Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
of the City Guide
Thursday, October 12, 2006; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET,'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.

____________________ Hello, everyone. A chill will be in the air this weekend, but apparently that's not stopping you from making plans. You've got lots of questions, and we've got at least some answers. Let's get started.


Washington, D.C.: Going to the movies Friday night with the BF. Where's a good place to eat beforehand in Chinatown that has a quiet atmosphere where we can talk and relax? Chinatown seems to be so busy and loud -- I don't want to try to have dinner next to a loud, partying crowd or a bunch of kids out on the town. Also, any nice place in Chinatown to head after the movies for a nice, quiet, relaxing drink?

Erin: How about Kanlaya for Thai food? It's pretty tasty, quick enough to ensure you'll make the movie and the noise levels haven't ever deafened me. If you're looking for something more upscale, I love Cafe Atlantico . As for relaxing drinks, 701 and Cafe Atlantico are pretty safe best. They're not open really late, but they're less packed than a lot of local scenes. Newbie PS 7's might also be good: I like that lounge area.


Washington, D.C.:

I found the Perfect vintage dress for my Halloween costume! The only problem is that its just a wee bit too tight. Can you recommend a tailor, in Northwest or near a metro, that can let it out a little without costing more than the dress itself? Thanks!

Janet: Fixing it and how much that will cost could depend on where it's too tight, but in any event, Imperial Valet is pretty centrally located.


Washington, D.C.:

Dearest Gurus, Is there a craft or fabric store that's metro-accessible where I can find fake flowers, paint, etc. for my DIY Halloween Costume? Is there any chance it is near a costume or party supply store?

Janet: Bruce Variety would be my pick. It's walkable from the Bethesda Metro, but it's not a short walk.


Washington, DC: Late last week, one of the bartenders from the Argonaut was shot in the head and critically wounded on his way home from work. The Argonaut is hosting a benefit for Quike (pronounced Key-K) on Friday October 13, 7pm-late at the Argonaut, located at 1433 H St NE. There will be a silent auction and a DJ. This chat has been a great supporter of the Argonaut in the past, and I would appreciate it if you could help get this info out there!


Rhome: Consider it done.


Fairfax, Va.: Family is coming in to DC to run/watch Marine Corp Marathon. I am looking for a post race DC or Arlington restaurant not too pricey that will please young 5y/o chicken nugget fan and old 65 y/o father (running 4th amazing marathon!) Does that place exist?

Erin: Man, props to your dad for his fourth. I wonder if I could even manage 1/4 of a marathon. Don't think so.

I think that place exists. I often recommend Faccia Luna for families because it's got a kids' menu. In this case, it's also got lots of pizza/pasta options for carb-replenishment.

If you're willing to go with a chain, Ted's Montana Grill in Crystal City would also work, though it's probably going to be a mob scene post-marathon. Cafe Deluxe, Two Amys, Hard Times and Boulevard Woodgrill come to mind.


Washington, D.C.: In honor of "The Grudge 2" debut this weekend, can you help me locate DVDs of the Japanese original, "Ju-On"? I have checked at all of the local Blockbusters and no one has it. I would LOVE to check it out before I go see the U.S. version.

Jen: I suspect other people may have had the same "Ju-On" instinct, which could explain why it's checked out at the Blockbusters. You could try Video Vault in Alexandria, Video Americain in Takoma Park or any of your neighborhood Hollywood Videos. Beyond that, I would recommend either starting a Netflix subscription ASAP or asking a friend who has one to order the movie for you. Between my Netflix subscription and the DVDs that get sent to me, I rarely go to the video store anymore and, I have to say, I don't miss it. Although I do miss Erol's. Those huge red cases were the best.


Showbar: Anyone know (Fritz) if they're having a show tonight, and if so, what?

Fritz: Man, you know I can't pass up a chance to promote Kitty Victorian, who's officially my favorite burlesque dancer in D.C., so ... tonight's show features Kitty Victorian and "JoJo the Decadent Pierot," which I'm guessing involves mustaches. Show starts at 8.


Laurel, Md.: Hello Going Out Gurus!

Am going to hear Dieselboy and Bobby Jae at the Rock and Roll Hotel tonight. Am a longtime fan of both DJs but the venue is new for me. Have heard that parking is a challenge. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Fritz: Parking isn't a challenge -- there are almost always spaces within walking distance -- but you need to be safe about it. Park somewhere where there's light and foot traffic.

As for Dieselboy -- I wanna see how he'll do in a 300-person venue. I imagine the sound will be deafening.


Arlington, Va.: Help! A man that I was introduced to through my parents will be visiting this weekend. Long story short, we feel a real connection to each other, but this is the first time we will be meeting in person.

His international flight will be arriving very late on Friday night (1am) and I want to take him out for a meal as I know he will be starving. What is a good place in DC we can go to after hours? I want to avoid the drunk Adams Morgan crowd (no Pizza Mart).

Thanks! You guys are fabulous!

Erin: Busboys and Poets is open until 2:30 on weekends, but the best bet, especially if there's a love connection, might be Bistro Francais , which serves until 4. For the D.C. experience, Ben's is open late, but a half-smoke + long international flight might not = happily ever after.

Also, I'm amazed that your parents have successfully matched you. That happen for anybody else?


