Thursday, February 28, 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.
Submit your questions and comments before or during today's discussion.
washingtonpost.com: What's up, D.C.? Welcome to Got Plans? We've got Janet, Jen, Fritz, Anne, David and me (Julia) on tap today to answer your questions. Let's get to it.
Arlington, Va.: Happy Thursday! For my boyfriend's birthday, I'd like to take him somewhere to brew his own beer. I've heard of a place somewhere in the Shenandoah Valley, I think....anyone have any ideas if thats a good place to go, or if there are others nearby? Thanks very much for the help!
Fritz: Well, you're a little off, but I can see why you'd be confused. The name of the place is the Shenandoah Brewing Company, and while the name makes me dream of Skyline Drive, it's actually located in an industrial park in Alexandria. I've made my own beer there. You have a number of recipes to choose from, and it's easier than you'd think -- especially with the helpful staff.
If you're up for a road trip, I hear good things about Flying Barrel in Frederick, but I've never been there.
Washington, D.C.: I'm going to the Bon Jovi concert tonight (so excited!) and am wondering what time he is expected to go on. We went out to dinner the last time he was here, got to the show around 9 and he was already playing. I REALLY don't want to miss any of his songs this year, so do you think 8:30 would be safe?
David: Definitely plan for earlier this time. According to Verizon Center, Daughtry will be on stage at 7:30 and Bon Jovi right around 8:30. Things should wrap up roughly around 11, so for the person who was asking about Metro, you should be fine.
Arlington, Va.: With the new stadium opening up in a few weeks, can we expect to see any bars/restaurants in that neighborhood operational by Opening Day?
Fritz: No, but rumors abound about a shuttle bus running from bars on Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row to the stadium, so that may be one option...
(Sorry, I'm awaiting confirmation and a schedule on this one.)
Washington, D.C.: I'm taking Hindi language classes and have been told watching Bollywood films is good practice. I'd rather not be cooped up at home watching DVDs. Are there local theatres that show Bollywood films regularly or international flicks in general for that matter? Thanks. Kim
Fritz: One of my favorite reasons to go to Delhi Dhaba for lunch is to watch the continuous stream of Bollywood musicals showing on the restaurant's TVs. I tend to get distracted from my lamb vindaloo.
For theaters, though, you should try the Loehmann Twin Cinemas in Loehmann's Plaza in Falls Church, which is right on Route 50 near the Beltway. Steady stream of Bollywood hits and children's films, which might be great if you're at the beginner level.
The Laurel 6 shows Bollywood films, too, though not as many.
Arlington, Va..: Hello! I am going to be a bridesmaid in an out-of-town afternoon wedding in late March. I will have to do my own makeup the day of the wedding, so I'm wondering if there are any places in northern VA/DC that I can go to beforehand and pick up some ideas from a makeup person regarding makeup application, different looks, etc. I'm not sure if one store/makeup counter is better than another, and I'd be willing to purchase some items if they looked great on. Thanks!
Janet: Omigosh. So many makeup counters, so many choices. If I were you, I'd go to the Nordstrom nearest you and do some reconnaissance -- like who's doing what on whom. Different makeups are known for different things. For example, Bobbie Brown products tend to be on the subtle side, while you'll more drama from Yves Saint Laurent Beaute. Depends on the look you're going for.
Washington, D.C.: Can't you keep some events a secret?! Jeez!(I still love you guys, though!)
Fritz: Wait, what are you mad at us for this time?
Northwest Washington, D.C.: I'm headed to the moe. show tonight at the 930 Club tonight with 3 other friends and wanted to grab some drinks and maybe appetizers beforehand. We were thinking Marvin or Cork, any other ideas? Thanks, Gurus -- Love the chats!
Julia: If you get there early enough, Cork's a sweet spot -- very cosy. Be sure to try to sun chokes.
Cork is lively in it's own dimly-lit way, but if you want a pre-concert place that's a little more energetic, I'd stop by Busboys and Poets or Marvin instead.
Washington, D.C.: Hey there,
What's going on out there for Leap Day? We won't have another shot at this for four years ...
Fritz: We have options in the overstuffed Nightlife Agenda this week, including free admission and drink specials (Leap Day Free Day) at Eyebar and the Dewey-fied Leap Day Jam at the Clarendon Ballroom.
The DJs spinning the special Leap Day Party at the Space point out that this is the only time in the next 28 years that we'll have Leap Day on a Friday, which is even more reason to make the most of it.
Restrained Curls in D.C.: I know it isn't strictly a "going out" question, but here goes anyway.
