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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Going Out Guide
Thursday, February 19, 2009; 1:00 PM

Every Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, washingtonpost.com's Going Out 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 Going Out Guide or read transcripts of past Got Plans? discussions.

The transcript follows:

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washingtonpost.com: Hi all, and welcome to your post-Valentine's Day, mid-Restaurant Week installment of Got Plans? Thanks again to those of you who made it to the karaoke happy hour last Thursday; we hope you all had as much fun singing and gorging yourselves with cornbread from Oohhs & Aahhs as we did. We're here and ready for your questions (or thoughts about Restaurant Week), so let's get started.

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Has slacked off on planning: My father is coming into town for business on Monday and Tuesday next week. I have to entertain him from 4 onward on Monday and then take him out to dinner to meet my boyfriend (gulp). My father and I don't really get along that well, so I'm looking for an activity that can keep us busy without having to really talk to one another, and also a good but not too expensive restaurant to take him and my boyfriend. Also, any suggestions on who pays for dinner? My dad is weird and this freaks me out.

Julia: Something about this post makes both me and Fritz really sad.

Anyway, I wish I knew what part of town you were in, but let's start with dinner. Try some place simple and not too expensive. L'Enfant, Coppi's, Regent Thai (probably my fave of all the ones suggested here), Luigi's, etc. If I were you, I'd just pick up the check yourself. You don't want to get into some weird man battle about who pays. But if your dad offers to pay instead, I'd just let him throw down the nice gesture.

Movie is an easy guess for an activity, since talking is limited, but you could also walk around the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum for a few hours after 4 p.m. People are sort of weirdly quiet in art galleries....

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Falls Church, Va,: Where would you take 15 people to hang out for an hour or so before the Caps game tomorrow? We want food and booze. Prefer to not be super pricey. But also very close, so we don't have to park and repark. Thanks GOGS! Love your chats and advice!

Fritz: With 15 people, you have a couple of options. First choice for a group is usually the Green Turtle on F, which has the advantage of being in the Phone Booth itself (even though there's no more direct access). Affordable drinks, okay bar food, room to stretch out around the bar. There's also the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern a few blocks away. Service can be hit or miss, but good wings and rotating happy hour specials. For booze alone, try the upstairs bar at District Chophouse.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm doing a museum first date on Sunday. I saw Written in Bone last week and loved it. Do you have any interesting suggestions in the Mall area? Anything but Air and Space!

Stephanie: I'd recommend either the Dutch Cityscapes exhibition or Robert Frank's photos at the National Gallery. And it's not on the Mall, but the DCist photo show should be a good bet. Good luck on the date!

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Washington, D.C.: Going to see Tom Jones next week and wondering what time I should get there. I guess there isn't an opening act and the doors open at 7, so should I arrive on the dot? The show isn't sold out so I don't think I have to worry about overcrowding (which I found surprising)...

David: It might yet sell out the night of the show. When you get there depends on how close you want to be, I guess. If you want to be sure that the undergarments you throw will hit Mr. Jones right in the face, then you might want to get there right around 7 to secure a spot up front. I have a feeling there will certainly be some diehards there well before doors to get a good spot. But -- and forgive the stereotyping here -- I think it'll be an older crowd, one that doesn't tend to want to wait in the cold for a while to get into the club. Getting there early is also good for securing one of those prime spots on the railing upstairs.

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Science Club: I'm going to science club this Friday night. Are jeans, high heel boots and a nice top dressy enough?

Fritz: Yes. Just remember to get there by 10 to skip the $5 cover.

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Crystal City: So for Restaurant Week - are your only options at those restaurants to go with the fixe price or can you order off their regular a la carte menu too? I know the fixe price is the whole point and its a great deal and all but I'm taking someone out to dinner and worry that they might not love what they see on the limited RW menu....

Julia: I wish there was an easy answer for this. It really depends on the restaurant. Most restaurants let you order off the regular menu, though I noticed Vidalia did not seem to be doing so when I went the other night. I know Ballston's Willow is only offering the RW menu this week, but will be offering the regular menu in addition to the RW menu next week. (Check this list of restaurants that are extending the special for another week.)

