The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, March 8, 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.
washingtonpost.com: Well, after being inside the snowglobe yesterday, this is turning out to be a brighter day. We've been super busy blogging this week on Artomatic, basketball, cherry blossoms and dining out for charity, among others. David, Erin, Fritz, Julia, Rhome and I (Anne) are here, ready to talk going out. What's up with you?
Capitol Hill, D.C.: Hi Gurus!
I'm on a mission. My sandwich-loving boyfriend recently moved to DC and is officially convinced that you can't get a good sub in this city. I'm desperate to prove to him otherwise, and hope you can help! I need a classic, order at the counter sandwich joint around Capitol Hill or downtown (or further as long as it's metro accessible) and we're particularly partial to the non-chain varieties. Awesome turkey and Italian subs are a must. Thanks so much for your help GOG's!
Erin: I just love talking about good subs before finding time to grab lunch.
My favorites are at the Italian Store, but it's not Metro-accessible. My runner-up would be Vace, which has 2 very accessible locations. South Street Steaks in College Park earns raves all around. Anyone out there have a secret gem to share?
Washington, D.C.: I'm hoping to catch the DCist's photo exhibit at the Warehouse. However, I'm going out of town this weekend, so will have to go during the week next week. How late is the Warehouse gallery open during the weekdays? (The only hours I can find are for the cafe.)
Julia: The gallery is open from 5 until 9 on the weeknights, so unless you have a really tough work-week ahead of you, getting there should be no problem.
Dublin/D.C.: Hey Guys --
A friend wants to do the Boomerang St. Patrick's Day Irish Pub Tour, but I think it's probably a rip-off.
You know anything about it?
Fritz: I do indeed know about it -- we have it on the site here -- and I don't think it's a rip-off. They're offering transportation between six of the city's traditional Irish madhouses (er, pubs) on the 17th, plus admission, for $28. I think you'd pay at least that much trying to get into the Dubliner, Irish Times and 4Ps, let alone getting taxis between them.
As for the party bus itself, I had a pretty good time when I rode that converted school bus for a story in the Weekend section. Games between stops, singing and dancing on board, friendly and knowledgeable staff ... you can read about my adventures here.
McLean, Va.: My boss is having company and would like to take them to a professional ice skating meet/show/whatever you'd call something like that. I have NO idea where to even START looking for something like this! Can you help?
Movie - your thoughts?: Dear GoG's:
I am picky about the movies I see. I'm typically not a fan of Hollywood-type movies but prefer Indie shorts and foreign films.
What do you think of the film, Avenue Montaigne? Have you seen it, yet - and do you recommend? I know there are other foreign films that you might suggest - but I'd really like to have your feedback on this one.
Julia: I have not seen it, but the Post's Desson Thomson gave it a pretty good review. Made it sound sort of like "Amelie." And who doesn't love Amelie?
McPherson (Washington, D.C.): Dr. Gurus - I see myself becoming very ill at work next week and having to leave my office by McPherson Sq early. For treatment, I will require therapy from plasma TVs, drinking plenty of fluids, and a healthy dose of the Villanova Wildcats. Where would you prescribe near 15th & K?? (not ESPN Zone, which will be a madhouse).
Fritz: Well, I know that Nova has hosted game-watching parties at the Exchange (17th and G) this spring, so you might want to call over there.. I'm also a fan of Porter's at 18 and M, which is a bit more of a walk, or maybe even Lucky Bar.
I'd also be shocked if the game wasn't on at Cap City Brewing Company, but I'm not sure if their TVs are plasma or regular old tubes.
Woodley Park: Hi Gurus. Love the chats! The event at the Hirshhorn tomorrow night sounds great. Do you think it will sell out? Do you expect long lines at the door?
Julia: Do I think it will sell out? Probably not. You can fit a LOT of people into a museum. Besides, I think the $12 cover might turn some people away.
Do I think it will have a line? You bet. I was out of town for the museum's After Hours event for the Jim Lambie installation last year, but the word is that lines were long both to get in the door and to get drinks at the single bar. Hirshhorn staff acknowledged that this was a major bummer and I'm told that they're hoping to smooth out some of those kinks this time around. Nevertheless, they're not a bar -- they're a museum, with many priceless works of art -- so I think a line at the door for security reasons is pretty inevitable.
