The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, July 23, 2009 1:00 PM
The Going Out Guide staff talked about Keno, Eastern Market, bachelorette parties, bocce, Takoma Park and what to do before you leave D.C. on Thursday, July 23 at 1 p.m. ET.
washingtonpost.com: What's up, boys and girls? We're on a sugar high, thanks to Something Sweet, D.C.'s newest one stop shop for guilty pleasures like cupcakes and tangy frozen yogurt. Initial impression -- very good. We'll have more on the blog later today. Let's do this thing.
Capitol Hill: I went to Tune Inn last night and was disappointed to discover they had gotten rid of Keno. Are there any other bars in D.C. where I can get my Keno fix?
Fritz: I find this greatly upsetting.
Stan's at Vermont and L used to have Keno, and probably still does. Anyone else have a favorite place to "gamble" at happy hour?
Washington, D.C.: Any idea what's going on with Social, the restaurant lounge on 14th Street in Columbia Heights. The sign still says coming in June. And does the Columbia Heights Chipotle have an estimated date for opening? Thanks
Julia: I just corresponded with a representative from Social yesterday actually. Word is they're still a few weeks out. I don't follow Chipotle news too closely, but last I heard on the matter was back in June from his excellency, the Prince of Petworth, who was given a 3-4 month timeline.
Washington, D.C.: What is the deal with the rooftop bar at the Donovan House? Is it open to the public? I tried to go up one night after dinner at Zentan and the snooty concierge claimed it was closed for a private party and that they were trying to keep it "very exclusive." Was he just being a jerk or is the Donovan House really that mean?
Fritz: Donovan House's parties are basically list-only. There are occasional exceptions, but for the most part, you have to know someone or get an invite that will get you up there.
OUT there, Va.: Hello, GOGs! I am a victim of these terrible economic times, and I'm making the move all the way out to Gainesville, Va., to save money on rent. UGH. What's there to do out there? Restaurant/bar recommendations?
Fritz: I will regretfully announce that when it comes to the I-66 corridor, my going-out expertise doesn't stretch beyond Manassas. (I could do Middleburg/Leesburg, but those are farther north.)
Readers, this is where you come in. Can you school Out There (and me) on what to do around Gainesville?
Logan Circle: Any update on the restaurant that is supposed to move in to the old Dakota Cowgirl spot? Thanks!
Julia: Don't hold your breath. As Tom Sietsema reported last Friday, Birch and Barley/Churchkey has been delayed due to construction problems and now that the Neighborhood Restaurant Group needs to find a new chef, it could be even longer. So, this doesn't give you a target date, but my understanding is there isn't one.
Washington, D.C.: I have the opportunity to go to the Dylan/Nelson/Mellancamp show in Aberdeen tomorrow night. Aberdeen is far. Traffic is bad. Start time is listed as 5:30. Is this insane under any circumstance other than taking the day off to get there?
Fritz: I would strongly suggest taking the day off. You'll have traffic on 95 and the B-Dub, plus you need to either get through the Harbor Tunnel or navigate the Baltimore Beltway. Why not head up early, have lunch in Fells Point or Federal Hill, check out the harbor and then hit the show?
D.C.: I've got some (older) relatives in town the next few days. I'm looking for a good brunch spot for Friday morning. Any Friday morning (or just weekday) brunch spots you would suggest?
Bethesda, Md.: My two-year wedding anniversary is coming up in a few weeks and I'd like to make a reservation for a special dinner. Any kind of food is okay, except for Asian/sushi. Can you suggest a place with great food and a nice, romantic atmosphere?
Julia: Congrats! Let me point you to our Most Romantic Best Bets list. That should get you started.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus - This past weekend I went out to dinner in Georgetown at a fairly nice restaurant. My boyfriend and I sit down and order a bottle of wine. They card us, which was fine, but when I gave them my temporary ID and a picture ID (my student ID -- in law school) they refused to serve me. I explained the temporary ID is legal, showed them my credit cards with my name on them, but the manager said ABC is really cracking down and wouldn't budge. So we left. Rich (and expensive!) Italian food without a nice glass of red just isn't worth it.
The funny thing is that I've had the temp ID for two months and haven't had a problem anywhere else (including cheap places you think an underage person might sneak in). I didn't get carded at the bar we went to for a cocktail prior to dinner, nor at the restaurant where we ended up. For the record, I'm 27.