Washington, D.C.: Peace, family! Is the Sunday evening "grits and gravy" style party/chill spot at Bohemian caverns still on?

Fritz: Sunday afternoon -- 4 to 10 with DJ Bill Source. It's his birthday party, so be good to him. I'm thinking I'm going to stop by for some of that sweet soul and funk music, free food (Nichelle is the bomb!) and cheap drinks.


Rockville, Md.: Hi guys. I am planning a bachelorette party for my sister with a small group of girls (6-7 of us). She's vetoed strippers and drag shows, but definitely wants to go out. I was thinking of seeing a show at the DC Improv, but we need some place to go afterwards with some dancing and drinks. International music would be a plus. Can you recommend a place where the lines won't be ridiculous in that Dupont/Farragut area?

Julia: Cafe Citron's got a good dose of international flair. It gets kind of crowded on the weekends, but if you can find a spot on the dance floor it's worth it. Five's another option in that area, as is Play . They are both bigger, so if you want a little more space to get down, go there. Lines can be a bummer on any given weekend, but I haven't had too much trouble at any of these places in recent weeks.


Alexandria Va.: Posting early. Are there any bars in NOVA or D.C. besides Dave and Busters and Buffalo Billiards that has a shuffleboard table? I'm looking for a neighborhood type bar if at all possible.

Fritz: Besides Bailey's, which is more of a Mall bar than a neighborhood bar ... I'm not aware of any. Chatters?


Re: Flying Lessons from Last Week: Hi! Just wondering if you were able to dig up any information on where someone can take flying lessons in the metropolitan area, obviously outside of the DC no-fly zone. Thanks!

Julia: Thanks for writing in again! I did speak with my pilot friend and he came back with this:

The best flight school in the area is ATC at Potomac Airfield. It's fairly centrally located -- only 35 minutes from the National Zoo. The number is 301-248-1480, and their web site is


Hope this helps!


Washington, D.C.: Hello Gurus, always great to spend an hour of my day with you,

My friend (okay so maybe it's me) wants to start a roller gang and before we hit the city streets we thought it might be a wise idea to get in some you know of any roller skating rinks in DC or the surrounding area? They used to be everywhere in the eighties!

Jen: Sadly, there are no indoor rinks in D.C. anymore. So you and your gang will have to take your wheels to the suburbs. This article gives you some good options, but call to make sure hours, etc. have not changed drastically since the story ran. I was always partial to the Rockville Rink, formerly known as Wheel-A-While, which stayed almost exactly as it was when I had my eighth birthday party there. Oh, people, that was some throwdown. Six little girls skating to "Superfreak"? It doesn't get much wilder than that.


Arlington, Va.:

My girlfriend seems to think she is some sort of urban cowgirl of the stylish persuasion and really wants a pair of red cowboy boots. With her birthday coming up, I've made it my mission to find her those boots. I seem to recall that the Sunday Source mentioned someplace in Mt. Pleasant that might sell such footwear (a bonus because we could make a special birthday outing to get them along with drinks or dinner at one of our favorite little places up there), but the archives for that section of the Print Edition aren't helping me here. Does any of this ring a bell for you? Or is there somewhere else in the area that you can recommend for some cool red cowboy boots?

Janet: You could try Boot Village in Fairfax. I don't know of any place in Mt. Pleasant unfortunately. Also, if she'd settle for cool brown or black Italian Lucchese boots and she either wears a 6, 6.5 or a 10, I saw some on the Sassanova web site for $75.


re: Ju-On: I'd check with Potomac Video on Connecticut. They've got errything.

Jen: That's the one I was trying to remember. I wasn't sure whether they were still open or not. Good suggestion -- thanks.


I think I found the Halloween Store: I only just glanced, but it looks like it's next to Trader Joe's in Bethesda...where that golfing store used to be?

Jen: An excellent lead re: the whereabouts of downtown Bethesda's elusive Halloween shop. I will aim to investigate this weekend. If that is the right location, I suspect many people will never know it's there. Aside from Trader Joe's and the liquor store, that little center is a melange of random stores I've never entered.


Upper Marlboro: I've been out of the area for a bout three years, so I was wondering, what happened to Mango's Tuesday night open mic poetry nights on U Street? I understand that Mango's isn't there anymore, I was more interested in where that crew migrated too.

Rhome: Ra Brown moved it to Pookie's Gallery at Mirrors but I think that Pookie is no more. Not having any luck getting any info on the phone from them right now and their web site still has old Pookie's info.

Mango's is now Jin

. Same owner but a completely different situation.

I'm sure Ra is still doing something, I'll just have to get updated info from her next time I see her. In the meantime among these you might want to try Droopy and nem's set at Mocha Hut on Thursdays.


Washington, D.C.: Ben Folds' Web site says he's playing at Bender Arena on November 12. Yet I can't find any information anywhere else--not ticketmaster, not AU's web site, nothing. When and where can I buy tickets?


David: Well it looks like November 15 on his Web site, but I know what you're saying about not being able to find tickets. This happens with shows on college campuses sometimes. It might be a students only show, or they might hold off on offering tickets until after a certain number have been saved for students. Or maybe it just hasn't been officially announced yet. Keep checking Ticketmaster, maybe find some message boards with those obsessive fans that will have all the details.


