Thursday, March 9, 2006; 1:00 PM
Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's City 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 City Guide or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions .
The transcript follows.
The Going Out Gurus: At a press conference this morning, the National Park Service's "glorified florist" Rob DeFeo announced what we were all waiting to hear: The cherry blossoms' peak bloom will be between March 27 and April 1. (You can read about it on our blog , with more updates to come this afternoon.
There's plenty of other things to be excited about this weekend: college hoops, ShamrockFest, the Idiotarod (all covered in the Nightlife Agenda), live dada music -- and the weather should be great.
A full complement of Going Out Gurus is ready to take your questions for the next hour or so: Anne, David, Erin, Janet, Jen, Julia and Rhome. I'm Fritz, and we're underway.
Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.: Dearest Rhome/Fritz,
Been a loyal chatter for years now, and I know I can count on you for this question! A friend of mine is coming into town for a week starting on March. 17th. I haven't been out in months, so I don't know where to begin in planning our -go out nights-. We both like hip-hop and my favorite places are Modern, 1223, FIVE, Chloe, K Street Lounge (just to name a few). What do you think is the best place to take her to show-off the hippest places that are happening RIGHT NOW (particularly Fri and sat. nights)!? She has never been to the East Coast before, so I would really like to show her the best of what DC has to offer. Thanks for all your help.
Rhome: So we're working with hip-hop, hipness, NEWNESS (to borrow your emphasis) and I'm guessing a more upscale feel based upon the examples you put out there. I would add Cloud , Play Lounge and Home to your existing list.
Washington, D.C.: Not a going out question but anyway...as another fabulous season of Project Runway comes to a close, I've really gotten the urge to learn how to sew (both hand sew and machine.) Are there any classes or places in the District or close by in NoVa or MD where one could learn both?? Thanks a bunch! See you at the Idiotarod on Saturday!
Janet: If I were you, I'd check out the G Street Fabrics site , which has a list of the classes they offer. Happy sewing.
Arlington, Va.: I'm planning my sister's bachelorette party in 2 weeks, on a Saturday night. What's a great club that about 10 or so gals can go to dance and have good time, that we can have no problems getting in, and where we can actually hear each other (not deal with a mob scene). I haven't been out to a club in ages (usually a bar/lounge kinda gal). Oh and we're all in our early 30s, so nothing too "young" but definitely something fun. As far as music choice--hip-hop, R&B, dance, etc.
Julia: Speaking as a dive-bar/lounge kinda gal myself, I had a great time at Avenue when I went. It was definitely club-y, but the people were mellow, the drinks weren't too overpriced, the DJs were talented and the music was varied. That was right when it opened, though, so things may have changed. Readers, any updated thoughts?
Desperate Housewives: Where can eight noisy, mid-aged moms (ages 30-50) go for a girls' Friday night out?
We would like to go to a restaurant (around 8:30) and a bar in DC/VA, both moderately priced with great cocktails. We would prefer it not to be too smoky or crowded or quiet. We have a driver so anywhere is fine!
Thanks! We love you in the suburbs .
Erin: I think the U Street corridor would be fun, but difficult with a car. If you could ditch the car, I'd grab dinner at Al Crostino and drinks at Tabaq or choose Cafe St-Ex for food. In the Chinatown area, Rasika has great food and killer cocktails and Cafe Atlantico has the best mojito.
Otherwise, consider Old Town. You could do swanky dinner at 100 King, Majestic Cafe or Vermilion and drinks down the street at Mai Thai, Cafe Salsa or a divine cocktail at Restaurant Eve. Another option is the quaint Evening Star Cafe in Del Ray.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gogs!
Totally mad for March - any ideas where crazed UConn fans are going to gather for the Big East tourney and the Big Dance? Thanks!
Fritz: I've seen huge crowds of Huskies at Grevey's in Falls Church. One of my favorite places for March Madness.
Pentagon Row, Va.: What's the deal with Ri-Ra on Wilson? Is it like the one in Providence??
Fritz: And like the one in Bethesda. And Charleston. And...
I haven't been in yet -- liquor license paperwork delayed the opening -- but their official debut is Friday night with Scythian. When they have a full stage, that's always a good sign.
Gaithersburg, Md.: I've noticed a lot of big name movies are coming out on IMAX now. Are there any IMAX theaters around the DC area that would show these movies?
Jen: The Smithsonian IMAX theaters, at Air & Space, Natural History and Udvar-Hazy in Dulles, have slowly started to show more of these movies. A couple of them have featured the Imax version of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," for example.
I suspect they are more inclined to show family-oriented films in Imax. So I am doubtful that the Imax version of, say, "V for Vendetta" will appear there. But I'll keep my eyes open.
Washington, D.C.: Hey GoGs. I am trying to identify places for post-work drinks in the Verizon Center/Chinatown area in which a few tired guys could easily find seats and elbow room, even on basketball/hockey nights. I'm too old for standing and body-checking. Thanks!
Fritz: Try Clyde's, then, as it's spacious enough that you should be able to grabseats, has an appetizer/bar men that encourages grazing and isn't overly loud, so you can all talk.
