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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, January 24, 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.

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washingtonpost.com: Hey there chatters, we'll skip the long intro that you probably never read and just get to it. Fritz, Jen, Julia, Anne, Janet and David (that's me) are here, Erin will be along shortly, here we go.

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Washington, D.C.: Just wanted to highly recommend the new U2 3D film showing at the Johnson IMAX theater in the Natural History Museum. The 3D imagery is truly impressive - it places you in the crowd, onstage next to the musicians, hovering above it all, all with quite the dramatic effect. I saw it last night, and at one point I actually thought the people sitting in front of me in the theater were holding their hands up in the air, when it was actually the crowd in the film in 3D!

At $15 for 85 minutes of concert footage I thought it was a great deal, and a fun indoor activity for a cold night/weekend. Hard-core U2 fans (I count myself as one) won't want to miss it, but I think anyone who doesn't hate U2 (yes, some people do...) will really enjoy it.

Jen: Amen, my fellow U2 fan. I just posted something on the Gurus blog about it, actually. The visuals are pretty unreal. I actually thought the tip of Adam Clayton's bass might penetrate my nostril at one point. I mean that, of course, in a good way.

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Washington, D.C.: My friends and I want to do a spread out bar/lounge crawl including the following venues: Panache, Science Club, Urbana and the Park at 14th. We want the night to sort of build up from more chill to more dance friendly but want to avoid lines as much as possible. In what order do you recommend we hit these places?

Fritz: Definitely start with cocktails at Urbana and end at the Park at 14th, because that one is slow to get started -- it generally only gets packed after 11:30. In between, I'd say Panache first, because the line can get crazy on Friday nights, then Science Club.

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Washington, D.C.: This may be a weird question. I am compelled to take this girl out for a date on Friday. I have to show interest in the date or else I am in trouble. What would be a good place where we do not have to talk much and its fun for both of us?

Julia: Dude, not to get all Hax-ian on you, but what are you possibly doing going out with someone who you don't want to go out with?

That being said, if this chat is any indication, most people who go the dinner-and-a-movie route complain that they don't have enough time to talk and get to know their dates. You should go see the totally awesome Juno flick and then maybe go for a quick coffee in lieu of dinner. And then find someone you really like.

Alternatively, you could completely turn her off with some earnest embracing of a habit you know she won't fancy, like, um, skeet shooting. Actually, that sounds kind of awesome.

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Arlington, Va.: So before a girl can go out, sometimes she needs to go all out... down there. Where's a reliably and reasonable place to get a bikini wax (Brazilian) in DC or Arlington?

Janet: The Skin Beauty Lounge on 8th St. SE gets good marks from folks around here.

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Washington, D.C.: Best happy hour for 20 something group of beer-drinking guys and girls on Friday night in Dupont Circle is....

Fritz: probably Lucky Bar or Big Hunt (drafts for $2.50 to $3.75) if you've got a crowd and are looking for a scene, Helix Lounge if you want snacks (half-price beers and burgers), Townhouse Tavern if you need a comfortable dive, Recessions if you're a week from payday are are desperate.

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Washington, D.C.: I want to get my boyfriend a professional massage for his birthday. I've thought about the Grooming Lounge, Aveda, or Blue Mercury. He's a bit of a "metro" so i don't think he would mind a regular aka girlie salon. Do you have any other suggestions or recomendations?

Janet: My other recommendation would be Serenity Spa (the closest downtown location is in Tenleytown). Otherwise, does he belong to a gym? Sometimes there are really good massage therapists who are associated with a gym. And how convenient is that??

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi all-knowing gurus! My dad is coming to town in a few weeks, and I'm thinking about getting us tickets to Capitol Steps for their Friday night show. Any suggestions for an early dinner in the area? I love Ten Penh and Jaleo, but I'm just a little nervous about going there because my dad isn't a very adventurous eater. But, he won't pay the high prices a good steakhouse would charge around here, either (being from the Midwest, he's used to high-quality beef for under $20 at most restaurant).

Erin: Central is a fun place that has some delicious American standards. He'll get top versions of burgers, fried chicken, rotisserie chicken...
If that doesn't appeal, Les Halles is right near the show with affordable steaks.

