Got Plans?: Entertaining Out-of-Town Visitors, Vegetarian Dining Summer Concerts and 'Squeezers'

The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, June 18, 2009; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discussed entertaining out-of-town visitors, vegetarian dining, summer concerts and "squeezers" on Thursday, June 18 at 1 p.m. ET.

_______________________ Hi everyone. It seems the rain is letting up long enough to let us host the chat. A full slate of Gurus is here to take your questions, so let's get to it.

This week, we're curious about how you show the city off to visitors -- when your friends and family visit, where do you take them? And which places/events do you think provide the best "real" D.C. flavor?

Let's get to it...


5 after 1: And still blank? Technical difficulties WAPO?

Fritz: Just waiting for my not-so-clever intro to show up. I promise to give you an extra 5 minutes at the end, okay?


Arlington, Va.: What is the scene like at Russia House on a Saturday Night? Night-clubby? Loungy? Same as weeknights?

Fritz: Funny you should ask, because I closed the place down on Saturday. It's a more crowded and less Euro (more Europhile) than on Wednesday or Thursday. There's no real dancing to speak of, so most of the action takes place at the tables (like the screened-off booth on the third floor where Caps players can be spotted) or at the bars on the first floor.


Artomatic: Oh Wise Gurus, please help me! I want to go to Artomatic next weekend to see the fire dancers. I'd like to bring my camera and tripod, but I'd also like to look around inside. Will they even let me in with a tripod? (It might help if I upgrade this weekend to something not so humongous). Or might I have a remote chance at finding parking ($) in the area so I can stash the tripod? Thanks!

Stephanie: I assume they'd let you bring a tripod in, but I can understand not wanting to lug that around. If you want to park this weekend, you may have competition from Nationals fans (or, more likely, Blue Jays fans), but if you head there before or after the games, you should be able to find a lot in the neighborhood.


Washington, D.C.: My parents are in town this weekend and I want to take them someplace nice for dinner, but my father doesn't hear very well. Can you name any nice places that don't have a lot of background noise? For example, The Source is a good one (but a little over the top price-wise for my parents), and Bistro du Coin is very, very bad.

Julia: Funny you should ask, D.C. We just put up a Best Bets list of quiet restaurants, as based on Tom Sietsema's decibel ratings. Of these, 1789 seems like it might work for your group, even though the entree prices are in the $30s. There's a prix-fixe, three-course meal for $30 and the dining room is very D.C.-esque (jackets required). Eventide could also work if you wanted something slightly cheaper.


Washington, D.C.: How early should I show up to guarantee a spot at Godzilla tonight?

Fritz: Last summer, there were lines forming like 30 minutes ahead of time for Summer Camp, and I'd imagine Godzilla is more of a draw than "The Day The Earth Stood Still." I'd say get there by 6:30, maybe earlier.

Anyone who went last week want to tell us how it was?


Springfield, Va.: I've been to Iota a few times to see the Sunday afternoon show when Last Train Home is performing. Are there any other clubs in the area that feature earlier shows. I love watching live music, but as I get older those 10pm shows are getting harder to handle. I'm hoping that there is something out there besides Wolftrap that fits the bill.

David: There aren't too many clubs that do matinee shows. Jammin' Java does some but it's almost always kids music. I don't think that's exactly what you want. Iota does some non-LTH afternoon shows -- John Wesley Harding just did one a couple weeks ago and Blame Sally is there tomorrow. But an afternoon show in a club is a rarity. Does the montly blues jam at Surf Club Live count? Over the summer there are plenty of chances to catch afternoon shows outdoors, though. You can search through the listings of summer concert series to see what's out there.


"SQUEEZERS": When the word "squeezers" enters the Lexicon we want the credit. It refers to those folks who, at a venue like Wolftrap, show up well after the gates have opened, and think they can fit their King-sized quilt in the narrow patch of green between you and the next blanket; having no idea that you showed up 20 minutes before the doors, just to run down the hill (or this week waterski) for the perfect view that they think they can blithely plop into.

That being said, The Indigo Girls, Gipsy Kings and Diana Krall all put on excellent shows under precipitous conditions. But why it is Wolftrap puts everyone we want to see in an eight day window. I think we are done for the summer (friends are trying to talk us into B&B (Benatar and Blondie).

Julia: I am a squeezer. I'm sorry for offending all of you early birds, but, man, sometimes a girl's just gotta sit! I am always profusely apologetic and try to take up as little space as possible.

I have a friend trying to talk me into Hall and Oates. Sadly, all I can think about when I hear Hall and Oates is that one NSFChat Family Guy episode.


Off the beaten track D.C.: My parents have come to visit me a gajillion times so planning their next visit is always a challenge. The last big success was a garden tour at Dumbarton Oaks in G-town. We had gorgeous weather and the joy of exploring the grounds of an unbelievable treasure right in G- town. Other successes? Up tothe Nat'l Cathedral and then lunch at Cactus Cantina. Yum!

Fritz: Both great ideas for parents. In a similar vein, I'd throw in the gardens at Hillwood, which always impresses.


