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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, March 15, 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: Hey out there. There's a lot to talk about today. St. Patrick's Day is rapidly approaching, but you'll find most of the gurus shunning green in favor of our team colors. Anne, Julia and Janet are in the house and eager to talk. The Terps, Rhome, David and Fritz, are here, but will be understandably distracted. I'm Erin, the lone Hoya, and I'm counting down until 2:55. Who're you cheering on and what's on your minds?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi!

I was hoping you could help me find the perfect brunch spot to wrap up a bachelorette party weekend? There are 7 girls and we're staying at Hotel Palomar, so something in the Dupont or Georgetown area would be nice. Any suggestions? Thanks so much! Love your advice!

Erin: Sounds like you'll be in a fun area. To start, you should definitely pop down the block for pre-brunch donuts at the Fractured Prune. You can theme the bride-to-be's donut with white coconut.
For the less-sugared brunch, Firefly and Blue Duck Tavern would be my top choices.

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Scythian: How do you guys think the Scythian St. Paddy's event be? I forget what they are calling it but I think it includes cheap priced beer ($ at door of course) and they are setting up a circus tent a block from Chinatown and playing numerous shows? Any thoughts? Thanks!

Fritz: Well, it's our pick of Saturday's St. Patrick's Day events in the Nightlife Agenda -- as long as the weather holds, that is. I like the idea of not being all crushed up against the bar in an overcrowded little pub while still getting good Irish music and a fun block-party atmosphere. Don't know about about the green beer, though. That stuff is wack.

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Washington, D.C.: This is more for the chatters out there -- I'm looking for a day spa that does body bronzing (in preparation for a beach trip, but I don't "do" tanning salons). I work in Chinatown, so anyplace within a mile or so of there would be great, or anywhere Metro accessible in NW would be doable also; I live near Friendship Heights. So far the only one I've found online is Elizabeth Arden (near Friendship Heights Metro), but does anyone else do it? Thanks for any tips! Also, I'm sure the spa can probably tell me this, but any advice for how soon ahead of time to get it done (before the trip) and if it works out well (is it streaky or too orange looking)?

Janet: I've had the body bronzing done at a Ritz-Carlton, and it was fab -- for the evening of the day I had it done and the next day as well. Then it pretty much faded. Too bad the Ritz in Gtown is not so Metro accessible. Anyone out there have any thoughts?

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Silver Spring, Md.: Any news on whether the Hook and Ladder Brewing Company will get to put a bar in the old firehouse in downtown Silver Spring? Sounds like it would be a good time.

Fritz: It's going to be a bar, yes. The question was about whether it will also be a brewpub.. Looks like the answer to that is a no, but still, anything going up in Silver Spring that's (a) not corporate and (b) has some character gets my conditional support.
Also, the Backdraft Brown isn't bad. Not sold on their Hefe, though.

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Fairfax, Va.: Help! I'm planning a move out to Fairfax (close to Fair Oaks mall!) with my fiance and I'm having trouble adjusting! I've lived close to the city for so long now I can't imagine not having great bars/restaurants (non-chain!) right at my fingertips. Please, oh please, provide me with some great suggestions of restaurants/bars/etc in that area so I don't cry every day! Thanks so much!

Erin: You absolutely cannot cry. For one thing, the suburbs are well-stocked with most of my favorite ethnic restaurants. Want good Korean? How about Chinese? You'll have your pick out there. Here are some places that are worth exploring all around that area. Bamian offers amazing Afghan cuisine, Vienna's Bazin's on Church is a great nicer neighborhood spot and Le Tire Bouchon earns raves. Who has suggestions for this forlorn city-lover?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GoGs. My friend, who is visiting soon, asked if there was anything new and cool on the tourist scene that he should see as he's been here before and already done the usual suspects. I couldn't think of the new, new thing on the tourist circuit apart from the WWII memorial - what am I missing?

Fritz: Depends on when your friend is getting here and whether he's been to see the Cherry Blossoms. (All the details about the March-April festival are here.
You're right that there haven't been any major monuments or museums to open recently, so I'd steer him to some of the ongoing attractions around town: like the new Modernism exhibit at the Corcoran, or taking in a play from the Shakespeare in Washington festival.

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Potomac, Md.: I read somewhere about a Bethesda gallery art walk, but can't seem to find anything about it. When is it? Does it cost anything?

