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The Going Out Gurus
of the washingtonpost.com Going Out Guide
Thursday, February 26, 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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Native Washingtonian: I have something to say to the "older" (40+) folks out there. Don't be so hung up on your age when you go out. Unless you're hitting on them nobody cares how old you are. Why should they? They're not looking at you and saying "who let grandma/grandpa in?" I'm a married woman in my early 40s and go to bars/restaurants/lounges with no discomfort. No, I don't want to hang out with a bunch of barely legals who can't hold their liquor but at some point in life we're all adults and behave accordingly. So, get out there old people, explore and have a great time!

Fritz: This is an excellent point, and a great place to begin today's chat. Hi, everyone. We've got a smaller-than-usual group today, with Anne on vacation and Julia doing her Civic Duty, but we'll try to answer as many questions as we can.

Anyway, I fully agree with this poster. While a 40-year-old is going to stand out more at, say, the Red and the Black or Ibiza than a comfortable bar or cocktail lounge, there's nothing wrong with hitting the town to check out a band or wanting to head the hottest new DJ. Isn't 40 the new 30 or something?

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Rockville, Md.: Hey Gurus,

You mentioned Hank Dietle's out in Rockville as a dive bar hangout post-Strathmore a couple of weeks ago. What's the deal with that place? I always drive by since I live right there and I'm always wondering about it. How about the restaurant right next door (Addie's?)

Thanks so much. You all rock!

Fritz: I have never been to Addie's, but man, do I love me some Hank Dietle's. It's one of the last blue-collar roadhouses of its kind in Montgomery County. No food except bags of chips and pretzels for 99 cents each, no fancy beers, dirt-cheap happy hour. You can play pool, play video games, punch up country or classic rock on the juke, and hang out for a spell. (There used to be a sign warning customers not to throw the cue ball. I loved that.)

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College Park: We've heard about both the bonsai and building museums. Are they close together? And if not, which do you think we should choose. A couple of grad students looking for something different to do this weekend.

Stephanie: I assume you're talking about the bonsai museum at the Arboretum, in which case: no. The Arboretum is sort of in the middle of nowhere, but it is so worth a visit. I love to go there when the weather is nice and since the forecast is looking a little gray, I might opt for buildings over bonsais this weekend and save the trip to Northeast for a warmer day.

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Washington, DC: Going to an event tonight near the White House, and I'm looking for a place to grab a nice drink or glass of wine before, and dinner afterwards (but not Old Ebbit). I know you've mentioned the Round Robin - they have small plates of food, right? How about Off the Record? Anywhere else? Thanks so much!!

Fritz: I'd say drink at Old Ebbitt if you're west of the White House, Willard (either Round Robin or the Scotch bar) on the east. Both classy, slightly fussy places, but their bars are Washington landmarks for a reason. Wouldn't really eat at either, though, except for the awesome bar mix at the Willard, which has wasabi nuts. Afterwards, I've been dying to get back to the Bombay Club to check out the renovations, and Tom Sietsema raved in his most recent review.

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DC native wants Baltimore: Last weekend I made an ill-attempt to "wing it" in Baltimore. We parked near the Inner Harbor and roamed around but I was hugely disappointed because I wanted quirky and eclectic shops. I've been to the aquarium and visited that general vicinity a couple times. Obviously, Fells Point is the spot I should been (after doing my research after the fact!)but I hear parking is a rarity. Next time I head to Baltimore, I'll go to Fells Point, but in your wisdom, what blocks or cross-streets offer the most assorted and diverse experience with shops and eatery? I'll pray I luck out on parking if I go early enough on a Saturday. Any stores worthy of a gander that offer offbeat and camp? thanks

David: Fells Point's aight, but if you really want quirky and eclectic then I'd recommend going up 83 a couple miles to Hampden instead of/in addition to Fells Point. Fells Point certainly has its share of interesting spots, but Hampden is definitely more off the beaten path and quirkier. Check out the Hampden Village Merchants Association site and you'll see everything it has to offer. You'll find everything you're looking for there, I bet.

