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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com City Guide
Thursday, July 10, 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 folks, what's happening? We have an honest-to-goodness full house today: David, Fritz, Janet, Jen, Julia, Rhome, Stephanie are here, and I'm Anne. We're excited about Bastille Day, Fringe Festival, Jim Henson and Screen on the Green starting up next week. How about you?

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London, now D.C.: Hello! I recently moved to D.C. from London and am going home for a visit. Other than typical souvenirs such as T-shirts and small replicas of the Washington Monument, can you or your readers suggest ideas for quintessential D.C. goods I could buy to bring home for family members?

Thanks!

Janet: One of the best places in town to find gifts, D.C.-related and otherwise, is the National Building Museum shop. They always have a terrific selection.

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Play in the Current: Two Nightlife Questions for the Gurus today.

Now that Michael Romeo has bought Play Lounge, do you know if any changes are going to be made? My friends and I love going there on Friday nights and hope it stays the same. We also like Tattoo but not his more clubby places.

Also do you have any idea when the old Dragonfly soon to be called Current is supposed to open?

Fritz: Michael Romeo has big plans for Play. When I last spoke to him about it, they involved closing it down for a renovation and major redesign. We'll see what actually happens. (I agree with you on Tattoo -- certainly my favorite ahead of Play, Lotus and Fur.)

The scuttlebutt I hear on Current is that it could be ready to open at the end of this month, after some legal issues and ... partnership problems. The guys from Fly are no longer running the joint, or so they tell me.

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Washington, D.C.: We're headed to 9:30 tonight to see the Alarm/Fixx/English Beat show. Doors open at 7. Do you have any idea what time the show is likely to start and what order the bands will play in?

David: I'm looking into my crystal ball (a.k.a. the 9:30 Club Web site) and seeing the following ... The Alarm at 8, The Fixx at 9:30 and The English Beat at 11. I'm also seeing lots of ridiculous hair on stage.

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Downtown D.C.: Hey GOGs! My mom will be in town this evening and wants to go to a brew pub with good food that isn't overly expensive (please no cheap, crowded or loud ones). Any suggestions? We want to remain in D.C.

Thanks!

Fritz: If you mean a brewpub that brews its own beer, the best food can be found at District Chophouse, and while I dig their beers, the steakhouse food is a little heavy and pricey. Cap City Brewing Company rarely rises above average pub food. Gordon Biersch is good for lagers and garlic fries, in that order, and is pretty loud.

So, instead, I'd rather steer you to pubs with good beers and good food. Let's say Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown (the Italian menu goes beyond pizza, the beer menu is beyond fabulous), or, for something more simple, the Saloon on U Street or comfort food at Bourbon.

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Washington, D.C.: My friend had a bad experience with some bad Manhattans back in the day. I want to reintroduce her to the drinks -- who makes the best Manhattans in D.C. or Virginia?

Julia: I'm a Manhattan-drinker myself, D.C.! The Spirits Column this week totally made my day.

Anyway, locally, I think my favorite Manhattans are at Bourbon. I had a totally delicious vanilla one at Restaurant K a few months ago, but alas, K has closed. Fritz has had good ones at Town and Country.

Fritz and I had a not-so-great Manhattan experience at Tommy Joe's last night. The bartender almost splashed in some simple syrup. But that was probably my bad. I mean, who orders a classic cocktail at a bar better known for Bud Light?

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Fringe Button Question: A friend told me that a Fringe button is required for all Fringe performances.

I bought a ticket to "If You See Something Say Something" as an add on to my Woolly Mammoth season subscription. It's evidently also part of the Fringe Festival. Do I need buy a button to see the Woolly show? There wasn't anything in the subscription information that said anything about this additional cost.

Stephanie: The $5 button is required for all Fringe Festival shows, so it looks like you're going to need to get one either online or at Woolly Mammoth. On the plus side, the button will get you discounts at a bunch of restaurants.

