Thursday, January 10, 2008; 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: Hey there, D.C. Welcome to Got Plans? Anne, Jen, David, Rhome, Erin, Fritz and Julia (that's me) are all here to answer your questions. Let's get to it.
Capitol Hill: You have probably received this question during previous chats, but do you know of bars or pubs in DC that has shuffle board? Not the shuffle board enjoyed on cruise ships...
Fritz: Actually, CapHill, I wrote a story about bars with shuffleboard in the fall. My clear favorite is Finn Mac Cool's on Barracks Row, because their table is (a) free and (b) competition-sized, but you can't go wrong with Buffalo Billiards, Bedrock or Rocket Bar.
Washington, D.C.: Hi gurus. Any suggestions for a Thursday night Happy Hour locale in the city for around 30 engaged women? Our ages range from mid 20's to mid 30's. We are a diverse group of brides, and we'd like to avoid dive bars and pretentious spots.
Julia: Wait -- I'm getting married too! Is there some big bride party that I'm not invited to?! Seriously though, we're very curious. What is this for? How do you all know each other? As for suggestions, I think Palette or Helix are nice spots for big groups of girls, and pretty low on the pretentious factor. For a group of 30, I would probably try to call ahead.
The downtown Chef Geoff's has got that masculine DC clubhouse feel, so I don't think it quite fits your needs. But I was just there the other day and reminded of how good the appetizers are. Anyway, if neither of the other two work out, that's an option.
Metro Center: GOGs: With all the hype do you think RW is ultimately worth it? I'm sure you'll say it depends on the restaurant. I wish there was a resource somewhere that evaluated the options and let us know whether or not each place was worth a reservation at next week...hint, hint...
Maybe we can hope for the Fall RW 2008...
Erin: For those who may wonder, RW stands for Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week is tricky. Definitely look for my updates as I try different places next week. I won't be going 7-for-7 as I have in the past, but I have tried more than my fair share of restaurants during the week and have a few thoughts.
Places that are worth it are generally places that you've been wanting to try, but may not be able to afford. Think 1789, the Prime Rib or Acadiana. 1789 and Acadiana are commendable for their expansive selections. Butterfield 9 could be another good choice and I look forward to my dinner at 701.
One new place serving dinner during RW is Cafe Trope, which just opened about a week ago in the 21P space. I don't know what the RW menu will be, but you'll have the privilege of dining there before probably most of your friends have heard of it.
To address your hope for the running list, it's tough because many restaurants change their policies from RW to RW.
Washington, D.C.: How much of a staff reunion will Dremo's be on Saturday night? I spent about three nights there a week from 2000 - 2004, and I was planning to trek over the river on Saturday to reminisce. But I don't want to ruin an ex-staff member's good time with my blithering about back in the day when my hair wasn't grey and I could stay out until 5am on a work night and Dremo's served Boddingtons.
Fritz: When I talked to Andrew Stewart earlier this week, he said a couple dozen former staffers will be there, and word's gotten out to a bunch of regulars, too. I'm sure you'll be in good company. If only someone could get an invitation to William Kennedy Smith...
Restaurant week in D.C.: Quick question gurus - I have a friend who will only be in town briefly over MLK weekend. We were hoping to have a restaurant week lunch on Saturday (she flies in late Friday, and we already have dinner plans on Saturday night), but I can't find anywhere that is open for lunch on Saturdays. Any ideas? Thanks
Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus -
The Science Club - it's still open, alive and kicking right? I heard from a friend that they thought it was closed. Please tell me they heard wrong!
Fritz: As far as I know -- and I just called to check -- it's still open and still one of our favorite south-of-Dupont lounges.
DelRay, Va.: Off-topic question: I am looking to adopt a dog, preferably a puppy (so it can get used to cats). All the ones in the classifieds are pure-breeds ... I am looking for a mixed-breed. Is there a good way to find one from an individual and not necessarily a shelter?
Jen: We adopted an awesome dog (nay, the most awesome dog in the world) a couple of years ago. We started by visiting a site called petfinder.com (I am sure there are other similar ones, too) and filling out some information about what breeds we were interested in, ages and other related details. Then it sent us frequent updates about different dogs that were up for adoption.
