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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, August 24, 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.

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The Going Out Gurus: It's that time again, friends. We've got a full house of eager gurus -- Anne, David, Fritz, Janet, Jen, Julia, Rhome and me, Erin -- ready to talk about everything going down. Massages and wine are a big theme this week. Are you looking to de-stress? Read about zoo-mania, nightlife hits and fried splendor on our blog and let's begin.

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Rockville, Md.: Hi,

I was in London recently and really enjoyed the cask conditioned ales I drank. Are there any places in the DC/B'more area that serve "real" ales? thanks!

Fritz: A subject near and dear to my heart. Birreria Paradiso tends to have a cask of something -- usually Clipper City. The two Rock Bottom Breweries in Bethesda and Ballston put their own ales on, as do Old Dominion's brewpub and the District Chophouse.

R.F.D.'s cask can be hit or miss -- I've had some great pints there, but also some that have been sitting tapped for a little too long. (Cask ales are living beers that spoil quickly if not drunk/handled properly.)

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Silver Spring, Md.: Gurus, I need your help! We just moved back from Boston, where we had a fabulous small wine store with an owner who gave fabulous recommendations. Since moving back to DC (ok, Md...) we can't find anyone to help us with wine! The lone place in -DOWNTOWN SILVER SPRING- is woefully overpriced and has a small selection. The one great wine store I know of, Daily Planet, is all the way in Alexandria.

Can anyone recommend a great small wine store with a knowledgeable staff and decent prices? That's not too much to ask, is it?

Thanks!!

Erin: Daily Planet is one of my favorites, but it's definitely a trek from SS. Somewhat closer to you, I am a big fan of Schneider's on the Hill for its thoughtful collection and helpful staff. When I was there last weekend, I found a bottle from a boutique winery that I'd tried to visit in South Africa and figured I'd never find around here. Definitely check it out or subscribe to the email list.

I think Pearson's has a decent selection.

Macarthur Beverages and Calvert Woodley are also very much worth a look.

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Zoo-mania, D.C.: Someone invited me at the last minute to go to the Brew-at-the-Zoo tonight and I have no idea what I just agreed to. What is this and what should I wear?

Fritz: Brew at the Zoo is the big -- and SOLD OUT -- National Zoo fundraiser with food and drink provided by 29 breweries and 16 restaurants. There will be animal demos, though probably not with my boy Slothie, live music, all the food you want and all the beer you can drink. (Last year, the food ran out pretty early, but FONZ assures me that won't be the case this year.)

What to wear? It's outdoors in a field on Lion and Tiger Hill and along the Olmstead Walk. Dress for comfort.

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Washington, D.C.:

Okay, that's it. I have at least six really nice pairs of shoes that have the heels worn down to the nubs and are in desperate need of repair. I typically take mine to Fortuna in Bethesda, which has always been great, but a wee bit pricey and waaay out of my way. Is there a reliable shoe repair place in Georgetown...or anywhere else closer to me that can handle the repairs? Please help me so I don't just go out and buy all new shoes!

Janet: Since I take all my shoes to Fortuna in Bethesda and that's the place I always recommend ... Any chatters have good, reliable places? Tell us about them.

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Rockville, Md.: Submitting early so I don't forget! I recently moved to the 'burbs and need some help! Can you suggest some fun bars in Rockville or Gaithersburg? I've been to Dogfish Head already. What about Growlers in Gaithersburg? Any info on that place. Thanks!

Rhome: Have you tried Firestation 8 ? Billiards and a lot of live music at that spot. Who here can weight in on Growlers?

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Capitol Hill: What's the scoop on Bourbon in Adams Morgan on Saturday nights? Looking to go out to someplace in that area that is more a late 20s crowd and thought this could be it. Is it packed? Is there a cover? If it's not a good choice, could you point me in the direction of someplace else? THANKS!

Fritz: Bourbon gets pretty packed, but it's more of a late-20s spot than Nolan's or Heaven and Hell. No cover. Other late-20s spots could include Bossa or Soussi.

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Washington, D.C.: Bachelorette party this Saturday here in DC. She wants to Salsa dance. I already recommended Havana Village and mentioned Cafe Citron. Are there other places I'm forgetting about?

Fritz: On the weekend, I'd skip Citron. If you're not tied to D.C., I'm really enjoying Caribbean Breeze in Ballston, or Cecilia's in Arlington.

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Van Ness: Hey GOGs,

Hoping you could help me with a few questions. There is a coffee shop on Connecticut Ave that has been in construction for well over a year. It's called "Sips" -- any idea when it might open? That area needs a coffee shop.

Also, any idea why there aren't any bars in Van Ness? Since Passport closed there are no neighborhood bars in the vicinity.

Thanks for your sleuthing!

Fritz: Don't know about Sips, but we were just talking about the lack of bars in Van Ness recently (and the lack of just about everything now that Revolution Records is closing). You might be able to get a drink at Charlie Chiang's, but would you really want to?

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Va.: Hey GOGs!! Thanks for the MANY helpful tips! My b-day is quickly approaching (next week) and I want my boyfriend to take me out to a nice, romantic dinner that won't set him back a whole week's work. You know what I'm looking for....cute table for two, candlelight, nice bottle of wine, good eats, no screaming children, or obnoxious wait staff, etc. Help a girl to help her boyfriend out since he has NO idea where to go. We are willing to stay in NOVA or travel to DC as well. THANKS!

Erin: Happy birthday. First, you should look into the dinner special that 1789 will run through early September. It's a good way to take advantage of a cozily romantic institution.

I'm a fan of the somewhat casual

Bistro at Restaurant Eve

, but it can certainly get a bit pricey. Other D.C. places:

Al Tiramisu

is nice inside and Tabard Inn is lovely.

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Arlington, Va.: One of yins (Fritz?) recommended Victory Lager and Stoudt's Gold Lager. Where do you get them around here? I have searched all of the obvious places in Virginia and some in DC but all I can find from those brewers are the freak-azoid triple-hop double-casked raspberry wheat beers.

Fritz: Stoudt's should be at Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits and Cleveland Park Liquors. (I usually get mine at the latter.) Think I saw it at the Wine Specialist, too, and maybe Pearson's.

Victory should be the same.

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Arlington, Va.: Is there a good activity or gathering place (that does not include bars or dance clubs) where women in their 20s can meet men of a similar age? I am thinking of something along the lines of volunteering, sports, or social clubs. Thanks!

Julia: I just blogged about dating ruts the other day and readers offered up some helpful suggestions, including taking Smithsonian Associates classes. Greater DC Cares is a great way to check out volunteer opportunities in the city. Sports are also good -- and around here, kickball is mentioned as one of the best. Check out one of these sites .

If you're into theater, the

Theater Lab

has great classes. There are also tons of art classes around town. Check out

these

Torpedo Factory classes.