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For London: I think what everyone needs in the UK is a good old Washington Nationals baseball cap. It'd be quite a conversation starter.

David: I went to Europe in 2005 and brought my Nats cap without thinking. When I got back I made a little note to self: Take "DC" version of Nats cap for next trip.

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Cleveland Park : Have you all checked out the new wine bars -- the one that was Zebra Lounge or Ceviche in Glover Park? They both have buzz, but I haven't made the trek.

Fritz: I wrote it up a few weeks ago on the GOG Blog. It's the polar opposite of Veritas: light, airy, spacious and the wine/beer/liquor list is all-American. Also, less noisy than Veritas -- you can hear yourself think.

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Dr. Granville Moore's: Fritz-- Thansk for the info on places celebrating French and Belgian independence. Nothing going on at Granville Moore's?

Fritz: I called and they didn't have anything planned, but if I hear something, I'll add it to the blog. (Hint, hint.)

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London gifts: You'll laugh at this...but everytime I go to visit my friends in Europe they ask for Old Bay seasoning... for the "chips" ... they can't get enough

Rhome: I'm not laughing! Old Bay is something to be proud of. Good tip.

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Annapolis, Md.: We're going to see "Mamma Mia" at the National Theater on Saturday and are looking for a restaurant nearby to have a light supper before the show. Suggestions? If you ever reply before Thursday's event, that would be great. Thanks in advance!

Julia: Sorry we didn't get this until today! Chef Geoff's might be your best bet for something light before the show. It gets busy pre-theater, but the bar menu is really extensive if you can't get a table. The salads and starters are good light-meal options.

I love, love, love nearby Cafe du Parc, but that's a whole other price point. You could spend up to $100 for two and that doesn't really scream "light meal" to me. (I had a really good Manhattan at Cafe du Parc once actually, come to think of it...)

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Comment: I really appreciate all the free events during the summer. And not all of them are outside. Why can't there be more during the other seasons? December is the only other time with lots of interesting free stuff to do.

Julia: We couldn't agree more actually. In the summertime, we have so many events to recommend. The early fall is lovely too. November and February are bleak months in Going Out Guru land.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus,

In summers past, I've always enjoyed coming upon a New Orleans Jazz Band jamming around Dupont Circle in the evenings. I know they are associated with a church somewhere in D.C., but do you know when they play...if they are still around?

Anne: Are you thinking of the Friday Jazz Night at Westminster Presbyterian Church? The lineup changes every week there, so I'm not sure if the Dupont group is connected with that church. This Friday the theme is a tribute to Jimmy McGriff, and Marshall Keys, a saxman Fritz and Rhome have often recommended, is playing.

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Washington, D.C.: Good afternoon! I was wondering if there are any drive-in movie theatres in the D.C. metro area? I think it would be a fun summer alternative to sitting inside an over air-conditioned theater. Thanks for your help!

Stephanie: There's at least one option for watching movies retro-style. Starlight Cinema in Centreville will be doing drive-in movies on Saturdays in August.

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Norman, Okla.: Hi, we'll be in town on the 25th-27th of July. We would like to hit the trendy scene one night, with the "beautiful people," house music, dress to impress etc. Can you tell me where DJ Armando will be spinning that weekend? The other nights we would like to find some really cool bars. College bars are ok if they aren't fraternity/sorority hangouts, but we would prefer a little older crowd. Our ages are 25- 29. What are the coolest bars? I think we're going to do a bar crawl so don't hold back!!!! Thank you very much

Fritz: Do you mean DJ Armando of XM? No idea where he'll be that weekend, but he's spun at Josephine recently, and the hottest lounge in the city meets all your other requirements, including the hard-to-get-past bouncers. (See my Interns Guide story on ways to get on the guest list.)

For other nights, I'd recommend barhopping: Try 14th and U (Cork, Marvin, Saint-Ex, Bar Pilar), Adams Morgan (Napoleon, the Reef, Bourbon, Madams Organ, Soussi) or H Street (Palace of Wonders, Dr. Granville Moore's, Rock and Roll Hotel, Sova)

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Granville: How about a nice round of applause for Granville beating pompous Bobby Flay in the Throwdown? That made me happy.