Anyway, you should probably be fine, but it couldn't hurt to call the restaurant before your date to be sure.

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Washington, D.C.: Good Afternoon! I am taking my boyfriend out for our anniversary on Monday but am lost for what else to do with the night. Dinner is 8:30 in Georgetown so museums are not nearby/are closed and a 10:30 movie will have us out all night. Any thoughts for a pre-dinner (say 7 or 7:30) or post-dinner activity? Thank you!

Anne: Happy anniversary! How about trying a new beer you've never had at Birreria Paradiso? If it's not gusting wind and freezing, a walk along Key Bridge could be romantic before dinner.

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NoMad: Gurus: Due to my office moving, I now drive through the U Street corridor each day. I've been to Marvin (great food, friendly servers, unholy din), but want to explore some of the other places for an afterwork drink, but my colleagues and I are way over the demographic age. Where would you suggest some 50 somethings stop in for a drink & bite without feeling like the den mothers?

Fritz: Yet another reason I like the Saloon -- one of the more interesting clientele on U. You'll get gray-haired locals sitting next to T-shirted 20-somethings, playing chess or just chatting. Since there's no standing at the bar, you generally have to mingle and share tables. The lack of loud music and TVs mixed with great beers and tremendous bar food (love the grilled cheese, cheesesteak, etc.) makes it a winner all around.

Other options: The wine bar Vinoteca has a great happy hour ($5 wine) even though the bar area itself is small. And Cafe Nema's Eritrean food is pretty good, and the place itself is cozy.

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Party of 15...: "For booze alone, try the upstairs bar at District Chophouse."

Should call ahead on that one. There have been more than a few times where I've tried to have a quiet beer at their upstairs bar, only to find it closed for a private party. Nice spot though.

Fritz: Good advice. From my personal experience, I've been through before weekend Caps games a few times without problems.

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Washington, D.C.: not sure if anyone knows this but i believe that mittenfields are the "mystery band" that is playing after martin royle this coming monday at sollys......so yeah, i am there!!!! i want to thank the going out gurus for writing a little blurb on them for their last show at sollys....great show!!!!

so my question is....is the "mystery band" for that show on monday the dc band Mittenfields?

David: Yes, that's what I've heard as well. Although in terms of mysteries, the "surprise" local band playing at Solly's on a Monday night probably won't quite make it onto Robert Stack's radar.

Yes, I know Robert Stack is dead.

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Restaurant Week question: Dear Gurus,

What would be your top 3 picks for Restaurant Week this cycle? I'm looking for places that are serving most of their menu that is representative of what they typically or normally serve that is excellent, good service and overall just an enjoyable and pleasant experience.

Thanks

Julia: Well, my top two picks were Vidalia and Adour. It looked like Adour had tables available when I was there on Tuesday and I think that's worth trying to snag a lunch reservation if you can. (Call, don't OpenTable it...) The menu was VERY limited, but hey, most people can't afford that place on a regular day, so the $20.09 lunch deal was well worth it.

The Passion Food restaurants -- Acadiana, TenPenh, PassionFish and Ceiba -- offer the full menu (with only one of two upcharges) . . . so that's always nice. Zola does the same thing.

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But is it cultur, AL?: Where would you send some hip twenty-somethings who want to take in a little culture over the weekend? It doesn't have to be crazy sophisticated. Any kind of edutainment would do. We just want to be able to say, "Sure, I spent most of the weekend on the couch in my pajamas, but at least I got out and ... " Any suggestions?

Stephanie: I wouldn't recommend this for the first date-goer, but the Holocaust Museum has this amazing new exhibition of Nazi propaganda, so that could be a good place to start (and you don't even really need to change out of your PJs). Another option is heading to the Archives for free screenings of Oscar nominated shorts and documentaries. But if you decide to go, get there early because it can get crowded. Oh, and if you see the live-action shorts, bring some tissues; maybe I'm just a huge crybaby, but "Manon on the Asphalt" inspired quite the waterworks show when I saw it at E Street.