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Tourist in My Own Town: I hope you guys can help, I'm not sure who else to ask. I'm trying to plan a stay-cation birthday weekend for my husband in April. I got tickets to the Kennedy Center Saturday night and would like to find a cool hotel in DC to stay in Friday and Saturday evenings (Saturday we'll play tourist during the day). Preferrably something reasonably close to the Metro. I only know of the big "business" hotels that I have colleagues stay at when they come into town, but am looking for something more original than the Hyatt Regency. I thought of Hotel George on the Hill, but didn't know if you guys knew of other places. Would like to keep it under $300 p/night.

Thanks!

Fritz: If I could stay in any hotel in D.C. for the night on Staycation, I'd go for the wonderfully historic Tabard Inn. The rooms are packed with character, you've got one of the better bars/restaurants in the city downstairs, and the fireplace is wonderful on chilly nights. It's also on a nice, quiet street a couple blocks from Dupont and Farragut North.

For something more jazzy and fun, you can't really beat the Kimpton hotels (Rouge, Topaz, Monaco, etc.). Funky decor, flatscreen TVs, all the bells and whistles. They have all kinds of specials, like Rouge's "red hot romance" package that includes rose petals on a king size bed, champagne, truffles ... cheesy, sure, but that's part of the fun.

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Crystal City: Oh wise and all-knowing gurus,

I am on the lookout for a meat monger aka butcher in the area that has a tasty and maybe exotic collection of meat who can also make sausages from the cuts or grind it up for use in tacos (the bison tacos my gf made last night were ultra tasty) it doesn't have to be halal or kosher I do not dicriminate when it comes to meats. FYI I would love to try some hippo meat I've heard good things about it also willing to drive a fair distance if the place is worth it in your opinion. Thanks!

Stephanie: Hippo meat? Seriously? Well I'm throwing this one out to the chatters, but I've heard great things about the Organic Butcher in McLean.

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Romantic-ish place for cocktails?: Soooo.... I'm getting together for drinks with a long-lost ex for the first time in 15 years. We're in our late 30s, and while I don't KNOW if this is going to rekindle anything, I certainly don't want to rule it out by being someplace too chaotic or empty overlit or full of barely-legals or overly-stuffy businesspeople. Money is not a constraint, but I also don't want to suggest something so posh that it seems pompous.

Someplace where we'd actually have a table while still in the "bar" would be ideal, too!

Any welcoming, flattering, age-appropriate recommendations pop to mind?

Thanks so much - love these chats!

Fritz: I maintain that the Gibson is one of the most romantic spots for drinks in the entire city. Low lights, great cocktails. See if you can make reservations and score one of the ultra-private booths for two right across from the bar.

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Cap Hill: Any word on when the H Street Country Club is going to open? I need someplace new to play skee ball!

Fritz: If I was a betting man -- and I am, when there are dogs involved -- I'd put my money on April 1, but that's just hoping.

We're already seeing a number of places in my "what's opening soon" article get pushed back by construction delays. Policy will be in mid-to-late March, the new Birreria Paradiso should open in May, not March ... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

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Re: The Tabard Inn: I agree that it's a great, quirky place to stay, and they have a wonderful, relatively inexpensive top-floor suite that's lovely (stayed there on my wedding night), but the original poster should know that it's quite rustic. As in, squeaky stairs, antique bathroom fixtures, no flat-screen TVs, etc. If they are looking for something really swanky & upscale, it might not be the place for them.

Fritz: Yeah, you're right. But one thing the new hotels don't have is charm. I've toured almost all of them, and with the except of Hotel Monaco, they could be ANYWHERE.

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But in Fells Point there's two AWESOME eateries:: Duda's and Meli on Thames. My God, my bf and I will go back there just for the food (Duda's is cheap and good) and delicious (Meli's in an awesome atmosphere).

David: Baltimore food recommendation part 1...

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Speaking of Baltimore...: If your B'more poster is looking for a funky fun place to eat, I would recommend XS. Took my daughter for her 21st birthday. Really neat place. Good sushi, good beer/wine/liquor selection, great desserts, and really nice atmosphere. It's on North Charles Street.

David: And part 2.

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Sunday Outing, NE D.C.: My usually-swamped boyfriend has some free time on Sunday and asked if I had any museums or anything that I wanted to go see. Normally I do but I'm suddenly out of ideas. Help! We are looking for a low-cost, cultural activity for Sunday afternoon in the District proper. We've recently done the National Gallery of Art, so that's out. I know the Kennedy Center has some events going on. Can you recommend other events or exhibits?