I'm looking for a hairdresser who can give me essentially a tutorial on how to deal with my hair. It's curly, and I only ever tie it back, but I'd like someone who could take some time to wash it, show me what to use on it, how to dry it etc. so I could wear it down. Maybe show me a way to do different styles. Any ideas who might do this, how much it would cost and what I would ask for when making an appointment?
Thanks so much!
Janet: Great question. Don't know of any salons/hairdressers per se who do this kind of service, but Progressions Salon in Rockville might be able to help. Chatters, any other ideas?
Washington, D.C.: I and my group of Southern girlfriends have been looking for a country bar. Any where remotely Metro-accessible where we can two step?
Julia: Go to Nick's. I know I'm a broken record about that place, but it's just awesome. I go there with both Southern friends and those open-minded Northerners. I just took my whole bachelorette party there and we had a great time.
Metro accessible is admittedly a bit of a stretch. If you're committed though, you can do it. My girlfriends and I have Metro-ed to Van Dorn Street and walked over to Nick's. It's not too far a walk, but probably wiser to take a cab from the train station.
Washington, D.C.: Hi guys,
I may be crazy, but I think that I remember something about getting cheap tickets at Shakespeare theatre (i'm hoping it was shakespeare) if you go to the box office on a certain day of the week. Is that true? I really want to see Major Barbara, but 60 something bucks for a ticket is a bit steep. Thanks!
David: You might be thinking of the under-35 ticket offer they have. Every Tuesday morning they set aside 20 pairs of $10 tickets for current productions, only available to people 35 and under (so have your I.D. handy). You can also order over the phone in case you can't get the box office in person. If you're over 35 ... time to pay up, I guess.
Arlington, Va.: Hey Gurus! I'm trying to organize a volunteer event (quarterly) for my company. We will probably have about 30 people at each event, and weekends or evenings are preferred. Do you have any suggestions for a good volunteer activity for a large group of people that's not on a super-regular basis? Thanks for your help!
Anne: Good stuff, Arlington. I'd say try contacting a clearinghouse like Volunteer Match or think locally, like the Arlington County Volunteer Office. Both of those list tons of opportunities, so you could pick one that fits with your office's interests. Want to emphasize being green? You could do a stream cleanup along Four Mile Run. Prefer to dress up while volunteering? Help organize a gala for a nonprofit. One way to get started might be to hit some of the major events this spring and make more contacts that way: Coming up in April is the annual work-a-thon for Hands On D.C. and in May is the D.C. Cares Servathon, both of which always benefit from a high volume of volunteers.
Washington, D.C.: Gurus, please help this fella out...
I'm an average late-20s guy in need of a haircut. For too long, I've gone to the Ballston Barber Shop, where they buzz with somewhat reckless abandon. I'd like someplace that knows what they are doing, and where, ideally, I can actually have "a person" to go back to, who knows my haircut - as opposed to luck of the draw. But I don't want some overpriced, trendy spot that'll cost $45 and leave me feeling a little goofy when I come to work; I'm just an average guy in need of a sharp-looking, normal haircut.
Can you, or the chatters, help out with some recommendations? I'm convinced that I should open this type of place on my own, since I know tons of guys who face the same problem.
Janet: We feel your pain about the too-expensive-for-what-you-get haircut for guys. Reasonable prices and sharp-looking haircut is a combo that's difficult to find. Usual suspects are Demian, Trim and Bang.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus!
My friends want to go out dancing this Friday. And we desperately need some ideas! We don't get to do this as often as we used to and really don't know where to go. We are all in our late 20s/early 30s and just want to dance to top 40 songs. Nothing fancy...just a fun place in DC or Northern VA.
The dancing queen
Fritz: How about live bands instead of the usual DJs? Burnt Sienna and Kristen and the Noise are hugely popular in Dewey Beach circles for covering everything from Green Day to '80s hits, and they're playing back-to-back at the Clarendon Ballroom, plus you get a DJ spinning Top 40 and hip-hop downstairs. (Seriously, is there really a difference between Top 40 and hip-hop anymore?)
If you'd rather hear a DJ, I gotta throw in another plug for No Scrubs, an all-'90s dance party benefit at the Black Cat, which will probably have more Top 40 hits than anywhere else around (and you'll probably know all the words). You can check out the DJs' preview mix in the Nightlife Agenda column on this-here site.
Other reliable Top 40s dancing destinations: Chief Ike's, Lucky Bar, Angry Inch (though you might feel a touch old), Clarendon Grill, Ned Devine's Irish Village.
Re: Restrained Curls in D.C.: Beth at Fiddleheads (17th & P NW) works miracles with curly hair.