That's how we found our Casey, who is a beagle-mix. He was being fostered by someone who worked for a dog rescue organization, so he had always lived in a home and never been in a shelter situation.
Based on your description, it sounds like that's exactly what you're looking for. So I would check that out, and also research some of the local rescue groups who handle dogs via fosters. The one we dealt with was called A Forever Home and is based in Northern Virginia (Chantilly, maybe?).
If you're skeptical of the shelter scenario but still want to feel like you're rescuing a dog, that's a good way to go.
Takoma, Washington, D.C.: Happened to catch Hoots & Hellmouth at KenCen Millenium last night -- friends were in from out of town and we wanted a "DC" type thing before dinner. Really high energy, fun group -- older harmonica player was amazing. Know anything about them? Thanks.
David: Feelgood roots rockers from Philadelphia, on the road a whole lot. They were just here a month or so ago opening for Will Hoge at the State Theatre and will be back next month at Jammin' Java on Feb. 15. Have a listen to their tune "Home in a Boxcar" on the January Mixtape. And while we're on the topic of Millennium Stage, still tons of good stuff there this month -- Vinicio Capossela, Mirah, Chopteeth, Denyce Graves, Tracy Grammer/Jim Henry.
Washington, D.C.: Good afternoon!
A friend and I are going to be on the Mall on Friday for most of the afternoon and then going to dinner at Gallery Place. Does anyone have a suggestion for a low-key place for dessert after dinner?
Erin: For a little something, you could go to PS 7's for a sampling of smaller desserts or to the Clyde's emporium for a giant brownie sundae (That sounds super appealing. Clearly I need to get lunch.) I just recommended Oyamel, but if the weather drops, race over there for a giant hot chocolate. You could sip it at the bar.
Southwest D.C.: Hi GOGs! I'm submitting this question early b/c I have a meeting during the usual chat time. Anyway, my question is where to go in Northwest DC for a friend's after-dinner birthday party. Her birthday is on a Saturday night, and we're starting with dinner at Bistrot du Coin in Dupont. We're willing to then leave the neighborhood if need be in order to head to a bar that can accommodate a decent-sized group (prob 10-15 people) and would be fun for all of us -- a mix of guys and girls in their late 20s to early 30s. Hoping for a place with a fun atmosphere that is more upscale than a dive bar but not a super-exclusive, velvet-rope kind of club. Places we've discussed have included Cafe Saint Ex (but prob too small/crowded for our group) and New Vegas Lounge. Any suggestions?! Please help -- dying to go somewhere besides our usual dive bar watering hole on the Hill!!
Fritz: Saint-Ex will be too crowded for 15 on a Saturday night. After leaving the Bistrot, how about going up a block to the swanky lounge at Russia House for refined vodka shots and cocktails, grabbing a couch (no fee) in the basement champagne bar at Napoleon (half-priced champagne cocktails 9-11) or even taking over the first-floor jungle room at the Reef?
Grad Student - D.C.: Hey Gurus,
I know Tryst no longer offers free wireless on the weekends. Do you know if Busboys does? What about some of the other coffee shops in the U Street area?
Erin: Busboys definitely has free wifi -- I use it fairly often. Another cool place to consider is Mocha Hut just around the corner on U Street.
Fritz: Head a block down 14th to funky little indie shop 14U, where the coffee is great (and fair trade) and the internet is free.
Silver Spring, Md.: Hello Gurus, I've been craving Tres Leches cake reccently, any suggestions of a good place to get some in DC/MD?
Erin: Try Rosita Bakery in Kensington. Heller's in Mt Pleasant also does one, but I hear raves about Rosita.
Prince George's Sweet 16: We want to plan a surprise 16 birthday party what options do we have? We want to include about 5 teenage girls?
Julia: Hey there, that's such a cute idea! When I was growing up out in the 'burbs, a trip to the big city was always a treat. You could take the girls in for lunch and a shopping spree in Georgetown (provided they all bring their own spending money) or something like that.
There are plenty of more active, uh, activities that I can think of -- ice skating at the National Gallery, bowling at any old lane -- but you'll be the best judge about whether your girls would be into them or just think they're lame. For me at 16 (and probably still today), a day of shopping with my girlfriends was pretty much perfect. If you don't want to do the city route, a trip to a nice lunch, your local Mall and maybe a stop by the pedicure place will be perfect.