Stephanie: You should definitely check out the Arabesque festival at the Kennedy Center if you get the chance, because there are all kinds of events going on there. I just went to the New Deal exhibition at the American Art Museum, which opens tomorrow; it's a really interesting show of art paid for by Uncle Sam from 1934. The Louise Bourgeois show at the Hirshhorn would also be a good way to spend an afternoon.

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Arlington, Va.: In your opinion what is the best sports bar in Arlington, and what is the best smoke free sports bar in Arlington?

Fritz: Best Sports Bar in Arlington: For college hoops, there is NOTHING like Crystal City Sports Pub. My favorite place to watch a game, especially on the third floor. Sensory overload. Can't wait until March, when the Terps and the Hoyas will go at it in the NIT.

Smoke-Free: There aren't any real smoke-free sports bars in Virginia yet (that's Dec. 1), but I don't mind watching games on the flatscreens in Liberty Tavern's bar, or maybe the Clarendon Grill.

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For meat lover in CC: Let's Meat on the Avenue in Del Ray on Mount Vernon Avenue.

Stephanie: A butcher suggestion for the hippo-seeker.

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Dupont Circle: My brother is visiting this weekend from out of town and I was thinking of taking him to the Palace of Wonders. I'm concerned about getting to and from, though. How is the cab situation on H Street, NE? I thought for awhile it was hard to cabs at night.

Thanks in advance!

Fritz: Cab situation has gotten much better in the last few months. My story in Weekend tomorrow is about Sticky Rice, and I never had much of a problem getting cabs at 1 or 2 a.m., even on Tuesdays.

Better (and thriftier) option, though, is the new H Street Shuttle, which runs between Gallery Place and Minnesota Avenue FOR FREE from 5 p.n. until the Metro closes (ie 3 on weekends). It's still in its infancy, but it starts at the corner of 7th and H (where the other buses pick up) on the hour and again at 35 after. You can get it back from outside H Street Martini Lounge (down the block from the Palace) at 15 and 45 after, if it's running on time.

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NIT...: Don't rub it in! Us Hoya fans had so much hope this year, and it started so well! I'm sure Terps fans feeling the same as well. I miss the days when, MD, G'town, GW, and GMU were all rocking the tourney.

Fritz: I went to Maryland, and we had no hopes for this season, so beating UNC was a nice surprise. (So was being tied at halftime last night.)

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Dupont Circle: Oh, gurus, you're our only hope! My husband and I have been craving the experience of a 30s/40s era club for YEARS now, so much so that we've even had pipe dreams of opening our own! You know what we mean - tiered tables with Ricky Ricardo's orchestra at the front, some siren or dapper guy crooning into the microphone, with champagne and conversation flowing freely in the background, and all the patrons sophisticated and dressed to the nines (or at least the sevens!). Is there ANYWHERE in the DC area that offers an experience like this?

Fritz: So while my spider sense is tingling about this being a plant, I'm going to come out and say that you need to see Doc Scantlin's 30s-style revue at the Carlyle Club in Alexandria this Saturday, because I highly recommend it. Cigarette girls, a swinging band, Doc channeling Cab Calloway -- all great. The club is beautiful, if the food is uneven and a little overpriced. But Doc puts on an amazing show.

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Logan Circle: My aunt and uncle are coming into town with their 1 year old and I have no idea where to take them for dinner. The only places I eat are not baby friendly! We won't have a car so I would love something in DC or a very short metro ride away. HELP!

Stephanie: I went to Coppi's (in your hood!) with my niece when she was about that age and the staff was great. I know it's not quite as close, but restaurants in Cleveland Park are known for being fairly kid-friendly, especially 2 Amys and Cactus Cantina.

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re: butcher: Wagshal's is the best butcher I've found in DC - the quality of the meat is spectacular and Pat, the butcher, knows her stuff. It's way up Massachusetts, but worth a special trip.

www.wagshals.com

Fritz: That would be PAM the Butcher, who is by far the best butcher I've ever used. She's gotten me quail, game hens, all kinds of good stuff.

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If I was a betting man -- and I am, when there are dogs involved : I hope you mean dog races, and def. not dog fights. Right?

Fritz: Yes -- greyhound races, not dog fighting.

Though I have a soft spot for the "celebrated monkey gladiator" Jacco Macacco.