For those with the means and the inclination, you can pay $40 and have VIP access to four upcoming After Hours events, which is a discount if you plan on attending all four. Not quite clear on what VIP treatment you get -- but you definitely get to beat the line. Check out the After Hours Web site for more info.
Tyson's Corner, Va.: Hi GOG's,
Taking the kids(late teens, early 20s) and their SOs out for dinner and a movie this weekend. Tysons has been chosen as a middle point for all, but I am not terribly familiar with the restaurants there. I'll assume the Gordon Biersch is pretty much the same as the one in the city, and Coastal Flats is pretty much out, due to non-fish eaters. What have you heard about Pauli Moto's and Brio's Tuscan Grille? Are there any other places in the mall, or near by, worth our dinner dollars? Thanks!
Erin: I haven't been out to Tysons in a bit, but I was under the impression that Pauli Moto's has closed.
Brio is a fairly large chain, but people write in fairly often to praise the delicious bread. If you're looking for something more unique, Luciano is a solid choice.
Falls Church, Va.: Going to see the Who tonight. Is there an opening act? What time is the Who scheduled to start?
David: Yep, there's an opening band called Rose Hill Drive. They'll go on at 7:30, Daltrey/Townshend and Co. should hit the stage around 8:30.
Washington, D.C.: Other than Old Dominion and ESPN Zone, can you recommend good places to watch March Madness? Ideally, multiple TVs to watch multiple games, a place where a group of 6 could get a table, and hopefully not outrageously expensive for food and drinks.
Fritz: I'm going to go ahead and plug this blog post, which is a roundup of specials from around the area. I'm going to be adding more to it today, since some bars were late getting back to me with specials. For a group of six, I think Old Dominion would be a great idea, since it's got more space and isn't as popular as, say, Lucky Bar, Fado or the Pour House.
Washington, D.C.: What place is known to be better, Fatty's tattoos or Jinx Proof?
Julia: I've seen better tattoos come out of Jinx Proof than the ones I've seen come out of Fatty's, but it really depends on who your artist is. Any one got a good tattoo artist to recommend? We are a group of gurus without ink...that I know about anyway. I bet that Malitz guy is hiding something.
Arlington, Va.: I'm going to the 9:30 Club show on 3/17 (St. Patrick's Day.) It's an early show, and I was hoping to hit a bar for some St. Patrick's Day celebrations after and/or maybe before the show. Are there any good options right by the 9:30 Club?
Fritz: Well, right across the street, Duffy's is going to be going full blast on St. Patrick's Day, with music beginning at noon. Also, if you've got a 9:30 club ticket stub, you get discounted Guinness, so you may want to cash in.
Alexandria, VA: I'm looking for places where I might find artistic people -- things like poetry readings and open mic night -- but not book signings or musical open mic nights. Can you suggest any places for that? Thanks!
Rhome: Busboys & Poets and Mocha Hut have the most popular poetry nights in the city now. Check Busboys' site for their schedule and all you need to know about Mocha Hut is to show up on Thursday nights.
Springfield, Va.: Why would anybody want to visit an Irish pub on St. Patrick's Day? The most fun I've had at a pub was on a warm Saturday afternoon in May with friends, throwing darts and chatting with the bartender. This same pub on St. Patrick's day had a 2 hour line out the door with a 10 dollar cover charge so you could drink green beer from a plastic 10oz cup.
Fritz: Thanks, Springfield, for allowing me to publish my annual Rant Against St. Patrick's Day. Since I'm lazy, I'm just going to cut and paste my argument from last year:
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Would you wait 20-30 minutes and pay $10 to get into a crowded Ireland's Four Provinces on a Friday night if you knew there was nowhere to sit down, nothing to eat but cold corned beef sandwiches, and they were only taking cash at the bar?
Then why do so on St. Patrick's Day?"
It's a waste of a holiday, as bad as New Year's Eve, and it's going to be worse this year because it's on a Saturday. I'd rather go have a pint with my favorite Irish bartenders on the 24th.
Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.:
Thanks for the heads up on the second D-Plan show. I would have missed it otherwise. Give Travis my best!
David: Glad you got tickets. It was an interesting way to handle things after the mayhem of last time, just quietly putting them on sale at 5 pm on a Wednesday and let people spread the word. The Black Cat held on to a handful of tickets that it will be putting on sale at the box office only, starting tonight at 8 p.m. That will be your last chance if you've been shut out so far.
