Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
of the City Guide
Thursday, July 19, 2007; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET,'s City Guide experts share their best bets for local flavor, great dates and family fun. Got plans? Great. Need plans? Just ask. We have the skinny on the bars and clubs, concerts, kitchens, theaters and special events that keep life interesting. We're going out gurus, and we're at your service.

Of course, we're happy to answer questions about local entertainment, but we need to hear from you, too. Introduce us to the coolest DJ or the fastest bartender you've encountered. Sound off on the week's best concert or the city's best burger. Tell us about the best place to amuse little kids or a big art fan. Together we can plan fun ways to spend weekdays, weekends, dates and holidays. The pleasure is ours, and yours.

Each week a different guru will act as host or hostess, but the entire staff is at your service. If you're looking for more ideas, see the City Guide or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions.

The transcript follows.

____________________ It's that time again. The weekend is just around the bend and David, Jen, Fritz, Julia, Rhome and I (Erin) are at your service. Enough talk. Let's get this ball rolling.


Fringe fest for kids?: Hi there.

My 9 yr old niece is staying with me for the week. Do you know of anything at the fringe festival that might be appropriate and appealing to her? Any other suggestions for the week outside of the fringe festival are welcome too.

Thank you for your help!

Erin: Many of the Fringe shows are appropriate for ages 13 and over, so it will take some investigating to find a show that won't make you Uncle Buck. Signature Theatre's "Glory Days" should be good PG entertainment. It's also right near delicious baked treats at Best Buns. "The NEW Eddie Lounge Show" is definitely an all-ages event that I am excited to see. If you enjoy dance, Pop Up Dances perform free dance shows in a variety of styles on street corners.


Washington, D.C.: In your Nightlife Agenda you posted that El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico band concert will be playing at the Hilton this Saturday. But isn't it this friday - tomorrow? Can you please clarify for all of us salseros?

Fritz: I can clarify that I talked to the promoter and the hotel and was told that it's Saturday night -- that's what's on the lovely flyers (see them at and the e-mails I've been getting from dance instructors.

That said, man, this should be a fantastic show. El Gran Combo really knows how to play for dancers, and they've got 45 years and 40+ albums of songs to draw on.


Arlington, Va.: What do you know about this Walking with Dinosaurs show that is coming to Verizon center? Strictly for kids or would some of us kids-at-heart enjoy it as well?

David: I know that I have received countless press releases from the Verizon Center about it. "In this show, fifteen roaring, snarling 'live' dinosaurs mesmerize the audience -- and are as awe-inspiring as when they first walked on earth." Oh really, and how do we know that for sure??? It actually could be pretty cool and I don't think it's just a kids thing at all. It sounds like it will be quite an experience, at least, hopefully finding that right balance of the "Oh, cool!" and cheesiness factors. And just a note, but it seems like the higher up in the arena you are, the better the view/experience might be, kind of a reversal of the norm.


Harry Potter fan: Hey Gurus. From your blog it looks like there are a bunch of Potter-related events out in Virginia tomorrow night. Do you or any of the chatters know of any bookstores doing release parties out in the Bethesda or Rockville areas?

Erin: Barnes and Noble and Borders are definitely hosting parties up in Bethesda and Rockville. I didn't hear of much else happening that night, though. Do any Potter fans know of cool parties up there?

If you're interested in a kids' Potter party that won't keep you up late, Bethesda's Little Falls Library is hosting a party at 10 a.m. the next morning with games, cake and ice cream, a magician and other activities.


my office across from the city center parking lot: in the past couple of days we've watched a crew build a pretty decent sized stadium set-up. what is going on? hopefully something fun!;

David: They are setting up for the And 1 Mixtape Tour, featuring the best street ballers around. It's on Saturday in the City Center Lot. Cassidy will be performing, in addition to the games.


Washington, D.C.: How is Hirshhorn After Hours? Is it worth the $10 admission?