Help!!: I've been working a ton of hours while my wonderful husband has been doing everything he can to make sure our house runs smoothly. He does the laundry, dry cleaning, cooks and has his own more than full time job. I want to do something incredible for him and can't think of anything. Specifically, it would be great to do something a little different than the dinner out. Or if it is dinner out, I want it to be a cool, newish trendy place. You guys always have awesome ideas. Can you help me out?

Erin: In terms of cool new places, Ray's the Classics is pretty awesome. It's not too expensive and the food's amazing. Treat him to a good bottle of wine and then hit an AFI film across the street. If you're going this weekend, you can catch the end of the Almodovar festival or "Chats Perches," which looks pretty cool.

You could pop into a free show at the

Millennium Stage

and then grab drinks on the roofdeck with dinner at Notti Bianche or Circle Bistro.


Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: My friend is going to be on Jeopardy in a couple of weeks (yay!). Do you know of any bars that watch the show so that his coworkers and friends can gather together to cheer him on? Or maybe a bar that would be amenable to putting it on if we called ahead and asked? He'll be on on a Tuesday. Thanks.

Fritz: Hmmm. The Lil' Pub on Capitol Hill often shows Jeopardy, so that's one place to try. Last time a friend of mine was on, he just reserved the bar across the street from work for the party... in Dupont, I might try Childe Harold or the Townhouse Tavern.


Washington, D.C.: Any word on this year's high-heel race yet?

Fritz: As we've said before: October 24. 17th Street in front of JR's. Be there or ... else?


Capitol Hill: Finn MacCool's has shuffleboard upstairs.

Fritz: Right, right. I keep forgetting about the awesome new expansion -- with foosball, too!


Formerly of Michigan: Submitting early for a meeting...I know the Weekend section did a great feature about apple orchards and other "you pick" farms. My question is...are there any actual cider mills around here the public can visit? I miss my cider and donuts from the mills back in Michigan and this seems to be a foreign idea here in the D.C. area, especially the hot, fresh apple cider donuts! Thanks you guys!

Anne: You will want to pay a visit to the Apple House , which involves a little road trip to the edge of Fauquier County. The cider and cider donuts sold there are bottled just up the road.


Washington, D.C.:

Oh great gurus, you've never steered me wrong and now I really need your help. My friends are getting married in DC next summer and the bride is from LA. She's scared she won't be able to find a hair salon as "hip" as in LA, and has asked me for advice/ideas. I can't mess this up, and I am at a loss (my stylist is back home in Ohio!). Please give me the lowdown on the BEST salons in the city. THANK YOU!!

Janet: There is a branch of the L.A.-based Cristophe in D.C., but I'm not sure what hair stylist I'd go to. Personally, I'm very fond of Paul Bosserman in Georgetown. I think he's the best in town, and one of his associates, Bok, is also quite a hip guy. That said, a couple of gurus love


. At least you can give her a choice.


Post-Maraton eats: Ted's Montana has a branch at the Hoffman Center, right across from the yellow line and also with plenty of parking. When we have gone, it has been close to empty, so I would bet it would be good for the marathoners and children. Bonus: it is smoke free.

Erin: There's also a Ballston location. The place definitely works for the family crew, but I fear it's more a matter of convenience location-wise. Thanks, though.


Washington, D.C.: I miss my Tigers!!!! Where does a diehard fun who can't afford $1K tickets back home watch the ALCS this weekend? I've been hitting the Irish pub in the new downtown Silver Spring 'cos the bartenders are cute, but where else?

Fritz: Good question. Since the Tigers are my team this postseason -- my Dad's team, actually, since he's from Detroit, but the old Tiger Stadium will always have a place in my heart -- I'd love to know where where the Motor City crew is hanging out.


Arlington: Looking for a chill lounge for Friday night--not pretentious, relatively inexpensive, and a place to sit down?


Rhome: Gua-Rapo and Eleventh Street are around your way.

A lot of the chill lounges in the city get really packed and busy on Friday nights. If you still have an urge to venture into the city you might want to try

Science Club



Arlington, Va,: Love the chats, I always look forward to Thursdays. My husband and I are hosting a 16-year-old and her 8-month-old daughter this weekend. I was thinking about taking them to an apple orchard. Do you know any in the area? Preferably not too far away since we will have her baby with us. Thank you for all your recommendations!

Anne: Hi there, I'm glad we can think of you as a regular and I hope you find good suggestions here. Since you already know about us, here's a little City Guide searching tip to help you have more fun with the site. Whenever you're looking for something close to you, just use all three elements of the yellow search box at the top of the page. " Apple Orchard" + Arlington + proximity of 30 miles will give you the closest places. And for more apple orchards , check our Fall Guide


re: Tigers: Tonic in Mt Pleasant has a bunch of Detroit sports stuff hanging on the wall...perhaps there?

Fritz: Yeah, that was my first thought, since owner Bernie's a serious, serious Lions fan, but I don't know if MtP has a Detroit crowd.


re: Skating: Sadly Wheel a While/Rockville Rink closed. I took my roller party to Skate and Fun Zone (had to rent a bus to get there) in Manassas. It was fun, but pretty please some one open one in DC!!

Jen: I feared it might be closed, and apparently I was right to fear it. That makes me sad. Is there nowhere to rollbounce anymore??