It totally messed up my carefully constructed plans for Saturday night, so I just had to vent.
Fritz: I understand both sides here. It's true that a temporary ID (driver's license?) is a legal ID. And yes, the ABC has been cracking down on bars lately, and businesses are being cagey for fear of being shut down. They lost business. Their call.
But can I ask a question? Why have you had a "temporary" ID for *two months*? Why not bite the bullet and get a full ID? (Or do what I did when I forgot my driver's license expired and use a passport?)
Ithaca, N.Y.: A former DCer here with a question for you. I have two non- english speaking friends in town from Spain. They are planning on heading down to D.C. for the weekend and I was wondering if there was anything interesting going on that they might feel comfortable going to without any English? It has been a while since I have lived in D.C. and I cannot think of anything beyond the museums myself and all of my favorite restaurants are Spanish or Latin American, which are out for obvious reasons. Thanks.
Stephanie: Well art seems like the obvious choice, so they could head to the National Gallery. Right now there's actually an exhibition of still lifes by Spanish artist Luis Melendez, but if they'd prefer to check out non-Spanish art, the museum obviously has a lot more to offer as well. The Hirshhorn might be another fun stop, if they like modern art. And GALA Theatre in Columbia Heights is another option. It's the final weekend to see "El Canuto del Rock," which is in Spanish and English (with subtitles in both languages).
Washington, D.C.: Hello GOGs -- I went with a group of friends to Cantler's Crabs and was inspired to maybe rent a boat (motor) and with a group of friends and do a little boat trip for a day. I couldn't find anything online where we could rent a boat and go to some of these crab shacks and enjoy a beautiful summer day. Any ideas?
Fritz: If you're going out of Annapolis -- which it sounds like you are -- you might start with Annapolis Small Boat Rentals in Eastport (www.asmallboatrental.com). They can provide a captain if you've never set sail before.
Arlington, Va.: My friends and I were wondering....is the EFN Lounge strait friendly?? We were thinking of going there tonight for the Golden Girl trivia. Thanks GOG!
Fritz: They've tried to stress that to me -- they're definitely a gay bar, but not exclusionary. I'm also thinking about heading there for Golden Girls trivia tonight. We shall see.
Gainesville Glory: Fer bust yer gut good times, we got tippin the cows, watching Cooter put retreads on down the Amoco, and flatdog slingin. A flatdog bein road kill that got squashed good and flat and baked in that good Gainesville sun. Livin large out here!!!
Fritz: So who wants to be helpful? C'mon now ...
Arlington, Va.: My girlfriend is a wine drinker, foodie and frequent hostess. For her birthday, I'd love to help her step her entertaining game up. Do you know of anywhere that teaches a good, relatively basic course on how to pair wine with food? Thanks!!
Julia: Just spoke with CulinAerie's Susan Holt. They don't have a class like this on their schedule at the moment, but they do classes like this (and beer pairing classes too!) Anyway, she indicated that they're working on their schedule now, so I'd keep an eye out on their site. Or perhaps just get your lady a gift certificate.
Washington, D.C.: A friend and I want to finally go to Jimmy Valentine's. What time does it open? What time should we plan on arriving? Any distinguishing features of the building?
Fritz: Jimmy Valentine's usually doesn't get busy until 11 or later. I've been there at 10:30 and it was deeeaaaaad. Just me and my grenade of Mickey's, the bartenders, the DJ and one or two other stragglers. But it was packed by 12:30.
It's an awesome place that reminds me of the old Kingpin. Weird paintings, funky furniture, great tunes, staff who may not be the friendliest but will warm up to you if you chat with them and seem cool.
Oh, and they don't take credit cards.
Capitol Hill/Eastern Market: I have some friends in town this weekend and I was thinking of doing a low-key brunch in Capitol Hill/Eastern Market area. Nothing too expensive or fancy (we probably wont be looking out greatest after a night out) and bloody marys are a must -- any suggestions?!
Julia: Tunnicliff's comes to mind, and that's a fine option. But personally, I'd rather hop over to Matchbox for its delicious brunch. (They have this chorizo-asparagus-skillet thing, which is pretty much amazing. And yeah, as food gal, I should be WAY more descriptive, but man, that sugar is kicking in!) Matchbox has an excellent bloody mary -- and bloody beer (PBR + mary mix), but I stay away from the latter.