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Washington, D.C.:: Has it become easier to get cabs along H Street, NE? Or is it still a cab-wasteland? I want to check out Palace of Wonders this weekend, but don't want to be stranded. Thanks!

David: We were just talking about this. I find that it's still not as quick as it should be, but I say that as someone who always drives and just observes. You'd think there would always be some just waiting, especially as it gets later in the evening, but that's not necessarily the case. But Fritz just reported he's had no trouble getting home lately, "even on Tuesdays," so there's that. Bottom line is that on a weekend we think you'll be fine.

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Washington, D.C.: Do you have any suggestions for a fun afternoon date for this coming Saturday? Lunch could be in the mix, but I'm looking for something to do beyond that as well. I'm shying away from performing arts/exhibitions-- want something that's more focused on us interacting. Thanks for any suggestions you might have!

Stephanie: Have you checked out our cheap date suggestions? If not, there are lots of options there, and the bonus: they're all easy on the wallet.

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Re: Sports Bar: And, as an added bonus to CCSP's third floor with massive amounts of flatscreens--third floor is also smoke-free. Incidentally, this is also where my fiance and I met (getting married in less than two months) so I've got a soft spot for it!

Fritz: Smokefree? That's awesome. Don't think it was when I wrote about it originally, but that's great news.

What are you going to have playing on the 12-foot screens when you get married?

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Hippo Meat?: Yikes. We need to keep this person far, far away from the lady who wanted to rent a hippo for her kid's pool party. Remember that? Good times ...

Fritz: The Hippo Chat from 2005 is one of the greatest Got Plans? moments of all time.

For those new to this program, the Hippo Chat started thusly:

Washington, D.C.: Is there any way to rent zoo animals for a child's birthday party? While I realize that some animals must stay in the zoo for safety reasons, I was curious about the "safer" animals. In particular, my daughter absolutely loves hippos. We have a large pool in our house, so I was hoping that we could possibly rent a hippo for an afternoon. If not, I would also consider a smaller monkey or a large snake (for my son). Money is no concern...

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re: birthday room/Tabard Inn: (original poster) Thanks so much for the suggestion of the Tabard Inn - can you believe that I didn't know it was an actual hotel, just a restaurant?! I checked out the web site and it looks just darling.

We've stayed at the Monaco in Alexandria before, as well as at the Hotel George. Kimpton certainly knows what they're doing!

A friend also recommended the Churchill Hotel, up in Dupont. Ever heard of them?

Fritz: The Churchill is nice -- the turn-of-the-century building was private apartments for decades.

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Arlington Sports Bars: Summers around Arlington Courthouse used to be entirely smoke free at some point. They're back to smoking in a separate room, but they have a large non-smoking area as well.

Fritz: They have one room that's non-smoking and one room that's smoking. There's no real separation between them, though, so if you're allergic to smoke, it's not really the best solution.

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D.C.: I'm going to the Holocaust Museum for the first time on Saturday. Do you have any pointers or must-sees at the museum?

Additionally, any thoughts on where to go for a pick-me-up later that afternoon? so that I don't spend my whole day depressed...

Stephanie: There's a new propaganda exhibit at the Holocaust Museum that's a must-see, so definitely check that out. And as far as cheering yourself up after, that's a tough one. I went to the museum a few weekends ago and I wouldn't say I was completely depressed the whole day, but there were certainly haunting images that stuck with me (and not just that day). Maybe you should go see a stupid, mindless movie. That might do the trick.

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Washington, D.C.: If I were the weekly free activities on the going out homepage, where would I be? Am I blind or have they disappeared?

Fritz: The headline is "Blog: Top Free Events" under "Other Guru Features." It's always on the blog on Monday.

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Washington, D.C.: Rumor has it that Bo Blair (proprietor of Smith Point, Jetties, and The Rookery) and/or Fritz Brogran (proprietor of Gin and Tonic) will open a new DC nightspot called Pastel. Another rumor states that this new establishment will be located atop "2401 Pennsylvania Avenue NW." Can you confirm any of this?

Fritz: Man, y'all gotta stop believing everything you read on Late Night Shots.

