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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, November 2, 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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washingtonpost.com: Hi there folks, happy November. Lots of people want to know where the best election parties will be, we're here to help with that and whatever else is on your mind. We've got a full crew -- Anne, Erin, Fritz, Janet, Jen, Julia, Rhome and myself, David. I'm a little strung out on cold medication today, so I'll either be somewhat incoherent or shockingly lucid. Let's get to it.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus,

What's the deal with the new Posh Restaurant and Supper Club? I am thinking of taking my girlfriend there for her 30th birthday and wanted to make sure I wouldn't be going wrong.

Erin: I would think twice or more about taking her. Tom Sietsema's Weekly Dish could fill you in on the details.

For something more fun and celebratory, I would steer you to Rasika, Oya or Komi.

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Rosslyn, Va.: Skyline Drive. Is it still worth seeing this weekend?

Julia: I would think so. Seems like the foliage turned a little late this year.

I just called the Shenandoah hotline (800-434-5323) and it said that even though some of the leaves have fallen, approximately 90 percent of the trees on Skyline Drive are showing color. Might be crowded, but should be pretty!

If you want further information on Purple dogwoods and Virginia Creepers, give the hotline a ring before you head out!

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Maryland: Any ideas on where to watch election returns in Maryland? Preferably near Silver Spring?

We've got a couple of big races and I'd like to watch the results with my fellow Marylanders.

Fritz: Of the places I've called in Silver Spring thus far, none are hosting election-watching parties. (If you have any ideas shoot an email to fritz dot hahn at washingtonpost dot com.)

Chatters?

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Arlington, Va.: Looking for a good spot to watch the WVU-Louisville game on Thursday night, can you recommend a West Virginia bar in the D.C. area?

Fritz: The CouchBurners gather at Ragtime, two blocks from the Court House Metro station. It's not that great of a bar, but you'll be surrounded by fellow fans.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Gog's!

My mom will be in town next weekend (11/10-12) and wants to go to a "show" - she's a little old fashioned and doesn't like anything too loud or crazy, but she likes orchestras and musicals and more traditional things like that. I saw that the NSO is at the Kennedy Center, but it seems to be sold out.

Do you guys have any suggestions for Friday or Saturday night??

You guys are so brilliant - I knew you'd be able to help!

Erin: If you're up for a play, Signature Theatre's got a well-reviewed adaptation of " My Fair Lady " right now. It's a stark set and two pianos in place of the full orchestra, but it's very interesting. I would also recommend " A Midsummer Night's Dream ." It's not a musical, but it weaves '30s music into it and it's at the Folger, which is a fantastic setting for a visiting mom. It's hilarious and well-suited for a nearby dinner at Sonoma or Montmartre.

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Washington, D.C.- Save me the Train Fare:

Gurus, Please help me out. I know DC is not NYC, but my girlfriend keeps mentioning going to NYC to shop. I know it's my duty to go with it, but are there any DC shops that might ease the pain between trips to NYC? (I'll admit that I do like to browse the latest shoes and clothes while up there), but it is kind of a haul to window shop! Help?

Janet: Although there are nowhere near the number of shops you have in NYC, D.C. is getting better all the time. Let me name a few of my faves: Relish , Intermix , Cusp , Barney's . And there are tons more: Maggie & Lola, Lettie Gooch, Club Monaco, Valise, Wild Women Wear Red.

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Arlington, Va.:

Gurus, I have a hard time finding dress shirts that fit due to a large neck. All of my shirts are too large at the waist. I've tried various slim-fit and tailored shirts, but those still feel too large. Any recommendations on brands that may be slimmer, or failing that a relatively affordable option for something hand-tailored? For the record, I'm a size 18 neck, but a 36 pants (most 18 necks seem to be made for someone with a pants in the upper 40s.)

Janet: Thomas Pink in McLean has a large selection of slim-fitting shirts. They also have a store on Connecticut Ave. in the District. Have you tried there? Also, take a look at their Web site.

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Bethesda, Md.: All-knowing Gurus, does anyone know which theaters are offering midnight showings of "Borat" tonight? Many thanks!

Jen: There are midnight showings of the movie at theaters around the country. But from what I've seen, there aren't any locally. (Please correct me if I've missed a place that is doing a midnight show tonight.)

As noted in yesterday's

GoG Blog

, "Borat" is only opening on 800 screens nationwide this weekend, much fewer than a typical big opening. (Usually a wide release debuts on close to 2,000 screens or more.) So there aren't as many places to see it locally in general. I think that will change when it opens wider.

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McLean, Va.: Hi GOGs! I've asked this question in other chats and it never gets answered, and I'm not really too sure where else to ask, so please help! My Irish friend's parents are going to be visiting DC at the beginning of next year (with 8 of their friends)and they've asked for my help finding a suitable hotel. I'm really unsure of what hotels in DC would be appropriate. They should be nice (3 or 4 star?), in a central location close to monuments and metro, and not exorbitantly expensive or anything. Do any hotels come to mind? Thanks!

Fritz: If they're Irish, there's always Jury's, which is right on Dupont Circle. It's an Irish chain that's very popular with visitors from the Emerald Isle, and even has a pub (Biddy Mulligan's) on the ground level. Phoenix Park Hotel, over by Union Station, is another nice one.

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Chicago, IL: Hi Gurus,

I'll be in D.C. for the weekend -- is there a bar that I can count on to be showing the Bears/Dolphins on Sunday?

Thanks!

Fritz: I'll take it you're not rooting for the fish.

Uptown Tavern in Cleveland Park has a bunch of flatscreens, crowds in Bears jerseys and, most importantly, a framed photo of Ditka. What more do you need?

