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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, July 3, 2008; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's City Guide experts share their best bets for local flavor, great dates and family fun. Got plans? Great. Need plans? Just ask. We have the skinny on the bars and clubs, concerts, kitchens, theaters and special events that keep life interesting. We're going out gurus, and we're at your service.

Of course, we're happy to answer questions about local entertainment, but we need to hear from you, too. Introduce us to the coolest DJ or the fastest bartender you've encountered. Sound off on the week's best concert or the city's best burger. Tell us about the best place to amuse little kids or a big art fan. Together we can plan fun ways to spend weekdays, weekends, dates and holidays. The pleasure is ours, and yours.

Each week a different guru will act as host or hostess, but the entire staff is at your service. If you're looking for more ideas, see the City Guide or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions.

The transcript follows:

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washingtonpost.com: Hi, and welcome to the Fourth of July Eve edition of Got Plans. Good to see your questions -- if it weren't for you, we might think we're only people in town still sitting inside the office. (Any of you get out early today?) Anyway, it's been a cool week here -- I'm all charged up because we're finally all together. Stephanie's here, Julia's back from her honeymoon, Fritz is back from jury duty and David, Jen, Rhome and I are glad to see these desks filled up again. Okay, Fritz actually isn't here yet, but he should be here momentarily. And some of our links -- like in our everything Fourth of July page -- aren't actually working because of a technical mystery, but we're working on it. This cool PDF comparison of the best local fireworks that aren't on the Mall, however, does work. But just ask anything you need to know. Let's go.

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Veritas - Ummm...no thanks: 1st things 1st. I love this chat and read it every week. You make an OCD-ish, non-spontaneous, 30+yr old accountant look like a sage adventurer, well versed on the hot new restaurants and must-see nightlife. Cases in point: Halloween Drag-race last fall, Rasika for Indian, I could go on. So THANKS!

That being said, The lady friend is a big fan of wine / winebars (I drink beer and keep begging for Red Derby....based on your recommendation)....I suggested the new(er) Veritas (pretending I was familiar) b/c you have mentioned it many, many times and it's a block from my place. She, not me, I repeat NOT ME (as I was trying to maintain a very fun / positive attitude) dubbed it....wait for it...."The Cackling Hag"....just thought you should know (low ceilings, incredible 8-to-1 Gal-to-Guy ratio, we were there 15-mins tops).

Looking forward to taking her to Cork or Vinoteca (I certainly did not give up on your recommendations!).

Julia: "Cackling Hag"? That's funny. I'd tend to second her assessment these days. I went a few weeks ago with a girlfriend and we brought down the average age by 10 years. Not that there's anything wrong with that -- Veritas was just a little different when it opened.

Anyway, Cork is crowded but has a nice intimate vibe at night. Vinoteca gives me a weird diner feeling inside, but outside is lovely -- if you can stand the humidity. Fritz loves their happy hour.

For another option, check out Enology, a recent addition to the ever-growing wine-bar scene.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus, With the tart frozen yogurt craze finally making its way to D.C., what are your thoughts on Dupont Circle's new Mr. Yogato and Tangysweet?

Julia: Loving Tangysweet, haven't been to Mr. Yogato yet. D.C. loves jumping on those culinary bandwagons a few years late, huh?

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Washington, D.C.: In the past, the Capitol lawn has been open on July 3rd for the rehearsal for the PBS show, A Capitol Fourth. Is this still going on tonight?

Anne: Yep, the dress rehearsal starts tonight at 7:30. It's the same as the real show, except there's starting and stopping. Kind of cool to get the behind-the-scenes experience of seeing celeb performers do more than one take. I'll see you there.

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Baltimore, Md.: Hi, will places like the Spy Museum and Newseum be open tomorrow? If so, would you expect them to be mob scenes or maybe a little quieter than the average Saturday as tourists in flag t-shirts are more likely to hit the monuments and Smithsonians?

Stephanie:
Both the Newseum and the Spy Museum will be open for business tomorrow, and with all the people funneling into D.C., I'd be shocked if they were quieter than usual. Then again, maybe most people will be hitting up the parade and the Mall. It's worth a try!

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Van Ness, D.C. : Hi Gurus! The info on the Post's website about activities on the 4th is great, but I can't find information on fireworks that will be going off on July 5th. I'm babysitting that night and it would be fun to take the kids on the roof deck to watch. I remember in past years we could see fireworks going off in Virginia & Maryland. Any word on fireworks on the 5th? Thanks!

