Thursday, Aug. 10, 1 p.m. ET

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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, August 10, 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 .

Submit your questions and comments before or during today's discussion.

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The Going Out Gurus: What's up, D.C.? Welcome to Got Plans? Gurus on tap today: David, Jen, Anne, Fritz, Rhome and me, Julia. We're here for your answering pleasure. And you you know we're bringing SexyBack . On to the questions.

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Adams Morgan: Every time I walk past Pasta Mia there are ridiculously long lines out the door. I really want to go tonight. Do they accept reservations? Would it be too late to book a table for two this evening? I've heard the wait is worth it, but why risk it if I could call ahead and reserve a table, right?

Julia: Pasta Mia does not accept reservations (or credit cards, for that matter), hence the ever-present line. It opens at 6:30 and the line usually starts to take shape about a 1/2 hour before that. I've had luck lining up about 20 minutes before doors open, but you never know. If you are among the first tables seated after the doors open, the wait all seems worth it. If you have to wait until one of those tables orders, eats, pays and leaves, it feels like way to much effort for pasta.

If the line is long at Pasta Mia, I usually walk down to

San Marco

for inexpensive Italian. A bunch of other Pasta Mia defectors settle in there too. The portions are superior at Pasta Mia -- the ambience is probably better too -- but either place is good for cheap, standard Italian.

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Washington, D.C.: Oh mighty gurus, anwer me this! When I drive to the Fort Dupont Ice Arena, I pass a park on Minnesota Avenue with signs for Summer Theater parking. The signs are brown, making me think it must be a Park Service park. Can you tell me anything about it?

Anne: The signs are for the summer concert series in Fort Dupont Park , which is run by the Park Service and is just to your right off Minnesota . Check it out -- this Saturday night is the last show of the season.

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Washington, D.C.: Yo Fritz, I went to Bourbon in Adams for the first time since it opened. Tell me again why you love that place? I love bourbon/whiskey, but was not overly impressed with the selection or new space. I think I missed Blue Room a tad. Is there something I missed taht makes it a stellar experience? I liked the matchbooks. I also liked that the Kentucky Gentleman was on a shelf, haha.

Fritz: I like the back patio, I like the downstairs bar (still not sold on the upstairs), and the selection of bourbons is the kind that welcomes some nosing around. (Yeah, Kentucky Gentleman is .. odd, but I guess some people drink it.)

The wines on draft are sometimes esoteric (in a good way) and the beer list, with its focus on American micros like Anchor, Harpoon and Otter Creek, is a nice touch.

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Re: Starr Hill: I know the chat's over, but wanted to say that I believe I saw Starr Hill on draught at Union Street in Old Town within the last couple of weeks.

Fritz: You're right. I called Starr Hill owner/founder/brewer Mark Thompson during the chat last week to ask about NoVa distribution, but didn't hear back from him until Friday, so I wrote a little piece for the blog about where to find Starr Hill .

Speaking of which.. that's the first entry in a new blog series we're going to be working on in coming weeks. We'll be looking at questions we didn't have time to answer during this chat, or questions that require a little more research than our tip-of-the-tongue advice. Keep checking the blog on Thursdays and Fridays for updates.

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NW Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs!

Posting early because of a meeting, but hoping you can help.

My 60-year-old uncle is (supposed?) to come from Scotland today and I'd like to take him to dinner tonight (or tomorrow, if plans go awry).

Where would you all recommend taking a man who has never been to the States and doesn't have an adventurous palate?

Thank you so much!

Jen: I'm thinking ethnic options, like Indian, are probably out.

If you can get a table at the bar at Palena, that might work. I can't imagine someone not liking their food and it's not so high-end gourmet that it will intimidate. You could also try Cashion's or, if you want to make sure he has plenty of menu items to choose from, the Clyde's at Gallery Place.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus,

Wanna help me out with a second date? We are going to be meeting in Bethesda. What's a moderatly priced restaurant where I can take a lovely lady on a 2nd date. Obviously not too romantic, not too rowdy. Perhaps a place that offers drinks as well.

Any ideas?

Jen: The first place that pops to mind is Olazzo. It's moderately priced and a little on the romantic side -- small dining room, dimly lit. But the chatter level is high, without being rowdy, so it won't seem like you're trying to seduce her or something. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.) And they have a decent-sized martini list.