Capitol Hill: What is wrong with adopting an animal from a shelter? Legitimate shelters will not put unhealthy animals up for adoption.
Jen: Absolutely nothing is wrong with it at all. It just sounded like that person did not want to do that, so I was tailoring my advice to him/her.
There are plenty of good shelters locally, including Washington Animal Rescue League, for one.
Gaithersburg, Md.: Hello guys.
I need your info on the salsa scene in the area. What are some alternatives to Hav. Village, Barking Dog, Cecilia's, Zanzibar, Lucky Bar? Because I've been there, done that with those places.
I am looking for some new places to go where there is serious salsa dancing, especially on Friday nights.
PS I am a late-30's single female, so I need safe places.
Fritz: How about Caribbean Breeze in Ballston or Cafe Salsa in Old Town Alexandria? Both have good music and delicious drinks. Also, I haven't been to Ocean Drive in Wheaton recently, but I've heard they do weekend salsa parties.
Washington, D.C.: My sister's birthday is the 28th and her husband has asked me to help him find a good restaurant to take her to.
Somewhere nice with good atmosphere and service, price doesn't really matter. Definitely in DC, preferably near Dupont or U St, although they'd be willing to try a different neighborhood.
Most important thing is that there is good variety for vegetarians - neither eats meat.
Erin: I wish that Restaurant Nora has a more lively dining room, but no. That said, the restaurant has great options for formal vegetarian dining, which includes a full tasting menu. The other top vegetarian tasting menu is of course CityZen, but that's quite far from Dupont. Blue Duck Tavern would be a nice, seasonal bet.
Ethnic choices, like Rasika or Simply Home, could also be a good bet for adventurous vegetarians. If there's a place you have in mind, call ahead to see if the chef can put something together. Example: I love Cashion's and know that the chef could assemble some tempting vegetarian entrees.
Heller's in Mt. Pleasant: could the staff be less friendly or more careless there? Nope.
Julia: I hear that. I'm a neighbor and I love that place for a good breakfast sandwich, but it is a really. slow. line.
Washington, D.C.: My date has asked me to go with him to Five this Saturday. Should I dress more for lounging or an all-out dance party? Or something in between?
Fritz: There's not really much lounging at Five -- seats are few and far between, unless you're on the roof. Dress to dance.
State of Panic: Help! Me, my husband, my friend and her husband and 2 of our female friends (we're all in our mid to late 20s) are going out on Saturday night. We want a night full of drinking and dancing. We don't do it that often (sucks to be broke) so we want it to be a fabulous night. We can start early, we don't need to go to a place where we can see and be seen, we just want to drink and dance to some fun fun music (hip hop, dance, etc). We were thinking Dupont, or maybe 14th and K area? We don't mind going to multiple places, etc. I think our bottom line is that we want a fun night with each other
Rhome: The hot dance spots in Dupont or the K St area are indeed the see and be seen places, and not easy on the pockets. Most of the less ostentatious places in that area aren't dance focused but you could give Lima a try if you want a taste of the fancy, just make sure you're dressed well. You could also consider Play or Ultrabar. Your best bet for that part of town is Five. You don't seem like house-y types but there's always the roof as an alternative.
Taking your geographic requirement out of the equation, my stock answer for anyone wanting to show up dressed however they want, not spend much money and dance like crazy is Wonderland.
Ballet in D.C.: I'm dying to see a ballet. I haven't been in years and would like to see something really magical. I know nothing of the d.c. dance scene, so I'd love a heads up on any companies or productions i should check out.
Erin: You have two dazzling choices coming up. First, the Kirov comes to the Kennedy Center at the end of this month to perform "La Bayadere." I'm always blown away by the limber dancers in that company.
The other soonish option rolls in at the end of January. ABT will perform "Sleeping Beauty."
How could you not get your fix last month? I'll bet you could have filled the datebooks of 4 people with all of the amateur and professional productions of the "Nutcracker."
Washington, D.C.: I have two quick questions about Solly's.
First, is the kitchen up and running? I was there about a year ago and they weren't serving food yet.
