Transcript

Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Entertainment Guide
Thursday, October 6, 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 or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions .

The transcript follows.

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washingtonpost.com: Hello all. This is Erin and I'll be your host on this balmy afternoon. We have with us today a lively group of Jen, Fritz, David, Julia and Rhome who are all itching to get underway. Anne and Janet will be dropping in a little later on in the program. And here we go.

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Washington, D.C.: Hola GOGs--love your online chats! I have some family coming to visit this weekend and I have been trying to think of a good place for our group (consisting of 20-something, 2 40-something women, and 2 pre-teen girls) to have dinner on Friday night. My family will be staying in the Penn Quarter/Gallery Place area, so it would be ideal to find a spot in that locale, but we are also open to other neighborhoods in the city. Cab/Metro accessibility is a must. Thanks!

Erin: Hi there. In that vicinity, Jaleo is great fun for a group with tapas to share and Ginger Cove/Ginger Reef would be fun. They take reservations through 6:30 p.m. Matchbox is also good.

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Arlington, Va.: I am submitting early in hopes of getting my question answered.

Does 1223 (or MCNXIQYUINAHW)still have their $15 premium open bar happy hour on Fridays? I have been unable to get through to them on the phone. A bunch of us are trying to meet there tomorrow, but don't want to trek through the rain if they don't do it anymore!. Do you know of any other bars with similar happy hours? Thanks!

Fritz: Yes, but it's $20 now. I'd rather go to the open bar at Tapatinis for that price. One caveat: While crowded, it's not as much of a scene as MCCXXIII -- if that matters to you. Personally, I've never really enjoyed 1223's, because it gets so crowded that you can't move and it can be tough to actually get a drink without a wait. Who wants to celebrate Frustration Hour?

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Alexandria, Va.: I would like to take a family member for the best barbeque in town. We are from New Orleans and would like to celebrate a birthday. Can you recommend a restaurant.

Erin: Hi Alexandria. Do you want this BBQ to be in a celebratory setting? If you're just looking for good food, I Capital Q in Chinatown and Urban BBQ in Rockville.

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Washington, D.C.: What's the cost of this weekend's Taste of Georgetown event?

Julia: It doesn't cost anything to get in (according to the festival's Web site ). Each tasting costs $4 and wine tastings are free when you purchase food.

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Alexandria, Va.: A friend of mine is coming into town and will be staying near Dupont Circle. Can you recommend anywhere around there for sushi?

Erin: Absolutely. I love Sakana.

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Bloomingdale's downtown??: Oh Shopping Guru I hear that Hechts is going to become Bloomingdales (I thought it was going to be a Macy's) Is there any truth to this?? That would be great to add Bloomingdales to the shopping in downtown DC!

Thanks for all your good advice!

Rhome: Something like that. WWJD? Janet that is.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: I am looking for a fun Halloween thing in Montgomery county for teenagers. preferably a haunted house or hay ride. Most seem to focus on the younger kids. Thoughts?

Jen: Take the teens to Markoff's Haunted Forest in Darnestown. It's a little expensive (on most weekend nights, it costs $20 a pop) but the money goes to Camp Calleva, an outdoor summer camp for kids. And the haunted forest is really, really scary. It's literally in the pitch-black woods; just driving to the place is a little scary. I did a walk-through during the day once, when they weren't even fully set-up, and I was honestly a little freaked out. If I went at night, I'm fairly certain I'd start crying like the chick from "Blair Witch." There's also a fortune-teller, a bonfire and other stuff happening, so there's stuff to do after you're finished with the haunted forest part. The festivities kick off this Saturday and continue on weekends and select weeknights through Halloween. Hope that helps.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus:

Help a single guy out-- where do the Canadian women hang out? I find them attractive, friendly and cool.

Thanks

Rhome: Canuck alert! Who can answer the call?

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Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.: This is probably more of a Tom Sietsema question, and it's not DC, but was hoping that you and/or chatters are familiar with Philadelphia and could recommend a good restaurant in Center City (but moderately-priced - entrees under $15 or $20) for an anniversary dinner. My husband and I are going to Philly next weekend; it's also our 2nd anniversary, and we'd like to go out to a nicer dinner than usual to celebrate. Thanks!

Erin: Ceviche at S. Starr's Pasion is amazing, LaCroix is nice, Vetri's the favorite for classic Philly dining. I've yet to try Friday Saturday Sunday, but hear good things. Marigold is the best BYO.

