Thursday, October 4, 2007; 1:00 PM
Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's City Guide experts share their best bets for local flavor, great dates and family fun. Got plans? Great. Need plans? Just ask. We have the skinny on the bars and clubs, concerts, kitchens, theaters and special events that keep life interesting. We're going out gurus, and we're at your service.
Of course, we're happy to answer questions about local entertainment, but we need to hear from you, too. Introduce us to the coolest DJ or the fastest bartender you've encountered. Sound off on the week's best concert or the city's best burger. Tell us about the best place to amuse little kids or a big art fan. Together we can plan fun ways to spend weekdays, weekends, dates and holidays. The pleasure is ours, and yours.
Each week a different guru will act as host or hostess, but the entire staff is at your service. If you're looking for more ideas, see the City Guide or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions.
The transcript follows.
washingtonpost.com: Guru Jen here, and I am all about cutting to the chase today. You're here. We're here. Let's chat.
Washington, D.C. : Fritz, I read your write-up about the Oktoberfest in Shirlington on Saturday. Any idea where a person can get a complete list of brewers that will be there? Capitol City's website isn't exactly loaded with information about the event. (Pssst, any insight on the availability of an admission coupon like last year?)
Fritz: First things first: I haven't seen a "buy one, get one free" admission coupon this year, as I have for Oktoberfests past, which is a shame, given the $25 entrance fee. Best I can do is pass along this coupon, which allows for $5 off at the door. Hope that helps.
Now, here's the list of 35 (or so) beers, courtesy of Cap City. My recommendations are in the Nightlife Agenda column.
4. Bear Republic
6. Brewery Ommegang
7. Capitol City Brewing Company
9. Clipper City
12. Gordon Biersch
14. Hook and Ladder
17. North Coast
18. Old Dominion
21. Rock Bottom
23. Sam Adams
24. Sierra Nevada
26. St. George Brewing Co.
27. Star Hill
28. Stone Brewing Company
33. Vintage 50
34. Williamsburg Alewerks
35. Woodchuck Ciders
Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I'm a huge fan but first time poster... My dad is coming to visit this weekend and I've promised brunch on Saturday morning. He's staying near Woodley Park metro and we're headed up to the zoo and Cathedral afterwards. Whats the best place for brunch around the Woodley Park/Cleveland Park area? I was thinking of Open City but I haven't heard great things. Any other suggestions?? Thanks!!
Erin: Open City can get packed, but it's reliable for standard brunch fare on Saturdays regardless of when you get going. You'll get your eggs, pancakes, etc. Across the street, Petits Plats serves champagne brunch. For casual, Firehook is a good way to go.
Foggy Bottom, D.C.: Hi Gurus!
Im going to a comedy show at GW tonight, and am wracking my brain for a place in Foggy Bottom to have dinner. We're looking for something not too expensive, where we can have a drink and sit outside. Tonic would be perfect if they had their liquor licence... Can you guys think of anywhere else? We could venture into the West End or possibly G-town, but want to be as close to Lisner as possible.
Thanks guys! You're such a great help!
Erin: Grillfish might be a good bet. Thai Place is close to Lisner with a patio, but the food is not great. You'd be better walking the extra distance to Mai Thai for good cocktails and a patio. If you go that distance, you might consider Circa's patio.
Washington, D.C.: I have season tickets for the Arena Theater so now have to find new pre-theater restaurants since they are locating to Crystal City soon. I don't eat around there too often so am not familiar with the options. Are Jaleo and Bebo (with its terrible service) near the Crystal Forum?
Erin: Yeah, you'll be right near those restaurants. Bebo is often worth the service blips, particularly if you're going for pizza. A bit of distance away, Cafe Pizzaiolo is another pizza destination.
I've had good experiences at the Thai restaurant on that strip and then Ted's Montana Grill is always ready to fill your buffalo cravings.
Washington, D.C.: looking for an Indonesian rifstafel-rice table- restaurant like we enjoyed in Amsterdam. any ideas?
Erin: From what I hear, Wheaton's Sabang is the closest you'll find to authentic rijsttafel. I haven't been, but I'm curious to hear how it is. If you go, write back.
Washington, D.C.: My boyfriend and I have reserved a Zipcar for a day this weekend and have decided to go to an apple orchard. We've looked at the City Guide but there's so many to chose from. What are your top picks? We're looking for an orchard that also sells some baked goods (like pie...mmm pie). Thanks!
Emily in DC: I am sick of buying already expensive suits and then paying to have them altered. So you know of any D.C.- or Va.-area tailors who make custom women's suits? Or even shirts? I'm young and poor, so halfway stylish and on the cheap side is preferable, if possible. Thanks much.
Janet: Custom and inexpensive is not a combination you're likely to find unless you go to Hong Kong and have a suit made there. Wish I could offer you a better suggestion, but any tailor-made suit is going to cost more than getting a ready-made suit altered.