Jaleo also strikes me as a good option, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Is there new management at 9:30 club? How the hell did Justin Timberlake get on the schedule?!

David: Same management as when he played there back in 2003. What's so hard to believe about Justin Timberlake playing at 9:30? I'm sure it was a tough decision for the club to book him. "Hmm, we can get one of the biggest names in music to play at our club and sell around a thousand tickets at $55/pop." Not the toughest call.

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Washington, DC: In Adams Morgan there's a bar that I went to for the first time last weekend. It's called the Pharmacy Bar but little resembles any pharmacy I've ever been in. Am I missing something or do they need to rethink their angle?

Fritz: The building used to be a pharmacy, and owner Kristaps Kreslins' grandfather was a pharmacist in Latvia. Maybe you missed the piles of pills inlayed into the tables?

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Rosslyn, Va: My 27th birthday is next weekend and I want to go somewhere like Chi Cha lounge or 18th st lounge. Anywhere else around here with that kind of vibe?

And if I did go to Chi Cha how early do I need to go to get a couch?

Thanks!

Rhome: Chi Cha is really popular on weekends. Go on an off-peak week night or get there by 9 p.m. to get a couch on a Saturday, maybe even 8. Why not try the similar options of Gua-Rapo and Eleventh Street in your own back yard?

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Excited, VA: Does buying at ticket for a show at LOVE, include entry to the club as well? we don't have to pay to get in there on top of the ticket we bought for the show playing that nite, right?

thanks for any info

Fritz: If you're talking about Tribe or Common, then yes, your ticket not only takes care of the cover charge, it also means you get to skip the looooooooooooooooong line outside the club for a shorter "ticket holders only" entrance.

Wait in line - get in free.

Skip line - buy a ticket in advance.

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Washington, DC: Are there any cool indie bars other than DC9, the Black Cat, Velvet Lounge, the Raven, and..errr... that one in Columbia Heights...ahh..drat. I forgot the name of it.

Fritz: That's not very cool or indie of you to forget Wonderland, is it?

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re: Bourbon: I'll admit, I haven't had a Rogue Dead Guy in years... but I felt like a tool drinking a few beers in there.

Fritz: Uh, why?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus,

I went to Monday night's screening of WTC and left the movie fairly unmoved. The audience didn't seem particularly into the film and there were more than a few snickers at the bizarre religious imagery toward the end. I found the movie to be trite, had little character development, and contained no real insight into 9-11 beyond what is now general knowledge about the events surrounding the day. Of course, I mean no disrespect to the actual story, but the screenplay and general dialogue seemed to fall flat.

Hence, I was baffled that so many critics (including critics for Slate and the NY Times) were so taken by the movie. Jen, any other comments? Thanks for your blog posting.

Jen: Yes, the Jesus-and-the-water-bottle dream sequence was sort of wacky, wasn't it?

I agree that the film wasn't particularly insightful and certainly didn't make me think or feel differently about 9/11. Desson Thomson's review in yesterday's Post expressed similar concerns, so you're certainly not alone.

As far as why other critics responded so positively, I think some of it may have to do with the Oliver Stone factor. Some may have expected him to be more didactic or throw in a conspiracy theory here or there and, hence, were pleasantly surprised that he told the story straight. Personally, I thought he watered himself down a little too much. As much as I wanted those police officers to get out of the rubble, I never felt a real sense of tension as I was watching the movie. Nothing ever punched me in the gut and I expect Stone, if nothing else, to punch me in the gut. (Or, in the case of "Alexander," at least give me a horrible headache.)

I hope people will continue posting comments in the blog. I think everyone will respond differently to the movie, particularly in light of today's events. I'm wondering whether people will even want to see this sort of film this weekend, what with everything that's going on. Anyone have thoughts on that?

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Washington, D.C.: I've checked the City Guide already, but I was wondering if you had anything to say about the margaritas/sangrias at El Tamarindo. It's my birthday tomorrow and I want to make sure it was a good choice for happy hour!