Washington, D.C.: I need a restaurant suggestion or two in D.C. where I can take my family, including a grandma who doesn't hear so well? Ie, something on the quieter side would be great. We've done Komi and 1789 before, so something along those lines. Thanks.
Erin: I'd go for Charlie Palmer Steak, Zola, Notti Bianche, Oya, Mendocino Grille or Ceiba. Corduroy would work for a quiet atmosphere, but I wasn't impressed with the service my last time there.
Arlington, Va.: Not surprisingly (thanks, Washington Post, for letting the secret out), many (all?) of the Oscar nominee showings at the Archives filled up pretty early. Do you guys know if any of the local cinemas will be showing the animated shorts? I remember seeing them at the Avalon 1 or 2 years ago, but barely anyone was there.
Jen: We're always letting out secrets. It's our job.
I have not heard of any additional screenings of any of the shorts, animated or otherwise. The Avalon's schedule currently does not list anything to that effect; if we hear otherwise, you'll be the first to know.
The boys are back in town...: Three of my guy friends from college are coming into town this weekend. My two girl friends from high school have become close with the boys and we all want to go out for a , not too expensive dinner on Saturday night. I was thinking of something with a cool group atmosphere like Lauriol Plaza but with better food and a shorter wait. Doesn't have to be Mexican, just good food. Thanks GOGs!
Erin: If the weather's as nice as they're predicting, go right across the street from Lauriol to Straits of Malaya for good food, great Singapore Slings and the rooftop deck.
Grill from Ipanema is good and fun for groups, the multiple locations of Jaleo (or Oyamel in Crystal City) will surely delight groups that like sangria, but my favorite thing is to hit Ethiopian restaurants like Etete or Dukem. They're not exactly "cool group atmosphere," but you'd be right in the vicinity of some great post-dinner atmospheres.
Washington, D.C.: My girlfriends gather once a month for a "Girls Afternoon," usually on a Sat or Sun afternoon. We've done tea, ice skating, workout classes...any suggestions for other fun, inexpensive group activities we could try as we plan the next few months? Thanks!
Jen: I'll rattle off a few ideas off the top of my head, and you can eliminate the ones that don't appeal: Bowling, group tennis lesson, a one-session only cooking class (could also hire an instructor to come to one of your houses), a dance class, a book reading (maybe at Politics & Prose?) or lecture (maybe a Smithsonian Associates program?), golf -- regular or mini, choose a historical site in the area and arrange for a private tour ... that's a lot already. Hopefully at least a couple of these work for you. Readers, feel free to suggest more.
Bethesda, Md.: This question is for Erin who was out last week: I remember you mentioning the cheaper bar menu at Palena Monday nights. I was hoping you could give more information about dress code, reservations etc. Also, do you think it's worth it or should I wait for a more special occasion to sit and eat in the main restaurant? Thanks for your help!
Erin: I did mention the cafe menu at Palena on Monday nights. I can definitely give you more info. They don't take reservations, so it's best to go early. I went after seeing "Good Night, And Good Luck" at the Uptown. Anyhow, the crowd tends to be well-dressed, but I was there in jeans and felt pretty comfortable.
I definitely think it's worth it. I love when restaurants shake things up a bit and Palena does this well. Chicken, burgers and gnocchi are delicious in the cafe. The hot dog looked pretty enticing, but I decided to save that for next visit. That said, I ate in the main restaurant last night and had some great dishes.
Washington, D.C.: Hi GOG's! Since it's supposed to be so nice this weekend, I've made plans (second date plans) to spend Sat at the Inner Harbor. Besides doing the Aquarium, which we plan (great way to get to know someone), what else can we do, (outside preferably)? Also, he wanted to try either Czech, or Polish or Russian for lunch. Any suggestions??
Fritz: After you hit the aquarium, get away from the Inner Harbor as fast as you can. If it's really nice out, you should wander around Fort McHenry. Other options for the day would be strolling through Federal Hill, taking in the little boutiques and bookstores in Mount Vernon, or browsing your way through Fells Point. I like Ze Mean Bean Cafe in Fells for my Eastern European fix -- their pierogi are good enough for the Ukrainian Festival in Baltimore, and the holupki are almost good enough to be homemade.
Washington, D.C.: Helloooo Gurus! My 25th birthday is coming up and my friends are demanding a dance party. I love 80's and 90's bar/bat mitzvah music and I love hip hop. Where can we get a Madhatter/Guards type DJ, without the crowds? Also, a place that has space for my non-dancing friends to mingle/drink and have a good time too. I don't mind going to a less-frequented place and "bringing the party". Preferably on a Friday or Saturday night in the district. Thanks for putting the fun in fundamental!
Rhome: Top 40 rock/pop and mainstream hip-hop with a little retro cheez as a binding agent - all clubs that follow that formula are trying to pack in the biggest crowd they can. It gets the cash registers ringing. Lulu's, Rumors, Tom Tom, Heaven & Hell, Coyote Ugly, Tequila Beach, Third Edition... can anyone cite a club of this type that ISN'T crowded?
Bethesda, Md.: Hi Gurus,
I read this chat just about every week, and I find that a lot of people ask for recommendations on great places to hear jazz (which there seems to be a good number of spots in and around DC to catch great local and national jazz acts). But what about the blues? Can you recommend any spots in or around the DC metro area to hear some good blues bands? Thanks!!
