Transcript

Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, January 4, 2007; 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: Hello and happy new year. Hope you brought in 2007 with style. If you're wondering what we enjoyed most about 2006, you can check out this roundup of our favorites of last year. We're ready for another year of guruing, and we've got an almost full crew today with Julia, Fritz, Erin, Anne, Janet, Rhome and myself, David. I'm still giddy over being at Verizon Center for last night's Gilbert Arenas buzzer beater. For all the going out options we talk about here, it's hard to beat seeing Gilbert and the Wiz at the phone booth. He's a special dude. OK, enough fanboy fawning, let's get to your questions.

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Washington, D.C.: I am looking for tickets to and information about A. Fenty's Inaugural Ball on Saturday, Jan 6th. I missed the boat on the free tickets because I was out of town. Are they available anywhere else? What should I expect if I do find tickets?

Thanks

Julia: Unfortunately, the tickets for Fenty's ball have all been distributed and there are no additional tickets available.

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Dupont Circle, D.C.: Re: Restaurant Week: I've done Zola, Viridian, Ceiba, and Taberna del Alaberdero; Is there a place that still has openings that I should try this time for Restaurant Week?

Erin: If you're flexible in dates/times, almost every restaurant I'd want to visit has availability. That could mean going on Monday at 6 p.m., but I think it's worth it.

If you're flexible in dates/times, almost every restaurant I'd want to visit has availability. That could mean going on Monday at 6 p.m., but I think it's worth it. Butterfield 9, 1789, Farrah Olivia and Vidalia stand out in my mind. Acadiana and DC Coast always go out of their way.

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Washington, D.C.: Are jackets required yet at PX? Would it be a bad idea to get food and eat it at Eamonns then head to PX for drinks (not bringing the food there of course)? I'm assuming sometime during the week would be the best time to go seeing how it would be the least crowded.

Fritz: Jackets are required at PX, yes, and I've done the Eamonn's/PX combo every time I've been. If you're dying to camp out on one of the blue velvet couches while sampling Todd Thrasher's stunning cocktail menu, I'd go on Wednesday or Thursday. Much less crowded than a Saturday night.

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SW Washington, D.C.: A friend and I are looking to play shuffleboard (not the cruise ship kind) this weekend and I was wondering if there are any Bars in DC that offer it. I've heard that there is a place on Barrack's Row that might have it. Thanks

Fritz: You're thinking of Finn MacCool's, which has a table shuffleboard game set up on its renovated second floor, along with darts. Good beer, too.
For some reason, though, I think the table at Buffalo Billiards is larger and sandier.

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Dinner pick: Happy New Year Gurus! Hope you can help... What would be your restaurant pick for two 30-ish foodie friends who are coming to visit us from NYC -- budget and location (DC or MD) are pretty open, but we need to have vegetarian options. I was thinking Komi, but I'm not sure if the tasting menu would have enough veggie options? If not, Viridian, Zengo, or Lima? One of them used to live here so I'd like to try a place that's opened in the last 2-3 years. Thanks so much!

Erin: You're right about Komi. I love it, but would hesitate in offering it even to pickier meat-eaters. Viridian is a solid choice, but Rasika continues to wow me with eclectic, but thoughtful dishes. It's lively, attractive and one of my top choices for visitors. Other thoughts: Blue Duck Tavern, the newly renovated Black's or Ceviche.

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Washington, D.C.: I ruined a beautiful satin dress on New Year's eve by slipping and falling and by having half a glass of wine spilled on me. Because it's satin every single spot shows up horribly. The dress is brand new and I love it and want to take it to a professional cleaners. I don't think my neighborhood dry cleaners can handle the job. Thanks, Stained

Janet: Parkway Custom Drycleaning is expensive, but if you really love the dress, take it there. They're pretty luxe and will even deliver it to your doorstep.

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Arlington, Va.: I had a friend visiting over the holidays and she wanted to see the Korean Memorial and the FDR Memorial. I consulted the City Guide which stated that FDR was two blocks to the right of the Lincoln Memorial. Has anyone ever really walked it? As places go, it is way out of the way and not remotely accessible by any public transportation. We also left FDR and headed to the Jefferson Memorial onto Independence Avenue and that was a hike also. Why can't they run Circulator busses down Ohio Drive so all of this would be accessible to people who can't hoof it that easily?

