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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, August 23, 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: Hi there. The usual superbad Guru crew is here, so let's just start the discussion pronto. Chatters: Bring it.

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Van Ness, D.C.: I just moved into a big group house, and we have been busy getting the kitchen in order, as there are 5 kitchen's worth of utensils, pots and pans etc. to consolidate. I now have 4 large boxes of excess stuff to get rid of, but I don't want to throw it out as it is all in pretty good condition. Is there anywhere in the district I could donate all of this? Thank you!

Erin: That's commendable. I'm sure there are tons of organizations that would love your things. Depending on the quality of your kitchenware, you should consider donating it to Miriam's Kitchen. Email ashley [at] miriamskitchen [dot] org to find out if they can use your things or offer them to clients. Another kitchen-related charity that would put your things to good use would be DC Central Kitchen.

If those outlets don't work, try House of Ruth or other local shelters that work with getting people back on their feet to see if people moving into new homes can make use of your things.

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Arlington/Alexandria: Hey Gurus! Submitting early due to a meeting...hope you can help me out! I'm helping to plan a five-year HS reunion (kinda dorky, I know, but we graduated from a magnet school, so what can ya do). We're expecting about 150-200 people to show up on our target date of the Friday after Thanksgiving. Classes before us have traditionally booked space at Clarendon Grill or Bailey's, but that seems lame even for us. I looked into the Arlington Drafthouse, but its rates are pretty high for weekend "prime time" and weeknights are not an option. Any other ideas for a space that can hold our crowd that's inexpensive enough for us to not have to sell tickets (we can guarantee a pretty hefty bar minimum, if that helps)? Metro proximity would also be nice, as we don't want to put people into a drinking and driving situation. How about Science Club's rates/capacity? The name is just too thematically appropriate not to look into, but the website is less than helpful.

Fritz: What, you went to TJ?

Anyway, Science Club is a great place to hold a party. This is what I said in our "where to host your private party" guide:


Here's a discovery: The Science Club tries not to level room fees or minimums for private parties. The speakeasy-style basement holds 30 people and has its own bar, while the second floor boasts a huge bay window and enough tables for a cocktail party of 75 to 80. As long as you don't try to close the entire place to the public, then it's yours for the asking. (Small parties that want a completely private affair may have to pay a negotiable fee; E-mail scienceclubdc@gmail.com for details.) Every room is isolated for sound, so you can have DJ music piped in or plug in your iPod to listen to your own mixes.

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I'm Baaack, VA: Any word on the opening of the East Falls Church Dogfish?

Fritz: I just got a call from one of the owners yesterday for a blog post that I hope to have up today. (Sorry I'm being all mysterious.) Short answer: If nothing else goes wrong permit-wise, they should be open in the middle of September.

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Arlington, Va.: Can anyone recommend a great place to get a panoramic picture custom matted and framed?

Thanks! Love the chat!!

Julia: I've used the Framer's Workroom (in Tenleytown) in the past. They're not cheap, but they're very good.

For cheaper framing projects, I've gone to Michael's -- they occasionally have these amazing half-off framing sales. The Falls Church store just confirmed that Michael's does this.

So tell us, Arlington, what's in the picture?

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Va.: Years ago, I went to a rehearsal dinner at a Chinese restaurant below a hotel somewhere in Oakton or Route 50 or Ox Street. Can you figure it out? Thanks

Erin: And I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 54,323,987. Sorry, this doesn't ring any bells for me, so I ask peanuts. Route 50, Ox Rd., Oakton, beneath a hotel...who's got some good ideas of where this person ate?

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MoCo, Md.: Hey! My BF and I are heading to ESL and Five tomorrow. Are the dress codes sort of similar? What's a girl to wear? Thanks!

Fritz: To start, there's no dress code at Five, so you can do anything from a T-shirt and sneakers (which is the pretty standard look for guys) to a dress and no one would bat an eye. For ESL -- which has the excellent DJ DRM bringing his dancehall-dub-loungey classics from Brooklyn -- guys should go button-down or polo/designer jeans or slacks/designer sneakers or non-square-toed dress shoes. Girls tend to look trendy but not clubby. (See, I'm not the fashion guru.) Nice top and a skirt, but not what you'd wear to Rumors.

I may see you there, since I'm looking for something to do tomorrow night.

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Washington, D.C.: I am interested in buying a casual wool vest. J. Crew has some really nice designs, but I would like to know if there are any other stores around DC that sell similar products. The only options I've found are Urban Outfitters and Jos. Bank (but their vests are made to match their suits -- too much of a business look). Any suggestions?

Janet: Have you tried Rugby in Georgetown or Sherman Pickey, also in Gtown? I can't say for sure if they have them, but they would be good suspects. And, of course, Polo, too.

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Woodley Park, Washington, D.C.: Gurus,

Really stupid question: Is it possible to get tickets for 9.30 club shows on the night of a concert (assuming it wasn't previously sold out, obvs). Have any of you ever done this? And does it save one from paying the tickets.com surcharge?

Thanks!

David: Yup, that's a pretty stupid question! Of course you can buy tickets on the night of a show, as long as it's not sold out. That is the only time you can buy a ticket for the advertised price. If you want to avoid those ridiculous tickets.com charges, go to the 9:30 club box office and buy tickets there. There will be an extra $1 charge per ticket if you do that, but it's better than the $10 or so from buying online.

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Arlington, Va.: Any places in the area have steel drum bands? Ever? My husband is a huge fan.