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Alexandria, VA: Submitting early so I don't forget! This is more of a comment than a question, but I strongly recommend that anyone looking for something to do Sunday afternoon make their way over to RFK Stadium for the DC United playoff game. The game kicks off at 4, and the atmosphere truly cannot be topped, even by the Redskins. If you do come, wear black!

Fritz: Rhome and I were there last weekend, jumping up and down with the Screaming Eagles, and we'll be back on Sunday.

Don't miss the official afterparties, either -- cheap beer and free food. Last Sunday's was at the Pour House.

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Washington, D.C.:

Hi friends! Saw the quick mention and description of Adam's Morgan Design Days this weekend and it sounds great. Do you have any other info or insights to share? Is it worth going, what can we expect? Thanks so much!

Janet: Hard to say what can expect, since it's the first time they've done it. But I think it sounds like a pretty fun thing to do, especially if you enjoy browsing and eating. What's not to like?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi gurus,

Could you suggest a fun place for me and my fiancee to go to for before-dinner drinks in the Metro Center/Chinatown area? Is Rosa Mexicano a good option?

Thanks!

Erin: If you're sticking to drinks, Rosa Mexicano can make a good margarita. Otherwise, I'd opt for mojitos at Cafe Atlantico, a table at the bar of Zola or even the lounge of the new PS 7's. I didn't find the food at PS 7's to be worth its own trip, but the lounge and some of the drinks make it a swell pre-dinner stopping point.

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Washington, D.C.: Any idea if there's a public transportation way to get to Annapolis from D.C.?

Any suggestions for good, quiet, relaxing restaurants in Annapolis that are not too expensive?

Fritz: Outside of weekday (Mon-Fri) rush hours, no, unless you take the very, very roundabout way of going to BWI (via the Metro shuttle from Greenbelt, or Amtrak) and then grabbing a Anne Arundel County bus to Annapolis.

Good restaurants in Annapolis: Rockfish, Kyma, 49 West (if there's not a live band). Personally, I'd rather hit Boatyard Bar and Grill -- great seafood and a real boater hangout.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I'm apparently way behind the times -- I recently learned that Yanyu closed and was replaced by an Italian restaurant. Has it reopened elsewhere, or am I out of luck?

Erin: Sadly, Yanyu is gone. Its replacement, Dino, offers great wines if you're looking to drown those sorrows.

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D.C. United: hey gurus - I'd really like to go to a D.C. United game - is there anything to know besides that I should buy a ticket online and wear black? There's not a chance that ticketmaster will decide to stick me in the opposing team's fan's section or something, is there?

Fritz: There's some dispute about where the Revs fans will be. Last week, the Pink Cows had a section all to themselves in the upper deck, which worked out well for everyone.

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Pittsburgh, PA: Well, here I go again and I hope this time I have success! My boyfriend and I spend a lot of time in D.C. and tend to frequent the same places to eat and unwind, Martin's Tavern in Georgetown (we LOVE Ben the bartender), Red Sage, etc. We are in our mid 50's but still have a lot of vitality and we would like a place where we could dance. Seems like all of the places we have researched all play music for the younger crowds. We like classic rock and music from the 60's and 70's. Last time I made this request someone suggested contacting a "hand dancing" club. That's not exactly what we had in mind. The perfect venue would be a bar where we could cozy up, have a drink listen to some music and maybe dance.

Rhome: Hand-dancing is great fun but if you dig classic rock then I guess it's not for you. I always wish I had more options to suggest when this question comes up because I'm really against the idea that as you get older you're not supposed to shake it anymore. The old heads (a term used with affection) at the salsa clubs are often the smoothest cats and most stylish ladies on the floor. I have a dear friend who has grown children older than me who is often still on the floor at the house clubs at 4 a.m. when I'm throwing in the towel (I see you C-Breeze!). If not salsa, if not hand-dancing then I'd suggest blues and R&B at New Vegas or multiple swing dancing options . As for the exact music you seek, something tells me there are more options in the 'burbs than in the city but I'm less knowledgeable about them. Can anyone chime in?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi gurus, I guess this is more of a technical question, but here goes. I know that past chat transcripts are available to read. I want to know if there is a way to go to the Washington Post Web site and search within the chats for a specific topic or name. For example, I was looking for the recommended tailors that have been mentioned in previous chats. I would hate to have to re-submit the question to all of you when it has already been answered. If this search feature is not available, is there any plan to have one? Thanks.

Julia: Hey D.C. -- Good question. The tailor question comes up nearly every week, so you should be able to find this information just by searching in the box at the top of our homepage.

I went to the search box, typed in "got plans tailor" and got

these results

. You could also always search in City Guide for

tailors

.

If this doesn't answer your question, ask us here! Hope this helps!

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Fall at the Beach: I'm heading to Ocean City tonight for a long weekend. We will be doing Punkin' Chunkin' on Saturday, but any ideas for something "different" to do tomorrow or Sunday morning? We'll probably stop by the outlets in Rehoboth and do one of the state parks, but I was wondering if anyone had any other off-season suggestions?

Thanks!

Jen: Honestly, I would skip the outlets. Those are the same stores you can go to at virtually any outlet mall anywhere. Instead, I'd suggest visiting the shops in Rehoboth, on and around the boardwalk. A lot of them stay open in the off-season and are much more fun for browsing. Plus I like supporting independent retailers, as opposed to the Lennox Factory Outlet.

If you have the bulk of an afternoon to kill, you could take the ferry to Cape May and walk around there for a while. In Ocean City, there's also an indoor Old Pro miniature golf in case you have the desire to putt but prefer to stay where it's warm and toasty.