Julia: Hirshhorn After Hours is definitely worth the price of admission. In fact, it's even worth buying your ticket over the phone today -- the event has been selling out SUPER early, like before 10 p.m.

I don't know much about the ambient-classical ensemble that's playing, but I can tell you that the evening event is a great, laid-back way to see the Wolfgang Tillmans show, which is, in my humble opinion, the best exhibition of the summer. It's definitely a good time.


Falls Church, Va.: Gurus,

Going to see Phantom in August at the Kennedy Center. Need a place for pre-show dinner. Notte Bianchi is too expensive. Other ideas?

Erin: If you don't mind a bit of a walk Tonic at Quigley's Pharmacy is affordable. It's not the most amazing food -- especially if you're dressed for the theater -- but you can build your own burger or pizza. If you've got access to a car, you can eat Vietnamese in Georgetown or stop into Pesce or Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle.


Red Rocks: Is the new Red Rocks Pizza open in Columbia Heights yet? If so, what's the word on the streets?

Erin: Indeed, the pizzeria opened a week ago. It's already quite hopping and has good potential. The menu has some rustic Italian specials, panini and plenty of pizza options.

Also, the beer list is quite impressive (Gotta love that Allagash on tap).


Arlington, Va.: So I'm going to the Birchmere on Friday to see Aimee Mann, and am wondering how early does one need to show up there for a show? Thanks!

David: It depends on how good a seat you want. This is a sold-out show, so the line will start early. The Birchmere starts handing out numbers at 5pm and you get seated based on your number, best seats going first. So if you want a good view, best advice is to arrive early and eat there.


Washington, D.C.: Gurus,

Leaving work early tomorrow and going to the Nats game. Noticed St. Barry's guide to Capitol Hill bars over on the Nats blog (read it here and wondered if you guys and girls had any additional info that might help us pick a spot. Thanks!

Fritz: I agree with a couple of Barry Svrluga's picks and take issue with a couple..

He's dead on about Tunnicliff's. Perfect for a Stoney's-style grilled cheese sandwich and a beer before the game, then a quick walk down to Eastern Market. Tune Inn is such a great place -- perfect dive with locals, cheap beer and fattening food. For dirt-cheap happy hours (if you're going tonight or tomorrow), join the staffers at Tortilla Coast or Hawk and Dove, but they're going to be crowded.

On the flip side, Finn Mac Cool's, which I enjoy for its beers, foosball and shuffleboard, definitely isn't a chain -- it was opened by two former managers of the Dubliner. And Ugly Mug ... well, the chef from Matchbox was there when it first opened (and I first wrote about it) back in 2004, but he's long gone, the food has gone downhill, and the waitstaff is uniformly slow. I've pretty much given up going there.

Also, my pre-game pitstop this season has remained Trusty's, at Potomac Avenue, which is a 10 or 15-minute walk from the stadium, has decent half-smokes cooked on a grill behind the bar and serves good beers in mason jars. What more do you need?


Silver Spring, Md.: Hey gurus,

Our friends are visiting from NJ this weekend - with their 6 month old baby. Any ideas on keeping a baby (and four 30-year olds) entertained in the city this weekend?


Jen: My son is about the same age. As long as the baby is reasonably well-behaved, he/she can go pretty much anywhere at that age. Places you probably should not go with the babe: Bars, movie theaters, 9:30 Club shows. Other than that, the Zoo, museums, restaurants that aren't too fancy or intimate, parks, etc. are all fair game. Don't know if you are Harry Potter fans, but there is a big shindig in downtown Silver Spring tomorrow evening, so it might be fun to walk around and soak up all that wizard buzz.


Penn Ave, DC: Gurus:

I'll be celebrating my 33rd (sigh) birthday in a couple of weeks. I really want to go out dancing with my girlfriends on Friday or Saturday night, but I'm feeling old and clueless. We prefer hip hop, R&B, and reggae, but we avoid Love and H2O like the plague. The clientele and crazy crowds turn us off.