Also, during my first visit the temperature inside was tundra-like. They were trying to combat the problem with space heaters but with little success. If winter actually returns, do I need to bring chemical hand warmers to the bar or have they remedied this problem?
Fritz: 1. No kitchen right now.
2. I was there two weeks ago for a late-night PBR after a show and didn't notice a chill, except when the door opened (I was standing right next to it).
It's still one of my favorite little no-nonsense bars on U Street. (The Saloon and Nema are the others. Thanks for asking.)
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.: My boyfriend is way into active dates, such as hiking and biking, but that's leaving me with a total dearth of ideas this winter. Recent good weather aside, any ideas for active dates in the Washington, D.C. area? Either indoor active fun or cold weather adventures outside?
Anne: Let me guess, you're writing from near "The Office"? You're not actually planning to go hike around Lake Scranton, right? As for activities, I personally think it's cold anytime it drops below 50, but when you're moving (but not on a bike), that temp isn't so bad. It's hard to suggest where to go if I don't know what's relatively proximate to you. But a recent conversation left me with an urge to go hiking to see bald eagles. And since everyone's talking about parkour these days, you can even practice it indoors now.
Chocolate City: Peace and Happy New Year! The True School Party seems like just what this already-overworked-in-2008 32-year old woman needs. I know of 9th wonder and Cuzzin B but I've never actually been to this party before. I'm hoping its the kind of joint where I can take my disco nap, throw on my jeans and pumas, and come wop it out right quick before I have to go back to the office sat morning (don't ask). But if they are on some old "grown and sexy," dress-code-enforcing, next level extra nonsense, I'll just stay home and blast my new jack swing and native tongues CDs by my dang self. What's the deal?
Rhome: Yeah, if True School had a business meeting to describe in detail their target demographic, an action shot of you mid-wop would probably be on the Powerpoint slide.
Re: door silliness... usually True School is a low pressure situation and Liv/Bohemian Caverns is run by heads that know the deal. But this is AKA weekend. I have a feeling the pageantry levels around town will be taken up a notch. You're a woman so dress codes are generally more lax for you anyway. I'd advise you to look cute but wear comfortable shoes and get there early.
I was so sad when "grown and sexy" jumped the shark... that point must have been reached like 2 years ago at least. How you gonna be "grown and sexy" wearing business attire in the club but you're doing dances that are all the rage with junior high schoolers?
Union Station: Any news on the new Looking Glass Lounge? I was a huge fan of Temperance Hall, and was really sad to see it go, having lived in Columbia Heights (never looking back at Wonderland after I discovered TH). I looked back through the discussions and didn't see any updates... How much of the menu have they kept? How different is the decor? Is it worth trekking from Union Station to check it out?
Fritz: I haven't been back to Temperance Hall since New Year's. Stories from friends who visited did not fill me with much hope, and I've even heard WORSE things about the service. But (a) Dan Searing is still running the joint and (b) they'll have rye whiskey until the bottles run out, so I suppose I'll have to venture up there sharpish.
Washington, D.C.: Okay folks, I have a good one for you.
I am having a 30th birthday next month and want to have a manly yet festive party. I am looking for a restaurant with a banquet room that holds approximately, 30 people. Right now on the short list is BLT Steak and Zola but I'd like to come up with a few more places. Any ideas?
Erin: Oooh, how about Fogo de Chao? There's nothing more manly than huge sword-skewers of meat. I had the joy of hitting FdC with a rather large party of men two years ago and it was definitely a time to remember. Something about ample protein really gets a party revved up. The restaurant has an upstairs area that could work for a party of your size.
For something nicer, I agree that BLT Steak would be nice. I also like Central for a burger fix.
Eastern Market: On a Friday or Saturday, how early do me and 3 of my friends need to show up at Granville Moore's to get a table?
Fritz: My experience tells me the rush starts around 7-7:30 p.m. Maybe earlier if there's a big show at Rock and Roll Hotel. But it's worth it...
Washington, D.C.: Does the Shakespeare Theatre still have the 2 for Tuesday deal going on?
Erin: Yes indeed. It should be at least a semi-permanent deal. Patrons under 35 can pick up tickets beginning at 10 a.m. for any performance through the following sunday at $10 each.