Washington, D.C.: Where's a cool place to grab a drink or two between dinner and going out out near Rosa Mexicano? Thanks!

Fritz: Depending on the time, I'm really partial to getting a beer or a glass of wine in the Kogod courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum. I'm so captivated by the wavy lines of the Norman Foster roof, the sound of running water, the super-high ceilings. And you can get drinks until at least 6:30.

For something fancier, there's happy hour at PS7's, where the cocktails rarely disappoint, or fancy drinks at Rasika or Cafe Atlantico. Atlantico has a great beverage program, which I think gets overlooked in all the hype about Jose Andres' food.


For guy lookign for artomatic parking: There's a cheap lot at M street and Half Street SW. I've never seen it full, even on baseball nights, and its well-lit and attended. Its a quick walk from all the Artomatic stuff.

A plea: PLEASE don't park on the neighborhood streets. Parking is already limited and when everyone decides that those signs that say "Permit Parking Only" and "Local Traffic Only During Stadium Events" don't apply to them, it gets us residents mighty frustrated.

Stephanie: A parking tip (and warning) for the Artomatic visitor.


Alexandria, Va.: My boyfriend and I are celebrating our two year anniversary this weekend and have opted for a stay-cation. We reserved a hotel room in the Dupont area on Saturday night - any recommendations for activities/brunch options in the neighborhood on Sunday? Thanks!

Julia: Brunch at the Tabard Inn is a nice choice. You could also wander around the Dupont Farmers Market, grab some Fro Yo at the new SweetGreen on Connecticut and sit in the Circle for a few hours. Great way to spend a lazy Sunday.


Adams Morgan: Adams Morgan Day is a great event for guests, I've always thought. There's a little bit of everything for everyone. Too bad it's 3 months away...

And I just saw Paul Rudd filming outside the Mill!

Julia: OMG! Is that what that was? I saw all of these film trucks on the Duke Ellington Bridge this a.m. and was wondering what the deal was. I love Paul Rudd. Sorry I missed him.


Petworth: To add to the parents in gardens person -- you could go with a theme and keep taking them to gardens. The Franciscans, the Arboretum, Kenilworth Acquatic Gardens...

Rhome: The Franciscans in Brookland? Lovely. I just wish they didn't front on me when I rolled up on my bike. I don't carry a beastly U-lock when I'm out racking up mileage.


Washington, D.C.: Dearest GOGs,

Please help me! I had a "lawn seat" that consisted of two padded pieces of fabric that were connected by two straps on the side that were adjustable. It was perfect for Screen on the Green or Wolf Trap or picnics, because while sitting on the ground I could lean back and still be supported.

Well, mine broke and I need a new one. Do you know what this "lawn seat" is called? I bought it at Hudson Trail Outfitters or Eastern Mountain Sports, and I would like to be able to call them to ask if they have them before I go to the store. Thanks!

Stephanie: My old roommate had just that chair, and it was made by Crazy Creek. I'm sure there are other brands too, but that's the only one I know off the top of my head.


Fete de la Musique in D.C.? : Do you have more information on Fete de la Musique - France's celebration of the summer solstice and music? I've heard conflicting info -- that it's happening Friday the 19th at the Alliance Française, and that it's happening Saturday the 20th at the French Embassy. Please help!

Fritz: This is why it can be confusing to have TWO French cultural institutions in town. (And neither is actually celebrating on the actual day, which is the 21st in France.)

The Fete de la Musique is a day of public performances and outdoor parties with musicians of all styles. The Friday night party at the Alliance Francaise's Kalorama headquarters has singer-songwriters, Hot Club-style jazz, hip-hop and kids' music, topped off with a performance by our own DJ Stylus, aka Rhome. It's free -- the kids' program starts at 5:30, and adult tunes at 6:30.

The party at the French Embassy on Saturday should be amazing -- eight hours of live music, dance, wine and food in the embassy's gardens. Tickets are $10 at the gate, which doesn't include food or champagne. (Because if you're at a French garden party, you need champagne.)


Dupont Circle: I'm going for a bra fitting (excitement!) at Coup De Fouchre at 11th and E on Saturday at 3 p.m. I'm not usually in that part of the city - advice? Maybe a cheap(-ish) lunch at Rasika beforehand? Or is Matchbox around there (I've heard good things)? Or are there non-eating things I should do in that part of the city?

Julia: Sadly, Rasika's not open for lunch on Saturdays. The Penn Quarter Matchbox is sort of near there and definitely worth trying if you haven't yet. If you like sushi, Sei is one sexy restaurant and definitely worth a visit (be prepared to drop some loot, it's kind of pricey).

While you're in the neighborhood, check out the Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum and Flashpoint (if you're in the mood for something smaller).


Georgetown: As a person with frequent visits from out of town parents, I am constantly looking for new ways to amuse them while they are in town. I went to Tudor Place with my alum association and now can't wait to return there with my parents. It was a fairly cheap tour also, with history, architecture, and gardens. Just a suggestion for those of us who run out of things to do in the city with visitors!