David: Well Madam's Organ and Zoo Bar would probably be your best bets on a night-to-night basis. Places like Chick Hall's, Half Moon Bar-b-Que and even the State Theatre will have good blues shows on occasion. And you can always check out the D.C. Blues Society's page (www.dcblues.org) to keep up on the scene.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi GOGs,
Cherry Blossom Fest: How is the best way to start to the Tidal Basin? From the Jefferson Memorial or toward it? Fireworks worth the effort out there?? What's the best way to get there and where do you watch them from? (Parents coming into town)
Also, if anyone asks about brunch this week, tell them to actually read the City Guide/Food Dining section and peace out. Seriously, don't answer any of the same brunch questions you get every week.
Anne: Dear Me, Any way you draw it, it's a long walk to the Tidal Basin. The closest Metro is Smithsonian (Independence Avenue exit) but it's several blocks/muddy bank crossings to get there, and a long ways around the Basin too. See this map and more detailed directions . Another option is a new route for the Circulator -- we hear that a new route will be announced (on the first day of spring) to run along Independence Avenue from Third to 17th streets. Whichever route you choose, you'll want kicks that are made for walking. And I agree, Eve Zibart's brunch story answers nearly every question you could ask about brunch. It's a keeper.
Washington, D.C.: How does Shamrockfest work? Does the entry fee fee get you unlimited drinks, or do you still have to pay for each beverage? If the latter is the case, how much do drinks normally run for?
Fritz: Nope. Your $20 is for admission and charity. Then you pay around $5 or $6 a beer, if memory serves.
Cultural activities: Happy (almost) Spring GoGs!
Thanks for all of your help. My best guy friend is coming in from Colorado this weekend. We couldn't be more opposite--I'm liberal, he's ultra-conservative; I'm interested in shopping, he loves televised sports; I like cosmos, he likes beer--you get the picture. Somehow we have managed to stay friends and put aside our differences. He said that he wants to do something "cultural" this Sunday. Art isn't really his thing so although I would love to go to the National Gallery or the Phillips, I think those are out of the question. We did a tour of the Mall last time, so that's out too. I was thinking of Eastern Market in the morning, but do you have any fun, "cultural" ideas for Sunday afternoon?
Julia: Well, it's perhaps more campy than cultural, but you could take him to the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade . Maybe the Hip Hop Festival is up his alley? A Honky-Tonk exhibit opens at the American History Museum on Friday and since that's mainly photographs and history, that might fit the bill. There's also the Antiques Fair in Arlington, but that may be a little too similar to your Eastern Market idea.
I know the National Gallery is off-limits, but if he can be persuaded to watch
performing a 10-minute film score, the gallery might not be a bad fit.
Gallery Place-Chinatown: A small group of oldtimers 35-45 are going out for happy hour Friday night around Gallery place--where can you recommend that has good drinks and snacks?
Erin: Ella's Woodfired Pizza does free pizza during happy hour, Poste does a fine upscale happy hour (truffled frites) and Clyde's of Gallery Place can fill your oyster cravings (and other cravings, too).
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus,
I have gift certificates to use from Spa Finder, but am not sure which place to pick. Is there a place on the internet that has customer comments or reviews of spas in the DC area? I have already looked at some of the comments in the Washingtonian, but they didn't cover too many places. Thanks!
Janet: Lucky you. Who couldn't use some spa services right around now? At any rate, check out our Spa Listings . Enjoy.
Seats at Clyde's??: Fritz, you are crazy. There is no way those guys who need elbow room and seats would be happy at the new Clyde's. It is always packed - especially during sporting events - and impossible to get seats unless you arrive SUPER early. Even then, you would lose your elbow room to the crowds as they arrive.
Fritz: Okay, but I'm telling you, I've been there, at the upstairs bar, and found seats at happy hour. The downstairs tends to fill up a lot quicker for some reason.
And I'm not recommending R.F.D. to groups, because that means you'd have to get a table and subject yourself to the service. Sitting at the bar? Great. Sitting at a table? I'd rather be at the Common Share.
Washington, D.C.: Did the Bachelorette thing a couple weeks ago and hit Chloe in the 9 o'clock hour. No problem getting in, getting a group round, having a chat and then dancing. It gets crowded later - but don't you kind of want it to after a few hours of togetherness?
Julia: Mmmm. Chloe for a Bachelorette. Never thought of that.
Silver Spring, Md.: Where can recent alums go to watch the Terps (hopefully) win over GATech (and then Boston College) in the evening? We were thinking of hitting Bentley's in good ole' CP, but are unsure of the drunken college kid factor. Any other ideas?
Fritz: Ah, Bentley's. I went there over the winter after a game... I think it would be your best bet, if you're not too young for Town Hizzle.
There are lots of Terp fans in Bethesda at Rock Bottom and Willie and Reed's, while I've seen plenty in D.C. at the Uptown Tavern (formerly the Park Bench Pub), Porter's and the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill.
Adams Morgan: Are there any good dance clubs in Adams Morgan on a Tuesday night?
Rhome: DJ Eskimo (hip-hop) plays at Anzu on Tuesdays but I haven't checked it out yet. Spy Lounge is also open for business.