Julia: Unfortunately, you just missed it by a week, Potomac. The Bethesda Art Walk is from 6-9 p.m. on the second Friday of the month. It's free and often involves free drinks and hors d'oeuvres.
If you want to check out some Bethesda galleries before the next gallery walk, this is a good month to do so. Gallery Neptune just moved into a bigger space and his hosting a portrait exhibition. I haven't made my way over to the Tim Tate show at Fraser, but I'm hoping to do that this weekend -- should be really cool.
If you're up for some gallery-hopping this week (and feeling a little frisky), check out the Georgetown galleries on Friday. MOCA DC is hosting another live-nude-body-painting reception tomorrow in celebration of the Erotica exhibit.

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Sparta: GOGs, why is it that we have 3 or 4 IMAX theaters in the general D.C. metro area and not ONE is playing 300? I just saw this movie at the regular theater and can only imagine the visual treat that would be IMAX. Any IMAX theaters showing this movie within 50 miles? I couldn't find out if the IMAX in Baltimore was showing it either.

Julia: The Smithsonian screens aren't showing it because it's an R-rated movie. Since that Baltimore IMAX is also attached to a kid-friendly museum, that might explain why that theater isn't showing it either.
I can't seem to find a place in the MD-VA-DC area where the IMAX version is playing. Any chatters know?

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Good Ol' Virginia: Dear Gurus, Love your chats. The advice is always on spot. I'm curious, though, why tonight's show by Autumn Defense featuring John Stirratt of Wilco at Jammin Java did not make the cut as an Editor's Pick, but their show in Baltimore did. As a former B-girl, I'm definitely not knocking Baltimore. Yet, date and location is the only difference between the two shows. What gives? I'm not feeling the love down south.

David: Yeah I wouldn't read too much into that, it'll be a fine show at JJ tonight. Although I must say that every time I've seen Wilco with Pat in the band he's really annoyed me while on stage, for some reason. But John Stirratt's a good dude, the only original member of Wilco that Tweedy hasn't purged.

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Etiquette Help Needed!: For the first time yesterday, I found myself in a hair salon where there was a separate attendant who washed my hair. I went on to get a great haircut and tipped the stylist accordingly (20 percent). But what should I have done to tip the hair-washing attendant? Offer a percentage of the haircut cost? If so, how much? And, does that result in less tip for the stylist? And, at what point should I have tipped the hair-washing attendant? I am so embarrassed that I didn't know how to handle this.

Janet: No need to be embarrassed. A 20 percent tip is quite generous, so hopefully the stylist had no problem giving something to the person who washed your hair. Still, just to make sure, my SOP is to tip the person who washes my hair separately from the stylist. I tip both when I'm finished paying.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi GoGs! Long-time chat reader, first-time poster. I have a pair of 14k yellow gold aquamarine stud earrings that I'd like to turn into white gold. Can you recommend a jeweler (would prefer NOVA area, but willing to go into DC for exceptional quality/price) that can do this? About how much does this sort of transformation usually cost?

Janet: Hi, there, Arlington,
I had some earrings changed from yellow gold to white gold at Boone & Sons. Unfortunately, I don't remember how much it cost, but I am pleased with the results.

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Falls Church, Va.: Please help! Can you tell me where me and my SO can go tomorrow around 10 pm to have nice drinks, talk and just relax. We don't want anything clubby, loud or crowded. Some soft music, some nice drinks and comfortable couches...Hotels bars are ok too. Anywhere in DC or VA. Gracias!!!

Fritz: Get on the phone NOW and see if you can make reservations at the PX, the speakeasy joint in Alexandria -- retro cocktails, jazz that isn't too loud to preclude conversation, comfortable couches. The staff is very strict about not letting the place get too crowded, and reservations are free, with no minimums.
Other thoughts: Urbana, the lounge in the Hotel Palomar, has everything you're looking for, though it can get crowded sometimes -- but that's the way with cool, popular spaces, you know? I'd say the upstairs wine bar at Bistro Lepic, too, and they make a mean cocktail as well as pouring some wonderful French red wines.

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Tough One: Hey guys,

This is random but I was wondering if you knew of any places in DC that offer cake decorating classes.

Thanks a million!

Erin: HA. You'll have to wake up pretty early in the morning to stump us. That's a lie, but I do have answers for you. I love the idea of cake decorating. Every cake I've masterfully assembled elicits coos of "wow, that's so homemade!" Anyway, I'm sure a class would be much more effective than the "decorate like a pro" kits that I keep seeing advertised on TV. ABC Sugar Art offers private and semi-private lessons, Wheaton's Little Bitts (301-933-2733) also does classes or you could call Michael's. The crafts megahouse does decorating classes on a semi-regular basis. One more thought is checking in with local community colleges. I know that PG's does classes.