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CD trading: Hi GOG's,

About 2 weeks ago, a poster was bemoaning the closing of his/her favorite CD trading store. It takes a little more work and some postage, but there are at least 2 CD trading web sites. Swapacd.com is strictly CD's. Swaptree.com trades CD's, DVD's, video games and books. I have used both sites with great success. Hope this helps the CD swapping poster!

David: There's also LaLa, which I used to use until I got lazy. Which, of course, didn't take long. But thanks for the tips, hope the person who asked last week is reading this week.

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Mardi Gras: Good Afternoon GOG's,

What do you recommend for Mardi Gras this weekend?

Thanks!

Fritz: We've got a bunch of options for Mardi Gras itself, but I always think going out on the weekend before is a good idea -- especially if you can't take Wednesday off.

The events I'd suggest: The Black-Tie Karneval party at the German Embassy on Friday is a little pricey, but sure to be an experience you can't easily replicate elsewhere. Elsewhere, Love's offering free drinks and free food. (The Wizards are hosting the night when they should be spending time working on their game.)

Saturday, the Mardi Gras Madness at the Front Page in Ballston is always one of the area's biggest events, with Love Seed Mama Jump bringing some Dewey flavor and the party spilling out of the bar into the large atrium of the office building next door. And if you want late night dancing and debauchery (with beads), Town's probably going to deliver, thanks to the drag shows and special themed decor.

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U Street Drinks : The two times I've been to Next Door (next door to Ben's, duh) I've found the clientele to be an interesting mix - both race and age-wise. The Saloon is really great too though, but beware a)pissing off the bartender and b) running up a huge tab by sucking down delicious and rightfully expensive beers with enough alcohol in them to make you lose count!

Fritz: My biggest concern about BND would be how large the group of co-workers is. It's pretty hard to get a table at happy hour for two people -- can't imagine trying to do it for more than four.

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Washington, D.C.: When is DC's Snuggie bar crawl? http://www.snuggiepubcrawl.com/

If there isn't already in the works, there should be :)

David: I'm holding out for the Slanket crawl myself.

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McLean, Va.: My husband and I did not get a chance to go out for Valentine's and would like to make it up this weekend. What do you recommend? Cost is not a factor. I'm a vegetarian and he's not. Any cuisine would be good except Indian.

Julia: I just went to Sei the other night -- really good, sexy low lighting. It's definitely more buzzy than romantic, but if he's okay with sushi, it could be a good bet. I can't say I specifically looked at the vegetarian options -- so you might want to call and feel them out to be sure -- but we had a delicious seaweed salad and really good wasabi guac! They're not participating in Restaurant Week.

More expensive options that come to mind: Tosca, CityZen (vegetarian tasting menu!), Corduroy (I'd call to feel out their veggie options too. I know some vegetarians who love the place, others who don't).

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Rest Week suggestions: For the poster asking about restaurants that let you choose off the menu, DC Coast, Ruth's Chris and Oceania have always been good. Yeah, the first two are tried and true standards but all three let you choose off the menu and have never been disappointed. RW with them is always worth it.

Julia: DC Coast! I knew I was forgetting one member of the PassionFood empire.

Do you mean Oceanaire?

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Washington, D.C.: My 8- and 14-year-old nephews will be visiting us the last week in February. This is their first trip to D.C. Of course, we'll hit all the usual D.C. attractions, but after a week they will have had their fill of history. Do you have any suggestions for indoor activities (it's February, remember) for boys who are far more interested in sports than museums?

Anne: Can you swing Wizards games? Imax movies can be your friend, too. There will be a lot to see, but the 14-year-old might especially like the Newseum.

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Party of 15...: "For booze alone, try the upstairs bar at District Chophouse." : We've gotta have some food too. Is Green Turtle overpriced due to its location?

