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Got Plans?

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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, May 29, 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.

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washingtonpost.com: Hey there, kiddos. Welcome to Got Plans? We've got David, Jen, Janet, Fritz, Rhome, Anne and me (Julia) here to answer your questions. We've been having some chat problems across the site here this week, so hopefully server errors won't get you down. If they do, hit shift + refresh and that may help. Anyway, on to the plan-making.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus,

I am in serious need of a new hairstyle before my birthday and a friend has suggested trying Bang on U Street. So I thought I would run it past the Gurus. Is this a good spot for a hip (but not weird) new 'do? If so, do you guys know any stylists that you would recommend for a 37-year-old woman with medium-length fine hair that wants to look fresh and stylish? Any other cool salons I could try? Thanks!

Janet: Julia, our food critic, loves Bang. And I'm the fashion and beauty editor here, and I like her haircut, so I'd say let Bang have a go at your locks.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus. I would say this is a weird question, but then I'd think you've probably heard everything, so here goes.

I am meeting a recent ex for dinner next week. The plan is to just try to be normal with each other and have a nice meal. I would like to reconcile but am feeling like that won't happen. Regardless, it will be our first face to face since the breakup, and since I have not been able to talk to him on the phone or receive a voicemail from him without crying, I do not see me being dry-eyed on this occasion either. So, while it would likely be best not to go to a restaurant, we can't really do the casual "let's be friends" by cooking dinner at one of our houses. Can you think of a restaurant in the Eastern Market/Hill area where we could have some privacy but that is not too romantic or date-y? And that is not Locanda, because we had a precipitating fight/bad evening there? I know, this is weird. Sorry.

Fritz: D.C., there's no easy way to put this, but if you can't hear from the guy without crying, there's no way you should be having a reconciliation dinner, especially if you still want to get back together with him. Give it some time.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus. I'd like to splurge on a mani-pedi and bikini wax at a spa (read: need an upgrade from the nail salon variety). Any recommendations for places downtown or in Arlington that might be able to schedule those services after work on a weeknight?

Janet: Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa (in Georgetown) is a hip place that's open till 7 p.m. on weeknights and until 8 p.m. on Friday; some Aveda salons have late hours as well.

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Alexandria, Va.: When will the 2008 Screen on the Green schedule be released? What about other D.C. outdoor movie festivals?

Jen: As far as outdoor movies in general, we have several already listed in City Guide, with more to come soon.

Screen on the Green starts July 14, but I have yet to see a list of which movies will be shown. I would imagine the lineup will be finalized shortly. As soon as we know, so will you.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi guys. This is for Fritz probably, is the Hook and Ladder restaurant ever actually going to happen or is it one of those things that will slowly fade away and die? They first said they would open last summer, then pushed to the fall, then this spring and now...?? Last time I walked by the old firehouse space after eating at Olazzo, no construction seemed to be happening. Silver Spring really needs a pub.

Fritz: Would you believe me if I told you that, earlier this year, I was told June or July?

I don't think that's going to happen, but you never know.

And I agree with you -- Silver Spring deserves someplace to drink besides the excellent Quarry House, pubby McGinty's or Tex-Mex happy hour haven Austin Grill... Wonder if anyone will reopen Dietle's?

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37 in need of haircut: Okyo, Okyo, Okyo! on M Street, across from the Four Seasons. Ask for an appointment with the owner. I've been going there since I was 15 so that's about 16 years of haircuts. You will get polished, hip and a fantastic cut. But if you ask for something that isn't really going to work with your face or hair type, they will tell you and that honesty and realism is worth ten times the price of the cut!

Janet: I think Bernard is the owner at Okyo, and you're right, he does a really pro job on the heads I've seen. Very polished and professional, if that's the look you're going for.

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Capitol Hill: I need cool wedge sandals to wear to work! I've been to Target, Macy's and Loehmann's...where else can I look in D.C. when I'm sans coche. Gracias!

Janet: When I'm looking for a good deal on shoes, I head to Nine West. They're bound to have a wedge sandal that could fit your qualifications.

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Bethesda, Md.: We're celebrating my husband's 29th birthday tomorrow with dinner at Marvin. What's the dress code there? Their Web site isn't useful.

Also what bars, etc. around there should we hit tomorrow after dinner?