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Chinatown: Submitting early... I heard there was a new billiards bar under Legal Seafoods on 7th Street in Chinatown??

Fritz: Yep. Rocket Bar, from the folks who brought you my favorite pool halls in D.C. (Bedrock, Atomic, Buffalo Billiards). I blogged about it last month, and still think it's the best place for a pre-Verizon Center drink.

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Fractured Prune: What a wondrous sounding place. Does it have seating or is it more roll in, get your donut and go?

Erin: It has seating, coffee and bagels. Oh, yes. It's a devilish place, I tell you. It's conveniently situated at the end of my running route and I ask you: What better way to refuel after a run than with a warm donut made to my specifications with the honey glaze? For that reason, I no longer run with any money.

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Arlington, Va.: This might be a frowned upon question, but where can one look to find out which bars offer "smoker" options, such as heated or outdoor patios?

Fritz: Why would that be frowned upon? Readers who smoke are just as valuable as those who don't, and hey, it's not illegal (yet). Bars that I know offer tented/heated patios and roofdecks: The Reef, Bourbon, Science Club, Wonderland, Capitol Lounge, Science Club, Madam's Organ, Old Glory, Smith Point, Buffalo Billiards, Temperance Hall, R.F.D., Stetson's, Rumors.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi! Any good places in the DC area, whether shops or department stores that are Metro-accessible, to get a swimsuit? I need one sooner rather than later, and Target's selection isn't overly inspiring. Thanks!

Janet: Ugh, forgot it was going to be swimsuit season soon. That said, I'm pretty impressed with the selection and mix-and-match function available to customers at J. Crew. Check it out.

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20016: Spring wedding season is upon us and I'm looking for some local bachelorette party ideas along the lines of a sex toy party or striptease/pole dancing lessons. I feel like just doing Internet searching on this topic could lead to a less than ideal selection. I'd love to hear personal recommendations and reviews, but don't know where to go to find such information. Any suggestions?

Julia: Sex toy parties are easy to find. I went to one run by Slumber Parties. Whether the night is successful or not all depends on who runs your party -- so it's best to get the name of a consultant from a friend. The chick that ran ours kept saying "mmmmkay" after everything and that was a little distracting.
Pole Dancing lessons: Express has run a few stories on the subject. You might consider checking out this place, Xpose Fitness. It's all the way out in Hanover, Md., but maybe Ms. Hope Goodacre will make her way down to your apartment for a group lesson. They have those retractable poles these days. Northwest Sport and Health also offers aerobic strip tease classes, so they might be able to help point your toward an instructor.
There's also Kitty Victorian. She's done burlesque classes in the past. Maybe she'd be willing to take on your group of bachelorettes.

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Tourist: "My friend, who is visiting soon, asked if there was anything new and cool on the tourist scene"

-American Indian Museum.

-IMAX films, orchid display, and stuffed animal exhibit in the Natural History Museum (thankfully, some museum exhibits does change).

-New Asia trail at the zoo. And Tai too!

Fritz: You know, I should remember the Asia Trail, seeing how I've jogged by it ... and Slothie is the coolest animal at the zoo.
American Indian is a great place to visit, but opened well before the World War II memorial, and the chatter was asking for things that had opened since then, so I didn't include it.

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: So- I've read all the reports of St. Paddy's Day goings-on (I think), but nowhere do I see anything about a good Irish breakfast/brunch - you know, the oatmeal, the soda bread, the eggs and ham, etc. Is this available in the District?

Thanks Gurus!

Erin: Mmm. This is actually a topic that's come up in our past few chats. Fritz champions the brunch at Fado (generally enjoyed as he watches soccer), while the Dubliner is another choice. Closer to home, Biddy Mulligan's has a full Irish breakfast with soda bread.

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Washington, D.C.: Ok, Fritz, as a follow-up to Arlington's question for the non-nicotine crowd, can you tell us which bars you know of have outdoor patios for beautiful days like this that do NOT allow smoking on the patios/roofdecks?

Thanks!

Fritz: That's a legit question, but honestly, with the smoking ban now in effect in Bethesda and D.C., I'm afraid I don't know of a bar that's openly refusing to cater to smokers at all.
If you do, though, send the name my way.