Herndon, Va.: Rhome, the new Ned's Irish Village in Sterling has the club feel, but never seems to be packed to the walls. The previous poster can have their friends chill out upstairs while the rest are out on the dance floor downstairs. Get there before 10 and you even might be able to snag a table.
Rhome: We are family.
Gurus can't do it all alone.
Washington, D.C.: Hello Gurus! My question for you today is about prom dresses. My little sister (who lives in Ohio) wants to get a unique dress for her high school prom. She's thinking about combining a trip to visit me with prom dress shopping and would be looking for a full length dress (not cocktail). Where does one go around here to get a prom dress? I don't think a department store would be a good option, afterall, I would hate for her to come all the way out here and end up with the same dress 10 other girls are wearing...
Thanks for your help!
Janet: Many of the places that sell bridal gowns are also good places to look for full-length prom dresses. Example: Hannelore in Old Town Alexandria. You could also try Gossypia, which is also in that neck of the woods.
Washington, D.C.: Desperate Housewives at Saint Ex? I think they might find it a -little- crowded, loud and smoky on a Friday night. Might as well send them to Asylum. My recommendation would be Zaytinya or something along those lines.
Erin: See, I like the food there. It'll surely be crowded, but I think Zaytinya would be much more packed for dinner. That said, if you can make a reservation on the early side, Zaytinya is a great spot.
Penn Quarter, D.C.: Hey GOG's,
I heard that Rob Corddry from the Daily Show will be making an appearance in DC. Is this true and where/when is it being held? Thanks!
David: Corddry will be at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue on Saturday night, leading end of Sabbath services. No, he won't be doing that, but I'm sure that would be hilarious. But he will be at the Synagogue talking about his role on "The Daily Show," showing some clips, taking questions, etc., and hopefully it will be hilarious anyway.
Washington, D.C.: Thank you for the cherry blossoms message in your blog, but I am more a dogwood fan! Any idea where is the place to see dogwood blossoms?
Anne: The National Arboretum has a large dogwood collection, and they usually bloom starting in mid-April. Anyone know of a dogwood-heavy neighborhood?
Arlington, Va.: Sopranos is starting up Sunday, any bars in town running viewing parties?
Fritz: We have tons of questions about the Sopranos, and we're feeling your pain. So far, none of the places I've called are showing it, and while JoJo's has had parties in the past, the guy I spoke with two weeks ago knew nothing of any plans for this weekend. I'm going to keep trying, and if anyone hears anything, let us know.
Or if you just want to have a big ol' Italian potluck in the party room at your apartment building and tell us about it, that would be swell, too.
CosbyLand: The other night I swear I saw Theo from the Cosby Show eating at Alero. Has anyone else seen him around DC? I hear he's in a band now; does he play around here?
Rhome: Malcolm Jamal Warner has performed at Mirrors and Busboys and Poets. He's made some connections with several local artists so it's not surprising that he might be seen out and about periodically.
Graduation Celebration: Hey Guys:
It's a little early but I am trying to find a restaurant or other spot to hold an after-graduation celebratory dinner (nothing to formal or too casual) for about 25 people. Maybe a backroom or intimate gathering place? Just need some ideas right now. Thanks!
Erin: Hey, congrats. How about something like Chef Geoff's, Dino, Teatro Goldoni or Neyla depending on your taste?
Can't Wait for Spring!: Hi GOGs,
This is a little more out of the city, but I'm trying to put together a white water rafting trip for the early spring, and I was wondering if you guys had suggestions on rivers/companies to go with. I've looked around on the web, and everything seems to be 5 hours away, and have 8 different options of rivers and trips. I'm looking for something hopefully close-ish to dc, with lots of rapids, good scenery, that can be combined with camping or other cheap overnight arrangements.
Thanks for any suggestions!
Janet: My suggestion is to try River Riders in Harper's Ferry -- just about an hour from D.C.
Arlington, Va. tapas craving: Finally getting around to trying Jaleo--is there an appreciable difference between the downtown and crystal city locations?
Erin: There is a difference in ambience. It totally depends on what you're looking for. I like that the Crystal City location is less crowded and more manageable. Plus, they have the vinoteca (showcased in yesterday's Foraging column) if you like any wines you drink. It's not a scene like the downtown location, but I prefer not to deal with the crowds when I can swing it. Quality-wise, they're comparable.
Alexandria, Va.: Is there a good place for a group of 14-18 people to get some lunch and watch the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 18 - besides the ESPN Zone . . . which will most likely be a mad house? I am looking for something preferably in downtown DC, but Arlington or Alexandria would be ok too! Thanks!
Julia: Buffalo Billiards can accommodate big groups -- I was there last year for the first Friday of the tournament. Lots of people show up, but it's big enough down there that it doesn't feel so crowded.
Adams Morgan: Since it's going to be nice this weekend, I'd like to get as far from Adams Morgan as possible (and not leave the city). I'm looking for an old school hotel bar, the kind you see in old movies with a few 60 year old business men downing scotch. Maybe a house jazz band. Smoking and Guinness on tap are required. Any ideas? I'd rather not have to bust out my riot gear just to drink this weekend. Thanks!
Fritz: I had you until the Guinness bit, which has me slowing down a bit.