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Washington, D.C.: Help! Isn't there anyway to talk the Smithsonian back into staying open late in the eves? Yes, I know, IMAX and jazz on Fridays, but what if I want to actually see a museum? maybe Tuesdays for the History Museum, Wednesdays for the Natl Gallery of Art, etc., etc. this town has so many amazing things to offer that I never get a chance to see and seem reduced to pretty much clubbing on the weekends - Phillips on their Thursdays yes - but could you guys if not persuade the biggies to stay open later in the evenings like other major cities have, then perhaps make an effort to cover the few rare times that these things do occur? thanks!

Fritz: I feel your pain, Washington. The National Gallery stays open later on Sundays -- until 6 p.m.! Gee, thanks. Most museums are open from 10 to 5:30, which is when many of the people who live in D.C., would visit the museums repeatedly and possibly donate money are at work. I'm surprised the popularity of the Hirshhorn's Visual Music exhibit, for example, hasn't made the Smithsonian realize that people will visit after hours if given the opportunity. I think your idea is a good one, and I'd encourage you to call or write the Smithsonian let them know how you feel. It can't hurt.

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Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: Where can I buy new and used records. Not dance and hip hop stuff, Zeppelin and Stones LPS.

David: Joe's Record Paradise in Rockville is probably your best bet. Very easy to get lost in there, in a good way. Since you're in Georgetown, you'll probably want to check out Crooked Beat Records, too. And Smash! , also in Georgetown, actually has a pretty decent little collection of used vinyl. Anyone else have any favorites?

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Rockville, Md.: My husband and I are going to Richmond next weekend overnight for a much needed getaway (parents of a 3 month old!). Any suggestions of things to do or places to eat and drink? We want to be pretty relaxed and nothing too expensive. Thanks so much!

Jen: I suggest you go to Carytown. There are tons of fun shops in that area, so you can easily spend an afternoon just walking around. The Byrd Theatre -- a cool historic moviehouse -- is right around there, too. As far as eats, there's a decent Mexican place on W. Cary St. called Nacho Mama's. I've also eaten at Ipanema, a cozy and pretty tasty vegetarian place on W. Grace Street. Both are solid, not too expensive choices.

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Washington, D.C. seeking Hockey: Hi, do you know which bars will be showing hockey, specifically those with the NHL Center Ice package?

Visited Caddies and Jed's in Bethesda and neither has gotten that all encompassing package.

Thanks.

Fritz: Ventnor Sports in Adams Morgan has it, but I'd go to Bugsy's, the Old Town Sports Bar run by former Washington Capitals defender Bryan "Bugsy" Watson. Who else has Gretzky and Lemieux jerseys and sticks on the wall?

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Washington, D.C.: Do any of the "nicer" bars downtown (Poste, Zola, etc.) have happy hours??

Fritz: Not really. It sounds elitist to say, but the crowds who go to IndeBleu or Zola or Blue Gin don't need to be lured in by discounted drinks. The idea of marking down cocktails as a marketing stunt seems rather gauche to some people. The Kimpton hotels (Topaz, Rouge, Helix) all have some deals. Otherwise, Lounge 201's discounted martinis (Tuesdays) and Firefly's wine happy hour (daily) are as good as it gets.

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Spa Etiquette: I'm getting my first facial this weekend! It's gonna cost $95. How much do I tip?

I'm utterly clueless. Please help!

Erin: Don't panic. It's totally up to you how much you want to tip. I'd say 15% is standard, but it depends on how your experience goes. Plan to leave around $15.

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Washington, D.C.: The last round of World Cup Qualifying is Saturday, October 8 and the following Weds Oct 12. Most of the world structures social events around these matches, so where in DC can you get some genuine Football spirit..and please exclude Lucky Bar. Friends and I are in our early 40s and we are quite aware of the Dinosaur factor. Still, there must be some alternatives to view these and other World cup matches in the District. Help?

Fritz: In the District? Then your choices are more limited. I'd say Fado is the best, but really, you should just head a whole two Metro stops into Va. and go to Summers, as its crowd is older and more diverse than Lucky's.

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Washington, D.C.: Is there anywhere in DC like the Scratch Academy in NYC where you can learn to DJ?

Rhome: Nope. Metatrack once provided such services but they're long since closed. You could inquire at the Hut or Cap City or you can poke around on messageboards and make new friends that could provided some tutelage. A lot of people start out on their own and are lucky if we have friends/associate/crew who can give out tips. These days there's so much info out there, way more than I when I started about 13 years ago. Books, DVD's, web sites... do you have any friends who could start you out?

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Washington, D.C.: Do you have any suggestion on how to find a DJ for my wedding next June? It's one of my "official groom responsibilities."

I know there are links from sites like theknot or weddingchannel, but do you have any other ideas?