Julia: I didn't see it, but definitely worth a round of applause. Always great when the local guy's on a national stage.

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Brew Pub Mom: I'd also suggest Rock Bottom (Metro-accessible and average food) or Rustico (not Metro-accessible, but fantastic pizza and a pretty good burger too).

Fritz: Rustico would top my list, but they did say D.C. only.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi GOG!

I'm hosting a happy hour this Thursday at RFD in Chinatown -- all proceeds will benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. A $5 donation gets you drink specials in the back room and $10 gets you drink specials AND raffle tickets. Raffle prizes include gift certificates to restaurants and stores, tickets to DC Improv, and a wine tasting party at Best Cellars! $3 Miller Lite and Sam Adams, $3,50 Yuengling from 5-9.

Please pass the word along, thanks Gurus!

Fritz: Consider the word passed.

As a reminder, folks, if you have a fun charity happy hour coming up, please send it to nightlife [at] washingtonpost [dot] com so we can consider it for the Nightlife Agenda column.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I know this question has been asked in the past, Fritz, but do you have any update at all on the status of the Hook and Ladder Brewery Restaurant in the old Firehouse in downtown Silver Spring? They keep pushing it off, but I walked by the other day and, unless I just missed it, saw absolutely no sign of work being done to convert it into a bar/restaurant.

Also, as a former Silver Springer ( not sure if that's the right term or not) why is it so hard for Silver Spring to have bars open? I know the popular answer is to blame MoCo, but then I walk around in Bethesda and I start to wonder why they have tons and we have like, three.

Fritz: Late fall is the best guess at this point. Lots of construction/license/permit business to sort through.

As another former Silver Springer, I think it's just not a bar town. That's the best reason I could come up with. The working-class dives I loved so much (the original Dietle's, Renzo's) closed because they couldn't sustain a crowd, and everything else -- besides McGinty's and the QH -- is just bland.

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Washington, D.C.: Can you recommend any stores where I can get Western belt buckles? I googled and can't seem to find a store that has a working phone number.

David: OK, it's a bit of a serious trek, but you gotta check out Carol's Western Wear in Laurel. Absolutely worth the trip, but you can order online if you don't want to make the long drive.

Fritz: Julia and I suggest El West on Mount Pleasant Street. They have beltbuckles and other western paraphernalia in the window.

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When I got back I made a little note to self: Take "DC" version of Nats cap for next trip. : I hate that "W" hat.

Fritz: I will not wear a W cap. Not even the one I got at opening day last year. It's all about the DC cap.

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Southwest Washington, D.C.: I've heard Virginia has some really great vineyards and I'm thinking about doing a girls day/overnight in wine country. Do you have any suggestions for a day of wine tasting and a place to stay overnight?

Julia: We get this question a lot. My advice would be to head to Charlottesville. The vineyards there are generally better than the ones in Loudoun. I'm a particular fan of DelFosse.

Unfortunately, I don't have any B and B recs in the area. Any one else care to chime in?

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Leicester, UK: We have Slurpies all over in the UK, you should come for a visit.

Fritz: Having been to Leicester, I think I'd need more than Slurpees as a reason to go back.

Especially when Slurpees are free tomorrow at area 7-Elevens.

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Metro Center: Free Stuff other than the summer -

In February there's Warm Up to a Museum (for information, see www.culturaltourismdc.org when we get closer to February)

Julia: There is Warm Up to a Museum, and that promotion does great work to put the spotlight on local museums. But generally, I've been disappointed by the WUTAM lineup. It's not very different from the programs the museums already put on.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey Gurus, I have tomorrow afternoon off from work but nothing to do. I am on my own, any ideas of something fun I can do by myself without looking too lonely? I don't want to waste my free afternoon but can't find anyone else who is off. Any new exhibits that are a must see? Thanks for the help.