Fritz: There are fireworks on the 5th, but they're in Laurel, Leonardtown and Sharpsburg (Antietam), which don't sound too visible from D.C....

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NW, Washington, D.C.: So my friends and I were reminiscing about our chilhoods and we randomly came to the subject of Slush Puppies. Ever since then I've been craving one. I know 7-Eleven has Slurpees but they're just not the same. Any idea where we could get one in the city? Their Web site only lists distributors but not stores........

Jen: Holy refreshing treats, this is a little scary.

Christian (our travel and books guy and recent Celebritologist sub) and I recently discussed this very same subject. Like you, we also went to the lame Slush Puppie Web site and could not find information about where to purchase them.

On a positive note, we can report that they still exist because, not long after our conversation, Christian found and purchased a Slush Puppie while visiting Pittsburgh. On a negative note, the only place I know you can get them? Pittsburgh. Kinda far.

If anyone knows where a Slush Puppie machine can be located in the D.C. area, please let us know. The frozen drink Gods demand it!

(Sidenote, but worth mentioning: I know Slurpees aren't the same, but they have their charms. And on July 11, you can get free ones at 7-11. I like free things.)

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Washington, D.C.: No judging please...

One of my favorite hang-outs, the Royal Lee, closed this past weekend. I'm still pretty bummed.

Can you guys recommend a new venue (or a couple) for my friends and me to try out with a similar combination of dive bar vibe (locals and laid back people, not overrun with yuppies), great karaoke, cheap beers and a who-cares attitude? I know there's Jay's. Any other suggestions?

I need to move on, quick, before I become really depressed.

Fritz: Well, there's Nick's, a divey country bar where Julia claims she "owns karaoke," or the Rock-It Grill, which, despite the Old Town address, is really a divey karaoke joint with fiercely loyal regulars (who sometimes get to go twice before visitors are up once), and JV's in Falls Church, which doesn't have karaoke, but absolutely rules in every other department. Love the live music there -- bluegrass, old-school country, blues.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey GOG's! Embarrassing question, but how do you actually pronounce MCCXXIII ..? 1-2-2-3?

Rhome: Twelve Twenty Three.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus,

I am trying to be patient, but I just can't contain myself any longer-- I had to write to the experts and inquire:

Whate dates are the Washington, DC 2008 August Restaurant Week?

Thanks

Julia: Official word is: August 11 through 17. The list of participating restaurants isn't confirmed yet, but you know all the usual suspects....

One other fact worth noting: Dinner prices are going up to $35.08. Lunch is still $20.08. Guess all those gas and grocery prices are affecting even beloved traditions like Restaurant Week.

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Slush Puppies from High's!!!: Holy blast from the past.

Jen: Indeed. We are continuing our efforts on Operation Slush Puppie and will report with further information, maybe even before the chat ends.

(In addition to Highs, I used to also get them at the Sea Colony snack shop in Bethany. Slush Puppies at the beach? What could be better?)

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Washington, D.C.: What's going on with Citron? I saw the liquor suspension sign and the locked door yesterday when I was walking up Connecticut.

Fritz: As you may have read earlier this week, D.C.'s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration has been "cracking down" on bars -- both for capacity reasons as well as violence. It's getting ridiculous, from what bar and club owners tell me.

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Washington, D.C.: Does post.com have a map of where the fireworks are going to be set off? I'm trying to figure out if I'm going to be able to see them from the balcony of my new apartment or not.

Anne: Can you see the Monument from your balcony? Then 1) you have a sweet place and 2) you'll definitely be able to see the 'works. The Mall ones are set off over the Reflecting Pool. We will have a map of the Mall for you very very soon. In the meantime, here's a bigger and non-PDF version of the link I had in the intro -- so you can see which shows in the burbs rival the Mall with fewer crowds.

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Arlington, Va.: Gurus help! I am craving a hot dog hot off the grill, but I am an apartment dweller and alas, have no grill. Where can I find a dog or a grill to cook on? A Nats dog at the ballpark would work, but they aren't in town this weekend. Please help.

Julia: You can get an expensive (but tasty!) dog at M'Dawg in Adams Morgan. I suspect the grills in Rock Creek Park are booked up for the weekend, but there's an option for the cook-your-own route. Closer to you, Armistead Boothe Park has grills, but again, they're likely to be booked/busy this weekend.

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Slush Puppies: Don't some Targets have them (or is it a different icy treat)?

Jen: I think you are thinking of Icees, which also can be found in movie theaters. Those have a freakishly happy polar bear on them, as opposed to an awesome dog with a skull cap.