Fritz: They're not the best I've ever tasted, but more than acceptable and damn, they're cheap -- two-for-one from 4:30 to 7:30. You can have four for roughly $12, although I wouldn't encourage that sort of thing.

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Different, Washington, D.C.: So, different question you or the 'nuts might be able to help me with: I want to kayak. I've never done it before, but always am jealous of those who get their exercise _on_ the Potomac. Are there any clubs/teams/organizations where I can turn this into a hobby?

Anne: Potomac Paddlesports offers all kinds of classes and trips, and Atlantic Kayak even has a Moonlight Tour. Here's some more kayaking inspirations . Any expert whitewater navigators out there want to suggest a friendly, low-key place to learn?

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Desperately Seeking Pizza: How is the Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown? Is it worth visiting for a laid-back pre-movie Friday dinner?

Fritz: There is nothing laid-back about Pizzeria Paradiso on a Friday night. No reservations, long lines, crowds blocking access to the bar... not my cup of tea, even though I think the pizza is great, with a fantastic crust.

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New York: I moved from DC about a year ago, haven't been back since, but I'm coming in this weekend - what are the new bars/restaurants that I should visit? No need to include clubs or fancy places, I'm more of a casual/ good beer kinda gal. Thanks!

Rhome: Casual? Good beer? Get thee to Beer Paradise , which on a day with nice weather is a perfect walk from our office and always helps me take the edge off of a stressful day.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm trying to plan a 30th birthday party for my husband. We're looking for a place that can accommodate about 30 people for drinks and apps. The ideal would be some place like Atomic Billiards with pool and other games, only swankier. Is there any place like that, preferably with a private room we could use for the party? Thanks!!

Fritz: How about the upstairs of Stetson's, one of the (small) private rooms at Buffalo Billiards or even a section of Cue Bar? The U Street pool hall will cordon off an area for you, and if you're nice, maybe reserve the ping pong table for your party.

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Not Such A Sunshine-y Day: What's the word on "Little Miss Sunshine"? Any recommended theaters?

Jen: The word is it rocks. I loved it, so much that I am considering seeing it again this weekend.

Right now it's only showing in about 10 theaters. Frankly, I think you'll be pleased no matter where you go, but some theaters I'd particularly recommend: Regal Gallery Place if you're downtown, Landmark Bethesda or AFI if you're in MoCo and Cinema de Lux if you're in NoVA.

Hopefully you don't know too much about the movie because I think some of the pleasure comes from being surprised by the directions the comedy takes. Either way, you are in for a treat.

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FYI: For the person whose uncle is supposed to be coming in from Scotland: It might be a lot longer than tomorrow when he gets here. I've got a friend in London that was supposed to be on one of the flights today and she cant get back until Monday at the earliest, and possibly longer than that.

Fritz: Gee. Trapped in London. There are worse things that could happen...

But thanks for the info, and something for everyone to keep in mind.

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re: Bourbon: Because the new interior made me feel like... like... uh, I needed to be some sort of hipster wannabe or something. Although, I didn't get sucked into ordering a Bourbon. What is that white Corn bourbon? I'll def try downstairs next time....

Fritz: Oh, that White Lightning stuff? I wasn't sure if I needed to go there, but I did, and damn. I felt like Snuffy Smith or something.

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Washington, DC: Does anyone have positive comments about Agraria? I have dinner reservations next week, but the comments on the Post website are pretty negative. I know Tom is giving the new chef time to settle in. The website looks so nice though! Should I stay or should I go?

Fritz: The burger is good, the cocktails are divine.

Other than that... I'm blank, because I've heard such mixed reviews. Anyone want to offer comments?

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Washington, D.C. : Holy Moly! I'm so excited about the Esthero show!! This just made my week... AND I live in Alexandria! Woohoooooo! What would I do without the gogs?

David: Glad you're psyched. Let's hope the show goes on, she had a bad string of cancellations around here a while back. You can always check the listings in the City Guide to keep up to date on the latest shows, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Where are some places with High Tea (or low, whichever)? Note: Not brunch, Not Teaism. Looking for a grand old lady time. I went to a tea party last week and I'm now addicted to feeling like a lady after a shameful weekend.