Fritz: Crossroads and Zanzibar are the obvious answers, and both have steel pan bands during Carnival season (which was last month, unfortunately). Mango Mike's in Alexandria has a pretty cool Sunday brunch with live steel players, and I love the tropical drinks.

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North Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus,

Any ideas for my date with my husband this Saturday night? He's starting an MBA program in the fall, so this is our last weekend before school starts. I'd like to do something together beyond our usual dinner and a movie, but since we just got the first semester's tuition bill, keeping it cheap would definitely be preferable. Thanks!

Julia: Not super close to North Arlington, but I think your best bet for a free event this Saturday has got to be the martini reception for "Lest We Forget", an exhibition in which three artists remember Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. It's sad stuff, but there's some really beautiful work on display by a New Orleans evacuee, a pet rescuer/artist and Post photogapher Carol Guzy. (You can preview some of the work in these photo galleries.)

I always think a picnic + dusk-time stroll around the monuments is a great cheap date idea, so you could keep that one in mind too.

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Washington, D.C.: I realize this may not count as a "going out" question, but you guys do seem to have all the answers, so I'm wondering if you can help me with this. I'm looking for a nice place in DC to get my boyfriend a massage. Someone recommended the $90 massage at The Grooming Lounge. The price seems a little more than the going rate, but if it's a superior massage I'd be happy to pay for it. Otherwise, do you have other suggestions for a good place to treat my boyfriend to a backrub?

Janet: It is a bit pricey, but one of our staff members went to the Grooming Lounge recently and really enjoyed the experience, so I'd go with it if I were you. What a nice present.

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Date Night, Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions for a movie, not necessarily a Hollywood blockbuster, that would be good to check out on a date this weekend? Not looking for a total buzzkill, but something that incites conversation and energy for dinner and drinks afterwords?

Jen: "Sicko" would incite conversation, but if your political leanings are opposed, it also might incite a riot. And that would be bad. (Plus, I don't think it it showing in many theaters anymore.) Same goes for "No End in Sight."

If you like musicals, "Once" might be a nice, romantic choice. I've mostly been indulging in the blockbuster fare these days, so others should certainly make recommendations. Maybe you could check out "Stranger Than Paradise" at the AFI? It screens Friday night.

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Annandale Dude: Fritz, my adult beverage drinking hero:

I want to go to a United game this season. I have been remiss in supporting my home team at their stadium.

What are the chances of getting seats near the crazy fun fans that are always shown on TV?

Cheers

Fritz: The Barra Brava and the Screaming Eagles sometimes have extra seats available for their sections. I'd certainly check http://barra-brava.com/ or http://screaming-eagles.com/ to see what the ticket situation is. (Don't overlook La Norte, either, who are the guys with the loud drums behind the goal.)

Before the game, you might also want to crash the groups' tailgates in Lot 8 before the game and introduce yourself. They're really friendly, and there's always good beer.

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Non-square-toed Dress Shoes.: Those pretty boys who wear those look like fratty ducks

Fritz: Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for our guest from ClubItUp.com!

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Alexandria, Va.: In honor of my best friend's 30th birthday, a group of us are going to dinner to celebrate. To add a little entertainment to the festivities, we plan on dressing up in the cheesiest clothes our local thrift stores have to offer (think powder blue suits and bad 80s prom dresses). I'm looking for a restaurant in DC (I was thinking Adams Morgan but am open to anything) that is nice enough to celebrate the big birthday but won't turn us away when we show up looking like the cast of Pretty in Pink. Any suggestions?

Erin: That sounds more entertaining than most D.C. nightlife. You should clue us into where you end up so that we can all wander by and catcall. First, Perry's comes to mind, since patrons typically associate it with drag queens (no offense, of course). In Georgetown, any waterfront space would be less thrilling for food, but fun for dress-up.

This is way way out there, but if you're dressing up in '80s cheese, why not go to the Melting Pot? Prancing into the cheesiest romance restaurant and eating cheese fondue in your gear would make for a pretty memorable occasion, I should think.

I also think something like Fogo de Chao would be suitable. If you're going all out with costumes, you might as well go all out with gut-busting food, right?

Silver Spring is probably way out of your way, but Jackie's is my favorite retro-happy dining experience. Maybe you can save it for when you want to resurrect your powder blue on a more low-key night?

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Arlington, VA: How would you rate HR-57, the jazz club? What is the atmosphere like and what is the appropriate attire? What other suggestions do you have for live jazz music in an intimate setting?

Rhome: HR-57 is on the low end of the fancy scale but deep in roots and musical depth. It's one of the best places in town to get close to the local jazz musician community, from young pups just getting started to players with decades of experience who mentor them. Attire is casual. All of the best jazz spaces in town are intimate, particularly along the U Street corridor. You can see the best names in the world at Blues Alley and practically sit on the bandstand with them, you'll just have to save up some dough first.

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Kitchen item donations...: Call Green Door, which helps mentally challenged adults live independently. 16th & R, I think.

Erin: A fabulous idea. Thank you.

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Capitol Hill: Hey guys (and girls) - Where can someone grab cheap beers during lunch on a Friday near the Hill? I know most of the after work (happy hour) deals, but wasn't sure about lunchtime. If I can get a good recommendation, my boss is paying.

Fritz: Off the top of my head, I don't know of any that start before 4 or so.

Someone please refresh my memory or prove me wrong.

But seriously, for cheap beer, stop #1 is Tune Inn. Stop #2 is Lil Pub. Or vice versa.