But your old-school answers are:
1. The Town and Country Lounge at the Mayflower (leather sofas, piano music, bartender genius Sam Lek)
2. Off the Record at the Hay Adams (across from the White House, bartending legend John Boswell)
3. The Library Lounge at the St. Regis (Fantastic drinks, if very pricey. The best sidecar in town, and $14.)
The only hotel bar I like with Guinness on draft (that's not, say, Biddy Mulligan's) is Le Bar at the Sofitel. It's got a cool art-deco vibe and good service.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi GOG's,
Do you have suggestions for non-Tidal Basin cherry blossom viewing? I was trying to remember if the National Arboretum or Dumbarton Oaks might be possible as less-crowded options....
Janet: Maybe slightly less crowded is the Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda. It depends on when you go, though. There can be long lines of cars.
Herndon, Va.: A getting-ready-to-go-out question:
I am looking for a real lingerie store in NoVa or DC. Not a Vicky's or a porn store, but the kind of place run by two little old ladies with tape measures, who insist on making sure everything fits right. Good underwear makes everything else look better...
Janet: I think one of these listed might meet your requirements. Try one! local lingerie stores .
Arlington, Va: I'm trying to find something nice I could do for my fabulous girlfriend who is totally stressed out with mid-terms! She's in her second semester of grad school, and between work and school this has been a crazy week. Any good vegetarian dinner recommendations? Or any good places that allow dogs?
Anne: Vegetate and Viridian come to mind first -- of course neither of these allow dogs. I loved Viridian's wintery menu, and the chef there has now departed for Vegetate, the homeyer and hipper of the two, now with wine on weekends.
More March Madness venues?: What about us hated Duke fans? Where can we go? I thought I was going to get socked at Bailey's last year (and I'm a girl!) and don't want to be surrounded by hostiles. I swear, the UNC fans in North Carolina are more civil than Maryland fans! And please don't tell me about the sports bar at the Hyatt downtown that says it's the Duke alum gathering place - I've done it and it stinks. Help!
Fritz: I watched the NC-Duke game with a nicely mixed crowd of Heels and Dookies at the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill.
Suggestions from the dark side, please?
Prom Dress Idea: BCBG in Georgetown has a great dress selection and a lot are pretty reasonable ($200 range?) and fit great. My sister in high school has had luck there. Great colors. . .
Janet: Yes, forgot about that. Try BCBG.
Go Tarheels!!!: Where's girl to go for some Carolina love this weekend? Metro accessible, s'il-vous-plait.
Fritz: Crystal City Sports Pub is always a great spot for game watching with the Tarheels.
Washington, D.C.: YES! For the 25th-birthday-girl: for a cheesy, fun dance party that's not often overcrowded, try Zucchabar! I think Fritz reviewed it a while ago...great 80's music (the DJ will usually play whatever you want to hear), cheap beer, fun people, on Columbia Road in AdMo, but far enough off 18th so as not to be obnoxious. My best friend and I are trying to single-handedly convert all of our friends to this bar.
Rhome: '80s night is on Saturdays. No hip-hop though. Still adds to the available options. Thanks!
Arlington Va.: Happy Sunny Thursday, mighty ones. Do ya'll have a suggestion where a couple of girls might go on St Patrick's day on the Wilson Boulevard corridor that might be relatively free of thousands of drunken idiots in green?
Or should we just stay in and wait for the party we're headed to that night?
I don't know if I'd risk it, but I'd hope Eleventh Street, Gua-Rapo or Galaxy Hut would be the answer.
Annapolis, Md.: Save the aquarium for a Saturday that isn't nice - it is all indoors and you won't get to enjoy the lovely weather except when standing in line! It's great - we were just there last weekend, but not an outdoor, beautiful day type of thing.
Fritz: This is a very good point.
Silver Spring, Md.: You guys rock! Okay so my question - My boyfriend and I decided to go to a nice dinner last weekend at the last minute (our 4 year anniversary had been the week before and we hadn't really gotten to celebrate) and had a RIDICULOUSLY hard time trying to get in somewhere at a reasonable hour on Saturday night (couldn't get anything by phone, then turned away at a few places). We recently moved back into the area from LA - which takes its whole going out scene pretty seriously too - but I never had to worry about making reservations more that a day or two in advance unless it was a super swank location, and they had like month long waits. Is that just the way D.C. is now? Are there still nice places (higher level than Cheesecake Factory, not as high as Citronelle or something) where you can get in without making reservations like a week in advance?
Erin: That's a good question. I always found that reservations at my favorite L.A. places (AOC, The Ivy and my favorite little spot, Nook) were pretty hard to come by on weekends at desirable times. As for these parts, I think your best bet at the last minute is trying places that don't offer reservations online through OpenTable. Palena and Komi come to mind. That said, Firefly and Notti Bianche are my favorite reasonable romantic spots. Ceiba and Butterfield 9 are pretty good with last-minute reservations.
One-armed wonder, D.C.: I just broke my arm. If I have to wear a cast for six weeks, I want it to look cool-- like a wearable mural or graffiti art or tricked out henna design or something. I have no crafty friends whom I would entrust with such a task. Where should I go? Thanks for your help!