Fritz: No dress code at Marvin, other than no shorts (for guys), no flip-flops... owner Eric Hilton told me once that he hoped people would just be cool and wouldn't have to be told what to wear because, you know, they're adults -- but this is D.C., after all. I've gone there wearing everything from a suit to a vintage tracktop and jeans and never felt out of place.

(But I do feel you on their Web site.)

After dinner, I'd definitely head up to Marvin's rooftop to enjoy the fine weather and some nice (albeit pricey) Belgian beers. In the neighborhood, you've got Cafe Nema for a chill neighborhood crowd, Bar Pilar for hip cocktails and wine, Vinoteca for good wines by the glass, the Saloon or Solly's if you want something more low-key. (Saloon is more about gourmet German/Belgian beers with friends; Solly's is all about $3 PBRs or Miller Life pounders and a game of Big Buck Hunter.)

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Northwest: So me and my boys are headed to see Bill Maher tonight at Constitution Hall. We wanted to grab something to eat/drink around 6:30 p.m. before the show starts at 8 p.m. All we can think of is Old Ebbitt Grill and McCormick & Schmick's. Any other places we should consider?

Julia: Well, you'll just miss the half-price raw bar at Old Ebbitt, but the McCormick & Schmick's happy hour on K Street will still be going on until 7 p.m. Sliders, wings and other bar fare range between $2 and $5.

If you want something a little fancier, try the delicious bar (and cheap) food and cocktails at Restaurant K. Cafe Asia's another option.

If it were me, I'd stick with Old Ebbitt. The clubby, old-Washington feel seems thematically appropriate before a Bill Maher show.

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Dinner with Ex: You know, what I love about these chats is that you all really pay attention to your readers' stories. Excellent advice, Fritz, by telling Washington, D.C., that perhaps she's not ready for this dinner. You could have easily just thrown out a couple of restaurant recommendations and left it at that. Kudos for a very classy approach.

Fritz: There have been times when I wish I would have been told the same thing, soooo.....

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Another local shop goes down.: Gurus,

D.C., once moving forward in the fashion world, has hit a skid. W.W.W. Red is going out and now I have found out the The District Line is going out of business, (Daily Candy). Where can I, (male, go to get something not mass-marketed in the clothing and footwear world in D.C.? Or will we be force fed Banana Republic and like it?

Fritz: I will miss the District Line very, very much, though I'm glad I could get some Oliver Spencer/Ted Baker suits and jackets half-off before the doors shut for good. This just means I'm going to be doing more of my shopping at Loehmann's or Filene's again, which is lame, but don't forget about Pop, which is once again stocking men's clothes, or Carbon, where I've found some very cool footwear and bags.

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Arlington, Va.: Afternoon -- wondering if anyone has checked out the new, very vegetarian-friendly restaurant Sticky Rice? I have a friend coming in town and we were thinking about doing dinner there Friday or Saturday night . . . is it as good as it sounds?

Julia: Sure have. You'll find my write up on the place on our blog ... sometime soon. Hopefully today, maybe tomorrow.

Bottom line, I stuck to sushi, and the sushi was good. We split eight dishes and seven were fantastic. The atmosphere is fun and trendy, but, as you might expect from a just-opened restaurant, service was hit or miss. I ate at the bar and, we had a couple of friendly servers check in on us and got our rolls promptly. Some friends of mine were there the same night and had only seen one dish by the time we were paying our check. I'd imagine that service is better on the upper level, which is more restaurant-y.

Sticky balls are ridiculously good -- the Garden Balls look like the next best thing for vegetarians.

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Alexandria, Va.: I've heard of this new place called Skye Bar -- kind of in a weird neighborhood so not sure if it's a happy hour spot, lounge, restaurant, club or what. Have some friends checking it out this weekend and wondering if I should join them...what do you think?

Fritz: I just wrote about Skye Lounge last weekend. I think the lounge is best when you can sit outside with some of the delicious caipirinhas or batidas, especially after work, and hobnob with the international/World Bank crowd that gathers there.

Also, you may have to pay bottle fees after 9 or 10 on Fri/Sat. The club aspect doesn't seem fully formed yet, but it will be interesting to see what happens.

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Washington, D.C.: Japanese hair straightening--any suggestions for somewhere in D.C. under $500?-Many thanks!

Janet: The Ozuki Salon on Thomas Jefferson in Georgetown does the technique, which they starts at $450 and goes to $600, depending on the thickness and length of your hair.