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Massage models:

There are a few hair salons that give free or cheap haircuts to people willing to be models for student stylists. Is there anything similar for massages or other services in a day spa? Even just places with cheap massages would be helpful. Thanks!

Janet: I haven't heard of anything like that. Anyone else? Word to the wise: a cheap massage may be just that.

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Arlington, Va.: I want to get tickets to the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, and they are being handed out first-come, first-served starting at 8 a.m. Saturday (max four per person). I can't find any recommendations about how early I need to get there in order to get tickets. I've seen recommendations to get there early, but does that mean 7 a.m. or 4 a.m.? I won't go if I have to get up at 4 (it's just not worth it), but I don't want to drag myself our of bed at 6 a.m. only to waste a perfectly good Saturday morning if I would still be too late to be able to get tickets.

Anne: If you decidedly want to be at the National Christmas tree lighting , I would drag yourself out of bed well before 6 a.m. on Saturday. Tickets will be gone by the end of Saturday morning, and people will actually start lining up on Friday night and camp out for the tickets. How throwback, huh? The Park Service still keeps it old school: no online ordering for this. Personally, because I despise the cold and waiting outdoors in it, I don't need to be there at the moment the prez throws the switch. Remember, the tree is lit all through December, and you can go sans ticket on any other night. Also, there are many other tree lighting events (Capitol holiday tree, suburban town events) where you don't need a ticket in order to see the lights go on. Check back later in the City Guide and we'll have more of these holiday events for you.

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Rockville, Md.: You guys ever been to a Rock-n-Romp show in Silver Spring? They have regular bands playing for adults and their kids. It's not kids music, but it's a kid-friendly environment. Where else can adults take kids for live music that is NOT kids music? I don't want Barney, etc. Thanks.

David: My band actually played at a Rock-n-Romp show in September and it was tons of fun. Well-organized, kids running around everywhere, banging on mini-drum kits, playing in the sand, beer for the adults, hard to go wrong. The last RnR show of the season was last weekend, but there are rumblings that there will be some indoor shows over the winter. You can keep up to date at their Web site . As for other kid-friendly, non-kiddie music, Iota sometimes has all-ages matinees, but I don't see any on their schedule right now. Millennium Stage is always a good option. Dan Zanes is at Strathmore in a week or so, doing the "cool" kids music thing. Keep tabs on the Pancake Mountain Web site for info on their tapings and how to get involved in those.

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Washington, D.C.: Where is there going to be coverage of the Election? Are there bars in town that will cover it? I am looking to bring out a big group to watch the results. Thanks!

Fritz: Practically every bar on the Hill will have the results on, and places like the Hawk and Dove and Capitol Lounge will be so full that it's hard to get to the bar to get another beer. (Hawk Ale: $3.25 all night!) We have some suggestions in the Nightlife Agenda column, and I'm working on a longer post for our blog.

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Midnight Movie: I think Fandango was listing Georgetown and Gallery Place as showing early morning viewings of "Borat."

Jen: I've checked our movie info, as well as Fandango's, and I'm not seeing "Borat" screenings at either place until tomorrow.

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Arlington, Va.: Headed to Cirque du Soleil this evening and would like to grab drinks and dinner before the show. There will be about 7 of us. Any recommendations? Thanks!

Erin: There is so much in the area. In order of my preferences: Zaytinya, Matchbox, Acadiana and Marrakesh are all close and work well for an early group.

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Re: Annapolis Restaurants: The best place is definitely Cantlers- the crab house on the water!

Fritz: Oh, I agree. Stupendous crabs. But if you're looking to get to Annapolis via public transportation, as our questioner was, Cantler's isn't really that accessible.

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Kensington, Md.: Hi there, Your suggestions are always so helpful...I hope you can help me, thank you

I need ideas for a nice place for preferably a buffet style Sunday brunch or a nice lunch at a restaurant with a private dining area for about 20 people who will be in town for my daughter's baptism. I need something close by if possible in Bethesda,Rockville area. Thanks very much.

Erin: I'd look into Mon Ami Gabi , Red Dog Cafe , Mosaic Cafe or Praline Bakery .

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Arlington, Va.: Hi gurus. I went to a great Halloween party at RNR bar on 6th street. The "Bridezilla" theme that caught your attention turned into a great party. That place is decent and with lots of flatscreens looks like it would be good for watching sports too, a major upgrade from Coyote Ugly. They had great drink specials and people were having fun. This was my first time there, but haven't heard much about it before. What do you all think of the place?

Fritz: Glad the party was a success -- I went to the first version at Zucchabar a few years ago. RNR is a good place to watch the game on a Sunday, especially if they're still doing those $1 draft beers during NFL games. Plenty of flatscreens for the games.

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Washington, D.C.: GOGs, Any idea when and where the Nutcracker is going to be in town? Thanks.

Anne: You can get 'cracking with this list of performances, which we'll keep adding to as the holiday season nears. The big ones are the Joffrey Ballet at the KenCen around Thanksgiving time, and then Washington Ballet -- here's hoping it can finish the run this year -- at the Warner in December.

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Arlington, Va.: Love the GOGs!! Hope y'all can help me out with a fall fun question. I was hoping to hit up an apple orchard this weekend but thought if I could add on a winery visit at the same time that would be stellar! I've looked through the fall stuff in the city guide but didn't see any mention of this combo...maybe they just don't mix?