Temp ID...: It seems like the ABC is -always- cracking down.
Anyway, I always thought it was sort of an unspoken rule that fancy places don't card. Either way, is your temp ID from D.C.? If so, it's unlawful for them to reject valid D.C. id and you can request that they call the 1-800 ID verification number (forget what it is). But I did it one time and the management was so embarrassed that that they gave me a free drink.
Fritz: Some advice from someone who's been there.
Warrenton, Va.: Will there are the charity polo matches out near the Plains, then we do herding trials with our dogs in Berryville and other palces in the Valley. Ask Danny Steinberg about this. We watch the grass grow. We talk about the Johnson's and discuss if we are going to get two or three cuts of hay this year. We go down to the gun store and discuss guns. Man the new Benelli is really nice.
Come fall we check out new tractor model of 2010 and there are the point to point or steeple chase races. And we look for the signs about how bad this winter is going to be. Looks like 40 to 63 inches of snow west of 7100 in Fairfax County and North of Rt 28.
And we take kids shopping for new school clothes at Tractor Supply.
Julia: Stephanie and I do not tolerate Virginia mocking. This aggression will not stand.
Custom Framing: Oh wise Gurus, while this isn't a going out question, your tailor and other service-based recommendations have always been on point for me. That said, I'm looking for a place to do a custom framing for a house warming gift. Do you have any tried and true standbys or could you throw this out to the peanut gallery b/c I'm utterly clueless. I'm in Cleveland Park, but I'm open to anywhere in the DC Metro area. Thanks!!
Fritz: I've had some Xmas presents framed at the Picasso Gallery in Tenleytown, but it was pretty expensive. They do good work, though.
The Framer's Workroom on upper Wisconsin gets high marks from some of my friends, but I've yet to use it.
North Idaho: RE: No ID - some places don't take -US] passports as proof of age, either. Yeah, wtf, right?
Fritz: Really? When I was licenseless, I went everywhere from the Black Cat to Eighteenth Street Lounge to kickball places in Adams Morgan and never had a problem.
Which places don't take passports, in your experience?
(I know some places don't take *foreign* passports as ID, which sucked when I was out with a friend and his English fiancee a few years back.)
Arlington, Va.: What's supposed to happen with the old murky coffee spot in Clarendon. It's been empty for a while now. More Condos?
Julia: It's gonna be a bakery. This bakery, in fact. For the New Orleans/Texas transplant, sadly, you'll have to wait until this opens to get your sno ball/snow cone fix. I called last week to get intel on the opening date and the word was "later this summer." We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, anyone know of ANOTHER place the Texas transplant could get his/her sno ball fix?
Silver Spring, Md.: Hey Gurus. I'm looking for a nice scenic hiking trail for a date, maybe end it off with a picnic. I'm in Maryland but she's in NOVA so I'm open to pretty much anywhere in the area. Thanks!
Stephanie: I'm a fan of Billy Goat Trail. Some chatters have found it a little strenuous but the views are fantastic. You could also head to Great Falls on the Virginia side for some easier hikes and equally nice views. There's also Roosevelt Island where you could hike around for a bit, then sit on the benches near the giant Teddy statue and enjoy lunch.
Washington, D.C.: My sister and her children will be visiting the first week of August. I was just informed that the 11 year old has injured her knee and will not be able to do much walking. Do you have any suggestions for things that we can do that won't be too strenuous for her?
Anne: Man, that stinks. Because I'm sure she wants to be able to run around and do everything the other kids are doing, too. What jumps to my mind first are sitting-related things: like an Imax movie, watching a show or a ballgame -- the Nats are home for most of the week. How about some girl power to make up for the bum knee? Pat Benatar/Blondie/the Donnas lawn seats at Wolf Trap are $25.
A Dark and Stormy Place: Fritz, I know you've answered this in past chats but I can't find it and enquiring minds want to know, what's your preferred Ginger Beer for a Dark and Stormy and where can one procure it in the area?
Fritz: Barritts ginger beer pairs perfectly with Black Seal rum -- both from Bermuda, naturally. I picked up a case at Shelly's in Woodley Park recently, so I'm sure it's fairly widely available.