Stephanie: I'm jealous! You have a lot of options tomorrow if you're looking for fun activities. There's the fake crystal skull (which is a lot cooler than it sounds, I promise) at the Museum of Natural History, the amazing photographs taken by legless photographer Kevin Connolly at The Rolling Exhibition, and then there's the Phillips, which has two phenomenal exhibitions: Diebenkorn in New Mexico and Brett Weston: Out of the Shadow.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey there Gurus -- I know this is a silly question, but I'm hoping you'll answer it anyway. A friend and I were hoping to meet up for low-key yet slightly fancy drinks after work on Friday. What do you think about Tabard Inn or Firefly? Any other suggestions?

Fritz: Nothing silly about it at all. I'll give a thumbs up for Tabard. Cool space that's intimate and funky, even at dinner rush, and Chantalle makes some mighty fine cocktails. Firefly's been hit-or-miss for me lately, but they do have good bartenders. I'd rather go to Poste and sit on the patio.

Also, I'd suggest Cork, if you get there early enough.

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What's the name: of that toy we all had as little kids that was a bald dude and there were all the magnetic dust chips that you used to make hair and mustaches and stuff like that. Trying to find one for a friend in chemo...and you can't search ebay without a name....

Fritz: It's Wooly Willy. Hope your friend gets better soon.

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Washington, D.C.: What's the story with kayaking down on the Potomac? Can you rent kayaks somewhere? Is it fun? Not fun?

Anne: Yep, there are places where you can rent kayaks. I've been kayaking on a very lazy quiet river, nothing like the mighty Potomac, and being that close to the water was beautiful. Personally, I'd feel better tackling a river this powerful if I had more in-depth instructions -- conveniently, you can get some of those tips at this weekend's Whitewater Festival.

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Belgian Invasion: What was the catalyst for all of the Belgian restaurants in the city? I can think of 4 or 5 including the above mentioned Dr. G. I've lived here my whole life and this seems to be new.

Julia: There certainly has been quite an explosion over the last few years. I think tablecloth-less casual bistros in general -- Belgian, French, American, whatever -- are just rising in popularity.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus, I am meeting friends tonight for the Nationals game. Can anyone tell me what kind of food is available? I don't eat meat and am trying to figure out if I should eat something before heading to the game. I tried to find the article that was written in the Post about the food options, but no luck. Thanks.

Fritz: Five Guys, Ben's Chili Dogs, seafood from Cantina Marina. Not exactly inspiring, is it -- even for meat-eaters. (This is from a partial season ticket holder, so YMMV.)

Check out our list of bars and restaurants on the way to the park. We think Cafe 8 might be a good veggie-friendly bet.

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K Street NW, D.C.: Fritz, have you made it to Shadow Room yet? I was there this weekend and to be honest it looks cheap, has a crappy layout and was not that great! I thought this place was supposed to revolutionize the D.C. scene?

Fritz: Have not been -- I usually skip grand openings and let places settle in before checking them out. I will go soon enough, but the reviews I'm hearing about Shadow Room are all over the place, from "the new kstreet" to "won't go back." Very interested in seeing it for myself.

(You can see pics for yourself at shadowroom.com.)

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re: Dupont Circle jazz band: I believe they are Madison's Lively Stones.

These guys, right?

Rhome: Indeed.

And And this is their church.

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Upper Northwest D.C.: Hi Gurus, I am going on a second date this weekend and need to choose where to take the guy. He is in Montgomery County and I am upper Northwest D.C. I was thinking of trying American City Diner of Washington. I wanted to get your thoughts on that or some other location convenient for both of us. You all rock!

Julia: I went to American City recently and wasn't that into it. I remember it being this great, kitschy place when I was in high school, but when I went back a few months ago, it seemed even dingier than I remembered it. And it was pretty expensive for being so mediocre. The black and white shake was good, but that was it.