Janet: But will she show you how to do what she does??
Washington, D.C.: I want to take a cooking class with my date. Are there any in DC that the two of us can go?
Julia: Someone wrote in a few weeks ago about the cooking classes at Sur la Table. Looks like they do them at the Pentagon Row location. I've never been to a class there, but from the site, it appears that the classes are one-time events, which would be great for a date night. Can any chatters shed some light on the SLT courses?
Also check out the Food section's annual list of cooking classes. The September list is a little dated at this point, but it could get you started.
Re: chick with curly hair: I swear this is nerdy, but check out YouTube for tutorials. Also, monkeysee.com has great how-tos. Hahaha, look for the old lady giving pole dancing tutorial just for fun.
Janet: For the woman ISO hair tutorial, check it out.
Arlington, Va.: So Five doesn't want House music anymore. What are they going to do with the monthly Wednesday Drum and Bass nights? Certainly moving Fabio next door to tiny Andalu is not a good sign.
Fritz: The Really Bad News coming out of Five, despite what they told me last week, is that drum 'n' bass nights are ending after Andy C tears the place up next month (March 26). I'm really disappointed, because the sound system there was so right for groups like London Elektricity. This means my two favorite places to head d'n'b in D.C. -- Five and Red -- are now no more.
Washington, D.C.: Hi guys,
A few of my friends have been raving about a new Brazilian hair-straightening treatment. Have you heard about this and would you recommend any DC salons which are doing this
Janet: I know that Roche Salon in D.C. does this, but as for recommending it, I would approach it with a very big note of caution. This treatment is extremely controversial because of the chemicals involved and the possible harmful effects.
Re: restrained curls: Sung at Progressions in Rockville showed me some great techniques for making my curls behave in a dignified manner.
Janet: More input on how to find someone who'll show you hair techniques.
Washington, D.C.: I know you've mentioned Tattoo before, but I forget, Fritz, do you like the place? I rather like it. It doesn't have the same "gotta have hot chicks with you to get in" feel (ahem, Lima) and it plays sweeeeet music. Too bad it gets so stinkin' squished in there. What's your take for its future? Are there any similar vibe bars around that don't get so packed? It's nothing like Asylum, which is fun for different reasons.
Fritz: I like the music. The drinks are hellaciously strong and reasonably priced for a lounge ($6 beers, $8-12 cocktails). The vibe is more laidback and comfortable than the other lounges in D.C.
The #1 complaint I'm getting, though, is that people want to dance to Motley Crue and the Clash, and there's nowhere to do that without bumping into other people, short of renting the $2,000 minimum DJ booth and putting on a show for the crowd. If there's a bar with a similar vibe out there -- besides the upstairs at Rock and Roll Hotel when a good DJ is on -- I'm always happy to hear about it.
Washington, D.C.: We have a weekly happy hour club and we have run out of good places to go to. Our criteria is CHEAP drinks. So many places have crappy happy hour specials. We are all professionals and leave work early on Thursdays just to go to happy hour. We want to be rewarded for our hard work in making to the bar by 5:30!! Any good suggestions of perfect happy hour spots?
Fritz: Give me a rundown of where you've been, and which places are "crappy," and I'll try to help you out.
Cork: I'm supposed to be meeting some friends at Cork tonight. What should I expect? Big crowds? Good food? Obviously good wine... any recs? Thanks GoGs!
Julia: I'm forgetting the name of the wine in "bin 41," but it was delicious. A nice full-bodied red. If your server is anything like mine was, s/he will be able to point you in the right direction. When I went two weeks ago, a friend spelled out a laundry list of characteristics she liked in her wines and miraculously, our waiter was able to pick one a good one for her. As I mentioned above, I really liked the sun chokes, but the lemony calamari and the rich lamb dish were also good.
Fritz and I have both experienced a mad rush of diners and drinkers in the small space. If you know when you're going to meet there -- and you'd like a table -- call a 1/2 hour before you plan to arrive to be put on the waiting list. It can get pretty packed. I went during an ice storm and still had to wait.
Washington, D.C.: I convinced my boyfriend to go salsa dancing with me. Where is a good place for two beginners?
Fritz: Tonight at the new Costa Verde restaurant should be a blast -- fantastic band (Bio Ritmo), plus lessons for beginners are included in the cover, and I'm a big fan of instructor Jeri Dembrak.
Other places where you'll find plenty of beginners who won't mind when you step on their toes include Clarendon Ballroom (Mondays), Lucky Bar (Mondays) and maybe the Friday night party at Caribbean Breeze. I really like Habana Village, but you get plenty of experts in there... you might want to practice first.