Fritz: Not at all. It's pretty standard bar food, and pretty cheap for the area. The real budget option is to go to California Tortilla, get burritos and tacos to go, then take them over to Rocket Bar and get your drinks on while you eat. (Since Rocket Bar doesn't have a kitchen, you can bring in outside food, though I wonder how much space you'll have before a game.)

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Arlington, Va.: Hey! Both mine and my fiance's parents are coming into town to visit next Saturday and will be meeting for the first time. (Insert nervous face here!) They'll both arrive on Saturday morning and we have dinner plans already setup...but what should we do in between?? They've both done the monument thing and probably wouldn't want to again - same goes for museums. Any ideas? Help!

Stephanie: (Insert "deep breaths" gesture here) I know they've been to the museums, but there are all kinds of new exhibits that they've probably never seen (see above) or you could do the Oscar thing at the Archives (ditto). If those don't appeal to everyone, how about a matinee? Les Miserables is fantastic, and this is the last weekend to see it. Pluck is supposed to be hilarious in a British, dry humor sort of way, and The Dog in the Manger could be fun for the whole family.

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Falls Church, Va.: We have reservations at Eventide on Saturday night; any early opinions about it?

Julia: Dave, is this you?

I went last Friday (i.e. Day 2 of service) and had a fantastic time. The food was really good -- particularly the chestnut soup and the citrus panna cotta. As you may have noticed, I also just really like that dining room! There were some service stumbles -- you know, like our apps came superfast and then our entrees t o o k a w h i l e -- but that's just all part of a restaurant getting into a groove. Be sure to ask the wine director for suggestions; he was really helpful.

Enjoy!

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Not flyer than the rest of them, VA: Do you think the male/female ratio requirements most lounges want for groups of friends coming in to their spot, also count for people reserving tables beforehand?

(Stupid question, I know. But thinking of birthday options for the weekend)

thanks!

Fritz: Not a problem. Just did a quick sampling of lounge owners, and all of them said that tables are above and beyond. "As long as your guests meet the dress code, then it doesn't matter" what the ratio is, said Swaptak Das of Shadow Room. He says there are some nights when he has tables that are 70 percent male-dominated, and some nights all the tables are filled with predominantly female groups.

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Yes, I meant Oceanaire: Thanks!

Julia: Thought so! Yeah, Oceanaire is another goodie. It fits my personal RW criteria: must be expensive enough on its own so RW feels like a deal.

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Flash Point: That DCist photo exhibit sounds great, but I can't seem to find the days/hours of the gallery online. Help!

Stephanie: Flashpoint's gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., but there will also be an opening reception tomorrow night from 5-9 p.m.

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Washington, D.C.: Thanks for the plug on the DCist Exposed Show! Just to clarify for the poster above, the gallery isn't open Sundays, but you can come to the opening reception tomorrow night or visit Flashpoint during their regular hours, Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. -- DCist

Stephanie: Oops, typed too fast. Make that TUESDAY to Saturday, not Thursday to Saturday.

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Ballston Dude: Since reasonably priced CAPS tix are hard to get, what bars do CAPS fans go to?

I know Jimmys in Herndon is a Hockey bar. Anything closer in that is like the bar from the 'cutting edge'

Also, the name of the place to go hear Bossa Nova music?

Thanks.

Fritz: The best hockey bar around is Bugsy's in Old Town, owned by former Cap Bryan "Bugsy" Watson. Framed jerseys, Molson on draft, "Hockey Night in Canada" on the TVs.

For Bossa Nova music, you want to hit the Brazilian Rhythms Carnival party tonight at Saint-Ex. Saw DJ Neal Becton at the Modernist Society last night and he sounded pretty stoked about the playlist.

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speaking of the Wizards: I keep meaning to figure this out, but since the Wizards have been mentioned twice so far this chat...

with the team being so bad, I have to wonder why game tickets are still so expensive. Are they having any promotions with ticket discounts, or is there any way to get deals?

Don't they want people to go?