I invested a truly pathetic amount of time in typing this, by the way.
Julia: I love this question -- just got out of a cast myself and I wish, wish, wish I had thought of this. Not really sure how to answer, though. One of the tattoo parlors around town -- Jinx , Fatty's -- is probably a good place to start. I think they do henna.
I invested an equally pathetic amount of time in answering. I feel your cast-pain.
Bethesda, Md.: My friends and I are looking for brunch places. We will go all over, but don't want to spend a fortune. We are looking for the $20-ish range. We've done Filomena. We've done Clyde's. We're looking for something with good food and good prices. We will take any and all ideas... there are lots of Sunday's to fill! Also, usually we are a bit sleepy on the weekends, so we like later in the morning! Thanks!!
Erin: Have you seen this article ?
Olney Md.: What happened to the WUSA-TV link to the GOGs' weekly appearance?
Rhome: Our publishing system doesn't like it and it's my job to figure out a work-around. It's always reliably ensconced every day in the same slot on the City Guide front.
NoVa: My boyfriend needs a haircut and his new style (shaggy) will probably require a reasonably competent stylist. Any suggestions for the Arlington/DC area?
Janet: Call Paul Bosserman in Georgetown and ask for Paul or Bok (he used to be a bartender at the Four Seasons but switched careers). Tell them Janet sent you.
Arlington, Va.: Hi GOGs! I'm going to be getting a puppy soon and I was wondering if there were any restaurants/social events I can bring my dog to? I've heard of the Doggy Happy Hour in Alexandria but I was wondering if there were any others in the area that allow the owners to be social and bring their pups. And/or any places with outdoor seating that might allow me to eat/drink and have my dog with me. Thanks. You guys rock!
Anne: Here's some approved dog-exercise parks in Arlington -- good places to meet fellow dog owners. With warm weather, I'm sure restaurants' outdoor sidewalk seating areas will start to open up, and people often have a dog leashed to a fence at the perimeter. Doggy-happy-hour-goers, where are you? Any new ones to suggest besides Alexandria ?
RE: Clyde's gallery place: i have to agree with the poster. the place is ridiculously crowded, and both floors and bars get packed, especially around game time, and that was for Georgetown games. surprisingly, lucky strike offers a good alternative, and plus they have better TV watching environment, and solid enough food, even if they have horrendous service.
but yeah, that Clyde's is a ridiculously sloppy mess around game time.
Fritz: I agree with game-time. BUT -- and this is supposition on my part, so it's my fault -- I saw "post-work drinks" in the original question and assumed they'd get there at 5:15-5:30, not 10 minutes before tip-off/face-off.
35-45 Guys Who Asked the Original Question: I'm amending it to add the upstairs "brewer's lounge" at District Chophouse, and maybe the Irish Channel Pub.
Georgetown: Men's haircut question...who's the best stylist/salon in DC for a fashionable men's haircut (24 years old)? I've tried Remy at Molecule (he left), and Demian (who is ok), but usually have to go up to new york, which is getting tiresome for haircuts. anyway, any suggestions? up to $100 is ok.
Janet: I just answered a similar question for a woman who was looking for someone to deal with her boyfriend's longish locks. Call Paul Bosserman salon in Gtown. Ask for Bok or Paul.
Oh mama mia, mama mia...: Any good places to hit up around Gallery Place to get a drink before the big Queen show? not into Fado's or Clyde's because it would be too crazy. My brother and i tend to like dive bars and the like but not sure if there are any in that area. we're metro-ing in from Dupont Circle so maybe we could do some pre-show drinking there? Thanks!
Julia: Yeah you could definitely get a few drinks at the Big Hunt or Briskellar or Lucky Bar or something and then head down, but in that area, I really like R.F.D. and Gordon Biersch . Both could be crowded on a busy MCI-now-Verizon Center night, but it's easier to walk over.
Oh, and yeah, I almost forgot! For a total dive bar experience, my pops and I always get drinks at Harry's -- good burgers, cheap beer. You should totally go there.
Please write in next week and tell us how Paul Rodgers was. I'm dying to know.
Washington D.C.: Where is the best (cheapest) happy hour tonight for beer or liquor?
Fritz: Free top-shelf rum at Tapatini's. Read all about it in the Nightlife Agenda (linked above).
Petworth: Janet, looking at your answer on the local lingerie shops, Dor-Ne in Silver Spring isn't on there. They fit the request well.
Additionally, while looking for them in the database, I find that they are not there. (I couldn't find them in a name search, so I pulled up all stores in Silver Spring.) Oh, and while they're not there, Polonez is still there http:/
but they closed quite a while back.
Just updatey stuff.
Janet: Thanks for the updates. Appreciated.
Shaw: Question for David...
I read your blog about 6 Points and it seems like you're really of no opinion about it. You say the lineup is disappointing yet admit the selection was based on those who submitted. Why not be disappointed in the go-go/death metal/hip hop/bands instead of the festival?
If nothing else you have some of the premiere music venues in town all under one banner for a weekend and I think that in and of itself is worthy of some good karma to the organizers.