Jen: The cardinal rule of wedding planning: Ask people you trust (friends, co-workers, relatives whose music taste doesn't suck) for recommendations. For a lot of people, music is a really crucial part of the wedding. You don't want to wind up with a cheesy DJ who plays La Bouche all night. (Unless, of course, that is what you want. In which case, sweet dreams of rhythm and dancing to you.) Think back on weddings where the music was similar to what you and your bride would want, then ask the planners of those weddings for references and take it from there. One other piece of advice: If you want the DJ to stick to a pretty specific playlist, make that clear when you meet with him or her. And bring the playlist with you. If the DJ doesn't have 80 percent of what's on your list, that may be a sign that he/she isn't the right choice. Good luck.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus-- can you tell me the best Ocktoberfest for a bunch of twenty-somethings to hit this weekend---we want the driving distance to be less than an hour.

Fritz: There's really not that much going on this weekend. Cap City's Oktoberfest in Shirlington is great: 30 breweries bringing a couple beers each and you get all you can drink for $20. Streets are closed for the afternoon, and there's German dancing and food, too.

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Ashburn, Va.: New to the area - what does one do on a date way out here w/o having to drive all the way into the city?!

Julia: Tarara Winery might be a good spot for a date, even if you're not into wine. They offer free tours of the vineyards and the 475-acre farm also has hiking trails and apple orchards.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus -- My parents are coming into town tonight and I'm struggling to think of a restaurant to take them to... They've been here lots of times so they have their favorites, which we're hitting over the weekend. For tonight, I'm looking for something that's unique to DC, with good seafood (but w/ other choices as I'm allergic to shellfish) and that's middle of the road price-wise. Any ideas? Thanks!!

Erin: How about Pesce and Johnny's Half Shell (which does offer things not in the shell) in Dupont Circle or Georgetown's Sea Catch ?

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Washington, D.C: Have you heard of a place called Halo, I think it's in Logan Circle? I hear they have just opened or expanded.

Fritz: Halo opened last year, but recently expanded to two stories, taking over the old Empire Video. (you can read my blog post about it here . It's one of my favorite bars on the Logan side of Dupont, up there with Larry's Lounge and the Townhouse.

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Washington, D.C.: Saw David Gray at DAR Constitution Hall on Monday -- great show!! But it's my third time at Con. Hall and it is HOT there! I've never sat in the floor, always in the tier, and each time I've been sweating, even when I wear summer clothes. Everyone around me was fanning themselves. Is this a known problem with DAR - everyone just suffers for a good show?

David: Yes, it's a known problem with DAR. The last time I was there was to see The Pixies last December, and it was like a sauna. Between that and the, um, inconsistent acoustics in there, it really hammers home D.C.'s need for a good mid-sized venue, something in between the 9:30 Club and the Patriot Center. Constitution Hall just wasn't built for rock concerts. But this isn't a new revelation...

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GoG's!

So a friend (erm, boy I'm kinda seeing?) just moved to NE DC (14th and Constitution). I haven't really heard great things about the neighborhood (other than that it's "up-and-coming") and so I have a couple questions: 1. Should I be worried about parking my car over there? It's not a super nice car but it's not a rusted out klunker either, and leaving it there overnight makes me a bit nervous. 2. Is there anything to do over that way, close by? I know it's near RFK, but are there any restaurants/bars/shops/etc? Anything in walking distance?

Thanks for assuaging my fears, GoG's!

Rhome: There really aren't any worthwhile haps until you get yourself further north to H St. As for safety, you can get caught out all over town. Common sense reigns and sometimes chance factors in too.

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Columbia, Md.: I found a great place to meet Canadian women: Toronto. With a little looking, you're sure to find a bar filled with Canadian women there.

Rhome: Word to the T-dot. Good times...

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: I need a -fun- second date restaurant... like middle eastern sit on pillows style or sushi with private booths... do these things exist in DC ?

Erin: I vote for Tabaq with the retractable roof on U Street or Ethiopian food that you can share. Meskerem is fun in Adams Morgan, my favorite food is at Etete .

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Arlington, Va.: Some friends are going to Indebleu tonight around 7 for a birthday celebration. As one of 2 guys in the group, do I need to worry about a dress code? Can I wear jeans. What if I dress the jeans up with a blazer? Supposedly we will just be in the lounge. thanks in advance

Rhome: You should be good as long as you're "fresh and so clean" - @õtkast. No busted kicks! The blazer will work in your favor.

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Washington, D.C.: Firefighters. Policemen. DC's Finest. Where do they hang out when they're not, er, protecting the streets?