Alexandria, Va.: Hi Gurus, your discussion is addictive - I moved to the area in January and have been a regular reader since. I have even started bringing a pen and a notebook with me to take note of interesting suggestions to check out in the area. The question: is there a video store that specializes in renting non-Hollywood movies (independent, foreign and documentary). Is there also a movie theater for these kind of movies? Suggestions for D.C., Alexandria and Silver Spring areas will be appreciated! Thank you.
Anne: Hi, Alexandria, glad to have you here! There are arty theaters to be found in all the places you asked about. I'm not sure about independent video stores in your neighborhood, though -- maybe other chatters have ideas for a local businesses to support instead of Netflix?
Arlington, Va.: Help! My mom is coming into town for Easter and she wants to see the Walker Gallery in Baltimore on Easter Sunday since we have discovered it is open. I was thinking about getting dinner out there as well but I have no idea where to go. My only Baltimore experiences are stumbling around Federal Hill. Do you all have any suggestions for a nice place to get an early supper, that would be open on Easter Sunday? I know its early but I figure reservations will go fast. Thanks so much!
Erin: That sounds like a fabulous Easter. My experiences used to focus only on crab spots up there, but I'm learning to expand my horizons. Pazo serves delicious food in a cool, somewhat urban space. It's a converted warehouse, but it's very posh with small plates. I just checked in and confirmed that they're serving.
I'm also curious to try the Helmand.
Washington, D.C.: Gurus, I have been invited to a party at Agua Ardiente tomorrow and have never been there. What should I be expecting? Is this more upscale like Mate or a little more low key like Chi Cha Lounge? Any feedback on the place would help.
Fritz: The bar actually falls somewhere in between. Not as fancy as Mate, but no couches with cigarette burns, either. Cocktails are okay, not great, and there's a decent selection of Spanish wines. They offer Latin music and dancing on weekends, which is a plus. If you're not a fan of smoke, know that there are hookahs in the bar area.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I noticed that there is a new bar in Chinatown called Rocket Bar. Have any of you been there yet? Is it fun? Do they serve food? Thanks!
Fritz: I blogged about Rocket Bar a few weeks ago. It's a cool little spot with funky art on the walls, okay draft beer, four pool tables, darts and tabletop shuffleboard. The low-key basement vibe reminded me of its sister bars Atomic and Bedrock.
No food, but you can get takeout from restaurants in the neighborhood, or get your own to-go at California Tortilla and bring it in.
2nd date; Washington D.C.: Planning on going out on a second date this Friday. Apparently the guy thought I was not interested in him, so I'm glad I emailed him.
He likes frozen yogurt. What do you think about starting a night with burgers at Lindy's Red Lion and then going over to Cone E Island? (we are both 27, he's from Israel if it matters).
Erin: That sounds like a fun and well-rounded night. To add a few options, you could move yourselves over to Georgetown and do a buffalo burger at Martin's Tavern before frozen yogurt at Thomas Sweet's. I prefer Georgetown strolling to the concentrated Foggy Bottom area, but I must admit that I love those cheap burgers at Lindy's.
Clarendon, Va.: Someone last week asked about Liberty Tavern, set to open this summer in Clarendon. Reputable sources have told me that they're going to try to give Eleventh a run for their money in the lounge department, since Eleventh currently has a monopoly in Clarendon. Liberty Tavern will be loungy downstairs, with the dining room upstairs on the second floor. Let's hope the comfortable lounginess isn't ruined by floods of would-be Ballroom patrons...
Fritz: I heard they were going for the upscale tavern scene, and a place with couches would be welcome in the neighborhood.. Eleventh is great, but it's so small.
Sandwich Lover: I'm a huge fan of Litteri's in NE and my boyfriend can't get enough. So good!
Erin: Excellent, thanks.
Chinatown: I heard the other day of a place in Chinatown that serves sushi on a conveyor belt. Does this sound familiar?
Erin: Yep, Sushi Go Round is located in the movie theater complex.
Anonymous: Hi Gurus- submitting early since I'll be out of the office later. I am asking a guy out for our 3rd date this Sunday; hoping you can suggest something slightly quirky and offbeat. He's quite sarcastic and well-read and I'd love something beyond the standard museum exhibit (unless it's a really cool museum exhibit). Thanks!
Julia: I'd go with the DCist exhibit at the Warehouse. It's very local -- which is good for conversation about the city and your experiences here.