Wedding dance lessons: For the person last week looking for wedding dance lessons -- I think Bethesda Dance Center recently closed. Try the Wedding Dance Specialists, they will allow you to customize your lessons and they use studios all over the area. We were pretty satisfied with our three lessons -- we're pretty uncoordinated so it wasn't perfect, but we managed not to make fools of ourselves! I think their Web site is theweddingdancespecialists.com.
Julia: Thanks for writing in. Yes, I did link to the Bethesda Dance Center last week and it in fact is closed. According to the guy who just answered the phone, it closed last Monday. Sorry for the misinformation, y'all. Here's another tip for the wedding dance seeker.
Washington, D.C.: Hey brunching Gurus! A friend told me she had brunch at Station 9 recently, but I don't see it mentioned on their website. She said the set up was similar to Georgia Brown with the three courses - buffet, entree and dessert. Do you know if brunch is a regular item or did my friend experience a one time deal?
Erin: This is a brunchy chat. Where do you get your Sunday morning energy?
It's a regular affair, though it sounds like anybody who makes it routine will have to start wearing fat pants. I believe that it's offered on Sundays from 11 until 3. It'll cost you about $25 and you'll have your choice of Southern entrees with a buffet of filling breakfast goods. Waffles, gravy, biscuits...are you getting out those fat pants, yet?
Not Baltimore: Hey Fritz,
If you had to plan a bachelor party in Baltimore what would you do? I heard Night Shift is a must¿ I'm thinking great food (sea food, sushi?), hitting several bars in Fells Points and finish the night somewhere fun¿
Fritz: Depends on how classy ("klassy?") you want to take things. A friend of mine reliably informs me that Scores (on Fallsway)is much classier than Night Shift, though the Famous McDougal's has its charms, despite being a little ways out of town.
Now to the rest of your question. A Fells Point crawl is certainly in order, hitting Max's, the Mobtown Lounge, Cat's Eye Pub, Blarney Stone, Wharf Rat ... or maybe Federal Hill, since so many cool places are in walking distance there.
With a group of guys, I might do dinner in Little Italy -- maybe Sabatino's, because they have a lot of hearty meat and pasta dishes.
Washington, D.C.: I just got a great pair of leather boots, but they are too big around my calves. Do you know of a good, reputable place that can tailor them? Have you had any experience with this, and does it work? I'd hate for my new boots to get botched!
Janet: Seriously, why did you buy a pair that didn't fit around your calves?
Rockville/Bethesda, Md.: Hi GoGs,
I hope you can indulge a simple question: where can I take my friend, his wife, and their one year old for dinner (non-chain restaurant, accommodating to a one-year old, not outrageously expensive, and, well, stellar food/drink) in the Bethesda/Rockville area? They are staying in Rockville, but I'd prefer to take them somewhere in Bethesda (they arrive too late to go into the city) so they can experience -- albeit tangentially -- a little bit of the DC food/wine we all know and love...
Erin: I would say Jaleo, Olazzo or Pizza Zero would be my top choices for kid-friendly D.C.-oriented dining. You can also do mini-chain Mon Ami Gabi.
Shoes: Hey Gurus! I know you've answered this question before - can you provide a name of a good shoe repair shop in the District or a link to a list you may have? I need to get my heels fixed.
Julia: I vouch for the dry cleaners in Woodley Park that's next to Lex's Cajun Grill. I'm pretty sure it's called Debonair. I've only had boots resoled there, so I'd call first (202-234-1000) to see if they can deal with heels.
Re: Foggy Bottom: Tonic at Quigley's is now open too. Pretty good and reasonably-priced food, though you'll be surrounded by the GW undergrad crowd.
Erin: That was mentioned in the chatter's original question. The person was hunting for somewhere with a liquor license, which, sadly, has yet to grace the bar of Tonic.
Alexandria, Va.: I submitted my question last week but it did not get answered. My sister-in-law and her 8 year old son are coming for a visit this weekend. Any kid friendly, cool ideas for what to do this Friday night and Saturday afternoon either in NoVa or DC (no applepicking or orchards, if possible). Any kid focused exhibits? any ideas would be great. thanks!
Jen: I would take a look at this list of kid-friendly events around town. A number of things sound like fun options, including the arts safari at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria and the Festival of the Building Arts at the Building Museum. That last one might be especially good for a boy that age.
Alexandria, Va.: Good afternoon gurus. My parents will be in town in two weeks to meet my fiance's parents for the first time. I was wondering suggestions for an appropriate (quiet, classy, yet not overly expensive) restaurant for the big meeting of the families? I have been trying to come up with a place in Old Town that meets my needs, but it's been a while since I have been down there. Thank you.
Erin: I like Del Merei Grille. It's got a few tables that would accommodate that sort of meeting and the food's basic enough not to cause added stress.