Julia: They mix, honey! Go to Tarara Winery . It's not like a super-orchard or anything, but they have apples to be picked and wine to be tasted. I had to go out there for a TV shoot a few weeks ago and snagged a few apples on my way out. Delicious! Try the Meritage wine, while you're there. I think it's a reserve wine and may cost a little bit to taste, but it's my favorite of the Tarara wines.

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Bebo: What's the attire situation there? Is the standard nice jeans/cute top/heels uniform ok for Saturday night?

Erin: The jeans uniform is definitely more than ok at Bebo . The place is family-friendly with a kids' menu, so you don't need to snazz up. Last night's crowd had sneaker-clad parents with strollers, decked-out businessmen and everything in the middle.

The food is delicious, but arm yourself with a bit of patience for dealing with service issues. I have been pretty amazed at the severe rudeness from the hostesses during my visits. I think they ought to be reminded that a) they work in a Crystal City restaurant, not an invite-only Parisian lounge and b) courtesy is part of the job description.

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Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I know you probably won't answer my question (you never do) but I have a friend in town and want to pack as much fun into our Saturday as possible. We'll start off with brunch and end the night with the Monuments at moonlight and then drinks in either Penn Quarter or Adams Morgan, depending on our mood. Should we do Eastern Market or the shops on U. Street? Thanks!

Fritz: Dude, I'm answering your question right now.

I'd do both: Market Lunch for pancakes, browsing through the flea market and Capitol Hill Books, then grab one of the 90-series of buses, which run up to Adams Morgan via U Street.

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Re: United Fan...: ...apparently you have never been to a Redskins - Cowboys home game.

Fritz: I have. And I'd still say there's a better atmosphere at RFK for a game against New Jersey: Singing, dancing, jumping up and down for 90 minutes. If you haven't tried it, there's no time like the present.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus -- we're thinking of checking out some local music tonight -- any thoughts on Rock N' Roll Hotel as a music venue, and on tonight's bands (headliner No Second Troy, Down Dexter, the Starlingtons, and Gone By June)? Thanks!

David: I like the Hotel, I think it's very nicely filling what was a sorely needed niche as a mid-sized music venue, holding 300-400 people, a bit bigger than DC9/Velvet Lounge/etc, but smaller than Black Cat/930/etc. And we always support going out to see local music. My favorite of the bands you listed is the Starlingtons, who play excellent old-fashioned country/folk/bluegrass. Sort of an outlier on that bill, but variety is nice.

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Alexandria, Va.: Moving to Alexandria and I'm looking for an indoor (or outdoor) soccer league to join in the area. Any co-ed or women leagues you know of? I'm looking for something fun to do once or twice a week that's not super serious.

Fritz: Readers?

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Borat at Midnight: Midnight technically does have a date of 11/03/06, but you probably would not go to bed tonight before that.

Jen: That's true, which is why I checked both dates. Still not seeing anything in the 12 a.m. hour. Everyone may have to hold out until tomorrow night. I realize that's a long time to wait to see two hairy, naked guys wrestling onscreen, but it's a price everyone may have to pay.

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Washington, D.C.:

Hi Gogs, Which bridal salon in the area has the best selection of bridesmaid dresses? My sis/maid of honor is coming to town for one weekend only and I want to be able to find the "maids" dresses while she's here. Thanks!

Janet: There are several David's Bridal stores in the area. The closest one to you I think would be in Rockville.

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Washington, D.C.:

For the person looking for NYC-like shops in D.C., Alex boutique on Eye Street reminds me a lot of the boutiques one finds in Soho. I love their selection and they definitely have NYC prices.

Janet: Thanks for that suggestion. Alex is cool.

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Birreria Paradiso: When does this Monday beer tasting thing begin? Can you arrive late and still take part? Any other info besides what is in your nightlife agenda?

Fritz: First, a quick suggestion: We don't put every ounce of info (starting times, cover charges) into the Nightlife Agenda column, because there's not always room. If you click on the hyperlinked name of the event/band/DJ, you'll get our City Guide record, which has more details.

The beer tasting series at Birreria is a little early for my liking, as it kicks off at 6 and runs until 7:30. You can arrive late, but you might miss out on a few beers, and you won't get the commentary/tasting notes that are the reason you're dropping $60 in the first place.

I'm still waiting for Birreria's Thor Cheston to send me a list of the beers for Monday's tasting. If it comes in, I'll post it.

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Massages:

You can get student massages at the Potomac Massage Institute.

Janet: For the person ISO student massages, here's your answer.

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Silver Spring, Md.: My husband and I were thinking of trying an early morning walk at the zoo on Saturday. Any place in Woodley Park or Cleveland Park where we could get a good breakfast, or even doughnuts and coffee (other than Starbucks)?

Erin: Open City does breakfast and some pretty good coffee. Up the road, you can get bagels in Cleveland Park. I haven't seen many donuts around those parts, though.

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Arlington, Va.: OK, so after checking Fandango, I see that Friday November 3 has a 12:00 a.m. show listed at several theaters, including Potomac Yard. Technically, this means a midnight show tonight, but is that really what it means? It could easily mean tomorrow night at midnight (which is technically the 4th but part of the 3rd's business day). I'm very confused now.

Jen: I see exactly what you're seeing, and I believe those are midnight shows on Friday night/Saturday morning. If they were for tonight/Friday morning, they would be listed at the beginning of the day's schedule as opposed to the end.

Make sense?

Also, in the good, old-fashioned print version of the movie directory, the theaters usually hype up midnight screenings. And I see nothing about "Borat" shows in today's paper either.

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Massages:

Potomac Massage Training Institute offers student massages for $35 (but you'll be watched by teachers and students), and graduates' massages for $50, still cheap by Washington standards.