RE: Andy C: Five management may change their minds about switching formats next month when they see the crowd Andy C / Ed Rush&Optical will draw on a Wednesday night.
Fritz: We can hope, but it sounds like the decision is done.
Dog Park: Can you recommend any good dog parks in the Northern Virginia area? I've been to some that are really small and others that are not clean. Ideas?
Jen: I am going to throw this out to the chat community at large. I have a dog but live in Bethesda, so I haven't ventured into the NoVa dog park scene.
I empathize, though. There are no official dog parks of any kind near our house. Closest are in Wheaton and Germantown, which is weird considering how many people have pups in our neighborhood alone.
22205: (I swear this is not a plant) David, can you give me some background on who's playing in the next few weeks at Iota? My friend and I love checking out quirky bands and the singer-songwriter types (best show at iota in '07 was Jenny Owen Youngs and Jim Bianco, to give you a feel for my "type" of music), but we've been disappointed by the bands during our last few visits. I checked out their schedule online, and none of the upcoming acts look familiar.
Also: another great show I saw in '07 was Gil Mantera's Party Dream at R&R Hotel. Are there any bands coming to town that compare to the hilarity that is GMPD live? I loved Rattler shows, but they aren't playing anytime soon either.
David: I'm going to recommend you check out the March 6 show with Steve Poltz and Last Town Chorus. Poltz is probably best known as Jewel's ex-boyfriend, who co-wrote some of her biggest hits, but he fits the "quirky singer-songwriter" bill. Opening act Last Town Chorus isn't too quirky, but is very awesome, at least when I've seen them. The singer has a majestic voice and plays pedal steel like a woman possessed. So that's a week from tonight, you will enjoy it.
As for over-the-top rock, you missed out on getting tickets for next Saturday's Hives concert. Black Lips (March 15, Black Cat) have toned down their antics about, but that might work.
Courthouse, Va.: HI Gurus,
This is not a going out question but hope you can help. I am desperately trying to find places in Rosslyn/Courthouse/Clarendon where I can grab a quick carry out dinner after work. I hate to cook and every night on my way home, I get stuck trying to figure out what to eat. Any kind of food is fine and I'm trying to stay away from McDonald's and the likes. Thank you!
Falls Church, Va.: My friend and I are female, mid-20s and enjoy a good sports bar. Criteria for good include: quality beers on tap and a decent price, TVs that actually play the games, and patrons that are there to mingle and also watch the game. Shouldn't be hard to find, right? Wrong. We've had no luck with either the mix of crowds or arriving at what is billed as a sports bar yet has all TVs off. Help!
Fritz: Well, two of the area's biggest sports bars are in your backyard: Mister Days in Clarendon and Crystal City Sports Pub in (duh) Crystal City. Both have passable beer selections and dozens upon dozens of screens, and loads of fans who turn out on the regular to watch games -- and in the case of Mister Days, do some "mingling." (It is, after all, in Clarendon.)
Places you might not have thought of: Town Hall, in Glover Park, and Rhino Bar, in Georgetown, are at opposite ends of the style and cheapness spectrum, but draw a good mixed crowd for wings and beers.
Reston, Va.: Hey Gurus,
You've helped me with some random questions before, so I'm hoping you can help me now. I just bought a record player, and I want to find some good stores where I can pick up new and used records. I'm not a DJ or anything -- just a guy who wants to hear "Songs in the Key of Life" and "Abbey Road" on wax. Where can I go in NOVA, or, in a pinch, DC, to get me some tunes, man?
David: Definitely get to Orpheus on Wilson Blvd before that closes down. And you can try the CD Cellars in NoVa, they don't have a lot of stuff but if you're just looking for big albums, you might be in luck. And you might find some random, cheap stuff, too. And try to hit up Red Onion if you venture into D.C.
Arlington Dog Park: Four Mile Run park is great. It's about 1/4 to 1/2 mile long -- not wide at all- but it allows you to walk along while you play with your dog. There's also Four Mile Run right next to it -- with two breaks in the fence that allow you to take your dog down to the water to play in. I go once a week and there's always people there -- it's great!
Jen: Sounds like a great option -- thanks.
re: Nova Dog Park: Though it's not great, there is one on Duke St. near Beatley Library. It's fenced. Better unfenced is near Old Town waterfront. Actually, it's not a dog park but lots of unleashed dogs are out there, no?
Jen: Sounds like the latter might be one of those unsanctioned dog parks. But still, worth exploring.
Washington, D.C.: Re: restrained curls: Demian also offers a "curly girl" tutorial, that sounds exactly like what you're looking for. And they're just great there.