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DCizzle: I have a reception at the Hotel Washington at 7p tomorrow, and I work in the Farragut West/McPherson Sq area and get off at 5:30p. Where's a good place in between (on the way) that I can sit and get a drink? As in, sit (not stand) at the bar, wearing a suit, drink my cocktail or wine, and read my magazine as I wait for my husband to meet me? How is the bar the Hilton on 16th? Thanks GOGs, truly you're the best.

Fritz: I'd say Off the Record at the Hay-Adams is perfect: Generally quiet, there are almost always seats and the cocktails were great when I was at a friend's gathering there last week. It can be a bit old-boys, though, so you can check Le Bar in the Sofatel. Stylish, airy and great martinis.

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Washington, D.C.: What would you do on a day trip to Annapolis? We're a married couple around 30 if that helps.

Janet: Go to Ego Alley and watch the parade of boats, take a walk around the Naval Academy, ride the water taxi -- not sure exactly where it stops, but it's a fun way to navigate the town. There's a restaurant around Church Circle -- Sly Fox pub -- that's a great place to go for a drink or lunch. And, if you can get a res and feel flush, eat at O'Leary's for dinner. Like to browse and shop? West Street and Maryland Avenue are your best bets, rather than the Annapolis main drag.

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How'd you guess?!: TJ nerd (although I'd like to think I've grown out of it) back again - your link takes me to the Science Club CityGuide page, and while the space sounds awesome it might not be big enough. Can you link me to the private party article? Thanks!

Fritz: Dang, sorry.

This'll do it.

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Old Town Alexandria, Va.: Hey Gurus,

Love your chat and need some help! After living in the district for 4 years I have moved all by my lonesome to Old Town. Please clue me in on what cool things (restaurants, bars, things to explore on the weekends) my new neighborhood has to offer for a gal in her late 20's. I come up to DC quite a bit but would like to find a few cool places that I can frequent and so far i've been unimpressed with the restaurant and bar selection. I definitely plan on trying out the Armstrong empire that exists but would appreciate any additional everyday suggestions you have! Thanks!

Erin: Don't be glum. There's a lot to do in Old Town. I felt fairly isolated back when I lived out there, but there was actually a lot going on. My favorite go-to bar was Southside 815, where the bartenders are pretty friendly. I was constantly locked in a battle to have them show Dodger games, but they slowly came around and came to appreciate my LA allegiances.

As for the Armstrong empire, you definitely have to check out the various restaurants. Take fish and chips to go from Eamonn's or treat yourself to good cocktails and a bit of birthday cake at the bar of Restaurant Eve. Speaking of treats, the cupcakes (offered in a myriad of flavors as well as sugar-free and gluten-free) at Buzz are incredible. The hours are early to late, so you can drop in for breakfast or late night brownies.

For more casual eating, A La Lucia does a good job with basic Italian food for lunch and dinner, while Tiffany Tavern will feed you burgers while you listen to bluegrass.

When you're looking to branch a bit out of Old Town, Del Ray has some fabulous offerings. Del Merei Grille is delicious as a neighborhood spot, the Dairy Godmother is my most favorite ice cream and Taqueria Poblano has some amazing fish tacos. Also, the fajitas at Los Tios are hard to beat.

That's a sampling of what you'll soon discover on your own, but anybody else should definitely weigh in with favorites around Old Town.

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Arlington, Va.: I'm not sure if this the right forum, but I'll give it a shot. I take the Metro every day and am also six months pregnant. Once I started to show, I assumed that I would have many offers of people giving up their seat. I was wrong! Many trips no one offers their seat to me at all. Fortunately, I am healthy and not very big, so I am just as happy to stand as sit. But not every pregnant or elderly or disabled person is so fortunate. Just thought that Metro riders should be reminded.

Jen: This is as good a forum as any.

When I was pregnant, I rarely got offered a seat either. I don't think it's necessarily out of lack of courtesy per se. I think it's more that Metro riders are engrossed in their newspapers, books, cell phones, etc. and often don't bother to look around enough to notice that an elderly person or pregnant woman needs a seat. Not justifying, just explaining.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

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Washington D.C.: Wandered by and went to Selam a little while ago on a Friday night really liked it. Is there a website to see what DJs are playing ther on a regular basis? Their website still has the DJ from July.

Fritz: They've really dropped the ball on getting the word out, haven't they? I only find out about DJs spinning there via MySpace bulletins or self-promotional e-mails.

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The Wife is Out of Town....: This is my plan for tommorow night:

Turn up the iTunes on the Bose

Pour some aged rum

Light an expensive cigar

Sit outside with dog, listen to music, sip, puff away

Plausible?

Jen: Uh ... sure.

The Going Out Gurus: Reaffirming that it is possible to stay at home and sit on your butt if that's what you want to do.

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Before the lockdown: My bf is headed to school as well and this is our last weekend. I wanted to take him to a nice, small, romantic place with some character. I was thinking about one of the new Peruvian places- Inti or Las Canteras. Any thoughts on these and do you know if they have outdoor seating? Would love any other recommendations.

Thanks and as always, you guys are the bestest!

Erin: I've tried both and I have to say that I'm smitten with Inti.

There's a small, secluded back patio and such friendly service. It's a bit authentic in terms of pace of service, but the food is quite good. I've enjoyed the spicy shrimp stew, rotisserie chicken and several fish dishes. I also really enjoyed the tamale appetizer. The staff is so proud of it and more than happy to make suggestions. Plus, the corn nuts that they give at the beginning are too addictive.