I think you'd have a better second date at Tresoro or Comet Ping Pong in Van Ness, Le Chat Noir in Tenleytown or maybe even Senor Pepper, up by the Diner. I think Le Chat Noir is probably the best date spot of the three. If you're going for a playful date, choose Comet.

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Fringe Festival: Turns out it's a block and a half from my apartment. What should I rush to get tickets to? I want to take advantage of the proximity! Thanks!

Stephanie: The Fringe Festival schedule is beyond overwhelming with about 120 performances to choose from. It's sort of a guessing game really. There will be a lot of amazing performances, but there will also inevitably be the plays that make you scratch your head and say "what the...?" I would recommend just sifting through the schedule, reading the summaries and going from there. Personally, I'm beyond excited for "Dorks on the Loose: It I Awkward," which I'm seeing tonight and "Power House: The Disco Energy Dance Along Show." Also, just a heads up, the performances will be all over the city, so some may be right by your apartment, but others will be farther away.

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College Park, Md.: I'm the mother of a young child who just got an unexpected day and night of freedom ... a family member will be hosting the kiddos for an overnight. Any recs for tonight in NoVa, D.C. or close-in Maryland? I'm especially interested in things that can't be done WITH kids. Thanks in advance!

Jen: Lucky you.

Would be a nice to see some live music without worrying about whether the kids' ear drums are getting ruptured. You could hit Fort Reno -- should actually be a nice night for it -- or maybe the aforementioned '80s fest at 9:30 Club.

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Restaurant K: Is it really closed???? I had the best burger there!!!!!!

Fritz: They had the best cocktails, too. Really going to miss that happy hour.

Julia: It really closed -- so sad. I'm told that the chef, Alison Swope, will be working in culinary development for McCormick & Schmick's, so hopefully we'll see some of her southwestern-inspired dishes on their menus someday.

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Working for the Weekend: Tell me how to get my Bastille Day on? Thanks, Gurus. You are loved.

Fritz: My guide. Enjoy.

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Clifton, Va.: Do you know anything about the Legg Mason tennis tournament next month? Do they announce the schedule beforehand? What are the best days to go to see the big players?

David: Some tennis experts might have a better idea, but here's my go at it. The first couple of days are for qualifying, for the real no-names who are just trying to get into the tournament. Then once that's finished they release the full bracket so you should be able to figure out when to see the big names like Roddick, Safin, etc. Earlier in the tourney is cheaper but more likely to be less competitive, sorta goes without saying, right? But there should be a schedule that will help you determine who is playing when.

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Cue Bar Closing????: I just heard Cue Bar on U St. is shutting down, what's the story there? I liked the space there.....

Fritz: Cue Bar is closing. I heard earlier this week that the place is up for auction (all the tables, the bar, etc.). I dunno why they couldn't make it work -- great location, and they seemed to be going strong at the start, especially with the ping-pong by the hour. Hopefully someone can come in and do something cool with the place.

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Washington, D.C.: It's a bit far, but there's a great drive-in outside of Baltimore--Bengies (www.bengies.com/). The man that runs it is fairly crazy, and tends to ramble over a loudspeaker for 20 minutes before the first show, but it's worth it for the huge screen, multiple movies and cheap tickets.

Stephanie: Ah yes, Bengies. There's another drive-in option that sounds entertaining.

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washingtonpost.com: Sorry for the disruption in service. We're back now.

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Arlington, Va.: You mentioned the Saloon earlier. Does it have any jand performers on the weekends?

Fritz: The Saloon has no performers, no loud music, no TVs, no nothing. Just a cool place with great beers, good food and tables where you can relax with your friends and maybe play some board games.

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Fringe: Yippppeee! Love the Fringe festival. What have you all got for picks this year?

Rhome: I'm partial to the Cat Baby. Twain Dooley is a fool.