Janet: Curly girl, this sounds like what you may be looking for!!
Curly: Apparently Elena at Bang on U Street is GREAT for curly-haired ladies.
Janet: Another option for your curly hair.
Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C.: What should be the game plan for a few girls in their late 20's to get into one of the new lounges by McPherson Square (Josephine/Tattoo/Park) on Saturday night? I can't seem to find a guest list online anywhere for weekends and we definitely don't want to have to buy a table. If you know what the cover charges are, that would be helpful, too. Thanks so much and Happy Thursday!
Fritz: A group of women will most likely not have a problem getting into any of those spots. (You girls have it so easy.) Josephine, for example, sent out an e-mail the other day saying that they would not allow groups of men in if they didn't have women with them. I've also seen groups of women waltz their way into the Park by telling the bouncer that they were in an all-female group. And Tattoo -- easiest of the bunch. Tattoo and Park probably won't have cover charges.
What I'd do: Call Park and Josephine ahead of time, tell them you're bringing a group of women and you'd like to be on the guest list. (I know, more difficult than typing your name into a Web site or sending an e-mail.) It shouldn't be too much of a problem-- or I'd hope not, at least.
Northwest Washington, D.C.: Hey Fritz - Any thoughts on where I can ride a mechanical bull - ideally in DC?
Fritz: If this is who I think it is, I hate you.
Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions for something to do in the District (Metro-accessible) for this Saturday afternoon/early evening? We're two friends who haven't been out in a while so it is unlikely that we've seen any exhibits or movies that you might recommend. Thanks.
Jen: I'll let Julia address the exhibit-options portion of your question.
As far as movies go, I highly recommend "Chicago 10," which opens exclusively at the Landmark E Street tomorrow. If you didn't catch it last summer at Silverdocs, this is a highly unconventional look at the riots that followed the 1968 Democratic Convention and the trial that ensued. Might sound boring, but it is anything but.
"U2 3D" is also tremendous. It's playing on multiple screens now, including ones at Gallery Place and Georgetown, but it's best to see it at the Imax theater at Natural History.
Julia: "Recognize" -- at the Portrait Gallery -- is one of the most fun exhibitions on right now. You can preview the works in our photo gallery, but nothing compares to seeing life-size, Baroque-y portraits of LL Cool J in person. Haven't seen the "Color at Field" show (in the same building), but it looks promising.
20910: Do you GOGs, especially Fritz, ever get tired of going out and being "on" to review a place? Every feel like, I'm not going out for a while, I'm burned out? While people might think you guys have the sweetest jobs out there, I was thinking the obligation to actually do it might sometimes put a damper on things.
Fritz: Everyone's jobs have ups and downs. Sometimes I'd like a quiet night in with a DVD, and the next thing I know, I'm getting home at 2 a.m.
But I can't recall the last time I stayed in longer than, oh, three nights in a row. I get antsy. (Besides, I have to do research for this chat, haven't I?)
Pentagon Row, Arlington, Va.: I've assisted with cooking classes at Sur La Table in Pentagon Row for a couple of years, so I can shed some light on the date night question. Short answer: Yes! These classes are great as dates, we have lots of couples come in there all the time. You'll get to sit down and eat what you cook at the end of the evening, it's metro accessible (just walk through the mall from Pentagon City stop). The only caveat: Plan Ahead! Most classes sell out almost as they're posted online, so keep checking for when new classes are posted, or get on a wait list for one that looks good but is already full. Have fun!
Julia: Thanks for the intel, class assistant.
Clarendon, Va.: For the person looking for carryout: two of my standbys are Hard Times in Clarendon (cheap and yummy chilli) and El Pollo Rico a few blocks further away, but worth the walk! There's also the salad bar/deli at Whole Foods, but that isn't very cheap is it?
David: Whole Foods + cheap = does not compute. Earl's Sandwiches, right across from that Whole Foods, is another good option.
Reston, Va.: Is there anything cultural to do near Fenwick Island, Md.. I'm visiting grandma for the weekend, and am looking for a little something to do...
Jen: Yeah, the beaches are not exactly high-culture central, especially during the off-season, when a lot of things are closed to begin with.
You're more likely to find something approximating culture if you head toward Rehoboth, where there are some interesting shops and art galleries in the central part of town. Rehoboth also has its own film society; their annual film festival isn't until November, but they may have other events worth exploring.
Check out what's happening in Bethany, too. They sometimes have art shows on the boardwalk. The artwork is not exactly on par with the Corcoran -- and again, most of this activity probably happens during warmer months -- but it never hurts to check. Bethany and Rehoboth also boast some excellent restaurants, which may do special events. (I know Patsy's in Bethany, a place I love, sometimes hosts wine tastings/dinners.)
nosy question: Y'all ever dated each other or anything?