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Help! What's a latina girl to do on the 17th?? : I'm submitting this a full 24hrs before the chat to give you ample time to research a matter of utmost importance (and a matter only YOU wise gurus can help me solve!)

So I love the festiveness of St. Patty's Day, but I want to celebrate the way a good latina girl should: with green margaritas. Any ideas on where I might find such a concoction??

Gracias!

Rhome: Fritz refuses to help me on this but from my limited experience with margaritas (tasty, but not part of my regular routine) the default seems to be green before you take into account the variations on the theme.
Maybe you want some that are REALLY green?
Let's open this up to the room.

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Arlington, Va.: Leaving this early because I won't be able to make it live... This may be a tough question... what if you're Irish (and/or love St. Patty's Day) but don't drink? Is there anything other than bars and extreme drinking, or is there anywhere to celebrate the holiday and still remember it afterwards?

Erin: How about celebrating the Irish at Eamonn's/A Dublin Chipper, where the Irish rule year-round? The chipper has a liquor license, but the focus is on the amazing fish and chips and other casual fare. You can bet they'll be in the spirit. If you can get into the spirit a day early, the Millennium Stage's free concert tomorrow showcases traditional Irish dance and the Irish Tenors are at Strathmore tomorrow through Sunday. Finally, Solas Nua theater company is passing out thousands of works by contemporary Northern Irish writers. Check out more info and locations at their site.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus, I've had a hard week at work and I need a great activity this weekend so I can forget all that stress! What's the best activity going on this weekend? Or what a great sight to check out (maybe even a peaceful place)? I don't mind if it deals with St. Patty's day, as long as it isn't too chaotic or crowded. Thanks!

Anne: Hang in there, D.C., the weekend isn't far away. I'm psyched about the Environmental Film Festival, which kicks off today. There are tons of films, and while many of them will make you think, you can count on some wondrously beautiful compositions that could help you relax. Dark room, comfortable chair, ahhh. Speaking of nature, that would be my top suggestion for getting away from it all, but there is some chill and rain coming in the forecast. If you find a few hours where the air is clear, how about a trip to the Arboretum or Dumbarton Oaks/Montrose Park or even just sitting on the big steps to the Potomac near the Lincoln and surveying the river? I also always like the Botanic Garden for a place to absorb some greenery, no matter what the climate's like outside.

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Anacostia: What time should I get to Kegs and Eggs at Fur tomorrow? Doors open at 7:30am. Is there parking near there on an early Friday morning?

Fritz: There's parking nearby, both street and club lots, and I'd think that street parking will be far less sketchy than at 3 a.m. on a weekend.
As for arrival, going by the madhouse that was Kegs and Eggs at Lulu's, I'd say you'd be fine if you were in line by 7. Don't forget it's 21 and over, so they're going to check everyone's IDs before they let you in. Doesn't sound like much of a delay, I know, but those precious seconds add up when there are hundreds of people in front of you.

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Bethesda, Md.: I have a friend coming in from out of town and he likes live bands jazz blues country...any suggestions for tomorrow night?

David: If you're looking for jazz you might want to check out the Smithsonian Jazz Cafe at the Natural History Museum, from 6 to 10 p.m. Tim Warfield Quintet at Twins is also a solid choice. And country-rockers Heroes & Friends out at Chick Hall's is always a fine option, too.

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Washington, D.C.: A friend of mine's bachelorette is coming up and her sister thought that Indebleu became more of a club after the dinner service. Do you know if this is true and if they require bottle service to actually sit? Thanks!

Fritz: Not a club with dancing as much as just a bar and lounge, but yes, it gets a little more exclusive and crowded from 10:30 on. If you want a couch, you don't have to buy bottles, but you do need to hit a minimum of several hundred dollars -- depends on where you sit, but I think the group min. is about $300.

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Washington, D.C.: Follow up question from a loooong time ago -- I had asked about Malaysia Kopitiam and the awful smell. Yesterday, during the Ask Tom chat, he recommended it to someone. I didn't get a chance to ask, so I'm hoping you all know. Does this mean the mildew-y smell is gone and I can finally go back?

Erin: I haven't heard feedback one way or the other. Care to check it out and report back?

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Washington D.C.: I thought the Irish Times had a reading of Ulysses every St. Patrick's day. I do not see it mentioned anywhere.

Fritz: You're thinking of Bloomsday, June 16, which is when the action in Ulysses takes place.
Still, the Irish Times hasn't done that in a couple years. Maybe if we all nag them they'll bring it back.

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Where to choose?: Good afternoon, Gurus!