Jen: A lot of the hotels -- the Jefferson, the Four Seasons, the Mandarin Oriental -- do teas, so I would try one of those first. I've done the tea at the Four Seasons and it's really nice and definitely very ladylike. Just try to take a sip without sticking out your pinky finger -- it can't be done.

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Cleveland Park: Fritz,

I was walking by the Uptown Tavern this week and I noticed that they tore down the upstairs section. Is it gone forever now? If it is, then it will be missed.

Fritz: Well, since the structure was illegally built in the first place (and grandfathered in), I'm not surprised it came down. Now, if Uptown and Dino could turn that bit into some sort of cool patio, I'd be very happy -- and would love to have an option besides the roof of the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill, home of the bartenders who forget you're there, even when you're sitting at the bar right in front of them.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm heading to Wonderland Ballroom Saturday night for friend's birthday. What should I expect? Does it get packed? Can I wear jeans and sneakers? Is it a bar or a club? Is there parking nearby?

Thanks!

Rhome: This Saturday is Oh Snap! so expect a high density crowd of young, energetic folk with a keen focus on shaking their collective things. Wear wutchyalike, it's a low-key neighborhood spot without door scrutiny and an image to maintain. Parking can be found in the area but you might have to be a couple of blocks out so bring someone to walk with.

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Falls Church, VA: Hi,

My friends and I are fans of the "karaoke rooms" where you can rent out a small private karaoke room for just you and your friends, but so far we've only found places in Annandale. Do you know of any closer to Arlington / Falls Church / Fairfax?

Thank you!

Alice

Fritz: I don't know of any norebang rooms in D.C. or the inner burbs, but I figure our readers might.

(I think there's one in Wheaton, but I'm blanking on the name)

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Arlington, VA:

After visiting Hawaii several times over the years, I'd like to learn to play the ukelele. Any ideas for taking lessons in the metro DC area?

Mahalo!

Fritz: Again, I'm throwing this out to the crowd, because seeing "Vaud Rats" at the Fringe got me inspired, and thanks to a recent costume party, I own one of those not-so-fancy coconut shell ukeleles.

So, where do Arlington and I learn how to play these things?

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Pasta Mia - worth the wait: There are essentially two seatings -- if you don't get there by 6:15 for when the restaurant opens at 6:30, don't bother showing up until 7:40 -- and it will be a good hour from the time you begin waiting in line to getting seated.

If you go there expecting an hour wait, you will be pleasantly surprised when it is shorter. For me the wait is part of the experience. On a Wednesday or Thursday night, the wait is shorter than on a weekend night so those are the only days I'll go.

Also remember they are cash only! Every time I'm there you see some guy have to leave for the ATM with a sheepish look on his face.

Julia: More tips for Pasta Mia dining.

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Re: Agraria: Not to be mean, but I always assumed people didn't go to the harbor for the food. The few times I've eaten down there have been more than disappointing, and a downright waste of money.

Fritz: But Agraria had promise! (At least until the chef left!)

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MD end-of-summer blues!!!: I am looking for a place close by MD to take my boys before school starts. Any suggestions?? Nice beach, water park. Ages 4-11.

Anne: I'm not sure what part of Maryland you're considering, but if you want a water park and a beach in close proximity to each other, then you want to head to Calvert County. Breezy Point Beach has a small sandy beach on the the bay, and if you don't have enough watery excitement there, not even four miles away is the Chesapeake Beach Water Park . Kind of pricey to get in, though. It's closed today, but in late August it will be open on the weekends.

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Arlington, Va.: GOGs! What's going on tonight for a couple 24 year old guys to do, maybe a bit different than the standard, "what bar should we go to tonight?". Preferrably in DC or Arlington with access to cabs or public transportation, alchohol if we want it and social enough to meet some girls. I'm thinking something like a low-key show or somethign else fun along those lines. Please help, I can't handle another Thursday at the Ballroom!

David: Well I will of course recommend the Nethers/Blood Feathers show at the Red and the Black that we talked about in Nightlife Agenda . That should be low-key and excellent. If you're unsure if it's your thing, you can stream both albums at this site , just scroll down a bit until you see Nethers and Blood Feathers. And if you're not feeling it in there, you can always go next door to Palace of Wonders or one of the other area bars .