Erin: Stoneys ?

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Washington, D.C.: Anywhere else to go to watch the VA Tech games other than Baileys?

Fritz: Grevey's in Falls Church.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hey Gurus! Submitting early because of a meeting...anyway, do you know if dogs on leashes are allowed at the MD Brewers Oktoberfest? We'd love to walk our dog around there, he loves people and dropped-on-the-floor food. Thanks!

Julia: Good question, Alexandria. I called over to the promoters and they're all out of the office until the 10th! Anyone out there in chat-land know?

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Washington, D.C.: I'm new to the city, recently graduated, and don't really know anyone in town. Do you know of any good spots to meet people in the Mount Pleasant/Adams Morgan area? I'm thinking low-key, very chill places...nothing too in your face.

Fritz: Go to Tonic or the Raven at happy hour (not on weekend nights) and you won't be a stranger very long. In Adams Morgan, go early in the week and try Bedrock, Ventnor Sports Cafe, the Reef or Tryst.

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Records: crooked beat is in Adams Morgan, not Georgetown. also Orpheus records in clarendon has an awesome selection.

David: Yes, sorry, I'm an idiot, Crooked Beat is obviously in Adams Morgan. And Orpheus is another place that's easy to get lost in, like Joe's. Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: Well, I've missed the fall workshops at the Writers Center and just about everywhere else it seems. Do you know of any school systems, community groups, etc. that offer writers groups or workshops on a non quarterly basis? And bonus if they don't cost an arm and a leg. Thanks!

Jen: Most of the workshops -- at the Writer's Center or offered as adult ed classes -- operate on a quarterly basis. (If someone knows of an exception, by all means, speak.) If you're just looking for a writer's group, though, you can join most of those at any time. Washington Independent Writers lists information about groups, and I'm pretty sure The Writer's Center does as well. Even your local library might be a good resource for this. Maybe you could participate in a group until the winter sessions at The Writer's Center get underway.

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Washington, D.C.: As someone who wears and E-Cup bra I'm tired of white black and beige - where can a very well endowed girl find a lingerie store that offers some fun colors, with a real (and attractive) selection?

Erin: Sylene's in Chevy Chase should be able to hook you up ... Nordstrom is also reliable for lingerie.

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Washington, D.C.: Are the museums going to open on Monday?

Fritz: Yes. All the Smithsonian Museums are open every day but Christmas. The Phillips is closed (as it is every Monday), but the Corcoran is open, although it's usually closed on Monday and Tuesday.

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D.C.'s Finest: The cops tend to congregate at Harry's across from ESPNZone, trust me...

Erin: Why should we?

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Anonymous: Geezz, I've been very bored with DC lately and have turned to your discussion to see if there is anything I am missing... But from the looks of this discussion and the last few questions about where to watch World Cup, HH at a nicer bar, places for Oktoberfest. This just confirms to me DC is a city meant for either early 20's college students or married couples from Virginia. Not much for anything in between.

Fritz: So what are you looking for? Be proactive. We're not mind-readers, but if you ask about wine tastings, art gallery openings, cooking classes, pub quiz nights or foreign film festivals, we'll be happy to help.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey Gurus,

Can you give me a good spot for dinner on Capitol Hill for a Saturday girls' night?

Julia: It got a couple of bad reader reviews on our site, but I loved Bistro Bis when I went. The atmosphere is really pleasant if you want to sit and chat over a good meal and nice drinks.

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Washington, D.C.: I wanted to go to the Mount Vernon wine festival this weekend but it looks like the weather will be bad. Is it worth it to still go if it's raining?

Erin: I would probably say no: I can't imagine that it will be much fun unless you enjoy sloshing through mud to get to your wine.

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Washington, D.C.: To the World Cup Guy -- Go to Union Jack's in Bethesda. Perfect place for eats, drinks and watching the World Cup! Great atmosphere.

Fritz: I dunno about perfect, and when I called last, they couldn't tell me what World Cup games they'll be showing, other than "English." You can also try Flanagan's -- both the old pub and the new Harp and Fiddle restaurant -- which will have games on big screens.

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Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus. Do you know anything about Candlelight Yoga at Jack's Boathouse? Specifically, is it still being held? It looks like their Web site hasn't been updated since July 2004. Thanks!

Janet: I don't know about it. Any yoga people out there who do?

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Bethesda, Md.: After taking a trip to Nashville, I'm dying to find some simple country line dancing bars/clubs in the area. Do you know of any around the district? Or at the very least, some decent country music bars? Thanks!