As for Las Canteras, I wouldn't recommend it. Though the service at Inti was slow, it was molasses at Canteras. I waited 45 minutes for my check and felt more frustrated than fulfilled by the end...

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re: Non-square-toed Dress Shoes: Fratty ducks?

Oh, who cares, really. Where what you like as long as it's clean and dressed up enough. We'll all look back one day on what we're wearing now and say, huh? What was I thinking?

Fritz: Yep. "Dad, why are there lobsters on your pants?"

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U ST.: Okay, this is a "staying in" question, not a "going out" question. But I thought a chatter might be able to help.

I just moved to the U St. area and my old favorite Chinese delivery restaurant is now too far away. Any recommendations for delicious delivery Chinese in that area?

Erin: Hey, we all need nights to recharge at home, right?

I'm happy to share my favorite place: Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th just up from Viridian is my go-to place for amazing delivery. I am rarely happier than eating the Ma La Chicken and the crispy chicken Szechuan-style. They former is spicier than many people can handle, but it's oh so good. Hope you like it, too.

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Rockville, Md.: Date movie: if you haven't seen it already, "Bourne Ultimatum" is actually much more thoughtful than it may seem on the surface and precipitated an outstanding dinner conversation for us.

Jen: Thanks, Rockville. I dug "Bourne," too. I just wasn't sure if it was the kind of conversation starter our chatter was seeking, but if it sparked dialogue for you, then it's worth considering.

I, personally, would start the conversation by quoting Paul Rudd in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin": "You know, I always thought that Matt Damon was like a Streisand, but he's rocking the [expletive deleted] in this one!"

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Pregnant on Metro: It's those baby doll style shirts all the women wear now. Everyone I see looks a few months pregnant! I debated for several minutes on the bus if I should risk insulting someone by offering my seat. I finally decided she was in fact pregnant, and offered. The look of relief said it all. She was desperate to sit down.

Jen: Interesting point. You would hate to offer your seat to someone by saying, "Here, take my seat. You must be very tired carrying around that little one in your belly." Response: "Uh ... what?"

At the same time, you could offer a seat without suggesting the person was pregnant. She might just think you're being nice.

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Washington, D.C.: Happy Thursday Gurus! I am a bride looking for options of where to get nice but affordable jewlery for my wedding, looking for some nice chandelier or drop earrings. Any suggestions?

Janet: You can always check out the selection at Filene's Basement on Connecticut Ave. or at the Loehmann's in Chevy Chase. They often have things that are designer and are way discounted. There's also Pirjo, which has stores in Gtown and Bethesda. They have a great selection of all kinds of jewelry, and sometimes you can get a deal.

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Simple Question: Where can I go to hear some bossa nova?

Fritz: I've heard some great bossa nova and samba at Bossa on 18th -- Patrick du Santos is there every Friday night, and they have live bands on Wednesdays, too. Wayne Wilentz at U-Topia is another cat to check out. He plays mostly Brazilian jazz during his Wednesday sets, but he goes all over the map, and you'll probably hear a bossa nova or two.

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Washington, DC: Re: Pregnant Standers

I noticed the exact same thing when I was pregnant...and also after the baby was born and people would not hold a door open for someone obviously struggling with a baby stroller and a heavy door. I think it's this area -- when I'd visit my mom in Virginia Beach, it seemed like people would fall over themselves to hold a door or help me in some way.

I don't think people in this area are unkind or lacking basic courtesy, just that a lot of people are more self-absorbed.

How's that for a gross generalization?

Jen: That's a great gross generalization. And one based on perhaps a little bit of fact, I think.

Obviously it depends on the day, place, etc. Sometimes people here are extraordinarily generous; the other day at Metro Center I watched this guy spend a ton of time showing an older gentleman which train to take and explaining the Metro system to him. Other times, you're lucky if someone doesn't let a door smack you in the face.

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Dupont Circle: Erin, your recommendations of Great Wall Szechuan House have to stop! That place is NASTY. Granted, I always order my Chinese delivery from Meiwah, but whatever, do it right! Great Wall has NOTHING on Meiwah. ZERO. The qualities cannot compare. Stop recommending that place. It's nasty. And, by the way, I love spicy Chinese!

Fritz: Erin and I are the opposite -- we'd each rather order from Great Wall than Meiwah any day of the week. I've been to Great Wall for hotpot with some friends who used to live in China, and they had nothing but praise for the extra-spicy food.

Sorry.

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Super Excited in Capitol Hill!: GOGs, I heard a rumor that Matchbox is opening a location on Barracks Row! Is there any truth to that? Barracks Row could seriously use a bar with decent food, you know? If it's true, I'll be there every single Thursday night for some beers and mini burgers!

Erin: Hey there, you'll be happy to know that it's not a rumor at all. I just caught up with co-owner Perry Smith to get the details. According to Smith, the location is 521 8th St. SE, which is next to Jordan's 8 and across from Belga.

Best case scenario would have it opening next June. Long term case would be more like 12-13 months. It's very early in the process, but the space is 4000 square feet and will have a mezzanine level. There won't be rooftop or deck seating at the outset, though they're thinking about incorporating it in the future. There will be sidewalk seating for enjoying your beer, sliders and pizza in sparkling sunshine.

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Bethesda, Md.: Hi Gurus,

Just learned about the District Sample sale that's happening on Sept 12. Can the all knowing Gurus give their opinions on the event? Is the $40 ticket really worth the potential bargains that shoppers may find?