Where can we go dance and not worry about being those old broads in the club? We prefer downtown DC.

Rhome: Zanzibar pulls in more grown folk. The crowd at Jin can be hit or miss but does attract folks like you who prefer to avoid the mega club scene. If you want more of an old school party, keep an eye out for Grits and Gravy who have been at Jin monthly. If you're willing to head out to Montgomery County, Cafe Peju is probably the best fit for you. Check the flicks.

The old dude in the club is who you have to worry about. Your concern is unwarranted.


Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus! My sister's birthday was last week so I want to take her and her new husband out to dinner to celebrate. I'm in Northern VA and they are around Gallery Place, so I'm looking for somewhere that would be a good compromise (or I could head in towards their area), and that would be pretty cheap (I'm in grad school) but still festive and enjoyable. Thanks!

Erin: In Adams Morgan, Casa Oaxaca is bright and festive inside. I didn't fall in love with the food, but there are lots of plates to share and some fabulous drinks. Sticking to the Mexican track, I really enjoy the celebratory ambiance of Oyamel. It's very close to them and mixes up delicious margaritas.

In Dupont, Mandu could be fun and Bistrot du Coin is always lively (plus good French wine makes everything more fun).


Dupont South, Washington, D.C.: I need your recommendation on a venue for a furtive meeting Friday night. Ideally somewhere with expensive drinks, quiet ambience and a location close to my office at Connecticut and M.

I was thinking Palette at the Madison Hotel might fit the bill, but I'm not sure if it's even still there. Thoughts?

Julia: Palette is good for the expensive drinks + quiet combination. I also might include Off the Record, the clubby Town and Country Lounge or the loungey Lotus Lounge (where $14 cocktails dot the menu).

Fritz: Palette has good cocktails and it's quiet -- just make sure you can find seats that aren't at the huge "communal table" in the bar area, because otherwise your meeting won't be furtive for long.

Off the Record would be one of my top choices, since there are a enough nooks to keep things private, along with the newly renovated Le Bar at the Sofitel, which doesn't seem to get huge crowds, so you can whisper while you sip well-made martinis.

I've found Lotus to be loud and clubby on Fridays, but it depends what time you get there.


College Park, MD: My friends and I always want to go out on Thursday nights away from the College Park scene and into DC. We always encounter problems though with transportation. The metro stops running at midnight on Thursdays which makes it near impossible to go anywhere worthwhile and still make it back home without needing to pay for a taxi. Any suggestions?

Rhome: Zipcar and Flexcar both have vehicles in College Park. My Flexcar plan gives me free hours between 11:30 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Didn't have that back in my day though. Before I got my own vehicle I had to rely on other cats with cars. Spent a lot of evenings on the yard going to corny parties in the Colony or the Grand.


Washington, D.C.: The roommate and I are in the mood for a fancy date night this evening (if only with each other). Any suggestions for mid-priced superb food we shouldn't wait until Restaurant Week to try? We've been thinking French (Maybe La Rouche in Georgetown), but don't know much about French restos in the area.

Erin: I love that idea, but I would skip La Ruche unless you're choosing it for the patio. Bistro Lepic would be a better choice.

On Capitol Hill, Montmartre offers fabulous French food. If you're willing to hop over the border from France, the "Meditalia" flavors of nearby Locanda were fairly delightful last night.


Fairfax, Va.: Hi Gurus!

Some friends are coming into town this weekend and would like to have a "night on the town in D.C." The planning is up to me since I'm the only one who lives in the area. (And I waited until the last second to decide what to do!) Price isn't a huge issue -- but nothing really expensive. I was thinking dinner and then something fun, but laid-back afterwards.

I'd love any ideas you have! I'd have been lost when I moved the city several years ago without your chats!