Erin: My information might be outdated now, but I think that Wildhorse Saloon is quite the place for line dancing. Anyone else?

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Blind dating for lesbians: Help! I need a good weekday place to get drinks in U Street/Adams Morgan/Dupont for me and another woman who are getting set up on an actual blind date. Cheap and divy, but fun; or loungy but not pretentious would be preferred. Thanks.

Fritz: Since it's a blind date, let's do this lottery style and Pick Four: The Saloon on U, Bar Pilar, the Townhouse Tavern, Larry's Lounge. All of them are fun and low-stress. The Saloon doesn't have loud music or TVs and would give you a chance to chat and get to know each other better.

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Washington, D.C. : Some folks were looking for Frankie from Bang the other week...he starts at Colorworks at Pentagon Row around Oct 5th!

Janet: For the folks looking for Frankie from Bang, here's the word. Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: Help! I am desperate to go bowling. A search of local phone books and persistent questioning among friends leads me to believe there is not a single bowling alley in the District of Columbia. Am I right? If so, do you know of any outside the District that are metro-accessible? I've been to Strike Bethesda, which was fun but expensive.

Julia: I've asked myself the same question. I don't think there is a bowling alley within District lines, or even walking distance from a Metro. Got Plans? readers, please prove me wrong. Strike's a little too hip to be as cheap as the suburban bowling alleys I grew up with, but they do have an all-you-can-bowl night on Mondays that includes shoe rental.

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Birchmere?: Hey, Gurus. It's been years since I've been to the Birchmere, and I was wondering how early the line to pick up tickets starts to form (assume a popular show). When do I need to get there to have a chance at a good table? Thanks!

David: Doors open at 6, but the box office opens at 5, and that's when they start handing out line numbers. So when doors actually open, people are let in based on the line number they received. If it's a popular show, get there early. If you show up around 6:30 of 7, you will undoubtedly be sitting in the way back.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GoG's! Quick question for you... some friends and I are participating in a flip cup tournament at The Exchange downtown on Saturday. We were hoping to stop in somewhere near by beforehand for a quick late lunch - some place cheap that won't care what we're wearing (we have uniforms). Is there food at The Exchange? Is it any good? Or is there someplace near by we should hit up?

Thanks so much - you guys are the best!

Rhome: The Exchange will serve you up some standard bar food. For midday grub 'round Farragut, you won't go wrong with Breadline .

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Arlington, Va.: My boyfriend has been having exercise related back problems. Do you know of anywhere he can get a good massage? Preferably by a woman and somewhere not too "girly"?

Janet: Serenity Day Spas offer massage for both men and women. So, the places are not that "girly."

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GoGs... you guys rule! Last night, I went to the Caps opener. What's the deal with all of the empty seats? Isn't there any spirit for teams in the District? Also, saw a few new places opened at the MCI Center-- Drinx and and Genza (or something like that). Anything worthwhile? Lastly, thought it would be a good idea to hit Judiciary Square metro to avoid Gallery Place crowds. FYI... it's not. Two NO PASSENGER trains went by to pick up the crowds. We had to wait 15 minutes.

Fritz: Part 1: I think there are people who are still ticked off at the NHL for the work stoppage that caused them to kill last season. It took baseball a while to recover from canceling the World Series. Part 2: Drinx isn't bad. It's sunny, with an open, modern style. The house cocktails are pretty good if you choose carefully. I wouldn't go out of my way to go there, but it's a nice option if you're in the neighborhood. Part 3: Sorry about your experience with Metro. It's kind of a no-win situation, even though they suggest you walk to Jud. Sq.

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RE: Country Bars: Nick's Nightclub on South Pickett Street in Alexandria has live country music and dancing as well as karaoke in the back room. They also offer line-dancing lessons (extra charge).

Erin: Oops! I totally misread the question. Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, my parents will be meeting my fiance's parents for the first time next week here. Talking will be key, but everyone loves to eat good food, too. The parents aren't into wine or any alcohol. I want to make sure it's quiet, the service is great, and that we won't feel rushed. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Anne: If quiet is the top priority, I suggest going with the safe. Corduroy seems like a secret because it can be so quiet inside. 15 ria is often surprisingly quiet, given its location, decent food and decent service, so the only guess I can hazard is because its decor is surprisingly dull.

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Friendship Heights, Washington, D.C.: Hi Guys, Hate to submit again but I am going to this event at the Mandarin Oriental this Saturday night. I was wondering what bars you recommend in that area to meet before and go out after. Love you chat. Thanks so much!

Erin: How about H2O ?