David: Hey, the Wizards are on a one-game winning streak I'll have you know. And now they are only the second worst team in the league. (Thanks, Sacramento!) Teams can't just lower prices in the middle of the season because the team is bad. What about season ticket holders who already spent their money, or people who bought tickets months ago? They have some promotions -- I think there's a post-Valentine's promotion for Saturday's game against the Spurs, for example -- but honestly, the best way to get cheap tickets is to go on Craigslist a few hours before the game and find someone desperate to sell.

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D.C.: Hey Gurus,

just wanted to update you on the 2009 DC Idiotarod - doesn't look like we'll hosting one this year. We've had a lot of questions and we know that people have asked you in past years. Not only has it become incredibly difficult to negotiate the city rules and regulations (hours and hours spent getting permits, a subpoena, and a request to appear for a hearing from 2008), but two of the key organizers (CK and Hans) are getting married in March (they started their love affair at the very first SMASHED event) And well, we expect to have as much fun at their wedding as during the race, though with fewer costumes. We really did try to find a group to take on the challenge this year, and we are sorry to disappoint. despite the complaints, we always thought it was one of the best DC days. If anyone out there thinks they want to take it on, he or she can email us at dcsmashed@gmail.com and we'll be happy to help however we can. Hopefully we'll be back to hijinks over the summer. Remember we do this all for charity, and there are a lot more people needing help than ever before, so if not racing in the Idiotarod, we hope people go out and do something nice and then go have a drink. Or two. thanks, The DC SMASHED crew

Fritz: As a fan of the Idiotarod, this is very sad news, but I'm putting the info out there in case anyone wants to take up the challenge.

(For those who don't know, the Idiotarod was a wicked-cool city-wide scavenger hunt in which teams of increasingly inebriated 20-somethings pulled shopping cart "sleds" from bar to bar.)

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Fritz,

I would like to celebrate a birthday at Churchkey on March 7th, but I can't get in touch with anyone there to see if it will be open by then. Can you check for me? The number I called was disconnected.

Fritz: Best advice I can give is to call Rustico (same owners) and ask them.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi! I'm going to be watching a two-and-a-half-year-old all day Saturday, and have been surprised by the relatively limited number of indoor activities I have found in or near the city. I've identified Glen Echo Park and the National Theater as potentials, but am interested in knowing if there's anything else I might be missing - particularly any special events that might be going on. Thanks!

Anne: The Building Museum is always good as a place to run around for kids, and there's a kids festival there Saturday where you can watch the bigger kids make slime. How cool is that?

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RW--which would you pick?: Hi there.

I can't decide which place to go. Here are my choices: D'Acqua, 701, PS7s or Teatro Goldoni. Which would you pick?

Thanks

Julia: Tough call. 701 probably. Maybe Teatro. Here's why:

Even though it gets glowing reviews from my pops, D'Acqua's reasonably priced enough that you could go some other time. The restaurant told me last week that they do a Restaurant Week-like deal every week (set menu, lower price) so you could give it another shot later.

Teatro is really good these days, but you could also give its weekday lunch-at-the-bar deal a try. It's like $13.95 for an entree and a glass of wine. And delicious.

Can't really speak to PS 7 since I've never eaten there. Tom didn't give it much love back in 2006, but you never know. Things could have turned around. I mean, Gina's doing great things at the PS 7 bar now -- I have the late-night texts from Fritz to prove it.

Can't really go wrong, though.

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Washington, D.C.: As far as the person seeking something to do with their parents, fiancee and future inlaw, can I make a plug for Mt. Vernon? If the poster is in Arlington it's not too far of a drive, but it really is lovely and the museum is fantastic. You can also walk around the grounds, which have a simply gorgeous view. It's a bit pricey at $15 for an adult, but well worth it!

Stephanie: Mount Vernon is a great suggestion, and if killing time is the name of the game, the drive there and back might be just fine.

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Petworth: Those who want the low-key (although if you put this out there, it may no longer be low-key) Mardi Gras, might try the Red Derby.

Fritz: Oh, we've got the Red Derby party in that list I posted. But it's on Tuesday, not over the weekend, so I didn't put it in.