Glad you had fun at the aptly named Skate and Fun Zone. Just too bad that there isn't something more central than Manassas.


DC United Tickets for Sunday's Game: Hey Gurus,

We wanted to see the game this Sunday and were just planning to buy tix at the door. Do you think there will still be good seats or should be buy them in advance?


Fritz: I'd buy in advance to skip the long lines. I wonder if they'll open the upper bowl for this one... Went to the Red Scum game with ex-Editor Ben and we left our downstairs seat to watch the game in the (cheaper) upper level for the second half. Much better views.


Arlington, Va.: For those looking for a place to watch "Lost" on a big screen, Stars and Stripes in Crystal City is doing "Lost" viewing parties every Wednesday with "Lost"-themed food and drink specials. Haven't been yet, but I love their Tuesday Trivia Quiz night.

Jen: That's good to know, thanks. I wonder what their "Lost"-themed food is ... Dharma cookies? Hurley's much-beloved ranch dressing? Guess you have to go to find out.


Tallulah?? : Hello! A friend is taking me to dinner to a place in DC she said it called Tallulah that she described as new and trendy. But I can't find any listing for it on your site. Do you know anything about this place? THANKS!

Erin: Tallula opened a few years ago and has a lovely, expansive wine selection, but I wouldn't call it trendy.


Washington, D.C.: Is U St gonna be a mob scene this weekend with Howard homecoming? Anywhere near by, but away from the crowds to dance? Hiphop, please.


Rhome: Yes, U Street is going to be quite out of hand. That's why we wrote this


Washington, D.C.: What's the scene like at Urbana?

Fritz: Bar scene: The lounge is dim, but lively, with plenty of seats and a suits-and-tourists kind of crowd. Not the hippest spot in Dupont, but I love the wall of wine bottles, the comfortable couches and those rad gin martinis.


Washington, D.C.:

Gurus, The weather is a little cooler now, and I need new boots. I saw a piece in the Express a while back, but it was warm then, so I did not heed the advice. Any tips where a gal can get something unique and avoid a trip to the mall?

Janet: How about Wild Women Wear Red or Pink November , which is serving apple cider and cookies this weekend.


Arlington, Va.: I'd really like to do a one-day Virginia wine tour this fall, maybe 4 or 5 different vineyards, but I don't want to drive for potential DUI reasons. What are some options you'd recommend?

Julia: Hey Arlington -- great question. Pros in the City has the occasional wine event throughout the fall (including one this weekend!), so start there. If you have a group of 6-8 friends who might enjoy going, I'd look into these guys .


Washington, D.C.:

Re: Cowboy boots in Mt. Pleasant El West at Mt. Pleasant and Kilbourne is the place that sells them.

Janet: For the boyfriend of the woman in search of red cowboy boots in Mt. Pleasant, here you go.


Re: Shuffleboard: Last time I was at Dremo's I remember seeing a sign on my table advertising shuffleboard. Since I haven't actually played, I can't make promises, but if they let you down on the shuffleboard front hopefully their photo hunt machines could serve as a consolation prize.

Fritz: You can't go wrong with Photo Hunt and James Brown Ale.

(Everyone: What's Photo Hunt?)


Washington, D.C.: Can you suggest a good Thai restaurant that isn't too expensive, I've tried many and none have the authentic flavor.

Erin: Yeah, I hear you on that one. The Thai food around here tends to be erratic at best. Thai Square has been good in the past, but service is mediocre. I had great pad thai from Thai X-ing after waiting over an hour, but the salmon doesn't live up to its hype. Bangkok 54 is sometimes stellar and even a few locations of Sala Thai have impressed me on rare occasions.


Chinatown, Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs,

Going out (appropriately enough) on a date tomorrow night. The guy suggested a comedy club. Do you know where there is a good one or have any other suggestions for something else cool to do tomorrow night?


David: Well there's always the Improv, of course. Daniel Tosh is there this week, he's been pretty funny the few times I've seen him on TV. You could try the Comedy Spot in Ballston Mall, the Blue Show at 10pm is probably what you'd want. It's improv, so it can be hit or miss, hopefully they won't have a participant who pulls out a gun during every sketch. If you can move your plans up tonight the very funny Demetri Martin is at Lisner Auditorium. For another laugh option tomorrow night you can try "Get Your War On" at Woolly Mammoth.


Washington, D.C.: I am the lucky friend nominated to coordinate plans for a friend's bday celebration. She wants to do dinner in Georgetown before heading out (to mollify the VA and DC residents in the group). Can you recommend reasonably priced "fun" locale that can accommodate (read: take reservations for) a group of 10-12. Thanks for coming to the rescue!

Erin: Cilantro and Filomena can both handle larger parties. You can try Cafe Divan, but it might be up too far from the Georgetown scene. Those three are my top picks for Georgetown dining. If they don't pan out, Bangkok Bistro is pretty good with taking huge parties and the birthday girl would eat for free.


Halloween Help!: I am looking for a fun place to go in D.C. with about 5-10 friends in costumes the weekend before Halloween.

A bar with a costume night would be okay, but something more original (haunted house for grown-ups? dancing-and-pumpkin-carving party?) would be preferable.

Right about now I'm missing NYC with all that it has to offer for Halloween... I'm hoping D.C. can even come semi-close!