Annandale, Va.: Hi Gurus, my boyfriend is a HUGE blues fan and I am more of a rock and roll chick trying to develop a love of the blues. Are there any up coming shows that we should see or are there any clubs that would help get my feet wet?
David: Try the Tommy Castro show on Jan. 26 at the State Theatre. He's an extremely talented blues guitarist with a definite rock influence, too. Should be a good middle ground for you two. That venue is a good place for stuff like that, in early February Eric Lindell and Mary Ann Redmond will play (separate) shows there, might want to try those. And Grace Potter at 9:30 Club on Feb. 16 isn't really blues or rock but I bet you'd like her. Hope some of those work for you.
U Street: Hi gurus, thanks for the informative chats! Here's my conundrum: the bf (carnivore, can't cook) and I (herbivore, can't cook) often find ourselves wanting to spend an evening in, but we're tired of the half-veggie, half-meat pizza. Can you recommend other delivery options in our hood? Thanks!
Erin: Of course. You have Rice, Regent Thai and Simply Home as Thai delivery options.
For Indian food, I am a big fan of Heritage India, though that can get expensive with too many different palates. It's delicious and comes with ample rice.
I also have a much-beloved Chinese takeout on 14th Street next to Viridian's old home. I won't mention it because I don't want everyone to hate on Fritz and me again.
Chinese, Thai, Indian and Pizza are the only things I ever think to have delivered. Does that cover your bases?
Washington, D.C.: Gurus!
Please help! Friends and I are thinking of going to 18th Street Lounge on Saturday (pretty equal mix of guys and girls, all mid to late 20s). I have never been there and have heard mixed reviews. What should we expect? What should girls wear? Also, is there a coat check? Thanks!!
Fritz: Expect great funky international lounge music, lots of well-dressed singles and couples vying for space on the couches, a wonderful live jazz band upstairs and a crowded dance floor after midnight. The Lounge, to me, is always a great party, though you should make an effort to dress up. (Skip the jeans unless they're really hip and part of your look, sneakers and/or T-shirts are chancy for guys, etc.) No coat check that I remember.
Rosslyn, Va.: Is there any way to screen out the text when people say "I'm submitting early because...". It doesn't matter people! Your question gets answered or it doesn't - no one cares what you're doing or if you're actually reading along.
Jen: Well, the better reason not to tell us when you're submitting is that it isn't necessary. We already have surveillance cameras set up in the homes and office of all Got Plans? readers.
"We know when you're submitting/we know when you're awake/we know if you've been bad or good/so stop asking why you can't get a date, for goodness sake...."
RW recommendations: For those looking for good RW spots:
I went to Acadiana in August with some friends and had a great time! Last January I went to Sonoma and also really enjoyed it. Happy eating!
Erin: Thanks for the input. I haven't hit Sonoma for RW, but I love Acadiana, DC Coast, TenPenh and Ceiba for their generous participation. I have a few places that I'm excited to try this round and I'll be sure to file detailed reports.
Recent standouts for me have been lunch at Kinkead's and dinner at Vidalia.
30-something off the Redline: Some friends of mine want me to go see the Japanese Beatles tomorrow night at the 930? I think, true to their name, that they are a Japanese tribute to the Beatles. Do you know anything more about this? Worth attending? I like to get my beauty rest on Friday nights and only like to venture out for worthy events. I am old.
David: They're called the Silver Beats and they are indeed a Japanese Beatles tribute band. Apparently it's tribute month at 9:30 as there's a Super Diamond/Girlfriend in a Coma show there next week. Worth attending? Check out some YouTube videos and see if they do it for you. "She Loves You," "Revolution," "Come Together." The source material's pretty top notch, of course.
Washington, D.C.: I'm hoping you can help with a happy hour suggestion. I'm organizing a meeting for a group of senior federal officials on a Wed afternoon. The meeting is at 17th and N St. It will be over by 4:30 and they would like to go somewhere close by for drinks. Any ideas for a refined group of about 15 that won't be crowded at 5:00?