Janet: More on massages by students.

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Washington, D.C.: Election night viewing places--For those searching for election night activities, the major political parties sponsor events. Just contact the local party that you are affiliated with and they should be able to direct you to events on Election night. Otherwise, local places on Capitol Hill always have election activities going on.

Fritz: Good point. But having gone out and covered several election nights for washingtonpost.com -- including the last two presidential contests -- I have to say that the bars are invariably more fun than the "official" bashes. Younger, louder, less stuffy.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you guys know of any public transportation to Great Falls? I have access to a FlexCar, but if public transport is available, I'd rather take that. Thanks!

Julia: Sorry, hon. If you're going to the Virginia side , you'll have to go Flexcar on that one. The closest Metro is probably East Falls Church and it's a HIKE!

We thought you might be able to get to the

Maryland side

by taking Montgomery County's Ride On bus, but the bus's Web site said that it was impossible. Anyone ever done this?

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Washington, D.C.:

I'm driving to Annapolis on Saturday but I can't find much on good local restaurants or shops. What would you suggest to kill a few hours wandering around?

Janet: There are lots of antiquey shops on Maryland Avenue which are fun for browsing. Also, West Street has a couple of shops as well and they're a bit off the touristy track.

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U Street, Washington, D.C.: As someone who lives here I'm not biased or anything ...but U Street is a MUST for out-of-towners. It's truly DC. The shops are funky ... and so are Ben's and the Florida Ave Grill. Do stop at one or the other for refreshment (Ben's has great milk shakes ... ). Or, if you want more 'upscale', the Love Cafe will knock your socks off.

PS The bus is BRILLANT - so glad you mentioned that.

Fritz: Agree with you on everything but Love Cafe. Just can't get into it. Don't forget Oohs and Ahhs, either.

For something more upscale, I'd hit Saint-Ex or Bar Pilar, which have pretty good weekend menus.

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Pancake Mountain: Would I look like a perv if I went to a pancake mountain "dance party" taping since I don't have kids? It would still be pretty cool to have seen Built to Spill so up close!

David: I don't know if perv is the word, but I think we can at least settle on sketchy. Still, as far as who can attend, the PM folks on their Web site say, "Anyone from 5 to 50 (actually older then 50 is fine, it just sounds cool to say it that way) as long as you plan on dancing," so I guess technically you'd be OK. Don't you have a niece or nephew or cousin or something?

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Columbia, Md.: Where would you go in the DC area for a celebratory dinner for two, NON-romantic, price (mostly) irrelevant? Preferably a place with impeccable service, you know, somewhere where they'll suggest wines without being snotty & not correct your pronunciation, etc. Not Italian, not sushi.

Erin: How about Ray's the Classics? It's swanky and delicious, but there aren't any frills attached. The wine list is impressive and Michael, the owner, has thoughtfully selected some affordable labels.

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Dupont Circle: Can you recommend a good happy hour for Thursday in Dupont? I'm sick of Lucky Bar.

Fritz: Have you been to Porter's? Smaller, but not wall-to-wall. There's always the $20 "all you can drink" happy hour at MCCXXIII, or the martini hour at Ozio.

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The Burbs: Greetings -- as a newly returning resident of the D.C. 'burbs -- is there a list on the Post Web site (or anywhere else) of "100 Must Do Things in D.C."? or something to that effect? I'd love to get out and experience all of what D.C. has to offer.

Anne: Welcome back, 'Burbs, and I like your sentiment. We haven't kept such a list, because it would forever be changing. I like to think that the places and events featured on the City Guide main page show you that list of the moment, whether it's the weekly Nightlife Agenda column or this month's theater picks or a blog post about a significant collection of local art , just for example. But maybe we could (together) compile one today. Chatters, what's on your D.C. Top 100 list?

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Arlington, Va. : Good afternoon oh great Gurus,

Problem: 30th birthday is December 31st. I would like to have a party, but my apartment is too small.

Is there a non-New Yearsy venue that would be happy to have 30-40 birthday celebrants take over what would otherwise be a slow night?

Thanks for any suggestions.

Fritz: A slow night? On New Year's Eve? That's one of the highest-grossing nights of the year, according to most industry sources.

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Arlington, Va.: Are there any decent places to get wings around here? (D.C. or VA suburbs)

I am craving Buffalo Wild Wings but the closest location is Fredericksburg!

Erin: Here's my list: Urban BBQ , Buffalo Wing Factory in Ashburn, Tonic, Hard Times, Old Ebbitt and 51st State.

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Washington, D.C.:

The Aveda Institute has spa services that include massages. I've never tried it, so I don't know what kind of skill their students have, but I'd like to check it out.

Janet: Good suggestion: Try the Aveda Institute for a student massage.

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Burke, Va.: For the carless person wanting to go to Annapolis. You can rent a car at National Airport for $30+/- a day. Probably cheaper than the hodgepodge of transit via BWI--and you'll have more time to spend in Annapolis!

Fritz: Yeah, but then you can't indulge in Rum Runners at Pusser's or the pint-sized rum drinks at Boatyard. That's kind of a downer.

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Arlington, Va.:

Any nice day spas in the Hanover/Arundel Mills area?

Janet: Do not know much about it, but there's Robert Andrew Day Spa .

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Vienna, Va.: Following up on the earlier Rock-n-Romp question, here's a kid-friendly show that's not kid's music: Los Straitjackets and The World Famous Pontani Sisters at 2pm on Sunday, November 12 at The Barns at Wolf Trap.