Julia: On Friday, Hirshhorn After Hours is a great thing to do with friends and probably your best bet, but you really do have to get tickets early. If you're not up for planning that far in advance, I reccommend checking out the opening for DCAC's "Wall Mountables" -- one of my favorite annual exhibits -- and then hitting Adams Morgan or U Street afterwards.

Touring the monuments at night (after a nice dinner downtown, perhaps?) is another great outing for out-of-towners.


Washington, D.C.: I'm insanely excited for the Ponys/Jay Reatard show on Monday. Do you think it'll sell out? And if so, what's the deal with getting tickets in advance?

David: Well that makes two of us who are insanely excited. The best Ponys show at the Black Cat was when they were on the backstage a few summers ago and Jay Reatard is just killer. I do think it will sell out, perhaps not until the night of. But advance tickets ARE available, despite the show being on the Black Cat's backstage. This is a new twist. You can get 'em at the club or on the Ticketmaster Web site.


Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: Gurus,

I need a little location assistance! I want to surprise my boyfriend by gathering some of his good friends for dinner on Monday night. I'm looking for some place in the area that's inexpensive ($10-$25 for main course) and able to seat 10 of us! Also, he really likes Greek, Italian and creative American food!

Please help me make this day special for him!

Erin: You should look into Mourayo or see if Zaytinya can seat you on the upper level. For creative American, the upstairs at Ardeo could be fun. On my most recent visit to Circle Bistro, the seasonal desserts (with extraordinary ice creams) were cause for celebration themselves.

If he likes seafood, Hook is also a fun time.


Furtive Meeting?: Are GOGs facilitating an affair?

Fritz: How should we know? After all, it's furtive.


Alexandria, Va.: Submitting early so that hopefully (Please!) you will answer my question(s). I'm thinking about hitting the En Route performance (Fringe) on Friday after work, but want to wait to see how I feel to decide. I know that ads say you can buy tickets at the door, but I'm wondering, what's the chance that it will get sold out beforehand and how early would I need to get there before the performance to get tickets/good seats? Also, can you recommend a good place to get drinks/appetisers afterward? Many thanks, gurus!

Erin: It's an early enough show that you should be able to still get tickets at the door. If last year is any indication, tickets for Fringe Festival events will start selling out after the first few days when positive reviews start pouring in. It's nice to play it safe with a ticket in advance, but you should be ok if you hold off.

As for drinks and appetizers, Proof is worth a visit for its fabulous wines. I'm also excited about the new menu items at Zaytinya. PS 7's recently opened the patio and offers a half-smoke and some enticing small bites, but service there is usually erratic at best.


Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.: I was at the Four P's last nite and Frank announced that their neighbor, the Uptown Theater, was sold to the McLean Bible Church ... What's the story? Will we be losing our beloved theater?

Jen: We have heard the same rumor. I am expecting a written statement from the people at McLean Bible Church any second now, which will presumably confirm the story. I will pass along more details momentarily, I hope.

Assuming this is true -- and it appears that way -- this is a sad, sad day for D.C. moviegoers.


Washington, DC: Hey guys,

Know of anyplace in DC, or any DJs, that spin Jamiroquai? Looking for some good funk style music. Thanks!;!;

Rhome: Check out Dredd or the FunkDC crew. I was recently surprised by a cat playing on the lower level at Tabaq on Fridays. I knew he was my kind of jock when he dropped EWF's "Running", although he was playing to a sparse collection of folks sipping drinks in booths.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hi GoG's,

I'm meeting some old college friends on Saturday night in Old Town Alexandria. Is there anywhere a group of mid-thirties can go for dessert to catch up on old times?


Erin: As somebody who recently ate 1/4 of a whole banana cream pie at the Majestic, I can safely vouch for the superlative nature of the desserts there. You should probably make a reservation, but French press coffee (or a good cocktail) and the icebox cakes make a dreamy combination.

Buzz on Slater's is another solid choice. The new pastry chef is making some pretty cool improvements. The cupcakes are a huge draw, but definitely try a brownie.