Which would you pick to host a grad school graduation celebration for about 15 people (including 2 small but well-behaved kids): Viridian, DC Coast, B. Smith's, or Clyde's of Gallery Place? I narrowed it down to those using the City Guide (and my Mother-in-law's requests) but would like your thoughts. We would be making a 5:00pm ish reservation on a Saturday. Thank you!

Erin: I would rule out DC Coast. I love it, but worry that it's a bit more formal than the others and can get loud. For the food, my top choice would be Viridian. B. Smith's would follow for its ambiance and Clyde's comes in third. All fitting choices, though.

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McLean, Va.: What's the buzz on the Environmental Film Festival? Are the movies interesting, or is it like the stuff they used to show us in high school?

Julia: Ha -- I totally felt the same way about this festival at first! But seriously, there are some good movies on tap. If you click on that link above, the films in the highlights section were the ones I thought were most interesting (seriously, I could watch a film on Shackleton any day....)
In today's paper, Style-on-the-Go gal Lavanya Ramanathan gave her top festival picks as well. Even with our forces combined, these few suggestions really only scratch the surface of what's there. Check out the official Web site for more showtimes.

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Smoke Ban Continued: The smoker and nonsmoker have brought up a good point I've been meaning to ask about. Will the ban mean that smoking will be allowed in all outdoor seating areas at restaurants? At bars I give 'em a break, but outdoor dining has got to be an exception. Surely it's not the case that I can finally go to bars but now I can't eat outside?

Fritz: Allowing smoking outside is at the discretion of the restaurant, so if the owner wants to let people light up outside, it's perfectly legal. It's not like this is a change since the smoking ban was enacted -- most restaurants have banished smokers to patios for years.

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Washington, D.C.: It's not quite an IMAX screen, but 300 is playing at the Uptown.

Julia: True. I mean, the Uptown is the next best thing, but it's really not the same.

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Green Margaritas: My friends and I like to avoid the crowds and go out for Tex-Mex every St. Patty's day. Last year we hit Rodeo in Silver Spring and they had bright green margaritas for the occasion.

Fritz: I've heard about places offering green Mimosas Saturday, and I thought that was nasty, but green margaritas take the cake.

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Rockville, MD: Hi Gurus!

My brother's 30th birthday is coming up, and he is a huge karaoke fan. Is there any place where we can get a private room for a group of people to do karaoke? We are flexible on location. Thanks!

Rhome: There's karaoke all over the place but if you want private rooms you generally need to head out to Virginia. There's this spot in Wheaton but no one's answering the phone right now.

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15th and L, Washington, D.C.: Need a place to watch the 2nd half of the Maryland-Davidson game where Davidson is giving us a run for our money!! What's good nearby for an extended lunch break?

Fritz: Porter's (19th and M), Mackey's (19 and L), Grand Slam Sports Bar at the Hyatt (10th and H)

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi GoGs:

I'm looking for a good, old-fashioned camera shop. Not Best Buy or Ritz, but a place where people will tell me more about the cameras and not try to upsell me. I know what I'm looking for (beginner digital SLR) and am willing to drop a pretty penny ($500-700) but don't want a bunch of commission nerds trying to tell me I need this feature and that feature. Thoughts?? District is okay, prefer not MD...

Thanks!

Julia: It's been a few years, but I had great success with the Penn Camera in Tyson's corner. I wanted a really old-school, non-digital SLR and the staff was fantastic. They have a bunch of locations around the area.
Any other shutterflies out there have suggestions?

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Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.: Help me GOGs!

I'm taking a friend out for a birthday lunch on Sunday afternoon. I made a reservation at Blue Duck Tavern but turns out they don't have a TV in the lounge. We want the option to watch some March Madness while we eat and drink. Can you suggest a comparable "nice" place (no ESPN Zone!) where we could get upscale food and drinks but also see some bball?

Thanks and Go Colonials!

Erin: I would request to sit on the lower level of Cafe Atlantico with a view of the television for dim sum brunch. Nearby, Jaleo is another thought with big TVs. This doesn't qualify as upscale, but Bar Pilar is another super brunch bet.

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Laurel, Md.: CakeLove in Silver Spring also offers cake decorating classes - some with the founder!

Erin: Yes, I've heard that it's a lot more demonstration than participation, but Warren is very fun and dynamic (as Food Network has learned).

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Tony Snow's band???: Hey gurus- love the chat! I had hear that Tony Snow is in a band called Beats Workin' that is playing in Bethesda sometime in April. I thought it was a joke, but now I'm wondering if they are any good. Anyone know about this?