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Arlington, Va.: Do the wise and wonderful Gurus know of anything fun or "must do" in Ellicott City? Going up on Saturday with my wife and we are trying to make a day out of it.

Fritz: I like browsing the numerous antique shops on Main Street and looking at the gorgeous old houses. There's a wine shop that does lots of weekend tastings that I've stumbled into. Johnny's Bistro is a very cosy place to grab lunch, and while there's a brewpub in town, I can't say I've ever been impressed with the service or atmosphere.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey Gurus, I am excited to be going to the State Theater this Friday for the first time to see the North Mississippi Allstars. I was wondering how early you should show up as the ticket says doors open at 7 and the show starts at 9. Is the state the type of venue you need to show up early or can I get away with sneaking in around 9? Also do you know of any place to get a quick bite before the show? Thanks so much for your help!

David: There are no tables for this show, all general admission, so you can probably show up closer to 9 and not worry. I'd expect it to be pretty crowded, but if you don't mind nudging your way to a good spot, you should be fine. As for a pre-show quick bite, there's an Elevation Burger close by, that should work.

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Washington, D.C.: Any recommendations on where to go for relatively simple tailoring (hemming jeans + reattaching the original hem), ideally close to Dupont, Adams Morgan, or Gallery Place? The dry cleaner's I used to go to for this, near Bistrot du Coin, has closed down. I even looked in the GOG archives and not much about this topic is out there. Thanks!

Janet: I have had great success with just those very tasks -- at Georgetown Valet on Willard Ave. in Chevy Chase. It's not too far from the Friendship Heights Metro.

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Arlington, Va.: Hello GOGs! I have a strange craving for Champagne cocktails. What's the best place to drink some?

Fritz: Metropolitain is my default on this one -- I love their French 75, because nothing gets me going like mixing gin and champagne. IndeBleu also has a great list of sparkling drinks.

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Columbia Heights, D.C.: Happy Thursday, Gurus. I've got two questions for you this afternoon:

1. We've got dinner reservations at Corduroy tomorrow evening. What would be a good pre-dinner drink stop? (We're way more dive bar than swanky lounge, but willing to be adventurous, if need be.)

2. I need a Sunday brunch recommendation. My husband and I usually do the Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights/Dupont rotation (Rosemary's Thyme, Tonic, Bourbon) but we've got friends coming in town, and I am wondering if there's something I'm missing. The friends like mainstream brunch items -- where else can we go in the general neighborhood?

Erin: If you're beer people, you can't do much better than Brasserie Beck, which happens to be a mere block from Corduroy. If it's the dive bar atmosphere you want, you're probably best just doing something like Fado down the street.

For Sunday brunch, how about Tabard Inn or Hank's Oyster Bar? Those are two of my favorite brunch menus. Up in CH, you could also go to RedRocks.

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Arlington, Va.: Do you have any insight to where a good jazz band is playing this weekend? Something in the direction of upbeat smooth jazz is my favorite.

David: The Smithsonian Jazz Cafe at the Natural History Museum is usually a good time on Friday evenings. Thom Rotella is there tomorrow night, can't say I'm an expert by any means but he should fit the bill.

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Ballston, Va.: Looking for a museum to peruse this afternoon. Either a good temporary exhibit or a permanent collection somewhat out of the ordinary (e.g. nothing on the Mall, no Corcoran or Phillips). Bonus points for being able to grab drinks close by.

My wife has suggested the Portrait Gallery but that is not doing it for me (though it may win due to the drink grabbing convenience).

Any ideas?

Julia: The Portrait Gallery has a lot to reccommend it: rock stars, presidents, Colbert. Don't forget that the Smithsonian American Art Museum is also housed in that building and it's got a lot of great art to reccomend it. I'm particularly fond of the top-floor Lincoln Gallery of contemporary art. A great place to spend and afternoon. And Fritz doesn't even have to venture out of the museum's walls to get his drink on.

Other options? I like cruising around the Torpedo Factory on a day off. You could catch a drink at any one of these nearby establishments, but I'd probably go to Murphy's.

Right now, I'd also head into town for Phil Nesmith's work at Irvine Contemporary and the exhibits at the surrounding galleries. You can't beat Logan Circle for a good spot to have a drink. I'd get a glass of wine at Merkado Kitchen.