BTW, if you're looking for a great Tuesday Mardi Gras event, I have a hard time seeing ANYTHING topping the Central event. Michel Richard cooking up jambalaya, turtle soup or shrimp and crayfish etouffe, paired with classic absinthe cocktails, plus live hot jazz? Yes please.

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Washington, D.C.: Could you recommend places open on the late side in Rockville or Bethesda, for having a drink or dessert after going to Strathmore?

Fritz: Post-Strathmore, try the Gordon Biersch brewpub in Rockville, or maybe the wonderful dive Hank Dietle's. (As much as I'd love to tell you to go to, say, La Canela, it closes at 9 during the week and 10 on weekends.)

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Could be more of a Tom Sietsema Question, but...: I'll be 40 next month. I want to go somewhere for dinner that is nice but fun. Somewhere in the City. One of my friends can't drink (she's pregnant). I'd also like to keep the bill for 4 people (3 drinkers) under or close to $400.

Where would you go? Could I go to Central for that amount? Also, while we like a glass of wine or two, we're not huge drinkers.

Julia: Yeah, definitely you could go to Central for that amount. Sei, mentioned above, is another (slightly) cheaper) option. Both fun and buzzy, though!

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Fritz, I'm Curious...: ..since a great deal of your work life involved going out on the town and having fun, how do you spend your off hours? I envision you pursuing nerdy hobbies like stamp collecting or participating in Civil War re-enactments. How far off the mark am I?

Fritz: Very far, although when I was younger I collected Brooklyn Dodgers baseball cards and was the American History expert on my "It's Academic" team.

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Economy woes: I must admit that the recent economic downturn has made me realize that I cannot keep going out and drinking and spending as like I would like. Besides your weekly list of free events (which I love) what are some strategies you or the other posters have for saving money without sacrificing a good time (and keeping the significant other happy as well)? I'll be giving up drinking for Lent, but that seems at best a temporary solution.

Fritz: I just gave up drinking for a couple weeks to let my liver regenerate, and even though I kept going out to bars and nightclubs like normal, man, I saved a bunch of money. (You can read about my adventures in tomorrow's Weekend section.) Compare drinking fancy $3 bottles of Voss at Eighteenth Street Lounge with the usual $10 cocktails and the cash adds up pretty quick.

So, other ways I've been saving lately, besides forgoing cabs as much as possible:

* Getting on guest lists for DJ nights and bar events rather than waiting and making plans at the last minute and paying $10-$20 to get in.

* Showing up early for DJ nights at places like DC9, the Rock and Roll Hotel, etc., that offer "free vodka drinks until 11" or similar deals. (The Hotel's offering free Red Stripe from 9 to midnight on Saturday, for example.)

* Alternating every other round of alcohol with a round of water. Not only will you feel nice and hydrated in the morning, you'll slow down your spending on beer/wine/cocktails.

* Happy hour, happy hour, happy hour.

Rhome:
* Hanging out during the week and leaving the weekends to the frenzied masses. Lower cover charges and more free stuff. And bartenders are more generous when they aren't frazzled.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus! I would like to plan a fun first date at the Mardi gras parade in Clarendon on Tuesday. Can you recommend a restaurant or bar for a no-pressure meal or snack before or after the 8 pm parade? Must be non-smoking.

Fritz: The new Eventide would fit the bill perfectly. So would the nearby Liberty Tavern. (Julia loves Eventide, I haven't been yet so I say the bar at Liberty.

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Virginia: Any suggestions for a brunch spot on Sunday before an early Caps game? Preferably close to Verizon Center. Thanks!

Julia: Matchbox is a go-to in the neighborhood, but get there early! It's generally packed and doesn't take reservations. Clyde's is a good backup. Maybe one of the Jose restaurants (Oyamel, Jaleo, Cafe Atlantico) for something a little different....

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Washington D.C.: My 17 year old cousin is down next weekend on a college visit. He's a jazz sax player, and I'd like to take him out to hear some music around town ... ideally on U st - is anywhere all-ages?