Fritz: L'Enfant Plaza is kind of a dead zone on weekends. Try the classy bar in the hotel (the Empress Lounge) for pricey but delicious mixed drinks and the best free bar snacks around. There's a pianist serenading you, too. If you want to go dancing, go to H2O. Otherwise ... not much. I'd grab a cab to Penn Quarter to go out.

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cooking class?: Hi, you mentioned cooking class in another answer. Can you suggest some in the Arlington/Alexandria area? Thanks!

Erin: Check out The Post's annual list of classes for one that appeals.

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Charlottesville and Springfield, Va.: The Georgetown Shops had great sales at the end of July on their summer clothing. Can we expect other great sales on Fall items to pop up any time soon? I love a good bargain, so any information on upcoming sale events would be appreciated.

Janet: I don't know if you're interested in just Georgetown, but there are sales going on right now at all the Banana Republics and Gaps in the area. It used to be that sales were held at specific times of the year, but that's not true anymore. There could possibly some sales this Monday for Columbus Day, but more reliably you can expect to see sales on fall clothing right after Christmas.

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Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions for a good, reasonably priced place to get an engagement ring re-sized? Thanks!

Janet: I would go back to the place you bought it!

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Greenbelt, Md.: Next Saturday, Oct. 15 in the evening my husband and I have made plans with a couple we're just getting to know as friends. We need something to do that isn't too awkward where we're just staring at each other, but not something like going to a movie where we can't get to know each other at all.

Any happy mediums (media?) for two young couples looking to avoid awkward silences, but still have fun? Preferably DC or MD area. Metro accessible a plus.

Thanks!

Jen: Don't know if this would interest you guys, but you could go to the Kennedy Center and check out some of the exhibits that are part of the Festival of China . That way you can look at the items on display during awkward silences and culturally enrich yourselves at the same time. Afterwards, you could grab a bite to eat at one of these nearby restaurants . Metro to Foggy Bottom and take the shuttle to the Kennedy Center from there if you're concerned about driving.

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Wolverine fan in the District: Howdy! Love these chats!

I'm wondering if anyone else has had troubles at Bailey's (Ballston) before during Saturday football-watching? A group of us went to watch the Michigan/MSU game on Saturday and the service/kitchen was a mess. At one point out waitress told us "the kitchen is done" b/c they were an hour and a half behind on orders and weren't taking any more (this was around 1pm). Don't you think management would make adjustments knowing that tons of people will descend on them for Saturday and Sunday games? We ended up ordering a pizza and having it delivered to the bar!

Fritz: Bailey's has gone so far downhill that it's almost disappeared off my radar screen. The real problem is the ratio of seating and capacity to the size of the kitchen (small) and number of bars (one). The planning is awful. I liked it when it opened, but I now generally avoid the place at all costs.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus. Urgent question here. My friend just moved to Chinatown, and I want to go over there and see her new 'hood. I am also in the market for some Chinese tchotchkes... satin slippers, PJs, chopsticks, rice bowls, etc. Is there a good spot over there to pick up items like this? Thanks!!

Janet: Yes, there is. Try Da Hsin . It's just the place for the kind of thing you're looking for.

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DJ Question: I moved to DC from NY before I could go to the Scratch Academy, checked craigslist and found nothing. Will try some of the shops. What are some of the message boards to look at?

Rhome: It depends on what style of dj'ing. Turntablists talk shop over at DJGeometrix.com You can build with dance music jocks at DistrictSoul.com

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Capitol Hill, DC: to the poster looking for a girls night out place on the Hill, Sonoma has great food and a wonderful selection of wines, they take reservations and it's a trendy place.

Fritz: I like Sonoma and it would fit the bill, but you NEED to make reservations. It gets so crowded that a group of girls (say, over three) would have trouble sitting/standing together. The upstairs lounge (with sofas and a fireplace) would be a great spot to gather.

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Washington, D.C.: Good Morning/Afternoon. You guys are great! I am going to be in the Doghouse very shortly for I am dragging my girlfriend to a wedding over her birthday weekend. (It's not that bad - it is the peak of the fall foliage) I already have reservations at a well known restaurant. Do you know what is going on in town on 10/22 that might be fun to go too? Plays, concerts, whatever?

Julia: Ambulance LTD is a pretty awesome live show, so I'd definitely recommend that. If theater is more your vibe, Kiki and Herb: The Resurrection Tour sounds hysterical to me.

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Washington, D.C.: Trying to find a place in Ballston for this evening to grab a good margarita, is Chevy's my only option?

thanks!

Fritz: Skip those blah drinks at Chevy's and head for the large bar at Caribbean Breeze.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs! Do you know anything about the Maryland Million horse race this weekend? Are tickets still available? Is it a total mob scene, or can you just show up and get a decent view of the action?