Ellicott City, Md.: Hi there Going Out Gurus...here is something new to do...Howard County, Maryland...just 20 miles north of DC...home of Columbia and Ellicott City is doing a Buy Local SUMMER RESTAURANT WEEKS (July 27 - August 9, 2009)...Howard County's independent restaurants are partnering with Maryland farms and wineries to feature local products on special Chef's menus for every budget $10.09 --$40.09...www.VisitHowardCounty.com... SAVE & Savor the LOCAL Flavor!
Julia: So, this is a plug, but I'm posting it because I *so* would have included it in my Other Restaurant Weeks post had I known. Here are the details. And Ellicott City peeps -- feel free to e-mail me with this stuff, love to get the word out. restaurants (at) washingtonpost.com
Alexandria, Va.: Do you know where I can get a Pimm's Cup around here? Recently I've been hearing a lot of references to it (which can probably be attributed to reading too many British novels and watching Hitchcock films). I never knew what it was, so I looked it up on trusty Wikipedia. It sounds delightful!
Fritz: My two favorite Pimms Cups right now are at Bourbon (which I'm actually writing about shortly, as in today) and on the patio at Bourbon Steak. Bourbon's is an interesting variation that comes with a house-prepped cucumber.
Oh, and the one served on Eventide's roofdeck was something of a disappointment. Classic recipe, but not well balanced.
Golden Girls trivia: Is this for real? What is and where is this EFN lounge? I am a huge Golden Girls fan with the DVDs and t-shirt to prove it!
Fritz: There's a picture of the Golden Girls on the Going Out Guide front! (It's #2 in the photo rotation.) Click on that for all the info you need.
Arlington: So my husband has been studying for the bar exam and his brain is a little fried but he wants to take a break for date night tomorrow night. We've already decided to go see Harry Potter but we need a place for dinner. Not super expensive but someplace that will make him feel better, preferably in Arlington.
I love the Golden Girls!!: Can you please tell me where is this Golden Girls trivia? That's still my favorite TV show - thank you hallmark channel for the latenight episodes!
Fritz: I'm really hurt that y'all didn't read this week's Nightlife Agenda.
Columbia, Md.: That wasn't making fun of rural Va., the Benelli Vinci is rather nice.....
Julia: Okay, I couldn't really tell what was going on there. I mean -- there were enough tractor and gun references for me to be suspicious about the poster's motives. Also, I should note that Tom Sietsema recently spoke rather highly of this Ethiopian restaurant/wine bar in Gainesville.
ID Again: I recently switched states for my drivers license and am waiting for the new state to mail me the permanent replacement. They have until next Wednesday for it to be the 60 day window they promise you'll have your ID in (I know, I called to complain last week before this even happened).
I didn't have my passport with me because I've never had a problem until Saturday and thus it didn't occur to me.
Fritz: Okay, that makes sense. You're definitely not in the wrong here, so if the restaurant wants to be over-cautious and lose business because of it ... their loss.
I know people will complain about this, but the ABRA does give restaurants/bars latitude with temporary/out-of-state/taken-when-underage licenses, usually under the banner of "we weren't sure and didn't want to take chances."
Columbia, Md.: As with every other restaurant week, be careful of the prices of the Columbia and Ellicott City week. Many places aren't really offering a bargain. Especially if you factor in things such as Aida's Monday night pasta specials. Not that they are aren't worth going to.
Julia: Yeah, I'm still of the school of thought that not any of the Restaurant Weeks are really great deals. Even with the number of RW menus that cross my desk, I don't think I can make the determination which ones are "worth it." It's hard to gauge until you're in the restaurant, see the portions, etc. That being said, I never mind an excuse to go out to eat.
Washington, D.C.: Hey Gurus! I will be meeting up with two Marines on liberty on Saturday night. They want to go to Adams Morgan, but Adams Morgan in the summer isn't always the greatest. Where would you go in AM on Saturday? Where would you go as a back-up plan if AM doesn't work out? I want to make sure these guys have a great night as they don't get much time off. Thanks!
Fritz: A bunch of the Reef's staff is ex-military -- and at least one is ex-Marine -- so I might go there for some beers. If they want to Party (with a capital P), I'd say Grand Central or 18th and Red for dancing, Dan's Cafe and Adams Mill for cheap beers, etc.