David: Dated each other? No.
Or anything? Maybe.
Day trips: Can you recommend a good day trip from D.C. for this weather? We were thinking of things like Middleburg or Occoquan (but don't know much about either), or Linden Vineyards ...
Anne: Middleburg puts you around old houses, antiquing, horsey sports like steeplechase and fox hunting and a bunch of wineries. Occoquan is the strip of galleries and country shops on the river's edge that you look longingly toward when you're sitting in major gridlock on 95. Sounds like you're leaning toward a winery, though. I think I'd pick Middleburg and see what you can learn about the Rappahannock Hunt and swing by a winery on your way.
Arlington, Va.: This may be out of left field, but I'm looking for some Goodwill like thrift stores that sell anything and everything. I know of a few Goodwill locations in Arlington, but are there any that aren't affiliated with Goodwill/Salvation Army that do the same type of thing? For the record, I'm not looking for a boutique.
Julia: Go to Value Village in Hyattsville. It's in this massive, airplane-hangar-like building and has everything under the sun. I got this awesome vase there for like $5 and a rad leather jacket for $12. It takes a lot of digging, but there are finds to be found.
I also like Georgia Avenue Thrift, but Value Village is definitely not to be missed.
Curly in Van Ness: Another curl question that may elicit the same recommendations as the previous one (regarding who can show her how to tame her tresses). I also have curly hair but have always left it long and let it run fairly wild and free. I am now looking to get a more trendy, sculpted, contemporary cut. Any recommendations for someone talented with curls, but who can give me a more hip look?
And for the girl looking to learn how to wear her hair free, I swear by the Tigi Catwalk Curls Rock line.
Janet: How about Sassoon in Tysons? They're offering discounts for first-timers.
Anonymous: We've been to Capitol City (we like! better than paying $4 for a Miller Lite during "happy hour"), Big Hunt (crappy drink specials), Citron (decent drink specials, but not for a diverse crowd), Front Page (so crowded!), Recessions (hilarious! and cheap drinks!) Circle Bistro (decent), Caribbean Breeze (good food and drinks, but not THE spot). We like drinking off the day and still having enough to cab home!
Fritz: Okay! Let's add a few more...
Cafe Asia ($1 nigiri, $2 Sapporo draft beer)
Old Dominion Brewhouse ($3.75 premium drafts, half-price appetizers)
Nellie's Sports Bar ($3 beers, various cocktail specials)
Lounge 201 (half-price wine, cocktails or beers, depending on the night)
Ragtime: $2 drafts, $2.50 microbrews, $2.50 rail drinks.
Volunteer Ideas: You could also contact DC Central Kitchen or Food and Friends. They are always in need of volunteers and could probably put you all to work for a day. Or get the group to volunteer for Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation in DC. It's coming up in March and I'm sure they could use the help. (and your group would be fed well at the event!)
Anne: Good tip. Thanks for lending a hand on this one!
Washington, D.C.: Fritz, when you go to black tie optional events, do you wear a tux?
Fritz: Yes. It's at the dry cleaners as we speak, getting ready for this weekend. Why?
Northwest Washington, D.C.: Follow-up from the question about Josephine/Tattoo/Park....
Any advice for a group of single guys as to how to get into these places?
Fritz: Bring girls.
Seriously, bring girls.
Sports Bars: I have the same problem, especially during baseball season, of finding a good cheap-ish metro accessible bar to watch games at off the Red Line. Think not ESPN Zone on the price scale.... and a bar that isn't infested with Boston Red Sox fans... .any ideas? I live in Silver Spring if it matters, and McGinty's doesn't cut it.
Fritz: Penn Quarter Sports Tavern may be just what you need. I've only been twice at this point, but I love the happy hour -- it was under $8 for two Yuenglings and a plate of wings, and they have plenty of TVs. The upstairs decor is a little cheesy, yes, but it's laidback, cheap and shows sports. That's what I'm looking for, and it's a quick walk from the Judiciary Square stop.
Re: No Secrets in D.C.: Hey Fritz--If I told you, I would just be proving my point!
Re: Josephine: Who are these groups of guys trying to go to Josephine? The only way I can get anyone to go with me to those places is to proclaim that it is a ladies night so they'll leave their boyfriends at home, who'd all rather stick needles in their eyes than go somewhere "trendy."