The closing day of the D.C. Independent Film Festival is another good bet for off beat. If he's into food, consider the D.C. International Wine and Food Festival.
Baltimore, Md.: Happy Thursday! My friend is visiting in a few weeks and we're looking for an upscale bar in downtown Baltimore (maybe even a couple) to have a few drinks, some apps and bridge the gap of the six years we haven't seen each other. I have been to the Red Maple and Ixia and love the whole sophisticated, relaxing, couch thing, but I wanted to know what other spots aren't on my radar screen. Thank you!!
Fritz: How about Pazo on Aliceanna? It's more of an upscale tapas place than a bar, but it should fit the bill.
A friend suggested the area near the fireplace at Brewer's Art, and I agree with him that it could be fun, if a little noisy.
Since most of the places I go in Baltimore are decidedly NOT upscale, I'm welcome to any suggestions from readers...
Washington, D.C.: So in the midst of planning my wedding and trying really hard not to despise my mother or vice-versa, she declares that she is coming to town for a mother-daughter weekend. She's into yoga, food, kind of hippy rather than yuppie. Any ideas for fun activities?
Julia: I would definitely take her to Eastern Market. I take my hippie mom to outdoor markets all the time. Lunch or coffee nearby is a nice way to spend a morning.
If you want to do yoga, Inspired Yoga is hosting a pay-what-you-can community class on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
If you're looking for something museum-y, this couldn't be a better weekend. Check out the new exhibit of photographs from Hurricane Katrina at National Museum of Women in the Arts. Maria Simonsson's sculptures, on view at the Art League, are pretty interesting as well. If she doesn't know the town too well, the DCist exhibit mentioned above is another good bet.
Indian Food delivery?: Hi GoGs,
Which Indian restaurants in the District deliver besides the so-so Mehak? Thanks!
Erin: Two words: Heritage India. I have abused my bank account many times when gleefully ordering as much as possible from that amazing menu.
Falls Church, Va.: So what's Fur going to be like on 3/17?
Fritz: Crowded. Loud. Insanely busy. I'm wondering if DC101 can pull off the Keggs-and-Eggs Lulu's atmosphere in Eckington. I suppose we'll see -- but I have to admit that we were surprised to see Ben Kweller on the bill. I mean, Carbon Leaf is a given...
Washington, D.C.: I love going to Utopia and listening to jazz on Fridays...where can I go on Saturdays? You guys are the grooviest!!
David: Well this Saturday you can head to Twins Jazz to check out drummer Keith Killgo, our Nightlife Agenda Pick of the Week. Twins always has shows on Saturdays, but cover can be a bit pricey, although not Blues Alley pricey. Without wandering too far, Cafe Nema and Bohemian Caverns are other quality options.
Washington, D.C.: A plug for a local event -- The D.C. Independent Film Festival goes thru this weekend at UDC (Van Ness Metro). I was there last weekend, saw some great stuff, but was very sad to see how empty the auditorium was....
Julia: That is sad. The DCIFF is a D.C. tradition. If you haven't heard Kiefer Sutherland will be there on Sunday night -- starting at 6 p.m.
Falls Church, Va.: I'm sampling Korean for the first time tomorrow at Yechon--what's a tasty, authentic Korean, not-too-spicy dish I should try? Thanks!
Erin: Lucky lucky. It's delicious food and you can go as late as you like. Amazing. You shouldn't have many problems, but I love the barbecued beef dishes (cooked at the table).
Re: Sandwich Places: Vace has a second location??
Fritz: Yeah, in Bethesda, down towards the Trader Joe's end of town, tucked into Miller Ave.
Washington, D.C.: Where can I find a list of restaurants participating in Dining Out for Life?
Erin: It's long, but it's here.
Washington, D.C.: What is the vibe at Sully's on U Street? Never been there but a friend's band is playing on Friday night.
Fritz: It's an unfancy neighborhood corner bar, catering to rugby players, locals and folks who love cheap PBR. I love it. Read my review.
For Upscale Baltimore: The 13th Floor of the Belvedere Hotel is a pretty fancy place for drinks. The view of the city is pretty nice too.
Fritz: Okay, see, I was talking about that with a friend of mine who works in the industry in Charm City not 10 minutes ago, and I said, "Isn't that place passe yet?" His response: "Yeah, it is." I mean, I remember going there when they had swing bands.