Thanks!

Julia: There are definitely be deals to be had. Urban Chic offers goods at $25, $50 and $75, and that's DEEPLY discounted from their usual prices. (And I kind of love that store so I'm really excited).

But that being said, this is high-end stuff selling for much cheaper. If you're a Mossimo-for-Target-rules-my-wardrobe kind of person, a $300 item selling for $75 isn't a super great bargain. I think you have to evaluate the stores that will be there (more info here). If you like those stores already -- go! If you don't, skip it.

And yeah, we've all had those shopping trips where you really want to blow some money and you come home with nothing! It's obviously more frustrating to do that when you've spend $40 to get in. I didn't go to the sample sale in past years for this very reason. But then a bunch of my friends came back with these insane bargains on really high-end shoes and I got jealous, so I'll definitely be there on 9/12. (As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday, the admission fee goes to a good cause, so there's that to think about too.)

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Pregnant on Metro: I think sometimes there's the worry the person isn't actually pregnant. I know at some point it becomes obvious, but still. Also not justifying.

Fritz: I think that's a very real, very valid fear. It's why I stand on Metro.

That and getting crushed by people who take up one-and-a-half seats.

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Pregnant and Metro: Instead of waiting for someone to offer you their seat, why don't you ask???

Jen: A number of people have raised the same question. It's a valid one.

But it's also a little presumptuous to ask someone to get up, isn't it? If I was really, really hurtin', I might. But if I'm not, then I'll stand in silence until I reach my stop. But that's just me.

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Logan Circle, D.C.: For the person looking for a frame, I don't know if you want to come into the city, but there's a framing store on 17th between P and Q (sorry I don't remember the exact location or name...) that is having a 50% custom frames sale. I haven't been in to check it out yet, but it might be worth the drive...

Erin: Do you mean the brand new Picasso Custom Framing between R and S? They're offering a summer sale and are located in the old tapeheadz location.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus,

I love bubble tea, but since moving here, I've had a lot of difficulty finding it in metro accessible locations. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Erin: Yeah, it seems like bubble tea abounds in New York and Los Angeles. I was pretty hooked on them for a while. When I went abroad in college, I had my trusty mom send me dried tapioca balls so that I could make the teas for myself.

You won't find goopy syrupy flavors, but I like the pearl tea at Teaism, which has 3 Metro-accessible tea-selling locations for you.

In Georgetown, Snap should suit your bubble tea needs. Otherwise, TNR Cafe in Courthouse sells them.

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Bethesda, MD: Help! Where can a couple of single ladies in their 30's go out in Bethesda to meet people our age and have a few drinks on a Friday night? Thanks

Fritz: The crowd at Flanagan's seems to be a touch older than, say, Union Jack's. Ri-Ra, too.

Bethesda experts?

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I like to rock the party: Do you like to rock the party?

Julia: I have had HBO for two weeks and I am mildly addicted to this show.

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Offering seats: Once, when I was a twenty-something whippersnapper, I offered my seat to an elderly gentleman who was unsteady on his feet. He was visibly annoyed. As in, "How dare you think I'm too infirm to stand up by myself?" Sometimes, you just can't win.

Jen: Very true. Sometimes you can't win. You can't feel bad for offering the guy a seat, though. You were trying to be nice at least.

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Barra/Screaming Eagles: Hey Fritz - re: the ticket question. Non-members can almost always get tickets in these sections if they go to the dedicated supporter group ticket windows near Gate B.

For newcomers; wear black and be prepared to stand, sing and get showered with a little beer.

Vamos United!

Fritz: Yeah, but I always make reservations ahead of time -- because I don't want to get stuck on the quiet side.

I'm so bummed I missed Jaime's goal last night.

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Washington, DC: PLEASE help, omniscient, benevolent GOGs. 30th birthday tomorrow. Looking for somewhere to meet a few female friends for happy hour around 6:30. North Dupont/U St/14th. Does anywhere have drink and hors d'oeuvres specials on Friday evenings? Would Chi Cha lounge work? Want somewhere nice with a good crowed but not too expensive or packed. Half coming via Metro, half driving. I'll be wearing super-high heels and don't want to walk too far. Yikes! What's a girl to do?

Rhome: Chi-Cha could be a good look, getting there early before the weekend crush. Also consider mojito pitchers at Citron

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Washington, D.C.: I love summer season and I am so sad it is coming to an end. I am looking for a nice place to go and enjoy nature here in the metropolitan area. I went to the WWII memorial last weekend and it was really nice to just walk around and the trees are nice and the little pond. Is there anywhere else or better places to take a walk and just enjoy the weather?

Julia: Great question. Meridian Hill was my favorite urban oasis, but it's sadly under construction until 2009. The waterfall was still working last time I was there, so it's still a nice place to sit -- just not a great place to lounge for hours like it used to be.

Cliche, I know, but I adore Rock Creek Park and the Canal trail in Georgetown -- they're both big swaths of nature in a pretty urban environment. For something a little more urban, I also like Bookhill Park in Georgetown.

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Old Town: House of Klaus - upstairs from Cafe Europe. Very relaxed vibe, pool tables, friendly bar staff. Shows soccer games on pull-down projection screen.

Rockit Grill - draws a very lively crowd for dancing, karaoke

Tiffany Tavern - live bluegrass every night

Rustico - in northern Alexandria. Fantastic beer list and sidewalk seating

Fritz: I will add that Tiffany does NOT have live bluegrass every night -- just Fridays and Saturdays. There's an oft-painful open mike Monday-Thursday.