Not an organizer but a local music fiend
David: I sort of addressed that -- or at least did my best to address that -- when I blogged about it. I said that it's just the festival's third year and the fact that they are getting bigger, better, more diverse venues to participate can only be seen as a good thing. I still feel that for the most part it's a festival for the people who organized the festival, if that makes any sense, and if you saw those bills around town on any given night it wouldn't be too much to get excited about. And I guess it's sort of a chicken/egg situation with getting other types of bands to apply.
Also, I've never really been a big "scene" person. I'm a huge supporter of local music, but I don't always buy into the whole "building up the scene"/"supporting the scene" thing. If the music is good, play shows, make a good record, and people will take notice. I don't think you necessarily need salute folks for simply having good intentions, y'know?
Answer, pretty please!: I need a metro-accessible jewelry store that can do a setting tightening on an antique ring (the stone is audibly rattling around in it)-- in a jiffy. There's a rush because the relative who gave it to me is coming to town, and will be very upset if I'm not wearing it, or think I'm not taking care of the family heirloom... What's the cost, do you think? Timeframe?
Janet: Try Chas. Schwartz & Son . Other option: Tiny Jewel Box on Connecticut Ave.
Washington, D.C.: What are your favorite cozy Georgetown restaurants? Are any of the French places veggie friendly? What about the Thai or Indian spots? Thanks!
Erin: Cafe La Ruche, Bistro Lepic and Cafe Divan get my thumbs up for cozy. As for Thai, I like Basil Thai over Bangkok Bistro, but Indian is the best in that 'hood. I love Amma and Heritage India. If you're a veggie, definitely go order okra or eggplant from Amma. Yum.
Farifax, Va.: $20 seems like a lot for the Shamrock Fest, is it worth it? How much of the admission cost goes to charity?
Fritz: I don't think it's worth $20. Yeah, there are 20 bands and games and such, but once you're inside, you pay for drinks, you pay for food, you pay for those midway games. It's crowded, the lines can be hellacious .. but it can also be a lot of fun if you're going with a group of people.
I don't know how much of the proceeds go to SCAN, but I know they're a worthwhile charity who receive money from these events every year.
Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Boyfriend just told me he is going to Hooters in Rockville, should I be worried? In other words, do I have some fierce competition?
Julia: No, absolutely not. My boyfriend's old roommates went there a few of times, and the reports were usually less-than-favorable. Except from the roommate we call Quagmire -- for good reason.
Del Ray, VA: Fritz! There you go again, dissing on green beer in the Nightlife Agenda. I'd given you a year to overcome your phobia (when I asked in the chat last year, you said it was "creepy") but you're still hung up on this? Do we need to seek counseling for you?
Fritz: Green beer is a stupid American tradition that has nothing to do with being Irish. It's something a three year old would do, like making rubber cement into boogers. "Look what I did! Isn't it funny?"
I like my Irish beer dark, thank you very much.
Arlington, Va.: So I hear the weather is going to me amazing this weekend. I would love to get out on a nice long bike ride - any suggestions on where to go, somewhere I can get to by putting my bike on Metro and go somewhere other than my neighborhood? Preferably not too hilly or strenuous, just a leisurely ride would be lovely. Thanks!
Erin: I like riding along the GW Parkway down toward Mt. Vernon. You can probably metro to National Airport and pick up the path from there. It's pretty rustic in parts and very flat. It can get crowded with walkers and joggers, but it's my favorite easy ride.
Silver Spring, Md.: I know it's late, but I formatted my address correctly! What about those of us who want to watch many TVs showing basketball next Friday, without risk of green beer? Is there any hope? I would stay home as normal on St. Patrick's day, but I need multiple game coverage!
Fritz: I'm working on this now, actually. Even Ventnor in Adams Morgan said they were brining in a bagpiper for St. Patrick's Day. You're a sports bar! It's not Mick O'Ventnor's! (Sorry, I'm getting carried away.)
I'll say those four little words again: Crystal City Sports Pub.
Washington, D.C.: I have 3 friends from high school coming to visit me next month for the weekend, and I haven't seen them in at least 10 years. Including me, there will be 2 vegetarians in the group. What can I "do with them", to give them the total Washington experience? I was thinking about doing a couple of museums on the mall, and then strolling Georgetown the next day, and for food I was thinking Zaytinya. Any other ideas? They are very sheltered people, and the big city will be a new experience for them. Please help!
Anne: Sounds like you have a good plan already. Definitely start with the Mall on one day. I like your idea of giving them a special experience each day, and depending when in April they arrive, you could also take them to a screening of Filmfest DC or to the Sakura Matsuri Street Festival. More casual dining ideas: Ethiopian, Vace eaten on a stone bench over Klingle Road, the falafel shop . Gallery Place has lots glam places to eat.
For Arlington Bridal Shower Planner: DJ Dredd will be spinning at his restaurant Vegetate on 9th St every Saturday night in March and I think there is no cover. I usu. go to his parties at the Blue Room and I think the music (and the crowd) is better than Saturdays at Avenue. Dredd usu. does a nice mix of new and old school hip-hop and r&b ... the club also has a temporary liquor license for the night.
Julia: For the bridal shower....
Dupont Circle : Ya Fritz tell the ridiculous green beer drinkers what's up, but stop promoting Shamrock Fest which is the same stupid scene.