But yeah, it's an option, and the view is sweet.
Washington, D.C.: Helloooo, Gurus!
Do you or any of the chatters know a place to find good soda bread in DC or Alexandria? My BF has never had it - unacceptable to this baking-challenged Irish girl!
Thanks & Slainte
Erin: I hear you with baking challenges. My college roommate did a great job of making the soda bread, though she always left out the raisins and caraway seeds. Mine always comes out very rubbery.
This isn't the most creative answer, but I actually like the soda bread at Whole Foods. The bonus is that they usually sample it at the time of year, so you can decide before you buy (or buy and still sample as many as possible). Otherwords, check into the Dubliner, Fado, O'Connell's and other places serving up Irish breakfasts.
Washington, D.C.: I know this is a weird March request but do you know where I can buy a pinata? Hopefully metro accessible.
Julia: Just called the Dollar Star (3129 Mount Pleasant Street) and they do indeed sell pinatas. The store is just a few blocks West of the Columbia Heights Metro station.
Washington, D.C.: Some extended family from Iowa is visiting in two weeks (March 20-24), and they are bringing a 7-year-old and 11-year-old in tow. Any bright ideas for good family activities for kids that age (other than the typical museum tour and the Spy Museum)? Thanks in advance for your ideas!
Anne: Hi, D.C. -- I'll throw out a couple options for you since I'm not sure what kinds of things the kids are into. The circus is at the Verizon Center during the time they're here. Also, the Environmental Film Festival has lots of options for kids (you can see a full schedule and the kid-friendly ones marked on its Web site). Lots of the films are free and many are shorter than the normal feature length -- good for short attention spans. And I admit the obvious bias, but as a kid I loved the show "Annie," and the touring production will be in Baltimore while they're in town.
Subs: I heard that Roberto Donna is still making his Galileo Grill sandwiches, which can be delivered if you order $50 worth.
Erin: This is true. Amazing sandwiches if you're seeking pork shoulder or meatballs, but they're not typical Italian subs. Still, good to keep in mind for sandwich cravings.
Bethesda, Md.: The Helmand in Baltimore is fantastic and reasonably priced. And if the poster was planning to visit the Walter Art Museum it is only a couple blocks away.
Erin: Thanks for the endorsement. I'll have to get up there to try it soon.
Falls Church, Va.: I've got tickets to see Los Lobos at the State Theater tomorrow night. Tickets are for general seating, and I've never been there before. I don't want to stand through the show, so how early should I get there to wait in line? Do you have any advice about best places to sit?
David: That should be a great show tomorrow night. It's sold out, and all the reserved table spots have been filled, so that leaves about 80 or so seats downstairs that are open. Doors are at 7, and if you're hoping to get one of those spots downstairs, you should probably try to get there by then, maybe even earlier. There are also 200 or so seats in the balcony, which means you'd be further removed from the performance, but it's not a terrible place to watch the show from.
Falls Church, Va.: Fritz - not the 16th, the 17th!
Fritz: Oh, right, right, sorry. I have St. Patrick's Day on the brain. You're asking about Armin Van Buuren, who's spinning at Glow on the 17th. Last time he was there for one of his extended sets last year, the place was a madhouse of trance fans, so this time, they're going to be piping his set throughout the club. That way, you can chill in the Martini Lounge or whatever and still hear the master's beats. I'd strongly encourage anyone who's going to get advance tickets via wantickets.com and arrive early, because if there's one thing Fur doesn't do well, it' strong drinks -- er, if there's another thing Fur doesn't do well, it's handling lines for capacity crowds.
Washington, DC: For the person looking for a relaxed but nice bar in Baltimore, you may want to try Birds of a Feather. It's a scotch bar, and that's pretty much all they serve, but it's got a fireplace in the back and is usually pretty quiet in a homey type of way. Most of the people I met there were over 40 though. Just a heads up...
Fritz: Ah, right. I've been there a few times. Tiny, but really nice owners and fantastic scotch. Mmm. Scotch.
Washington, D.C.: Hey guys, my girlfriend and I are going to see Kiss Me Kate at the H Street Corridor tonight at 8. Can you recommend a cozy restaurant with a fun atmosphere to grab a bite before the show? We're open to any type of food.
Erin: Hi there. Will you be driving there? I'd eat around the Hill before Atlas. My top pick would be Sonoma, but you have plenty of options around there. Good dining tends to thin out a bit along that corridor.