David: Yes, that's a great one to take the kids to, Los Straitjackets are mucho divertido. For slightly older kids, they might have fun at some of the general admission dances at the Barns, like the Grandsons or Buckwheat Zydeco. Those are in the evening, and there probably won't be too many kids, but it's never too early to start rockin'.

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More DC Shops:

Don't forget Pink November (on U St NW and in Georgetown) and especially Stella Blue on H Street NE. Stella Blue has the best value in my book of all the places you listed ... same funky/quirky stuff with lower average prices and more sale items. I imagine it's the lure to come waaaay off the beaten path to shop.

Janet: Don't forget Stella Blue and Pink November for D.C. shops. Thanks.

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N.W. D.C.: Jury's & Phoenix Park for the Irish? Fritz, nae offence here pal, but surely recommending those two hotels for Irish visitors is akin to telling an American about a great little B&B on O'Connell Street...called the Marriott.

Fair enough, a surprising number of UK/Irish visitors to this country "need" their pint of Guinness, Premiership updates and ten a ten deck of B&H to stave off the homesickness, but there's no need to send them to an Irish hotel.

I'd say the Omni Shoreham up at Woodley Park or the Swann House B&B on 17th & New Hampshire as a couple of alternatives.

Fritz: Okay, sorry. Swann House is a beautiful B&B, but rates are over $200 a night for the nicer suites, and it would be a nice trick to get eight people in there at once.

Bidding For Travel, a site I like to use for Priceline research, is shows people have recently won rooms at the Madison for $80 a night, the brand new (and really well kitted-out) Palomar in Dupont for $95, Georgetown's Melrose for $85, or the Omni Shoreham for $120. I'd take any of those, and maybe the Wardman Park Marriott if something good came up.

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Top 100 list: #1 GO SEE BUTTERSTICK, then dinner at Two Amy's

Anne: #1, 2 -- can I hear a three?

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Re: Massage Models:

Go check out www.affordablemassage.com they have a location in Alexandria and are AWESOME and Inexpensive. I have had way better massages here for half the price of Elizabeth Arden. Steve is the best!

Janet: A fan of affordablemassage.com.

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AU Park, Washington, D.C.: I am a new mommy. Our baby is turning 2 months soon! I was wondering if there are any activities for parents with their babies in the city. Any resources out there for weekly updates on this question would be greatly appreciated.

Julia: You might get a kick out of Reel Moms . A new mommmy friend of mine met a bunch of new moms by going to the Georgetown one while she was on leave.

Jen: I agree with Julia, Reel Moms is a great idea. Plus it allows you to see a new movie and not feel completely left out of what's happening in the pop culture world.

I don't know of too many activities for moms and infants quite that young. But you might want to post a query just like this one on the D.C. Urban Moms Web site, if you haven't already. I posted a question there recently and got a lot of very helpful responses, so fellow moms might be able to help you out with some ideas. Good luck.

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Bethesda, Md.: Red wine and chocolate are good for you. How cool is that? Anyplace in town I can indulge in healthy behavior by consuming these 2 substances?

Erin: A few wine shops, like the Curious Grape, offer tastings of both from time to time. Otherwise, indulge in truffles and wine at Cafe Atlantico.

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Silver Spring Sports Bar: We just moved to SS from Arlington and we are, believe it or not, missing Crystal City Sports-- decent bar food, and a million TVs showing all the football games. Is there anyplace like this in Silver Spring so that we can make it our regular Sunday football haunt? I heard good things about Quarry House, but it's CLOSED on Sundays. (Silly.)

Fritz: Galaxy, a pool hall on the main Silver Sprung! drag, has about three dozen TVs and is open on Sundays. Haven't been to McGinty's for NFL, but they have a lot of flatscreens in the upstairs bar.

The Stained Glass Pub is another good one, though it's north of downtown.

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Re: WH Christmas tree lighting: About the tree lighting - I've gone 2 of the last 3 years and tickets have always been available at the gates to get in a couple hours ahead of the actual lighting. They aren't in the best sections, but if you're looking for an alternative to waiting in very long lines on a different day, it might be worth a shot.

Anne: Thanks for your first-hand advice!

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NON-romantic, impeccable service: My pick would be the Palm. Festive, delicious, fantastic service.

Erin: Good thought. I agree that steakhouses are generally good non-romantic destinations, but I like to avoid chains when possible.

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Bridesmaid Dresses:

Seriously? David's Bridal? I've been in 8 weddings and that place is infamous for making people cry. I'd try Elle's in Old Town or the store next to Pacers in Clarendon. Also, Ann Taylor has a line of lovely formal wear out that can actually be worn again. However, wherever you look, you should also check out netbride.com where you can order a lot of dresses for money off.

Janet: For the person in search of a lot of bridesmaid dresses, here are some options from a chatter.

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Tip for the leaf seekers: Whether you're afraid of Skyline Drive crowds or not, check out the country roads. They offer more variety and great picturesque scenes.

One good one on the way to Skyline middle entrance is VA 647 off 66 and toward Washington, VA.

Julia: It's always a good idea to take the small roads on leaf-viewing adventures. Never done 647 -- thanks for the tip!

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Arlington, VA: Hi Guys -- what's the best dive bar along U Street for a Saturday night out with the guys? Busy but not overly crowded, draft beers on tap, maybe the game is on, juke box is playing rock and roll and maybe there is a pool table or dart board?

If not U Street, then where else in close-in DC?

Fritz: Cue Bar would be my first choice -- has everything you need, plus drink specials, a half-dozen pool tables, ping pong and projection screens.

Solly's wouldn't be bad (I'm working on a review), but there's no pool.