David: Did you see "Seabiscuit," with the thousands upon thousands of folks packed against the rail, shouting at the top of their lungs? Or even the Kentucky Derby or Preakness on TV, with huge crowds on the infield? Yeah, it won't be like that at all. There will be more people than are usually there on the typical Wednesday -- or even Saturday -- but still, not anything resembling a mob scene. You will be able to get a perfect view of the action, I promise. And thanks for reminding me of this, I think I may go myself and lose some money that I can't afford to lose.

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Alexandria, Va.: I have family visiting in a couple of weeks for a long weekend and I'm planning the itinerary. In particular, I could use some advice on breakfast/brunch locales for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday meal.

They'll be staying in Old Town and someplace in Old Town, Arlington/Clarendon or in the city with easy access to the Mall would be great. Other "nice-to-haves" would be a view and DC character, since they're coming from the West Coast and may not visit here again.

Thanks for the advice in advance. It's great to have this font of knowledge to help me out!

Erin: I very much like the brunch at Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray, but Georgia Brown's has a fun brunch in the city that's fairly close to the Mall. Misha's is great for coffee and a casual breakfast in Old Town, Majestic Cafe offers weekday lunch. Potomac Landing has a great view.

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McPherson Sq, Washington, D.C.: Okay, I have gone back through every discussion listed in the archive and done the "control F" function to find this because I know I've seen you answer it a thousand times. Alas, no luck. Where in NW DC (McPherson Sq/Metro Center/Farragut North would be ideal) can I get jeans hemmed with the original hem? I just got some from eBay I'd love to be able to wear this weekend so I'd love something close I could hit today. THANKS!!!!

Janet: Not sure of where you can get them hemmed in D.C., but if you can travel to Pentagon Row, The Denim Bar may be able to help you out. Or call Mauro Farinelli there and he can tell you someplace to go if he can't help you.

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Dupont Circle: This is the first Saturday that I'm in town in the last month or so. Any new places to check out for a fun night out with some friends? We are all in our late 20's and enjoy the Eye-bar, Indebleu scene....

Thanks

Fritz: You might want to check out the new second floor of Eyebar, which is being unveiled this weekend. Other than that, the only real "new" entry is K Street Lounge; get on the guest list (kstreetdc.com) and get there early or you'll be left standing outside. Also, bring a mixed group; the more women in your party, the better chance you'll have getting in.

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For the Lingerie shopper: I've had luck at Dor Ne's in Silver Spring. Good fittings, they had my (larger) size immediately available.

Erin: Quite helpful, thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: I want to go to Tyson's Corner one day this weekend for a full-on day of Fall shopping, but I'd like to pick the least-crowded day. Any bets?

Janet: Least crowded, eh? That's a tough one, especially because the weather this weekend is expected to be cool and rainy. If that's really the case, the hordes will be out in force all weekend, taking advantage of the not-so-hot weather to shop and see the new stuff at Tysons. If I were you, I'd get there as soon as the stores open on Sunday to have a prayer.

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Rockville, Md.: Since it's October and almost Halloween... are there any good pumpkin patches in the area? Somewhere with a good old fashioned hay-ride? Some place that would be fun for adults??? Thanks for your advice!

Julia: Anne recommended Markoff's Haunted Forest last week and that hay ride is good if you're in the mood for spooky. I'm pretty sure this is the place that freaked a friend of mine out so badly last year she kicked one of the actors. I still think Cox's is the best place to go for a hay ride, but check out tomorrow's Weekend section for a full run-down on the best pumpkin patches in the area.

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Arlington, VA: Fritz, since you've been avoiding Bailey's (and I agree it's gone downhill), where do you recommend going in the Arlington area to watch the games?

Fritz: Hmmm. Mister Days? I think the sports bar pickings are slim in Arlington these days. If you're not too picky about screen size, I like Kitty O'Shea's Irish Sports Bar better than its "ex-sister" bar Molly Malone's (they're no longer affiliated). It's a pretty basic pub with a TV in each corner. Nothing fancy, but they'll put your game on. And, of course, there's always Summers.

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GW Grad...: Now that the White House bowling alley is closed, there is but one set of lanes in DC:

The Hippodrome 5th Floor Marvin Center (800 21st St NW), GW University Student Union

though, if the person is a serious bowler, a warning: I don't know if they are better now, but they used to not oil the lanes as frequently as they should, which means if you are doing anything with spin things get weird.

Julia: From a super-serious bowler.

