Got Plans?

The Going Out Gurus
of the City Guide
Thursday, April 3, 2008; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET,'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:

____________________ Things we're excited about this week: Hirshhorn After Hours, Brazilian art and music, Absinthe Cocktails, Korean movies. Things we're not: The weather forecast. Who wants to look at cherry blossoms in the rain? Anyway, I'm Fritz. Rhome, David, Julia and Anne are all here to answer your questions today. Shall we begin?


Arlington, Va.: Hi I'm looking for a casual restaurant in the U Street area to grab a late dinner before heading over to the Black Cat to dance to some 80's tunes. Any favorite spots you'd recommend? Preferably a place that takes reservations as there will be five or six of us. We're open to any type of cuisine but there need to be a least a couple vegetarian options.

Julia: Coppi's and the newish Ulah Bistro come to mind.

Creme Cafe isn't exactly brimming with veggie options, but it has a few. If you go there, save room for the spongy coconut cake.

Busboys and Poets and Polly's also fit the casual bill, but neither takes reservations. (Busboys does, just only for groups of 10 or more.)


Dupont Circle: Just wanted to say thanks for the Modernist Society recommendation last week! It was awesome and I never would have heard about had it not been for the GOGs!

Fritz: I really enjoyed hearing Eric Hilton talk about Thievery Corporation. One of my favorite Modernist Societies in a while. By the way, next month is the director of "A/K/A Tommy Chong," and they're going to show either clips from the documentary or maybe even the whole thing, so get there early. With Brooklyn and Bells beers and a special bourbon at $3, what have you got to lose?


Chevy Chase, Md.: Hi Gurus! Last year I asked you to recommend a good place for an eyebrow wax. You helpfully recommended Klinger in Friendship Heights and I went there happily for a year. I was very sad to see them close and now I am looking again (the person I went to there has moved to Falls Church, which is too far for me to go regularly). Hoping you can give me another good recommendation! Thanks!

Janet: Lots of people like Lance at Bluemercury in Georgetown. I've had good luck at Aveda stores.


Dupont: So, I'm always curious, but never ask - is there any place in the city where you can make a reservation if you just want to get drinks? I would love advice on anywhere that you could reserve a table and just sip on a glass of wine or cocktail, but specifically I have late dinner reservations on a Saturday night at Locanda and wondering where I could grab a drink in that part of town beforehand and be certain of getting a place to sit. Thanks so much - love you guys!

Fritz: Call ahead to Sonoma and see if you can reserve a couch in the upstairs lounge. Nice selection of wines by the glass, cool fireplace -- and the last time my friend Haley and I were there, we saw the most awkward date ever. Guy was just COMPLETELY freezing the woman out with his body language. Must have been a blind date....


Alexandria, Va.: Hi there! I think I may have the oddest question of the day - I'm taking up the ukulele, because it is awesome, and I was wondering if you know of any clubs or performing groups around the area so that I can get inspired and meet like minded folk. There's a whole underground online and in some cities like NY and San Francisco but I don't know about D.C. I think the Hawaii State Society has some uke players, but I was hoping for something a little younger and less formal. What do you think?

David: I like your reasoning in taking up the ukulele, Alexandria. You'll want to be on the lookout for the Mid-Atlantic Ukulele Invitational, which is an annual event in Annapolis celebrating all things uke -- lessons, jams, concerts and vendors of ukes and uke-related paraphernalia. It's usually in June, we'll post it on the calendar when we get the info. As for bands, the Fleastompers are the act you want to check out. They do ukulele jazz, you will dig it. The Hula Monsters also have some uke.


The Gallery, Silver Spring: Fritz,

Heading to the Gallery in Silver Spring. Read your 2006 review, wanted to get your thoughts on the scene now. Also, what's appropriate dress for guys and gals? Thanks!

Fritz: Gallery's not a bad place to hang out, but it's not as cool as it was... New DJs spin radio-friendly hip-hop hits and Top 40 instead of the cool house that the 88 Degrees guys were rocking.

Attire: It's casual-dressy. Button-down shirt and jeans for men. Women can get away with whatever.


Shallow Pockets, D.C.: Bachelorette party coming up. Bride wants to do dinner first. Between the limo, the required matching shirts and the destination wedding itself, these girls are about tapped out! Any suggestions for a fun locale for eight girls on a budget?

Julia: We did Rice for mine and it was *almost* perfect. We all had entrees that hovered around $13 and lots of blue margaritas. The only drawback was that you couldn't make a reservation. If you're willing to wait at the bar for a while or go early or late, I would definitely recommend that. I might feel weird wearing a matching shirt there, but you could probably get away with it, even though it's a nicer place. Ulah Bistro, mentioned above, might be a good bet for you guys if you want a reservation.

Actually, can we talk about matching shirts for a minute? Not just for bachelorette parties. One of my best friends just did a bar crawl that required matching shirts. I'm usually up for anything, but something about matching shirts is just lame to me. Like a field trip in fifth grade -- except people look at you all funny when you're out and about. I get the camaraderie vibe, but why do you need matching shirts to accomplish this? Chatters, your thoughts?