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Bridesmaids dresses:

I think Rosalin's Bridal in Falls Church has a great selection of bridesmaids dresses, much better than David's, and the prices there are great (better than the same brands at other local shops).

Janet: Another place to hunt for bridesmaid dresses. You're bound to find one you like now.

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Chinatown, D.C.: Fritz, great review of Town Hall in Georgetown. Thinking of checking it out sometime. What's the feel/clientele like during the week? Thanks much!

Fritz: Thanks. It's a little slower than on weekends -- very local crowd who seems to know its bartenders by name. Thursdays are a little crazier with the Smith Point overflow.

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For Indoor Soccer Person: There is an indoor soccer place in Springfield/Annandale. I think it's called Fairfax County Sportsplex, or something like that. Everyone I know who is into indoor soccer plays there! FYI - the place has no A/C, so the air is always kinda stale (for people with asthma) and you should just forget it in the summer!

Fritz: Thanks. I knew we could rely on you guys.

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Halloween crowd handling in Georgetown: Can you or anybody else help me vent about the lousy job the police did Halloween night? They corralled all the pedestrians on M St. into a four-foot-wide space. I understand wanting to keep pedestrians out of the street, but why so narrow? The street was entirely empty for a while as they closed off vehicular traffic to tow parked cars.

Jen: I can't comment on the job the cops did, but I saw news coverage from Gtown that night. And it definitely looked like sardine-time on M St.

Did anyone else see Will Thomas on Fox attempting to host a costume contest? It was hilarious. He kept saying "Okay, move along," so people would walk more quickly by the camera. Then he just started gently pushing people to get them to go faster. It was the most rushed Halloween parade ever.

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Washington, D.C.: I was not able to take my two 7 years olds trick or treating. What do you suggest I do with them this weekend? No so much as wearing costumes, but more so for kids fun.

Erin: I wonder if that was a universal theme this weekend. Our office is busting at its seams with all of the candy that people didn't give away on Halloween.

You could take them to Imagination Stage, the Multicultural Book Festival or the Zoo's Asia Trail.

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Science Club DJs: I just found out from a co-worker that Anoushkah (sp?) Shankar was spinning at Science Club earlier this week! How can I find out about these surprise DJs - I thought I was on their mailing list? Did anyone catch her when she was in town?

Fritz: Science Club spins this kind of surprise on us all the time -- DJs who aren't announced via mailing list, or on the Web site, and we don't even get a friendly call to let us know what's up. Kind of an odd, ESL-like marketing strategy, if you ask me.

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Re: New Years BDay: You could always try places with side/back rooms (IE: Murphy's of DC.) If you plan on bringing your guests earlier (than say 10pm) you may be more likely to reserve an area in a pub/bar that isn't going all out for NYE.

Fritz: One option...

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Thursday Happy Hour: I've started going to CLOUD's happy hour on Thursday. It's open bar from 6-8, but you have to print off a pass from a web site with obnoxious music! (Don't those web-site creators know we are at work!)

Fritz: Wait, is it from Mad Power Unit? Who are STILL playing Nick Cannon and R. Kelly's "Gigolo" after all these years?

Those guys throw some great happy hours, but they need a Web site do-over.

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Soccer question: Indoor/Outdoor soccer seeker:

http://www.nvasa.org

coed soccer league that plays outdoor from spring through fall (outdoor season wrapping up) and is now playing indooor at South Run in Springfield.

Fritz: Thanks.

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Barra Brava, RFK: I don't think the ticket mavens will be placing DCU fans in 328, which is where the Revs fans are rumored to be placed. Yes, you should wear black, United fan. If you go through the official team site to get tickets I would not worry about where you are placed in relation to the opposing section.

Fritz: I actually saw on the message boards that the Revs will be up in the 400s, so don't worry about where you're sitting -- unless you want to get in with the supporters groups (Barra Brava, the Eagles, La Norte). Just know you'll be expected to jump and sing.

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Washington, D.C.: Not really a going out question, but do you know anything about a Whole Foods (or other grocery store) planned for the Gallery Place area? I heard this was in the works, but I can't find anything about it. Thanks!

Julia: I believe the final word on the Balducci's in Gallery Place is "off again" -- check this story for the full details -- but you never know. With so many people moving to those condos, I can't imagine that a grocery store won't go up sort-of soon, but this is Washington....

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New Year's Birthday: So there aren't any places that won't have a New Year's Eve crowd? That makes me sad.

Erin: I guess I don't get it. Have you successfully found places in the past that are New Year's-free? There are definitely going to be dive bars that nobody else will think of. How about one of those?

If not, can't you pretend that all revelers are there as fringe guests for your party?

Otherwise, you might want to consider having a friend with a party space host at his/her place or changing your birthday.

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Alexandria, VA: Hi Gurus!

Thanks for taking my question. I am going to see "The Bluest Eye" at the H Street Playhouse (1365 H Street, NE) and am wondering if you could recommend a good place for dinner before the performance? We have pretty adventuresome tastes and would like something in the mid-price range.

Thanks!

Fritz: I like the Ohio Restaurant on H Street for good, filling soul food. There's an African restaurant down by 14th Street that I've heard good things about but (still) haven't visited.

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U Street dive bar?: I'd suggest Stetson's. It's got the darts, pool table, foosball, and cheap(ish) beers. Maybe not exactly a "dive", but not fancy. Especially upstairs.

Fritz: Another option: Stetson's is a solid local bar.

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U Street: Have any of you been to Pumpkin Chunkin in Delaware? Is it worth the drive?