Washington, D.C.: As the sole District-dweller of the group, I wound up with the "where to go post-dinner" responsibility for a bachelorette party this Saturday. A group of 9 girls is dining in Dupont, then we want to go somewhere to dance...the bride-to-be loves Georgetown, but wants to go somewhere different (but comparable) to celebrate. Ideally, we'd like a bar bar, where we can dance and drink and won't feel like we're 100 years old (we're all 28, but, of course, super fun). Any suggestions?
Stephanie: I'd say head to Adams Morgan, where there's never a shortage of veils and candy necklaces. For dancing, hit up the usual suspects: Heaven and Hell and Tom Tom, then cap it off with some karaoke at Peyote Cafe. For some other ideas, check out our list of some of the best places to dance in D.C.
Warrenton, Va.: Julie and Stephanie
Ladies I live in Warrenton and this what we do. Oh and I forgot in late summer the first tasting of fine VA corn liquor made from this year's corn.
We don't do clubs, we do talk seriously about hay cuttings, and the lines of herding dogs.
And if you want to be snobby we talk about Range Rover reliability and why land Rover doesn't sell the Defender 110 in the us. The diesel powered one.
Obviously you two young ladies do not live in the real VA. We don't care if two men or two women want to marry but we are concerned about AG Holder and hsi desire to take away our guns.
So my suggestion is keep you so called VA butts east and south of Rt 28 ladies. I wasn't mocking bubbaettes.
I am in Warrenton rather than Upperville Steinberg knows me.
Julia: It's "Julia," thanks.
Stephanie: Leave me outta this!
Framer's Workroom: I'll back up the rec for the Framer's Workroom in Tenley. I've been going there for years -- the staff are friendly and will show you what to do, and the prices are reasonable. Plus, there's something satisfying about a good DIY.
Julia: I used that place for a project in high school! So cute.
Georgetown: Hey Gurus! How does a twenty-something attached girl meet new friends? I'm sick of hanging out with my bf's friends all the time. And it seems like all of my friends are guys. Is there a match.com for friends?!
Fritz: I used to doubt the whole "go play sports" thing, but I've met a bunch of people playing bocce this year, so I would say that it's definitely an option. (And bocce is so much more fun than kickball.)
Go to events at galleries or talks at the Corcoran, get involved with the Junior League or other volunteer organizations ...
Any advice from the ladies out there?
IDs: As a former ATF narc (best high school job ever!) I can tell you that in most states there are only 2 valid forms of ID an in-state driver's license and a U.S. passport. It is ILLEGAL for any person to reject that ID if it isn't fake. They can, however, reject your out-of-state ID or a foreign passport.
Similarly, it always annoyed me that bars would reject IDs they thought to be fake. Under ATF (and all local liquor agencies) guidelines, an ATF agent cannot use a fake ID to bust you. That is entrapment. They must use real IDs that show the real birth date and really underage people to test bars. They are only testing people selling to underage people on purpose. Thus a bar can get in trouble for 1) not asking and 2) asking but ignoring an underage ID. They cannot get in trouble for being faked by an ID.
Fritz: I think the fake ID thing comes more from that you can't prove how old you are rather than just from the fear of being busted.
But passports -- I would call the ABC or ABRA if someone didn't take a valid passport at the door.
(Oh, and FWIW, when most places in D.C. say "No out of state licenses" -- and I think Town Tavern and Tom Tom have done so -- they include Md. and Va. as being "in-state."
Columbia, Md.: So I'm going on a date or two with a girl this weekend who loves wine. Are there any wine related events or restaurants I could take her to impress her and show her a good time in the D.C.-Baltimore area this weekend? If not wine related, is there anything or anywhere specially fun and exciting I could take her to this weekend? I gotta impress, Help me please! haha
Julia: Maybe you could take her to Urbana, which is offering some $3 specials. I feel like the lounge at Urbana is good for a drink. I really don't think you can beat Cork or Proof if you want to impress a wine lover.
Washington, D.C.: Hey GOG, any of you men single or any of your posse looking for new friends? I am always game for something interesting to do but often have a problem finding the right date or friend to enjoy things with. I bet dating or being friends with y'all would fix all my problems. Ever considered holding a raffle/lottery for passes to hang with the GOG for the week/month? I'd happily sign up.