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For Logan Circle with 1-year old: A couple recommendations to Logan Circle: book/arrive at an early time slot - definitely before 7 but 6 is better: availability, noise, and you'll need a little extra space; beware about the Cleveland Park recommendations due to lack of parking/long walk; just in case the kid has any unexpected problems, ask for the check early (linger if all is cool, but that way you're not stuck awaiting the check). A couple tricks i've learned this year.

Stephanie: Some more tips for the chatter seeking kid-friendly restaurant recs.

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Tabard Inn OP: Thanks Fritz - you are ALL KNOWING

Fritz: Or I edit the Visitors Guide and used to be responsible for doing Hotels and B&B listings, so I had to do a lot of research. Either or.

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Arlington, VA: Hi gurus,

Any plans for the old Visions space? I'm still holding out hope-very small hope-that a Visions-type theatre might come back.

Thanks!

Rhome: My feelings for Visions are like the particularly Brazilian trait of saudade: fond memories of something that you wish will return but deep down you know never will. Even before the downturn, the economic climate for indie film houses in Washington had gone bad. I'm still anxiously awaiting what will happen to that space.

David: After having seen a couple of movies up at Film Forum in New York over the past couple months, I must say it would be really nice to have a place like that down here. But Rhome's right. Just wishful thinking. And I feel like it had been many months since we got a question about Visions, maybe a new record!

Jen: It does say something that we still get questions about Visions lo these many years after its closure. Unless of course those questions have all been coming from the same person...

I miss the place, too. There are clearly other tbeaters in the area where one can see classics, indies and foreign films -- Cinema Arts, AFI and the Landmarks, among others. But they don't have the same vibe.

I don't want to say something like this will never happen. But now is certainly not the time for an independent theater to try to open its doors in D.C. The economy is simply in too tough a spot and people are much more cautious about how to spend their money. Except for, you know, the rich dudes in that dating story.

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The Gibson: I just got reservations at the Gibson for next Saturday night. Any suggestions for a place for two early 30s foodies to get a great dinner afterwards?

Fritz: Next door at Marvin? So handy. Or Cork, a few blocks away. (Stevie Wonder ate there!) Or Bar Pilar's small plates, which I think are better than ever.

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Stay-cation: For the person looking for a hotel for her stay-cation, I did a similar thing with my fiance and stayed a night at the Hotel Palomar in Dupont. I love that hotel...plus you can't beat the free wine happy hour!!

Fritz: More staycation advice.

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Bethesda: I have a bloody nose.

Jen: All riiiiight ... did you get lost on your way to the "Lost" chat, by chance?

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Arlington, Va.: Wanting to try a new HH spot on the Hill/Eastern Market. How's Tortilla Coast, or Tunnicliffs? What about Mr. Henrys?

Fritz: Mr. Henry's is a fine little neighborhood spot. The crowd is black and white, gay and straight -- but the happy hour's just okay. I like the divey Lil' Pub, down the street, or Tunnicliff's if you're around Eastern Market.

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new Birreria Paradiso?!?: where where where?

Fritz: Click on the link in that response to read all about a slew of places coming to D.C. in 2009, including a new Birreria, Buddha Bar, H Street Country Club and a couple of others.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi, GOGs--love the chats! Do you have a recommendation for a place for Sunday brunch with an out-of-town guest (who did live in the area several years back)? Metro accessible a huge plus! Thanks in advance!

Stephanie: You can start by checking out our brunch best bets list. Beyond that, I love the cast iron options at Matchbox, Darlington House in Dupont, or if you want to stay in your neighborhood, I found the brunch at Liberty Tavern quite tasty.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi GOGs,

I'm excited to try the recently relocated Ray's The Steaks in Courthouse. However I walked past it last weekend, and the place was completely packed! Do they accept reservations or call-ahead seating? Is the place really worth the wait?

Fritz: You can make advance or same-day reservations at the new Ray's, and yes, it's the best damn steak in the entire Washington region.*

* = that I've ever eaten.

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bethesda, md: okay several things in one post so bear with me.

1. hank dietel's in rockville is the strangest place ever but it's a hoot for sure. where else can you get this type of people watching!

2. addies is good, but i don't like it as much as i like black market bistro, also owned by the same family of restaurants, in glover park.

3. we went to a wedding where doc scanlin and his band performed and it was quite possibly the best wedding we've ever been too. if shu shu is going to be there it will be a good time! also try glen echo park for some swing dancing.