David: It's true, they are playing at the Barking Dog on April 13. Are they any good? Well, um, why don't you go and report back to us?

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Washington, D.C.: I read that Old Dominion was taken over by Anheiser Busch. Any idea what that means for their beer selection? Does that mean that the ODB by the convention center could change the beers?

Fritz: First, ODBC was taken over by a partnership that includes Annapolis's Fordham (51 percent) and AB (49 percent), so to say it's ruled by Budweiser is technically incorrect.
As far as I've been told by people involved in the "new" ODBC, the recipes for the beers aren't going to change and the offerings will not change drastically. That said, Dominion beers do come and go with the seasons, so it'll be interesting to see how the temporary beers change.
As for Old Dominion Brewhouse, they're a franchise, not owned by the brewery. I can only hope they'll start calling more Fordham brews, which are impossible to get in D.C.

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Metro Center: Hi GOGs. You all are seriously the reason I look forward to Thursdays. Have been trying to get folks to do H street with me and haven't been so successful but I heard a rumor that cabs are giving free rides to the strip from Union Station - is that for real?

Rhome: Just ask for the number to the Atlas Courtesy Shuttle if you're hanging out at Red & the Black, Palace of Wonders or Rock and Roll Hotel.

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Washington, D.C.: I am meeting up with some fellow alums to watch the OSU basketball game tonight. A few of the places we were planning to go say they are not showing the game. Where is a good spot to enjoy happy hour specials and enjoy the Buckeyes?

Fritz: Rhino Bar in Georgetown. They claim to be an "official" Ohio State bar, and I know they told me they'd be showing all OSU games.
Oh, and everything is half-off at happy hour from 5 to 9, and bottles are $3 after that. Just be warned that the crowd is a little young and collegiate.

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Arlington, Va.: Happy March Madness!!! Do any of you have a recommendation for a place to get good Chicago-style deep dish pizza (aside from Armand's)??? Either in VA or the city, preferably. Thanks!!!

Erin: This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but I like the tiny takeout Alberto's in Dupont. If you find yourself out near Dale City, Padrino's is worth a try.

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The District: I have need of a good sauna session, but don't belong to a gym. Do you know of any gyms that have saunas and offer day passes for the use of such facilities, or maybe spas that have reasonable rates for passive sweating? Thanks!

Julia: Some of the small gyms like Results and Vida Fitness offer day passes for $23 and $25 respectively -- just don't forget your ID like Jared Leto (scroll down). If you were gonna work out too, that fee might be worth it, but otherwise it seems pretty pricey. Don't know the deal with big gym chains like Golds or Washington Sports Clubs -- they might have cheaper day-pass rates. (You could also pull the old "I'm thinking about joining and want to check out the facilities" routine, but we would never suggest something so nefarious. Never.)

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Washington, D.C.: I hate St. Paddy's day for many reasons (green beer, vomiting college kids) but I love traditional Irish music. I recently moved here and am wondering where, in your opinion, is the best traditional Irish music in the DC area? A few options would be helpful. Thanks.

Fritz: For traditional Irish music -- and I mean full-on fiddles and everything, not just guy-with-a-guitar-singing-"Black-and-Tans" -- I like hanging out at Irish seisiuns. The traditional jam sessions welcome anyone who comes in, but they're a lot of fun. Try Ri-Ra in Bethesda (Sunday afternoons, Wednesday evenings) and O'Faolain's in Sterling (Sunday nights). Nanny O'Brien's isn't as big as it's been since the previous owner (musician Brian Gaffney) left, but they still offer a seisiun on Monday night.

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Silver Spring, Md.: For the person looking for naughty bachlorette options, Xpose does not do private lessons for insurance reasons. We used Kitty and she was wonderful and a lot of fun. Trixie Little out of Baltimore is another option.

Julia: Silver Spring, you are amazing. Thanks for your wonderful insight into bachelorette debauchery.

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Anonymous: Hi Erin,

What's your favorite Brunch place? Potowmack Landing, Tabard Inn or Grand Carlyle? Or any other suggestion?

Erin: Patowmack Landing is now actually Indigo Landing and I love that view, so I would lean in that direction. The brunch is served buffet-style for $30.
Tabard's donuts are a classic, but Carlyle would be my pick when I'm in the mood for a bread-based treat.

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"Enjoy the Buckeyes"?: Eww. Let's go Blue in the NIT!