Thanks Gurus, you are the best!

Julia: Lame that I recommended this two weeks in a row, but I think Markoff's Haunted Forest is your best bet for the haunted-house-for-adults thing. It's quite a ways out of the city, but if you're looking for an entire night's adventure, it's kind of cool to just chill out around the campfire after you walk through the haunted woods.

There are also a bunch of

Halloween walks

in the area. Some are kids-oriented, but many have a haunted local history vibe.

Fritz: Something fun and funky: Helix is hosting its annual pumpkin carving contest again on Oct. 26. Here's the scoop: Show up between 6 and 8 to carve your pumpkin. The "spookiest" design gets $50. Best overall gets a night at the hotel.

I went last year and some of the designs were completely awesome. Others were ... not so talented. But it was fun, and there are special martinis for the night.


Washington, D.C.:

Hey guys, I'm trying to find a few new places to buy men's clothing. I like shopping at Nordstrom, on M Street (Club Monaco, Zara, H&M) and places like Denim Bar. I've recently heard about Carbon and Commander Salamander... I'm looking for both business-casual work attire and stuff to wear out at night (jeans, shoes, button-downs, T-shirts). Any thoughts? Thanks!

Janet: Carbon gets high marks from a lot of folks. They just opened a new store on Connecticut, in addition to the one on U.


Boots: There is a western shop on Mt. Pleasant Street right where it hits Kilbourne Place (next to Tonic). Haven't been inside, but they have cowboy stuff in the window.

Julia: I have to second El West. One of my favorite stores in Mount Pleasant! It's worth going just to check out the, um, well-endowed mannequins in the window....


RE: Photo Hunt: Gurus. Really. All knowing, great advice giving gurus. I post a question every week and I never get an answer. Are you really asking what Photo Hunt is? If you are, I think I may never read again.

Fritz: No, no, no. I like Photo Hunt. We had a discussion a few weeks back about, uh, naughty Photo Hunt machines, and a number of readers had never heard of or played the game.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus! My dad and his eccentric friend are coming into town this weekend and want to go to a bar and/or restaurant with some character and a little history to it. The more unique, the better as they have both seen/done the touristy scene here in D.C. before. Any "off the beaten path" suggestions?? Thanks so much - you guys are great!

Anne: When I hear character and history, I sort of think divey, or at least pretty laidback. If that's what you're thinking, too, consider Tune Inn on the Hill and the Vienna Inn . Another laidback place that's been around for a while: Col. Brooks Tavern . But if you had something different in mind, Fritz's new What-to-do-in-D.C.-if-you-only-have-two-days story has a couple suggestions for this kind of thing, among them: Martin's Tavern and Yenching Palace.


To Arlington -- Wine: Girl's Night Out will do a great tour as well, but it must be all chicas.

Julia: For Arlington! Here's the link .


Bethesda, Md.: Me and my boyfriend are going to try out our salsa skills at Habana Village this Saturday. We want our friends to come out with us but they don't know how to salsa. Where can we meet up with them nearby afterwards? Preferably somewhere I may rest my feet and ears.

Fritz: Head across the street to Bedrock Billiards or Zuccah-- whoops, the Attic. You'll find seats, you'll find less din than upstairs at Habana.


"Lost" in Arlington: Hi GoG's,

I've seen lots of questions but no answers to this: Are there any bars that host a weekly "Lost" viewing? I know one in Arlington has "Desperate Housewives" on Sundays with drink specials, but no one seems to have a "Lost" event. Anyone? Anyone?

Jen: In the words of Hurley, "Dude, we just answered that question." See above.


Dupont, Washington, D.C.: Washington is not big on Halloween it seems! Nevertheless, I am throwing a big party and I want to put together some decorations. Where is the closest place to Dupont to pick up some pumpkins? Also (and more importantly) where's the best arts and crafts store in the area (think: covering a wall with black paper and making the hallway into a dungeon).

Thanks guys!

Erin: Farmers markets and grocery stores have pumpkins. Does that take the fun out of it for you? I firmly believe that pumpkins must come from a designated pumpkin patch, so if you share my pumpkin principles, those ideas won't help. (Disclaimer: pumpkin patches where I come from are simply a truckload of gourds dumped into a recently razed lot.) Anyway, If you want to pick them, Krop's Crops isn't metro-accessible, but it's probably closest.

For the craftiness, I always go to Michael's.


Potomac, Md.: Just wanted to say that I followed up on the suggestion (last week? week before?) of Cadillac crab cakes at River Falls Market. I wasn't the one who asked the question, but I benefited - they were awesome, and the baked potato (insides mashed up with broccoli and topped with cheese, one of the best I've ever had) and apple crisp were yummy complements. Thanks for the tip!

Erin: Oh, I'm so glad that you liked them. If it were feasible, I'd be there about every day. I like the orzo salad there, too.

As for apple crisps, get 'em while you can. If anybody has secret destinations for apple goodness, share them. I've been dedicating a piece of recent Sunday mornings to gathering apples at the Dupont Farmers Market for eating and baking. This weekend, it's all about going to pick them myself, though.


Bethesda, Md.:

I heard that the Denim Bar is opening a branch in Bethesda; any news on when the store is opening?

Janet: There is going to be a new Denim Bar in Bethesda, but no definite opening date yet.