Professionals in the City

hosts lots of singles events.

Hope this gives you a good start!

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Arlington, Va.: I was thinking about taking a beginning acting class. I have zero experience save for a disastrous turn in my 8th-grade musical. I was hoping y'all or the other chatters might be able to recommend one. I know most of the studios around here offer them, but I have no idea which ones are any good. A friend recommended the Washington Improv Theater, which looks fun, but I wanted to explore some other options before deciding. As for price, I was thinking no more than $250 for 8-10 weeks. Thanks!

Anne: Hey, what a cool idea, and this is a perfect time, as lots of places are registering for the fall now. WIT 's classes are especially good if you want to focus on improv, and there are lots of other choices, like at the Studio , Woolly Mammoth , etc. This site has some more ideas.

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Re: Gaithersburg/Rockville Bars: How about Summit Station in Olde Towne Gaithersburg?

Fritz: Summit Station closed and is now a brewpub called Growler's. I haven't made it up to check it out yet, but it's on my ever-lengthening list of Things To Do. (Never mind a lost weekend, I could have a lost YEAR just checking places out.)

Anybody have anything to report about Growler's?

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Washington, DC: Dear Going Out Gurus,

Please help. Tonight I am in Georgetown with two cousins ages 14 and 11. Recommendations for places for dinner and/or fun?

Thanks for your help!

Erin: How about BBQ at Old Glory on the back patio or Pizzeria Paradiso ? J. Paul's is also a standard safe bet for older kids. If they're adventurous, Neyla and Cilantro can be fun. You can treat them to post-dinner ice cream at Dolcezza or Thomas Sweet.

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re: Van Ness bars: The bar at Tesoro (Conn. and Yuma) is so much fun. The food there also is great.

Fritz: Can you tell me what makes it fun? What nights? Or do I just need to check it out for myself?

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Arlington, Va.: Whole Foods in Clarendon has Victory beers!

Fritz: Thanks!

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Bulmers or Strongbow: If anyone knows this, you would! I have now found two places that serve Strongbow (hard cider), Fado and the Irish pub in Dupont right off the circle . . can't recall the name. Do you know of anywhere else that serves Strongbow? Thanks very much!

Fritz: Bedrock Billiards always has Strongbow on draft.

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23rd & M: Hey doods- Was at the Beirut show last night at Warehouse Next Door. That place has some positives to it-- $3 beers, for instance ($2 if you can do the Nati Bo), and interesting bands. But they really need a little bit of cold-hearted capitalism to make sure shows go off without a hitch. The doors didn't open last night until almost an hour after they said they would, and Beirut didn't come on until almost 11:30. My friends and I had to leave at midnight since, you know, we have to work and all. Still Beirut played an awesome show and I got to hear most of the songs I wanted to. But what gives with the general disorganization around there? Any chance it will improve? (PS, Am already making plans to go see Beirut in NYC in Nov!)

David: That was quite a scene at WND last night, wasn't it? I showed up around 945 or so and the line wrapped around the block. Never seen anything close to that there. Lots of people left or went next door where there was a live audio feed of the show, but lots of people stuck around and as folks left, they were allowed in. It was actually run very well, and at a "more properly run" place like 9:30 or Black Cat, that couldn't have happened because once they hit their sold out number, that's it.

So that's part of the charm of WND. It's a lot more DIY than most places and the people working there are almost always very into the show and what's going on. And $2 Natty Bo, c'mon, how can you go wrong?

Also, doors didn't open on time because apparently soundcheck ran very long, and when you have no advance ticketing and have to take everyone's money 1-by-1, it can take a while. And for the record, I thought Beirut was solid, but I wasn't blown away by any means. "Postcards From Italy" is a very great song, though, that sounded great.

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Wine Shop: The Best Cellars chain is probably exactly what this person is looking for. The staff will always give helpful advice and recommendations based on your preferences. Also, they usually have sampling and most of the wines are $15 or under.

Erin: Best Cellars is certainly a good choice, but I've found that the chain's selection is a bit limited for my tastes.

That said, if you are a blank slate looking for recommendations without any idea of what you want, it's a nice and affordable place to start.

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Bethesda, Md.: As the end of summer draws near (sigh) my friends and I would like to go to a happy hour in DC where we could sit either at a patio or rooftop deck setting.

Any suggestions?

Fritz: A few recurring favorites of mine:

The patios at Helix, Union Pub, Bourbon Adams Morgan, Porter's, Ellington's on Eighth, the Exchange (when it's not Kickball Night) and the Big Hunt.

The roof decks at the Reef, Cleveland Park Bar and Grill and Marty's.

The seats right over the water at Cantina Marina.

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Liquor Stores in D.C.: I'd recommend Chat's Liquors just south of Eastern Market near the Marine barracks (503 8th St Se - Washington, DC). I used to go to Schneider's but Chat's has a personal edge. The owner/operator Burnie is very pleasant and helpful. He always helps me find a nice bottle at my price point (usu $10-20) as if I were getting something much more expensive. Chat's also has free tastings (usu. wine but sometimes liquor, etc) at least once a month and you can get on their email list for notices. Check it out ...

Erin: Got that, Silver? Thanks for the recommendation. I've never been and will have to check it out.

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Hey gurus, Posting early because of a meeting... My boyfriend and I are both exhausted after getting home from work. But we're starting to get sick of our normal weeknight routine of dinner and TV. What's something fun but still low-key we can do tonight that will get us out of our rut? (Preferably near the red line.) Thanks!

Julia: In your neighborhood, I'd stop by Artful Evenings at the Phillips. It costs $12, but it's a nice way to check out the art without the weekend madness. There's a lecture, but you don't have to go to that if you're not into it. Grab a bite to eat in the neighborhood before or after and you could be home by bedtime.

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Dangerous Citizens: Happy Thursday! We're having a small going away party for a friend tonight. Problem is, everyone has different musical tastes... We're looking for a place that has both good salsa and good hip hop on Thursdays. We're thinking DC, but are flexible. We'd really appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!!

Rhome: H2O has a night like that on Fridays and Avenue does it on Saturdays. The formula is similar around town: Salsa, meringue, bachata and reggaeton alternated with the popular rap & R&B hits of the day. If you're wedded to Thursday, try Pasion at Five .

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Washington, D.C.: Erin- Don't tell me you hate Ben's Chili Bowl... Please!

Erin: I won't. Where did that thought even originate? Though not a regular, I am an occasional patron of the Chili Bowl . I'd go more regularly if I wasn't terrified of becoming addicted.

That said, there are few places (save for my regular coffee haunts) where I

am

a regular. I'm always trying new places.

As for Ben's, it was listed as one of the

Gurus' favorite cheap eats

. Is that not enough of an approval stamp?