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College Park: Hey Gurus,

I'm looking to head out with my former It's Academic teammates (Centennial 05!) to a pub quiz night in or around D.C. I've trolled through old GOG chats and checked around online, but can't seem to find any updated lists/articles of possible trivia nights. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

Fritz: Hey there, fellow high school trivia team player...
You may want to check out this post I wrote a few months ago about my favorite trivia nights. All of them are still going. Fado is a 7 round, 70 question brainbuster that's more about actual trivia, while Smart Ass -- my current favorite -- has a decided pop culture slant, though it still throws up plenty of historical nuggets.

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Columbia Heights: Gurus, when is the best time to get into HR-57 on Saturday? My friends and I have been contemplating a night out there, and were worried about getting a bunch of people in if we go too late. Also is there a cover? Thanks!

David: It's rarely overflowing there so I don't suspect you'll have any problems unless you have a particularly large group. Before 10 is always a good rule of thumb if you're worried about getting there too late, and you can expect to pay a $12 cover.

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Rockville, Md.: I'm a lurker -- I love your chats but as a mid-40s-something am above your target audience. Now back in the dating market, I'm seeing an early 50s guy who's got a birthday coming up. Have ideas for a fun, somewhat romantic place we can celebrate...someplace age-appropriate but not stuffy in Rockville/Olney areas? And a bar for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail or dessert? Muchas thanks.

Julia: La Canela comes to mind. Tom Sietsema just gave it a good review and I can vouch for the festive atmosphere. I had a great couple of drinks there one night before a movie.

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Washington, D.C.: Me and my friends (25-30 y.o.) want to go out dancing on Friday night. We like R&B/hip hop (mostly old school), however we would like to avoid the frat-party and snotty club vibe. And a decent size dance floor would be nice and a crowd that actually dances, too (unlike the stand-around crowd at Marvin). Suggestions???

Rhome: Options are slim. Most dive-y and/or pageantry-free spots don't have the music you're looking for. If you're willing to give up some hip-hop for funk you can try Wonderland or hold out a couple of weeks for the next Fatback. Would the chatocracy like to weigh in?

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Dodge City: Have any of you ever been to the newish Twelve restaurant/bar on H Street. I think its a beautiful space but the service needs tons of work ...

Fritz: It's kind of chaotic. I'm giving the place another chance before I put my opinions down... It's a beautiful building, and I like the second floor "club" bit, but you're right, the service needs work, and the direction during the week seems a little odd.

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In-laws coming to town... Arlington, Va.: I'm submitting a day early in hopes that the all-knowing GOGs will be able to help. My inlaws are coming in to town late Friday night and Saturday they want to "see D.C."

The thing is... my brother-in-law and his girlfriend will be with them too and money is an issue for them, so if we could all do something fun together that's less expensive that would be great. It doesn't even have to be in the District. I saw that a wine festival was going on this weekend in Loudon County (awesome!), but the admission was like $25 a person and my husband gave me that look like he didn't want to end up paying everyone's way to something like that when he'll be paying for dinner at the end of the evening anyway.

If it were April, I would say Cherry Blossoms and if it was the end of June/July Smithsonian Folklife Festival and in the fall the LOC Book Festival, but I'm at a loss here... and they've done museum-type stuff before with us in our attempt to provide free entertainment and they weren't thrilled. I was thinking Eastern Market? Any like free/inexpensive festivals going on? I'll pretend to ignore the weather forecast for Saturday too as I only really pay attention to a 50 percent or higher chance of rain during the summer. I'm an avid reader of your blogs and chats and just about always agree with and love y'alls suggestions! Thanks!

Anne: There are so many festivals, you just can't go wrong, and just being outdoors for summer will help you see D.C., too. Here are some free or very cheap ideas: Regina Spektor on the Mall, dragonboats on the Potomac, high school stars Saturday at Nationals Park for $5, "Hamlet" at Carter Barron. Myself, I like the outdoor Taiwanese movies at Twin Oaks this weekend. And sure -- breakfast at Eastern Market is cheap, and then (until your feet are tired or it starts raining) you can easily wander toward the Mall and talk -- pass over cobblestones and by the free places to pop into -- the Folger Shakespeare Theatre, Library of Congress, Botanic Garden, etc.