Fritz: Love the three-fer. Thanks, Bethesda.

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Clarendon, Va.: Re: Fells Point

The best place I've been to in Fells for drinks, totally chill atmosphere, ridiculously yummy food at very reasonably prices, plus some of the best servers/bartenders in Baltimore is One Eyed Mikes on S Bond St (1 block behind main square). It's also the world's 1st Grand Marnier Club, denoted by the hundreds of GM bottles lining the bar and restaurant. Just do NOT ask for ice with the GM.

Fritz: Ice? GM? Whaaaaa?

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Upper Marlboro, MD: Did any of the GOGers go to the Mos Def show at the 9:30 Club or receive any feedback about either of the shows? Well, I was there for the second show and have to say I was disappointed. I understand that the show started (2 hours) late because there was a flight delay, but I didn't feel I got my $35 worth when the show did start. I had to leave at 1:30 because I had to work the next day, but I don't think it could have gotten much better after that. I was hoping for some of older stuff from Black Star and Black on Both Sides, but instead I was reduced to hearing his DJs spin reggae for almost 20 minutes with slight interludes from Mighty Mos in between. What gives?

Rhome: I got multiple reports from many attendees. My friends said he was killing it and only the first show folks got stiffed. Sarah Godfrey felt the same way. My sources also reported that their enjoyment was counter-balanced by people that were disappointed. I guess that's about where you stand on experiencing some great emceeing versus getting your fill of all the hits. Some were impressed by Mos Def the rapper, others wished they could have had a sing-along to all of his biggest records. If you know Mos, you know that he rarely does a "standard" show, it's more about his constantly shifting whims.

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Dating in DC: I have to ask as there is a betting pool going amongst my friends. Where those men and women in the recent dating story for real? All of us either howled with laughter ($600 per date? Really?) or were horrified (only dating guys who can shell out $600 per date? really?). In a place filled with so many free and easy events and amazing outdoor locations, money does not have spent. My favorite date ever was a hike along the Billy Goat and a picnic after I fell and was filthy.

Rhome: In my reality, those folks are theoretical but deep down inside, I know (and regret) that they're not fictional. Fortunately they represent only one of many social spheres in this town. My dating experiences have never been a drain on my pockets, but that's probably because I tend to self-select a population with different priorities. The rare times when that population has overlapped with those looking for displays of wealth, I've found that wit, confidence and agile dance moves win out over the cat with the expensive car tricking off at the bar.

Fritz: For me, the comments thread that followed the article was almost as hysterical as the article -- the people who were saying "See? Only golddiggers go to clubs! You'll never meet anyone at a bar! You should meet someone in church!" I know a number of people who are happily married to someone they met in a bar, from lawyers down to, um, bartenders.

But anyway, as I said on our blog post about Cheap Dating Ideas yesterday, it must really suck to have to use your wit and personality to impress women instead of your Black card. I mean, if you're a tool who makes a lot of money, you're still a tool when you lose your job.

Jen: I don't think you're going to find many of us disagreeing with you here. Which I know is surprising since journalists such as ourselves are obviously *rolling* in cash.

I like to go out for a nice dinner as much as the next person. But the quality of a date is not measured by the amount of money spent. I know I'm telling you and probably most of our readers something you already know. But I suppose there are folks who still think that cash still impresses above all else. For me personally, creativity and a sense of humor always wins over wealth. And as you said so well, there are plenty of ways to demonstrate both in our area, for free no less.

David: Some people like to spend lavishly. Some people like to be spent on lavishly. That's their call, right? Hard for me to get too worked up about it either way.

Stephanie: I found the idea of spending that much for a date a little shocking, but then I'm not really into "rib-eye steak and Moet." To quote Destiny's Child: "The clothes I'm wearing, I bought it." Of course, they're from H&M. But whatever.

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Newseum: I hope I am not too late in submitting my question! If my husband and I want to go to the Newseum on Sunday should we buy tickets ahead of time? Or can we buy tickets the day of? Thanks!

Stephanie: The last time I went to the Newseum I bought tickets online, but it was about an hour before I actually went, so I'm thinking you should be fine just buying them there.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus,

A couple of quick questions for you, and I apologize if you've already hit on them recently...

When is Finn Mac's gonna reopen? Any word? Have they already?