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Washington, D.C.: Where is a good place to get a facial in Chinatown? Does the Aveda Institute do them? Their web site just says it's a store there. Any ideas of good facial places where I can run in for a "doctor's appointment" during lunch or in the morning near work? Thanks so much!

Janet: You're in luck; the Aveda Institute in Chinatown does give facials -- by student aestheticians.

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Shoe Repair: I like Corrective Shoe Repair at 21st and P in Dupont.

Janet: For the person who lives in Gtown, here's a nearby option for shoe repair.

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Arlington, VA: My cousin is in town from Europe and wants me to take him and a few other girls (total = 8 people) to a dance club like he sees on TV. He wants it BIG, posh, multiple levels, and with good music. My only thought is Love. What are the demographics, type of people, and music at Love tonight? Would you recommend anywhere else? Thanks Gurus!

Fritz: Tonight, it's pretty much all about Love for that kind of experience. It's Earth, which is all about hip-hop, house, top 40 and salsa. (Don't miss Enferno on the second floor.) Demographics are college kids all the way up to thirtysomethings. Grab passes from www.dcclubbing.com so you don't have to pay $20 at the door.

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Arlington Shoe Repair: There's a great shoe repair guy at the intersection of Lee Highway and George Mason (right next to the 7-11). They're awesome.

Janet: Another suggestion for shoe repair.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi GOG - I finally need some advice and I have to submit early due to a meeting this afternoon. I read you every Thursday! Ok, so I have a friend coming into town Labor Day weekend and I need some help. The last time she was here we did all the tourist stuff on the Mall, etc. This time I am a little concerned because it's a holiday weekend and everyone else goes to the beach. Is there anything going on here in the Md./DC/VA area Labor Day weekend? I thought about a day trip to Annapolis but I have never been there and don't know where to go or what to do. Anything suggestions from you or other chatters would be appreciated! (Anything goes and we will drive anywhere.)

Janet: For the Annapolis part of the question, I think it's a great day getaway, especially if you like to see water and boats. Be forewarned that it won't be any less crowded than anywhere else and town will be teeming with tourists. That said, it's fun to walk around the town -- lots of cute little shops, places like Acme Grill (sandwiches, salads) or Buddy's (ribs) to eat lunch. Right in the center of town is a narrow stretch of water called Ego Alley, which is where boats come in to see and be seen. You can also walk around the Naval Academy and check out the names of their gray boats. Gotta love a boat named Flirt. Outside of town proper is Cantler's , which is the place to eat crabs. Wanna go fancy? Make a res at O'Learys .

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Washington, D.C.: I walked all around Adams Morgan last Saturday looking for Western Market, but I couldn't find it! I even saw a sign with an arrow pointing me in the right direction, but it led me no where. Is it hidden somewhere or was I just totally clueless?

Erin: Strange. I think it was going on last week, but things slow down in the late afternoon. They claim that it runs every Saturday through December, so I'd be surprised if it wasn't happening.

It's pretty easy to spot from the street - tents are set up in the courtyard in front of Marie Reed elementary school (just north of the tennis courts).

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Shoe repair: It's not in DC, but Sam Torry Shoe repair on Lee Highway in Arlington (probably 3-4 miles from DC) is great -- heel repair/ replacement is about $8 -12 if I'm remembering correctly.

Janet: And yet another option for shoe repair.

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Washington, D.C.: They serve strongbow at The Big Hunt in Dupont!

Fritz: Another cider sighting.

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Washington, D.C.: For the wine person -- I can't recommend it personally since I have yet to go, but there's a new wine store at Florida and 18th that looks pretty cool. It opened maybe six months ago.

Erin: That's a great call. I totally forgot about de vinos. I've been in a few times and spent more money than I should have. It's a small store, but I like the selection and have found more than a few interesting labels.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey gurus! I love your suggestions and do many of them on a regular basis, so now I'm writing with a dilemma.

I have Friday night plans with this great guy I just started seeing. So far, our dates have consisted of drinks and dinner or movies (with one exception trip to the museums). I'm looking for something fun that we can do that doesn't necessarily involve alcohol or food. Trying to focus on Old Town Alexandria or maybe in D.C. Bonus points if it's outdoors -- we don't mind walking.

Can you help? I want to knock this one out of the park. (I will of course give you all due props.)

Julia: Old Town is a great spot to take a picnic lunch and just chill out by the water. How 'bout lunching by the water, browsing the antique shops along the cobblestone streets and dropping in on the galleries at the Torpedo Factory ?

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus - you've discussed haircuts & waxings, can we discuss shampoos? I'd love an unbiased recommendation for some good hair products that'll leave my straight hair sleek. Everything my hairdresser sells is about $15 for 12 ounces. Ouch.

Janet: Believe it or not, I hear very good things about Pantene, which costs less than $5.

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Arlington: I'm looking forward to checking out Rock and Hotel this weekend. I have two questions:

1. Do you need advance tickets or can you just walk up and get in?

2. if I metro to Union Station, What's the easiest way to get there?

Thanks

Fritz: 1. No advance tickets. Buy them on the night at the door.

2. Cab. The X2 bus stops right outside, too.

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Anonymous: Duke's Shoe Repair - 202-667-3161 at 2000 14th St NW (that's 16th and U) is incredible and accessible.

Duke is (amazingly enough) a WWII vet and has old-fashioned craft values. He can fix anything - he even fixed one of my mother's favorite suitcases.

Janet: Thanks. That's a great suggestion.

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Washington, D.C.: Can you name a few good dock bars (i.e., places you could potentially drive a boat to) in the D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria area? I know of the Georgetown waterfront, but that's about it.

Fritz: Cantina Marina on the Southwest Waterfront will let you do this.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi, Gurus. The boyfriend and I would like to take a day trip next weekend on the lovely three day weekend. I'm thinking that most places will be ridiculously crowded -- like the shore and Hershey Park. Any ideas for less crowded but good day trip places? Thanks!

Anne: True about the crowds. I have been thinking about doing more exploring in Frederick or some Southern Maryland Bay-side beaches . A winery tour might be less crowded this weekend, too.

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Downtown Baby: Hey GOGs,

My girlfriend and I are heading out of town to meet my Parents in Annapolis this weekend. They're treating me to a Birthday dinner. We're looking for something fairly upscale, but a place that doesn't go crazy with a dress code (i.e. jeans and a nice pair of shoes acceptable). Seafood is always good in our book. Any recommendations?

Janet: I really like O'Learys .

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Arlington, VA: As a transplanted Yankees fan, is there ANYWHERE I can go to watch the games among my own? It seems there are Red Sox-friendly bars in every neighborhood in DC, Arlington, and Alexandria, but they don't want me there anymore than I want to be there. (And if you say there aren't enough NY fans in the metro area to necessitate a bar, you didn't see the masses turn out during the Nats series)

Fritz: I know there are a ton of Yankees caps -- I mean, fans -- in the Washington area, but as far as I know, only the 51st State Tavern in Foggy Bottom touts itself as a Yankees-friendly bar, giving priority to games on the flatscreens and offering drink specials.