Fritz: If they want something that's of-the-moment without being over-the-top, I like the bar at Hudson (21 and M) for stylish new cocktails. They might also consider the classy, dimly lit bar at West End Bistro in the Ritz, which makes fantastic margaritas and martinis, but I wonder if it's going to be too small. How about Bar Rouge? Stylish, fun and rarely crowded at happy hour.
Bethesda, Md.: Hi Gogs,
I have a college friend coming in town MLK weekend and need (1) a place to go salsa dancing on Saturday night (the 19th) and (2) something to do on MLK day. Any suggestions?
Take the time on MLK day to head over to the Corcoran to see the Ansel Adams exhibit before it closes. For a free option, check out the National Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum. As Fritz has been pointing out lately, the museums' new Kogod Courtyard is a nice place to grab a beer after checking out the exhibits. I also just had the good fortune to check out the Nature's Best Photography exhibit at the American History Museum. SO worth a visit.
Northwest, D.C.: To Fritz and anyone else who enjoys good beer, I just wanted to report that RFD has Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA on their menu right now (well, at least as recently as Tuesday when I was there).
Fritz: I love it when R.F.D. gets gems like this on the list. So hoppy. So good.
Thanks for the info.
Restaurant Week: Know I'm early submitting, however, Restaurant Week is quickly approaching. My boyfriend and I live in the burbs but are more than willing to travel into the city during the week for some killer dinner. Problem is....we don't know which restaurants we MUST hit up. He's a red meat kinda guy, where I'm more outgoing with my palette. We can both usually agree on Italian, but I don't want to be pigeon-holed into that; maybe one Italian rec would be good.
Erin: How about Mendocino Grille, Bistro Bis, the Prime Rib, Morrison-Clark or TOSCA? To make it easier, the all-caps is your Italian rec.
Washington, D.C.: For the person looking for more active things to do with her boyfriend, she should consider indoor rock climbing. It's fun and not only will you learn more about pushing yourself, you will learn more about each other. It's a great bonding experience.
Julia: Good point. I'm so not coordinated enough to attempt something like this but some of my very good friends rock-climb as a couple all the time. Like three times a week. They're pretty obsessed.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! We're a group of four or five girls looking for a good place to take in some playoff action on Saturday. (Yay Packers! Boo Patriots!) Where can we go in the district where we can be sure to get a table if we're early enough and that should be pretty lively? The crowd at Buffalo Billiards is usually kind of lame, and I know seating can be hard to come by at Rhino unless you're super early. Thanks!!
Fritz: Cleveland Park Bar and Grill, Porters, the Pour House, McFadden's, maybe the Ugly Mug? Lucky Bar is fun but crowded, and soccer fans get all the tables early.
Washington, D.C.: Gilbert Arenas's birthday has come and gone and I haven't heard a word about a party. Did he not tell the Washington Post about it this year? How will I fill the void in my life from the lack of post-party stories?
David: No party this year, at least nothing like the monster, star-studded shindig he threw last year. Maybe it's because in the year since that party it was all downhill for Gilbert. OK, he had another month of solid play after that, but then he hurt his knee, the Wiz fell apart, he came back too soon and now he probably won't play again this year. Caron Butler turns 28 in March, he deserves a big party this year.
To Wilkes-Barre: Have you considered an indoor climbing gym? I think that there are a couple in the Rockville area, and that's always a fun thing to do in pairs. I wish I could get my boyfriend out on some "active" dates.
Julia: I hear that, too! Since he got the Wii, my man's been much more comfortable being "active" in front of the TV.
Anyway, this person may be referring to Sportrock, which has locations around the area. Hopefully that helps you, Wilkes Barre!
Washington, D.C.: Wait Fritz, Temperence Hall closed?!? I'm confused!
Fritz: All will be made clear.
Izzy Alert!: Have you guys heard from Izzy lately? Frank misses how Izzy referred to himself in the 3rd person. It made Frank laugh, and feel happy.
Rhome: Izzy's been ghost for a minute. You care to pick up the comic relief mantle, Frank?
Washington, D.C.: For the person looking for a happy hour near 17 and N - what about Town & Country at the Mayflower or Topaz?
Fritz: Town and Country, good idea. Topaz - eh. I like Rouge better. Also, really, really small for a group of 15 unless you reserve that private room, which lacks atmosphere.