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Re: Metro Accessible Bowling...: ... can be had all the way up at Glenmont. Get off and walk a few blocks south to the shopping center at Georgia and Randolph in Wheaton. Bit of a hike, though.

Julia: Bowling in Glenmont. Thank you, chatters!

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Arlington, Va.: Hi! I just moved here 6 weeks ago, and my roommate and I are looking for a fun bar with cheap/free pool. We live at Courthouse, and I work downtown near Gallery Place/Chinatown. Thanks!

Fritz: From my Happy Hour Guide, which is available in the Bars and Clubs section: Playing pool at Dr. Dremo's Taphouse on a weekend night costs $12 an hour. Shooting a little nine-ball at Dr. Dremo's Taphouse at happy hour is free, and you get cheap beer to go along with it, including $1 beer on Tuesdays. Want to spice up your game with a friendly wager? At Madam's Organ, where the two pool tables are always free, two-for-one drinks are offered between 5 and 8. Loser buys! Women have even more luck. "Ladies Night" at Continental and Carpool in Herndon mean women can play free all night on Mondays and Wednesdays, respectively. Continental's happy hour -- which runs until 8 -- includes half-price quesadillas, wings and other appetizers in addition to discounted drinks. (Guys, you can get in on the specials.)

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Arlington, Va.: Do you have any day trip suggestions? I can't afford to stay in a hotel, but I would like to explore the area (I have only lived here for about a year). I've checked out Virginia vineyards and pick-your-own--insert fruit here] farms, and Baltimore. Looking for anything not metro area but not so far away that it can't be accomplished in one day. Tell me what I'm missing!

Anne: Have you checked out Annapolis ? Or the antiquing and galleries and mountains around Frederick? This weekend is the perfect time to visit the 1733 Quaker village of Waterford -- right in time for the house tour.

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Please tell me it is soon!: When is the new Barney's Coop opening in Friendship Heights??

Janet: Construction looks like it's going to finish up pretty soon. That said, the latest word I had was that it would open late October. That's not too far away. Have courage.

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Hiking?: Looking for a moderate to difficult hike no more than 1.5 hours from DC. Any ideas other than the Billy Goat Trail? Thanks!

Anne: There are lots of options for hiking in Catoctin Mountain Park , and I love heading up there in October because there's never the crowds that fill Skyline Drive. Ask a ranger to recommend a trail for you -- the trails will open and close depending on conditions and security issues, as Catoctin Mountain Park is the home of Camp David.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi gurus! I need a very cheap biker jacket for a Halloween costume. I tried eBay but shipping costs are a drag. Is there a list of Halloween-related stores somewhere, or do you have any other suggestions? I'm talking under $20...

Janet: Here's a list of stores in the area that sell costumes. Good luck!

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, I'm going to the U2 concert at the MCI center and I'm looking for a place pre-show for dinner and drinks with a group of 6. Any suggestions? Close to the MCI center and on the cheaper side would be great.

Erin: Lucky you. I'm headed up to New York to see them tomorrow night. To eat: Austin Grill , Ella's , Poste and Zaytinya . While you're in the area, you can also drop into Signatures and congratulate chef Morou on his win in the contest to choose a D.C. competitor for "Iron Chef America."

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MCI Center Hockey Attendance: I've been going to Caps/Flyers games at MCI center for the last 4 years or so (not including last year, of course). Attendance has always been terrible... tons and tons of empty seats, and way more Flyers fans than Caps fans. I just don't think DC is a big hockey town. My friends and I have noticed and commented on the problem many times, which is sort of shocking to me, since every game I've been to in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh has been completely sold out. It may be worse now, after a season off, but it is a perennial problem.

David: Every time an east coast rival is in town (Philly, Pittsburgh, New York, etc.) those fans outnumber Caps fans. Or at least they are vocal enough to make it seem that way. D.C.'s not a big hockey town (outside of Detroit and the Canadian cities, what is?), so that has a lot to do with it, but there are also lots of transplants here.

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I Got a Pack of Quarters: GoG's -

Are there any bars that do Pac-Man tournaments? I am in need of a SERIOUS challenger! Thanks.

Julia: Don't know of any Pac-Man tournaments, but the Wonderland has a table. Bring some friends and start a revolution.

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Washington, DC: Are you guys even trying? Why would someone who lives in Courthouse, and works downtown near Gallery Place/Chinatown go to Herndon to play pool??

Fritz: Because one of the places in that paragraph is in Courthouse and another is in Rosslyn?

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washingtonpost.com: That wraps it up. Thanks for the questions. Splash around in the rain, enjoy your holiday (if you get one) and have a great weekend.

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