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Still Waiting, Northwest: Fritz, you little fibber. When I asked you a few months ago when Current would be opening you said you had it penciled in for early May. I've heard rumors it could be another month? What's the latest update?

Fritz: Dude. I think I've published at least four dates for when Current was supposed to open, and been told more than that by the owners/managers -- I think I've heard "two weeks" at least twice -- so I finally just said forget it, and I'm not going to give another estimate until I actually hear that the bartenders are making drinks and the DJs are spinning.

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Washington, D.C.: I am looking for good fried chicken. Definitely not chain restaurant, and nothing upscale. I am Metro reliant, but I live in Woodley Park so I am able to walk around.

Julia: Levi's Port Cafe is one of my favorites. From Eastern Market, trek two blocks down 8th Street and it will be on your left. Do not leave without having some of the red velvet cake (if it was made that day...otherwise, it can be dry).

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Excellent advice, Fritz, by telling Washington, D.C., that perhaps she's not ready for this dinner: We could also suggest she post in the Hax chat tomorrow. Not that the advice from Fritz wasn't excellent.

I have been out for dinner with an ex and cried, and it is very unpleasant to both parties. And the other diners. I would not do it again.

Fritz: Yeah, Carolyn's chat is where I should have suggested she go.

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Marvin and Flip Flops: Does the no flip flop rule apply to girls too? What about a non-plastic flip-flop, i.e. a nicer flip-flop?

Fritz: People, this "no flip-flops in D.C. lounges" rule is not new. It's been happening for years. You're not going to the beach. If you want to wear a "nicer flip-flop" to a bar, fine, but don't be surprised if the door staff isn't very nice about it.

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I want to drink: While watching SATC on the big screen. What's still open?

Jen: Drinking while watching the movie is a bit of a challenge. In what I can only describe as an astonishing misstep, both Cinema de Lux in Fairfax and the Mazza Club Cinema at Mazza -- two of the few theaters that serve adult beverages -- aren't showing "Sex." (Regular auditoriums at Mazza are screening the movie.)

If you want to grab cocktails before or afterward, I refer you to this freshly posted blog item for a few suggestions.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi GOGs. I am looking for the best place and time (June? July? August?) to go to Maryland to eat crabs. Any recommendations?

Thanks!

Janet: The crab crop is not supposed to be all that plentiful this summer. But I'd say anytime from mid-June to August would be good time to go. I love Cantler's Riverside Inn in Annapolis and the Crab Claw, which is in St. Michael's.

Julia?

Julia: Late summer is better for blue crabs; they're bigger then. But, as Janet mentioned this year's crop isn't supposed to be all that. (Yes, I really just typed "all that" -- it's like 1995)

Cantler's is a good choice, but Mike's is my go-to. I've also had great luck buying crabs from the back of some guy's truck off Route 5 and steaming them at home. Good Maryland boys like Fritz and my fiance will tell you that's how it's done. (You really can't do that until late summer though. And when they tell you something's a 1 ... ask to see the bigger ones. )

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Washington, D.C.: Has anyone been to the Brasserie Beck "beer garden" yet? I work right there and have been meaning to get over there...

Fritz: It's open. It's really just tables outside on that wide swathe of sidewalk on K Street, but there are extra beers (!!!) pouring from an outdoor kegerator. Remember, though, that you have to order food to sit outside -- or so I was told.

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Reston, Va.: Now that Polly Esters is no more, where does one go in this area for good 80's music and dancing? Thanks!

Rhome: There's always good ol' Heaven and Hell.

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U Street: Hey Gurus, just a quick question on this sunny D.C. day. I have two great friends coming into town this weekend for my birthday (woohoo) and I am trying to think of a fun spot for drinks on Friday night and/or Saturday afternoon. They're both big beer and cider drinkers so I was wondering if you had any ideas for places that would highlight those on the menu. Oh and U Street/Dupont/Adams Morgan is a huge plus. All I can think of now is Brickskeller, but I figured you'd have a few more suggestions... Thanks!

Fritz: The Reef had some cider on recently -- trying to recall off the top of my head -- but that rooftop would be where I'd head for a fun (and crowded) Friday night or Saturday afternoon. Bourbon's back patio, too, because despite the name, they have quite a draft selection. You might also think about the Big Hunt, whose "secret" second story back patio has been a favorite place of mine for taking out-of-town friends.