Fritz: I've walked it, and while crossing Independence Ave. isn't that much fun, it is only two or three blocks away. It's just kind of desolate. FDR to Jefferson is a hike, though, I agree.
I'm willing to bet they don't run Circulator buses over there because the Tourmobile has stops at all three memorials, but that's just the conspiracy theorist in me.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm thinking about restaurant week and want to try something that is not American fare and also serve options other than seafood. Any ideas for the best pick? Thanks!!

Erin: You shouldn't just write off American in general. You'll close off some of the best destinations.
Indique, Lavandou, Notti Bianche and Cafe Atlantico all fit both stipulations. Good luck!

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Washington, D.C.: I heard that Love is closed to the public this week for Gilbert Arenas' birthday party! How do I get tickets!

David: Um, be really nice to Fritz? That's what I did, although it's about 30 hours until party time and my Arenas Express card still isn't here. Not too worried yet, though. But yeah, it's strict invite only, and it's not like you can get a scalped ticket since you need to have your name on the card to get in. So work whatever connections you have, but it was a tough ticket to begin with and after last night everyone in town probably wants in.

Fritz: I've heard that Love is expecting people without tickets to show up, hang out on Okie Street and gawk at the celebrities (and me and David) who are making their way in. Maybe you can make a sign that says "I need a ticket!" or something and see if that works?

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Washington, D.C.: My boyfriend and I are going to the Kennedy Center in a couple of weeks to see the Kirov Ballet. It's a Saturday night performance - do you guys know what would be appropriate to wear? Does the bf need a jacket or tie? Also - we're going to up in the second tier - does anyone know where you can get opera glasses that aren't crazy expensive? Thanks so much!

Janet: In my book, going to the ballet at the Kennedy Center is a dressier occasion than say, going to a play at Studio. So I'd say break out the jacket for the bf. A skirt and sweater or dress would be fine for you. As for opera glasses, there's a Web site opticsale.com, where the merch seems reasonable.

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Silver Spring, Md.: hey gogs,

my birthday was right in the middle of the holiday season, when everyone is away, with their families, or too busy to celebrate. so now that everyone's back, I'd like to go out on the weekend with my early-twenties crowd. The bar can't be too expensive for these recent college grads and i'd like it to have a dance floor (DJ not required). also, central location, since my friends are spread out in silver spring, Arlington, and Bethesda. i really like union jack's... is there a similar vibe in Dupont circle perhaps?

Fritz: Lucky Bar sounds like it would fit the bill, down to the cheap drinks and dance floor.

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Washington, D.C.: It's supposed to be beautiful this Saturday. Is there anything going on along the mall or at any of the museums that would be perfect for a warm day like Saturday?

Julia: Nothing particularly special that I can think of -- people don't usually plan outdoor events for dreary January -- but the Mall itself is always good for a little meandering. Since the Mall grounds can get a little gross in winter (if you can even call this winter), I'd suggest wandering around the Tidal Basin, which is always nice on crisp days.

If you're looking for something museum-y, a trip to the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden (hopefully the ice rink won't turn into a puddle!), the Botanic Garden or the new National Garden might be up your alley.

Also, away from the Mall, try wandering around Eastern Market. While you're in the neighborhood, you can check out classes at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop's open house.

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Washington, D.C.: Good Afternoon Gurus!

Do you have any recommendations for a Saturday brunch? I know many places only do Sunday brunches and am looking for a place to take visitors from out of town this Saturday. Thanks!

Erin: Hi there. My top Saturday brunch choices would narrow to Bistro Bis, Cafe Atlantico, Poste, Viridian and Bistrot du Coin.

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Vienna, Va.: Hey GOGs! I'm looking for a sports bar for UVA basketball games. Any suggestions?

Fritz: Man, you know we have more Hoos in this area than ... well, there are a lot of 'em. The "official" alumni watching spot is Bailey's in Ballston -- the group gets a private room and everything -- but most sports bars worth their mettle, like the Crystal City Sports Pub or Mr. Days, will have the game on and plenty of Cavs rooting for their team.
Good luck on the 16th, by the way. You're going to need it.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi, Gurus - I'm in my early 30s and think it's time to have a place that doesn't look like a college dorm. Where can I go to buy bedroom furniture when I want to upgrade from Ikea, but still need the prices to be reasonable?

Janet: I'd give Skynear & Company in Adams-Morgan a try. One of their floors is devoted to contemporary furniture that doesn't have a high price tag. In the area there's also Miss Pixie's, which can be hit and miss, but you never know. Head on over to 14th St. and take a look at Reincarnations. Good luck hunting.

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Washington, D.C.: I agree that a jacket for guys and a skirt/dress for girls is appropriate and that's what I generally do. But every time I've been there, I've seen ball gowns and tuxes as well as sweats and T-shirts (I'm not kidding) and everything in between. So, really, anything goes.