GREENbelt, Md.: Hi Gurus, Noticed this weekend is the Green Festival at the Convention Center. Do you know if they are offering any ticket discounts? A year or two ago you could get in free with an old lightbulb. I want to go but I'd rather spend $15 at the festival, not getting in. Thanks!

Anne: If you ride your bike to the Green Festival , are a student or can show a union membership card, it's $7. Those are the only ways I know to save some greenbacks. Anyone else have a discount tip?


Cap Hill: Yo GOGs-

Any good Oktoberfests this Saturday? Metro accessible preferred! Thanks!!

Fritz: Man, LAST weekend was a big Oktoberfest Saturday. Nothing this weekend is really Metro-accessible: Blob's Park in Jessup, Maryland Brewers Oktoberfest -- which I like -- in Timonium. Maybe you should wait for the most German celebration of all: Don't Hassle the Hof Brau, next Wednesday at Rustico.

(Details are/were in the Nightlife Agenda column, but huge steins of beer and David Hasselhoff's soft rock sound like the PERFECT combination.)


Ward 4, DC: Ok Fritz - we've all heard all kinds of rumors about Nanny's closing, changing hands, just vanishing some day soon, or maybe some day not so soon.

Brian hasn't been around to ask. Do you know what's up? We're worried.

Fritz: I've heard rumors that I don't want to spread until I talk to Brian, but as soon as I hear something, I'll share.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Guys,

Tragic irony, help! I'm seen as the creative, independent friend so a lot of hype has been placed on me taking a friend out for her birthday tomorrow but I just got back from out of town and got nothing! She's more classic rock and bud light than electronic and appletini so half my options are out the window. Looking for an out of the ordinary dinner and drinks scenario in North. VA or DC. If you guys can answer this, than you can answer anything...

Erin: I get that she likes light beer, but what kind of food? If she's adventurous, you can wow with the cuisine and go for Ethiopian at Etete or Dukem or something like that. If you're car-mobile, go for Korean in Annandale. For something more tame, I love Evening Star Cafe and it's upstairs lounge. In Old Town, Eamonn's and PX are very cool and different.


Washington, D.C.: Any word on the Pug?

Fritz: If only. But I'll call Tony T. again today. Thanks for the reminder.


Washington, D.C.: I know it's a little early for this, but do you know of any places around here where I can get a fried turkey for Thanksgiving?

Erin: In the past, it's been served at Georgia Brown's, but I'm not sure about take-out turkey. It's too soon for this!!!!


Bang Salon: Speaking of Bang Salon, can you recommend someone there who does great highlights and cuts on shorter hair?

Julia: I don't get highlights, but I like Patrick and Bryce.... My friend has short hair and gets highlights and has never had a stylist she didn't like. She's been to Joe and Elena. Readers seem to write reviews on our site all the time about bad experiences at >Bang , so take that into account. My only complaint is that I can never get an appointment. Thinking about trying out the new location.... If you go, write a review and let us know what you think!


Bethesda, Md.:

Two follow-ups for posters. Don't know if it's still open or not but there is a Western wear store on Dumbarton St. in NW. They used to have a fair collection of cowboy boots. For the overtired lady looking to gift her overtired husband with an unusual experience. My wife and I have had couples massages in the past and have really enjoyed them. Most spas now offer them and it's very nice to have other people spoil you rotten. You're in the same room so get to share the experience somewhat and then it's home feeling all loose and relaxed. Just a thought.

Janet: Thanks for the input.


Washington, DC: Hey guys,

Any word on when Met Cafe & Bar (17th and F) will open. It was supposed to open early Summer of 2006, but obviously that hasn't happened. It will be a great option for lunch/happy hour in a location where there is not much choice!

Rhome: I'm drawing a blank. Who can share more about this?


Washington D.C.: Hey all! I haven't seen a movie in ages. What would you recommend? Nothing in the chick flick or action/shoot 'em up categories. The only movie I know of that's out right now is "The Queen."

Jen: Would you consider "The Queen" a chick flick? I personally wouldn't and I would recommend it. I don't know if you consider "The Departed" a shoot 'em up, but it's well worth seeing; great performances, great directing and an engrossing story.

Looking ahead to next week, there are several good movies opening Oct. 20, including "Little Children" and "The Prestige." Also, if you haven't seen it yet, I must reiterate my ongoing recommendation for "Little Miss Sunshine."


Tenleytown, DC: A friend is coming back into town for the evening tomorrow, and a group of us will be heading out for the occasion. His one request is "cheap beer" -- any ideas? We're all late 20s/early 30s.

Fritz: Friday is not the night for cheap beer in D.C. if you don't want to be surrounded by a college crowd... I'm assuming you guys want to hang out and catch up rather than just booze the night away?

I might try 51st State Tavern, Townhouse Tavern, the Big Hunt, Wonderland (early, though), the Bottom Line ... that's enough for a start, I think.


Washington, D.C.: Can you give some more info. on the River Falls Market? Where is this place?

Erin: River Falls Market is up in Potomac in the strip mall that includes Safeway, a hardware store and a few other things. The owner used to manage seafood at Sutton Place prior to its becoming Balducci's.