You can also stop into the Morrison House for dessert in the lounge area. It gets pretty wild and crazy (for the parental set) when the piano player's singing.


Trish, Capitol Heights, Md.: Hi, Gurus! Finally caught you guys at the right time!

I've begun to play pool, but am having a hard time finding clean, comfortable inexpensive places to play. I've been to the Continental Pool Lounge in Rosslyn and Galaxy in Silver Spring, but I'm looking for more places. Can you suggest some others? Has the Post ever written an article covering pool halls/billiards parlors in the Metropolitan area? Thanks.

Fritz: We have written a couple of "where to play pool" stories. (And I wrote the paper's reviews of the two you just mentioned.) My favorites are usually the smaller, divey older places like Bedrock Billiards, Atomic Billiards, Townhouse Tavern, even the cozy Lil' Pub on Capitol Hill. Buffalo Billiards should be high on your list, if you haven't been: Three dozen really nice tables and decent sticks, plus darts and shuffleboard. Orange Ball in Rockville is another good one, though it gets loud on weekends, and they sometimes have karaoke, which I find really distracting when I'm trying to play.


East Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C.: Do you know how I can find out about demolition derbies in the area? They are my favorite part about summer but Google just gives me a list of derbies circa '06.


Julia: I've been to the demolition derby in Gaithersburg and it was amazing. This year's takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, August 17 and 18, at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. The Prince William County Fair and the Great Frederick Fair also host demolition derbies. We'll list more as we hear about 'em. Just look up "demolition derby" in the City Guide.


Re: Oyamel: OK, love Oyamel, but it is not cheap!; Yeah, you could probably just order a few plates and come out OK, but s/he's looking to treat two people who will presumably want a full meal.

Erin: If you're going to start hating, at least contribute your best ideas!


RE: pre-Phantom dinner: Last night my girlfriend and I went to Agua Ardiente before Phantom. It's not as close to Kennedy Center as we had hoped, but tapas for two (and sangria) came to $50 total incl. tax and tip. Agua Ardiente has received mixed reviews, but we were satisfied.

Erin: That's good to hear. You're right that reviews are all over the place on Agua. It's more of a night scene than a dinner spot, but decent tapas fairly close to the Kennedy Center are a great option.


Arlington, Va.: Do you know a nice upscale night club that plays Latin music (to dance) around D.C.?

Fritz: It really depends on what you mean by "upscale." Love plays some Latin on Thursdays, and H2O brings in special guests like the legendary Oscar D'Leon from time to time. (You'll usually find those in our Nightlife Agenda column when they happen.) Zanzibar is pretty swank, and they have salsa and merengue every Wednesday night.

Oh, and tonight, Bio Ritmo, who Rhome really enjoys, is playing at the oh-so-cool Eighteenth Street Lounge. Nice to relax on large couches after dancing.

Then again, I also think that some strictly Latin nightspots, like Cococabana in Langley Park, are above the usual clubby salsa spots.


Furtive Drinking: How about Round Robin Bar in the Willard? I love that place. The mint juleps are done very well and the place has just the right atmosphere for a quiet conversation (wasn't that an insurance commercial once?)

Sometimes, I go there when I want some quiet time to myself and a well made cocktail.

Fritz: I go there often when I want a good, well-made cocktail, because Jim Hewes and his staff do the classics well. That said, it gets busy with tourists on weekends, and it's not exactly right by Connecticut and M, which is what the chatter was looking for.


Baltimore, Md.: Hi,

Did you see the City Paper story on the 'Late Night Shots' crew? Have you heard of this social network and, more importantly, how can I avoid this self-righteous band of bigots?

David: You're in Baltimore, so don't worry. Like the LNS folks would ever set foot in your town. The CP wasn't exactly breaking any news about LNS (not that they were really claiming to) -- it's actually a topic that's been covered in these chats and Wonkette does a pretty hilarious weekly recap of the "best" posts on the site. Avoid the bars mentioned in the article and you'll be fine.