Anne: I have not driven to Delaware to smash pumpkins. Is there a special event in the First State that is different from what's closer by? Since this is the last weekend for pumpkin festivals at a bunch of area farms, it shouldn't be too hard to find places willing to chuck some gourds. This weekend is the big Pumpkin Madness (squishing) event at Cox Farms . Another road trip, this one in a westerly direction, would take you to Great Country Farms .

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Coming to Washington: Hey, former DCers running away from the kids for a weekend in the city. We'll be attending a play in the Dupont area on Friday night, but were wondering if they are any decent places to grab a good beer or glass of wine as we make our way back to upper Conn. Ave. We're not into the lounge scene but at that time of night maybe looking for good restaurant bar that won't be jam-packed around 10:30-11 p.m. Thoughts?

Fritz: Firefly and Urbana would be my top two choices, especially for wine. If it's romance you're after, then head for the Tabard Inn.

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Dupont, D.C.: Hi GOG's, is there any good specialty chocolate stores besides Godiva and Lindt? Looking for something new to give to the honey.

Thanks!

Erin: Absolutely. Out in Virginia, Artfully Chocolate, Artisan Confections and Kingsbury Chocolates are superbly delicious. Dean and Deluca has a thorough selection of different chocolates. Downtown, Chocolate Chocolate might be a good bet.

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Friendship Heights: Any word on when Sushi-ko will open in Friendship Heights? I can't wait!

Erin: I wouldn't hold your breath for an opening before 2007. It's amazing how things are blowing up in your neighborhood, huh?

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20011: Hey Gurus,

Does the Reef still do a cask night on Thursdays? Their web site is always out of date, so I'm never sure what to expect when I go there.

Thanks!

Fritz: It's not quite a cask night right now -- they're bringing in one-off kegs of rare Belgian beers. Last Thursday was McChouffe, which was amazing and complex (and 9+ percent alcohol). Haven't heard about tonight's selection yet, but I'm sure there's something good.

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Posh Supper Club : Went to Posh and had a lot of fun. Food was great (had the crabcakes), and my cocktail had Pop Rocks on the rim of the glass. While Tom S. found the film clips intrusive, I thought they were fun and different. I can't think of anywhere else in D.C. that does that. Just my two cents on Posh... rock on Gurus.

Erin: I feel like other places in D.C. don't do it because it detracts from the food and Posh, well, might need that distraction.

You can see movies on the Lucky Strike lanes. Pop Rocks are something that you can get, I believe, at Cafe Atlantico's bar and occasionally in an Oval Room dessert.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I was hoping you would let me promote a fundraiser happening tonight at Rumors (19th and M) to benefit the American Diabetes Association. This Saturday, the Spectrum Science Diabetes DeACTIVators are participating in America's Walk for Diabetes and we need YOUR help to meet our fundraising goal. Help us support the American Diabetes Association's ongoing research, education and advocacy efforts that touch the lives of the 20.8 million children and adults who live with type 1 and type 2 diabetes every day.

Happy Hour Specials:

- $3 Deactivator Shooters 100% of the shooter proceeds will go to the ADA

- $3 Bass

- Grand Marnier specials all night!

- Prizes will be raffled off throughout the night

- There will not be a cover charge, but donations will be accepted (and appreciated) at the door

Fritz: A reminder that if you're hosting a cool fundraiser at a bar/club, please send the details to us at nightlife at washingtonpost dot com (sorry, bad spam lately). That's how we can get it in the Nightlife Agenda column...

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Arlington, Va.: A friend and I want to go to Bebo Trattoria tomorrow night. Do they take reservations? Should I make one if so?

Thanks! Looking forward to it...

Erin: They do take reservations and you should make one. Request a booth or window table.

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Vienna, Va.: Plans for the weekend...we want to visit the Zoo to see the Asia Trail Sat. morning. Do you need tickets, and is it always mobbed/long line due to the novelty factor?

Around lunchtime, visitors will arrive at Union Station. Can you suggest a kid-friendly place that we can meet them for lunch after we leave the zoo? Is there anyplace inside Union Station that is pleasant and kid-friendly? Casual, yet not food-courty. Thanks!

Julia: You do not need tickets. The zoo is always crowded on Saturday morning, but if the choice is between going and not going, I'd go. It may take you a while to get up to the glass, but it's totally worth it. Great views of the animals. If that's too crowded for you, you could always head over to the lions or the ape house.

Erin: You can eat at B. Smith's if you're set on dining inside the station. Otherwise, Bistro Bis is close and has better food!

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Columbia Heights, D.C.: Since election day is the District's version of Mardi Gras, everyone I know is talking about what bar to watch coverage at on Tuesday. Our first thought was Stetsons, but when I called they said they were doing their usual trivia night. Any other ideas in the Downtown/Dupont/U street area?

Fritz: The manager at Stetson's told me that they're doing the trivia downstairs and election coverage (with sound on the TVs) upstairs, and if trivia is slow, they might expand election night downstairs, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey gurus - just a follow-up to a question that was posed in early October about your intern position: is the spot still open? I'm an AU senior with a lot of time on my hands and would love to apply if it's still available.

Thanks!

And just as a side note, I think Matchbox should be open on Sunday. I tried to go with my girlfriend after running the marathon but was totally unaware they're only open 6 days a week.

Anne: Great, we're glad you're interested, because as you can tell, we're pretty hard to work with -- and we don't pay you. College seniors, if you want to apply, please send in your stuff by tomorrow. Anyone who will be a college student in the fall, you can apply (for our 2007 summer and fall internships) anytime. Here's all the info .

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washingtonpost.com: OK, that's a wrap. Thanks for stopping by. Jagshemash.

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