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Mt. Pleasant: What's this I hear about Gina the bartender leaving Rasika? I don't think I've ever sat at a table there, because I always have so much fun at the bar. I even managed to get score a date when Gina introduced me to some other people sitting at the bar with me. What a loss! Where's she headed next? I'll be there (even if I don't get a date out of the deal.)

Fritz: I don't think I've sat anywhere but the bar in about two years, and I've occasionally left when I got there and there were no seats, or if Gina wasn't working, so I feel your pain.

I spoke to her over the weekend, and she doesn't have any plans at this point, though I'm sure I'll blog about it when she does. I think she was the finest mixologist/bar chef/whatever working in D.C. right now, so it's a loss for those of us who love good cocktails.

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The Non-Date Date: If the guy wants to do something sure to turn his date off, follow Dustin Hoffman's lead in "The Graduate" when he was forced to take out Mrs. Robinson's daughter - a gentleman's club. A sure-fire way to get out of a second date!

Julia: Not bad, I was going to suggest dipping, but I didn't want to offend any of the Skoal-carriers out there.

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Washington, D.C.: A group of friends and I would like to check out Marvin this weekend but can't stand waiting in lines. When would be a line-free time to get there on a Saturday night?

Fritz: I'd say 9:15 to 9:45 would be a good window. You'll be a little early for the DJ, but you'll be in with drinks in hand when other people arrive to wait.

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Arlington, Va.: Why do people think that the Gurus or any readers care about why they are submitting a question early? This has always been a pet peeve of mine about this chat. By the way, I am submitting early because there's a possibility that I will be committed to a mental hospital by Thursday, how does that sound?

Jen: That sounds perfect. Problem is, if you're there now, you'll never see the answer to this. Sad, really.

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Bethesda, Md.: Can you recommend a restaurant in Bethesda or Rockville for a birthday dinner with my family, which includes several non-adventurous eaters? My dad's footing the bill, so I want to go somewhere I wouldn't normally go myself, but also I don't want to break the bank. There will be seven of us.

Erin: David Craig Bethesda is the area's best spot, but that could be too outlandish for your group. Survey the menu and decide. If it is too much, Black's Bar & Kitchen has some fun dishes and good basics. You could also resort to something like Morton's.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi, I think this question is for Fritz. I'm new to the area.... is the Irish music at Murphy's pub in Old Town a fun time? Thanks, these chats are great.

Fritz: It can be... it can also be really crowded. But I generally prefer the atmosphere there to Pat Troy's or the other one.

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RE: I am compelled to take this girl out for a date on Friday. I have to show interest in the date or else I am in trouble.: This poor girl! Your strategy should actually be to go someplace you can talk a lot. Proceed to do nothing but talk about yourself. She won't want to go out with you again. I'm sure of it.

Julia: Ouch...but so true.

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Logan Circle, D.C.: My boyfriend and I enjoy eating out on Saturday morning at diners around the city. We often venture up to Adams Morgan, but I would love to have some options for cheap breakfast food closer to Logan/Dupont.

Erin: Luna just below the Circle is a great cheap breakfast spot. I usually go for the sweet potato fries, but there are plenty of good egg dishes. Afterwords at Kramerbooks is another go-to breakfast destination. I used to meet a lot of friends there in college for late-night/early-morning snacks.

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For the State Theater Goer: Clare N Don's Beach Shack moved from Clarendon to Falls Church, across the street from the venue. They've got very decent, reasonably priced food and a laid back atmosphere. Mmmm, now I want a jerked grouper sandwich.

David: A few recommendations for the Shack, with someone else mentioning they give discounts if you have a State Theatre ticket stub, so that's certainly another option.

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Needing something to do on Saturday afternoon, Virginia: Hi Gurus, I need something to do on Saturday afternoon, for just a few hours before going out to dinner. It should probably be in Virginia, near Alexandria or Arlington. Lately we have been hitting up museums, some shows, done some home improvement projects, etc. but I kind of want something low key, but not necessarily the movies. Have seen Ansel Adams and don't really feel like trekking into D.C. Any ideas?

Anne: Are you feeling crafty? At Del Ray Artisans this weekend (until 4), you can show up and make a Valentine's card with glitter, stamps, all kinds of materials. (To keep it, you give the gallery a donation.) Sounds therapeutic to me. And you could wander the avenue and pick up a drink to keep you warm while browsing some nearby shops.