Fritz: Another good idea. Apparently parents like gardens.


I hate squeezers too: I always place my blanket specifically with Squeezers in mind: as far away from the folks in front of me as I can, but just close enough that it won't look like enough room for squeezers. I have other ways to keep them out, but don't want to risk ruining the success of my techniques. Squeezers are lowly and should have to sit in the back since they couldn't be bothered to leave on time. Why am I punished for your disregard?

Julia: Ouch.


Arlington, Va.: For off-the-beaten track: This isn't in DC proper, but a big hit with my parents was a day trip to Millwood, Va., about an hour and 15 minutes from DC. Start the day with some great hiking along the AT or other trails in the area, then get a picnic lunch at the Locke Modern Country Store, which sells gourmet prepared foods, sandwiches, and drinks like cider and ginger beer. Then tour the Burwell Morgan grist mill, which is still in operation and has a beautiful mill race. End the day with a stop at Red Schoolhouse Antiques, which has an absolutely fabulous -- but pricey -- selection. And if you REALLY want to spoil them, take them out to dinner at L'Auberge Provencale, just a short drive away.

Julia: My Food section friends Bonnie and David LOVED the Locke Modern Country Store. Good suggestions on L'Auberge Provencale as well.


Washington, D.C.: Calling all vegetarians/vegans: Where are your favorite places to eat around town? I lived in Portland, Ore., for a while and became spoiled from all of the options there were. Other than vegetate and the veggie Indian place on K Street, I don't know of any true vegetarian restaurants (that aren't places that serve falafel or tofu dishes...)

Anne: One thing D.C. is oddly lacking is in more truly veg restaurants, I agree. Vegetate is the hippest of the bunch, and pretty much the only. Downtown for lunch, I love the Juice Joint, and Java Green is the most ambitious. But for other committed vegetarian places, you go to the 'burbs. Try the Vegetable Garden (decent food, not-so-welcoming service), the Sunflowers (as cheery as their name suggests), or places like Udupi Palace. Fellow veggies, speak up with your picks.


Washington, D.C.: Any luck on finding out information on the dress rehearsal for A Capitol Fourth? Thanks.

Fritz: As The Guy In Charge Of July 4 Coverage, I'm happy to say there are actually two rehearsals this year: July 2 and July 3. Both begin at 8 p.m., and you can show up with your picnic beginning at 5.


Squeezing is OK: I've found squeezing is best handled if you compensate the folks that might feel displaced.

e.g. 9:30 Club - buy 4 beers, pardon your way to as close as you dare to the front, turn around and hand 3 people directly behind you a beer, turn around and enjoy the show. Everyone's happy.

Stephanie: I like this, except I would inevitably spill the beers all over the three people while scooting past. And while I'm not personally a squeezer, it doesn't generally bother me. Although when David and I went to TV on the Radio, we had some particularly annoying squeezers -- one guy who was like 8 feet tall (and a dead ringer for Kevin Federline), and another guy who kept inching back until I was unintentionally spooning him.


Spooner St.: "Sadly, all I can think about when I hear Hall and Oates is that one NSFChat Family Guy episode."

I'm not coming back for Oates.

Julia: So funny! I love Lois.


Where I take out-of-towners: Some favorite places to take out of towners ...


- Eastern Market- shopping, snacking (especially the more flea-markety area, but also the crafters), then walk down Penn Ave. to a more divey restaurant like Pour House

- Walk on 14th street from U to P street, go into the quirky resale furniture stores, the plant stores, then grab a bite at Stoney's on P.

- Georgetown- shopping of course, walk around the waterfront, wander around Dean and Deluca and sit in their outdoor area to people-watch

Night activity-

- Monuments by Moonlight tour (Old Town Trolley one) It is such a beautiful and relaxing way to see the mons - and locals go for free with an out of towner (called Hometown Pass) making it more like 15$ each if you split it. I do this with almost everyone who comes to save me from having to walk to all the monuments in the daytime.

Nightlife -

- U Street barcrawl, start at dinner (so many places to choose from) and show off the fave spots, from the dives (Solly's, The Saloon) to the classics (Marvin, Busboys) to the new and hip (Policy)

- You HAVE to take a visitor on a stroll up or down 18th Street to showcase the craziness that is Adams Morgan. Pop into Town Tavern, Grand Central or somewhere like that for a few. No one outside D.C. knows this madness exists and it's a fun and ridiculous suprise for people. But then you can go up to Mt. Pleasant or to one of the dives on the bottom of 18th.

Fritz: More ideas. I suppose 18th Street on a Saturday night isn't the image most people come up with when they think "D.C."


Pennsylvania: I no longer live in DC, but my father does and always takes guests on a "Monuments by Moonlight" tour. Visitors love it. Such a nice way to see D.C.

Julia: My out-of-town visitors geek out on this too. I also avoid the daytime crowds. Win-win.


Apparently parents like gardens. : Gardens are genteel. That's why parents like them.

Fritz: Right, right.