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HR57: I've been the HR57 twice. The first time the performers reserved about 20 seats...so when we arrived at 9:10pm only the upstairs, way back tables were open. The next time we arrived at 8:30 to beat the 'big crowd'--well we were the only group there until about 10. If was still fun, the performer worked our table the whole night, we were all friends by the end of the night.

Rhome: So what we've learned is that crowd density is performer dependant and being early never hurts.

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Washington, D.C.: So I hear Regina Spektor is giving a free concert on the Mall this weekend--part of the Israel birthday celebration? Any idea when she'll be on? Thanks!

David: It looks like around 3:30 p.m. for Regina Spektor. And you'll get three chances to see Oscar the Grouch, 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30. Inigo Montoya himself, Mandy Patinkin, is the emcee for the event.

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Does the no flip flop rule apply to girls too? : Now why wouldn't it apply to girls? Flops are flops. Go buy a nice pair of sandals.

Fritz: As long as they're not Jack Rogers. Man, I'm tired of looking at those.

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Rockville, Md.: I had to travel to Tex. for business a few months ago, and I was lucky enough to have alligator for the first time. I thought it was fantastic, and have been jonesing for a fix around these parts. Sadly, I have yet to find it. Any suggestions?

"Out of the river all ugly and green/

Came the biggest old alligator that I've ever seen!"

Julia: Throwing this one out to the chatters -- anyone know? I thought Fogo de Chao might have worked, but no dice there.

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SATC: Good Afternoon

Is there a list of pre or post movie venues for those of us seeing the D.C. premiere tomorrow night?

Also, any where a D.C. girl can get a "Carrie" necklace locally?

Thanks!!!!

Jen: Re: venue options, please see the blog post I noted above. And there are also a couple of planned "Sex and the City" events I neglected to mention, one on Friday at Mate and another in Georgetown on Saturday.

A Carrie necklace is a bigger challenge. Readers, any ideas where our reader can find neck jewelry befitting an SJP clone?

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Bethesda: My birthday is Sunday and I wanted to do something fun and sort of low-key with about six people. I was thinking maybe pizza and beer at Comet Ping Pong. Is that a good idea? Can you suggest other options along that line?

Anne: Sounds good to me! Comet was top of the Food section's list of great pizza places, even though David, our pizza connoisseur, says it's salty. Other ideas: celebrate in the afternoon with a funnel cake at Herndon Festival or chill out at Domku.

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Washington, D.C.: This may be D.C., but no one likes dress codes. In fact, I won't go to a place with one.

Fritz: If "no one likes dress codes," why do I see packed houses and lines outside every bar/club/lounge on K Street or Dupont or Georgetown or [fill in the blank] that has them?

If you don't like dress codes, that's fine, boycott them. Stick to bars that don't have them. But to say "no one" likes to get dressed up and go out is patently absurd.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hey GOGs - Trying to get this in quick before chat's end. On the hair salon topic, I need a non-D.C., think Alexandria or Arlington, salon suggestion. I loved Bang as well when I lived in Dupont, but am looking for an equally cool 'do and highlights somewhere a bit more convenient to my new house. Thanks!

Janet: Welcome to your new 'hood. A few possibilities on the hair front: Salon Bleu, Vidal Sassoon and Salon Cielo -- all in Tysons Corner, which in a few years might actually be a new cool neighborhood if predictions in today's paper are true.

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Bored, in the City:: Is anyone else "over" the city's dining scene? As a D.C. resident of eight years, I feel like every time I log on to OpenTable I've eaten at EVERY restaurant in the metropolitan area. What I want is a spectacular unique dining "experience."

Think Tao (New York/Vegas), Stephen Starr's restaurants in Philly or any of the hip dark supper clubs in LA.

I thought Co Co. Sala had promise for something new but SIGNIFICANTLY failed to impress. Wasabi is cool but lacks quality food and the ability to stay open after 9 p.m.

Zengo, Carlyle Club, Central, Proof and Oyamel are my standbys but after the 10th visit to each you can't help but yearn for something new.

Is it a lost cause?

Julia: Throwing this one out to the chatters too. I'm not over the city's dining scene, but then again, I have a vested interest in it being fun to go out around here. Anyone else feel the way Bored does?

It sounds like you have to good fortune to dine out often at some of the best restaurants in town. I think that eating anywhere multiple times could give you the blahs. If I ate at Central as often as I ate at Tonic, I might feel kind of bored with the former.