Now if I am wrong and Targets do have them, I will immediately adjourn from the chat and go buy a cherry-flavored one.

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Northern Va.: You guys had mentioned (or blogged) about a "dessert-place" newly opened.

If we could find the name, we were thinking of a wine-bar, dessert bar, crawl this weekend.

Julia: It was a while ago, but I think you're thinking of Co Co. Sala.

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Centreville, Va.: Hey Gurus. I'm nursing a broken heart, and thought that I might want to take a kayak out on some quiet body of water. (Not ocean)

Is there anywhere I can do that here? I'm still kinda new to these parts.

Stephanie: Bummer about the broken heart. There are always a lot of kayakers on the C&O Canal by Old Angler's Inn on Macarthur Boulevard in Maryland. When I was learning to kayak, I used to park at Old Angler's and drag my boat across the towpath and down to the Potomac, but I would only recommend doing that if you're fairly experienced or have a guide.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus; given a choice between Josephine's, Lima, and Lotus, which one would you choose? I'm mainly interested in a diverse, stylish crowd, with a packed dance floor, and the possibility of meeting people (as opposed to mainly socializing within a group). Also, do you have any advice for getting into these lounges on K Street, since I'm male? Thanks.

Fritz: I prefer Josephine (singular) out of those three for your criteria, but honestly, on a weekend night, they're all so packed you're not going to BE DOING MUCH SOCIALIZING THAT'S NOT AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS. Lima has a pretty diverse crowd, but I think Josephine's space just works better.

Getting in: Don't go on your own? Well, if that's not an option, check out my guide to getting on guest lists from the Interns Guide. I've used it to get into Lotus and Tattoo on my own -- and never had trouble getting into Lima solo as long as I was well-dressed.

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Alexandria, Va.: My group of friends is considering going to Six Flags on Saturday. They're running a half-time ticket promotion. We're split. There's a possibility that most people will be doing family-like cookout activities on Saturday or took long weekend trips because of the weekend...and there's the chance that high gas prices kept people around and they're going to treat themselves to some roller coasters.

We can handle crowds...just not throngs. How bad can it be?

And if it's bad, do you have an alternative? We're already doing the pub crawl tonight and having a cookout/backyard BBQ tomorrow. What's the perfect activity to make this a July 4 weekend trifecta?

David: Amusement park on a holiday weekend with a discount promotion? I tend to think it will be pretty crowded, but maybe everyone will think the same thing and stay away. But usually they don't offer those promotions unless they think they need to boost attendance, y'know? Then again, maybe this will keep people away from Six Flags for the time being.

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Slush puppie on U?!: Posted a year ago by Prince of Petworth.

Jen: No way!!!

Thank you, Prince of Petworth. I really hope that gas station still carries them.

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Hot dog on a grill: Try cooking the hot dog at home on a George Foreman grill, it's great!

Fritz: I have one of those, and honestly, I prefer the grill pan I got for Christmas -- works like a charm, heats all around, and even leaves the tell-tale grill marks on the dog.

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Capitol Hill: Anybody know about this place called Studio 400, at 4th and H NE? When I drive by the place it kind of looks like any club/bar, but I hear the scuttlebutt is that they are techincally listed as a catering hall or something. Anyone have any official info?

Rhome: The last time I was down that way the kiddies were having a go-go show.

I don't think it's regularly open to the public.

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Washington, D.C.: The fiance and I are going to try Ethiopian food for the first time on Saturday. Where would you send rookie Ethiopian eaters, Etete or Dukem or someplace else? Also, any recommended dishes while we're there?

Fritz: Dukem is great for beginners because you get a show as well as the food. Honestly, though, I prefer the kitfo, tibs and doro wat at Etete.

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Washington, D.C.: I've heard that Meridian Hill Park (which happens to be two blocks from my apartment) is a good place to watch the fireworks on the Mall. What say the Gurus (and the peanut gallery)? Anyone done this before? I'm just not sure I'm up for the full Mall experience this year...!

Julia: I like Meridian Hill as a fireworks spot, but I think you get a better view from 13th Street -- just north of Cardozo High School. Get there early -- lots of people just chill out on the sidewalks for the hour or so before.

We pulled together a list of our favorite non-Mall viewing spots last year -- check it out for other options. Any chatters have a rec to share?

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Capitol Hill: Hey Gurus, July 4th Question for you. What is the alcohol policy on the Mall for July 4th? It's my understanding none is allowed.

However, Friday Jazz at the Sculpture Garden states outside alcohol is not allowed but that is rarely enforced.