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Washington, D.C.: Hey guys,

I'm going to Play for the first time this weekend for a friend's party. What should I expect? How should I dress (female).

Thanks

Fritz: Since people love it when I answer fashion questions, uh, I'm going to say... jeans, fun little cami top or halter or something. (Why do I get these questions?) Play is a lively little lounge with a packed dance floor and a young-ish crowd.

Leave the flip flops at home, though, because you'll get drinks spilled on your toes.

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Kensington Aquatic Gardens, DC: Hey Gurus,

I want to post about a little-known treasure in DC called the Kensington Gardens. 77 acres of gorgeous lilypads, ponds, marsh and lotus plants that grow up to 6 feet high. This month is especially gorgeous because the lotus are in bloom. There's a path and boardwalk that makes for enjoyable walking.

It's in NE, just off Rte 50 toward Annapolis, after the split to Balt-Wash Parkway. First exit, Kensington Rd south, then 1/2 mile. Follow the signs. Who knew???

Rhome: Kenilworth that is.

I recommend it all the time.

I've been meaning to head out there on 2 wheels. As soon as the temperatures drop a bit.

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Washington, D.C.: Although I haven't had tea there in a while, I've enjoyed tea at the Hay Adams. A friend and I celebrated her tea at the Henley Hotel. I think we were the only people there. I felt like we were in an English manor house.

Jen: Two more options. Thanks for the suggestions, D.C.

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Thursday Night: Hey Gurus:

What are your favorite Thursday night bar scenes in Gtown, dupont or Chinatown?

Love the chats.

Thanks

Fritz: Penn Quarter: Scythian, my favorite local Celtic band, at Fado.

Dupont: The all-night two-for-one happy hour at Halo or $2 Bud/rail night at Lucky Bar.

Georgetown: Uhhh. I'm younger than people at the Waterfront and I feel like I'm too old for that scene. Am I wrong?

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Alexandria, Va.: Is there any way to get into a Farmers Market with some paintings? Who do you contact to participate? Are there any that are easier (and free) to get into to sell some goods?

Julia: Never tried to be a vendor at a Farmer's Market myself, so I don't know for sure, but I do have something that might help. The Food Section recently wrote up reviews of area farmer's markets, complete with contact information. I'd check in with some of the people listed in these articles .

Check out

Western Market

as well. The site I linked to explains how to become a vendor there. Anyone out there in cubeville know how to sell at a farmers market?

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Wheaton, MD: The karoke place in Wheaton is called "Color" (I think). It's on University Avenue a few blocks East of Georgia.

I believe that there are also a few places in Annandale.

Fritz: Yes! I was thinking of a place on University but wasn't sure what it was.

Also, I got confused b/c we have a couple of norebang questions in the queue, including two asking for anything but Annandale. If you want the best norebang in the area, it's Cafe Muse.

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Fritz: You are my favorite person, dead OR alive. Thanks for making my afternoon brighter!

Fritz: Wow. Thanks!

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Washington, D.C.: Ok, help. I've never been to the Birchmere. I didn't realize it wasn't just a theater (the pics make it seems like improv stage). Can a lone person go there? Will that lone person who just wants to see/listen to music be sad and have to sit with a random group of people at some table? Help.

David: Can a lone person go there? Like, will they turn you away if you are not with someone else? Obviously not. You'll be fine on your own, don't worry. Unless the show is in the bandstand (like tonight's Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings show), you will indeed be seated with strangers at a table in the main concert room. Is that really so bad? You'll chat and get to know each other until the music starts, at which point you will cease chatting or risk 30 lashes for every syllable muttered.

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Wine Sipping?: Any good wine deals going on tonight? My coworkers want to celebrate.

Fritz: Best wine deal tonight ... I'd say the special Wine Down happy hour at Firefly, because most of my favorite wine specials (i.e. the tastings at Bistro Lepic) happen early in the week.

Actually, I have to say that I was impressed with the bottle specials at Bistrot du Coin last time I was in. Some really steep markdowns on the paper "specials" list on the wall.

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agraria comment: I've been to Agraria a few times now. The burger is killer and the other lunch sandwiches were huge -- it may become my new Sunday brunch place.

Not cheap, but they do it up right.