Fritz: Let's fight, fight, fight for Maryland right now.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! My Mom is coming into town this weekend and I'm stumped as to what to do with her during the day on Monday. She's loves all things 1940s (movies, music, fashion - especially hats). We're hitting up the Josephine Baker exhibit at the National Portrait gallery on Saturday, and Eastern market and the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on Sunday. I'm taking Monday off from work so we can enjoy the city, but I don't know where to go. Help? Thanks.

Anne: Sounds like you have some great ideas already, D.C. I'd suggest starting one day at Florida Avenue Grill (founded in 1944) for the incredible pancakes. Does your mom's love of '40s design extend to architecture and furniture? Maybe she'd like to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria. The Corcoran's promised "blockbuster" exhibit about Modernism stops just short of her beloved decade, but its point is to show how these movements set the stage for future designs. Note: you'll need to get tickets in advance for that.

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Alexandria, Va.: Shutterfly here again... I also meant to ask if you knew if the Fairfax County Rec-classes are decent? I'm a complete novice and think I should take a photography class (that doesn't focus on film developing). Does the Torpedo Factory or other similar place offer something?

Julia: Hey there. I haven't taken a Fairfax rec center art class since I was a kid, so I can't really speak to their expertise. I think it all probably depends on the teacher....
I learned basic (not dark-room) photography at Glen Echo and had a great experience there. The Art League (at the Torpedo Factory) does intro classes as well. Never taken a class there myself, but I think they're all taught by pros, which is a huge bonus.

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Anyone been to M'Dawg the new hot dog restaurant on 18th in AdMo? Upscale hot dogs seem a bit odd to me.

Erin: Hey, they're not all upscale. There are basic dogs (a red hot, a spicy version and on and on) as well as more gourmet sausages. You can dress them up with the condiments if you choose. It is kind of like taking Jodi Maroni's to the next level. Here's my blog post on the spot.

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Re: shampooers: I read somewhere that they are the lowest-paid workers in the Washington area, so I always tip them between $3 and $5. And you know you love getting your hair washed, so give some of the love back!

Janet: Good thought. That's my standard tip as well.

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Washington, D.C.: I have tickets for the Armin van Buuren show at Fur on Saturday night. Any recommendations on what time to get there? I don't want to get there too early and lose steam before the main act, but don't want to get there too late and wait in line or not get in (which I've heard could happen, even though I have tix?)... Thanks!

Fritz: I'd get there around 11:30. Fur said he was going on at 1 a.m. (and going until 5!), and honestly, since Fur ticket lines have ... oh YES MIKE JONES! WHO? ... sorry, since Fur's lines have a tendency to go wrong, I'd give yourself plenty of time to get in and get a spot near the speakers. You won't want to miss it -- should be an amazing night.

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Herndon, Va.: Is there any anti-St Patrick's day celebrations? Negative, I know but Irish music and warm green beer are less than appetizing!

Fritz: I just try to pretend it's just another March day.

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Arlington, Va.: Is there anyplace in the Metro area, preferably VA or DC to take Pole Dancing Lessons? I looked online and I found a place in Frederick, but that's a little far for me to go. Any references for dance studios that might offer it, or be able to refer me are welcome!

Thanks!

Rhome: I am honored to help with this question. Pros in the City organizes groups for lessons but their upcoming session is sold out. You can get on the waitlist for the next one.
And of course there's always MDPoleDancing.Com

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Arlington, Va.: What's up GoGs,

I'm looking for a decent restaurant around Clarendon - Virginia Sq. area to take my parents to next week. Any suggestions?

Erin: Take a look at Tallula and Sette Bello.

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Alexandria, Va.: Wow, a shout-out to Padrinos!! I haven't thought of that place in years (left Dale City for college 20 years ago, parents moved, haven't been back). Thanks for that bit of nostalgia gurus!

Erin: Glad to serve up that moment of nostalgia. The question made me yearn for Georgetown's Gepetto's. Up until pretty recently, I could still nab delivery pizzas from the kitchen of Mendocino Grille, but no more.

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Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: What's a good bar/lounge for a birthday celebration with a group of about 10 people on a Friday night? Birthday girl would like to stay in the District, and she's turning 26.

Fritz: Depends on what you want, how much you want to spend, what time, what atmosphere (upscale? dive? martinis? beer?), etc. That always makes it easier for us to help you.
But Friday night's always a tough one, especially if you want to sit down and not deal with cover charge bidness. Off the top of my head, I'd say Gazuza, Science Club, Lounge 201, Buffalo Billiards, the Raven ... been to parties at all of those in the past and they worked out well.