Last-Minute Lou, D.C.: Please help, Gurus! I remember some talk of cider donuts a while back, but can't remember the farm place in Maryland that had them. Think it's in PG County, maybe? Also, are they still open and serving them? Thanks!
Erin: Not last minute at all. There's always time. Cherry Hill Farm relocated its bakery to Miller Farm in Clinton. There's a full bakery with plenty of other donuts. They're very cheap, so I tend to overorder with glee.
Anonymous: I heard about the Japanese Beatles on NPR. They are hugely popular there and do NOT speak English!! They memorize the music phonetically. NPR played some clips, and I swear it sounded 99% like the real thing. Bizarre.
David: The Silver Beats opened for the Killers at the Patriot Center about a year ago. Did anybody catch them there? Want to offer up some thoughts?
what to wear: So call me clueless: if I wanted to wear pants, but you say not to wear jeans unless it's the $400 ones, what do I wear? My black express slacks I wear to work?
Erin: How about taking a cue from Lindsay Lohan and wearing an XXL shirt over your $1.50 leggings from CVS? Not to mock leggings (I'd never get through winter without them), but it's funny that they're more acceptable to clubs than designer denim.
Washington, D.C.: I am trying to organize my 26th birthday gathering and I have been searching endlessly for something unique. Living on Connecticut between Adams Morgan and Dupont, I tire of the usual hangouts. Here is what I DO want: hip, current music, kinda lounge feel that allows for mixing and mingling but also conversation, something a little new and different. Do NOT want: long lines, cover charges, pretentious crowd. It's a Friday night gathering¿ I was considering Marvin because of the great buzz it is getting but I am worried it may be too crowded. How early do we need to get out to avoid the usual Friday night rush wherever we went up?
Fritz: What you're describing sounds like Science Club. I threw a party for a friend there a few months ago, and they gave us reserved seating (early in the evening) and we were able to mix and mingle. The DJs were great (funky house, international). You might want to see if you can get something there. Marvin is a good idea, but it's insanely popular on the weekend, and since the first floor is restaurant-only and the patio is, well, cold, the upstairs is going to be cramped for a large group.
The problem with organizing on Friday, really, is that it's the biggest happy hour night of the week -- everyone wants to go out right after work. If you can, you want to shoot for a narrow window around 8 or 8:30. That's after most people have gone home to change and before the crowds come out to pregame.
McLean, Va.: A friend and I were thinking about going to the Georgetown-UConn game on Saturday, and we were wondering how easy it is to get tickets at the gate. Is it generally possible for non-students to show up to Verizon Center right before the game and buy tix?
David: Without sounding too obvious, as long as it's not sold out you shouldn't have a problem. Looks like only upper level tickets are left right now, so you can grab a couple of those through Ticketmaster now if you wanted. But I bet you could wait and get them at the gate and save some $$ on those service charges.
Ultrabar: Are dark jeans and heels ok?
Fritz: Sure -- for women AND men.
Weekend to myself: Hey wonderful GOGs, this is a great chat so far. This weekend my husband's going out of town and I was thinking about some fun things I could do on my own. I might hit the Hopper exhibit before it's over. What would you guys recommend for a girl wanting to enjoy some solitude this weekend?
Julia: Hey hon, I'm in the same boat. Mine's off in Colorado for his bachelor party.
Hopper is *definitely* worth seeing, but GO EARLY. I can not stress this enough. I would aim to be at the National Gallery doors when they open (10 a.m. on Saturday, 11 a.m. on Sunday) because that exhibit is really busy these days.
Other ideas? There are the gallery openings in Logan Circle on Saturday night and the Christo and Jeanne-Claude documentary on Sunday, but if you're looking for something less cerebral, I might just spend the weekend taking it easy. When I have the weekend to myself, I like to indulge with a nice afternoon of walking around the city, reading in a coffee shop or some other activity that's not my future husband's style.
Washington, D.C.: Gurus--please help! My friend will not shut up about the Packers game on Saturday, and I need some suggestions on places we should go to watch it. Bonus points if it's near Union Station--thanks!
Fritz: For atmosphere and number of TVs, the answer is Pour House. (Think of the walk across the Hill as training for the burgers and dogs you're about to eat.) You could also try Union Pub, which has a couple of big screens, or maybe the 18th Amendment.