Adams Morgan: Hey gurus! What are your fave places to go for drinks in Dupont or around U Street? Looking for good atmosphere, not too crowded, mostly loungey, good cocktail menu... Thanks!

Fritz: Dupont: Vodka cocktails in a quasi-luxurious setting at Russia House, drinks at the bar at groovy little Panache (before 11 on weekends, when the DJ spins and it turns into a club), Eighteenth Street Lounge, Bar Rouge, Halo.

U Street: Bar Pilar and Cork have the best cocktails around U Street, but getting to the bar at Cork can be such a pain...


Petworth: The ukulele person should also stop by the House of Musical Traditions. If anyone can point them at ukulele people it's HMT.

David: This is true. I figured at this point it sort of goes without saying that if you play some slightly-weird-to-bizarre instrument, get thee to HMT if you need any sort of guidance.


Washington, D.C.: The boyfriend is finally going to take me to Central next week. Since that's an expensive place, I assume that we'd need to at least wear semi-formal clothing, but the reservation is right after work. Must I wear shoes that hurt and a dinner banquet suit, or can I just wear slacks and an office blouse and whatever shoes I happen to have on that day (I usually wear Mary Jane Crocs and sometimes I'll wear Hush Puppies pantshoes.)

Fritz: Central is nowhere as formal as Citronelle. Officewear is fine. I mean, I go there in jeans and a polo if I'm coming from work, though I'm a slacker.

Short answer: You're good. Make sure you arrive early so you can grab a cocktail!


Washington, D.C.: Ugh - no matching shirts! No male body part-shaped anything! I hate bachelorette parties like that. Fortunately, as people get married later and later, it seems most women have outgrown all of that nonsense by the time they get married.

Fritz: Co-signed. If I see bachelorette parties in a bar, I usually leave, because they never end well.


NYC Shopping help: Janet, do you or any of the chatters have recommendations for great boutiques in the SoHo/Lower East Side neighborhoods of Manhattan. I am going for a shopping day this weekend, and I am looking for stylish but not too young (I am mid-30s) and midrange prices. I already know I want to hit Emmett McCarthy's store. Any other help?

Janet: I'm not very up-to-date on this, but a few possibilities: 3.1 Phillip Lim, Agnes B., Daryl K and Anna Sui. Anyone else have any thoughts?


Waxing: I go to Jacques Dessange in Friendship Heights. I think they do a great job, and their prices seem more reasonable than other places I've been. I've used Claundine and Francoise. It's located across from Clyde's and Chico's, almost the only thing left standing on the block where Hecht's used to be.

Janet: Good to know. I've bought some makeup there, which I think is quite good, but I wasn't sure about their services. Thanks for the tip.


Woodley Park: Hey gurus -

Ran into a going out quandary last weekend.. are there any cool, non-super packed lounges that stay open past midnight in the Dupont area? We were at 18th St Lounge but my friends wanted something quieter and we ended up finding a hotel bar that was open (albeit lacking in character). Thanks!

Fritz: The Mayflower's Town and Country, eh? (Just a guess.)

Just about every restaurant and bar in Dupont is open after midnight on weekends, but they're almost all going to be swarmed. A few that aren't usually: Kramerbooks' excellent little Afterwards Cafe; the Topaz Bar in the Topaz Hotel; Timberlake's, which is decidedly not cool, but low-key enough that you wouldn't expect it to be in Dupont.


Washington, D.C.: Eyebrows SOS! my hair is long, dark, and curly and so are my eyebrows. Is there anywhere I can go to get advice about arch shape and maintenance? Whenever I go to get waxing, they just clean up what I'm already not doing very well.

Janet: One chatter just recommended Jacques Dessange in Friendship Heights.


Central attire:: Although, please do not wear Crocs to the restaurant. Actually, please do not wear Crocs at all unless you're puttering in your garden.

Fritz: I would hope that goes without saying. I saw someone wearing Crocs at Cantina Marina last summer, and I did quite well not to push her off the dock.


Lazy in D.C.: Love your chat! So, my super-motivated roomie is running the Cherry Blossom Marathon this weekend. I was thinking of getting my lazy bum out of bed to cheer her on. I also wanted to give something to her or even do something nice for her after the race. Any ideas on what a runner would like to have, or want to do after a race? In my opinion, anyone who runs a marathon deserves much more than a pat on the back! I appreciate your help!

Julia: Anne and I were just talking this over. She (an accomplished runner who's run the Marine Corps Marathon a bunch of times) would like to sleep after exerting so much energy.

I, on the other hand, plan on replenishing all the calories I've just burned with a full breakfast and a Bloody Mary or two. But, I'm not exactly a "runner." To give you an idea, here's my goal for Sunday's 10-miler: Don't get picked up by the sweep bus for running too slowly.

In the neighborhood, I like Old Ebbitt's brunch for those Bloody Marys, but the fantastic Latino dim sum brunch at Cafe Atlantico brunch, if you want something a little different (and probably more expensive, but so worth it).