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to the Kennedy Center!: Acting on your sage counsel, I'm going to see Sleeping Beauty at the Kennedy Center next Thursday. Yay! What does one wear to the ballet these days? I'd rather get dressed up, but lament that most people dress rather casually. Also, where can a ballet-goer get a quick bite before the show. Thank you so much!

Erin: Lucky!
Actually, the ballet attracts a lot of snazzy dressers. I am always most excited to see the people who show up in floor-length gowns on the arm of dapper old gents. In winter, you can get away with wearing anything. If there's ever a KC event worth dressing to the nines, it's the ballet.

Eating beforehand, you should try Circle Bistro. If you don't go there ahead of time, drop in after for a drink by the fire.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Fritz, I think in the past you have said that you lived in Silver Spring. Can we please team together and beg somebody to put in a good sports bar in the downtown area? Mcginty's is okay, but just isn't cutting it, and it would be nice to have another option.

Fritz: I lived in Silver Spring for a couple of years after college, and the only bars I ever went to were Quarry House and the loveable and now-closed Dietle's Tavern. (This was pre-Silver Sprung, you understand.) That said, while I don't think there's anything wrong with watching sports at Galaxy -- lots of TVs, affordable beer -- I'd be afraid that the Powers That Be would bring in some commercial sports bar chain, like Bar Louie or the Greene Turtle, to keep the downtown a joke.

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Tysons Corner, Va.: Hey gurus, all this cold, yucky winter weather is making me crave some sunshine and palm trees. Since I don't have the dough/vacation time to hop a plane to Kokomo, what's a good bar in DC to hit up for the tropical experience? Bonus points for mango margaritas!

Fritz: In D.C., I love love love the mango margarita at Restaurant K, which is made with house-infused tequila. Really tasty, and nothing at all like the overly sweet versions you find at too many Tex-Mex places.

For a tropical experience, head down to Mango Mike's in Alexandria, where they have some amazing rum drinks, including a pina colada that's served in a fresh coconut husk. It's amazing.

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Reston, Va.: Hi GOGs,

I wanted to thank you for your recommendation of Vermillion for brunch in Alexandria. My friend and I went on Saturday and it was wonderful. I wish I lived much closer so that I could visit it on a regular basis. Is there anything you could recommend out here in the land of chain restaurants that has even a vaguely similar vibe?

Thanks!

Erin: First of all, I'm glad that you love Vermilion. Very good place.
Out in Reston, is it too far to venture to Bazin's on Church? That has a nice vibe.

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Going to, Ellicot City: For the poster going to Ellicot City, I highly recommend the Phoenix Emporium for a bite to eat. Tasty sandwiches and soups.

Fritz: Is that the place down at the end of Main Street? I've never stopped in. Perhaps I should.

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Brazillian Bikini Wax: Nusta Spa on 20th Street, NW is a very good place. This will cost you around $65. If you are willing to go to Alexandria the Sugar House Day Spa is the best. Timi or Marcia do the best waxes around. It is also $65. I've been to several places and Sugar House is the best.

Janet: Thanks for the info. Sugar House has a good rep.

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Washington, DC: What is the atmosphere like at Science Club? does it get crowded? is there dancing there? thank you!

Fritz: Lots of cool people, from World Bank employees to lounge lovers, gather at the narrow 19th street club. It's packed on weekends (when I often flee to the basement level bar). There's a tiny dance floor in the back room, but the DJs are generally so good -- lots of house and funk -- that you'll find yourself crowding in.

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Fort Sam Houston, Tex.: I'm planning a bachelorette party for my twin sister in March. The theme is based on the TV show "Sex and the City". We're renting a hotel room in Pentagon City, where we'll pre-game and then do a bar crawl. I'm trying to locate DC bars that will fit this theme, preferably near the metro. So I'm thinking chic, stylish bars with quality cosmos and other cocktail drinks. If there's a not too pricey restaurant that would also fit, I'd like to go to dinner before the bar crawl as well. What would be y'all's recommendations for the bars and restaurants that would fit the bill?

Thanks so much! I'm in training currently for the Army down in Texas so I have limited time (plus I'm 1600 miles away!) to scope out potential locations.