Fritz: Oh, right. I'm officially rescinding anything nice I said about ShamrockFest because they're serving green beer. Then again, they have Scythian and the Flying Cows of Ventry, whose combined power should be enough to overwhelm the forces of faux-Gaelic nastiness.
Don't Diss the Green Just Yet...: I head Dogfish Head is doing a special release of green beer....there is hope...
Fritz: Dogfish also did a 40-ounce malt liquor, too.
Washington, D.C.: Posting early because I won't be at my desk during the chat. What is the deal with the Iditarod race in DC this Saturday? Any fun to watch if you aren't participating? Thanks!
Fritz: When I got the Idiotarod e-mail last week, I laughed out loud. I don't know how it is as a spectator event -- this is the first one, after all -- but it promises to be a hoot. All I know is that it starts at the Front Page and ends in Adams Morgan.
(The Idiotarod, for those of you not keeping track, is a race that involves a team of people pulling a shopping cart through the streets of Washington in a takeoff of the famous Iditarod sled-dog race. More info, etc., etc., in the Nightlife Agenda.)
Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: So a couple weeks ago I was at Capital City Brewing Company downtown for happy hour with a friend. It was a Friday and we decided to stay and have a few drinks after happy hour ended. At about 9:00 our waitress said that I had had five beers and she couldn't serve me anymore. I was not drunk at all and was sitting in a booth quietly talking with my friend. She told us that this was the bar's policy and there was nothing she could do about it. Is this true? Is it common? I have never had it happen to me anywhere before and as a result I am in no hurry to go back to Cap. City.
Fritz: That's new to me. I've never heard of it as an established policy. I know some bars have it printed -- Lost Dog Cafe limits customers to three beers, max -- but not Cap City. I'll look into this. Thanks.
Petworth: Fritz, we'll stand up for you. Green beer is dumb. Every actual Irish person I know finds it annoying and frankly, a little demeaning.
(OK, a lot of the stereotypes that go along with US celebrations of St Patrick's day are pretty bad. And perhaps we shouldn't even talk about all the people who turn poor St Patrick into a woman by spelling him "Patty" rather than "Paddy.")
(That said, one of the funniest things I have ever seen was an Irishman turning the green beer thing on its head. It was Bastille Day. Brian Gaffney was on stage at Nanny's. The Bastille Day Celebration next door at Lavandou was audible through the wall and over the music and the crowd. Brian got the phone up on stage with him and called next door to "Inquire about the party." At the end of the conversation he asked "and are you serving blue wine tonight?" The reaction next door was QUITE audible through the wall!)
Fritz: I'm in tears. Brian rocks. (and so does his band, Brendan's Voyage, if you can catch them around town.)
Washington, D.C.: Where can I go on the 17th for an authentically Irish St. Patty's day? Is Nanny O'Brien's the best bet? Will they be charging a cover?
Fritz: Everyone is charging a cover, because then they can gouge people who want an "authentic" St. Patrick's Day of being herded into an overcrowded bar, fed cold, pre-made sandwiches and listening to singers playing old rebel songs. It's all the rage in Ireland!
Washington, DC: Hi GOGs. Do you know the deal with the list at Smith Point in Georgetown? I had no trouble on a Thursday night, but when I went on Friday there was a line and the people waiting said no go if you aren't on a list...
Fritz: It's all about who you know. Keep going on Thursdays, be nice to your bartender, and casually mention that you tried to stop in on Saturday but you couldn't get in. Your name might sudden ly appear on the list. (Funny how those things work.)
Note: This has worked for me.
My Cube in DC...: Hi GOGs,
First up I want to say, I try not to plan a weekend without reading your chat first. You all really know your stuff!
A group of my friends (guys and girls, mix of races, in our late 20s to early 30s) are getting tired of the Adams Morgan scene. We want somewhere that we can dance or chill and people watch. We are also looking for a more of a young professional crowd over teeny boppers. I have heard good things about Avenue, but others are shaky. What do you suggest?
Julia: Cool, thanks for the shout-out. I love Adams Morgan, I really do, but I feel you. When you've been living here a while, it gets to feel a little old. I talked about Avenue a bit above and I really liked it. It's bigger than an Adams Morgan club, but for dancing it could be a good fit. You also might want to check out the DJ night at Vegetate mentioned above. Jin could work too.
I've been going down into Penn Quarter/Chinatown for a change of pace lately. The drinks are a little pricier, but it's certainly a less "teeny bopper" crowd. Check out R.F.D., Fado, Clyde's, Zengo or drinx. Maybe they'll be the new thing you all are looking for....
Not Working : I saw that you mentioned that Scythian was at Ri Ra on Friday. Would you recommend this for some one who would like to see them but wants to avoid Shamrock fest? What are the details?
Fritz: Best places to see Scythian this week, in order of desirability:
1. Tonight at Fado, the band's home base.
2. Friday at Ri-Ra, which will probably be a zoo, but a fun new bar.
Fritz and Green Beer: Fritz Hahn - Lovable curmudgeon, or grumpy old man before his time? GOGs, you decide...
Fritz: I think the votes are in.
And with that, we bid you adieu for another week. Join us next Thursday, and don't miss Erin tonight on Channel 9, where she'll be sippin' green beer with Todd.
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