Re Squeezers are lowly and should have to sit in the back since they couldn't be bothered to leave on time: Wow, squeezers annoy me too, but some chatters are just mean! Maybe you need to go relax with a nice scoop of gelato and an expresso. It's almost Friday, you can do it.

David: I mean, it's general admission for a reason, right? You want a seat, you buy a seat. Otherwise, you deal with squeezers. That said, it does seem kind of odd to bum rush the front of the lawn at a Diana Krall show. Still, I got no sympathy for people who sit on the stairs on the upper level at 9:30 club then complain when someone goes and stands on the rail in front of them. You want that rail spot, you gotta stand there the whole time.


Vegetarian Meals...: I love Chi'x on U St...even though they serve a lot of chicken (hence the name), they have a ton of vegetarian options - salads, sandwiches, burritos and its all good and inexpensive.

And the fresh fruit flavored water there is amazing!

Anne: Totally agree. Nice call.


Courthouse: Lately when friends visit, all they seem to want to do is go to places where the Obamas go. I tried to explain that just because Obama went to Ray's or Five Guys one day, he probably doesn't hang out there all the time. Alas, I am still taking a group of them there this weekend because apparently they don't believe me that the president has better things to do.

Fritz: I've always thought it was amusing that the president is somehow considered the arbiter of cool. (I don't expect he gets out to eat or hits the nightspots as much as many people.)

I think Ben's will be basking in the afterglow for at least a few more years.

Rhome: Folks stay lined up at Ben's. I love 'em and glad they're getting that business but my spur of the moment half-smoke game is suffering. But if FLOTUS makes good on her promise that the first family will be engaged in Washington city life outside of a carefully circumscribed radius, I can deal with the superficial popularity boost.

Julia: Just to add a little newsy note to this -- did y'all catch the news that Ray's owner Michael Landrum has had to hold off on launching a new restaurant cause of the popularity bounce seen at Hell-Burger, post-prez. Crazy, right? I was there last week and it was insane, on a Monday, mid-afternoon.


Weird: You end a post about unintentionally spooning a guy who's backing into you (funny) and the next question is from SPOONER street? scary

Stephanie: Do you think it's him? And he's back for more? Cue the eerie music.


Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus,

I'm in search of something a little different for my bday celebration this year, different from just standing around at the typical bar. I was looking into H Street Country Club and Rocket Bar for the game aspect. What are your thoughts on those places? I would love to hear any other suggestions for activities or bars in D.C. or VA that fit the bill. Also, if we do go to H Street, the menu didn't look too enticing to me. Any other ideas for good places to eat with a group that's a fun atmosphere (and maybe a little less expensive) in the area?

Thanks so much!

Fritz: It really depends on the size of your group. The Country Club only has 9 holes, so it could work with maybe 15-20 people broken up into foursomes, before you head downstairs and hang out in the room with pool tables and skee-ball. Rocket Bar is great too, since you can play darts, shuffleboard, pool, skee-ball, board games, etc., or watch sports on the big screen. Also, it kind of sprawls, so you'll all be able to get in.

Other ideas: team trivia night somewhere like Nellie's, Duffy's or Bedrock, a Drunken Jenga playoff at Rock and Roll Hotel on a Thursday night, foosball at Crystal City Sports Pub -- any of those would work.


Falls Church, Va.: I am 21 and completely new to the D.C. area. I am looking to show my visiting friend a great time. I want her to see D.C. landmarks, explore local cuisine and impress her with D.C.'s nightlife. What are some key places we could hit while she is here?

Julia: I think your first stop should be the historic U Street district. Dine at Cork. (Or if you want something cheaper, hit DC Noodles or Coppi's). Then grab a drink on Marvin's deck before heading up to Adams Morgan to bar hop.


Washington, D.C.: I would agree. If you can't get to the concert on time, why should I be penalized or disturbed by your tardiness. It is rude to make people move over or sit in front of them because you think your time is more valuable than ours. No, you may not sit on my blanket. Yes, it is taking up some space. That's because I got here early to lay it out.

This reminds me of my beach house, where the clueless tourists will lay their towels and beach gear as close to other people as possible so that they can be nearer to the water. Respect people's personal space!

Rhome: I've been tardy to outdoor shows -- popular ones that are well attended -- and found a spot that doesn't inconvenience others. It takes some patience, creativity and advanced spacial judgement skills. It's all good as long as you DON'T BRING CHAIRS. Those are the folks who deserve to be ostracized and should go all the way to the back. Even though there are rules about it, I haven't seen them enforced.


Capitol Hill: I generally show the city off via sporting events. I think we have a pretty unique combination of ease to get to the game and things to do before and after. Go to Caps and then Irish Channel or Dubliner. Tailgate before United then go to H St or Cap Hill after. My friends are generally from N.Y., so I fancy it down for them to give them a reality check. Do more laid back things like Mexican food and margs on a patio.

Fritz: I like your style. The D.C. United-to-Pug combo is a favorite of mine.


Clarendon: Is there something happening right now in Clarendon? I'm sitting in my office listening to shouts and carousing and feeling bitterly jealous.