Julia: I'd try Play in Dupont for your first stop. Helix is another option for good cocktails. You might want to check out the other bars I mentioned under dancing and classy in this super-old, but still helpful post on Bachelorette parties.

Jaleo isn't exactly cheap, but I think it's a good bachelorette party spot for a classy dinner. Besides, the Crystal City location's close to the hotel.

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Gallery Place: I just want to second the recommendation for the Portrait Gallery. Half the fun of the Colbert Portrait is watching the line.

They have a number of fine exhibits and the cafe in the atrium has a nice selection of wines, espresso drinks and desserts if you wan to take a break.

Julia: You and Fritz should totally hang out.

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Plant: "I have a strange craving for Champagne cocktails."

I mean, come on!

Fritz: Doubt it. I can think of at least a dozen places that offer sparkling drinks on their menus, including some newer places that have been trying to get me to say something nice about them...

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Fairfax, Va.: Hi! My wife is out of town and I want to take my kids(12,7) to a good breakfast place. What would be my best bet. Thanks.

Erin: I wish my dad would come and take me to breakfast this weekend. Out in Fairfax, you could go the diner route with 29 Diner, but I love Mexican, so I would pull for Anita's, which has breakfast burritos starting at 5 a.m.

I've heard that Angie's on Braddock has a good breakfast with m&m pancakes and things like that, but I can't vouch for it first-hand.

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Wolfing in Columbia Heights: OK. I'm a guy who probably cares a little too much about my haircut. The guy I used to go to moved away and now I'm stuck. I need to find somebody good. I've thought about Bang on U St because it's right between work and home. Any insight on which stylists are good there? Or if not, any other places in the U St, Dupont, Penn Quarter area?

You've never let me down before!!!!

Fritz: Bang is okay. Most of the guys I know who get their hair did in around U Street/Adams Morgan go to Demian (I used to) or Trim. In Penn Quarter, there's Molecule, which I hear decent things about but have no first-hand knowledge of.

Erin: Though we are not guys, Julia and I both rave about Bang. I visit Elena and Julia likes Patrick, though he's now at the Verizon Center location. Elena listens to me and does exactly what I ask of her. I imagine that skill translates to guys' hair.

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What are the odds: that the guy going on the forced date is taking out the chic getting the Brazilian? Dude, you just never know what's going to happen on a date. Just try to have fun. I married someone I "didn't want to go out with."

Julia: Yeah, word. Back in college, I never would have ever thought I would end up marrying the quiet kid who played pool all the time. But so it goes. We're getting hitched in June.

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Gallery Place : My finace and I would like to host an "after-party" later in the evening following our afternoon wedding reception in May. Because most people are staying in the Gallery Place area, we would like a bar in the area. Do you have any suggestions for 50+ people - where we can rent a space.

Fritz: Try Bar Louie for private rooms, but I think it would be far more memorable if you could reserve some space in the gorgeous historic courtyard at the Hotel Monaco. Only thing is that the May weather in D.C. is notoriously unpredictable, and the indoor restaurant (Poste) doesn't have a ton of space for 50 people.

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RE: I am compelled to take this girl out for a date on Friday: Can everyone take a chill on our friend here. NONE of us know the situation, he s currently in. It might be his bosses; daughter, neice or 2nd cousin. The writer, might possible like another person, who he cant go public with at this point in time.

At one point of another, we have all been in sticky situations.

Julia: It's true and well said. Thanks for this.

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Compelledville: Reading WAY too much into things is a specialty of mine, so I read this guy's question as "my mom doesn't know I'm gay/not interested in dating right now so she set me up and I can't blow the date off/be a jerk or Ma's on my case, but I can't feign interest because I'm not - where can I make my date happy and thus my mom and thus me" The answer he wants: a movie and noisy dinner. The answer he doesn't want (to get Haxian): the truth on why he's Compelled.

I am going to go get some decaf now...

Julia: You do need the decaf, but I like the imagined explanation.

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Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: I was thinking of going to the 9:30 club this weekend to see Honor By August, do you know what time the show actually starts? I know doors are at 5:30. Also, can you just stick around to see Blowoff later?