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RW?: So I was on the D.C. Foodies website the other day and saw that Chef Geoff's told them that August 2008 Restaurant Week is going to be the 11th to the 17th. Our vacation falls on the same dates, but was wondering if you all-knowing Gurus knew more than them about restaurants featuring extended restaurant weeks? I know BF9 has done it in the past, but they also have their pre-theater menu year round and you don't have to fight the RW crowds, as does Chef Geoff's I believe. The foodies don't know who is participating yet except that Corduroy isn't and that the price went up $5 this year (figures, but still a deal). But maybe the Gurus know more???

Love love love the chats!

Julia: If you were reading our chat last week, you'd have found out those dates as well! (Not to be a hater; I love DC Foodies)

Anyway, yes, those are the dates and the restaurants haven't been announced yet. We'll certainly post the restaurant names as soon as we have 'em.

As for those who are extending the special, Rasika is extending RW to include the week of August 18-24. I'll do a roundup blog post of more restaurants extending the week as I get word of them. Don't count on Butterfield 9 to be open, though. Sadly, that was another restaurant that shuttered in late June.

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Five Guys: I find Five Guys very inspirational, and I think they have a veggie burger.

Jen: Inspirational. Interesting choice of words. Their burgers are definitely delicious, don't get me wrong. But one has yet to convince me to join the Peace Corps. Of course, there's still time.

Anyhoo, re: the veggie burger. I think they only offer a veggie sandwich, which consists of grilled vegetables minus the burger.

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To upper NW with MoCo date: Try mezzoman.com (meet in the middle). It will at least give you an area to think about.

Julia: They really have a Web site for everything.

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Washington, D.C: Hello Gurus...love the chat....As a new transplant to the area, I wanted to know, are there places within an hour and half of here where I can rent jet skis and get in the water?

Anne: From D.C., you should be able to get to Annapolis/the Chesapeake Bay in that time. Try Sandy Point State Park, for starters, or use our beach guide to get yourself oriented. There must be a bunch of places by the Bay that rent jet skis.

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Northeast D.C.: Last weekend I was in Chicago and went to the Violet Hour in Wicker Park, which had a long vintage/creative cocktail menu. My favorite was their 'Juliet and Romeo,' which combined gin, mint, and rose water. Are there any places in D.C. that specialize in vintage or unique cocktails? If not, are there any specific bartenders that you would recommend for further exploration?

Fritz: My shortlist right now: Eatbar, Bar Pilar (Tuesdays only), Cork, Tabard Inn, West End Bistro, PS 7's, Rasika, Hudson, Poste.

Julia and I just went to Domaso the other night, and I think the cocktails are fine -- especially the gin-and-cucumber collins -- but they lose points because the list was developed by a bartender in SanFran who makes cocktail lists for all the Hotel Palomar bars.

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National Harbor: Hi GOGs,

Wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed a recent dinner at Moon Bay at the new National Harbor. The Gaylord Hotel is stunning. We had to wait for our table, which was on the indoor patio, but had a great time in the lobby bar, watching the thunderstorm roll in from Virginia through the huge windows. Really cool. The food was good, service was great and the dancing fountain was cute. I might want to get an inside seat next time we go, as the noise got to be a bit much after a while. Also, if you ever find yourself in Brandywine, needing a bite to eat and/or awesome handmade frozen custard, make sure you stop by the Ice Cream Factory and Cafe, on Old Brandywine Road. Great crab cakes, BBQ chicken, crab soup and a bunch of ice cream flavors, and very economical too. I have no attachments to the businesses, just wanted to let you know about upscale and down home eats here in southern Prince George's!

Rhome: Hmmm... Doesn't seem like a plant, so we'll allow it. And we need more good news like this about PG County. Any Pose reviews from the field yet?

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Bethesda, Md.: Hi, guys! This may be a strange question but.... last year my wife talked me into watching a show on TBS called "My Boys," which actually didn't turn out to be such a chick show as I thought. Watching that led me to this question: are there any bars in the D.C. area that have board games, or are okay with bringing your own game into the bar? In the show they go to some bar in Chicago where they drink and play games, dominos, Monopoly, etc. It looks like fun but can't think of anywhere in D.C. to do that. Would a bar freak out if me and five friends brought a game to a bar?