But yeah, that being said, while D.C.'s restaurant scene has grown up big-time in recent years, it's still not as flashy as some of the other cities you mentioned.

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Chinatown: I am looking forward to seeing "Hamlet" at Carter Barron on Friday evening. I read on the Web site that lines form early at all the ticket locations. I don't want to be gone from work too long, but I want to be sure of getting tickets--how far in advance should I plan to start waiting at the Shakespeare Theater?

Anne: Hmm, I've only done a weekend time for the Free for All, and I got there right when it opened in the morning and easily got tickets. Anyone have a Friday night experience to share?

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Kalorama, D.C.: Fritz, you seem to not mind going to gay bars and clubs, and I'm assuming that you're straight (if not, uh, doh). Why is that straight guys have a heart attack at the very idea of entering a gay bar with their friends? Chances are they won't get hit on, but if they do, is it really that painful an experience? They should think of it as a compliment, and instead coyly apologize for being simultaneously hot and straight...

Fritz: I'm straight and have no problem going to gay bars whether with gay friends or on my own. It's part of the job. I don't only go to bars that attract hipsters, or a predominantly black clientele, or Latin salsa clubs. That would get real boring real fast.

I have been hit on at gay bars, and I just kind of played it off. No big deal. To figure out why it bothers some guys -- I'd wager it has something to do with their self-image of masculinity -- you'd need an advanced degree to really lead a discussion on it.

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Dupont: What are the best dive bars in the city? I'm a big fan of Toledo Lounge but would like to experience some other dives.

Fritz: See, I might not even consider Toledo a dive, as much as I love it. Same with Solly's -- is it too nice to be a dive?

If I may expand the criteria to "low-key neighborhood spots with cheap drinks," I'd have to say Tune Inn, Red Derby, the Pug, Lil Pub, the Raven, the Fox and Hounds, the Hitchin' Post, Townhouse Tavern, Larry's Lounge, and maybe (though I bet this is controversial) Market Inn.

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Downtown: I'm trying to organize a happy hour for a medium size group (about 7 or so) of friends/colleagues and want somewhere fun and outdoors. Anywhere in D.C. would work but want to avoid the frat type feeling since we're coming straight from work. Suggestions? We're all kind of bored with the usual places...

Thanks!!

Fritz: Skye Lounge or Hudson would be the first two choices if you're downtown.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus...what (when and where) are any good wine festivals this summer???

Thanks!

Julia: You could start with Vintage Virginia at Bull Run this weekend. The Manassas Wine Fest follows on June 15.

The bigger fests are in the fall, but if you want to continue to taste throughout the summer, I'd suggest making a weekend out of it an trekking to vineyards like Delfosse and Horton and other ones on the way down to Charlottesville. Check their Web sites for assorted special events throughout the summer. It's definitely cool to see the vines, meet the winemakers, etc.

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Carrie Necklace: I'm assuming you mean that gold plated version? They used to have kiosks at Potomac Mills mall/Pentagon City that made them

Jen: Really? Well, there you go, Ms. Bradshaw.

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Vegan Eel??: As a vegan, I was excited when you posted the info about Sticky Rice. But check out the description for their Garden Balls....

Shiitake mushrooms, red pepper, cilantro and spicy rice in an inari pocket then tempura fried and drizzled with eel sauce.

Eel sauce cannot be vegan. Please ask the poster's friends to confirm that the ingredients are really vegan when they place the order

Julia: Oh my gosh -- thanks so much for writing in. I glazed right over the eel sauce...since it was on the vegetarian section of their menu. Sticky-Rice goer -- ask your server about the eel sauce. (Non-veggies, the eel sauce is ridiculously delicious).

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Washington, D.C.: Good afternoon, Gurus, hoping you can help me out! A friend from college will be in town next week and we're getting together for dinner. She's Jamaican and I would love to take her to a great Jamaican restaurant -- and I -know- one has to exist in the metro area. First priority is great food (!!!) -- digs and price don't matter, Metro accessible would be nice but not necessary, inside or out of the Beltway (gasp) is fine too. Any suggestions?! Thanks!

Rhome: Out of this list I'd suggest The Islander, Teddy's Roti Shop, and Jerk Hill (in my hood).