Fritz: True story: I was meeting a group of friends at Josephine on Presidents' Day weekend -- I was on the list, thanks to a friend on Facebook -- and they left because there were dozens of guys in front of them who were trying to get in and the line wasn't moving.
Sounds like you and your girls need to spend more time at Josephine.
Petworth, Washington, D.C.: Ok, enough messing around, 'rus. There are restaurant questions to be answered. Tell Erin to get off her vacationing rear and get back for next week's chat.
Julia: Sorry, Petworth, Erin has left the land of the gurus for good. We miss her terribly around these parts, but rest assured, she's got a sweet new gig.
As of, well, today, I'm jumping into the restaurants role. I'll do my best to follow in her fantastic footsteps!
Blue Mtn. Brewery-Afton, Va.: Fritz - I think early writer was looking for Taylor Smack's Blue Mountain Brewery on the road to Wintergreen Ski resort.
Taylor brewed and medalled for South Street Brewery in C'ville and continues his good work in an excellent spot not far from Route 250/I64.
Fritz: They were looking for a place where they could brew their own beer, which I don't think you can do at Blue Mountain. (It would be nice if you could...)
Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus -- Got a question about the H Street NE shuttle. The last two times I called for the shuttle, I was told it wasn't running. This has been over maybe the past six weeks.
One time when I called, the shuttle guy told me he'd been told not to run the shuttle that night. The last time I called, I actually ended up talking to the guy in person on the street, and he told me there'd been some kind of miscommunication between him and -- I assume -- Joe Englert (he said "the guy who owns the clubs" or something like that), and that the shuttle wouldn't be running anymore.
So, do y'all have any scoop? I know Metro's eventually planning to have a shuttle from one of the stations in that area, but is the only alternative at this point a cab ride or a hike from Union Station? Is there another bus option? Also, I'm just curious to hear the what's going on here -- and the other side of the story -- if y'all have any intel. Thanks!
Fritz: I called Rock and Roll Hotel owner Fritz Wood (a k a "One of the Other Fritzes") and he said the Hotel is nousingr usuing the shuttle every weekend. "We started doing that because there were no cabs [coming down to H Street] when we first opened, but now cabs know to come here." They may continue to use it on a case-by-case basis, like if there was a sold-out show earlier in the week, when cabs are much harder to find, but for now, no more free shuttles.
Your best option for getting down to H and back, which I really do use frequently, is the X2 bus, which runs from McPherson Square past Gallery Place and down H Street. It's not the most reliable bus in the world, but it does the job.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Fritz,
I asked this question lasperhapsbut prehaps it was too late into the chat. Considering that I don't have $2000 to spend on a table at Tattoo, what are the regular drink prices like? I'd most likely stick to beer if that helps.
Fritz: Tattoo's not set up with beer drinkers in mind at all. It's like either a $6 Heineken or a $6 Amstel Lite. Yawn.
Silver Spring, Md.: My spouse and I decided last minute to go away this weekend. Would you please recommend a nice B&B within 2-3 hour drive from D.C., with great food and a few interesting activities nearby? We ideally would like to try the Inn at Little Washington but find the price tag a bit prohibitive. Perhaps we'll reserve that for an anniversary or birthday celebration.
Anne: If Little Washington is on your save-for-later list, how about heading the opposite direction for this weekend? In Annapolis, you can easily walk to most of the attractions and good meals. Here are some capital ideas for B&Bs and eats.
Washington, D.C.: My long-distance boyfriend will be in town this weekend and I'd like to take him on a big "night on the town" after dinner, including some fun dancing. Can you recommend a place that might be good for a couple? I'd like to take him somewhere with a young, international vibe but would prefer to stay away from somewhere too big or obvious (Love, Lima, etc). Ideas? Help Gurus!
Fritz: More loungey than clubby, eh? Metropolitain gets a really international crowd. Eyebar and the Space, too, and both are throwing Leap Day parties tomorrow night.
Washington, D.C.: Can you suggest furniture places in DC or VA? Not Ikea type but not too conservative.
Janet: Goodwood in U Street corridor, And Beige on Florida Ave. NW, Apartment Zero in Penn Quarter for modern stuff; also RCKNDY, also in U Street corridor.
Everything was Beautiful at the ballet, hey!, Washington, D.C.: My girlfriends and I are going to see the NYC ballet tomorrow night at the Kennedy Center. We're looking for a quieter bar nearby where we can sip drinks and catch each other up on our lives. Nothing too loud and hopefully places to sit at about 10 pm. We're grabbing drinks beforehand at Circle Bistro so somewhere else in the downtown area afterwards would be ideal.