David: Maybe they're filming a sequel to "Arlington: The Rap"?


Chantilly, Va.: My daughter turns 21 on a Sunday in July. Any cool ideas for celebrating being legal to drink? She isn't the "let's drink shots and not remember what we did" type (thankfully).

Julia: Maybe take her to a nice restaurant where she can eat AND drink well? Or take her to Tarara or one of the other nearby wineries? On weekends, most Virginia wineries are open to tasters.


Parent Ideas: I just recently had my parents in town and we rented bikes at the Thompson Boathouse and then rode the Crescent Trail. In the past, they have also loved Eastern Market and Alexandria (the Torpedo Factory).

Also for the person looking for drinks near Rosa Mexicana -- CoCo Sala can be fun and Poste's courtyard can be nice if it is not too hot.

Fritz: I have to say I've been disappointed on my last two visits to Poste's patio. $7 or $8 for a bottled beer, plus the pre-mixed cocktails tasted like they'd been sitting around for a while as the ice melted into them. Still, I dig the atmosphere, and it's by far the best patio in the neighborhood.


Java Green - $$$$: Can someone explain why Java Green is so expensive?? It is like the price equivalent of fine dining at an order at the counter place. I dont get it.

Along with that, so many veg. restaurants are the same way. WHY?

If people want to spread the vegetarian lifestyle it has to stop being so yuppified and expensive.

Anne: Actually, I don't think its prices are out of line with other restaurants -- that's probably just what it takes to to pay the rent downtown. But I'm not saying they have to be that rate. Eating lower on the food chain *should* be cheaper.


Alexandria, Va.: Where can I find an ice cream stand?

I'm from New England, where summer ice cream businesses abound, but have been unable to find any in the area -- you know, the places where you can get a soft serve swirl cone with rainbow jimmies, as well as like thirty flavors of hard ice cream? And often has outdoor seating / picnic tables to enjoy the summer treat?

Julia: It's far from Alexandria, but I think the Ice Cream Factory and Cafe is supposed to be pretty close to what you're looking for. (Never been, even though my in-laws are like 5 minutes away from there. We don't have exactly what you're looking for in the city, but I think Thomas Sweet comes pretty close. Thelma's, my favorite of the long-lost ice cream stands, closed several years back.


Washington, D.C.: Wait, Rhome. Are you saying no one should bring chairs? Or that people who are late and bring chairs should be ostracized. Since many venues rent their own chairs, I never see any problem in getting to a show early and setting up my beach chair.

Rhome: If you're late and bring a chair, head straight to the back. I've seen this policy posted but I've never seen it enforced. And even if you're not late, you should position your chair so that ground level patrons who set up camp in your vicinity won't have obstructed sight lines.


Washington, D.C.: A bunch of my friends and I are back from college only to find that there is nothing to do in D.C. if you're 19 and 20. Lots of the clubs go 21+ at a certain hour/day (e.g. Tryst, Eleventh Street Lounge), and nightlife seems to revolve around Happy Hour + clubbing later on. Is there anything for us to do on Friday and Saturday nights besides go to the movies with the preteen set? All the other advice I've heard is "get a fake" (I'm too law-abiding for that).

Fritz: I feel your pain, D.C. -- I went all the way through college and high school without a fake ID.

You can check out lots of live music and DJs -- Black Cat, 9:30 club, Rock and Roll Hotel and Jammin Java are all all-ages, as are most of the very cool (and free) shows at Comet Ping Pong. Some clubs, like Ultrabar and Fur are 18-and-over on the weekend, and Ibiza and some lounges go 18-and-over on certain nights, like Thursday.

But the problem is when you can't even go out and play pool or hang out with your friends. One option that I think is kind of under-the-radar: The Crystal City Sports Pub, which has pool, video games, more than 100 TVs and a cool balcony, is all-ages on weekends for the most part. (They do restrict access to the pool room late at night.)

My suggestion is to find some interesting restaurants or hotel lounges, which are all-ages to enter though will card you if you try to buy alcohol. (Which I'm sure you wouldn't.)


Gallery Place, D.C.: Planning to take my husband out for Father's Day on Saturday morning while parent's have the baby to the Spy Museum. Do you recommend taking the tour? Also are there any other spy related things we can do around the area? Thanks!

Stephanie: You know, I honestly haven't taken the tour at the Spy Museum, so maybe some chatters can comment. But it's not a huge museum so I wouldn't think a tour would be absolutely necessary. Although they're not exactly spy-themed, you could always check out the Museum of Crime and Punishment or the G-Men and Journalists exhibit at the Newseum.


The REAL World Going Out Gurus: With the Real World now coming to D.C. I was wondering if the cast had to me made up entirely of the Going Out Gurus who would be who?!?!?

I'll start with Fritz. Most definitely the pretty-boy ex frat boy who loves his beers at Smith Point and starts fights with anyone who looks at his not-so-secret crush Julia (who I picture playing the fragile country-girl now turned cosmo girls because she lives in big metropolis of a city D.C.) who pines over Rhome constantly sitting in the corner writing poetry to his ex-girlfriend.