So, can we sneak a bottle or two of wine on the Mall Friday or will security be too strict?

Thanks!

Fritz: None. Is. Allowed.
If you've been to the Mall on the 4th in the last seven years, you know that when you're funneled to one of the few checkpoints, you're put through something just short of a full body search, no coolers are allowed, and the cops WILL look in your bags, backpacks, etc.

Jazz in the Garden has no check at the door. Not that, er, I would sneak a bottle of wine in. I'm just saying.

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McLean, Va.: Plan on trying to tackle the fireworks at the Mall tomorrow. Is security completely over the top that you can't do a picnic?

Anne: Whoa, no need to panic. You can still picnic. The Park Service's list of what you can't bring is pretty short and similar to Fort Reno: no alcohol or glass bottles. Okay, they also say you can't bring your own grill or your own fireworks, but I usually don't see those at Fort Reno.

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Cantina Marina: Hi there...I am hoping to head to Cantina Marina on Saturday late afternoon/early evening. Is it a safe walk from the Metro station? Alternatively, does the Circulator make a stop down there?? Thanks for any advice.

Stephanie: I just went to Cantina Marina last weekend before the Nationals game and I felt totally safe walking from there to the stadium. Also, I took the Circulator to get there from the convention center area, and it was so convenient. The stop is directly across the street from Cantina.

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Capitol Hill: Have you heard anything about the French Embassy's Bastille Day party, and whether it's worth going to this year?

Fritz: It's pretty similar to other years, or so it seems -- $85 for a buffet dinner prepared by local French restaurants, cocktails, wine, dessert and drinks, plus live music and dancing. One difference this time is that former White House chef Roland Mesnier is doing a cooking demo.

This is a pricey cocktail-attire event, but it can be fun; I'd go with a group if you can.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you know anywhere that is starting their happy hours earlier than usual this Thursday, since a lot of people are getting out of work early?

Fritz: I called a few places while prepping my big "What's going on Thursday and Friday" blog post, but no one seemed to be into it.

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Slush Puppies: The Noah's Pretzels stand at National Park sells them. We sampled pina colada and cherry last weekend.

Jen: No!!!

I was just there. Oh, how I wish I had this information at the time. Thank you for sharing.

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Shaw, D.C.: i want something different for the 4th this year instead of an ice cold beer while watching fireworks. Friends were raving about Pimm's cups and how great there are on a hot night. I looked online and there are tons of recipes for them. Anyone know the perfect recipe? (Fritz for some reason i'm looking in your direction) do any bars in D.C. serve them?

Fritz: Pimm's Cups are the best summer cocktails -- well, one of the best summer cocktails. (I'd have to put our own Gin Rickey up there, too, as well as our take on the Queen Mum, which has Emeril's approval.)

For me, it's three parts lemonade (Fever Tree, which you can get everywhere from Whole Foods to Potomac Liquors these days) to Pimm's, topped with club soda. Make sure you muddle some mint in the glass -- not required, but it can be refreshing. Then garnish with a cucumber and you're ready for Wimbledon.

Bars that do Pimm's Cup: Let's start at Central, Cork and (maybe) the Gin Joint at New Heights.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm a former D.C. resident back to the city for the summer. Next week my out-of-state boyfriend is coming to visit and I'm trying to plan a Friday dinner for my D.C. friends to finally meet him (and give their stamp of approval). The other goal of the weekend is to convince him that D.C. wouldn't be a bad place to live for a few years.

There will be five of us in our late 20s. The boy isn't trendy, so I'm not looking for the hottest place imaginable, but I do want somewhere attractive. Being able to hear each other without screaming is important. We're flexible on food type, but don't want to spend more than about $35 per person.

My thought is Jaleo, but I fear I'm just falling back on a safety. Any suggestions that would fit the bill? Thanks, and it's good to be back!

Julia: Jaleo is a good bet. I'd also add Hank's Oyster Bar, Oyamel or perhaps Chef Geoff's. Acadiana or Corduroy's new spot may be other good choices, but I think they're just above your price range. For something more casual, how 'bout the Georgetown Pizza Paradisio?

Good luck!

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washingtonpost.com: Another tip for the broken-hearted paddler, the Bladensburg Waterfront. Support Potomac restoration! The beauty of nature does a heart good.

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RE: kayaking: It's super easy and fun to just go to the Georgetown waterfront. I went to Thompson Boat Center and it was just fine. It's also close to Roosevelt Island, which is fun to paddle around. Especially if you're feeling melancholic.

Stephanie: Another good plan for the sad kayaker.