Plus there's salsa dancing at Cafe Salsa, the Bayou Room and flamenco at Las Tapas.

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Washington, D.C.: Re: sending your guy to the Grooming Lounge! I got my bf a gift certificate to the Grooming Lounge for a hot later shave and a massage. He just went a few weeks ago and loved the shave but was completely unimpressed with the massage. Said he'd do the shave over the massage next time. Just wanted to share his experience.

Janet: Thanks for sharing.

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Washington, DC: I'll second the suggestion of Science Club for parties. I've thrown two parties there and both times they've been great to work with and everyone had a great time. We had the second floor and they told us we could bring an ipod if we wanted to have our own music.

Fritz: Thanks.

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"Struggling with a stroller": Maybe some of us wonder why parents these days seem to have to cart everything but the kitchen sink with them on massive SUV-esque strollers, blocking aisles, crowding on Metro, etc....

Jen: I used to wonder that. Then I had a kid. Our stroller is not big at all, but it's tough moving it around in some public places. I hate feeling like I'm in the way, yet sometimes it cannot be avoided.

The answer: We all just need to be more considerate and patient with each other. One of these days you might be a parent or in a wheelchair or an aisle blocker for some other reason. It stinks when you're trying to get somewhere in a hurry (start the rants about people standing on the wrong side of the escalator now), but that's life.

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Washington, D.C.: This might be more of a MisFits question, but I y'all seem to cover a wide range of questions, so here goes: what's your best recommendation for a good deal on Pilates classes. Would it be more financially efficient to join a gym that offers classes or get a package from somewhere? Somewhere close to a Metro is ideal.

Julia: This *is* a MisFits question -- and since one of my very good friends is a MisFit, I'm gonna tell you to ask her too! -- but I'd say that you shouldn't spring for a gym unless you're going to take advantage of all the gym facilities. I'm starting Pilates again after a long hiatus and I'm going to try out the classes at Flow Yoga Center. I did a story on Pilates earlier this year and I found great, friendly instructors at Quantum Pilates, Pure Joe Pilates and Studio Body Logic. For mat classes, I'd say $17 a class is pretty standard. You can get discounts of about $15 a class if you buy one of those packages.

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Washington DC/Alexandria: Family (staying in Old Town but I live in DC) is coming into town and they have a four year old - other than the zoo and the Natural History Museum - is there anything fun for little kids this weekend?

Fritz: If you can get out to the Lucketts Fair -- it's north of Leesburg -- I'd take the four-year-old there. This is pretty close the classic Norman Rockwell-style town fair: pony rides, games, a petting zoo, firetruck rides -- what four-year-old doesn't want to ride on a FIRETRUCK??? -- and all kinds of good stuff. Adults will dig the live bluegrass and antique shopping.

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Arlington, Va.: Gurus I need help! My good friend is leaving next week for Oxford, and I'm trying to plan a going away party for her. She was thinking perhaps meeting first at a wine bar, but I was worried that it would be a bit too chill, seeing that this is her last night out for a very long time. Also, I'm not sure that all of the people invited are winos like us. She then suggested perhaps a sit-down dinner at a Mexican place, where we could order pitchers of margaritas. I can't think of a GOOD, AUTHENTIC, not too expensive Mexican joint that could host 10 people for Saturday night (naturally, Lauriol Plaza and Cactus Cantina don't count). My last idea was maybe going to a place that serves really nice beer, since I know everyone in the group likes good beer. But I don't know where, and once again, we are planning for Saturday night. What would you choose? We're partying earlier, rather than later, so that'll help with crowd-control (I hope). What time do you think would be optimal? 6? Or will we have to do even earlier?

Erin: We talked about El Tamarindo on the chat last week. It's just up from Lauriol on Florida where it meets U St. and it's big enough to accommodate large groups. It's not upscale, but you'll be fed pretty well.

I mentioned El Paso Cafe last week, which does pitchers in Arlington. The food isn't awesome, but it's surely a step up from Cactus and Lauriol. Plus, it's not nearly the madhouse that they are.

If you decide to pursue the good beer, Rustico in Alexandria is pretty fantastic. You would have to call to see about fitting a party of that size, though I imagine they could fit you in the back space. Also, continuing the pizza/beer theme, Birreria Paradiso would be a fun venue.

I think 6 should be fine for your group, though you may want to bump it up a bit if you plan to linger, since lots of restaurants get pretty noisy.

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Chinese food under a hotel: Maybe the poster is thinking of this place near the hyatt over on Rt. 7 in Tysons (close to the intersection of Chain Bridge)close to the car dealerships.

Erin: Yes, that could be. Ring a bell?

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Petworth: Gurus, I'm missing Nanny's. I know, it's still there. But I miss the music.

Aside from the Dubliner (ok, but too many hill rats), the Ps (eh), and the IRish Times (I am NOT 16 any more), any thoughts on places to see some Irish Music?

We've gone down to see Brian a few times at that hotel bar on 5th St, and that helps, but I really miss a pub with music that feels comfortable. Thoughts? Thanks!

Fritz: I know what you mean, Petworth. My favorite cozy bars for live music aren't really Metro-accessible: The Old Brogue in Great Falls, the Irish Inn at Glen Echo, maybe even O'Faolain's in Sterling. Have you tried Murphy's in Old Town? Yes, you have to suffer through the *&($*&(# Unicorn song, but it's fun.