Fritz: As someone who's been on LNS for a while, I have to say that the whole thing is pretty tired, as David said. (Wonkette's old "Last Week's Shots" columns were pretty hilarious, and eventually people on the LNS forums just started saying more and more outrageous things to see if they'd get picked up.)

I'm kind of disappointed that I was at least one of the same parties as the City Paper's reporter and she never talked to me. Maybe it's because I'm not old money.

Also, yeah, avoid Smith Point if you don't want to be around the LNS crowd, although I doubt many of them are going on the "public" nights, anyway...


meat-and-potatoes girl...: looking to branch out. I know that there are a ton of international restaurants around the area, but such an abundant blessing can become an intimidating curse. Can you recommend some good (and inexpensive!;) ethnic restaurants (maybe ethiopian, thai, indian, etc.) to get me started on a new culinary adventure? Also, drink suggestions would be great. Thanks!; Y'all are the swellest!;

Erin: My favorite ethnic restaurants are pretty far out, so if you're in Virginia, you're good to go. (Rangoli, Thai Basil and Mirchi are all worth a trip.)

For Thai, the best place to start would probably be Thai Square in Arlington. Nearby Bangkok 54 is very nice inside, but it's a bit more Americanized. If you're in D.C., Simply Home is somewhat modified Thai, but it offers clean flavors. Rice on 14th is another good one. Drinks-wise, go for a singha beer.

For Indian, my favorite places all seem to be out in the 'burbs, but splurge on Rasika for some nouveau Indian that will wow your taste buds. In Chevy Chase, Indique Heights is another good starter restaurant for Indian. You can try a Lassi, but both restaurants offer some delicious tropical cocktails.

As for Ethiopian, Etete and Dukem prevail as the two best spots in the 9th/U streets vicinity. Order some tibs and a vegetarian sampler to get yourself familiarized with what you like.


Washington, DC: Hi GOG's!; Can you guys please shed some light on Sanctuary? Having never been there before, can you please let me know what kind of crowd usually can be seen there? I realize that they play house, but I'm wondering if it's older/younger straight/gay? Good time or no? Thanks!;!;

Rhome: All types of people go to Sanctuary. There are no standard "scene" designations (age/sexual orientation/dress/class/race/etc.) It's just a spot for hardcore house heads who are serious about their dancing. As long as you're not bumping folks or stepping on feet it's all good. It's a friendly space. Operations have been erratic - sometimes they're open, sometimes they're closed - but when the right DJ is in town the place is pretty explosive. People rarely show up before 11:30pm since the party usually goes to sunrise.


Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Can you tell us more about Locanda (former Meyhane)? Also, is the rumor that AV Ristorante in Mt Vernon Square is closing down true??

Erin: First, it is true. You have about a week to enjoy AV. Sad, isn't it?

Locanda is loud, but I enjoyed the menu. There were small bites, including fabulous tempura-fried squash blossoms, options for salumi and cheese and plenty of pastas. I had a great experience with the ravioli of the day. Unfortunately, the kitchen went wild salting my rucola salad, so I won't order that again. The seconds included a pork chop milanese, snapper with dandelion greens and a branzino with fennel.

The wine list is fabulous. It's obviously Italian, but it's creative and diverse. My dining companion and I determined that we'd likely choose Locanda before Sonoma when looking to grab a good glass of wine in that 'hood.


20010: DJ Names Names and Spilt Milk are going to be at Selam on Saturday night. There is a band playing as well. Not local - do y'all know who they are? I'm hoping that its a NOU reunion, but I know it isnt.

David: No NOU reunion, sorry. It's Sugar and Gold. Take a listen at that link. We're skeptical on how they will fit a band in there, but we'll see.


Diagon Alley, Va.: Hey GOGs! Just thought I'd pass on the link to all the Harry Potter Action in Old Town, where they plan to turn King Street into Diagon Alley:

I'm not even a huge Harry Potter fan but I'm excited! It's rare that this many businesses from the train station to the water participate in an event.