Farrah Olivia is lovely, though it can be expensive. Also, the Majestic is great. If you go on Sunday, you can order Nana's Sunday Dinner (which is suited to multiples of four) to get everyone into the sharing mode (start with sharing a side dish and progress to sharing holidays or grandchildren or whatever).
A La Lucia is nice and if you all meet up before the weather turns, the patio of Taverna Cretekou is dazzling.
Planning for New Years . . .: Gurus, I hope you can help me! I am thinking about hosting a large party for New Years--300-400 people. I would want to bring my own DJ, do my own promoting. Do you have recommendations for where to start in terms of clubs or locations around here that would partner on this? Or is it more reasonable to be looking at hotels?
Rhome: New Years Eve is probably the biggest night of the year for clubs to make money off of folks. You'd have to be fronting a significant amount of dough to even get any club to consider your proposal. Any other time of the year as a promoter you can generally bargain with door and bar percentages but not New Years unless you already have a track record for similar successful ventures. NYE isn't rookie-friendly. You can look into hotels or search out unorthodox spaces. I've been involved with similar ventures in the past. One really cool party was thrown by a group of friends who got together, pooled their money and rented out an office space on Capitol Hill. They brought in a DJ, decorations, food, and booze. Do some searching.
Fritz: As someone who's been doing the Post's New Year's Eve stories for five years, I can tell you that you're probably not going to get one of the big-name lounges or clubs to let a newcomer handle a Dec. 31 party. New Year's Eve is a cash machine for bars, and they usually give it to one of their trusted weekly/regular promoters or do it themselves.
What you can do is check out some of the less obvious spaces -- Knights of Columbus halls, smaller hotels -- not the big, glamourous downtown destinations, which have already had plans since last year -- or art galleries.
Birthday Dinner: Hey All Knowing Gurus --- Going on a double date on Friday to celebrate my friend's 22nd birthday. Were going to the Prime Rib for dinner and I'd love to know some good places to go afterward.
We'll be dressed nicely (jacket & tie for the gents). Some places around the restaurant would be ideal, not too much walking, but a good upscale scene -- maybe martinis or a wine bar? Ooo or somewhere with Jazz.
Erin: I don't think you'll find much jazz unless you head into Georgetown (cue anybody who knows differently), but Restaurant K has an upscale bar scene. When I was in last week, my companion was the only guy not sporting a jacket. I thought the sport coat mafia might jump us as we left.
Richmond, Va.: Had a great trip to the Smithsonian last weekend. But the BUG ROOM was closed! How can I find out when it will open again? Love the bug room with the one foot giant cockroaches...eeee!
Julia: Sorry, bud. The Orkin Insect Zoo will be closed until "fall of 2007" -- but the museum has yet to announce a firm date. Just called over there and they're still not sure.
Annandale Dude: Fritz, my adult beverage drinking here:
have you had a chance to sample this year's dominion oktoberfest?
if so, your thoughts?
Fritz: I have not, since I'm boycotting Dominion beers at the moment (personal reasons). I may give it a try this weekend at the Shirlington Festival, but not excited. Favorite Festbiers so far: Ayinger, Victory, Gordon Biersch, Hacker-Pschorr, in that order.
Washington, D.C.: What should I expect from the Mobius Band/Matthew Dear show tonight? do you recommend it?
Also, any thoughts on the DAM! festival?
David: Expect lots of glitchy beeps and buzzes. There's a good feature in today's Express on Matthew Dear. His latest album is less electronic than past stuff, but he'll probably still be punching buttons on a laptop for most of the show. His records are pretty hot, so the show should be as well. Not quite as into the Mobius Band, but that's definitely a logical pairing. As for the DAM! Festival I can't say there are too many bands I'm all that excited for, although the Cat Power/Child Ballads show should be excellent. A Place to Bury Strangers completely tore up the Black Cat back in August and the Warehouse Next Door last year, Hallelujah the Hills are catchy and fun, as are locals the Beanstalk Library, so those are some highlights.
Washington, D.C.: Fritz,
Thanks to your great party planning guide, a friend and I have reserved a room at RFD for our joint birthday party next weekend. But, both being Bud Light drinkers, we are in need of some ideas for our beer list. Anything you would suggest?
Fritz: Oh man. I wish I had their current list in front of me. I would seriously take an afternoon off (tomorrow or monday) and go in and do a taste test. You obviously want some Oktoberfests in there, and a couple of Belgians. Maybe a Pilsner Urquell for the Bud Light drinkers.
For those who don't know, when you have a private party in RFD's back room, you get to pick the 10 beers that will be on draft during event. I would be like a kid in a candy store.
Washington DC: Hello Gurus,
I am planning a bachelorette party/weekend in November and am in need of some suggestions. There are about 10 of us, but one of the attendees is under 21. Do you have any fun or creative suggestions so that everyone can participate in the celebrations? We would rather not go to an 18 and over club and we are willing to travel outside of DC.
Thanks for your help!