Arlington, Va.: Is there something similar to Kegs and Eggs next Saturday? I went to Lulus several times but was not sure if there was something like that now that Lulu's was closed.
Fritz: Actually, it's next Friday at Fur. Carbon Leaf, Saliva and Ben Kweller playing live, beginning at 8 a.m. Doors at 7:30. No cover, plenty of Guinness and rock -- and it's close to the Metro, so you can grab a drink on the way to work! Not that I'd encourage that. Ever.
Alexandria video store: Um, how about Video Vault????? On S. Columbus in Old Town. I have been a member there for 10 years and have gone to Blockbuster exactly one time.
Anne: We clearly have consensus for the indie video store, which claims to have the "guaranteed worst movies in town!"
Baltimore, Md.: To the person looking for an upscale bar near downtown Baltimore:
The upstairs bar at the Brass Elephant
Maybe the Owl Bar in the Belvedere (not my style, but some like it - plus F. Scott Fitzgerald used to get kicked out of it on a regular basis)
Dionysis (around the corner from Brewer's Art)
Any of the lounges in Federal Hill (too many baseball cap-wearing people for my taste though)
Fritz: Brass Elephant is a good suggestion. Haven't been to Dionysis but have heard of it. Thanks.
And where in Federal Hill? Mum's?
Best Hoagie on the Hill: Hands down - Mangialardo & Sons. Their Italian is the best around.
1317 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Erin: Hear that? Get your beau to Mangialardo. Great recommendation.
Washington, D.C.: Don't forget the Tug of War show at Hemphill this month. SHAG, Bob Dob, Liz McGrath, Glenn Barr - these guys are rock stars anywhere else, they came to DC last weekend mostly unnoticed.
Julia: I went to that opening and I'd say that "mostly unnoticed" is a gross understatement. I went on the early side and you still had to sort of dance around people to get a look at the art.
It was totally amazing though. There were these paintings of birds on top of postage stamps that I'm still thinking about! Looking for a good exhibit -- Tug of War's definitely on my list. Yep, there it is, right there at the top.
Gaithersburg, Md.: So where should a Terps fan go in upper MoCo to watch the ACC Tourney this weekend?
Fritz: If I was in Gaithersburg, I'd probably roll over to the Dogfish Head Alehouse and ask them to put the game on. A friend mentioned the Zodiac Grill (formerly the Last Mango) but I haven't been there yet. Another spot worth mentioning is Growler's, the old Summit Station, but I can't remember the TV situation... Do like the beer, though.
An Office Block, D.C.:: Hey Fritz! Hope you're feeling better. Any update on your article on Park Place, Lotus and Tattoo?
Fritz: I am feeling better, thanks. I hear that Lotus will be open in the next few weeks. The other ones seem to be further away.
Re: Can't get a good sandwich in DC: Not really a question, or even a relevant comment, but this attitude of "you can't get a good ... in DC" sure is tiresome. Yeah, they might serve different sandwiches in New York or Philly, but I'll put the Italian Store up there as possibly the best sandwich I've ever had.
"You can't get good pizza in DC." "You can't get good hip hop in DC." "You can't get good baseball fans in DC." "You can't get good local bars in DC." The list goes on and on. It's hard to move to a new city where you don't know where to find stuff, but I really wish people would try before blaming their new home.
Fritz: It's easier to complain than it is to actually go out and explore, so most people just do that. I find it tiresome.
Erin: Agreed. The other thing I've found is that the conventionally popular places tend to get so crowded and over-recommended that people disregard them.
Rhome: I find that people exhaust all the options in their preferred niche (Capitol Hill hangouts, professional mixers, sports bars, trendy lounges, etc.) and complain that there isn't anything else going on or "I've seen all there is" when really they don't want to try scenes that they're unfamiliar with. I stand by the statement that there's something for everyone in this town.
Falls Church, Va.: Hey Guys,
Thanks for doing the chat. Quick Question: What's the best place for excellent sushi in DC or VA? Romantic and good drinks would be a plus. What about best Italian food? I know this is a "Tom" question but please help me. I have a hot date this weekend. Thank you sooo much.
Erin: No fear. If you're a sushi purist, Makoto would be the place to go. I am a fan of Sushi-Ko, but Kaz is also a front-runner. All three work as date destinations.