Erin: Thanks for writing in. Yes, we're very excited about that party. Last time, they turned the Amtrak station into Platform 9 3/4, so this time will be even better.

We have a record up about it and I talked to the merchants to find out just what they'll have available. You can read about it in our blog.


Adams Morgan: Don't scare people about the Uptown!;

Jen: Ah, thank you for this. Yes, the written statement from McLean Bible Church confirms they will be renting the space on Sundays starting in January of 2008. But it also says they will offer community service projects and classes there as well, and I can't see how the theater could continue to consistently generate revenue if that's happening at the same time.

I just called the Uptown and the manager there would not comment on the plans for the theater. I have been referred to AMC/Loews Corporate, which I am about to call now. Stay tuned...


Washington, D.C.: Hi there, I'm in my late twenties and celebrating a birthday in a couple of weeks. Last year, I went to Helix for Saturday evening drinks with a group of friends and though I really like the decor/atmosphere/music there, the drinks are a bit too pricey and I'd prefer someplace somewhat closer to the Metro and slightly more full of people (though not jam packed.) Any suggestions? Please no covers and no Local 16 (I just do not like that bar.)

Fritz: It depends how large your group of friends is and what night you're thinking about going. I'll say up front that if you're looking for the Helix kind of lounge vibe, then their drink prices ($9-$11) are pretty much standard, and with a few exceptions, like the bar at Ceiba, you're not going to find too many places with great cocktails and a for less than $10. Sad, but true.

A couple of places I'll toss out: Karma, at 19th and I, which is buzzy after work and slows down later. Science Club is a favorite over here for its cool atmosphere and reasonable(ish) drinks. A Champagne bar and DJs would make the downstairs of Bistro Napoleon a memorable birthday spot, too.


Bethesda, Md.: Erin -- All of your suggestions are delicious. I'm still new to the area, and am looking for a place with good sandwiches. Breadline isn't an option because I work in Chevy Chase during the day and can't get over there. What else do you like?

Erin: The focaccia sandwiches at Vace are pretty fantastic. I have also heard amazing things about the subs at Marcella La Bersagliera.

The casual downstairs sibling to Famoso isn't bad for a big salad, but Rock Creek Mazza just opened in the Gallerie, so you can splurge on healthy choices designed by the fabulous Ris Lacoste.


Washington, D.C.: Fritz, I think you wrote about this a while ago, but I can't remember. What is the name of that German beer garden on capital hill and do they participate in the bar shuttle bus to the Nats games?

Fritz: That's Cafe Berlin, and no, the buses only go to places along the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor. I've walked from RFK to Berlin a couple times this season, though, and it's not a bad walk -- especially on a sunny day.


Re: uptown: Gurus,

I read somewhere this morning that the Uptown is just renting space to McLBC on Sunday mornings. Let's hope that's true!;

Jen: I hope the same, but I remain skeptical. I think the manager would have just said, "No, we're not closing," rather than saying "No comment" when I asked about future plans. But I could be wrong, and I hope I am.

The corporate number only lets me leave a message. By the time I hear back from AMC, the chat may be over. I will post something in the GoG Blog once I have more information either way. Keep your fingers crossed. (I'd say pray, but that might not be appropriate in this case...)


Washington, D.C.: Argonaut is also great for a pre-Nats drink (or two . . .)

Fritz: Yep. I'd go there after games, though, and then have an H Street bar crawl.


jus' sayin': furtive


1. marked by quiet and caution and secrecy; taking pains to avoid being observed

Fritz: That doesn't mean it's an affair. They could be planning a surprise party for a friend. Or talking about business. Or something.


Wolfgang Tillmus: Hi,

Going to see the exhibit with a friend this weekend. Wondering if there are places nearby to grab brunch before or dinner after?