Julia: If you're not interested in an 18-and-older club, I'd think about trying to do something outdoorsy during the day. Perhaps you could go wine-tasting in the Charlottesville area. Maybe do a spa day or go to an all-ages concert? Check out this blog post I wrote back in June about bachelorette parties. While most of the suggestions are about nights out on the town, there are a few ideas for bachelorette parties that are cool for underagers -- even for one that's a workout!
Arlington, VA: Hi GOGs,
I'm really interested in taking a Hand Dancing (or Steppers) class. Do you know where I might find one in the Metro Area?
Rhome: Lots of fun and a very native Washingtonian experience!
The Lincoln Theatre tops this short list and you can even go to hand-dancing school. Some googling turned up this schedule. You might want to call the locations for details.
Arlington, Va.: Hi GOGs. My wedding is coming up in a few weeks and my parents are STILL arguing about the bar. Is it tacky to provide alcohol for 4 of the 5 hours of our reception? Dad says yes, Mom says no. Thoughts?
David: Yes, extremely. There are only two things people care about at weddings -- food and booze. In my case, only the latter. Everything else is secondary. Skimp on the flowers or decorations or something else. Not the booze.
Jen: Here's what you don't want to do: Provide booze for four hours, then cut it off for the last hour of the reception, when people are usually most in party mode. That could incite a riot.
If you're trying to keep expenses to a minimum, you could always offer just beer and wine and cut off the hard liquor at a certain point, or bag it altogether. Most people stick to beer and wine anyway. (Here comes Fritz, to insist you offer top-shelf vodka...)
Julia: I've also heard of people not offering bar service during the dinner hour (and caterers that are willing to do this), but, um, with my friends and family, that boozeless hour probably wouldn't fly.
Fritz: I would never suggest that you provide out-and-out top shelf at a wedding, because by hour #3, most people aren't going to notice.
But I do agree that cutting service in the last hour could be bad. People will be dancing and having fun, and then -- boom. If you do, though, make sure you announce last call VERY, VERY LOUDLY to give everyone a chance to make a run for the bar.
Erin: You could do what some not-to-be-named companies do and give each person two drink tickets. This could lead to stampedes toward the nearest pregnant women and teetotalers, though.
Odds are that nobody's going to look back on your wedding as "the one that ran dry," so do what is affordable and makes the most people in this planning group happy.
Bethesda, Md.: Help! I know this is a D.C. forum but we are celebrating my friend's 30th birthday in Williamsburg, Va. at the end of the month and I am in charge of planning dinner. Originally we were set to go to the Fat Canary (per previous recommendations from this chat) but they are already booked! We are looking for a restaurant that can accomodate a table of six. Hopefully the restaurant will be near other venues in case we want to grab drinks somewhere after dinner. Any suggestions will be much appreciated!
Jen: Dang, Fat Canary would have been my suggestion. I haven't been in a few years, but Berret's used to be a reliably good seafood restaurant and is in the heart of the Colonial area. I would say the Trellis, too, but I hear it's gone downhill. If I am mistaken about that, please chime in. I used to like it there.
Williamsburg experts and W&M alums, please feel free to toss other suggestions out there.
Olney MD: Are there any places in town where a Colorado Rockies backer can watch the NLDS without risk of a beat-down by irate Phillies fans? Thanks!
Fritz: Well, you'll want to avoid the Rhino Bar, because that's now a Phillies hotspot.
Chatters, any suggestions for Phillies hangouts? (Sox fans, y'all have half the bars in the city, so butt out.)
Arlington, Va.: Do you guys have any ideas for a delicious and affordable Mexican restuarant (to take my mom to) after a day in Capitol Hill. We're looking for a place either within walking distance of the botanical gardens, or one or two metro stops away. Preferable if we can sit outside, but not necessary.
Erin: Go for La Lomita (I or II) or Las Placitas.
Washington, DC: Hi Gurus, For Emily in DC having suit problems, I would suggest purchasing suits from stores with free alteration policies. I know that Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Banana Republic have this policy for all full-priced items. That would at least save the money on separate alterations. Good luck.
This could be your solution!
Washington DC: Hi Gurus! A dear friend of mine is leaving DC to move out West, probably forever, and I want to throw him a going away party Friday evening Oct. 26. He's been here for a while and wants to leave with fond memories of the city, so I want to pick a venue that is sort of emblematic of life in DC, preferably outdoors somewhere with a nice view of downtown or monuments -- a rooftop would be ideal. I was thinking of places like Sequoiah or the Sky Terrace, but there might be up to 30 or 40 people coming and I wanted a place that we can all hang out. I thought about renting somewhere, but it's probably way out of my budget and I wouldn't know where to begin (A tenth floor hotel room with a huge patio? Some rooftop terrace with a bar?). So this may sound like an impossible request, but I thought I'd give it a shot: Where can I and a few dozen friends send off a great buddy with soaring views, cool night air, great ambience and no overcrowding without maxing out my credit card and still make it a night to remember? Thanks!