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Jazz tomorrow night?: The alcohol/jazz question reminded me -- is jazz in the Sculpture Garden happening tomorrow night? I would love to spend my afternoon there...

Fritz: So would I ... but with all the chaos on the Mall, it's postponed until next week. Sorry.

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Thursday HH: What are your thoughts on "Splash" at the Washington Plaza Hotel? Looking for a fun happy hour tonight around that area.
Thanks

Fritz: I think I'll enjoy Splash a lot more now that the poolside happy hour's absurdly-high $15 walk-up cover charge has been knocked down to $5, and you can get in for free if you RSVP at euronetinternational.com.

It's an interesting, diverse night that has D.C. natives rubbing shoulders with IMF employees and World Bankers and the local arts community. I hear there's going to be grilling on the terrace, which sounds like it would go well with a cold beer in this heat.

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Falls Church, Va.: When the "technical mystery" has allowed it, I've been looking through the site for small town fireworks a little out of town. Do you guys know of any small towns in the Shenandoah that have fireworks? We would like to get out of town and do something in a Mellencamp vein. Thanks.

Anne: Good news! The server must have heard you, as I just clicked on a link and it worked! Yes, these little things thrill me, and I love small town celebrations, too. So check out our map and scroll yourself west. We have info on bunch of Fourth of July events in Loudoun County -- but not in Shenandoah. To me, a road trip the Plains or even Purcellville still feels like you're getting out of town. Once you can see cows in pastures, I don't think you're in D.C. anymore. But if you want to go even further, try this Virginia Is for Lovers link.

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Washington, D.C.: I remember reading about a rooftop hotel bar and pool that often featured DJs or live music a few years ago -- is there still something like this in the D.C. area open to some fun young people looking to cool off with drinks?

Rhome: Yup. But not the same one we used to talk about.

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Downtown and out of ideas: I feel like I have read every restaurant review, rating and ranking. And yet I am still struggling to find a spot for dinner for a very special girls' night out. Please help me find a great hot spot for about 10 girls preferably Mexican, Italian or Vietnamese in the city. I'd like to stay in the Penn Quarter, Downtown, Dupont, Adams Morgan, U Street areas if possible. Please help!

Julia: How 'bout Oyamel?

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The BEST slurpee: Is Coke slurpee. The rest are just kid's coolade.

David: Co-signed, except on the misspelling of Kool-Aid.

Jen: I agree when you're talking Slurpee.

Please understand that the Slush Puppie is another animal. It does not hold together in the same way that Slurpees and Icees do. It's more like a slightly melted Italian Ice, and I mean that in the tastiest possible way.

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Fireworks on the Mall: Your interactive map shows two events -- one at the Capitol and one at the Washington Monument. One says music starts at 6; the other says music starts at 8. Which is it? Are there TWO events?

Fritz: Yes. The music at the Washington Monument starts at 6, with the Gatlin Brothers ("Houston"!) and the Air Force Band, while the performance at the Capitol gets underway at 8.

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Petworth: "If you've been to the Mall on the 4th in the last seven years..."

I haven't, because I can't cope with the fact that the paranoid are now in charge. It makes me so sad. I went every year from 1985 - 2001. Now I have lost one of the things that says D.C.! to me.

Someday they will give us our city back, right?

Rhome: I haven't been since 2001 myself. I just find other spots around town now. It rained really hard that year but it was still awesome. And I may have been accompanied by someone who may have brought along some adult beverages but I can't confirm... hazy memory and all.

The world is different now.

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Pimm's: Love ginger beer instead of lemonade. \Gives a kick, doncha know ...

Fritz: Right, but at that point, it's not a Pimm's Cup anymore.

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Hilarious: I like how some people still use the word "Yuppie." What is this 1987? I think they all hang out at St. Elmo's Fire.

Jen: I know, right? Such out-of-date lingo. Totally makes me want to barf out and gag myself with a spoon.

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Alexandria, Va.: I'm planning a trip to the National Museum of Women in the Arts this weekend; can you recommend some places nearby for lunch? Nothing fancy is fine. It's located at 1250 New York Ave.

Thanks!

Stephanie: I used to work right near the National Museum of Women in the Arts and one of my favorite places to go for lunch was Ceiba. Another option is Bobby Van's Grill, which is right there.

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Greenbelt, Md.: Got any ideas for places to have some drinks after the fireworks tommorrow, or better yet having some drinks during the fireworks?