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Washington, D.C.: Dear Gurus,

I am going up to NYC next week and thought I would try one of the many bus services. Do you or any of the chatters have experience with the Washington Deluxe company? They pick up around McPherson Sq, which makes it easy for me to get to.

Erin: Hi there. I usually use Washington Deluxe when I go up to the city and would certainly endorse it. It takes about 5-6 hours on a Friday afternoon. You should plan to get in line at least a half hour early as the line can wrap around the corner.

Entertainment-wise, they used to show early-90s Sandra Bullock-style romantic comedies (contain yourself), but last trip featured TV-land for the whole ride.

I recommend that you book a round-trip reservation in advance. It's $35 round-trip and you don't pay until you're on board.

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Alexandria / State Fair??: Hey Gurus

Love your chats. I noticed that the Maryland State Fair is starting this weekend and going for 11 days or something like that.

Thoughts on it? Is it worth the drive? I'm assuming since it's a "large state fair" there would be food, animals, vendors to buy things from etc.

You guys are great!

David: Here's one major thing the Maryland State Fair has going for it that most other fairs don't -- you can win (or, more likely, lose) lots of money there. That's right, gambling. Hit one trifecta, funnel cakes on the house! So if you want some horse racing to go with your usual fair stuff, this is for you. But even if you don't -- food, rides, vendors and, of course, Swifty Swine Pig Racing and Swimming Pigs. Sounds good to me.

_______________________

Washington, D.C., formerly Van Ness: I would not say the food at Tesoro is great, but the fact that they have a bar at all is heartening for that barless neck of the woods. It's almost your only option if you don't want to walk the 10 minutes down to Cleveland Park.

Fritz: True. Or walking up to Comet Pizza, whenever that opens... ah, pizza and ping-pong. Can't wait.

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Sadness in D.C.: Can you please explain to me who did the voting for the Post's Best Bets? I was looking through and there were so many "bets" that baffled me - most notably that The Rib Pit in Petworth wasn't even included on the BBQ list -- I know it's an up-and-coming neighborhood, but c'mon - that's the best BBQ in the city hands down! Then, PF Changs as the best Chinese followed by Meiwah? Where are these people coming from?

Anne: Not from the Rib Pit's get-out-the-vote campaign, apparently.

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Washington, D.C.: Looking for a massage in the Woodley Park/Adams Morgan/Dupont area for Sunday...any recommendations? Thanks!!

Janet: Can you go as far as Tenleytown? If so, I recommend Serenity Spa .

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K St. : Submitting early because I might have meeting later. My fiancee and I are being bought dinner at the restaurant in the Four Seasons in Georgetown by the Hotel's special events coordinator as part of her effort to convince us to have our reception there. My question is whether it is ok for us to order drinks during the meal. Obviously I wouldn't order the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu, but we usually get a reasonable bottle of wine or at least a few glasses whenever we go out. I was not sure what the etiquette was for this situation and I would really appreciate your guys' help.

Erin: If they're treating you, I assume that it's fine to order wine. The term is "wine and dine," after all. If I were in your position, I would probably ask to foot my own alcohol bill, but there's the potential that you'll be dropping a huge chunk of change there for your wedding, so you shouldn't feel sheepish. Also, I would also leave something extra for my server.

Enjoy the meal.

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Downtown, DC: Fritz wrote a great review of the recently-reopened New Vegas Lounge in 2003. Any idea if it's still that cool 3 years later? I want to go there with a group of family and friends Friday night to celebrate a birthday, but will need to find a backup plan if the Lounge has gone downhill. Thanks!

Fritz: I've been through a couple of times since -- most recently a few months ago -- and it doesn't seem to change much. Good R&B, good food, beer, kinda-expensive liquor.

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Alexandria, Va.: Any suggestions on places to go for a bachelorette party tonight? We're in our thirties and are looking for places to have to have drinks and then dancing later. Only requirement is that we want to avoid the tacky standard bachelorette fare.

Julia: I like Rasika for yummy cocktails and then I'd head over to some of the Connecticut Ave. lounges for non-tacky dancing. Check out the Loungin' section of my bachelorette party post for other ideas. Have fun!

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Shampoo: I heartily second Pantene's Sleek and Silky. It's very affordable and amazing. My hair is very very thick and it can get a bit on the frizzy and..big...side. This shampoo and conditioner always helps me manage it and it smells great. I buy it at CVS or Costco/BJ's in the bigger bottles. Love it!

Janet: An endorsement for Pantene.

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Bethesda, Md.: I need your help! My boyfriend and I are celebrating our one-year anniversary Labor Day weekend. We were supposed to go to Chicago but our plans fell through. We are now trying to plan a weekend getaway to the Virginia wine country and would like to find an inn nearby so we don't have to worry about drinking and driving. The problem is I have no clue about which vineyards are good and what inns/bed and breakfasts are nearby. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Jen: My husband and I recently stayed at Hopkins Ordinary, which is fairly close to some of the wineries and not far from the Inn at Little Washington. I think its official address is downtown Sperryville so there are a few restaurants and shops very close-by. Full disclosure: My aunt's brother owns the Inn, but even if he didn't, I would recommend it. You may have trouble getting a room, there or anywhere else, on short notice, so I would start making calls today.

If others have B&B recommendations, please feel free to share.

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U Street: What is the "new" Bar Pilar like? Is it still a good place to hang out for drinks, or is the focus really on food now? I'm looking for a low-key place for about 10 people to hang out on Saturday for a going away, and want to make sure that we aren't going to be unwelcome because we aren't eating dinner. Any other venue suggestions?

Fritz: It's still a good place for drinks, but I wouldn't ever send a group of 10 there on a weekend, because tables can be in short supply. On U Street, you could always try Cue Bar, Duffy's or Busboys and Poets. Actually, Duffy's.

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Clifton, Va.: Need help. I can't find the info anywhere. The new "Lassie" movie is opening in limited release Sept. 1: "Lassie Come Home." I have two collies and was wondering when or if the movie was opening in the D.C. area. Thanks.

Jen: I also have seen a Sept. 1 release date for "Lassie," a British film that was released in the UK last year, I believe. The D.C. PR reps who typically handle every movie that comes out don't seem to be handling this one, so I'm still trying to confirm whether D.C. is included in the Sept. 1 release. I should know in the coming days, so keep your eye on the site to find out what's happening.

Jen: Actually, I just found out more info before publishing my previous response. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like "Lassie" is coming to D.C. at all. It's opening in New York, L.A. and a few other markets on Sept. 1 but is not on the schedule for D.C. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...