Romantic Italian begs Al Tiramsu or Al Crostino. Ristorante Tosca can offer great food, but the lights are a little bright for the romance vibe.
Washington, D.C.: So if I were to be going to that event at the Hirshhorn Museum Friday evening,what is the dress code for this kind of shindig?
Julia: I would wear what you would on any other night out.
Wiz Fan D.C.: Oh all-knowing GOGS!!! If a Wizards fan were to go to the new Buffalo Billiards (Rocket?) bar before the game on Saturday, what are the chances it will be painfully crowded and what are my other, less crowded options? Thanks as always - hopefully you can get to this before the chat is over.
Fritz: Rocket actually has two bar counters to ease congestion on game days and try to cut down on the wait. The satellite bar is a good idea, if also a good pun. As for other, less-crowded options: The friendly folks at the Irish Channel (5th and H) and upstairs at the District Chophouse are rarely as slammed as spots closer to the arena.
Baltimore: "And where in Federal Hill, Mum's..."
Nah, although it's my favorite bar in that part of the city. I was thinking the Sky Lounge and the Fed Hill Lounge near Cross Street.
I'd rather be at Mum's any day though.
Fritz: Ah, cool. You and me both.
(I was joking about Mum's being a lounge, btw, for all the readers who might have ventured in expecting couches instead of a dive with a shot named "Evil")
Pinata: I wouldn't be surprised if Bruce's Variety in Bethesda had pinatas.
Julia: It's true. Bruce Variety has everything.
Blue Duck Tavern: Are jeans and a nice top OK for this restaurant? (Going there to start my bachelorette night--woo! Don't worry--saving the antics for after dinner!)
Erin: Yes, they're appropriate for BDT. It strives for a young vibe, so you'll feel comfortable. Plus: In this weather anything goes.
Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus~Thanks in advance! My former college roommates are coming to visit in a few weeks and I was thinking we could maybe do the high tea or afternoon tea thing at some point over the weekend they are here. Any suggestions in DC?? I don't seem to find anything on the fancy hotels' web sites, etc. I'm thinking it would be a fun girls thing to do during the day.
Erin: I blogged a while back on a few ideas for good tea, but the comments are particularly helpful.
March Madness: A suggestion for those looking for screens, drinks and eats to watch the Madness...Lucky Strike at Gallery Place has an eatery/bar with great finger foods, multiple TV screens and decent prices. Since most people think of it only for bowling, it might not be too crowded for basketball watching.
Fritz: Good idea. Some guys I know in the neighborhood have gone there to watch games, but it's not cheap.
Adams Morgan, D.C.: I am so excited about Tiger hosting a PGA tour event in this area. Does anyone know where I can get tickets? Thanks!
Julia: Since it was confirmed, like, aminuteago, tickets probably won't be available until later in the month. Ticketmaster *should* be selling tickets to this one, so I'd check there. We'll have the how-to-get-tix info up on the City Guide as soon as we have it.
Washington, D.C.: Hi! I want to take my bf out on the town next sat night. I am looking to get out of our "dinner-then-movie-then-bar" rut. Any ideas? I was looking for a good show/exhibit. My boss made reference to the "Capitol Steps"...ever heard of them?
Julia: The Capitol Steps are another D.C. institution -- and totally worth seeing. I wouldn't call it drop-down hysterical -- especially for those of us who don't work in government -- but it's definitely funny and definitely very Washington.
Arlington, Va.: Was cruising around Silver Spring and saw a sign that said "New Home of the Birchmere". Is the Birchmere moving from Virginia?!
Fritz: Birchmere 2: Folk-Rock Boogaloo is scheduled to open in 2008. It's meant to complement the original, not replace it.
New to D.C.: Best club/bar/lounge for hiphop on Saturday nights, with a late-20's/early 30's type of crowd?
Fritz: I'm currently digging the Usual Suspectz' party on Saturdays at Liv, the club/lounge above Bohemian Caverns. Exactly what you're looking for -- more professional than thug, so far.
Irish soda bread: I just got wonderful Irish soda bread at Springmill on Bethesda Ave. in Bethesda. And it was whole wheat! My husband who is a expert on all things Irish loved it.
Erin: That's phenomenal. Count me in.
Dupont Circle: Gurus--
So, I know DJ AM will be playing at the Shamrock Fest, but do you know if he plans to do a real show elsewhere in DC? I think he's great, but no way do I want to head to RFK for an outdoor festival in this weather!