Fritz: Some front-line experience...

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Falls Church, Va.: looking for high tea - www.teamap.com if you dont want to go to a stuffy hotel and spend a crap load of money but still want the grand old lady experience. i really enjoyed the Pink Bicycle in Occoquan.

Jen: More options. Thanks.

By the way, some of the hotels are not as pricey as I expected. I think I spent $25 for a full tea at the Four Seasons, which isn't cheap but is not outrageous for a special occasion.

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Thursday: Thanks for the info about Thursday nights. I might try Lucky Bar, haven't been in a while. Too old for the waterfront?! Mmmm does that mean we 26 year old girls shouldn't waste our time there anymore???

Fritz: I dunno. It just seems like the endless just-out-of-college scene -- and I know there are a lot of those in D.C. -- without any edge or personality or individuality. Just feels boring. Love the view and the people-watching, hate the overpriced drinks and being herded into roped standing areas.

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re: Fritz: Yeah I need to watch USA9 to see what you look like. Hahaha

Fritz: Oh, totally. Sans diguises, I have a face made for radio.

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Mischievous: Hey, how come the interns don't get to chat this summer? They have in years past. (And no, I'm not an intern at WaPo!)

Anne: Are you kidding? Our magnificent interns are way too busy to chat. They're occupied checking out places around town and writing for us and generally keeping the City Guide going. And speaking of interns, we need some for this school year. Check out this page and when you apply, say you want to work for the City Guide. And then you'll be able to write a tell-all book about working for the Gurus.

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Arlington, VA: Which cocktail(s) at Agraria do you recommend? I'm supposed to go next Friday for RW lunch.

Fritz: Check my Post column from last week -- read it here for more on the vintage cocktails. I'm partial to the Cynthia, which uses Lillet Blanc -- and the Bronx, which is knock-you-on-your-butt bitter, but so, so refreshing.

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Farmers Market Land: The poster with the paintings might have better luck with flea markets in the area, as farmer's markets are pretty hard to get into. That being said, the first step if you decide that's the way to go is usually to contact the market master of the individual market. Most of the contact info can be found on the website for the market (most have websites now). For example, Arlington or Alexandria .

Julia: Thanks, FML. Who knew it was so competitive out there! I think this poster is probably right -- flea markets like Western or Eastern Markets are likely to be a better place to start.

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Best Bets: What is the best bar to meet great guys 26-32?

Fritz: I'd say there is no one best bar. How's that for a dodge?

If you go out to one bar, taking all your hopes and dreams, all your ambitions and aspirations, and pin them on finding a guy there, you're going to be disappointed.

Not only that, guys can smell desperation. Little-known fact.

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Red & Black Show Tonight / Palace of Wonders: Whats the best way to get to/from there tonight? Metro to Chinatown then take a cab?

Fritz: The way I've gone every single time (and that's about half a dozen): Metro to Chinatown or McPhearson Square, followed by a trip on the X2 bus. What can I say? I'd rather spend my money on drinks, and it comes pretty regularly.

Yeah, you can also take a cab. Two zones from central D.C. And don't forget about your free cab ride back to Union Station!

(Before you pepper me with question about that, check the profile pages for the Palace and the R&B. All the info is there.)

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re: tea: I think the Strathmore has some sort of afternoon tea (but on weekdays). I saw it on the website. It seemed nice because they have a string quartet playing in the background as well.

Jen: You are correct. Trouble is that, as you said, it is during a weekday, which makes it hard for us working folk to get to.

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Downtown DC: Some friends and I go to the Henley Park Hotel for tea with some regularity. It's just as nice as The Jefferson and other hotels, but for some reason, about ten dollars cheaper.

Jen: Oh, that's good to know. Thanks!

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Just wondering, Va.: How many cab zones are Palace of Wonders, etc. from Union Station?

Fritz: If you get in at Union Station, I'm pretty sure it's two. You have to cross 2nd Street NE.

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Washington, D.C.: What is the meaning of life?

Jen: I think it has something to do with winning the game of Life by Milton-Bradley. At least, that's my understanding.

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Blue Gin: I agree that a lot of bars are filled with bushy tailed recent college grads. That is why I thought the over 25 rule at Blue Gin would make it a cool scene but I went on a Sat and it was a very strange crowd. You guys been there lately?