Matchy-matchy Peon: Thanks for the tip on the restaurants -- a big part of the problem in trying not to feel any stupider wearing the shirts in a place where they were clearly not appropriate. The BRIDE has dictated, and we, as her humble servants, must obey...

Julia: And so it goes with bachelorette parties. It's really dark in Rice, so you might be able to pull it off. If a good saucy pasta dish will work for your crew, maybe San Marco in Adams Morgan is a good choice. Anything goes in AM, even the matchy matchy.


Alexandria, Va.: I was totally bummed about the cancellation of the Scott Miller show last weekend. Can you recommend any upcoming shows with a similar vibe and sound?

David: Well, there's always Last Train Home, in town for a couple of shows at Iota this weekend. Justin Townes Earle will be there on April 10 -- he's Steve Earle's son, named after Townes Van Zandt. But no pressure, kid. Maybe Kathleen Edwards at the Birchmere on April 14. I just got off the phone with her and she's quite charming and has three very good albums under her belt. Would Marshall Crenshaw count as a similar vibe to Scott Miller? If so, he's at Jammin' Java on April 20.


Washington, D.C.: I heard there is a flip-cup tournament tonight, do you have any details on how I can sign up?

Fritz: If you were invited, you should have seen the notice about "bring a team or find one there."


Falls Church, Va.: I think if there is a "slumber party" part of your bachelorette party, i.e. everyone is staying at a hotel suite, it is OK to have matching PJs. But wearing matching shirts in public - lame.

For the chatter who's eyebrow waxer moved to Falls Church - what is their name and where are they now? I need a new one.

Julia: Yeah, I agree. I love my friend and bar crawling with her is like the ultimate in fun, but I just can't do it. (She's probably reading this now and so hating me.)

And yeah, eyebrow waxer, give us the scoop!


Cork (D.C., not Ireland): I just finished a huge project and would love to celebrate with the kind soul in my life who has bravely borne the brunt of my stress and take him out to Cork. BUT! I'm thinking cozy intimate celebration and can't stand the idea of adding more stress in the form of a gajillion people and long wait. So: will Cork be hellish on a Wednesday night at 9pm? I once did the "30 minute call ahead" on a Saturday and still waited for two hours.

Fritz: Go later -- I was in around 8:30/9 on Tuesday and there were tables available for walk-ups, and I was able to get a seat at the bar to get some of Tom Brown's delectable Absinthe cocktails.

Yours is not the first -- or even the seventh -- complaint I've heard about the call-ahead system not working as planned.


Washington, D.C.: Is there a place in the city for the "too old for bars, too young for the community center" to go have a nice dinner and maybe some dancing afterwards? Ok, we're in our mid- 30s but are hoping for that 1940's jazzy dinner/dance club that you always see in the movies...

Fritz: Let me introduce you to the Carlyle Club in Alexandria. The food is not spectacular, but it's a wonderful setting for seeing swing orchestras and other jazzy music. They do have a dance floor, too -- more slow dancing than Lindy Hop, but pretty nice. Hit that link for my review.


Central dress code...: Mary Jane Crocs ... um no, don't wear those to Central. Please, for other people if not yourself.

Fritz: I would like to apologize for not seeing the word "crocs." For some reason, I saw "Mary Janes or Hush Puppies."




Ukulele people: Do they hang out with recorder people, autoharp people, and accordian people?

David: Actually, I think they hang out with lap dulcimer people.


Arlington, Va.: The girls and I were thinking of heading to the Hirshhorn After Hours thing on Friday - but we are worried about the rain. Do you know if they have any back-up plans for inclement weather?

Julia: I'm pretty sure I read that this one will take place inside anyway. They've done that before with After Hours events and it usually ends up feeling kind of crowded -- but even when it's outside, it feels kind of crowded. And it's always a good time.

If you haven't bought tickets yet, it's worth mentioning that the advance sales tickets are sold out. You can only buy them at the door and Hirshhorn staffers tell me that means get. there. early. Like no joke. People start lining up an hour in advance, but have been known to get there at least two hours early. And it always sells out.


Drinks and Reservations: Why not sit at a bar to have your pre-dinner drink? Why reserve a table at all?

Fritz: Maybe they don't want to stand for the whole night? Capitol Hill bars, with maybe the exception of Mr. Henry's, are jam-packed on weekends.


Alexandria, Va.: For the roommate of the runner -- she may not want to go out after the race due to be sweaty etc. What I would LOVE for someone to do for me post a 10 Mile race is tuck me onto the sofa under a blankie and bring me yummy food to share.

Julia: A vote for Anne.

Yeah, actually this is a great point. The places I mentioned are NOT places for sweaty people (sorry -- SO didn't even think about that aspect). I personally plan on heading up to Adams Morgan or U Street, where I know I can get away with being sweaty.