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Washington D.C.: Hi, a new guy in DC that is tired of being alone all day long asks:

What is the best resource guide to help make a short-term "social event plan" that allows me to meet women/friends with similar interests to mine?

You know: I need a place for lunch, to know where to have a drink/glass of wine, and which club a "newbie" can hang out in w/o feeling like a total loner...that sort of stuff.

My job relatively solitary. I need to find a neighborhood in which to live, get a few DC "hangouts" and craft a brand-spankin'-new happy life for a successful, bright, 30-something DC guy that is happily and recently divorced. I'm talking about casual stuff, no relationship pressures...I'm not looking for the high pressure cheeseball situations...I need a plan that works out over the next few years...as I begin a new.

Rhome: We're probably your best (but not only) resource guide but your question is too high level for detailed assistance. Read the blog , sign up for the newsletter and try out things you read in the chat.

You want a plan before you actually get moving. But you can't put together a plan UNTIL you get moving. Meet us half way then you can really start seeing results.

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Washington, D.C.: Good news: I've lost 40-plus pounds! Bad news: None of my suits fit, and after Labor Day I'm back to business formal all the time. I'm considering getting them tailored, but I'm not sure it's worth it. Does anybody have a ballpark figure on how much it would cost me to get a women's suit (jacket and skirt) tailored down a couple of sizes?

Janet: Just a word from experience. Getting a suit or any garment of clothing tailored more than a size down is a risky proposition even for the best of seamstresses. You may be better off getting one or two new suits instead of spending money on clothing that may not fit you very well in the end.

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Alexandria, Va.: Where is the best place around here to go tubing down a river?

Anne: Butts Tubes and River Riders do lots of business. Who wants to cast a vote for the best?

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Washington, D.C.: I am obsessed with a little game called 'photo hunt'. Although, I know my passion for this game is not alone. I am having a difficult time finding decent places that offer this visual challenge. I was hoping the one of the Gurus, share my passion for 'photo hunt' and can provide some places for me to try out.

Fritz: Asylum has it on the bar. I'm still grumbling because Pharmacy doesn't.

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Silver Spring, Md.: A friend of mine has been in the Peace Corps in Africa and she's coming to the US for a visit starting this weekend. I'm taking her to brunch but don't know where to go. The facts are: she wants a traditional American breakfast/brunch, she's staying in Penn Quarter and I'm in Silver Spring, she doesn't have a lot of extra money to spend on an extravagant spread. So, my question is where would you recommend we go? I'd prefer some place that's not ear-splittingly loud so that we can talk and best would be on the red line, but that's not essential.

Erin: Here are a few thoughts: Viridian is nice, though sometimes slow, at brunch. It doesn't get more American than Old Ebbitt and you might be pleasantly surprised by Dupont Grille .

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Alexandria, Va.: Where is the best place to get certified for scuba diving? I need to be certified by Thanksgiving for a trip with my boyfriend's family to Key Largo. No preference on where, willing to go into DC or Md., but live in VA.

Janet: Don't know if they do it anymore, but the Y on Rhode Island in the District used to certify.

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Washington, DC: My friends and I love Project Runway, and I've heard rumors that there are bars where they play it...any truth to this? Is it worth going or am I better off in the comfort of my own home where I can yell at the designers to Make It Work!

Fritz: We've covered this in the chat before: Tonic is pick #1, with Bourbon Adams Morgan as pick #2.

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Washington, D.C.: I am in desperate need of a new hairstylist in the District...preferably one who is a wiz with short ladies' hair. I need a new look for the fall. Any suggestions?? Thanks, Gurus!!

Janet: Try Bang . They have two locations -- U Street and a new one in Chinatown.

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Arlington VA: Any ideas about where to go for dancing to 80s music? Is Polly Esther's downtown still open?

Fritz: Nope. The long-running '80s party at HEAVEN AND HELL!!!! is tonight, though.

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NY, NY: Pour House has Photo Hunt.

Fritz: Thanks.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hey there. (Submitting early due to lame, required training.) Four friends and I are going to a movie in Bethesda tomorrow night and would like to do dinner before the show. We're all pretty adventurous in our tastes BUT we are pretty cheap and don't drink (I mention this only because it just means we don't need a good bar). Any suggestions? Thanks much!

Jen: If you're going to a movie in Bethesda, I assume it's either at the Landmark or the Regal, both of which are very close to the always-crowded Woodmont and Bethesda Ave. corridor. Near the theaters, you could try Jaleo, which can be cheap depending on how many tapas you share. Cafe Deluxe isn't adventurous, but it's fairly reasonable and a reliable neighborhood restaurant. Delhi Dhaba is in that same area and fairly reasonable, too, if you like Indian.

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Calvert Woodley: I absolutely endorse Calvert Woodley - they're an excellent wine resource. Almost more important to me, their deli is phenomenal. I think it is has the best cheese in DC, and believe me, I take my cheese seriously!

Erin: Thanks, CW. I, too, love the cheese. Have you been to check out the cheese at Cowgirl Creamery? Highly recommended (particularly the one doused in Sauternes).

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Springfield, Va.: What is the vibe like at Jammin Java? Is it a bunch of young yuppie parents out for a big night out in beautiful downtown Vienna, blissfully aware that they are only moments away from their little ones in case of an emergency?

David: This will probably come off sounding harsh, and it's not meant to be, but there really isn't a vibe at JJ. It's kind of vibeless. Doesn't mean it's not a good place to see a show. And while there are certainly still shows that bring out the young yuppie parents/folkies/etc, there's more of a post-frat thing going on there now.

Also, tonight's Ditty Bops show is sold out, in case people were thinking of heading out there.

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Alexandria, VA.: Comment on last week's chat:

Fritz - "hefe" designates the "unfiltered" part of a weizen. Therefore, no such thing as an "filtered hefe". If its filtered, its just a weizen. Just an FYI...

-------------

If you are going to drink wheat beer, go for a real one. Try Franzikaner or Erdinger, or any other GERMAN weizbeir

Fritz: I picked up some large bottles of Schneider Weiss's Kristall at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits a couple of days ago. (It's a filtered hefe). That was a beautiful beer, and very refreshing for an afternoon on my building's roof deck.

Fritz: Yeah, that was me typing too quickly and shortening hefeweizen down to hefe, txtmsg stylee. My bad.

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Shoe repair: There's Sky Valet in Gtown right by Bistrot Lepic. They are fabulous for repairing shoes - making old ones look like new - but pricey. If you have good and expensive shoes it's totally worth it.

Janet: There you have it. If your shoes are worth it to you, here's the place to go.

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Labor Day Visits: Annapolis is a good idea and I like making this about the region.

If you want to beat the crowds, head for the hills! I like Skymeadow State Park, just 'beyond' Middleburg ... oh yes, and you can stop in Middleburg. Of you could go 'Civil War Battlefielding' out near Frederick and have a homestyle meal in Frederick

For more history, I LOVE Gunston Hall - George Mason's plantation. It's no further away than Mount Vernon, but in my opinion a much more satisfying option.