Arlington, VA: Hola Gurus,

I'm a bit of a lounge junky, who enjoys the company of a mid twenties crowd. I want to be experimental this weekend and explore some uncharted territories. So far, I've been to ESL, Chi Cha, Local 16, Lima, Guarapos, and Play.. What are some other interesting options as far as lounges go (Gazuza, Fly, Blue Gin any good?).


Rhome: Gazuza looks good and is one of the best places to be when the weather is nice and you've got a group with you. Service has been iffy and you should make sure you're stylishly dressed. I usually roll there early on week days to chill on the balcony. The few times I've been there prime time on a weekend I've found an interesting mix of friendly internationals, although I don't know what the regular weekend scene is like.

Fly is very selective (putting it nicely) and expensive. You really might get fronted on at the door, don't sleep. The decor concept is very interesting though and the sound system is nice. If you're looking for glam looking women and big spenders you'll find them here.

Lima is for ballers. I haven't been yet though.

Blue Gin continues to be popular, upscale and jumping.

I'd also suggest Mie-N-Yu, Aroma, Science Club and Domku.

Fritz: I'd say Science Club has the feel you want -- kinda like ESL (upstairs, at least) without getting the once-over from Mustafa. Fly's doormen can make you feel completely uncool if you arrive too late, so you might want to call them ahead of time and ask about a list.

People sleep on Bossa, but I'm not sure why. Really enjoy the upstairs.


Clarksburg, Md.: GOGs, thanks for everything.

I've inherited an old hand held power saw (metal, not plastic!) that hasn't been used in 15 years. I'm a bit leery of plugging it in since it hasn't seen action in so long, and I prefer shocks to my system be a result of scantily clad women traipsing about.

Does anyone know where I can have it checked out and refurbished if necessary? (The "traipsing about" remark was just for's been a long day and I'm a bit punchy, so please don't hold that against me.)

Julia: Okay, Clarksburg, this isn't even tangentially related to going out, but I happen to know a few things about this, so you get a pass. This time.

I'd call your local hardware store (a mom-and-pop place, as opposed to Home Depot) to see if they could inspect your saw. If you're just worried about it shorting out -- check the cord for any damage before you bring it in. If the plug looks all messed up, it's probably not worth the hassle.

This is a pretty serious tool and it seems to me that if you're uncomfortable trying it out, you may be uncomfortable using it. Please make sure you know all of the safety precautions before using it. And that's one to grow on.


Tysons Corner: Hey, I noticed you dont answer a lot of good questions that people send in but you will reply to repeat questions that was just answered 5 minutes early. What's up with that.

Fritz: Which "good question" did you send in, again?


Silver Spring, Md.: Friend's going to be in town this weekend and I wanted to show her around the city -- will the marathon impact that or have areas closed off? Also, she likes fish but not meat, and I like meat but not fish. Anywhere good and mostly casual (not too expensive) that you'd recommend?

Anne: The Baltimore Marathon is this weekend, but I don't think that will affect traffic in D.C. So no worries there. As for dining, I think you could both do well at Black's Bar & Kitchen .


Washington DC: Is there anyone offering a pumpkin-themed drinks? Or something equally fall-ish and alcoholic?

Fritz: Helix has a pumpkin martini that's not so bad -- I'm not huge on pumpkin drinks -- but I'll ask everyone to send their recommendations to this chat or to fritz.hahn [at] washingtonpost [dot] com, and I'll try to go out and sample a few before next Thursday. Deal?


Anonymous: Hi, I'm planning an outdoor party and would like to know if people have good ideas on where to get some cool Halloween decorations from local retailers -- especially paper lanterns. Any ideas?

Julia: Bruce Variety -- all the way. Any Michael's Crafts store would work as well.


Arlington: I'm fairly new to the area and I'm trying to find a place where I can get a good men's haircut without spending too much money. I'm a young lawyer, so the haircut can't be super-hipster style, but I also don't want to look like an old lawyer, if you get my meaning.


Fritz: Demian, Bang, Molecule or Trim should help.


Arlington, Va.: Hey Gurus,

Love the chats, you guys so rock.

Anywho, I am having a friend up from southern VA, and she is meeting my boyfriend for the first time on Sunday. We want to go to a breakfast or lunch place, not too expensive but some place with good food and won't make her feel like she's the third wheel.

Thanks Gurus, you guys always have great advice.

Erin: Blue Duck Tavern is fun with some delicious-sounding brunch items. Cashion's Eat Place has a popular brunch as well. If you're going to hang in Virginia, treat yourselves to Indigo Landing for brunch or Majestic Cafe.


Re: Ben Folds: Is Bender at AU? I can't remember... just call the school and ask for the student program's office. They can tell you what the deal is.

Most likely it's not a student-only show, but it definitely won't be sold through ticket master if run by students. You'll have to buy them at the school's box office.


David: Yeah, it can be a bit of a hassle and you might get passed around and put on hold, but you'll get the info. According to an article that I just came across in the Eagle, tickets are $5 with an AU ID, which is quite a bargain. Doesn't say anything about the general public, though.


Washington, D.C.: Erin, you mentioned PS 7's in your first answer. Where is it located?

Erin: Sorry, I guess I should take the time to hyperlink places. PS 7's is at 777 I St. I wasn't wowed by it, but the lounge is nice and the wines are fantastic.


