonight at the 9:30 club. Being new to DC, but not to TC, I'm pumped.

So my question is what to expect from both the duo, due to this being their hometown, and are there any rumours of an after party following the show?

Finally any ideas of where to get a bite and a drink before the show?

Thanks!

Fritz: I asked a DJ friend about this and she hadn't heard of any from the ESL folks. I'd hit Local 16 or the Saloon before the show; I bet the besuited loungey crowd will be at the former.

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Bethesda, Md: Where would you recommend two ladies in their late 20s go on a Friday evening to catch up on each others lives over some drinks, cheaper bar-type food, and smokes? It would have to be in Cleveland Park or Woodley PArk..metro accessible. Thanks for your help

Fritz: Murphy's, a little Irish bar in Woodley, or Atomic Billiards in Cleveland Park. If you got there early, I'd say Aroma -- order some carry-out spring rolls or something from Nam Viet next door.

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Arlington, Va.: Can you give me some information on the picnic taking place in RFK's parking lot on Saturday? A friend of mine is in a band playing there and I'd like to go but would also like to know what to expect. Is there admission etc? Sorry I can't give more details. Thanks.

David: That's the Stone Soul Picnic . It won't be like your usual picnic, unless you usually picnic with thousands and thousands of other people while enjoying music from Toni Braxton, Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, etc. It's outside RFK Stadium, and it's free.

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Outdoor: I love the roof at Strait of Malaya. (18th and Tish) It's very atmospheric. And oh yes - the food is good and medium priced and the service is excllent.

Erin: Yes, I also love it there. Drinks are great -- it's an oasis from the packed Plaza across the street.

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Thievery, D.C.: Hey Guys -- On the Post website, it says that the Thievery is at 7:30 p.m. Does this mean that they will actually go on that early, or is the 7:30 simply a "doors open" time? I assume that nobody is opening for them . . .

Thanks so much! Hurrah to the cooler weather!

Fritz: Doors are at 7:30. Thievery's on at 9.

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Outdoors Groups: I heard there's an organization that does weekly hiking trips on the weekends. Anyone heard of this? Or what are the other good options for hiking/outdoorsy groups?

Anne: There are lots to choose. This weekend, take your pick of hikes with Capital Hiking Club , Center Hiking Club , Northern Virginia Hiking Club or Wanderbirds .

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Alexandria, Va.: Hello gurus! We're planning a bachelorette party, with a distinct cityslicker touch to it. nothing raunchy or too risque. we were looking for good, reasonably priced restaurants for about 10 women in their mid-20s within the district. could you also suggest some moderately upscale bars that we could hit up? we don't need anything crazy, just something with a good vibe. thanks!!

Rhome: Go to Poste , look really cute and be fabulous. Eat at Ginger Reef first.

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NW, Washington, D.C.: To the parent who paid to have his daughter swim with a hippo: You should be arrested and handled no differently than the woman who threw her child out of the car on the Beltway.

Erin: It's certainly more memorable than a swim with the dolphins in Hawaii, right?

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Arlington, Va.: This is the first time that I have ever posted something, but I thought I would give it a go. I moved to Arlington about two months ago and I am looking for some place good for dinner with my boyfriend. We are in our early twenties and just want a place that is simple and not too fancy. Thanks!

Fritz: You don't say where in Arlington, so here are some Metro-accessible suggestions:

Dehli Club is a simple, delicious Indian place next to the Clarendon Metro. I'd also suggest Singh Thai (Courthouse) or Carribean Breeze (Ballston).

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Silver Spring, Md.: Anyone opening up for Thievery Corporation tonight?

David: Nope. They should go on around 9.

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Chocolate City: Where can I get good interesting drinks -[like at Indebleu] for reasonable prices? Is there any happy medium between same old drinks you can make at home and paying $13 a pop?

Fritz: Yes. My big secret (well, not really) is to go to Ceiba. Some of the BEST island-influenced cocktails in town, including a fantastic Dark and Stormy, and only $7 each. Seriously. Blue Gin is another good option, as nothing on that inventive menu goes above $10.

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Petworth, Washington, D.C.: Thanks for the thoughts Fritz. I've been to Wonderland at happy hour - I forget what day of the week it was, some random midweek day - and a few times on weekends.

Part of it may be that it IS just a bit to hipster. I find myself laughing at the snippets of overheard conversation about people who have lived in Columbia Heights for almost 3 months now and how pioneering they are, and getting irked at conversations with people that invariably begin "Wow, you've been here how long? You must have seen a lot of change. Bet you feel a lot safer now!"

Yeah, I wouldn't walk to the metro alone from there either, and I wouldn't let my husband or friends do so. But 2 or more of us - no hesitation. (I wouldn't walk alone late at night in a lot of places though. It's just setting up the potential for trouble.)

Also, the 60 bus stops right in front of the door there and goes north to Fort Totten and south to metro center. I'd hop on that and ride alone without worrying.

Fritz: Thanks, Petworth. Good tips.

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Tysons Corner, Va.: So GOGs in your professional opinion what is the best newish club (say past year)in the area? I went to Chloe in Adams Morgan last Saturday, for dinner to avoid the crowds....And I must say I love the feel of the place, the spiral staircase with the waterfall behind it was my favorite. I have yet to try any of the other newish clubs such as Avenue or even Blue Gin (my crowd has under 25ers in it). Side note- after Chloe we went to Mantis based on your recomendations, cool place. The 1st floor was fairly ordinary but the basement was fly. Thanks!

Fritz: Thanks, Tysons. For lounges, I like Blue Gin and IndeBleu. I think Chloe does a pretty good job for what it is, and both Rhome and I wish Avenue would live up to its undoubted potential. Oh, and Afterlight. I can't front on a rooftop with a pool and DJs.

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washingtonpost.com: We're spent. All this chatting has us ready to take on the town. See you next week when we'll be discussing other exotic swimming ideas for the hippo child's next birthday.

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