Glover Park: Fritz- do you know the scoop about Busara closing? What's taking its place? Gryphon room? And why are they shutting down? I'm super upset because its a neighborhood landmark, and now my favorite bartender (Charles) is headed over to Aroma. UGH! GP is not what it used to be. What a difference 6 years makes.

Fritz: Will it help if I tell you there are two awesome-sounding new bars coming to Glover Park in the next few months?

First up is one from some of the guys behind Bourbon, opening in the old My Bakery Cafe spot in a few weeks...


sorry, but: The question of matching PJs for anyone beyond 5th grade is moot since having a slumber party for a wedding shower is LAME!

Julia: I think the poster wasn't saying ONLY have a slumber party. More like something where you all crash at someone's house or a hotel room after being out all night. In which case, you probably won't make it into PJs anyway. At my bachelorette, one chick slept in her coat. It was awesome.


Washington, D.C.: Any thoughts on something to do after the Hirshhorn after-hours event? Drinks would be fine, I just don't have a good idea for something close by.

Fritz: There's nothing "right by" the Hirshhorn -- maybe stroll over to Chinatown and get drinks at Zola, Gordon Biersch or Indebleu, or play skee-ball at Rocket Bar?


Arlington, Va.: Oh Divine GOGs, please help! My parents are coming to town today from the frozen north, and we had great and fun outdoor things planned -- Baysox on Friday night, cherry blossoms on Saturday afternoon -- but I've been watching all week as the forecast has gotten worse and worse, and now it just says rain, rain, thunder, rain. So what do I do? We were all very much looking forward to getting out and seeing the blossoms and cheering on the Baysox and now...??? Help! Thanks!

Anne: My first thought is: well, you still can go do all that. I mean, rain stinks, but it will end by Sunday, says the weather guys. Plus, spring=rain, and D.C. still looks great with everything in bloom, sometimes even more vibrant against a grey/white sky. But I hear you that alternates are needed. So: Tell your parents you can take part in the Cherry Blossom festival *and* sit in a dry, comfy auditorium watching free movies by checking out the anime marathon -- drop in when you feel like it. If that's not to their taste, how about the free opera mini-performance (3 on Saturday) in the Grand Salon of the Renwick? That gilded room with its sky-high ceilings is worth visiting even when there isn't opera. And the Botanic Garden is the postal service of museums (I don't mean the Postal Museum) -- through rain, through snow, through boiling temperatures, it's always tropical and flowery inside.


Matching Skirts: If the bride has insisted, I think I'd accidentally spill something on or accidentally rip the skirt. Thus, you could get away with putting on some jeans. Can't all the bridesmaids gang up on the bride and request no matching outfits?

I've only been to one bachelorette party where we were "required" to do something. I was forced to wear a name tag with a fake name, and a fake picture of my "boyfriend." It was embarrassing and people didn't really get it.

Julia: Yeah, but here's the thing, some people really like the matching-outfits-for-going-out thing! I bet some of those bridesmaids are into this idea. Please matchers, speak up! Tell us what makes this fun -- I promise I won't make fun of you! I guess it's like a team spirit thing.

That name tag thing just sounds supremely bizarre.


Richmond, Va.: It's not really your job, (in fact it's about staying in, not going out), but give me an easy classic martini recipe. The martinis I get out always seem to taste better, and all other factors notwithstanding (something made by someone else always tastes better), I want to learn to make a martini at home that knocks my socks off.

Fritz: My home recipe:
4.5 oz Bluecoat Gin
1-1.5 oz Vya dry vermouth (to taste)
Few Dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters
End of story.


The BRIDE has dictated, and we, as her humble servants, must obey: That's called enabling. The only reason showers got to such ridiculous heights is not enough people said "I look forward to sharing the evening with you but I won't be wearing a matching shirt and ball-and-chain gag hat."

Stop. It. People.

Julia: Yeah, but then you feel like you're looking down at them. Like I really want to say to my friend, "I'd love to do a bar crawl, but I won't do the shirt." It just sounds snobby, so I just don't go.


Lazy, D.C.: Thanks for the suggestion. I bet she would really appreciate home cooked food in front of the TV.!

Julia: Yeah, that's probably a good bet.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hi GoG's! I'm going to a concert at the Black Cat Saturday night. My buddy and I wanna catch as much of the tourney games beforehand as possible. What would be the best bars to watch the games at in the U Street area? Also (highly unlikely) are there any drink specials in the area for the games? Thanks!

Fritz: Momo's, above Cafe Nema, has more than a dozen screens and pretty good drink specials (beers for $3-$5). Solly's would be a good bet, too.


Silver Spring, Md.: I recently saw Amel Larrieux at the Birchmere and noticed a canceled show for En Vogue. Any info on a new date? By the way, Amel was great!

David: The En Vogue show has been rescheduled for August 22.


Arlington, Va.: Hi! I am looking for a cool place to take my out-of-town guest and meet up with some friends tomorrow night after happy hour but not late night. I want to choose a place in the District, and my friends love to mix with a good late-20s/30's crowd. Suggestions, please, so I don't look completely lame?!