Fritz: Can you move it to a Thursday? The rooftop happy hour at Charlie Palmer Steak, which Erin and I have blogged about (and I'm writing about at length in tomorrow's Weekend Section) has one of the best views of the Capitol and downtown that I've seen. The dome is so close you feel like you could almost reach out and touch it, and then you can see the Mall, the monuments, everything. I feel like a jaded Washingtonian, but I loved the vista.
There's free food, it runs from 5 to 9, and the wine is very nice. You won't get tables for everyone, but if you're mingling reception-style, it's not a problem.
Washington, D.C.: Dear GOGs,
I'm planning a birthday party for my boyfriend. Before the party, I'd like to gather a few friends (10-15) for dinner. Any tips on where to go? I'm looking for a hip destination with yummy food, moderate price, and fun drinks.
Erin: Do you have a desired neighborhood in mind? For a range of cuisines, how about Brasserie Beck, RedRocks, Poste or Oyamel?
Petworth, D.C.: Hey Foggy Bottom person - do you want truly divey for dinner?
The Red Lion serves burgers and such, has a TINY backyard patio, and is a wonderful divey bar. Cheap too.
Erin: This is true. Great burgers, good beer.
Washington, D.C.: What's the word on Grand Central? Is it Tom Tom II or can someone in their late 20s/early 30s hang there and hold onto their dignity?
I heard it was no cover, top 40 and tvs on in the bar to see the games.
Fritz: The crowd is a little older than Tom Tom, and it's not as overcrowded with kickballers. I have some issues with the speed and general uselessness of some bartenders there, but there's an okay-sized dance floor, room to get away from the dance floor and TVs for the playoffs.
Richmond, Va.: I didn't have alcohol at my wedding reception. I'm no teetotaler, drink most nights with dinner, same true for most family members. It was just not the freeforall drunken tone we wanted. It was a family event, not a frat party.
Jen: Fair enough. But I would say that's a different scenario than what our reader posed to us. The issue there is offering alcohol at first, then ceasing to do so. If people go into a wedding knowing there will not be alcohol, their response may be different than attending a wedding where they are offered some, then have it taken away.
It's also quite possible to have alcohol at a reception without having it devolve into a Lambda Lambda Lambda kegger. It all depends on the tone that is set.
Arlington, Va.: My birthday is in two weeks. Where is a great place to go with about 5-10 people for dinner in Georgetown? We are all mid twenties girls.
Erin: I vote Filomena, but you could have fun at Hook, Bangkok Joe's or Curry Club up higher. Papa Razzi is popular for group Italian as well, though I don't really get the appeal.
But which bars??: "(Sox fans, y'all have half the bars in the city, so butt out.)"
This sox fan (who apparently lives in a hole) wants to know which bars in DC are red sox havens... please??
Fritz: Mister Days, Stetson's (which paraded the World Series trophy there, no less), Union Pub, Fado, Rhino Bar, TS Muttley's, Pour House, the Four Courts, just about anything Irish, etc etc and so on and so forth.
Sorry, bud. The Orkin Insect Zoo will be closed until "fall of 2007" -- : Ha Ha, you assumed I was a guy. I'm a woman, and I LOVE the bug room! Anyone who hasn't seen it should run over there as soon as they reopen!
Julia: My bad! David makes fun of me for always assigning gender to some of our question-askers even when no clues are given. I think I've probably done this hundreds of time.
Anyway, in late fall 2007, look forward to a gender-neutral bug experience for all!
Washington, D.C.: As a female I will go the mumu route for the Station 9 brunch. That way I don't have to worry if someone is dissing my pleated pants.
Erin: Smart move. If you're looking for a source for that muumuu, I recommend the Vermont Country Store. I love that catalogue.
Just like every night of my life...: my bf and I are looking for somewhere to dine. He's in school at GW, I work downtown, and we live in Adams Morgan. He wants cheap, I want healthy. Any ideas? Please GoGs, rescue me from the Falaffelshop!
Erin: How about Vapiano just below Dupont Circle? It's quick and you can do pasta, pizza or salad. I wouldn't say it's over-the-top healthy, but it's really good pasta.
Banana Leaves does healthier versions of Chinese fare (steamed, rather than fried proteins).
Charlie Palmer: All 30-40 people would have to get there at 5 on the nose--when we arrived at 7 last week, there was a crowd by the elevator and they didn't have a plan for letting additional people up in the time we were waiting there. Heard it's worth the view, but probably too popular now for a sizeable group.
Fritz: Man, you know, I was there last week at 6 and was told there was a 20-minute wait, but was up in less than 10. If they herd people on and off the elevator faster, it works. (The first week went pretty smoothly.)
Arlington, Va.: Hi, my friend is taking me to Obelisk this Saturday for my birthday. I don't think it is like 1789 or Citronelle where jacket is required, but I don't want to dress too casual either. How do most people dress there? Thanks.