Fritz: I haven't been in a while, since they were shedding the good DJs and bartenders left and right. Why was it strange?

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Washington, D.C.: Can you tell me about who is performing at Fort Reno tonight? What type of music should one expect?

David: Joe Lally was the bassist for Fugazi, but don't expect any Fugazi-ish tunes. Quiet, reflective songs with just bass and some gentle drums. Sons of Disobedience features former members of Branch Manager (Dischord rock) and ska group Eastern Standard Time, I believe. The Caribbean play deceptively catchy indie-pop, or something like that. Hope that helps.

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Washington, DC: I think it's well-known fact that guys can smell desperation - that's why I keep telling my single girlfriends to concentrate on other things and guys will attracted to the nonchalant, confident girl who's got the rest of her life together and doesn't only care about finding THE ONE

Fritz: Rhome and I are applauding you. Just go out, be yourself and have a good time. Guys will follow -- unless you're giving off that "I'm only here with my girlfriends so don't talk to me vibe."

Rhome: I think this sound advice applies to both genders. As an addendum to Fritz's comment, be mindful if your girlfriends tend to circle the wagons. If the math isn't right (i.e. the dude doesn't have enough wingmen to occupy your friends when he's trying to kick it to you) a guy won't approach your crew when you're shoulder to shoulder and dancing around a pile of purses.

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Washington, DC: Suggestions for good delivery in the Dupont area? I haven't been able to find a good, cheap pizza delivery yet. Thanks!

Fritz: While it's not as cheap as Domino's, I maintain that Alberto's is the best delivery in the city.

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Washington, DC: Please, I really need help...and I know you've answered this before. But, I am trying to remember which museum it is that has some Friday night activity - jazz, wine, something fun like that. Can you please help me out? Thanks!

Fritz: Jazz in the Sculpture Garden, a perfect summertime date, with live music and drinks outdoors. Lucky you: tomorrow night is the Wayne Wilentz Group. Anyone who's been to U-topia knows the Latin jazz will be hot.

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Logan Circle, D.C.: Hey GOG's,

Where's the best barbecue/pulled pork in the District? Or at least a metro accessible alternative? I'd like to try some before summer is over. Thanks!

Fritz: I'm loving Taste of Carolina on 9th Street and the nearby Brown Sugar Southern Cuisine.

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Washington, D.C.: How to impress New Yorkers in DC? That is my current dilemma. I don't want to try to compete by taking them to some trendy place, so I thought something more DC would do. Are there any museums (or other DC-type places) that have drinks and music on Friday night?

Julia: You'd have to trek up to Bethesda for the gallery boozing this week. Bethesda Art Walk is off and popping tomorrow. How 'bout taking your crew to jazz in the sculpture garden or at the Natural History Museum ? For a drink, I'd recommend the Portico Cafe at the Reynolds Center -- yummy drinks and food. Definitely worth the trip. You could bar-hop in Chinatown afterwards.

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Bethesda, Md.: Will there be a going-away party for Jared Jeffries?

David: I've been non-stop celebrating for close to a week now, personally. We will all miss his ill-advised three-point attempts and airball layups.

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Arlington, VA.: It's embarassing, but...my boyfriend loves BAILEY'S! ekk! In the MALL!

He loves the Tuesday night drink specials and free darts, the dark wood and low key atmosphere. Where can I take him on the VA side/Orange Line, with a similar situation, but not a chain!?

Fritz: Dremo's. Bar the dark wood, it's everything you need and it's a step up from the Mall. (Which I'd only visit to go to Rock Bottom or to buy new sheets from Hecht's or something.)

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Arlington, Va.: What's up with Lazy Sundae? I was there a few weeks ago and there was a sign on the door saying they'd set up shop in an ice cream truck that was parked down the street. (Inconvenient, but true. Al Gore should have done a movie about THIS instead.) Then yesterday I stopped by, only to find the windows covered with a black tarp and not a word from the owners. What gives?

Julia: Lazy Sundae has skipped town . The ice cream shop now resides at 110 N. West Street in Falls Church.

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Attn Rhome: What is the best pick up line a guy has given you at a bar?