Rhome: Games maybe? Or multiple lounging options. What are you into? Good beer, fat burgers and a lively atmosphere? Trying something new?


Croc Debate: Oh, Mary Jane crocs are way more acceptable than the regular kind. Have you seen them? I wore a black pair to a party once (with a cute little dress - my feet were hurting like hell and I was like, screw it, I'm sacrificing all style) and people didn't even realize they were crocs. They noticed my feet, they saw my shoes, and were totally surprised when I later pointed out that they were crocs.

Fritz: Stop trying to justify your awful fashion choices. They're perforated. They have a lame behind-the-ankle strap.


San Diego, Calif.: Hey, gurus! I hope you can help me out.

I'm coming out to your area this weekend, and I'd like to take my friend to an exhibit. He likes photography. I like most art. Can you give us any recs?

Julia: The Nature's Best Photography exhibit is the best photographic exhibit on right now (I think, anyway). Phenomenal large-scale images of animals (and people) in the wild. For something a little different, the Sartorialist exhibit at Adamson is a bunch of stark, cool fashion photos.

For a different kind of art, check out this cool contemporary show at the National Museum of African Art.


Arlington, Va.: GOGs:

My friend and I want to go out on Saturday. We haven't been out together in a while. We are two women in our mid-to-late thirties who love cocktails and people watching but not being jostled around whilst precariously holding a drink in one hand and our coat and purse in the other. Do you have any suggestions for a fun place we could get drinks on Saturday evening that is close to a metro? We liked the wine at Proof, but the food was OK at best and the wait was insane. We also have enjoyed Cork and the bar at Indebleu but had the same issue with too many people for too few seats (although I have to say the contortionist at the bar at Indebleu was pretty cool). I am willing to pay good money for a good wine selection. Ideas? Thanks, as always, for your guidance. Have a lovely weekend.

Fritz: Have you been to the bar at Restaurant Eve? Great wine list and cocktails, 30-and-up crowd, plenty of seating (if you get there at the right time). The PX is another option though, to be honest, I've never ordered anything but cocktails there.

I know the heart of Old Town isn't close to the King Street Metro, but they're running these new Trolley-shaped shuttles down King Street, and there are stops half-a-block from both Eve and PX.


No Matching Shirts: Last week, I went to a late night museum crawl in Europe. Big fun. Anyway, the "pass" to get in was a cardboard luna moth logo pendent hung on a fabric lanyard, worn around the neck.

Get some lanyards and hang a medallion or laminate picture of the bride 2 B or something like that.

Julia: A compromise.


6 oz. of liquor!: Really? Are you sharing, or is that your only drink of the night?!? The gin-vermouth ratio is good (though personally I go a little drier), but that is an enormous drink. 2 oz. of gin is more normal.

Fritz: Two ounces is a standard shot.


San Marco!: I am catching up on today's chat a bit late and just saw the reference to San Marco in Adams Morgan. That place is a little known GEM that my boyfriend and I have recommended and used for all types of occasions....birthdays, families coming to town, romantic dinners, anything! They are never too busy so they always take reservations for parties of any size. I swear I don't work for them, I LOVE them and want other people to love them too!

Julia: Yeah, I included them in my piece on carbo-loading for that very reason. I used to think that it was just that place people went when they were sick of waiting in line at Pasta Mia, but it's just really good.


After the Marathon: I would love it if someone would come over to my place and make me some french toast, served with some maple syrup, fresh fruit, and orange juice. Then leave after not too long so I can crash!

Julia: Another vote for going home.

(Just for clarity's sake, I should point out that this isn't a marathon; it's a 10-miler. Not that it makes any difference to me. I'm still going to be limping over the finish line.)


Arlington, Va.: Fritz, thanks so much for the tip on the blog about the keg bus running to Nats Park!

Any word on when we'll see some bars down near the new stadium?

Fritz: A good number of the development plans for the area include "restaurant and retail" on their ground floors, but I haven't heard about anything that's opening soon. Kind of depressing... but thank god for the Kegbus.


Yeah, but then you feel like you're looking down at them: I AM! Anyone old enough to marry needs to leave the fairy princess fantasies behind in girlhood.

Julia: BURN!


Yeah, but then you feel like you're looking down at them: If you want to be deemed mature enough to drink alcohol, stop with the matching shirts. Someone who likes that idea CAN'T be 21.

Julia: Same idea as the last one I posted . . . but funnier.


Caps Nation: GOG's I'm taking my lovely significant other to her first hockey game Sat night as our Caps clinch their spot in Lord Stanley's Cup playoffs. I would like to take her for a quick bite to eat away from the madness that will be around the Verizon Center before the game. Any thoughts about new places in Penn Quarter worth a visit?

Fritz: Not new, but I've had good luck with pre-game snacking at the bar at Rasika. (No reservations required or taken.)