Fritz: Twins Jazz and HR-57 allow all ages to stop in. Rhome and I are pretty sure that Utopia is all-ages -- they're a restaurant, too -- but they're not open yet so we can't confirm. Definitely give them a call.

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Shopping Question: I know this belongs over in Fashion and I'm sure won't get answered but I wanted to take a chance. Where's a 27-year-old slightly overweight (size 14-16) female to go for summer clothing? I'm going to the Bahamas next week and am desperate need of summer stuff. I don't want to spend a lot of money but need the basics and some cute shoes (I have wide feet). I live in Springfield and there are NO stores in Springfield right now.

Julia: I feel like there are a lot of good options at Potomac Mills, whcih isn't too far from you -- H&M, Old Navy, Banana Republic Factory Store (!). Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse could hook you up with shoes.

I'm sure this is not what you're looking for, but I did notice Target has trucked out all the summer stuff (bathing suits in particular).

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the district of columbia, not in columbia: Hey guys and gals! Local bands? Any suggestions? Will be here in DC through Wed night on biz....I am into Radiohead, The Strokes, Sigur Ros and plenty more bands....I'd like to go catch some live local bands...any help would be awesome!

Traveling man!

David: Go see the Points tonight at the Black Cat. Maybe go see the Dance Party/Ra Ra Rasputin/others show at Rock and Roll Hotel on Saturday. And then Carol Bui/Title Tracks again at Rock and Roll Hotel on Wednesday. Or see Drug Rug at DC9 that night, but they aren't local. None of those bands really sound too much like any of those bands you listed (and in the case of Sigur Ros, thank god for that) but that's a decent snapshot of the local rock scene.

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20th/K-Restaurant Eve: Not to overpost but the bar at Restaurant Eve offers lunch for $13.50 which includes two items from a pretty wide menu (soup, salads, entrees & wine/beer).

The $$$ danger is Todd Thrasher's cocktail menu and of course spending two happy hours for lunch...

Julia: It's true. Jane Black from the Food section wrote about it in this story about prix-fixe deals.

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Washington, D.C.: My buddy is coming in from NYC tomorrow night. The bus drops him off at 10th and H streets. A bunch of us thought we'd find an easy, causal place he could join us at once he got into town. I could really use some suggestions!

Fritz: The Capitol City City Brewing Company is right there -- really casual, with fresh tasty beers the last few times I've been by.

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Woodley Park: Hey GOGs! Do you know of any bar that's putting on the Oscars to watch? I don't want to go through the whole deal of a big themed event, but thought a bar would be ideal. It is the movie-lover's superbowl after all.

Fritz: If Jen was here, I'm sure she'd suggest you click on this link for Oscar viewing parties.

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Arlington, Va.: Hey there Gurus, I recently began grad school (and, consequently, ended my social life) and I'm already up to my ears in work. I'm looking for a good coffeeshop/lounge with good atmosphere for studying. Like Starbucks, but definitely not Starbucks and ideally on the left (west) side of the red or orange lines. Pretty specific, I know, but the chance that I'll commute for more than 20 minutes to STUDY is slim to none. Thanks!

Stephanie: Some good close-to-metro spots in Arlington are Greenberry's, Murky Coffee and, my personal fave, the Java Shack. Happy studying!

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Washington, D.C.: I am going to go down to the National Archives this weekend to try and catch some of the Oscar nominated shorts (thank for the tip!) and wanted to see how early I should get there. I saw tickets are distributed an hour before showtime, but wasn't sure if there will be a line. Thanks.

Stephanie: The last time I went was a few years ago, but I believe I got there right when tickets were being distributed. There was already a line, but I got in without a problem.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus, Please help! I need ideas for a third date, preferably in the Tenleytown area (which I don't know well). I'd love something that combines eating, something active (well, like pool, darts, whatever), and maybe a drink... Any thoughts? Thanks!