Beer Me, D.C.: My boyfriend has been super busy recently with class, work, and visiting parents. Since we missed Oktoberfest last weekend, I thought it might be fun to surprise him with an afternoon/evening Oktoberfest pub tour. Can you recommend some good bars with can't miss selections for the season? Thanks!

Fritz: Here's a blog post I did about where to get one-liter mugs of beer. Sadly, Saint-Ex has taken most of theirs off.


Washington, D.C.: I'm new in town and a couple of colleagues indicated that thought there was some kind of Halloween Scavenger Hunt that took place in the Washington DC area this time of year. Do you know anything about this or can you direct me to a web site where I can find more information?


Julia: Scavenger Hunt for adults -- coming right up. Never been to this myself, but check out the official site . The organizers seem full-on dedicated. I like that....


Arlington, Va: Hey, I'm going to see Minus the Bear at the Black Cat on Saturday. Any suggestions to whether its easier to take a cab from Arlington there or go ahead and take the metro. I know how it can be a pain to have to accommodate for the metro and miss out on the last bit of a show.


David: You won't have to miss the last bit of a show on Saturday, since the Metro runs plenty late. That said, be ready to wait a while for the train and then again when you transfer back to the orange line, so if money's not much of an issue, you may just want to cab it. But Metro is totally workable for Arlington/Black Cat on a Saturday night.


re: "Lima is for ballers": Plain English please. What is a baller?

Rhome: Folks that ostentatiously spend lots of dough. Folks that can buy table service at K Street Lounge for their whole clique.

Wannabe ballers will spend up significant chunks of their paychecks to rent luxury SUV's and cruise up and down U Street this weekend but really they live at home with their mom.

On an unrelated note, my favorite current phrase is "

Grand Marshal Ice Cube



Washington, D.C.: So i have been craving to go Swing Dancing, but i dont have a car here in the city and dont want to have to travel outside to go. Are there any good places to go here in the city? Not really looking for lessons, but more of a place that will have swing/jazz music with room to dance to it.

Fritz: Two words: Jam Cellar .


Sequoia: Heading to Sequoia Monday night.

What's the dress there like? Trendy, upscale, or jeans-like..?

Erin: Since it's such a touristy locale, you can get away with pretty much anything there. I've fit in there when dressed up (eating after a cocktail party) and in jeans.


Van Ness, D.C.: Hi GOGs - I have a two pronged birthday question.

1. My parents (who live near Bethesda) are taking me to dinner. I'm thinking Italian. What do you guys think is the best Italian in the city? The 'rents would prefer to go somewhere that doesn't require them to drive to, say, Virginia. And remember, they're paying so we don't have to go on the cheap!

2. I want to pick a place to meet up with friends and have a little celebration. We're more of a bar/lounge crowd but we would love somewhere that we can also dance.


Erin: I'll tackle part one. Al Tiramisu has some scrumptious Italian food and Teatro Goldoni often does a good job. Ristorante Tosca might be the most formal, lavish option for you, though. That said, if you really want to go all out, Maestro in McLean is a culinary odyssey.


Oktoberfest on Saturday: There was blurb in today's Daily Candy about Oktoberfest at Old Europe this weekend.

Fritz: Yeah, but it's not really an event, since they're not doing anything special: It's the same menu Old Europe has offered since Sept. 19, the same draft beers. I'd rather go drink beer at Cafe Mozart.


Washington, D.C.: Me and my 2 girlfriends are looking for a Happy Hour tonight, something not too loud where we can get a seat and talk and have some cocktails, maybe around the Dupont Area. Any ideas? Know anything about Heritage happy hour?

Fritz: If you get there early and get a seat, Heritage is great. Good food, strong cocktails. As you say, not too loud. Gazuza's patio might be another option. Big Hunt's back patio, too.


Washington, D.C.: I'm on a quest to find the best cheese fries in the area. Any suggestions?

Erin: The stock answer is definitely Ben's Chili Bowl, but you can also find them at the Diner. Good luck.


Washington, D.C.: As I am 23, I dont have a hard time getting into clubs. But this time around, I'll have two 19 year old female guests. Which club is 18+ friendly and where 40+ year old men wont hit on them continuously, but they can still have a good time?

Fritz: Don't know what kind of music you're looking for -- I'd say Platinum or Ultrabar (the old Home) for something loud and electronic, or the Black Cat or Rock and Roll Hotel if they'd rather get down to indie rock, soul, etc.


Herndon, Va.: Going to take the day off tomorrow and was wondering if there are any family-oriented activity you can suggest. We have two toddlers ages 4 and 1. Thanks!

Anne: Have you been to Frying Pan Park ? The kids can take a hayride from 10-4, and pet all kinds of farm animals. Or, if you want to wait and go on Saturday, there's a special fall festival from 10-3.


Downtown: Hi there - you all gave some great ideas on wineries and apple/pumpkin orchards last week. Can you recommend any which might also have great scenery of fall foliage along the way? Virginia is ok, but suggestions for other areas would be great as well. Thanks!

Julia: My where-to-see fall foliage story might help you out. You can definitely go apple picking along Route 15 in Virginia. Tarara Winery comes to mind as a good orchard to visit -- yes, they have apples too! It's been a while since I went to Butler Orchard , but I remember it being pretty drive out there if you take the backroads instead of 270.

_______________________ That's all for now, everyone. See you next week.


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