Fritz: Gunston Hall is rad, and the opposite of themeparky Mount Vernon.

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Labor Day Weekend Day Trip: For the ones celebrating a one-year anniversary, try Poplar Springs (www.poplarspringsinn.com). The rooms are awesome, the food to die for and the spa is uber-great.

Jen: Another suggestion for our anniversary couple. Thanks.

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Washington, DC: omg, i wasted tons of quarters on photo hunt in college. love it.

Fritz: Play it at Asylum on Saturday and you can get beers for a quarter while you feed your quarters into the machine. How's that for synergy, eh?

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Northern Virginia: I'm sure you guys have answered this but I can't seem to find a searchable archive of your chats to find out for myself. Best wine tour in Virginia? Are there any gems that are often overlooked? I'm thinking of taking the girl one day over Labor Day Weekend and don't want to get stuck with throngs of other vacationers!

Thanks so much!

Julia: Funny you should mention this, I've been feverishly researching Virginia wineries this morning!

I've only done the wineries with my own transportation, so I don't really know what the best tour is, but I'd give the

Virginia Wine Country Tours

site a try. They offer a bunch of different tours of the different regions and appear to cost as little as $35 per person. They also organize tours for private groups, so if you wanted to rally your friends together, for about $55 a person, you could do exactly the tour you wanted.

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Help at the last minute!: I got stuck in a meeting, but I need your help desperately! I know NOTHING about Maryland, but I have a date on Tuesday night with a crab state boy! We want to go to dinner somewhere between DC and Columbia, Md. Someplace moderately romantic would be great, but it can even be a chain...it doesn't matter. The only problem is that I'm a vegetarian, so someplace with veggie options, at least a few, would be great! Thanks for your help!!!

Erin: How about Iron Bridge Wine Co. in Columbia? I'm itching to get out there, but have yet to make the trek. If you go, write back and let me know how it is.

There's also Tavira in Chevy Chase, I suppose.

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Waterfront SW: Good Afternoon,

I just moved back to DC after a 3 year midwest stint. Need to find the low-key lounge/bar spots. I used to spend lots of time at Aroma in Cleveland Park and Bar Nun on U St. What's new where a late 30's, rich, handsome male can have a drink and meet some fine mommas, without dealing with the suburban power drinkers? Thanks!

Rhome: Science Club, Tabaq, Gazuza, Bourbon, Eyebar, IndeBleu, Spy Lounge... you've got tons of options.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I need your help gurus! A good friend, her husband and their six-month-old daughter are going to be in town on Sunday from St. Louis. We are going to meet for dinner in Georgetown. His taste runs to Southern/soul food/big chunks of meat. She and I both are pretty omnivorous. Any suggestions? I have no ideas!

Erin: I can't believe that I'm recommending this twice in a chat, but Old Glory is the only place that comes to mind as meaty and good for accommodating a baby.

Clyde's is another good scene for babies.

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Washington, D.C.: I'd like to take salsa lessons, but not at a bar. Any suggestions?

Fritz: You mean like a series of classes instead of the endless "free beginner lessons" offered around town? I have nothing but good things to say about Jeri Dembrak, who teaches a four-week series in Arlington. Her schedule is at thesalsanews.com.

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Tailoring Question: Cheers on the 40 pound weight loss! About two years ago I was in the same boat and had two suits that I adored that were HUGE on me. I tried to have them taken in and they looked really bad. I think the money you spend on tailoring could be put toward some nice new suits - try Ann Taylor Loft. That's where I go.

Fritz: NO ANNE TAYLOR LOFT IN THIS CHAT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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Montgomery County: Why don't Trader Joe's and Whole Foods sell beer and wine in Montgomery County? Or is it a Maryland thing?

Fritz: Because Montgomery County is the last remaining Soviet state when it comes to liquor, thanks to a stupid (but probably profitable) alcohol sales system.

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Alexandria, VA: in old town, O'Connell's and Murphy's both have strongbow, but there's been a problem with getting it delivered lately. it may have been resolved. I HOPE!

Fritz: I'm sure you're not the only one hoping.

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Arlington, Va.: Have you noticed that people in your chats use a lot more exclamation points than other chats?!?! I've never met a more excited group of people!!!

Jen: Me either!!!!!! They must! really! love! Got Plans?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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16th and K: Gurus, A buddy of mine told me I absolutely have to check out the Yayhoos at IOTA tonight. What can I expect?

David: A rowdy, raucous good time provided by people who can wow you with their musical chops but still stick to pretty basic rock 'n' roll for the most part. Should be fun.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus, need your help finding a fun place to take my cousin (21 years) and her 20 year old friend on Friday and/or Saturday nights. They're from out of town and I'd love to take them out in Adams Morgan or Georgetown. Any good bars or lounges that will let the 20 year old in? Maybe if we went for dinner first? Thanks!

Fritz: Even if you take them to dinner first, places like Tryst and the Reef -- which are all-ages for meals -- go 21-and-over at 9 p.m. and you may be asked to leave.

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Photo Hunt: Garrett's has 2 machines - and Mama Quan's has one too (except it's called What's the Difference - but it's the same as Photo Hunt).

Or if you ever find yourself down in Charlottesville - pretty much all of the bars down there have it.

Fritz: Garrett's si, Mama Quan's no.

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Washington, D.C.: Anything exciting happening in D.C. this Sunday? Any new/cool exhibits in any of the museums?

Julia: The exhibits at the big museums are winding down at the moment. I'd check out Klee or Venetian Paintings before they go, if you haven't already.

On the gallery scene, I'm itching to check out the

Document

this weekend. The

gallery shows

of recent BFA and MFA graduates around town are all pretty cool too.

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ummm...: what's photo hunt?

Fritz: It's a spot-the-differences-between-two-photos touch-screen computer game that's found in a number of bars.

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Falls Church, Va.: Hi Gurus,

I am looking for a place to become a regular at after work & walking the dog. Needs to be pretty cheap and not that adventurous re: food. Prefer nonchain. Ideas? Thanks.

Fritz: In Falls Church? Ireland's Four Provinces and Broad Street Grill are calling your name.

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Alexandria, Va.: Gurus, I am looking for good seats to the best show in town this week. That's right, the demolition of the Wilson Bridge! It's not every day you get to see a universally-loathed bridge bite the dust, and I want to be there, despite the probable rain and poor visibility (only a crescent moon that night). My only problem is, I don't know where to go to get a good view!

Any ideas? Bonus points are awarded for locations outside of the "getting hit by falling concrete" range, and double bonus points for something with an overhang so the storm won't be so bad.