Janet: I've seen a range of outfits at the Kennedy Center as well. It's a matter of choice.

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District Girl: Are there any other coffeehouses like Tryst that have a lot of sofas and comfy chairs -- not just tables and straight-back chairs -- where a girl can go to get out of the house to comfortably sit alone for a couple of hours and read or do work? Would Busboys & Poets work? Anywhere else?

Thanks, gurus!

Fritz: My new favorite coffee spot is 14U at (surprise) the corner of 14th and U. Lots of mismatched tables and old sofas and wingchairs that came out of grandma's attic, good organic/fair-trade coffee, free wi-fi, tasty pastries. I'd rather go there for work than B&P, which has suspect service and can (I think) get pretty noisy, or Sparky's, which is like homework central, even though I love the espresso.

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Washington, D.C.: Hello! I noticed that I haven't heard of any of the bands playing any of my usual haunts (black cat, dc9, warehouse, etc.) over this weekend/next week and was wondering if you had any suggestions of places for a couple indie rock-ish grown up kids to hang out at? Doesn't have to be a band, but something casual and fun along those lines?

David: It's a pretty quiet week or two, which is often the case at the beginning of the year. A couple of shows we mentioned in Nightlife Agenda this week are Brandon Butler at Galaxy Hut on Saturday and Sweater Weather at the Red and the Black on Sunday. Also, you can check out a recent blog post of mine where I mention 20 bands coming to town this month and link to a full MP3 from each band.

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Washington, D.C.: Can you recommend a good place in the city to take visiting parents out to lunch or dinner? The catches are that I'm vegetarian and their tastes are not very adventurous. They'd probably be perfectly happy going to a Ruby Tuesdays but I'd like an interesting non-chain place to take them.

Erin: I suppose that it depends on how unadventurously creative you'd like to get. Mitsitam, the cafeteria in the NMAI, is unique to the area and offers dishes that span the spectrum and include chicken tenders, buffalo burgers, corn tamales and amazing hot chocolate. Old Ebbitt Grill is Washingtonian, but mainstream in its offerings. Depending on where you'll be and your desired price range, Pizzeria Paradiso, Jaleo and Matchbox could appeal.

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D.C. Gov't: GoG's--Some friends and I are going to Mayor Fenty's inaugural ball this Saturday night. It's at the Convention Center at 801 Mt Vernon Place NW.

Where should we meet for a rallying-point drink beforehand? There are 3 couples in our troupe? We'd like to meet somewhere with a short walk to the Convention Center.

Fritz: That's a neighborhood that's still waiting to come into its own.
Easiest place to go is BeBar, a new lounge right around the corner from the convention center, which has good martinis and a sweet cocktail list, couches and funky decor. Depending on the time, though, it can get busy.
Also right across the street, the Warehouse Theatre has a cafe with a liquor license, but it's not anything fancy (or even all that interesting).
You could also head down to Gallery Place for a drink at R.F.D., Matchbox or one of those nice Zengo martinis and then walk the three blocks to the Convention Center.

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A question for Fritz...: Hi Fritz,

The reason that I'm asking you is because I think your beat is the bar scene - and I am curious if you ever get hit upon while working?

Thanks for taking a silly question!

Fritz: Yes.

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Washington, D.C.: FDR to Jefferson is not a hike--it is less than a mile, and you go around the Tidal Basin, which is a pretty walk.

Fritz: Right, but if you read the original question again, you'll see that they complained it wasn't easy for people "who can't hoof it that easily." If you have limited mobility, then it's not an easy walk.

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Go Hoos!: Fritz - I'll bet you a beer that UVA beats MD later this month.

Fritz: You are so on.

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Boyds, Md.: Almighty GOGs, thanks for these wonderful Thursday diversions. This isn't a Going Out question, but I'm hoping y'all or someone else out there can help. I've been to all the department stores as well as Brooks Brothers, but none of them have flannel suits. Is there anyplace in the DC metro area that sells flannel suits? Thanks all!

Janet: I figured if any place would have flannel suits, it would be Ralph Lauren. I just looked at their Web site, and there are a couple. Not cheap. Anyway, check out the area stores and see if you snap one up on sale.

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Leesburg, Va.: I am looking for theatrical productions for my family (two teen or pre-teen girls) and I saw there is a "staged reading" of twelfth night at the Kennedy Center on Saturday. Does that mean a boring lecture-type presentation, or a theatrical production? Thanks in advance for any info about the show.