And if I wanted to head to the Kennedy Center tomorrow for the Milliennium stage performance, what time do you think I should plan to arrive? Is casual dress ok? Any post-concert spots for drinks that you'd recommend?

Thank you!

Fritz: Have not heard from Finn's new owners in a hot minute. Ominously, the Web site is down.

I'd get to the Kennedy Center by 5:45 for a seat, though I'm notoriously bad about getting to the Kennedy Center early. (Then again, I've never missed the opening of a performance, so there.)

After the show -- and near the Kennedy Center shuttle -- I like the very quiet back bar at Notti Bianchi for a glass of bourbon on the rocks, or Tonic at Quigley's for a beer and a more lively scene. Can't go wrong with a cocktail at Circle Bistro, either.

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Columbia Heights Mom: Yikes! Don't go to 2 Amys with a one year old! I love the restaurant and definitely am not slamming it, but one year olds typically don't eat pizza. We're regulars (with our 16 month old) at Lauriol Plaza (the waitors love babies and are so accomodating), The Heights, Cafe Deluxe, and Open City. Wherever you wind up, make sure they've got highchairs and are willing to bring a bread basket the second you sit down. Have fun!

Stephanie: My niece loved 2 Amys when we went. Then again, when we took her places when she was that young, we'd generally bring other food too, just in case. In any case, here are more kid-friendly suggestions.

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New Bar Article/Punch Club: Just wanted to say thanks for the article on new bars a few weeks back. Very helpful and any updates would be great!

It also linked to Punch Club. Went last week and loved the drinks and atmosphere. Telling all my friends but hope it doesn't get too crowded!

Fritz: Man, I love me some Punch Club. Between that, Bar Pilar's Tuesday Cocktail Sessions, Tabard Inn Wednesdays and the Gibson, I'm glad I'm back off the wagon.

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To quote Destiny's Child: "The clothes I'm wearing, I bought it." Of course, they're from H&M. But whatever. : I like this chick.

Fritz: Don't we all.

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NW DC: Hi GOGs - submitting early because I'm in desperate need of assistance. Its my birthday next weekend and I'm planning to go out with group of about 12-15 people. I'm turning 29 and the rest of my friends are their late 20s and early 30s, so we aren't for hanging out with college kids. We've all lived here for a number of years, so we're yearning for something new and exciting. I'd really like to go to a cool place for drinks and it would be a great plus if there was dancing. We tried making reservations for PX but they wouldn't take our large group. Do you have any suggestions on where I can celebrate my last year of my twenties? Many thanks!! You guys are the best!!!!

Fritz: Hmmm. Great cocktails and dancing don't really go together in D.C. (Note to bar owners: Please fix.) I wonder if you could reserve the cool leather couches at Metropolitain, the lounge in at Napoleon. I can't think of a better way to celebrate leaving your 20s that with champagne cocktails, and the DJs are great. (Case in Point: Dave Nada and Harry Dixon tonight.)

Another idea: Chi-Cha Lounge. Was there last night. Had great time.

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Washington, DC: My poor girlfriend got totally blown off by this... guy. I will keep it G rated for my query out of respect for my fellow Going Out Guru followers. Anyways, she desperately needs a night out on the town that involves dancing and fun music. We tried Gin & Tonic last weekend but the line was unreal and it was COLD! Any suggestions for top 40s jams (we like old school 80s and 90s also) in the District? I really want her to take her mind of the whole ordeal and ring in March, a month that includes a celebration of drinking beer not Cupid!

- oh and this question is for Saturday night, specifically.

Thanks!

Fritz: I've seen more and more bars spinning this mix in Adams Morgan. Not that the bars are top notch, or as new as G&T, but you might want to try Chief Ike's, and if it's not your scene, Grand Central.

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$600: What dating article? Can you post a link please? Thanks!

Fritz: On the front page of the Post yesterday. (And this Web site, too: Market for Romance Goes From Bullish to Sheepish

Prime quote: "It's been incredibly stressful for me," said Neil Welsh, 27, the guy in the suit, who until last year was marketing director for a booming real estate company. "I was so used to using my financial situation to leverage my dating."

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washingtonpost.com:

Okay, that's going to do it for us for this week. Sorry we couldn't get to everyone's questions -- we're a little under-staffed at the moment. But join us next Thursday, and keep checking our blog for new stories and updates.

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