Erin: I won't get double bonus points -- bring an umbrella if you're scared of rain -- but I would recommend watching from the Old Town waterfront in front of the fairly new housing development. To get there, head south along the pathway from the Potomac View/Windmill Hill dog park and you should find a prime place to take a seat and watch the destruction.

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Belgian Beer: What's the deal with L'Enfant in Adams Morgan. I've driven by and seen the nice patio but I hear they have a great beer selection. Anyone know more about it? Worth going?

Fritz: I'm a L'Enfant fan because of that patio. The beer lineup isn't mindblowingly good -- Stella! Delirium! -- but the half-price Belgian happy hour on Tuesday is a great time to explore.

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bachelorette parties: I love me some bachelorette parties.

those girls are always having a blast.

its fun to find them and hang out with them.

Do you think I have developed a bachelorette party addiction by looking on this chat to see where they will be heading?

Fritz: Why don't you just go hang out at Rumors every week?

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Washington, D.C.: Happy Thursday, Gurus! What are some good spots in D.C. to picnic? I'm looking for a place for a Saturday afternoon romantic picnic with the boyfriend that isn't crowded (i.e. not the National Mall with the tourists) and is pretty (maybe near water with some nice vegetation). We've done Haines Point and Great Falls, so I'd like something with that kind of feel to it. I'd prefer inside the District, but close-by Virginia or Maryland if the scenery is worth it would be fine -- as long as there's parking. And if we can sip wine without breaking too many laws (i.e. not on National Park grounds) that'd be great! Thanks!

Anne: In D.C., the Arboretum and Rose Park , next to Dumbarton Oaks, come to mind. I recently brought my Cafe Divan takeout to one of Rose Park's iron benches facing a giant lavender field, and that's a great way to spend a summer evening. Now, of course, you can't drink on Park Service grounds, but the Washington Sailing Marina store, right behind Indigo Landing , is looking into getting a permit for beer. If that comes through, you might one day be able to sip on the back lawn behind the store -- a spot with an incredible view.

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Washington, D.C.: OK, how about this... any good shampoo recommendations for products that don't test on animals?

Erin: Fritz will probably skewer me for chatting about hair stuff, but I used to like MOP's glisten shampoo. MOP stands for Modern Organic Products, so its cruelty-free. Most high-end products have cruelty-free disclaimers these days, though.

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Alexandria, Va.: Any suggestions for Friday for a couple of thirtysomethings who love indie rock and dance music, but don't get out to the clubs as much as they used to?

David: You can try Liberation at DC9 or the Girl Friday DJ Collective on the backstage of the Black Cat for the indie/dance thing. If you want some live tunes, might want to check out the Gypsy Eyes showcase at the Rock and Roll Hotel. It will be twangy, but it will be good.

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Annandale dude: Fritz, my adult beverage drinking hero.

Alas, this might be my last week with y'all for a while. School starts next week for us teachers. Scary, I know.

So I picked up a tall boy of old speckled hen.

The color inside the bottles and the fox on the label have always intrigued me.

What should I expect?

Fritz: I love OSH. Fantastic amount of malt with some sweetness. Prefer it on cask, but the bottles are always preferable to cans.

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Washington, D.C.: I took some great acting classes at the Shakespeare Theatre a couple of years ago and highly recommend them. I think they're in the price range the chatter was looking for. Andrew Long and Elizabeth Long are particularly good.. what I did was take a voice/speech class there first and then segue into an acting class from there... kind of tuning up the instrument.

Anne: Good to know. Thanks for speaking up.

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Washington, D.C.: I am looking for a good hangout spot for a mid to late thirties SF -- R&B, old school hip-hop or jazz. Being single is really sucking right now and I need to get out to try to change that.

Rhome: Hurry up and get to Juste Lounge !

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Alexandria, Va.: Dear Gurus,

After a long summer with absolutely NO vacations, or even free-time for that matter, I desperately need a relaxing long weekend retreat (not necessarily on Labor Day Weekend). Any ideas for something new within a 3 to 4 hour drive?

In the past, I've hit Annapolis, St. Michael's, Ocean City, Dewey Beach, Assateague Island, Virginia Beach, Charlottesville, Leesburg, the VA Wineries, Fredericksburg, Harper's Ferry.

Jen: Sounds like you have done your share of weekend escapes. I didn't see Philadelphia, Cape May or Williamsburg, Va. on that list. Those all sound like viable candidates to me.

For more ideas, check out the

archive of Escapes columns

. There are plenty more ideas to be found there.

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Silver Spring: Why no ATL love, Fritz? Anyway, Loehmann's in Friendship Heights is the place to go for suits - they usually have a pretty good selection and put them on nice two-fer sales.

Fritz: Me and the ATL go waaaaaay back. I just hate that the Metro looks like a freakin' Ann Taylor/ Ann Taylor Loft catalog in the mornings. Same with the Hill. And K Street. And...

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Help Gurus! I'm hoping you can help me with an out-of-towner. My beautiful, young 54-year-old mother is coming to visit labor day weekend. She's done the touristy thing here a bajillion times, and she wants to try something different. Definitely relaxing and minimal amounts of crowds. I don't mind leaving the district, but I don't have a car. Any thoughts? Daytime or nighttime activities appreciated, but I need more help with daytime things. Thanks!

Julia: Well I assume you've taken her to Eastern Market , since you live in Capitol Hill and all. That's my fave non-touristy tourist thing to do. If you haven't, do that, but the crowds might be a bit of a hassle.

How about checking out the Dupont Farmer's Market on Sunday and then eating some of the goodies you pick up in a Dupont Circle picnic? She might get a kick out of checking out downtown on Saturday. Ford's Theater will be making

artificial snow

fall on 10th Street and I imagine the usually dead-on-weekends downtown area will be bustling a little, but not too crowded. You guys could grab a bite to eat at the recently reopened

American Art Museum/Portrait Gallery

afterward. The Portico Cafe is really lovely.

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re: acting classes: I'm a student at the Studio Theatre. The beginning class there is a good choice. The classes are usually very diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, and experience. One thing to remember, though, is that they expect you to take the class seriously (be on time, attend all sessions, etc).

Anne: Hey, thanks for the tip. Good background for our would-be thespian.

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Arlington, Va.: Gurus, 1. You guys rock!

2. I am going on a third date with a guy. He's a low key person who likes good food. I don't want something too expensive but he's new to the area and I want to show him some authentic DC on a Friday night. Any suggestions for our date?

Erin: When I think "authentic DC," I think of foods that are not date-friendly (ie: messy Ethiopian and bbq). If you're beyond that stage, Etete is delicious Ethiopian and its neighbor, Taste of Carolina, has a killer bbq sauce. How about an early reservation at Zaytinya (they take 'em until 6:30) or the rooftop of Perry's?

If you're in the U St. area, I think Al Crostino is very sexy, Simply Home is quite nice and Creme Cafe next door is charming and budding with local flavor.