Erin: It's a fairly nice, formal restaurant. Jacket isn't required, but I think it would be a nice touch. Most people dress well to eat there. I'd liken it to eating in the back room at Palena.
K St: Fritz: In regards to the pumpkin beer conversation last week, may I suggest Southampton's Pumpkin Ale. I was just up at Olde Saratoga Brewing Co. last weekend and gave it a try. Definitely less sweet than Dogfish's Punkin Ale.
Fritz: Lucky. I've been digging their Secret Ale, which is on at Axis and a few other spots right now.
I had the Dogfish on draft for the first time this year a few days ago when Julia and I went to the Dogfish in Falls Church. More spicy (allspice and nutmeg) and less sweet than out of the bottle.
Williamsburg Restaurants: It is a shame about the Fat Canary. The Trellis was "OK" for lunch a year ago, but I haven't been there for dinner in eons. Blue Talon Bistro was tasty, albeit, not real fancy (almost two years ago!), Berrets is really good (went there in April), the restaurant at the Williamsburg Inn, The Regency Room, is good, but pricey. The Taverns in CW are a fun environment, but the food can be so-so. If you're fish eaters, I'd go with Berrets.
Jen: Another vote for Berrets. Thanks for the tips.
On Wedding Open Bars:: NEVER skimp on open bar! To save cash, skip the silly favors. Not even your nearest and dearest want a tangible (and usually tacky) souvenir of your wedding. They just want to have fun there. One caveat: folks will take the centerpieces, so make sure that is okay with your florist, or you may be charged for the containers, etc.
Rhome: I've been to a couple of weddings where the open bar was finite and no one took offense. I've been to dry weddings where everyone enjoyed themselves.
I do think that folks spend loot on things that ultimately aren't very important. The little things add up so if food and booze are being constrained by financial reasons (as opposed to personal or logistical ones) you might want to reassess the priorities guiding your budget.
The Trellis: My boyfriend and I had a FABULOUS meal at the Trellis last year just before Christmas. Not sure if that's too long ago for proper judgement at this point, but if it's not, we both give it thumbs up.
Jen: Within the past year is reasonable. So there's a vote for the Trellis, too. Thanks.
Woodley Park, D.C.: Dear GoG's--My hubby and I are celebrating our 3rd Wedding Anniversary today! We are leaving work early and have decided to hit three different spots (in honor of our three years) for Drinks and Apps, Dinner, and Drinks and Desert. Can you give us some swank ideas for places with kickin' bars with a bit of a scene and excellent food? We have Rasika and Viridian on our list.
Erin: Proof should hop right onto that list, particularly for the pre-dinner drinking. The wine is superb and the food is stand-up. Central is another hopping bar area. I love the mai tais. You could consider Cashion's, Hook and dessert in the lounge of the Blue Duck Tavern.
from a 'nut: for NYE party thrower - look into booking the Spirit of Washington or the Odyssey.
Brunch in Cleveland Park - Wouldn't Colorado Kitchen be a good choice? For real donuts and awesome ice cream drinks!
Fritz: Would you be shocked to know that the Odessey and the Spirit of Washington are already booking their own NYE cruises? For New Year's, you sometimes need to start planning at least a year before.
Also, Colorado Kitchen is in Brightwood, not Cleveland Park. That's a bit of a walk.
Washington, D.C.: To continue the brunch questions. Is Georgia Brown's brunch as good and as filling as they say? It's a buffet right but you also get to order an entree? And are reservations needed days or a day in advance? Thanks.
Erin: It's definitely filling and you'll probably end up with leftovers for a while. You need to book ahead quite a bit in advance. Think weeks, not days.
Baltimore: Some warnings on Scores and McDougal's:
--Scores is incredibly expensive. There's an initial cover charge, then all the beers and drinks have very high prices. Then the private dances and table dances are outrageously priced. Then girls will sit at your tables and ask you to buy them drinks, which is stupidly-priced. Then...well, you get the idea. All the prices there need to drastically come way down.
--McDougal's is equally over-priced. There's another initial cover price, and the prices for dances there are way over-priced, too. Plus, you have to bring your own beer into McDougal's, and it's kept behind the counters.
Sabatino's is always a great choice, though. Great atmosphere, great service, great food, great tradition. It's a classic dining experience.
Fritz: Words of warning for our Baltimore party planner.
But at a bachelor party, is cost really an object?
Northwest, D.C.: Dear Gurus,
I need a casual place to grab a bite to eat with a special friend, and then a chill bar or lounge to get close and chat over drinks in the U Street or Adams Morgan area tonight!
Please help. My overall coolness is riding on this!!!
Erin: Al Crostino, Creme, Simply Home and Coppi's should be on your list for dinner. If you want more of a scene, Busboys and Poets won't wow you with gourmet food, but it's lively and interesting. Chill bar: how about the roof of Perry's?
Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C.: Hi GoGs! Love your chat! Can you tell me if the Third Thursday art gallery tours on 7th street still take place? I think the First Fridays in Dupont is still ongoing, correct? Any info on either of those or any others would be great. thanks!
Julia: The Third Thursday openings are no longer. First Friday is still going on, but it's much smaller than it used to be. If you want to go tomorrow, I'd check out these exhibits: "Beyond the Margins" and "Ice Stories" at Hillyer and John Blee at Studio. You can find a full map of participating galleries here, but many (like the open-by-appointment-now Conner Contemporary) won't be participating.
Common: Hi Gurus - I'm heading out to Love to watch Common tomorrow night. Doors open at 6, but I'm not sure what time the performances actually start up. Any recommendations as to how late I could get there without missing the show?
Fritz: In our experience, you'll want to be on the second level (where the performances are) and in place by 9:30 p.m. Sometimes the shows start then, sometimes later. But you won't want to miss Tip and Common.
BTW, next weekend should be insane, with Diddy and guest-who-can't-be-revealed-yet doing two nights at Love for Howard Homecoming.
NY, N.Y.: It's me again writing and asking for help!!! Any where nice-- where local band plays live--- Pleaseeeeee
David: Well, what kind of music are you looking for? There many places where local bands play live. If you want mostly blues, try Madams Organ. Want some jazz, try Cafe Nema or Bohemian Caverns. For rock, maybe DC9 or the Red & the Black.
Washington, DC: I'm a recent W&M alum-- for a nice dinner in Williamsburg that is "downtown" (i.e., near the 3 bars), the Blue Talon and A. Carroll's are both excellent. A. Carroll's has an upscale martini bar and is a bit fancier. In my opinion, the Trellis is average, and Berret's is great if you just want seafood, but I would try the other two first.
Jen: Ah, forget about A. Carroll's. Thanks for both suggestions.
Washington, D.C.: I've recently realized after a lifetime of thinking I don't like Bloody Mary's that they are in fact my favorite morning adult beverage. Where are some of the best around in DC proper?
Erin: As you might've seen in my blog post, Matchbox will start offering brunch this Sunday with lots of bloody Mary options. Merkado is another good bet.
Arlington, VA: Hey Gurus! Hope you can help. A group of friends and I are going to be around the U St metro area on Saturday evening and we need a place were we can watch football. In particular the ending of the Texas/Oklahoma and Tennessee/Georgia games and the LSU/Florida game. Know of any place that would likely be showing these and would be ok with a group of potentially rowdy fans who may or may not all be wearing red dresses?
Fritz: Hashers, eh? I know your type.
Try Solly's if you're looking for cheap PBR and Miller, or Nellie's for lots of screens and a rooftop deck. Also, there's Axis, which may be a good compromise.
Olney MD: Me again. "Philles bars"? Fritz, I want a Rockies bar, dude. If I get a death wish, I know where the Phillies bars are located! And if I didn't, I just need to follow the moans, wailing and gnashing of teeth after Ryan Howard strikes out YET AGAIN - HAHA!!
Fritz: I haven't heard from anyone yet. Rockies fans? You out there?
Sorry, bud.: Oh c'mon. Can't a woman be referred to as bud or dude in the chat?
David: I agree. I think bud is pretty gender neutral, but I've gotten a few bad reactions when I've said "dude" to females in the past.
Easy Rider in PG: I just got a Motorcycle and don't know where to meet new playmates. Where can I go catch up with other bikers and maybe find folks to ride with? BTW:not riding crotch rocket, I'm the cruiser type.
Julia: You should meet my boyfriend. He's a recent convert from crotch-rocket to cruiser. Seriously, though, he's met a few other riders at Asylum in Adams Morgan. I wouldn't say you're guaranteed to find a playmate there, but there are definitely other riders around. I'd go on a weeknight for the best chance of striking up a bike-related conversation.
Orchard Advice: For the person thinking about apple picking this weekend, I second the Butler's recommendation. I went last weekend with my boyfriend and his teenage stepsister and we had a great time--they have raspberries and pumpkins available for picking too. One word of advice: hit the market for baked goods first, then go up the hill for picking, as the pies were all gone by the time we finished!
Julia: Great advice. I worked in an apple orchard in Connecticut during college (of which my parents were surely so proud) and the pies always go early. As do the apple cider donuts.
Re: fixing your heels: The shoe repair shop in union station is a good bet. I work close by, but they can usually do the work while you wait if you like. Prices are decent, but I have been happy with the results.
Julia: Thanks for the tip!
Annapolis, Md.: Hoping to get in under the wire. 6 girls, early 30's, bachelorette party, Annapolis, no veils, games, etc. Any suggestions for after dinner bars that have more to offer than beer? Thanks so much.
Fritz: Lessie, rooftop bar at Metropolitan would be first choice if you want upscale, but there's Pussers on the water, which is one of the most fun bars in the city.