Erin: It won't be a lecture, but it also won't be a full-fledged production. It stars some of the area's most dynamic actors and theatrical personalities and it's free, so I think it's well-worth a shot.

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Ashburn, Va.: Hey Group! I finally am remembering to ask this question. I mostly go out dancing to latin music but I have a friend visiting from Mexico who wants to experience a couple different types of clubs here. He would love a place that plays like top-40 but I have no clue where to go. Any ideas? It can have other types of music/floors as well. Thanks! I know you guys won't steer me wrong.

Rhome: First some suggestions. Your best bet would be Ultrabar. Big club experience without being cavernous, popular hits and multiple rooms. You could also try Avenue, Play Lounge and MCCXXIII
And now a question for everyone (I'm not picking on you, Ashburn). I'm really curious, sometimes confused and been waiting to ask this one for awhile. What exactly is "Top 40" these days? When you're looking for Top 40, does that just mean pop songs? Do you determine that by what you hear on the radio? I checked over at Hot 99.5 and by their measure we could be talking about Ludicris (hip-hop), Beyonce (R&B) or Nickelback (rock). Billboard breaks it down into categories that are only available by subscription: Rhythmic Top 40, Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks and Hot Adult Top 40 Recurrents.
What does Top 40 mean to you?

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Washington, D.C.: I'm going on a first date Friday night. We want to do something other than just dinner and drinks. Any ideas? Anything going on in the city that could be fun?

Julia: Are either of you into art? You could wander around the Dupont Galleries for First Fridays tonight. Conner Contemporary's new video/photography exhibit will be open late, as will Washington Printmaker's exhibit of Lou Stouvall's works and Foundry Gallery's new exhibit of abstract paintings. Not all the galleries will be open tomorrow -- my fave, Kathleen Ewing, will be closed -- but take our map to get your bearings.
The festivities really wind down by 8, so I'd make sure to go before dinner.

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Washington, DC: I'm about to have my 30th birthday later this month and I'm thinking about hosting a party at Palace of Wonders on a Saturday night, during one of the bar's weekend performances. I'd expect about 20-25 friends to attend -- all from different parts of my life, so I prefer not to force everyone to sit down at a big table together. Is it possible to congregate/stand around one of the bars at PoW and still partake of the sideshow performances? (I've never been there before) Thanks Gurus.

Fritz: Yeah, but you might not all have the best views of the stage. (That's why there's closed-circuit TV with flat-screen monitors near the bars.)

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Washington, D.C.: For the person seeking a comfy-couch study spot, I recommend a new coffee shop in my neighborhood called Breakwell's. It's at 9th and M NW, two blocks (other side of the convention center) from the Mt Vernon Square metro. The coffee's good, pastries are outstanding, and it isn't too crowded. They have a nice sitting room with an eclectic assortment of chairs (and old books). Oh, and free wireless.

(Here's hoping it survives, as the neighborhood is still "in transition"...)

Fritz: Sounds great. Thanks for the info.

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Waldorf, Md.: I will be celebrating my 50th birthday Saturday. Can you suggest a good restaurant in the DC area?

Erin: Happy birthday, Waldorf. My favorite special occasion spot is Restaurant Eve, but Citronelle, CityZen, 1789 and even Cashion's Eat Place are memorable destinations for such a special celebration.

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Washington, D.C.: I have a tipping/etiquette question for you guys. When you get your hair cut and someone other than the person actually cutting your hair washes your hair, should you tip them? Or do the hair stylists give them a portion of their tips later? If you should tip the hair washer directly, how much? Thanks.

Janet: I pretty much always tip the person who washes my hair. I figure there's no guarantee that the stylist will share the tip. As to how much, I think it depends on the cost of your haircut and the salon. A few bucks at least.

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Man in Gray Flannel Suit: Try Filene's--seriously. The one on Conn. has a really good selection and I saw a few flannels last time I was there. Nordstrom's, too, has carried them in the recent past.

Janet: To the man in search of a flannel suit, some other options.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm looking forward to trying PX, but Fritz's review, though well-written as always, left me with a few logistical questions: do they always use the intercom system to survey and admit guests individually (seems unsustainable for busier hours)? And how often do they turn people away? As much as I love a good old fashioned, I wouldn't want to trek all the way to Alexandria if it's impossible to get in. Thanks for the advice!