How about the rest...???

Julia: We admire your work here. Very funny. Sadly, not even close. I'm more of a wannabe country girl. A suburban-turned-urban chick who thinks that if she drinks longnecks and keeps listening to Loretta Lynn she'll one day be discovered as a raw country music talent, despite her lack of talent.


Washington, D.C.: Second submission of this question - Can you recommend any good local places to see live jazz or a good show this weekend (June 20th) around 8pm? I am looking for a place to take my wife after our anniversary dinner in G-Town. Thanks.

David: You could always stay right in the area with Blues Alley, but maybe try to head over to Bohemian Caverns for Benito Gonzalez. Good vibe, a bit less expensive and there's an 8pm show.


Ice Cream: There are two places in Alexandria that might work for my fellow New Englander. In Old Town, Pops Old Fashioned is my favorite. They make everything on sight and the same staff has been there for -years-. There are benches outside so you can people watch or wander a half block to the boardwalk.

In Del Ray - The Dairy Godmother with homemade frozen custard. Only a few flavors but damn good. And again, a bench for people watching - if you can get it.

Julia: Totally forgot about Pops! They were really nice to me a few months ago when I only had a buck-fifty and really, really needed some ice cream. The Dairy Godmother is one of our faves -- on our Ice Cream Best Bets list in fact.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus, I have some friends coming to D.C. from Sunday to Thursday. It's one person's first time in the U.S.; the other was in Washington last year. I'd love some suggestions for things to do in the evenings that are very "D.C." or very "American." I was hoping for Screen on the Green, but alas, no luck! Thanks.

Anne: Screen on the Green won't have started, but NoMa's Summer Screen has. This Wednesday, you can take them to see "Ray" -- but you have to choose between that an another very American-themed event -- the Twilight Tattoo. Sunday's pool party at Capitol Skyline hotel seems it'd fit the bill for a late-afternoon outing. If you're game to head into Maryland, there's a free concert at Brookside Gardens on Tuesday night, and that definitely show them a small-town community feel.


H street question part 2: Not the original submitter, but the person thinking of going to H St. Country Club asked for good restaurants nearby. I was wondering this as well. (Assuming H St Country Club's food is not notable, correct me if I am wrong.)

What are the top pics for nearby restaurants (for me its just for 2 people so group size not an issue)?

Fritz: H Street's food is (in theory) pretty good, as the menu's designed by Ann Cashion -- lots of upscale Mexican. Tom Sietsema is right, though, in that there were some slips with service and temperature at the beginning. Let's hope it gets better.

On H Street, I like the more creative sushi at Sticky Rice and moules at Granville Moore's, both of which can be crowded. Langston has some good chicken and soul food if you don't mind walking a couple extra blocks. Argonaut does sold bar food (mmm, sweet potato fries). Still need to eat something besides sandwiches at Sova.


McLean, Va.: Anybody going to check out Jaspects at Liv on Sunday?

Rhome: I've got schedule conflicts but they're really my top priority this weekend. "Polkadotted Stripe" is ruling my iPod right now.


Lawn Seat: Target has them! $7.99 (though I just bought the last one off the shelf at my Target...)

Stephanie: And another option for the lawn seat-seeker.


Visitors: George Washington Masonic Memorial, National Arboreteum, Kreeger Museum, TR Island, Folger and that general area of DC (just nice to walk around), Del Ray and Arlandria, the Zoo (I know, but you have to), Rock Creek Park Cemetary Eden Center, National Building Museum.

Anne: Nice list! Can I talk you into turning it into one?


Under 21: Stay home, play spin the bottle, and wait your turn like the rest of us! ;)

Fritz: Now, now. If I hadn't started going to the 9:30 club and [other places that weren't all ages] as a teenager, I shudder to think how boring I might be now.


Re: Squeezers: We take extra blankets to lay down and take up room around us.

Julia: Look, let me just stand up for the squeezer population here. Yes, we're jerks. You had your act together and got there on time. When I say, "Hey, do you mind if we squeeze in here?" You can say "No." But like, fake-taking up space to ward off these alleged free-loading concert-goers just seems like way too much passive-aggressive effort to put in to save yourself the possibly annoyance of having a squeezer sit next to you.

Even though I am usually among the squeezers, I got there really early for a showing of Les Mis last summer. Some squeezers sat down in front of me, got wasted (at Les Mis, yes.) and ended up puking on the grass before leaving. Was it kind of gross? Sure. Did I still get to see the show? Yeah. I mean, I guess my point is I feel like we should all just live and let live a little here and focus on what we all came to do -- watch the show -- not the people sitting next to us. Rant over.


I would agree. If you can't get to the concert on time, why should I be penalized or disturbed by your tardiness.: YES! Why am -I- rude because I don't want to take off work an hour early to save -you- a spot? And stop stepping on my ankles!

Julia: Ankle-stepping is annoying -- I'll give you that.