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Washington, D.C.: Have any of you checked out the new exhibit at the Phillips? Is it worth the trip? Thanks!

Julia: I have checked it out. I guess I'd say that "Moving Pictures" was way better than I expected it to be -- it didn't blow me away, but it was an enjoyable afternoon.
The flat-screen tvs with all of the early films are really cool and it's neat to see how they relate to the paintings. But about 2/3 of my way through the exhibit, I felt like I pretty much got the point and so I wasn't really that psyched about it any more. I'd guess it's probably most enjoyable for people who are into film or really into technology.

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Arlington, Va.: Just wondering why Alexandria and D.C. had their St. Patrick's Day parades the weekends before St. Patrick's Day?

Anne: You know, they usually do. That's just how they roll. I think you have to spread out the Irish charms, or at least give the bagpipers time to catch their breath before the next parade. D.C. streets have to deal with other requests for closures, like this weekend's St. Patrick's Day 8K race downtown. If you want a parade this weekend, Gaithersburg comes through in celebrating on St. Pat's itself.

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Washington, D.C.: To the person looking for a gym day pass... I know for a fact Sport & Health clubs have a $15 charge for guest passes if you come with a member of the gym.

Julia: Oooh that's a good tip. Everyone's gotta know someone who's a Sport and Health member. They're all over the place!

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! My coworkers and I are lucky enough to get to leave around 2:30 on Fridays, and we're desperate to find another early happy hour place (as in discount drinks before 4), other than the Childe Harold, in the Foggy Bottom/Georgetown/Dupont area. Any suggestions?

Fritz: Good question, but I'm afraid I don't know of any right there. Any readers have an idea?

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Females sitting alone in a bar...: Dear Male GOG's:

If you noticed a female sitting alone in a bar (I'm not saying for an extended period of time) for 10 or 15 minutes and you approached her with - um - obvious intentions of assessing her (as opposed to a friendly, casual approach to chat) and she declined, would you get all ticked off and defensive?

Thanks for your input.

David: Maybe, but only because I'm always ticked off and defensive. Otherwise, not really. If someone's not into it, they're not into it. What else is there to say?

Fritz: I try to keep it friendly and casual until we've had a few RBVs. But I wouldn't get aggressive if a girl in a bar declined. Shows a lack of breeding.

Rhome: Is someone really asking this? Is this a rhetorical question? A dude that does that is probably the one who will get the club shut down 2 hours later when he starts a fight.

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Washington, D.C.: Can you recommend fun bars/lounges where I could reserve a floor or area for my friend's 30th B-day on a Sat. night (in a few weeks)? We'll have a mix of guests in the 25-35 year age range. I'm willing to spend a few hundred dollars to get some space but would also be interested in spots where meeting a minimum in drinks would be enough.

Fritz: The Blue Room in Adams Morgan works deals like this. So does Nolan's down the block, though I don't think it's as nice of a space. Posh, the new downtown supper club, will let you take over the upstairs lounge. Ozio does, too, but I remember it being expensive -- especially on a Saturday. You might also want to look into the second floor of Blue Gin, especially if you're going slightly early and are okay with opening the space to the public later.
For something different, you could also reserve a private room or part of a room at Buffalo Billiards.

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Washington, D.C.: Any spots not in Georgetown for the OSU game? Dupont or Union Station area?

Fritz: Union Pub said they have the package and will have all the games. Same with Lucky Bar, Porter's and Buffalo Billiards. Don't know if they'll have OSU crowds, but they're open.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm finally going to have a chance to check out the DCist photo exhibit at the Warehouse tonight. Any suggestions for a fun happy hour in the area?

Julia: There's free pizza at Ella's and some specials at RFD in conjunction with the games, but personally, I'd just kick it at the Warehouse bar. Good beer selection and it's not March Madness crazy...I mean, unless you want that....

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Foggy Bottom: Hey Gurus, We have decided to try to beat the crowds on St. Pattys and head to either Fur or McFaddens when the doors open for some grub and that delicious green beer. Should we show up early because of lines forming outside the door, or do you think we will be able to walk in without a problem when the doors open? Thanks

Fritz: You should get there early, but remember -- Fur's Kegs and Eggs is on Friday, not Saturday, so you might as well do both.

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washingtonpost.com: That's it for this week. May the luck of the Irish be with you (and the Hoyas and everyone else in my bracket).

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