Fritz: When I was writing the story, there was no intercom system -- a server actually comes down to the front door, gives you a once-over and unlocks it manually. And yes, they did that even on Friday nights.
As for when they turn people away -- they do that when it's full, which is often on weekends. (PX can hold maybe 40-45 people comfortably.) If you want to go, try to reserve seats on one of the couches in the front room; with advance notice, it's yours for two people for a two-hour block.

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Rockville, Md.: We're new to the area and my S.O. and I are looking for inexpensive things to do with my 11-year-old son (less than $30). We all enjoy museums but we've been to the kid-centric museums a lot, ie: Air & Space, Natural History... My son enjoys improv and magic. I also wonder if there's anything fun and safe for this age group on their own or with a friend at the National Mall while parents visit an art museum.

Anne: Hi, Rockville. Glad to hear that your family is into museums, because that's a very easy way to keep the activities free. One idea in that vein (but will cost you) is to have a meta-museum day, when Udvar-Hazy screens the Ben Stiller movie (PG) "A Night at the Museum" in its Imax theater. In other museums, the American Indian museum on the Mall might appeal, and the Hirshhorn's current exhibits could be very kid-accessible. There's a sculpture exhibit called "The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas," in which some works are made of everyday items, like batteries, a houseplant, foam swim toys. That kind of familiarity with the materials is always good for raising the "what-makes-this-art" question with kids. And the highly designed Magnus Wallin video pieces, which can almost feel like a video game, are a good way to remind kids about the film medium, too. Check our kid-friendly page for more ideas of free activities. Has your young illusionist paid a visit to Barry's Magic Shop in Wheaton yet?

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Washington, D.C.: I wanted to recommend an early Sat evening event that is sure to please artists, art lovers (including erotic art lovers), modern dance enthusiasts, hipsters and punk rockers.

LOOK + LISTEN is the closing party for the art exhibit CONSUME currently featured at Flashpoint Gallery. The closing party will feature a dance performance by Jane Jerardi and Brian Buck, music from Joe Lally (of Fugazi) with Willie Hoffman and Jerry Busher and Ian Svenonius (dj name names of spilt milk) will serve as turntablist.

Here's the skinny: Saturday the 6th, 6 - 8 pm at the Gallery at Flashpoint 916 G Street, NW. For more info about CONSUME: www.scatter-bright.org.

David: Erotic art lovers out there, and I'll assume that's most of you, here you go. The Spiv's always fun on the turntables, too.

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Washington, D.C.: Hello there! A group of about 20 friends (in our 20s-40s) are looking for a restaurant to celebrate a slew of January birthdays. We went to Marrakesh last year and loved it, but want to try someplace new this year(but also a little off the beaten path). Not a chain, great food but not ridiculously expensive, an atmosphere where a large group can move around a little and enjoy each other's company...any great suggestions? Thanks!

Erin: You should look into the upstairs space at Bistrot du Coin. Zengo is popular for its space, but I'm less-than-impressed with the food.

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Washington, D.C.: My 20 year old brother is coming to town this weekend. I want to show him a good time, but he's obviously not yet of age. Any suggestions of cool places we can check out where you don't have to be 21?

Fritz: For a big-club experience, there's Platinum.
Otherwise, he can get into shows (and bars) at the Black Cat and the Rock and Roll Hotel, or concerts at the 9:30 club.

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PX Story: I went on a Saturday night in the fall. We ate at Eammon's first, inquiring with that staff about PX. then we tried to get into PX. but they were full. But the host said that if we came back in 30 minutes, he'd let us in. we did and he did. they def turn people away. we saw others. and others who didn't want to wait outside for the door to be answered. I def recommend getting reservations for a Fri or Sat night.

Fritz: Thanks for the first-hand report.

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Belt resizing?: Hi GOGs, Happy New Year! I hope you guys can help me. My son has a great belt that he loves, but it is about 4 inches too big for him (he bought the wrong size, and I didn't notice until after he wore it). Can one of the cobblers you recommend for handbags handle a belt resizing? I don't want new holes punched in, I would rather have the belt cut down somehow. It doesn't have any design that would interfere with that, I just wanted to know where to go, and maybe how much it would cost. On a different note, do any of you know where I can get Orion beer? It's an Okinawan beer, and I haven't seen it anywhere but Tachibana. Would love to bring some home, if possible.

Janet: I would call Fortuna in Bethesda and ask them whether that can be done. I have to say I really don't know.

Julia: Orion..... So I called a couple of my favorite liquor stores around town and no dice! (The guy at Rodman's couldn't have been nicer, for what it's worth!) I think your best bet would be to talk to the Tachibana folks and see where they get their supply.