Fritz: Okay, even I am stumped by this one. Total lack of options in Tenleytown outside of the Dancing Crab, where you could always crack a few crabs. Does that count as active? Best thing I can suggest is going down to Glover Park for shuffleboard/pool/Wii/darts at Breadsoda.

(Speaking of Tenleytown, nice to see that the old Babe's Billiards, which was closed/torn up to become condos, is now going back on the market without said condos being built.)

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party of 15 (claudia x 3!?!): what about bar louie? was there last weekend, and our group got a big table (about 13) around 7.. granted, it was disney on ice at the verizon center instead of a caps game.. ;)

Fritz: Bar Louie tends to get packed right before Caps games -- something about being mere feet from the arena -- but it's worth a shot. Didn't realize you could get a group that big around one of their tables.

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It's My Birthday...: And I will pretend I am still a sophomore in college if I want to. I GOGs, trying to get a birthday celebration together. I'd like to do dinner for a small crowd (about 12) and then go dancing...at Hawk 'n Dove. Like I'm 20. Again. One catch, dinner needs to be either easy cab/metro ride to HnD, and should be a place where the "too cool to dance" crowd can either hang out for the night or easily walk to another chill bar. Thoughts were Match Box, Maybe that Spike guy's place on the Hill, Cafe Mozart? Any ideas, warnings?

Fritz: Matchbox on Barracks Row would be a rad choice, BUT BUT BUT it's first-come, first-served seating, and with a group of 12, that could be dicey. (It would involve pushing a bunch of tables together; the place is set up for 2s and 4s and boothes for 6s.)

I'd say Tunnicliff's, actually. Then the too-cool-to-dance crowd can go to Tune Inn.

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Cabin Fever in Alexandria: Help! My husband and I have a severe case of cabin fever. Is there any cheap place we could go within a few hours' drive of DC that would replicate a warm and sunny environment? We have our second anniversary in two weeks, our first baby in two months, and are cash-strapped due to the current economy. Please help us out!

Anne: Hey, you have lots to celebrate -- congrats! Now to be honest, I think only the weather gods will make it an actual sunny environment, this close by. But if you just want a change of scenery, in the off-season, I'd think you could find a decent deal at a Delaware beach spot. On a smaller scale, a trip to the Botanic Garden does wonders refreshing for the spirit by surrounding you in greenery and warmth -- and it's free. Way pricier, but also full of exotic living things, is the Baltimore Aquarium (check the Australia exhibit or dolphin show for lots of light.) Maybe you just need to give yourself some pieced-together spa moments: nice pedi, alcohol-free delicious drinks to find rejuvenation.

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Alexandria, Va.: submitting early because of important noon-time date...looking for a good place to eat before going to Ford's Theater on a Tuesday evening; (not looking for a bar) Thanks. Thad

Fritz: Easy: Pre-theater dining menu across the street at Bistro D'Oc. (They do have a wine bar, but the Southern French chalkboard menu is great -- had some amazing lamb brains there last time.)

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Tenleytown Question: Move over one neighborhood and go to Comet. Duh.

Fritz: Bands this weekend, so no ping-pong, but you're right -- I should have listed that as an option. Love me some Comet, with or without the ping-pong.

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List abuse!: Hi GoGs - I have no idea if you even know this went out, but I just got an ad email from the Post for something called Ticketpost. When I went to unsubscribe, it told me I was unsubscribing from the GOG Guide! What's up with that? I know it's just one email, but really - your guide is the only thing I receive from the Post, and I don't want my address used for other things. :(

Anne: I knew that e-mail went out, and I thought it was a one-time thing just to let you know about this new ticketing e-mail. We only use your e-mail in these few cases when we think there's something really similar to our e-mail that you might want to know about -- another example is the special e-mail we sent out for our happy hour last week. Anyway, we're glad you like our Going Out Guide e-mail and we want you to keep getting it. Can e-mail me later (events [at] washingtonpost.com? Then we can figure out what happened and make sure you can still get the e-mail you want.

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washingtonpost.com: That does it for us. Thanks for coming out and see you next week!

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