Fritz: This really might not be as exciting as you think. Or it could be "do we REALLY have to go all the way out to ______ to go to ANOTHER BAR tonight?" overload.
Georgetown: Thanks for giving a shout out to the Junior League! That's really a great way to meet smart, talented, motivated and social women in D.C. There's the added bonus that you are able to help the city and promote philanthropy as well! As a Junior League of Washington member, I would definitely say it's the best way to meet new gals in the city!
Fritz: There you go. I should add that all the women I know or have met in JLW are cool 20/30-somethings, despite the image that occasionally persists.
Bocce...: But, playing bocce is only fun if you do it ironically while wearing a wolf t-shirt and drinking PBR!
Fairfax, Va.: You guys are letting a lot of weird comments through, and yet my legit Eastern Market inquiry -- submitted prior to 10am today (and not because I had a "meeting") -- is being ignored! Must one be witty or willing to bash Virginia to garner a response?
Julia: Hadn't seen the Eastern Market one yet -- will look for it now! We love you, legit-question-asker! We do!
Re: A Dark and Stormy Place: Just had one this week at Wisdom at 14th & Penn SE thanks to owner (Eric?). Yum!
Fritz: Wisdom does make some good drinks. Some not so good, too. But I like the off-the-beaten-path location.
Arlington, Va.: Greetings! I'm trying to plan a lunch outing with a couple of friends next Saturday. One lives in Germantown, the other in Springfield. It would be great to find a restaurant or event that's somewhat in the middle of those locals that's low-cost, and, most importantly, kid-friendly (I'm pretty clueless when it comes to kid entertainment!). The munchkins are 3 and 5 years old. Any thoughts? Please save us from Chuck E. Cheese! Thanks!
Anne: I know I'm obsessed with Frying Pan Park, but next weekend it does happen to be hosting the Fairfax County Fair, which has some very cute small-town style contests. See a pet show, sack races and new this year, a "rabbit agility" contest put on by the 4H kids. Plus you have all the animals regularly at the Farm to explore. There's an Amphora diner nearby that could probably fit the bill. If you don't want to make it so long a drive for Germantown, then I'd vote for some fruit picking in northern MoCo.
Friends...: I was the exact same way (minus the boyfriend...) and I found some friends though Greater D.C. Cares. There are a gazillion volunteering activities and you can choose to go when you are available rather than signing up for every Saturday for the summer. Everyone is super nice and as corny as it sounds, you really can bond over doing something good for your community.
Fritz: Charity, folks. It's good karma.
Washington, DC: Good Afternoon Gurus -- Question for you, I am going to the beach in a couple of weeks for a long weekend, probably my only time there this summer, so I want to make the most out of it. Thing is, we are getting back into D.C. on an early Monday afternoon. Any ideas on where to go to keep the beachy/vacation theme going for some afternoon cocktails (ideally DC proper)?
Fritz: I love that Ceiba's tropical cocktails -- Caipirinhas, mojitos, a very good Dark and Stormy -- are $5 from 3 to 6 every day. The lounge doesn't "look" like vacation, but the drinks taste like it.
Arlington, Va.: I have out-of-town friends visiting in August who love to dance. They always take me to great low-key bars that generally play fun music (mostly pop/rap) but aren't clubs. What do you think are the best options here? Based on some research, I was thinking maybe Eleventh Lounge, but I'd really like your advice. I want to make sure we have just as much fun in Arlington/D.C. as we've had in other cities!
Fritz: Eleventh could work -- I'm a fan of the basement. There aren't too many options with dance floors in Arlington; Clarendon Grill can be fun with the right DJ or band. Union Jack's plays the music you're looking for and there's sometimes some dancing going on.
Another spot that fits the bill, and always works with my friends: Chief Ike's in Adams Morgan,
Fairfax, Va.: Hi GOGs! Planning to check out Eastern Market for the first time this weekend. Thanks for the profile, Julia! My question: the website says the flea market is only on Sundays, but the GOG profile says it is Saturdays and Sundays. Any clarification is much appreciated! Also, do I need to get there right when they open at 10:00 to have the best experience? Any other can't-miss tips that weren't in your write-up? Thanks!!