Washington, D.C.: The question you've gotten a million times. (Only this time it's much more compelling because it relates to me!) Boyfriend's parents are coming to town this weekend and our best-laid plans about seeing the cherry blossoms on Saturday seem to have been foiled by the upcoming showers. Can you think of any interesting indoor activity during the day that could entertain the folks? We've seen most of the Smithsonian museums and monuments are a no-go as far as I'm concerned. Aren't there any special exhibits, arts festivals, all-you-can-eat chocolate conventions, etc. going on? From, Millionth time's a charm

Anne: Rain answer part II: Jen can't join us today, so I'll channel her in suggesting that there are lots of movies you can take in this weekend. In addition to anime, there's the Korean Film Festival, Bette Davis series at AFI and for one day only, your chance to watch Warhol's take on taking a nap. Exhibits: the Hirshhorn's "Cinema Effect" show can continue that theme. Or, take the folks to Treasures, the mini roadshow of the American History classics. Make your own chocolate convention at ACKC.


Boring...: I'm a loyal reader & poster and am shocked that you have not even mentioned once how the Capitals may be making the playoffs and that the Verizon Center/Chinatown is the place to be tonight and Saturday night! 19,000 were at the game Tuesday and will be just as nuts these next 2 games! C'mon, you're wasting my time reading this croc shoe, matching shirt crud....where's some home team loyalty!

David: Yes, go Caps! I gave up on hockey after the strike but have been sneaking some peeks at Alex and Co. on TV lately. A first round matchup against those [redacted] Penguins might get me back on board.

But if we're talking horrible fashion choices, nothing beats a bunch of people in hockey jerseys. (Says the guy who cannot wait to break out his bright orange Arenas throwback for tomorrow night's Wizards game.)


"I'd love to do a bar crawl, but I won't do the shirt.": Not snobby, just sensible. It's bad enough that brides tell their bridesmaids what to wear and how much to spend, it's absurd that they can expand that to all their girlfriends on the bachelorette night. Really, matching shirts SHOULD be looked down on, it's a sign the bride has thoroughly lost her mind.

Julia: Come on, matching shirt wearers! I know you're out there. Please defend yourselves.


2 oz. is standard: I know. Hence, the foundation for a normal drink. The 6 oz. martini would be very difficult for me to drink before it got warm.

Fritz: See, I'm a professional.

But the one thing that really grinds my gears at bars is when a martini arrives in one of those freaking 10-ounce birdbath martini glasses. There is no way that I can enjoy a martini that size before it gets to room temperature. The 6-ounce glass is a classic. Smaller drinks=lower prices=I'm more likely to order another.


Arlington, Va.: Are there any good U2 cover bands in the area?

Fritz: Clear your schedule for May, when 2U will be back at Ned Devine's in Sterling.


re: Ulah Bistro: My husband and I went with friends last weekend and thought it was terrible -- limited menu (and not really bistro-y), terrible service, really mediocre food. Wouldn't recommend it. Maybe it's just growing pains, but we won't be going back until we hear it's gotten much better.

Julia: Nays for Ulah Bistro.


Re: Eyebrows SOS: Try Threads on U Street, the women there do a great shaping job and it's neater and more thoughtful than just about any waxing job I've had. They also say that threading is great for thicker, coarser hair. They gave me a shape I've found easy to maintain between visits. And it's only $15.

Janet: A thumbs-up for Threads -- for the chatter in need of a good shape.


Cherry Blossom 10 MILER, not marathon :): As an avid marathoner and 10 miler, a very nice gift for your friend would be a pedicure! Her toes are probably in dire shape of some TLC! What a great roommate you are!

Julia: This is a very cute idea.


My mom makes us wear matching US Flag shirts: for one day when we're at the beach in July. We're talking three married adult offspring, all our children, and my dad in matching T-shirts. Should we be embarrassed? Should I be thankful we don't have to go out anywhere together with them on?

Julia: This is hysterical. I am thankful you don't have to go anywhere with them on.

This reminds me of the Christmas where my boyfriend's grandmother gave us his and hers USA sweatshirts with eagles on them. Awesome.


Matchy-matchy fan: Ye gawds. I was totally gonna remain mum on the subject, but here is the embarrassing truth. I designed matchy tees for my bridesmaids, each with a different picture on the front in the same style. (a silhouette of a classic female image like: geisha girl, cow girl, thai dancing girl, etc. each one drinking a humongous beer). Each shirt had the world "bachelorette on the back" ('cept "bride" on mine). The point is thus. FREE DRINKS. Unfortunately, at sometime during the night, a girl's gotta eat.

Julia: Well said, girl! Thanks for chiming in.


Foggy Bottom: Hey Gurus,

Friday is my 21st birthday, and I'm looking for just the right spot to celebrate. I'm having my best friends come into town, but we're not exactly the clubbing types. It will mostly likely be a group of 5 to 8, about half girls and half guys, from early 20's to late 20's.

I don't go out very often, so I'm pretty much clueless as to any places I like. I do know that none of us will be in stilettos and sparkly tank tops, more likely jeans and tees, so we want places we'll feel comfortable. Live music is a plus, we'll all be on a budget, and we're willing to go anywhere within the city.