Clifton, Va.: Perterson's Ice Cream Depot. you can then take your ice cream down the street and watch the trains go by or just sit at Peterson's and enjoy. Best ice cream in the D.C. area by far.

Julia: Lots of ice cream suggestions coming in... here they come.


Alexandria, Va.: Darryl Hall is one cool dude - my impression about him totally changed after seeing his performance and interviews from the 2008 South by Southwest festival in Austin. (During which he changed the "Maneater" chorus to "Whoa-oh, here she comes/Watch out boy, she'll steal your song/Whoa-oh, here she comes/Her name is Nelly Furtado".)

Julia: Yeah, they have a sense of humor. I like that.


Wolf Trap: On the other hand, I hate the people with the king-sized blankets who take up all the room (that they don't need). Just like SUVs and golf umbrellas!

Julia: Golf umbrellas are so ridiculous! I feel like only men carry them keeping with the general theme of men choosing absurdly large accessories to highlight their masculinity.


Seeking soft serve swirl : You need to take a summer evening drive to Carl's in Fredericksburg, an authentic retro soft serve spot. Like my alliteration?

Julia: Love it.


Ice cream stand for the New Englander: My first thought was Jimmie Cone up in Mt. Airy, Md. But it only serves soft serve and some food. I don't remember it having hard ice cream selections but its been at least 7 years since I've been up there.

Julia: There's this clam/ice cream stand called Harry's somewhere in Connecticut that I used to go to all the time when I was in school there. Totally miss that place.


Washington D.C.: Fritz, I'll ask again because I'll assume I sent in my question too late last week. And, not that you didn't want to give up the information about your favorite bar in DC.

What is your all-time favorite bar in D.C., where you would go on your own dime for your ideal night?

I realize that part of your job is not being partial but come on, we all have favorites -- whether we admit them or not.


Fritz: No one will believe me, but I don't have one favorite bar.

I used to -- Aroma, back when Krishna and Lily were pouring perfect cocktails and knew everyone's preferences, DJ Dredd was spinning every week, and I could wander in and know a bunch of people. All key ingredients in the perfect night out.


Re: Under 21: Don't you play Spin the Bottle when you're in grade school? Not when you're on the verge of turning 21?

Fritz: GRADE SCHOOL? Sounds like you got a jump on the rest of us.


SQUEEZERS: I'm pretty sure "squeezers" refers to lawn seating; where as there may be a better word for the 9:30 club.

Noah Webster

Pronunciation: -?skwçzer- Function: noun Etymology: alteration of obsolete English quease, from Middle English queysen, jimmy and yvonne - wolftrap after too much rose' Date: circa 2009 1: One who obtrusively and rudely inserts them selves into concert seating after others have already established and designated their spots.

Julia: I don't know who Jimmy and Yvonne are, but "Wolftrap after too much rose" = priceless.


Cool spot : There was a small outdoor concert spot in Richmond where they'd put a rope down the middle of the lawn: blankets in front of the rope, chairs behind the rope. Worked perfectly (and we never had squeezers--the tone of respect established by the promoters kept them at bay).

David: I'm just using this question to point out that the Fort Reno schedule is finally up for your perusing pleasure.


Washington, D.C.: Oh all-knowing gurus! I'm taking the girl out for our one year anniversary tomorrow (easily my longest relationship...a little scary). I have reservations at Palena for 8:30 but nothing after that. We'll be dressed up a bit and I don't necessarily want the evening to end there. Either Cleveland Park or the Mall would do (we live in SW). I was going to do the night-time monument thing but it looks like the weather may not hold.

Julia: Congrats! If the weather doesn't hold, maybe you could scoot over to Ardeo for a nightcap at the bar? If you don't mind a short cab ride, I kind of like the idea of heading down to Dupont and checking in at Veritas or the bar at the Tabard.


Washington, D.C.: My parents are coming in town this weekend - slight problem: my dad likes to go to bars (he is calling this "bar tour 2009"), while my mom is more into cultural things, i.e. museums, cool events, etc. Any recommendations of things that will please them both?

Stephanie: Well, you could start with my rundown of artsy parties for the weekend. There's also Jazz in the Garden tomorrow night, or you all could spend an hour or two at the Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum followed by an hour or two sampling cocktails at Rasika or drinking brews and watching baseball at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern.


Metric and Marvin: Huge apologies if you're getting this query multiple times. I am having a heck of a time posting...

We're going to Metric at 9:30 Club tonight and I was thinking about hitting Marvin for dinner first. We wouldn't be able to get to the restaurant until probably about 6:30. Will it be way crowded by then? Do you think we'd have enough time to eat and then get to 9:30 in time for the show (doors don't open until 7)?

Thanks for your advice!

Julia: I think you should be fine. Try to make a reservation if you can, just to save yourself the drama.


Umbrellas: Men should not carry umbrellas, much less large ones, if they want to be masculine.

(Big) umbrella does not equal masculine.

Put your hood up

Julia: A virtual chest bump right back at you.