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Washington, D.C.: You asked a very good question: Why do sheep line up and crowd into bars/clubs etc. for privilege of paying outrageous prices for drinks (if you can elbow your way to the bar) and the opportunity to be criticized by the help?

Fritz: Well, though I know this is a dig at expensive lounges, you could very well be talking about some well-loved dives where you pay $3 for a can PBR when a whole sixer will cost about that at some area liquor stores, or $3.50 for a very strong 8-ounce gin and tonic when a full bottle of the bathtub-quality gin that the bartender's grabbing from the rail costs $7?

It's all about going out and being socialable. Some people's idea of a good time is very different than other's. Remember, it takes diff'rent strokes to move the world.

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Dives: I thought one criteria in calling a place a "dive" was that it wasn't real clean. At least, that's what we told ourselves when hung out at Mr. Eagan's and found rat turds, and the occasional pool of water on the floor.

Fritz: I really regret that I was always too young to go to Mr. Eagan's, though I know that didn't stop some people...

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Bored in the City - : Sounds like this person is taking these restaurants for granted. Expensive does not equal good. Try a new genre like taco stands, or diners, there's good food all around this city!

Julia: I just had the good fortune of having a taco at Tacqueria Nacionale the other day. So good.

Good advice, but I don't think taco stands have the "experience" Bored was describing.

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I'm a girl: What the heck are Jack Rogers?

Fritz: Really shiny metallic sandals. Nearly went blind from the glare at Gold Cup.

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Always wondered what Fritz looked like..: Fritz, you get hit on at gay bars? You hottie quotient just went up, up, up.

Fritz: Actually, the last time I went to review a gay bar, I had a straight friend with me who was getting the looks. I was just the wingman.

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Artomatic...: I was thinking of taking some out-of-town guests to Artomatic, to look at art and grab a drink. Do you know if they have full bars or just beer? (I ask because one of my guests has celiac disease and can't have beer.)

Fritz: The bars are just wine and beer only, so as long as your friend doesn't mind Yellowtail/Ravenswood, there's plenty of chardonnay and shiraz to be had.

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Rosslyn: Ha, props to the alligator poster for the lyric. I just moved and was listening to some 'Dead bootleg tapes that resurfaced for the first time in over 10 years, and have had "Alligator" in my head all week.

Julia: Word. Spent all weekend listening to the Dead with old college buddies. "And We Bid You Goodnight" is on repeat in my brain.

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Eel Sauce: Eel sauce (also called kabayaki) IS vegan. It is the sauce typically used on eel sushi and it kinda like a Japanese barbeque sauce. No eels included (think like "steak" sauce).

Julia: Nice -- thanks for clarifying that. Whatever it is: delicious.

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Nightlife Agenda Correction...: The JDavey show is next Thursday, June 5, ... not tonight, May 29. Ya'll almost gave me a heart attack ..

Rhome: I blame it on all the free liquor we drink while chatting courtesy of bars trying to bribe us for good reviews. We're fixing it.

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Clarendon: Are there any bars or DJs in the area that play Motown? If there are, what's the age range for the crowd? Thanks!

David: Not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but the Soulf*** is a monthly night at the Black Cat's backstage that specializes in '60s and ;70s soul and funk. They dig deeper than just Motown hits, but you might hear a few of those. That's going to be a pretty young crowd, not many folks who were alive when those songs were written.

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Anyone else feel the way Bored does? : No. Recently in Sietsema's chat it was mentioned that he would nine years to get to every single restaurant in the D.C. area if he ate out for lunch and dinner every day.

Julia: Yeah, it's shocking, isn't it?

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Washington, D.C: Hello all,

Do you have any recommendations for places to go and meet, or just hang out with, other women? A lot of the bars and clubs are spots for boys to meet girls- where do girls go to meet girls in this area?

Fritz: Well, there's always Phase One, the oldest lesbian bar around, but there's a younger scene happening at events like A Different Kind of Ladies Night, a happy hour that flits around the Dupont/U Street area. There's a meetup tonight at Chi-Cha -- $3 beers and apps, $5 cocktails from 8-10 -- and every Friday at Fab Lounge.

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Skye - Lunch?: Is the entrance to Skye Lounge on Penn? I have been walking by a Skye (something) on 19th and I and seeing tables outside for lunch.

Fritz: The address is Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the entrance is on the southwest corner of 19th and I. Look for the patio.