Any suggestions to make my 21st memorable?

Fritz: Hmmm. How about the Rock and Roll Hotel? Ensconce yourself in one of the "private rooms" upstairs, where you'll have DJ Chris Burns spinning classic house and disco, while the awesome lineup downstairs includes Baltimore indie rockers Beach House (whom David reviewed very favorably in the latest Nightlife Agenda). Beers are cheap, admission to the upstairs is free.

Similar setup at the Black Cat, where you've got 80s music on the backstage from DJ Lil' E and the always compelling Les Savy Fav upstairs.

For just a bar-bar, I'm going to say the Red Derby, because it's laidback and always fun.

Readers, any other suggestions?


Stop trying to justify your awful fashion choices. They're perforated. They have a lame behind-the-ankle strap. : anywhere men can wear flip flops or tennis shoes, or any sort of sports shoes, Tevas, women should be able to wear crocs.

Fritz: Men shouldn't wear Tevas or flip-flops to bars or nice restaurants, either.

There, that solves that problem.


The 6 oz. martini would be very difficult for me to drink before it got warm.: Then cut down the recipe when you make it! It's not hard!

Fritz: Yeah, just halve it. Keep the 3-1 gin-vermouth ratio, though.


Ballston: A co-worker of mine brought in samosas today, in fact I am eating one as I type this! Now I'm in the mood for some Indian or Pakistani food. Do you know any good authentic Indian places in the Ballston/Clarendon area? Big pluses if its metro accessible.

Julia: Well, there's Tandoori Nights in Clarendon, but I think I'd opt for the cheaper, more-authentic-feeling Delhi Dhaba. It's a carryout fave for Fritz and me.


People didn't even realize they were crocs: Oh really? Did you talk to everyone there? I bet there were a couple of people who didn't realize, and everyone else was like "Did you SEE that chic wearing CROCS?"

I personally don't care if you wear crocs to my party. If you are fun who cares? But don't act like they're just like normal shoes! They're plastic.

Fritz: Man, y'all love jonin on people who wear Crocs.


Glover Park again: That almost makes up for the popped collar invasion of 2003 at Bourbon. But I might need a bit more so I can begin to heal my heart that broke after she realized the demographics Town Hall caters to. (wow- how grammatically incorrect can I get.)

Fritz: Go back and diagram that second sentence -- you know, like Mean Old Mrs. T taught you in 9th grade -- and submit your comment again.


Falls Church, Va.: Matching Shirts: Ok, so I was a bride that had a bachelorette party with matching shirts. It wasn't my idea, my best girl got them printed and they were really cute. We had a lot of fun and that's all that matters.

Julia: Well said. I've been involved in some things I wasn't particularly proud of at bachelorette parties, but what matters is the fun.


DCA: Hi! My aunt, who I haven't seen in five years, called me last night to say she has a three hour layover at Reagan National at 8 a.m. on Sunday, and wants to meet and catch-up. Can you suggests any quaint diners or restaurants open for breakfast at that hour that are near the airport, or within a short cab ride away? Thanks for the help!

Anne: For character, I think I'd head to Del Ray for breakfast at the Caboose Cafe or pastries and coffee at St. Elmo's. Have fun!


Matching bachelorette parties: I had a matching outfit bachelorette party (not on my request - it was a surprise). The point is, that some bachelorette parties are silly and often aim to embarrass the bride. Why be so uptight? Can't you be ridiculous every now and again? If you don't want to wear the matching shirt then don't. If you don't want to hang out with people wearing them, then don't go to Rumors on a Saturday night.

Julia: Well said, again.


One of my best friends just did a bar crawl that required matching shirts. Chatters, your thoughts? : Just. Say. No.

Not my cup o' tea. Have a ball, don't wake me up calling for bail money. C ya.

Julia: I'm trying to not be so mean to the matching shirt wearers, but this is too funny.


Upper Marlboro, Md.: Red Door Gallery on Pennsylvania Avenue--what do I expect, when does it open, is there a full menu..door policy???? Please let me know.

Rhome: Groovy, progressive music, chill vibe. Don't think there's food.

This should give you a good idea.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I'm considering taking some friends up to Chloe this weekend. Having never been there, can you please let me know what to expect, and any recommendations for near by places in case we are disappointed? Somewhere not too "young" would be a plus. Thank you!

Fritz: I haven't been back to Chloe in a while, because ... it just didn't impress me. The lines were a bigger deal than actually getting in. It's a fairly standard club with a nice, large back deck for smokers, a DJ spinning Top 40/house/dance music, fairly expensive drinks and plenty of 20somethings looking to blow off steam. I like the upstairs/mezzanine balcony, which offers good views of the dance floor, but Chloe's not very special -- it's just the biggest dance club in the city's biggest nightlife neighborhood, so it gets crowds.