Fritz: When I hear "quieter" and "Kennedy Center," I always think Notti Bianchi. Yes, the Foggy Bottom restaurant is best known for its really nice Italian cuisine, but there's a small, quiet bar tucked in the back past the kitchen -- maybe 10 seats total. I've used it for dates before.
Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions for a place a couple new to dancing could try out their waltz?
David: Glen Echo's Spanish Ballroom is the one that immediately comes to mind. Usually a couple of Sunday afternoons per month, 3-6 p.m., next one is this Sunday. There's always a lesson for beginners for the first half hour, then a couple hours of dancing.
Washington, D.C.: Submitting early because...oh wait, nobody cares why!
My question, that I've been meaning to ask for ages, is about bars. Specifically, I am looking for a bar where people get toasted and sing along loudly with some sort of performer. I've been to a few places in NYC like this (a piano bar with ample audience participation and a random bar where a guy played his guitar and everyone started belting out with him). I have yet to be in a bar like this in DC. Any suggestions? I just want to drink and sing along loudly, without being a freak!
Fritz: You know what's awesome? I just blogged about piano bars the other day. Mr. Smith's and Morrison House are the way to go.
Arlington, Va.: A swanky place where an age 25-35 crowd can sit, talk and drink wine. Not crazy packed, Not standing room only, and not too loud. Does this place exist outside of my imagination?
Tried and failed: Proof, Veritas, Talulla, Marvin, ...
Fritz: I know, I know. It seems like every time something good comes along, it gets packed immediately, but the crush at the other similar places doesn't lighten! (I was hoping this would be the case with Cork impacting Marvin and Veritas.)
Some tried-and-true places for you to consider, all with a good wine list: the upstairs lounge at Sonoma, Bourbon, Bar Pilar (though weeknights, not weekends), the bar at Bistrot du Coin, the new wine bar upstairs at Bistro d'Oc.
New York, N.Y.: Sad to here about Five/Red and the lack of Drum and Bass locales. Does Buzz still have a dnb component to their Friday events? What about Baltimore?
And just FYI London Elektricity is one guy, not a group. Saw him a few months ago and he ripped it.
Fritz: Sorry. Was thinking the old Tony-and-Chris duo (whom I've seen together here and in London) instead of just Tony. Probably my favorite d'n'b act of the decade.
Buzz doesn't bring in as much crankin' drum 'n' bass as Five, other than the Planet of the Drums tours. Maybe this will give them a kick in the pants.
Crystal City, Va.: Hey Gurus-
Happy Thursday! I am looking for a cool, reasonably priced restaurant to take my out-of-town vegetarian friend and her NON-veggie boyfriend. Bonus points if it is within a block or two of blue or yellow lines. Any thoughts?
Thanks in advance!
Julia: If they're into tapas, I'd try Zaytinya. With small plates, there's bound to be enough to keep meat-eater and non-meat-eaters alike appeased. It can get pricey if you don't watch the number of small plates you order, so, for a cheaper option, try Levante's. The atmosphere's better in the summer, but the moderately priced falafel platter is quite good.
Thrift stores: Also try the Montgomery County thrift store, on Wisconsin, walking distance from the metro, near Trader Joe's.
Julia: Thanks for the tip.
Farragut, Washington, D.C.: I tried this with Tom, but no luck, so I'm hoping you or the peanut gallery can help. I saw an ad in the Food Section last week for a free Scotch tasting, but I couldn't go. This is something I'd really like to learn about...do you know of any other free scotch tastings/clubs that do something like this?
Fritz: Well, you can get on the e-mail lists of the bigger Scotch companies (Macallen, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich) and they'll send you invites to events and tastings in the area. Or you can just go out to the Royal Mile Pub on Thursdays, where you pay a minimal amount for samples of Scotch and can talk to the house experts about them. Ask for Dan. He knows his stuff.
Columbia, Md.: Bring our own attractive women? Well [insert Clay Davis's favorite expression here], if we could do that we wouldn't be looking to get in there in the first place!
Fritz: It is possible to go to a bar without looking to hook up.
washingtonpost.com: Well, would you look at the time? That's it for us, kiddos. See you next week!
Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Any word on Blaguard's? Worth checking out?
Fritz: Last one -- I went to the opening weekend and was really impressed with what's been done to the place. It looks good, but not overdone, with plenty of TVs, a relaxed atmosphere, decent drinks, shuffleboard upstairs. It's not going to knock you over, and it's not as cheap as the Common Share was, but it's a solid pub.
Funny rumor of the night: The owners of the bars down by 18th and U are trying to come up with a name for their little stretch. Leading contender: SoMo, for "South of [Adams] Morgan."
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