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NE Washington, D.C.: I live near H Street, NE and I really want to try out the nightlife in the area, especially after Fritz's recent articles. But how do I know if I'll like the bands and/or DJs at the Rock & Roll Hotel or the Red and the Black? Can you listen to excerpts on the bars' websites or should I just call and ask what kind of music they play? Thanks!

David: For most shows the venue Web site links to the band's Web site which should have some audio samples. If it's an especially good show we might mention it in Nightlife Agenda or on our podcast. I wouldn't really recommend calling the venues to find out. Google + MySpace are usually pretty easy and fast ways to familiarize yourself with bands you don't know much about.

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Chocolate Night: Close to Valentine's Day isn't there a hotel or restaurant that has a chocolate buffet for around $20? I'd like to check it out this year but I can't remember the details. Thanks.

Erin: You're referring to the $30 Chocolate Decadence buffet at the Ritz Carlton. According to the hotel, that event will happen again every Friday in February and March. Woohoo.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm going the Kennedy Center this weekend for a 7:30 show. Any recommendations on dinner before or after?

Erin: I'd recommend Notti Bianche or Circle Bistro. Though not just next door, both offer delicious entrees with just a short walk. The rooftop of the Kennedy Center also offers dinner, but it's a bit pricier and you might find it tough to make reservations.

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Washington, DC: Hi there GOGs! Here's my situation, I am 29 years old, and haven't been out in about two years - no joke, so I really don't know where to start. I'd like to go to a bar that's not so crowded I can actually sit down, that plays some decent music (rock, house), and might be a good place to meet some other single women in the age range of say 25-30. If you guys could please give me the names of a few locations to start, it would be verrrry much appreciated. Thanks!

Rhome: The Saloon, Bedrock Billiards or Buffalo Billiards, Wonderland (not rock or house but friendly crowd), Madam's Organ (you can find space to sit on non-peak nights) and Asylum.
Try those then report back and we'll give you some more.

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Top 40: To me, it means 107.3. Not so heavy on the hip-hop or rap.

Rhome: Okay... John Mayer, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5. But if you look at national charts they're dominated by hip-hop/rap.

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indecision: Can you suggest some kind of low-key, outdoors, second-date activity for this weekend? I really don't know what, but something, yknow, fun and active. (Not, like, bungee-jumping active, though.) Maybe a hike somewhere - it's supposed to be in the 60s, a-gain, thank you carbon dioxide emissions - or some kind of festival?

Julia: As I mentioned above, festival planners don't usually pick January, but I think Great Falls, Sugarloaf and Harpers Ferry are all good options for putzing around on a date. Picnic foods are nonnegotiable.

Anne: Theodore Roosevelt Island is small (and flat) enough that exploring around there won't exert you too much, but there's still the hidden-treasure thrill of finally coming out of the trees and across the famous conservationist's statue. Afterward, you could continue the adventuring when you play guess-what's-in-that-bun with dim sum at nearby China Garden in Rosslyn.

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Satin Dress: I wore a new silk dress a few weeks ago that was spilled on multiple times at a party (cranberry vodka and wine) and Beverley Cleaners in Old Town got all of the stains out. It is very reasonably priced.

Janet: For the woman with the stained satin dress, here's another option for dry cleaning in Old Town.

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Washington D.C.: PLEASE HELP! I have a friend in town for Friday night ONLY and I need a few suggestions for fun places to go in DC. We're a laid back group of late 20's and early 30's that like to drink and if the mood strikes, dance to fun 80's/90's/current music. We are NOT looking to deal with a dress code, pay a cover or be around snobby euro-type people. Metro accessible is best but we can easily cab (especially since it will be raining). Thanks!

Fritz: Alright... we were just talking about we could use more spots with no cover, dress code and pop/dance music.
Are you set on going out in D.C.? The Clarendon Ballroom sounds like it's what you need, and it's free before 8.
That, you might try the Lucky Bar, Chief Ike's (get there early and it's free), Nolan's, R&R Bar Lounge, maybe Madhatter, too. None of those spots will blow you away, but they can all be fun.

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Dupont, D.C.: another ballet question-do I see the Kirov, who I've never seen before but I have seen sections of R&J, or do I hold out for the Bolshoi, again, never seen, but I have seen Cinderella several times, but on the other hand Don Quixote is only like my favorite story ever. Not really sure how the two companies stack up against each other any more.