Fritz: Not at all. Try Bedrock Billiards, the Argonaut, Rocket Bar, Atomic Billiards or the Saloon, to start. All have board games you can rent or borrow.

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Must Impress the InLaws, USA: Hi, Gurus! You've never let me down in the past, and I am hoping you can help me out once again. My inlaws are in town for the weekend and my dear husband has promised a fantastic dinner out tomorrow... and has left me in charge of delivering on that promise. His parents are not very adventurous, love the classics, and Italian. I'm thinking Ray's the Classics. What do you think? Any other options to satisfy the picky, less-adventurous, in-law crowd? Thanks!

Julia: Ray's the Classics is a good choice. Tom Sietsema also had good things to say about the nearby Nicaro.

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re: the Saloon: Remember, there are two Saloons. The U St. Saloon has no music, but the Georgetown Saloon has great live music!

Fritz: I thought about tagging that on.
And the one in Georgetown, where the band specializes in '80s covers for late night drunken hookups over huge glasses of beer, is the Saloun. (Note the U.)

Komi, who owns the Saloon on U St., was one of the original owners of the Georgetown establishment.

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Arlington, Va.: My cousin is coming to visit D.C. for the first time during the last weekend in July. He's obsessed with WWII and all American military things. Any ideas on where I can take him - besides the WWII Museum and the Air and Space (D.C. and Virginia versions)?

Stephanie: A war obsession, eh? Actually, there are a lot of possibilities. In the memorial realm, you have the Vietnam War Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and you can hit up Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the guard. And there's always the Spy Museum, which he might like.

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RW: Sorry I didn't catch it on last week's chat. That's what I get for "multi-tasking" at work. Sad to hear about BF9, though the last time we went there, thought it had slid in quality a bit. Still not as bad as M&S Grill though... I guess it's Chef Geoff's for pre-theater! Does 701 do a pre-theater menu? Hmmmm....

Thanks!

Julia: 701 does! Check it out here. Three courses under $30.

No worries about the multitasking!

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Arlington, Va.: A couple early-to-mid 20s friends and I are trying to figure out a great place for a Friday HH (focusing more on the alcohol specials rather than the food) in the Farragut West/North Metro area. We've been to Cafe Asia and M&S and enjoyed them both, especially M&S. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Fritz: If you like your bars extra-extra divey, then it's off to Recessions with you for super-cheap mugs of beer and rail cocktails. Bottom Line is a step up, with $2.50 Miller Lites and $3 baskets of hot wings. And don't forget about the Exchange, especially when you can score seats on the patio in nice weather.

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Clarendon: Dear GoGs -- my wonderful, artistic boyfriend turns 30 on Saturday and I've been super excited to plan something wonderful for us to do together that evening, but nothing seemed wonderful enough... and now Saturday is almost here! Please help! I want to spend under 75 bucks total, possibly go somewhere new (= not Clarendon, Court House, Ballston, Dupont or Adams Morgan), see something interesting like music or a play or a cool movie or a beautiful natural area, and have dinner and drinks. We could drive or take the Metro. THANK YOU!!!!

Fritz: Picnic + Arboretum + cocktails at Cantina Marina.

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For the interesting cocktails...: I know it was written up by WaPo, but I put the gin bar to the test at New Heights and their specialty drinks were de-li-cious! In particular, the one with sloe gin (who knew?) was fantastic.

Fritz: Actually, I wrote it up.

And yes, it should have been on my list. Sorry.

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Watch out: National Harbor was certainly a plant. Tom fell for it on his chat yesterday, too, so don't feel too bad.

Rhome: See, we were just testing you guys to see if you can spot them. Well done!

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washingtonpost.com: And now we gotta run -- enjoy those midsummer nights, and we'll see you next week.

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