Fritz: As far as we know, he's not. No clubs are advertising a guest appearance -- and believe me, they would -- and his "official" appearance list only includes Shamrock Fest.
Vienna, VA: Gurus, I hope you don't mind a plug in the name of education.
Wolf Trap's Art Uncorked! takes place this Saturday, March 10 at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap, to benefit Wolf Trap Education Programs. The event includes a silent art auction, wine tasting, and a palette of food to compliment the wines. The festivities will then move next door to The Barns at Wolf Trap for desert, dancing, and champagne. There are still some tickets left and more information is available at www.wolftrap.org or by calling 703-255-4030.
Julia: No problem, Wolf Trap. You can always e-mail us at events (at) washingtonpost (dot) com in advance so we can get the word out sooner.
Tickets are $100, folks. More information can be found here
Good Pizza in DC: Whaddya mean you can't get good pizza in DC? You just have to have gone to UMD and developed a taste for Ledos........mmmmmm......Ledos.........
David: If you went to UMD and chose Ledo over Ratsie's then ... I dunno man. I just don't know.
Rhome: Another Guru Terp here seconds David's assessment.
Fritz: Ratsie's by a million miles.
Though I can get Ledo in D.C., my parents love the place, so we used to go a lot, and man, $1.50 Buds all day every day ... naw, I'll still take Ratsie's every time.
N. Bethesda, Md.:
Do the almighty GOGs have any idea how much a beer will cost during the Shamrock Festival? Are we talking typical $8 RFK beers or will things be a little more reasonable? Thanks for any insight.
Fritz: Last year in Ballston, it was like $6 or $7 for a Bud. I expect nothing to change this year, though I note they're offering nasty green beer if you get there early. Love the taste of food coloring.
Fairfax, Va.: Hello, mighty GOGs! I am attending a bachelorette party in Charlotte, NC at the end of the month and am trying to find a place to buy some sexy lingerie. Any ideas on where one might find more than the normal, run-of-the-mill, nightgowns?
Julia: Pleasure Place -- in Georgetown and Dupont -- offer some costume-y debauchery. Night Dreams is another good bet. The Tyson's location is closest to you.
There's always Vicky's, too. The mega-chain has been offering some bordering-on-burlesque frillies these days!
Shamrock Fest: Worth it or not? Cant decide if I should spring for the ticket. I went last year and it was a bust. Your input is appreciated.
Fritz: We were discussing this while writing this week's Nightlife Agenda.
Pros: There are a lot of bands. There will be a lot of people there. If you want a day of non-stop entertainment of the musical/people-watching kind, this is the spot, especially if you like drunken debauchery. (Look, you know it's going to happen.)
Cons: It's going to be crowded. Beer will be expensive. Bathroom lines will probably be long, though the organizers are saying they'll have more portajohns than last year (let's hope). It's at RFK, which means it's gonna be cold, and unlike Ballston, you can't duck away from the "official" party area to recharge in, say, Rock Bottom or the Front Page, or watch a game at Bailey's.
There are festival people and there are non-festival people. If you don't like crowds or dropping a bunch of money on beer, then don't go. If you like the music -- Flogging Molly! -- than it's a fun day outside with your friends.
Wizards game: Head out to the bars after the game and you may just have a chance to rub elbows with Arenas. He was at Oya the other night after the game, taking shots with fans.
Fritz: Did he yell "Hibatchi!" after each tequila shot? That would be the best night out ever.
Need help from the male gurus: Hi GOG's,
I'm looking for suggestions/ideas on "planning" a date night but with your long-time partner. It doesn't have to be fancy schmancy or something done to impress. I'm talking about comfortable, enjoyable, fun and real. Would love to hear what each of the male gog's would do for such an occasion, which is no occasion other than the every day and spending quality time with your loved one.
Rhome: What does your partner like? If you're paying attention to your partner than you know their interests. Maybe they like a certain author, filmmaker or band. You should always be on the lookout for events that intersect with your partner's tastes. Bookend the event with dinner at a place that either you both love or that you haven't tried yet (so you both experience it for the first time together) and somewhere that allows conversation afterwards.
washingtonpost.com: Thanks for the fun questions, and now we're outta here for this week. But you can make it a whole Guru day if you sign up for our free Washington City Guide e-mail newsletter (pick it under Arts & Living) -- we send it your way on Thursday afternoons.
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