You are sassy -snaps

Rhome: You must bomb regularly at comedy open mikes.

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Out With the Girlfriends: I'm a woman, and if I'm looking to meet guys I make sure I'm out with a mixed-gender crowd. I think women who move in large herds are intimidating. Though, of course, sometimes a girls' night out with your 9 best girlfriends is fun, too.

Related question: Most of my friends are guys. I usually go out to bars with one of my guy friends...meaning people think we're a couple and I don't meet anyone! Any tips?

Fritz: Make it VERY CLEAR you're not together. Uh, how is probably a question for Carolyn Hax, but you could be like, "This is my GOOD FRIEND JOHN."

Or, you know, don't sit facing each other the whole time. Or spend every minute talking to each other. I'm trying to think what would clue me in that a guy and a girl weren't together.

I guess the answer is to bring another female friend with you.

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DC: My little sister just turned 21 and is coming to DC for one night only, next Tuesday. I want to take her out for a happy hour and then out later. We'll probably jump around, but any good suggestions for a Tuesday? Looking for a fun crowd - not too young but yet not a stuffy, older crowd either. We want to stay in DC - no crossing the river! Thanks!

Fritz: Tuesday's a tricky one, because there's always a slight buzz, but not usually a crowd. How about happy hour at Cafe Citron or a nice cocktail/glass of wine at Firefly, maybe a pitstop on the patio Gazuza, karaoke at the Reef?

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Annandale Dude: Fritz, my adult beverage drinking hero,

I didn't end up with your beer sugestion for last friday's bbq.

I ended up with a 12 of Molson Ice. A bit more bang for my buck. Sometimes a strong skunky beer is good when its hot out.

We grilled the corn with a lime/chipotle butter that was mighty fine.

Fritz: Honestly, and some of my friends laugh about it, but I'm notorious for bringing Bud tallboys to barbecues.

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WDC: Going out in DuPont with coworkers tomorrow evening to Gazuza. I've never been there - can the Gurus give me the skinny? The only info I have is Rhome's article.

Fritz: Gazuza has a nice patio with couches and plenty of stylish seats, expensive martinis and funky house music. Draws a good mix of gay and straight, suits and jeaned-and-t-shirted. Not a bad option if you're looking for something semi-fancy with people-watching opportunities.

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20009: My brother is coming into town next weekend and is interested in going to a place that plays house music next Saturday night. I am not really familiar with electronic stuff (not even sure if that is the best term to describe the genre) and am at a loss for where to go. Are there any places you recommend, paricularly anywhere that does not have a strict dress code or ultra expensive drinks?

Fritz: Five is option #1 these days for the multi-level club experience, but the sound is top-notch, there's room to move and the rooftop patio is/should-be ready to go again. Gallery in Silver Spring has been bringing in some names.

Smaller venues we like include the Science Club, Gua-Rapo and Mantis.

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RE: Tuesday: Wonderland has its See You Next Tuesday dance party. Not always a great crowd, but always fun.

Fritz: Yeah, but it's not going to be anywhere near as good without Cory...

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re: meet great guys 26-32: Obviously Fritz doesn't go out looking for great guys 26-32... maybe someone else should answer this question? Anyone?

Fritz: I'm great and I'm a guy in that age range. So there.

Julia: It obviously depends on what kind of guy you're looking for, which is what makes questions like this tough to answer well. You can obviously hit up Local 16 or the Big Hunt or any place with a meet market vibe to find guys. The people I've always enjoyed chatting with the most in the city I've met at Stetson's or Polly's or Pharmacy Bar, and none of those (except maybe Stetson's) really has a pick-up scene at all. I guess my point -- and Fritz's too, beyond all of the desperation talk -- is that finding nice guys is easier when you just go some place low-key to hang out. I never feel like shouting in someone's ear over a loudspeaker has gotten me more than a few easily deletable entries in my cell phone like "John with Popped Collar" and "Steve from Va." Sorry this wasn't more helpful, girlie! If we had the answer to this one, we'd be responsible for more marriages than the eHarmony guy! Good luck on the hunt!

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The Going Out Gurus: All right, kiddos. We're out of here. Back to work, D.C. We'll catch you next week.

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