Weddings without atleast beer or wine...: That'll be the wedding people talk about, especially after they bought you a gift and may have travelled and then you don't offer drink choice? Experienced this with a friend who went non-alcoholic with her wedding and 3 years laters, guests are still talking about it... have some kind of booze, beer and wine is totally fine, that's what we did.
David: Whatever you do, don't have a cash bar. A rarity, for sure, but not unheard of and that's something that people may never forgive.
Fritz: David mentioned he'd "heard of weddings with cash bars," and you know why? Because the guests walked away disgruntled, that's why. Disgruntled and sober.
Dupont, D.C.: My parents are coming for Thanksgiving and I'm in charge of making us a reservation. They want the traditional turkey and fixins. Have restaurants started advertising their Thanksgiving menus yet? Any recommendations?
Erin: I'm still in denial about Halloween. It's WAY too early for Thanksgiving.
Fortunately for you, most restaurants are already in planning mode. If you want all the fixins, go for a hotel set up, possibly at the Willard.
I had Thanksgiving at Charlie Palmer Steak two years ago and was fairly impressed.
I haven't gotten around to chatting with specific restaurants, but look at my list of last year's Thanksgiving spots. Do any of them strike your fancy? With any luck, they'll nearly duplicate last year's offerings.
Washington D.C - Howard Homecoming: Hey Guru's!
I see you mentioned Howard's Homecoming. You wouldn't happen to know whose performing at the Yardfest on that Friday?
Fritz: That's always a HUGE secret. When I wrote a cover story for Weekend about Homecoming last year, I basically had to swear on my mother's life that we wouldn't give the info out before Friday. Maybe we'll drop some hints next week.
How about the Cubs Fans?: Where can we watch the game besides Lucky Bar? I know, I know, it doesn't happen very often for us, but we'd like somewhere to watch our game too. (Even if it IS at 10:00)
Fritz: Billy Goat Tavern and Bar Louie are both Chicago franchises, and both are drawing Cubs fans.
Speaking of the Cubs, WHY DO YOU TAKE OUT/HOLD BACK YOUR PITCHER FOR A GAME THAT'S NOT EVEN GUARANTEED???
Anonymous: Howdy gurus:
I ask this question every now and then but you never answer -- slow day so I'll try again. What restaurant has the hunkiest waitstaff? Now come on you must have some favorites, right?
Julia: Okay, anonymous, you got it. I can't say that any restaurants top my list of spots with sexy servers, but there are definitely some hotties tending bar at the Adams Morgan Bourbon. And there was this guy working at Lucky Bar a few weeks ago who I definitely wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers.
Logan Circle: What happened to the Saloon on U Street? I tried to stop by last night, but it was closed. Like, really closed. But there was a sign on the door about Sunday events in October. I'm confused. Are they really closed, or is the owner just off on one of his international sojourns?
Fritz: This question came in pretty early in the week, but the Saloon is generally closed on Sunday and Monday except for special events, or that's been the case in the past.
ISO riding parntners: Try your rider groups. I am sure BMW has a BMW rider forum online somewhere.
Julia: A good idea for the Easy Rider.
Falls Church, Va.: If you want me to be ok being called "hey dude" then I want you to be ok with me calling you "hey lady"
David: To clarify this, it wasn't a "hey dude" it was more of a reaction-type thing. Like, someone says something and I'll respond with, "Dude, what are you talking about?" That would still upset you, I guess. I'll refrain from using "dude" when in Falls Church.
Arlington, Va.: Hi GOGs,
I'm a 30-something Arlington girl in need of a wild and crazy night. My girls and I would like to go dancing, and when I say dancing, we want to dance all NIGHT long. We've done the LOVE, H20, Zanzibar thing and it's played out. Any other ideas? Obviously, we don't get out that much.
Fritz: Well, then you've done most of the big clubs. I'd say you should try some of the mid-sized options: Five for fantastic house and dance music until 5 a.m., Ultrabar, maybe Avenue on a Saturday night, because Geometrix can really get people moving.
If you want wild and crazy, there's always Buzz. The first night was fantastic, even if Scott Henry didn't go on until 3:30 or so.
Bowie, Md: Please help!!! A late 20s female would like to show her mid 40 boyfriend a nice time somewhere in the District/ Silver Spring area. Any suggestions where we can go for dinner and dancing outside of the hip hop club scene??? Help!!
Alexandria, Va.: Another option for Emily is to buy a suit at one of the consignment stores; you can get high-end clothing for much less than at a store (admittedly from a year or so ago). Then when you figure in the alterations, you're still doing pretty well. That's how I got my Armani suits!
Janet: Emily, that's good advice! Give it a whirl at your favorite consignment store.
washingtonpost.com: We're overtime as usual. And they stopped serving us alcohol an hour ago, so we gotta roll. Thanks for joining us. We'll talk again next week.
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