Fritz: Best drinks-during-the-fireworks is going to be the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill, which is hosting a party on its rooftop (see my writeup in the July 4 blog post above for details about RSVPing). With the Beacon and Charlie Palmer and others already sold out, it's your best shot at toasting America.

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Slush puppies: I used to work at High's when I was in high school where they sold Slush Puppies exclusively. I know, what an exclusive. Anyway I there is still a High's in Ocean City and they would sell it. That's about as close as you can find one.

Jen: Well, there are many High's stores in Maryland, including at least one in Annapolis. But the High's Web site makes no mention of the Slush Puppie so I don't know if that "partnership" is still in place.

If it is, they're doing their best to keep it a secret.

(Wow, you had access to unlimited Slush Puppies? Best job ever!)

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Co-signed, except on the misspelling of Kool-Aid. : I didn't want to offend any copyright laws, so I just used the generic spelling.

Jen: I totally want the Kool-Aid guy to burst through the walls of our office with a subpoena.

"Oh yeah!"

We appreciate your legal awareness and sensitivity.

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Etete: For out of town boyfriend visit. If he likes funky/diverse how about dinner at Etete then a nice walk then catch some good jazz ... .

Fritz: That's a great idea, and it's eerily similar to a suggestion in our neighborhood dates guide ...

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Silver Spring, Md.: Do you have any information about the BSO concert at the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland?

Anne: Yep we do. It's the Maryland Symphony Orchestra out of Hagerstown, not the BSO, though.

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Cuban restaurant?: Help a girl out - I posed this to Tom yesterday but he didn't get to it. I'd like to take my half-Cuban boyfriend to a good, authentic Cuban restaurant. I don't expect it to live up to his Grandma's cooking or what you can find in Miami, but something good. Browsing through City Guide, I see places like Cuba de Ayer and Cuban Corner are recommended, but some of those reviews are old. Help?

Fritz: Cubano's in Silver Spring is solid -- especially the ropa vieja and the mojitos.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey guys! My friends and I want to go dancing to celebrate the 4th: we're all over 18 but under 21. To be honest, I've heard some rumors that 18+ nights can be seedy around here. We're looking for someplace that consistently brings in a good crowd and isn't sketchy! Do you have any suggestions or favorites?

Fritz: The best dance night tomorrow in D.C. is 18 and over: the Close to the Edge party at the Black Cat, with DJ Dredd and Uncle Q rocking golden-age hip-hop and R&B. Should be fantastic.

In terms of regular 18-and-over nights, I find that Ultrabar isn't as sketch as some of the larger club nights, but I'm not 18 any more. Anyone younger care to weigh in?

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Uniontown PA (Near Pittsburgh): Hey guys, lots of Slush Puppies here!! Am coming to D.C. next weekend. Want me to bring a few? HAHA

Rhome: Seems like you're rubbing in our Slush Puppie deficit.

Really though, I'm just hating on the fact that Raspberry Lemonade Slurpees disappeared forever.

And if we're really going to parse out all the various species of frozen syrupy yumminess, you can keep it really real and get some shaved ice from a street vendor in Columbia Heights.

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Washington, D.C.: What do you all know about dog friendly summer activities... particularily anywhere where they can swim?

Fritz: Try my list of dog-friendly happy hours to start.

For swimming, you can't beat the dog runs at Quiet Waters in Annapolis.

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National Museum of Women : Go to Mozart. yum.

Stephanie: My coworker (who also happened to be my sister) used to drag me to Cafe Mozart for lunch. But if the museum-goer is a fan of German food, that's a great option.

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Dupont Circle: If you're really in need of a hot-dog fix, 7-11 has them. I recommend a few beers first to get help you get over the fact you are eating food cooking in a convenience mart.

Julia: True story: my man gets a 7-11 hotdog pretty much every night after we hit the bars. I am grossed out just thinking about this.

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Silver Spring, Md.: About a month ago an article was featured about a newer restaurant started by 3 young African American men. The photo showed a group of 30- 40-something women casually lounging and conversing. The name of the restaurant is a blur---it was one word. Can you recall it?

Anne: I think you mean Evolve in Adams Morgan. Check out the photo slideshow.

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Washington, D.C.: Comment on your recommendation/answers in 6/19's "Got Plans" and "Nightlife Agenda":

Dear Fritz, Stephanie, et. al.:

You've greatly hyped the last 2 Hirshhorn "After Hours", but it would appear that you haven't attended one recently. The 6/20 event was the 6th or 7th I've attended, but the quality and the apparent effort by museum staff have both declined noticeably:

1. As one reader noted in 6/19's Got Plans, at a previous event the museum had LiteBrites (as is correctly spelled) to celebrate the installation of light-as-art. Those tie-ins used to be a mainstay of the AH's, and were always creative and fun. But there haven't been any for at least the last 2 events.