David: My educated guess is that the first band goes on at 6 and then the next three bands will go on every 45 minutes or so after that. So maybe 6, 6:45, 7:30, 8:15, something like that, maybe pushed back just a bit. You can stick around for Blowoff, but it'll cost you another $12.

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Washington, D.C.: I just moved to the area and I'm looking to make dinner reservations for Valentine's Day. My husband and I generally do the specials that have a fixed menu with wine pairings for a set price. Are there any that you would recommend in DC?

Erin: Most restaurants will have a special like that. I recommend that you take a look at places Proof, Cafe Atlantico and Locanda to see what they're up to for Valentine's Day. I think that all would offer nice romantic lighting with great wine.

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Federer rocks Down Under: Hey Gurus-- I've seen you direct sport fans of varying types to different sports bars for important games. I'm wondering if you would know what bar is planning to replay the semifinals and final matches of the Australian Open at a more decent hour. I don't have TIVO, am not wanting to get up at 3 a.m. to watch Federer beat Djokovia, and would love to watch it while having a few beers. Ideas on who might be playing it?

Fritz: This is a GREAT question, but I don't have a real answer. ESPN is showing some of the matches on delay (the 3 a.m. Friday semifinal is on at 3 p.m. the same day), but they're during the day. No bars I called are planning to show the matches at a reasonable hour.

Anyone know of a place to catch the Australian Open?

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Foggy Bottom, D.C.: Hey Gurus! Wine question for you. I was in Dallas on a work trip last week, and I came across the cutest wine shop downtown Dallas. They import grape juices from all over, and make their own wine in the shop. You can do tastings of everything. BUT what I thought was very unique was that they allow you to mix the grapes and make your very own jug of wine! So you can do a mix of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay if you like. They age it for you and when it's ready, you can bottle it yourself (a jug makes like 17 bottles) and put your own label on it and everything. I thought this was a great gift idea and was wondering if anywhere around here does it?? Hopefully? Thanks!

Julia: I actually don't know of any place in the greater D.C. area that does this specifically, but I've got the next best thing: The Sunday Source recently wrote about this place in Shirlington that does the whole bottling and personalized label gig. According to the Source story, you couldn't actually mix and match -- which seems like the cool part -- but you could definitely pick your flavors and labels. I have yet to check it out, but I really want to.

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U Street: Hey Gurus,

Just want to say that I'm a faithful reader of your chats -- not only do they help me out around town, but they give me something to look forward to on Thursday afternoons.

One quick question for you all (probably Fritz)... As a diehard Hoya (COL '07), I'm looking for a fun bar to watch my team beat WVU on Saturday night. I don't want to schlep over to the game watch at Townhall or really anywhere else in Gtown. Any suggestions for the U Street/Dupont/Adams Morgan area?

Thanks and don't forget, Georgetown's goin' to the Superbowl.....

Fritz: I like the new(ish) Momo's, which is having its grand opening party this weekend, for a low-key spot, and the game should also be on at Cue Bar.

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Inspired by the Food Network: Is there a restaurant in the area that serves Kentucky Hot Browns? I'm willing to travel to the 'burbs if necessary.

Also, I would love to take a Thai cooking class. Do you know where I might find such a thing? I thought I remembered you all doing a list of places in the area that offer cooking classes of all sorts, but I wasn't able to find that list... I've already checked the offerings at Whole Foods and Sur La Table. Thanks, gurus! I LOVE your chats!

Erin: Strangely enough, the only hot brown I can think of is on the lunch menu at PS7's.

As for a Thai cooking class, check this list. It always lives on the Food and Dining front.

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RE: Compelled: But he "HAS TO show interest in the date" or else he's "in TROUBLE." That is a weird situation for sure. Won't he get MORE in trouble for showing interest that isn't there?

I think it's George and he's taking out the daughter of his unemployment counselor. These situations do not end well.

Julia: To go Haxian yet again, I think most situations that "necessitate" lying of some sort always go South.

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Really? A long dress to the KC?: I also have tickets to Sleeping Beauty for a week from Saturday...wrote in to Suzanne D'Amato and Janet Bennett Kelly a little while ago and their consensus was definitely no long dresses to the KC these days. Too formal, no one does it anymore, etc. So I'm planning on wearing a knee-length dress instead.

Erin: S and J are definitely the experts on what you should do with fashion. I am simply relaying what people really do. I've been there lots and seen them.