Julia: Hey there -- thank you! It was a really fun one to write. I'm still munching on some marinated peppers from In a Pickle in my fridge. The flea market is both days -- I promise. I got that info from a guy at the branch of D.C. government who oversees such things and is printed that way on this site too. The reason for the discrepancy between various Eastern Market-related sites is a tale of classic bureaucracy. I'm told that different groups organize the flea market on Saturday and on Sunday. I think getting there at 10 a.m. or getting there at 2 p.m. doesn't make much of a difference. The place has been just straight-up busy for the last month or so.
Finally, there wasn't much missing from my write up, but I could add that that the guy who runs the Sweet Nuthouse is like the nicest guy on the planet. Strike up a conversation if you have a few minutes. Oh, and I didn't go for any of the ice cream in the school parking lot -- because I tried to stick to just the south hall and the aquatic center vendors -- but I've heard a lot of raves about it since my story came out.
Washington, D.C.: Anyone have a favorite hiking spot outside of D.C. (preferably Va., not Great Falls, and no more than an hour or an hour and a half away)? Thanks!!
Stephanie: Difficult Run is nice and not too far away. Old Rag is the ole standby, but that might be more like a two-hour drive, right? Any chatters willing to give away their best-kept secrets on good hiking spots?
Making Friends in D.C.: Suggestion: get involved in a group or activity that reflects your interests (cultural, political, etc.). The Smithsonian and other museums have "young associates/collectors" programs, for example.
Fritz: Yep. And do it for the right reasons -- don't join the Jete Society to make friends if you don't like ballet.
Washington, D.C.: Hi GOG! Do you know somewhere for dinner Saturday that is bachelorette party friendly and takes reservations? I was thinking Matchbox in Eastern Market but I don't want the group to have to wait. Thanks!
Julia: Yeah, that's a tough call for sure. A place like Matchbox is perfect for a pre-bachelorette: well-priced, carby to soak up the drinks and . . . good drinks. I might just try to make plans to go to Matchbox and head over on the early side. The bar's pretty big, so the wait shouldn't be too bad. Maybe check in with nearby Cava to see what they can do for your group. Perhaps you could look at Eatonville or Posto? Or Oyamel -- it's good enough for Mrs. Obama!
I Love Arlington: I'm trying convince my boyfriend that Northern Virginia (specifically Arlington where I live) is a great place to live and hang out. What are some of your favorite places to eat/things to do/stuff to see/etc. in Virginia that will help show him that (Northern) VA is for lovers? Thanks!
Julia: What's he comparing it to? Just because I'm curious. I like the bar at Eventide (You've heard me say this before? Really?) for a classy after-work drink and amazing apps. I like Ravi Kabob for delicious fast food. I like the loungey Yaku for its patio. And Ragtime is one of my favorite places to drink pitchers and watch baseball. Oh, and Ray's Hell-Burger. I love Ray's Hell-Burger.
Fritz: Show him the Clarendon rap video. I think that would pretty much do it.
Stephanie: And Quarterdeck is a fun, divey little crab shack if you're trying to get away from the Arlington (Rap) stereotypes. I also like Continental for shuffleboard and pool.
Arlington, Va.: I think your suggestions for Saturday the 25th nightlife are great, but unfortunately I have obligations from about noon 'til 7-ish, and my friends aren't exactly keen on hip-hop. Would you happen to know of anything else going on that night?
Fritz: Hmm. How about Nouveau Riche at DC9? I heard there were going to be glowsticks. And Sparks. And it's always a good time with killer electronic music. Bliss is fairly reliable at the Black Cat.
If you just want to straight-up dance to '80s and such -- Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson, Beastie Boys, etc. -- I had a good time at Fly two Saturdays ago. Free admission from elundevents.com, and the crowd was more into having a good time than many of those bottle service clubs.
Ellicott City: For the Georgetown 20-something looking to meet new friends: On meetup.com, you can join groups in your area that interest you, and meet up with those folks for dining, movies, knitting, hiking, boardgames, etc. It's great for people who are new to a place, to help you get out and be sociable.
Julia: Meetup.com is pretty cool. Some girlfriends of mine got a lot better at French after joining a conversation meetup group.
Donovan House: roof bar is a disaster -- one day they'll let you onto the roof and the next day there'll be some girl with a "list" which seems to be all her buddies. A friend who's been staying there has complained that guests can't use the pool area because the whole roof is permanently filled with drunk 20-somethings.