Washington, D.C.: Hey going out Gurus... thanks for providing the bright spot in this sudddenly gloomy day. Tomorrow's my 29th birthday and instead of spending it in South Beach as I had originally planned, I'll be here (had to cancel for work). Since I'm going to be in town, I'm looking for a place in the District that I can go and dance with my girlfriends. In terms of dance music, my tastes are not terribly sophisticated- I like hiphop and pop. I'd prefer not to go to a lounge-am really looking for a place where I can dance like a grown woman to music I know. Thanks!

Fritz: You're looking for the perfect, fun, not-filled-with-23-year-olds Top-40 dance club that D.C. really doesn't have, which is a shame. (Some of the options that are musically right, like Chief Ike's Mambo Room, are really too divey for a 29th birthday, especially if you were going to South Beach, while others, like Saint-Ex or Marvin, are usually waaaay too crowded for a lot of fun dancing.

I mean, I like the classic hip-hop that Uncle Q spins upstairs at Bourbon on Fridays. I think Rhome spinning at the Alliance Francaise will be fun (and cultural), but it's most certainly not a club. Park at 14th has its old-school hip-hop night, but there's not really a dance floor. You could try Republic Gardens, which is straight-up Top 40 hip-hop, though it's pretty loungey.

Honestly, I think you'd find exactly what you're looking for in Clarendon.


Washington, D.C.: Last thing I'll say about the concert thing... My friends and I go to a lot of shows and do lawn seats. At Gwen Stefani a few years back, we had a blanket laid out for the four of us, because while we intended to dance and stand for a lot of the show, we also wanted to be able to sit and relax. We had a girl curse us out for not rolling up our blanket so she and her boyfriend could sit next to us, even though they got there so late they'd missed the opener. This is why I get testy about squeekers. When we were the latecomers to Tom Petty and Steve Winwood, we stood in the back without grumble or complaint and didn't try to push people. I just don't think it is that difficult to be a respectful concert goer.

Julia: First things first, I think we've all decided on "squeezer" (thanks, first chatter!). But secondly, this chatter brings up a good point. It's really all about respect, isn't it? Just try to be a good concert goer and the whole world will conspire to bring you a good show. Hippie Jules out. See y'all next week.


Desperate!: I need something fun and classy for 6 20 something girls to do this weekend while our men are away at a bachelor's party. Something super girly that lets us dress up but is still inexpensive is a plus.

Fritz: I vote for it including lots of champagne -- half-price champagne cocktails at Metropolitain on Saturday night, and the all-you-can-drink mimosas at brunch at Yaku on Sunday.

As for events, I'd say the Fete de la Musique, which I mentioned above, fits the bill -- dressing up and wandering around the French Embassy, doing a little flirting, checking out music and dance? That sounds classy to me. You should check out Stephanie's post on weekend art events.


may be a better word for the 9:30 club.: they're more 'sidlers' cuz they have to work their way up to the front, slipping and sidling, shifting shoulders up to the front. (more S alliteration) At outdoor concerts, they walk easliy down the side and then squeeze in.

David: The word sidlers, of course, reminded of that episode of "Seinfeld" with the dude in Elaine's office and the Tic-Tacs and all that. Julia didn't watch "Seinfeld" and gets none of my references. It's like speaking to an alien. An alien without TV.


Navy yard: Hey Gurus, I live near the Capitol Skyline hotel and its pool parties, but weather and other commitments have kept me from checking them out. My sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks with her 4 year old daughter, who loves to play in the pool. I know the scene tends to skew a bit more towards to 20 something young professional crowd, but there's a lack of things to do in the neighborhood, particularly with a kid. Would we stick out like sore thumbs with a pre-schooler?

Fritz: No. There have been plenty of kids on both Saturdays and Sundays on my multiple trips to the pool. The BYT crowd on Saturdays in particular went out of their way to involve kids in pinata-smashing, hula-hooping and Twister-ing. Just make sure you're not too close to the band -- that can be loud.


Columbia Heights: Hi,

Other than Wonderland, is there a good spot to grab a weekday drink in Columbia Heights? I live in CH, and every time a particular friend is in my area, we grab a drink at a local bar. He always complains about the expensive beer. Where can I take him to shut down his bitching?


Fritz: That's a real problem in Columbia Heights, where I'm still stunned by my recent tabs at CommonWealth, Red Rocks and the Heights.

My solution is still the Red Derby: $2 cans of Schlitz, Natty Boh, etc.

_______________________ Okay, that's it. We gave you an extra 20+ minutes this week to make up for the early delay. Thanks for all your input on visitor advice. We'll see you next week, or before if you make it out to Fort Reno (one of my favorite places to take visiting friends.)

Oh, and speaking of Fort Reno, we'd like to send our thoughts out to everyone who knew local singer Clark Sabine (Statehood, Motor Cycle Wars, etc.), who passed away early yesterday after a long fight against melanoma. Was really weird (and fun) to see all the old videos and stories go flying around Facebook yesterday. He will be missed.


The Going Out Gurus write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene. Check in with them throughout the week on the GOG Blog or join their live Q&A every Thursday at 1 p.m.

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