2. The "Realisms" show, no matter how well-done or interesting, did not lend itself well to a AH party. Dark, quiet rooms are a poor match for large, boozed-up, partying crowds. The staff should have anticipated this.

3. While the event did feature more bartenders, resulting in shorter lines, drink prices were increased accordingly.

4. The DJs were not only not experimental or "arty", but often played standard 90s dance music! -sorry, I can't recall any of the song's names, but think SNL's "A night at the Roxbury".

5. The crowd. The AfterHours have become victims of their own success - and the Gurus are to be credited/blamed for promoting them so much. Attendees have decreased in age (and, in my opinion, appreciation of art) but increased in level of dress. Fritz's comment about dress code being "hipster casual" is no longer accurate. It's now 23-year-olds in barely-covering minidresses and guys in "bar" shirts, who look at the HH as their pre-party before they move on to a dance club.

Finally, I should note that this is the first time I've seen anyone wade into the fountain at the end of the night - let alone the 10-12 who did; all of whom got arrested.

I won't be going back to a HH AfterHours, but perhaps you should attend the next one before you continue to promote them so heavily.

Julia: Thanks for your comments. I wasn't in town for the 6/19 chat, nor was I around for the 6/20 After Hours, but I really enjoyed the April version of the event and, as a result, would have mentioned it just the same. I disagree that the Cinema Effect shows don't "lend" themselves well to a party like that. At the April event, big groups of people were dancing in the big circle of light that was one of the works on view -- and I think that's one of the best parts about the event -- getting younger members of our community to engage with the art in D.C.'s fabulous museums.

The crowd has changed over the last few years that the museum has been hosting these events -- like, you, I've never seen anyone jump in the fountain -- but, personally, I don't necessarily see this as a bad thing.

Thanks for your opinion and sorry to disagree on several of your points, but since much of our credibility lies in the fact that we actually do go to the things and places we recommend, I wanted to point out that we've certainly been to recent After Hours.

Fritz: I'll second Julia in that I didn't go to the most recent one, but I did a few months ago. We can't help that the crowd is getting younger, but I like the fact it's not the same-old Hirshhorn crowd. If more people are going and looking at art on a weekend, even if you think they're just there to drink and dance, well, that's a fantastic thing.

As for the music, I like DJ People's Champion, who was spinning at the most recent event, and when I've seen him at Wonderland, DC9 and the Black Cat, I've never heard him do "Night at the Roxbury"-style tunes. So I e-mailed him. His reply:

"Towards the end of Wonderland (i.e. last spring through early fall) I started playing some 90's tracks. Most common to hear were:

Robin S. - Show Me Love
Bucketheads - The Bomb
Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You
Technotronic - Pump Up The Jam

These were tracks I would also play outside of Wonderland but there were some others I would only play within the sanctity of it's walls. I got sick of this fairly quickly but noticed that others picked up the ball and ran with it. I did play Stardust and Bucketheads at the Hirshhorn but that was only because my mom was there and I was trying to be nice. Do you want a setlist of what I played otherwise at the Hirshhorn? I can promise you 99% of the songs were made in the past four years."

As I said, I wasn't there to hear him, but what I've heard doesn't generally sound like '90s to me. More like bloghouse.

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Chester Gap, Va.: GOGs, it cannot be said enough...thanks for your help.

So. When and where is CJ Chenier playing tonight? If memory serves correct, Sunday Source said 8:00, but I've read elsewhere the show is at 6. The Folklife schedule is no help as it doesn't go beyond 5.

Thanks for everything. Cookout at my place tomorrow, complete with illegal fireworks. Y'all are invited. Heck, everyone out there in Chatland is invited! I'm all about the people....

Fritz: Sorry to break it to you, but ... CJ played last night. Tonight is:
"Viva El Paso: Building Connections with Bhutan"
Artists from Bhutan Royal Academy of Performing Arts and the Buddhist Monk Community
Mariachi Los Arrieros

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Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!: Brief question, Liberty Bar Crawl, thumbs up or thumbs down?

Have a Happy Fourth!!

Fritz: Yes, if you're out of the office early. It's for charity, $2 beers are always welcome, and you'll get a chance to "meet" a lot of new people. It will be crowded, though...

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Bethesda, Md.: Hey Gang!