Julia: The cafe at the National Museum of the American Indian is good, but beyond that Mall dining is slim pickins. Your best bet is one of the downtown/Penn Quarter restaurants. I like the expensive but delicious dim sum brunch at Cafe Atlantico. Teaism's good for a cheaper option. You might also consider Ella's.


Furtive Drinking - My bad: Didn't see the part about Connecticut and M so I will amend my suggestion...If the person wants to be sneaky while being furtive by letting everyone THINK they're going near Connecticut and M, but they're really not...Then I recommend the Round Robin Bar at the Willard.

Fritz: That's clever. Almost ... TOO clever.


Northwest, Washington, D.C.: The Hirshhorn evening sounds really great, but what is the dress code? I hope not super formal!!

Julia: No, not super formal at all. The upstairs bar area can be a little see-and-be-seen-y, so instead of dressing up, dress interesting. That being said, I usually just go in jeans and whatever t-shirt I happen to be wearing.


Adams Morgan: Hey Gurus. Could use a little help. My friend is coming to visit and wants to go to a hip DC lounge / bar. I'm thinking Science Club, Chi-Cha, Local 16. Maybe ESL but the past few times I've been there my reaction has been, "I paid 10 bucks for this?" Any others I should give a try? Thanks!

Fritz: I like Science Club off that list. I'd also toss in Metropolitain, Rock and Roll Hotel (the couches upstairs), and, if you really want to drop some money, Fly.


Taneytown, Md.: GOGs, In a few weeks I will be taking some out of town friends to the Mall to do the D.C. tourist thing( we will try not to walk'n' gawk and get under your feet). Can you please advise if there are any kid friendly places to grab some lunch in the area? Many thanks!

Julia: Ella's (mentioned above) and the American Indian Museum cafe may work, but gor good, old-fashioned burgers and fries (and lots of free popcorn), take the kids to Harry's. Try to sit outside -- the inside's got a bit of an old-beer smell -- but it's cheap for downtown D.C. and good for picky, kiddie eaters.


Arlington, Va.: What This Town Really Needs Is: I know Julia as the bachelorettxpert would put a strip club in the Dupont underground, but what would the rest of you Gurus put there?

(I am baffled that nothing has stuck there!)

Erin: Obviously, mine would be food-oriented. I'd make it into one of those blind dinner restaurants where everything is served and eaten in pitch black with total trust and no idea of what you're having.

Fritz: A locally-owned and operated brewpub. One with a Tapper machine, and some other cool old video games, like Brooklyn's Barcade.

Julia: I'd definitely go for a laid-back bar instead of a strip club. I'm not all bachelorette, all the time, believe it or not. Just one of the demands of the job....

David: Starbucks, without question.


Single in the City: Help me out gurus. I'm newly single and in my early thirties. Where's a girl to go for happy hour that isn't all couples or 20-somethings? I like a range of scenes, but nothing too divey. It is hard to look cute with my shoe stuck to the floor.

Fritz: Really off the top of my head: Sonoma, Firefly, Kramerbooks, Science Club, maybe Cafe Citron, though spilled mojitos can make those floors kind of sticky.


Washington, D.C.: I've heard there are bars in D.C. with board games you can play. Any suggestions of the good ones? Thought this would be fun for a first date. Any good first date places near dupont?


Fritz: You'll find Scrabble, Battleship, Connect Four and a bunch of other favorites at Atomic Billiards, Bedrock Billiards and Rocket Bar, for starters. Also, just a reminder that our Nightlife Agenda Pick of the Week is (kinda) a board game: The Rock'em Sock'em Robots Tournament tonight at Ventnor Sports Cafe. More info in the column.

Other first-date places in Dupont: I'd say Gazuza or Fox and Hounds for people-watching, pool or darts at Townhouse Tavern, mussels and beer at Bistrot du Coin ...

_______________________ That does it for another week. Enjoy your furtive meetings, Harry Potter parties, Fringe shows, happy hours and everything else this weekend!


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