D.C. is notoriously behind the times on fashion and there are few spring chickens at the ballet nowadays, so you'll see long (outdated) dresses. Knee-length is good, but be sure to wear something to cover your bare shins. I've been living in leggings and tights.

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Speaking of Silver Spring: ...Is Hook and Ladder going to open? Last year I thought I read springtime...

Fritz: I've been told it's now looking like late summer for the new restaurant and brewpub, which is taking over an old fire station in Silver Spring.

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Phone booth: Good afternoon almighty GOG's,

Trying to get my husband to take me a hockey game for Valentine's day. There used to be a bar on the corner of 6th and F that had direct access to the Verizon Center. Is it still there? If not, are there actual restaurants at the phone booth? Thanks!

Fritz: Well, you can get direct access into the Verizon Center from the mall at Gallery Place, so I'd probably choose drinks at Bar Louie. It's mere steps away.

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hot browns: Bourbon also has these for brunch

Erin: AND sweet potato fries. I love that brunch.

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WVU Alum: "As a diehard Hoya (COL '07), I'm looking for a fun bar to watch my team beat WVU on Saturday night.."

There is no such place in this town, chief. Your guys are going down Saturday to the Huggy Bear Express. Stay home, order in a pizza and save some jack.

Fritz: Oh man. Sounds like it is ON.

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RE: no long dresses to the KC these days. Too formal, no one does it anymore: You will see a wide variety of fashion choices at the KC. I just went recently to see the NSO and there were ladies in formal gowns and diamond necklaces, and families in rugby shirts. You can wear just about anything.

Janet: Yes, it's true, you can wear just about anything, but formal gowns and diamond necklaces belong at galas, not the KenCen.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! Love the chats. What advice can you offer to someone going to Hershey, Pa., for a girls weekend to celebrate a 30th birthday? The real draw is the spa, where I think we'll be rubbed with chocolate ... but what else should we see/do while we're in town? There are four of us in our late 20s/early 30s. Thanks!

Anne: Ah, wow, I'm jealous. I had a pedicure there in a regally airy room last year and now I'm totally spoiled. Well, if you are chocolate lovers, you must of course go to Chocolate World (my employer during high school) and take the goofy ride to pretend you're touring the chocolate factory. The place is free, but it is housed in a ginormous gift shop. Say hi to the banana trees for me. You should also just make sure you drive along the main street, past the real factory and see the streetlights shaped like Kisses. It's about an hour to Lancaster (where you'll find the big outlet shopping, not quite as high-end as in Leesburg), but Central Market on Saturday is the real deal.

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Haircut: For the guy looking for a good haircut. Go to Jamie at Salon Cielo on Connecticut just north of Dupont. My husband is the same about his hair and won't go to anyone BUT Jamie. He's excellent!

Janet: Here's a suggestion for a guy haircut. Thanks for passing on.

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Bethesda, Md.: My sister's 24th birthday is coming up and she's looking for a place to celebrate with about eight friends. They love to dance (mostly to hip hop) and their usual hangouts are Lucky Bar or Chief Ike's, but for her birthday she wants something a little fancier, but still fun and not too expensive. Any ideas?

Fritz: Liv, the upstairs at Bohemian Caverns, has been hosting a lot of good hip-hop events lately. Ditto Felix in Adams Morgan. Both would be a nice step up. And if she doesn't go to Wonderland, find a night when Dave Nada or Tittsworth are in the house. They tear the place up.

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Not quite a bachelorette party: Hope I get to sneak this in--my husband and a friend's husband are heading to Vegas in a few weeks. We want to have a girls' night out while they are away. We're young, we're fun, more into the dive than club scene, but would like to make it a nice, different night. I'm embarassed to admit the last time we did a girls' night we went to McFadden's and Angry Inch--eons ago. I've heard about this Tattoo Bar, though...what are your thoughts? Also, help with attire/money we're going to spend (we don't want a table, it's only 2 of us)/what time we should arrive so that we don't have to wait in line?

Fritz: I think Tattoo is an awesome time. Heavy metal and '80s/'90s rock videos on the flatscreens, people dancing on bars and tables, leather walls -- even the skeptical friends I took loved it. (Read my review here.)