Any idea where I can get belly dancing lessons near/in Bethesda? I checked with Joy of Motion but they're only offering a 'cardio belly dance work out' this summer. Thanks!

Julia: It's not in Bethesda, but how 'bout DC Dance Collective in upper Northwest? They appear to have a summer belly dance class. In Bethesda proper, I've taken Hula Hoop lessons at Goddess Fitness -- it was for a story; I'm not really that insecure about my Hula Hooping skills -- and that was a similar workout. Goddess also has pole and strip classes.

There's also always the free Sunday class at Meze.

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Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Hi there, I somehow got in charge of planning an event for my university's alumni group, and I need some suggestions. We're going to see a play at the Source theater, and then want to do a reception/happy hour afterwards. Any ideas of places nearby that would be good for this type of activity? It will be on a Friday night, which is why I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with a space with enough room for a group to arrive at 8:30!

Thanks!

Fritz: On a Friday night? Near 14th and U?

Uhhhhhhhhh.

Best I can suggest right now is maybe calling Momo's (above Cafe Nema) and seeing if you can use their top floor. Runner up would be the upstairs lounge at Station 9. But the really hip spots around there (Cork, Marvin, Saint-Ex, Local 16) probably won't do private group events on a Friday night.

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4th: How are the gurus spending their holiday weekend?

Rhome: A couple cook-outs. Mowing lawn. Tuning up bikes. Rebirth. Source Festival.

Julia: Eating crabs. Lots of 'em.

Anne: Capitol Fourth rehearsal tonight, then out of town to see Grandma. Maybe back in time for some free yoga.

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Fireworks?: So when folks say get to the mall early... what's their definition of early? Is it noon early, or 4 p.m. early??

Fritz: I say 3, 4 at the latest. Bring a book and plenty of water.

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Getting out early: I've heard from two federal employees that got out early. (Is there anything more frustrating than the 'we're at the bar, come join us' phone call?) My boss, however, shows no signs of letting us out even a minute early. Sigh.

Julia: Totally agree. The "we're at the bar, come join us" phone call/text is the worst thing ever. Perhaps we gurus should break out early today for "research" -- or at least finishing those Caribbean beers from the taste test.

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Desperate: My girlfriend wants me to take her out clubbing next Saturday for her birthday and wants to go somewhere we wouldn't normally. She decided on Apex. Not that I'm homophobic or anything... but going to a gay club with 10 girls doesn't sound like my idea of fun night. If we went to somewhere a little more ...conservative.. I could drag along some of my friends with me.

Can you recommend any good clubs where we can go dancing that maybe offer something a little different like maybe a theme or something? We generally go out in Adams Morgan, so a different area would be good. Also, she wants somewhere that is not too much of a meat market (well for her and her girlfriends at least...). Bonus points if it is somewhere near the Red Line.. but not a requirement.

I beg you, Fritz, to save me from this one!

Rhome: Wonderland always works. Jin if you like mainstream rap and R&B and no cover. Also consider Metropolitain.

Fritz: I'll co-sign on Metropolitain -- I mean, it's a champagne bar with couches -- and maybe add Tattoo, if your girl's into Bon Jovi and AC/DC and might like dancing to that. Let's say Eighteenth Street Lounge, too, because (a) it's different, (b) the dance floor's large, and (c) it's a cool place to hang out.

And, to be perfectly honest with you, bringing 10 women to a gay bar on a weekend is not a good look. That's more like an invasion. I can't expect the other patrons will be happy about it.

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WVU -#1 Party School- Grad: Julia: True story: my man gets a 7-11 hotdog pretty much every night after we hit the bars. I am grossed out just thinking about this.

I think your man has life figured out. Nothing soaks up the booze like a greasy dog - takes away them bad hangovers. Trust me, years of field work..

Julia: I'm sure he's grateful for your support.

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Arlington, Va.: I hear that the Air Force Memorial is going to be a good place to watch the fireworks.

Fritz: And the Air Force Band will be there, right? Performing at 8. I heard from people who went last year and raved about the view. Just get there a little earlier.

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washingtonpost.com: What are the Gurus doing on July 4? (part 2)

Fritz: Going to a cookout or three, relaxing in a pool, dancing to DJ Dredd, maybe something else that I'm not aware of yet.

David: Going to a BBQ where I can hopefully get some plain meat very well done. Sleep a lot. I'm sleepy.

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washingtonpost.com: Hey, for the person looking for a map of the fireworks, here ya go. And now that we kept that promise, we gotta go. Here's hoping you get an early dismissal. Thanks for hanging out with us today and have a great long weekend.

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