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Metro-able bubble tea: Wok N Roll in Chinatown has it - less than a block from the Gallery Place/Chinatown stop

Erin: Oh yeah! I always forget about that. Thanks.

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re: HBO : I'm traveling and have seen Entourage and that crazy singer rock the party show for the first time. Now I have to sign up for HBO when I get home.

Julia: If this wasn't totally going to steer us off topic, I'd ask what your fave Entourage character is. I am the only person on the planet who like E.

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When I was pregnant, I rarely got offered a seat either. : That's why I left D.C., seriously.

Wanted a place that's human. D.C. just got too cold and calculating for me.

Jen: Now, now, it's not that bad.

Come back. We'll be nice this time. We swear.

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Foggy Bottom, D.C.: I'm sure this is a repeat question, but are there any places that serve killer chocolate deserts AND alcohol? Near Georgetown?

Erin: It's very much a personal taste thing, but I like the desserts at Blue Duck Tavern, which are easily gobbled up in the bar area. However, for a bit of competition, check out my blog post on Chilled Chocolate. It's only through next Friday, but you'll have sensational and decadent ice cream treats and cocktails in the West End.

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Petworth: For the summer person - Hains Point is a great place to appreciate the end of summer - not easy to get to without a car though. So is Anacostia Park - easy metro access.

Rhome: If you're looking to stroll and enjoy being outside Hains Point is not a bad walk from the L'Enfant or Waterfront stations. A bike ride is even better.

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Washington, D.C. I asked the question about the Grooming Lounge massage. Given the experience reported by the bf who had a shave and massage, could you recommend a couple of alternate options?

Janet: Serenity Day Spa in Tenleytown offers massages as does Aveda in Gtown.

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Birthday 80 Cheesefest: While the Melting Pot is a great idea, here's another option. Orleans House in Rosslyn still has a decor from the 80s (or is it the 60s or the 1880s?). It is a steak house/mock river boat. I'm sure they'd be happy to have a big group in any attire and you can hop in a cab for a short ride across the Key Bridge to G'town's bar options.

have fun!

Erin: Oooh, I like that. Or Filomena where the decorations are as garish as anything you'll ever find in a vintage shop!

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Metro Center: Off the beaten path places to enjoy the end of summer include the Arboretum and the Kenilworth Aquatic gardens.

Fritz: Two wonderful hidden gems for outdoor explorations. Thanks.

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Szechuan: It's funny. I was thinking the SAME thing about Great Wall. That was actually the very first place I ate at when I moved to DC almost 4 years ago. The friend who hosted me until I found my own place lived in the neighborhood. I had the garlic eggplant for lunch. NASTY! And nasty like, everytime I walk by it now I think "Geez I can't believe that lady from WaPo likes that crap!" Granted, I was moving from the Bay Area, which made me a tough judge on asian restaurants. Now I did have good take out from Singapore Bistro once, which is, I believe, not far from Meiwah.

Fritz: Don't know about eggplant, but I've never been disappointed by the double-cooked beef or pork. Fiery and numbing.

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Alexandria, Va.: for new Old Towner: also check out Firehook on Union, Olsson's on Union, Sugar Cube on N. Lee for candy, Shoe Hive on S. Royal, Vermilion for fab drinks and it is smoke free until 10, even in the bar. Also Bumblefish has lovely sushi. You MUST find Video Vault, which is tucked in downstairs in a storefront on S. Columbus.

Erin: Thanks for this. It's very helpful. I definitely second Vermilion thanks to new chef Anthony Chittum and enjoyed Bumblefish enough to write it up a few months back. For the bubble tea fans in Old Town, you can get your fill at B'fish.

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Meiwah : Meiwah is by far the best Chinese in the city, and having been to China many times on business I can tell you that people there don't exactly eat Chicken and Broccoli or General Tso's...more like duck and dog dishes. Chinese in the states is very very very very very Americanized.

Fritz: One view...

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Arlington, Va.: Dear Gurus, my husband and I are planning to go to the beach this weekend. Do you have any recommendations? We are debating between Bethany Beach and Ocean City. Thanks.

Jen: It all depends on what you are looking for. I am partial to Bethany because I went there every summer when I was growing up. It's quieter than O.C., and very family-oriented, though that may not be what you're looking for.

Ocean City is nice, though I still find the boardwalk a little cheesy. Haven't been in a couple of years, though, so maybe it's gotten better. Rehoboth might also be ideal for you; plenty of restaurants and shops in walking distance, with a hint of that quiet, Bethany vibe.

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Great Wall: I'll take the opposite of meiwah any day! i went for the first time a few weeks ago with a group of friends and nobody was impressed with their food. it was very bland. anyway, i've been looking for good chinese food in the logan circle area for awhile. can't wait to try great wall now! also, fyi - mr. chen's organic chinese will deliver to the u street/logan circle area.

Fritz: ... and another.

I like Mr. Chen's, too. My second favorite takeout in Woodley Park, after the Petit Plats sandwich shop.

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don't think people in this area are unkind or lacking basic courtesy, just that a lot of people are more self-absorbed: ha ha! Being self-abosorbed and failing to think of others IS discourtious! Maybe it's not DC and it's just gen-xers, don't know what courtesey IS! lol

David: We're Gen-xers. We know what courtesy is, we just don't care.

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Capitol Hill Haircut Needed: I am a man in need of a haircut. Does Red and Black still do there haircut and a shot? What are the details and have you heard anything good or bad about it?