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Alligator: I think Clare and Don's in Falls Church has it on their menu as an appetizer.

Julia: They do indeed! Thanks! Houston visitor, it's the tail, breaded and fried.

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Franconia, Va.: For Bored ... US Airways is ready when you are. Bring your own peanuts.

Julia: Burn.

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Alexandria, Va.: Most straight guys go to bars to find women to ogle/hit on. It is very very difficult to do this at gay bars. Not a masculinity thing.

Fritz: This is true, but I think the poster was referring to guys who would under no circumstances go to a gay bar with a group of friends...

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No Flip Flop Rules: Fritz,

I know about the rule, but I was hoping Marvin could be better than that. I have back problems and in general find heels VERY uncomfortable. Flip flops tend to be all that I can walk around/stand in all night - except sneakers, and I assume that won't fly - without being in extreme pain. I don't understand what is wrong with them. Ugh.

Fritz: Really? Not even a pair of flats? But you can wear trendy/cool/non-gym sneakers to Marvin. Lots of old-school Adidas/Puma/Nike Dunks in there.

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Woodley Park: I had the horrific experience of seeing a bike rider get creamed by a car last night in Woodley Park. We called an ambulance, etc., and he seemed very shaken but fine when I left him in the paramedics hands, but the guy (who was not at fault at ALL) was not wearing a helmet. As my public service announcement to all bike riders out there, wear a helmet. \The sound alone of this crash was horrifying, it sounded like two cars crashing. This man was SOO lucky to have taken the brunt of his fall on his arm.

Rhome: Even more importantly than a helmet, learn how to ride defensively. A helmet might save my dome but I'd rather not get creamed in the first place.

Not really going out related but important.

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Alligator: Buy it online at Cajun supermarkets. It comes to your house with cooking instructions and in a small cooler.

Julia: Sweet.

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Not another birthday question...: ... but it is. So I'm going to try to be as specific as possible to distinguish from the 3,000 other "Where should I go for my birthday?" questions you get every week. Here's my dilemma: I love places like Eighteenth Street Lounge, Local 16, and Tattoo (quickly becoming my favorite bar). My friends love casual divey bars; they will not wait in line or pay cover, they will wear flip flops. Is there a bar that will satisfy both needs? (And please don't send me somewhere generic like Front Page.) Thanks, you guys are great!

Rhome: I'll stay out of the flip-flop debate and stick with reality - you just can't have it both ways.

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Upper Northwest: This week's article on sloe gin has me thinking I need to try this mysterious elixir. Where's the best bet for a real sloe gin drink, vice the high fructose corn syrup rendition? Thanks!

Fritz: Give it another week or so before it makes it to D.C. -- Jason's hilarious article said June 1 before it was available -- but then I'd check Pilar, the Gin Joint or Dino to find cocktails.

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Eel Sauce NOT vegan: I jsut looked online to find out what the ingrediants are for "eel sauce" and here is what I found:

Eel sauce includes soy sauce, syrup, eel extract, and mirin.

Eel extract sounds like it is coming from the eel! I think the safetest bet would be for a someone to ask Sticky Rice. I am a vegetarian and would hate to somehow end up eating eel extract!

Julia: Yeah, vegetarian guy, please ask your waiter. I'm stepping out of this debate.

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Roanoke: I'm going to Roanoke on Saturday to meet a friend. Neither one of us know anything about Roanoke. Anyone know of any cool bars in that area?

Rhome: Had a great brunch at Metro! last weekend.

I wish I had known at the time that they book top notch DJs too. Their sound system and DJ booth is better than a lot of clubs in D.C.

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washingtonpost.com: And that's all we have time for today, folks. Enjoy that sunshine and we'll catch you next week.

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Flip Flop drama: I only have to say that the biggest turn off in D.C. is to see a nice looking girl with great hair, great outfit and a pair of $2 flip flops and a lousy pedi.

It is good that there are clubs where they are not allowed.

I understand they are very comfortable, but there are dozens of other flat shoes that are comfy too. Don't be lazy. Go get a nice pair

Julia: We couldn't resist posting this one.

And sloe-gin guy or gal, the good kind isn't here until June 1, and as that amazingly funny article noted, it'll be available in these bars: Hudson Restaurant and Lounge, Hook and Zola. Until then, this recipe will have to do. See y'all!

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