Bethesda: Hey guys, need your help.... I'm going to a wedding reception at the Ronald Reagan Building and we're looking for a club/lounge to go to afterwards to continue the party. Any ideas on anything close by? Thanks.
Rhome: Out of this list I'd probably send you to Ceiba or Poste to recap the evening's wedding fun over drinks. Are you really trying to dance and whoop it up in your formal finery? You can get a hybrid of dance party with swank lounge flavor at Indebleu.
Arlington, VA: Hi,
I am going to the Smithereens show at the State on Saturday. Any recommendations on a place to go and eat nearby that also serves "good beer" (you know, beer with taste).
Fritz: It's a little bit of a drive, but the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Seven Corners is worth the trip. Solid bar food (great pizzas) and some of the best beers you'll ever sip.
Closer-in option is the Four Provinces in Falls Church.
Washington, D.C.: Gurus:
Which do you like going out to better? Hip, trendy, slick places with the beautiful people or casual, comfortable no-name places? Does the answer seem too obvious?
Fritz: When they're done well, I like them both. The most fun I've had at a bar in 2008 was at Tattoo, which charges $300 for a table and $12 a cocktail, but DJs and VJs blast '80s rock and '90s metal, and the crowd dances and really gets into it. (You can read all about it in the Weekend section tomorrow, or later this afternoon if you get the weekly City Guide e-mail.)
Rhome: Count me as a firm member of the second camp. Being stuck in lines gives me hives. The only time I really enjoy the trendy slick places are when they're NOT dance clubs. I've found that hitting the more lounge'y ones on an off night with a date is most enjoyable, especially if there's jazz or a chill DJ involved. Good for conversation.
Erin: My favorites are the ones where the patrons on the barstools around you are likely sitting in their exact same seats as last night and as 10 years ago last night. Bonus points if said bars feature competitive karaoke and are attached to bowling alleys.
Free Wifi...: Can be had at the recently reopened Breakwell's Cafe at 9th and M. We neighbors are rooting for them to succeed.
Julia: I am also rooting for them to succeed. It's a cute place.
Northwest, Washington, D.C.: For the wannabe dog-adopter, please check out the Washington Animal Rescue League. www.warl.org. I adopted a fabulous year-old mix there recently. The facility is new and fantastic, the animals are treated well, the medical care is great, etc. I highly recommend it.
Julia: I'll give a shout out to this place as well. One of the cutest, sweetest dogs I know cam from WARL.
Tysons Corner, Va.: Since you guys are the source for all my "things to do" information, I need your help. My small company is springing for an outing for us and I need ideas. In the past it was loosely a "holiday" party and involved a formal dinner at a nice restaurant. We're looking for something more casual and fun now. We're talking 15-25 people, ages 30s and 40s for less than $100 per person -- anywhere in the area. Bowling and Dave & Buster's are out though! Oh, and we can hold out for warmer weather if that's better. Any suggestions?
Anne: We're running out of time, so I'll be brief. An all-day movie buffet? Snow tubing? Formal dinner sounds stuffy, but if you really are only 15 people, you could get a communal table and make it more fun hanging out and eating together.
Happy Hour dinner: An old friend is in town for meetings and tonight he and I will be having drinks and dinner. This is likely his only night in a while without his kids and wife and while he still has to get up at 7 for the meetings I was wondering if you could suggest a few places? He's looking forward to spending an evening "in the big city." If it helps we'll be starting from my office in Foggy Bottom.
Fritz: Sure thing. Here are a few of my favorite places for cocktails and snacks at the bar:
Hudson (trendy, scientific cocktails, decent food.)
Restaurant K (outstanding house-infused martinis and margaritas, good burger) PS7's (stellar drink list, don't miss the mac and cheese or charcuterie).
Rasika (smaller lounge area that doesn't require reservations. Amazingly creative cocktails. Some of my favorite Indian food in DC.)
Central (go later; martinis and tasty beers, plus Michele Richard's award-winning cooking)
Late night: Half-price oysters at Old Ebbitt Grill.
washingtonpost.com: Well, that's it for us, kiddos. Have a great weekend and we'll catch you next week!
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