Erin: It's hard to compare them when they're both so formidable. If you're a fan of DQ and have never seen Bolshoi, then you should go for that. It'll likely take your breath away, though I'm very much looking forward to the Kirov's R&J.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm surprised no one has asked this yet. Do you have any suggestions of where an Ohio State fan can go to watch the game on Monday in D.C. itself (i.e. not Willis and Reed's)? Thanks!

Fritz: I have not, but I'll throw this out to the crowd.

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Top 40 vote: What is on MTV, VH1, 99.5 or 107.3.

Rhome: That casts a pretty wide net but it is helpful. I would translate this to mean "records that the biggest cross-section of the populace is familiar with."
I put this out there as a Guru to know what you're really asking for but also as a DJ.

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Washington, D.C.: So I hate when people ask these types of questions but I need help - what are some stores that sell clothes that actually fit tall, slender guys? Stores like Banana Republic's larges are really baggy. Where do the men wearing all the nice stuff in the clubs and stuff shop?

Janet: I think you need to find a brand/designer that works for you. And, what are you looking for -- jackets, jeans, trousers?

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Washington, D.C.: Where are the good places to go out on U Street this Saturday Night? I live in Adams Morgan and I have never tried the bar scene on U Street. Also, where would be a good place to eat? No places that are too expensive (and preferably no covers).

Fritz: Depends on what you want to do. For drinks, I like Solly's, Axis Bar and Grill and the Saloon -- none of which will break the bank. Polly's is a fun hangout, and Stetson's has pool and darts, plus an interesting crowd. Nema and U-Topia are hotspots for cover-free jazz.

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To: Ohio State fan: Any bar with a tv will have it on!

Fritz: That's a given, but I think they were looking for places where other Buckeyes would be congregating.

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Ohio State: Does this person mean Jan 1 cause this is a little late?

Fritz: Uhhhhhh... BCS championship is next Monday, Jan. 8. Ohio State vs. Florida. Winner takes the #1 ranking. Should be a good one.

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Chantilly, Va.: HELLO GURU'S My friends and I are looking for great places for Sunday brunch in the Northern VA Area, what are your suggestions?

Erin: Hello, Chantilly. I am partial to Carlyle, Boulevard Woodgrill, Evening Star Cafe and Majestic Cafe.

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Washington, D.C.: Happy 2007, Family!!! What's the vibe like at the Selam spot you featured in Nightlife Agenda? I'm trying to do some low-key, low-price, hard boogying to recover from the stresses of the holidays. Dress code? Cover?

Fritz: Selam should take care of all of those. No cover, no dress code. Just Meistro cranking out dancehall and hip-hop. I'm guessing it's going to blaze.

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Ladies Night: Hi Gurus,

Tonight is my friend's big bachelorette party. She's from the area but has lived out of DC for a while... she really wants to dance to 80s music (?) so someone suggested Heaven and Hell Thursdays... I don't really go to Adams Morgan too often, do you have any suggestion of what else we can hit up while there? We are in our late 20s and I'm nervous that most bars there won't be the best atmosphere for us... thanks!

Fritz: Karaoke at Peyote?
Okay, kidding. (Or maybe not, for a bachelorette party.) For late-20s folks, I like to lounge at Bossa, sample the beers/cocktails at the Reef, hang out on the patio at Soussi, maybe get a table downstairs at Saki if you want something swanker. Places like Toledo Lounge are fine if you just want to hang out and catch up, too.

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Buckeyes: You can also find a group of rowdy Buckeyes watching the game at Stetson's (upstairs).

Fritz: Thanks for the helpful info.

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For the skinny guy: My best bets, as a tall, skinny guy are Club Monaco for casual and Brooks Brothers for business wear (their slim fit shirts are perfect). Also, don't be afraid to try on a size smaller than what you might think you need. I'm 6'4" and would never wear a large, because I'm also 165 lbs.

Janet: I really like Club Monaco -- their stuff is classic-looking and the fit is trim. Thanks for passing this along, as well as the tip about looking for a smaller size when you're tall but also thin.

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Washington, D.C.: I need to plan a happy hour next Thursday night for some work colleagues. Can you recommend someplace in the Chinatown or Federal Triangle area that's not too stuffy or hip, has good food and drinks (no Asian or Indian) for reasonable prices, won't be overly crowded, and can accommodate a group of around 10 people?

Erin: Acadiana and PS 7's would be my top picks for group drinks and small bites.

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Top 40: I think top 40 (especially when you're talking about a club) means 99.5, with a bent towards hip-hop. Because Nickelback is not club music. I hope.