If you go on a Friday or Saturday night, I'd say you should turn up around 10 or 10:30 to avoid the line. Call ahead and see if they'll put your name on the guest list, too, to cut down on the wait.

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Woodley Park, D.C.: Fritz,

My boss is out of town tomorrow and I plan to skip out of work. Where can I watch the Fighting Squirrels beat the Elephants?

Fritz: Rhome (if he feels better) and I may very well be watching the Squirrels and the Elephants do battle at Roger Miller in Silver Spring tomorrow. Cote d'Ivoire is going to win the African Cup of Nations this time around.

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Washington, D.C.: What are the best happy hour specials in the Farragut West area?

Fritz: Cafe Asia for $2 beers and $1 pieces of sushi, Bottom Line for wings and beer, McCormick and Schmick's for outstanding $1.99 bar food. (Seriously, an incredibly tasty burger.) Panache's happy hour specials are generally good if you stick to cocktails.

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Ivory Coast: chelsea needs drogba back

Fritz: But they have something like 60 million POUNDS worth of strikers there now!

Arsenal needs Kolo Toure more than Chelsea needs Dog'sbreath. Besides, he's off to Spain anyway.

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reader reviews: Why do you publish reader reviews that have nothing to do with the bar/restaurant they're reviewing? A comment that $15 cocktails are too expensive by someone who's never been to the bar is completely irrelevant. Reader comments can already be bad enough, so to leave up unrelated comments renders the whole system ridiculous.

Fritz: Where was that? I'll get ride of it.

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Valentine's Day: Geez, is it already time to make reservations?

Fritz: If you haven't made reservations already, you're out of luck. Sorry.

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Bye Bye Dremo's: Hey, GoGs. I am so sad to see Dremo's go. My little brother broke 2 fingers playing the punching game last summer, after several pitchers of Blue Moon. Good memories.

What will it be like this weekend? Its my boyfriend's FAVORITE bar and his birthday is this weekend. We wanted to stake out a place on Saturday night for 10 or so of us. Drink beer by the pitcher. Smoke. Lament. Do you know what the scene will be like? Do you expect it to be crowded?

Thanks.

Fritz: I expect it to be way crowded with everyone trying to get in one last pint, including me. I wouldn't think it'd be too crowded before 9, though, so you might want to arrive on the early side. There will be live music from a couple of local bands, and the regular happy hour will go on as scheduled from 5 to 7:30.

(Sadly, I won't get the Marion Berry Lambic tap handle at the end of the night. Damn.)

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Hanging with Fritz: The post about the Portrait Gallery got me thinking: what's it like to be a Guru? Do people follow you down the street? Do women/men throw themselves at you? Are you forced to plan every social event for your own crowd?

Or are you all extreme introverts who look nothing like your on-line personas?

Just curious.

Julia: This question is calling out for a sarcastic response, but I'm not the funny one, so, um, bummer for you, readers!

No one follows us down the street or throws themselves at us. Actually, they kinda do when it comes to Fritz. For example, here's a sample bar conversation between me, one of my friends and one of their friends:

Their Friend: So what do you do?
Me: I work for post.com.
My Friend: She's a GURU.
Their Friend: Whoa, no way! So, do you, like, know Fritz?

And so it goes. We do go out a lot, so I wouldn't really call any of us introverts. And yeah, we always have to plan the social events for our own crowds, which gets really annoying. But I mean, not too annoying, it's nice to help, but seriously, if my friends picked a spot to have dinner without any input from me just one time that would be really amazing.

Fritz: No one follows me down the street. You've been watching too much "A Hard Day's Night."

I have been asked what Erin looks like, though. I usually demure.

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washingtonpost.com: Ok, party people. That wraps it up for us. Enjoy your breakfasts, farewell to Dremos and everything else going on. See you next week.

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Beer Help: My boyfriend's b-day is next weekend, and he is a lover of Beligan and German beers. Want to take him some place where he could enjoy either, but....he wants to go some place that would also show the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday night. I was thinking Bierra Paradiso, Brickskeller, maybe even RFD, but not sure if those locations would have coverage of the action in the octagon on. Any suggestions? THANKS!

Fritz: None of those bars claims to be showing the UFC, and Paradiso doesn't even have a TV. Maybe hit Birreria first and then go over to Rhino Bar afterwards?

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