Thanks for the compliment. Hope your date rocks.

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Photo Hunt: They have it at Chief Ike's, both upstairs and downstairs.

Fritz: Ah, Chief Ike's. I'll be playing it tonight while sipping those two-for-$5 PBRs.

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re: "rich guy": I'm glad he threw that in there (also, what's a suburban power drinker?)... stop telling him about all the good hang outs. He's not the type of person we want to meet.

Fritz: But there are probably some Ann Taylor-wearing Trophy Wives In Training (tm-The Madison) out there trying to find a guy like that. Did you ever think about THEIR needs?

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Washington, D.C.: I was just reading the blog on dating from last week. Maybe this was discussed somewhere and I missed it... But where could I take a pottery class? I live and work downtown. Anywhere nearby?

Julia: Glen Echo and Torpedo Factory have classes, but, unfortunately they are both outside of the city. The Corcoran offers classes as well. Pottery Guy, want to tell us where your class is?

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Arlington, Va.: I liked the Weekend article on visiting alternative neighborhoods. Is parking hard around U Street? Is one subway exit better than another?

Anne: I liked Weekend's shopping story , too -- I couldn't agree more with the premise that window shopping is a great way to explore new places. Parking isn't hard if you're going on a weekend, mid-day, I don't think. For shopping, I'd take the 13th Street Metro exit (the memorial exit is closer to clubs), but no biggie either way.

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Alexandria, Va.: Growlers seems to be just like the old Summit Station (which was just like the Old Olde Town Tavern). Walls are bright yellow and they've put pressed tin (maybe brass b/c they're gold-tone) behind the bar.

I've heard good things from a friend about the fried mac and cheese bites. The beer tastes the same, to me.

Fritz: Cool. Thanks.

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Bethesda, Md.: Last night at the Strathmore Neil Young tribute there was an unannounced appearance by a band called the Yahoos. they did a truly rollicking version of Rockin' in the Free World. They then announced they were appearing at Iota tonight. Who are these guys?

David: It seems like Yayhoos (not Yahoos) fever is sweeping Got Plans. To add to what I said before, they are one of those "supergroups" that you hear so much about, but they are not sponsored by Viacom. Dan Baird, who fronted the Georgia Satellites, is the front man here, and the band also features members of bands like the Del Lords and the Woods.

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Washington, DC: Are any of you Notre Dame fans? Do you know any? Do you know any bars they go to to watch their Fightin' Irish on the football field? I have a couple rabid fans visiting me Labor Day weekend who want to watch the game on Saturday night, and here I am, no cable, no satellite dish, no nuthin'. Any ideas? Thanks!

Fritz: No Notre Dame fans here, but the official alumni hangout is Mister Days. Sine still draws a crowd, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Hiya Gurus!

What's not to be missed in Williamsburg, Va.?

Going next weekend.

Many thanks!

Jen: Obviously that depends on your interests.

I would say spending some time on the streets of Colonial Williamsburg is a definite must. You can buy the tour tickets if you really want the full experience, but you also get a good sense of the history simply from walking Duke of Gloucester St. and the surrounding area.

Other musts:

If you like ale and "olde" time sing-a-longs, visit one of the taverns, like Chownings.

If you like kitschy knick-knacks, visit the Williamsburg Pottery.

If you're an amusement park person, clearly Busch Gardens and Water Country should be top priority.

If you just want to soak up some atmosphere, take leisurely strolls along the aforementioned D.O.G. Street and through the William & Mary campus.

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IKEAbound: I'm making a run to IKEA on Sunday in the middle of the day so my fiance and I can finally move past our ghetto target plastic drawers. Is there anything interesting to check out over there while I'm out in that area?

Erin: I was thinking about visiting Ikea this weekend, too. I don't have any helpful suggestions (I probably would if I knew which one you were hitting), but don't forget that college move-in time is right around now, so it's likely to be a mob scene.

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Fairfax VA: So where do two females over 40 who just want to dance -- rock, salsa, disco -- and have fun go on a Saturday night? Preferably Virginia.

Fritz: I've seen people over 40 dancing at Ned Devine's Irish Village in Sterling, as well as eCiti in Tysons Corner. Ned Devine's plays more modern club music, while eCiti is more eclectic.

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Mount Pleasant, Washington, D.C.: I'm no Pottery Guy, but my roommates loved the pottery class at Hinckley Pottery in Adams Morgan (at Kalorama and 17th)

Julia: A vote for Hinckley .

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Annandale dude: photohunt is an electronic version of highlights the magazine.

Just steal one from your doc office and bring it to the bar.

the osh can i gots has the air ball in it. so it should have a nice head on it

Fritz: The OSH in a can is too similar to Guinness, Annandale dude. Try it in a bottle. The head is not what makes the beer great -- it's the flavor.

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Capitol Hill, D.C.: To the potential Rock & Roll Hotel go'er. Keep in mind the X2 bus runs down Hst in general so you can pick it up at many spots inc Chinatown. Also, the closest stop to Union Station is at the rear exit. Go out through the parking garage then to the bottom of the bridge at 3rd & H NE.

Fritz: Good advice. I should note that I always take the bus because I'm cheap like that and have never had a problem.

Also, don't forget that the Englert bars (RNRH, PoW, tRatB, Argo) will offer free cab rides back to Union Station between 10 and 2.

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Washington, DC: I'm a recent San Diego transplant, in my early 30s, am NOT a member of the "Ann Taylor-wearing Trophy Wives In Training (tm-The Madison)" sect, and would like to know some relaxed, not too pretentious places where I can hang out, get to know people, drink good beer, etc. Oh, and I would prefer not to meet guys like the rich guy.

Fritz: I think we've mentioned several dozen during today's chat.

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District of Columbia: Hi Gurus,

I have a question from left field: what are your favorite cocktails, respectively? Extra points if you include the bar that makes your favorite. Gracias from a devoted fan of the blogs and chats.

Rhome: Black Label & Ginger Ale (cocktail? more like a mixed drink)

Erin: Like my usual mood, I enjoy a good dark and stormy.

Julia: I'm usually a beer girl myself, but these days I've been drinking amaretto sours like crazy. I know, I know, I'm cringing with the girliness as I type.

Fritz: As of today, it's the regular martini (wet, Plymouth gin) at Urbana.

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Cap Hill: Going out to dinner with a small, likely well-dressed group Saturday night at Tabaq and want to have a pre-drink cocktail at somewhere nice(ish). Not Round Robin nice, but definitely not divey, either. Can you recommend a place around the restaurant that would fill that need?

Thanks.

Fritz: I'd say Cafe Nema would fit the bill.

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The Going Out Gurus: That's it for us. Thanks for playing and don't forget to tune into W*USA for the 5 p.m. news this afternoon to see Fritz howl about doggie happy hours.

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