Rhome: That was my initial best guest but most people who come to us looking for Top 40 specifically don't want hip-hop or techno/house/electronic type music. Sean Paul occasionally cracks the pop charts. Is dancehall Top 40 too? What about when "'Pon the Replay" blew up and that Nina Skye joint over the Kopa riddim?

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Takoma Park, MD: Happy New Year Gurus! I've been meaning to ask this question, but I didn't want it to get lost in the holiday madness. I'm getting married in August and we have a lovely park rented in August near Annapolis. It's county-run, so we have to be out by 7:00. We want to keep the party going and are looking for a spot: ideally, we'd like to rent a space for 50-75 people to drink and dance the night away in downtown Annapolis (near the hotels). Any suggestions would be really appreciated! Thanks.

Fritz: First: If you're not worried about gambling on the weather (and don't mind a tent), then the #1 answer is the patio at the Sly Fox pub. Huge, shaded brick patio with its own bar and space for live music/dancing.
For something upscaley/swank: The lounge at Kyma.
More pubby: Sean Donlon's.
On the Water: Pussers, the dock-like bar at the Sheraton.

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Ohio State game: Rhino Bar in Georgetown is an Ohio State bar so there will definitely be lots of Buckeyes there on Monday night.

Fritz: More Buckeye info..

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Top 40: When I say Top 40 relating to going out, I basically mean radio-friendly pop and hip-hop of the past two or three years. Sort of like the top 100 downloads on iTunes but without the country or rock. I mean, I don't want to hear Nickelback...ever really but especially when I'm dancing.

Rhome: I deem this the final word unless someone can define it better.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Hey GOGs...

Not that it's a place to "go out" to but what happened to the City Museum (you know, the one across from the Convention Center)? I see that their sign has been painted over. Wasn't this property put on the National Registry?

Thanks

Julia: Hey Capitol Hill, good question -- I hadn't yet seen the sign. The Historic Carnegie Library is indeed a protected building, so I don't think it's going anywhere soon.
Some of the space in the building, which still houses the Historical Society of Washington (the group behind the City Museum), has been dedicated to the National Music Center, a newish group that organizes music education events. That might explain the sign being painted over....

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Washington, DC: I'm thinking of checking out Ray's the Classics and wanted to pair it with something else fun in Silver Spring. It will be a group of six, early 30's. Suggestions on good watering holes? How is the Quarry House?

Fritz: That's probably the perfect place to go: Low-key, feels like it's been there for decades (it has), good drinks. Not sure it's worth your time to go to McGinty's unless there's a band on, and the less said about Piratz Tavern the better...

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Clarendon, VA: Hey GOGS!

This Saturday, my four friends and I are taking our best girlfriend out to dinner in Dupont for her birthday around 10 pm. We want to go out after but not sure where.

Ideally, we would like to stay in the Dupont/Downtown area. We are all 24 and we love to dance and meet new people. We have been to the Science Club, Cafe Citron, Big Hunt, Lucky Bar, Front Page and Fly. Anywhere else we should look at?

Thanks so much! Really appreciate it!

Fritz: If you haven't been to Five, you're missing out on one of the best dance clubs in D.C. Plenty of room to groove on two floors, plus a rooftop deck. Goes 'til 5 a.m., and there's a coupon for free admission in the City Paper ad every week.
Also, Dragonfly is a great spot, and though there can be some attitude, they still have great DJs.
For something along the Lucky Bar/Big Hunt axis, I still like the vibe at Porter's. Not as young and crowded as Rumors, but still lively and fun.

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Sorry for the repeat...: but your handy search box isn't up today to search the archives! My question is simple -- bachelorette party, dancing, not something like "Love" or the other big clubs, but not small loungey either. Oh, and not trance or anything like that. Next Saturday. Awesome, thanks!

Fritz: I think Avenue strikes a great balance between larger clubs like Love and teeny little lounges -- the three floors also mean you can move around and find a place that fits what you're looking for. Plus, we love DJ Geometrix, who's cutting up the hip-hop and party music on the top floor. Open bar 10-11, too. Free passes from avedc.com or guestlist@djgeometrix.com.

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Hanover, Md.: My sisters and I are taking my 60-year-old mom out this weekend for a girls' night on Saturday and we have three generations from age 6-60. We need somewhere to go on Saturday in the D.C./Baltimore area. Any suggestions?

Anne: Happy birthday to your mom! (My sister and I did the same thing for Mom last weekend.) In Baltimore, Pazo is handsomely laid out for a special occasion, and you could also check into tickets for Chicago. Have fun!

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washingtonpost.com: OK, our work here is done, at least for this week. Let's do it again, say, next Thursday at 1.

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