Fritz: They do, and the reviews I've heard are mixed. It's not really an event where the focus is the haircut -- it's a night at a bar that happens to have cheap haircuts and a shot on Wednesdays for $12.

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Art Scene (?), D.C.: Hi All,

Is there a particular night when the Logan Circle galleries have their receptions, or does it vary by gallery?

And what happened to First Friday's? I don't hear much about that anymore...has Logan stolen the spotlight?

Julia: The Logan Circle spots usually coordinate, but they don't have a regular night nailed down like First Fridays, so you kind of just have to be on the look out (or, if you don't mind the self-promotion, read my Comings & Goings column).

I love First Fridays, but I haven't been as impressed over the past year. Every time I go, it feels like less and less galleries are open and that's a bummer, because it used to be a blast walking through all of the spaces.

Anyway, I have high hopes for this season though. The D.C. art scene gets a little sleepy during the summer, but it wakes up with a passion in September. I'm looking forward to a bunch of shows next month -- in Dupont, Logan and beyond.

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I heart E!: You're not alone! I love E too! When people don't understand this, I explain: of course I would sleep with Vince, but I would want to date E.

Julia: Exactly! I really liked the Sloane thing; I was sad to see it go.

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Washington, DC: Fritz,

Not sure if you read the Post's competition to the north, but the NY Times had an interesting article on pale ale Belgian beers recently. I know you're a fan of Belgian beer so I figured I'd pass the link on. I had never heard of pale ale Belgian before, sounds different. Cheers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/dining/22wine.html

Fritz: Belgian Pales are awesome. You'll find a few of these, including the des Rocs and Orval, at Beck and Dr. Granville Moore's. I think Beck and Birreria have had the Petrus on draft, too, but not sure about now.

I do have a great respect for the Times' food and drink writers. William Hamilton, who used to pen the Sunday cocktail column, is one of my favorites -- his "Shaken and Stirred" book is a great read if you like New York bars.

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Bethesda, Maryland: RE:Fritz: If you can get out to the Lucketts Fair -- it's north of Leesburg Um....GOGs this is some 30miles from D.C. Do you really think you've offered a viable option for someone who lives in the District and will be in Alexandria. Surely there must be SOMETHING a 4 yr old would enjoy without trekking out to the hinertlands. Is DC so bereft of options?

Julia: In my opinion, Lucketts is one of the coolest towns in the admittedly extended area, so I gotta back Fritz up on this one. That being said -- the Crystal Block party is a closer-in option for the with-kids crowd.

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Annandale Dude: entourage is all about drama.

VICTORY!

Julia: My boyfriend says the same thing, Annandale dude, and that kind of weirds me out....

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I would sleep with Vince, but I would want to date E.: yeah but Drama would make you breakfast the next morning!

Erin: Breakfast or dignity? Tough call for some, I suppose.

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Entourage: Best characters...

1. Ari

2. Lloyd

3. Mrs. Ari

4. Terrance (come back)

5. Beverly D'Angelo (come back)

6. Eric

7. Turtle

8. Vince

9. Drama

10. Walsh

Julia: Food for thought for all the Entourage fans out there....

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus,

I have about 8 family members from across the country wanting to come and visit DC sometime this fall. I heard about the oyster riot at Old Ebbitt, and immediately knew that bottomless oysters and wine= my family's dream come true! We are a little heisitant on details though. Such as, are there tables to sit at? Anything served other than oysters and wine? Is it really bottomless wine?

Just curious if any of yall have been before, and have opinions on whether its worth the $90 or not.

thanks in advance!

Fritz: 1. There are tables, but you have to get there early to get them. This is crowded. (That's why it's a riot, not a dinner party.)

2. Some other seafood is served -- crabs, shrimp, I think -- but not much. Old Ebbitt goes through tens of thousands of oysters. They've the focus.

3. Wine is bottomless.

This year's riot is Nov. 16-17, and tickets go onsale Sept. 4 at 7:30 a.m., and they always sell out in less than a day. If you want to go, wake up early and get ready to dial.

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Cleveland Park: Hello Gurus -- What is new restaurant going in next to Dino in Cleveland Park?

Julia: This enclosed patio space used to be part of the Park Bench Pub, so it's still part of the Uptown Tavern (even though the two parts of the bar are weirdly separated by some stairs and a couple of storefronts).

I was there a two weeks ago and I asked one of the workmen when it would reopen. He said next week....but that hasn't happened. Should be soon though, we think.

I peeked in on the construction like some sort of stalker and it looked pretty nice -- definitely an upgrade from the Park Bench (even though I still miss that spot's dive-y charms.)

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SilverSpring: Might GoGs. What's the coolest thing one could possibly do this weekend? Art openings, music, skywriting, dancing crabs? Something that one can't do every other weekend of the year.

Julia: The Saturday opening for "Lest We Forget" -- details above -- is my top choice. Sad, poignant, beautiful art.

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Maybe some of us wonder why parents these days seem to have to cart everything but the kitchen sink with them on massive SUV-esque strollers: I have had some Princess moms practically run me over! They seem to think I should run for cover rather than them steer around me.

Fritz: It's like SUV syndrome. The sense of entitlement is shocking.

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washingtonpost.com: We'll have to leave the rest of your going-out questions -- not to mention your thoughts on pregnant Metro riders and insightful analysis of "Entourage" (potential essay topic: "Being a Turtle in an Ari Gold World") -- for next time. Until then: "VICTORY!" And don't forget to rock the party.

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