Nearby, not "young" -- well, this is Adams Morgan we're talking about. Try Metropolitain for DJs and sweaty dancing, Madam's Organ, maybe Columbia Station for live jazz. Bourbon and Pharmacy Bar are both hip and skew older than the Angry Inch, Heaven and Hell or Nolan's.


everyone else was like "Did you SEE that chic wearing CROCS?" : no because it WASN'T A PARTY FOR 5TH GRADE HEATHERS.

People, we're adults. Who are supposed to value our friends for their character, not how expensive their shoes were. And not gossip about them like a bad WB show.

Fritz: But what's the fun of living like that?


Washington, D.C.: I'm new to the area and planning a birthday dinner/girls night out for my roommate. I'm looking for a fun, trendy restaurant with a good drink menu and a moderate price tag, in the Dupont or Chinatown areas. Any suggestions?

Julia: Moderate price tag is tough in Chinatown. If you can limit your tapas consumption, I'd try Jaleo.

Actually, now that I give it some thought, these two newish restaurants I wrote about a few weeks ago might be perfect for your group. I really enjoyed the food at LeeLoo, though at the time I was there there was virtually no "scene." The strong cocktails at Asia Nine would be a great fit. Plus, there's a good range of prices there -- lots of dishes in the $10-$15 range.


Courthouse: Hi all--if a friend and I were going to try and hit some old schools bars on Saturday night, where would we go? Thanks

Fritz: Old School cocktails: Off the Record at Hay Adams, Round Robin Bar at the Willard, Town and Country at the Mayflower.

Old School places: Vienna Inn, JV's in Falls Church, Jay's in Clarendon.


No Bachelorette Party...Sob!: Okay...give the brides a break and just have fun with it. My whole family hated my choice of husband (my sister was my Matron of Honor) and all my friends were out of town, so I had no bachelorette party (or bridal shower, either). I'm not bitter or anything....I'm sure I'll get over it someday. BTW, we've been married 15 years and they all love him now. Point is....indulge the bride...god willing it will be her one and only chance to be dictator and have the world revolve around her!

Julia: I'm sorry, hon! This sounds tough.


Why be so uptight? Can't you be ridiculous every now and again? If you don't want to wear the matching shirt then don't.: Why assume someone who doesn't want to wear matching shirts is uptight or won't have fun? There's a thousand years of bar patronage to disprove you on that. I'd had LOADS of drunken fun over my life and NEVER ONCE wearing a matching shirt. Don't be so rigid in your definition of who will fit into your clique.

Julia: Yeah, that's kind of where come out on this whole thing. I will still have fun, I just feel like a lemming or on a field trip in a matching shirt, so I don't wear 'em.

Anyway, we got tons of responses to this one. Sorry I didn't post 'em all -- wanted to make sure we (sort of) stayed on topic.


Colbert Portait at NASM?: Did the Colbert Portrait actually move from the Portrait Gallery to the National Treasures exhibit at Air and Space?

I have some folks coming to town next week who were upset that they would miss it. They told me that Tuesday's show announced that it would be at Air & Space until the 13th. I'm worried that the announcement was an April Fool's joke.

What's the scoop?

Fritz: If you were watching on Tuesday, you would have seen American History director Brent Glass forced to say "Stephen Colbert, you are a national treasure." Which was pretty rad.

But yes, it will be at Air and Space for the next two weeks.


Adams Morgan: Looking for "older" options in A. Mo - Please don't forget the terribly underrated Bossa. Live music on the weekends until close, or if it's more your style, DJ upstairs. Great spot!

Fritz: I do love me some Bossa, especially when Patrick De Santos is there, but I don't like what I'm hearing about the bar's future, based on its inability to operate under a restaurant license. (It's not selling enough food, and councilmember Jim Graham is not happy.)


Matching USA gear: I've got the red, white and blue T-shirt family beat. At the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996, not only did my mother make all five of us wear matching USA shirts, but when it started raining cats and dogs while we were watching an outdoor track event, we were each treated to a $10 industrial strength garbage bags to put over our already soaked bodies. God I wish I could upload and send you a picture.

Julia: Totally awesome.


Hockey Tailgating: Gurus, I spent way too much money on tickets to this Saturday's Capitals vs Panthers game. If all goes well tonight, it'll be a huge game, and I'm looking for somewhere near the Verizon Center to do some pregaming. Since the tickets took most of my spending money, can you recommend a bar that has great drink specials? I'm looking to get started up there around 4pm. Thanks and GO CAPS!

Fritz: Green Turtle and Rocket Bar have cheap beers, Matchbox and Bar Louie have cheap cocktails.


Vive les crocs!: I put mine on and I'm GOING TO WEAR them for the rest of this chat just to aggravate you!

Fritz: You're not aggravating me, you're amusing me.


Washington, D.C.: Wow! What is that bar in the picture? I've never seen that before and my girlfriends and I would like to see what it's like!

Fritz: Man, I didn't know it was this tricky... that's the "secret" entrance to the downstairs bar at Science Club.

Fritz: And that's going to wrap up this very special 90-minute edition of Got Plans. Join us back here next week for more chatter about living and going out in the D.C. area, however, please remember that we do have a dress code in effect.



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