Fritz: That's how they keep it interesting, see -- unpredictability.
And if was my understanding that hotel guests always got up, list or not.
Hang with the Gurus: You could do it for charity!! People can bid for a meal out with Julia at new restaurant or a night on the town with Fritz.
I bet that you could raise a lot of money...
Fritz: That's an interesting idea.
Hiking Spots: Cunningham Falls State Park, Md.
You can visit Roy Rogers up in Thurmont too. or hike from Seneca Road down the potomac or from River Bend to Great Falls (no park fee)
Stephanie: Thanks! I love that visiting Roy Rogers is a selling point.
Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus! I am leaving D.C. next week for grad school in the Midwest. So, if you had one weekend left in D.C. (like me), what's the one thing you would want to do---a farewell tour if you will? Thanks for making my 3 years in D.C. so fun :))
Stephanie: I'd say so long to the Seurats at the National Gallery, drop by Eastern Market, get margaritas at the Alero in Dupont and grab a whoopie pie for the road (from the woman at the 14th and U farmer's market).
Fritz: Probably visit the Peacock room at the Freer/Sackler, the courtyard at American Art, go out for crabs at Mike's or Cantler's in Annapolis (because you will NOT get those in the Midwest), have a drink on the patio at the Gibson, and make reservations for a Sunday afternoon with a view of the monuments from the new W. (Make a reservation, not just show up.)
And, sadly, though it's cliche, I'd probably wind up at Ben's for a late-night half-smoke and cheese fries.
Julia: Another cliche, but I'd drive by the monuments at night.
Make or break...: Hey-o!
I've got potentially a make or break date this weekend and I need a place to go/maybe an activity in the city that's something "above" merely getting hammered on the cheap. I'm thinking lunch or dinner followed by something... anything...
Thanks for the help.
Julia: Hey-O yourself. This is hard to figure out without much detail, but try a U Street spot like Coppi's for a not-too-expensive dinner and then hop over to Marvin's roofdeck for a drink. Or what about heading to the aforementioned Urbana, which is both cheap and classy.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! A friend, who recently moved away, is coming back to D.C. for a visit and has requested to go to the "new hot-spot." Clearly the W would be a perfect contender for pre-dinner drinks, but I'm out of ideas for dinner (on her last visit we did Cafe Salsa and Cork). Any thoughts on hot-new restaurants in the district?
Julia: Hmm, yeah, it looks like she's been back quite recently. I think Blue Ridge might be your best bet for a hot off the presses restaurant -- nowhere near the W, but hey, just a cab ride away.
Vermouth: This is more a drinking at home than a going out question, but is there any way to keep vermouth longer than a few weeks once it's opened? I almost always have to throw out bottles with only a few ounces gone even though the lid is on tight and stored in the fridge. I know those 375ml bottles aren't budget busters, but its still wasteful and it adds up over time, especially if you stock two or more kinds of vermouth. AN if there's no way to preserve it, why hasn't anybody marketed vermouth in those air-tight, classless wine-(in a bag)-in-a-box systems? (patent pending)
Fritz: A lot of people treat vermouth like rum or Scotch, but you have to remember that it's essentially a wine, and should be treated as such -- keep it in the fridge after you use it, you can even pump it with one of those anti-oxidizing wine pumps
And remember, it's not as if it goes "bad" -- the taste may diminish over time, but it's not like the stuff is ruined.
Meeting People: I've got to second bocce ball as being a great way to meet people. I had my first game ever last night, and it was a blast!
Fritz: Did we play flip cup in the basement?
Dupont: A friend suggested grabbing drinks in Old Town next week, which is not my usual turf. Any good happy hours that should be at the top of our list?
Fritz: I like the food and drinks at Cafe Salsa, the cocktails-and-beer happy hour at Vermilion, or the pubby deals at Union Street Public House. Austin Grill is reliable, too, if you want the basics.
Hang With the Gurus Again...: You could do it at the next monthly happy hour!
Fritz: Well, we're all there.
Falls Church, Va.: (Submitting early since I'll be out all day, but hoping you'll take the question since it's my birthday!) I'll be heading to the H St Country Club this evening with a few friends, one of whom happens to be 20. I just wanted to make sure that she'll be just as welcome (without the alcohol) as the rest of us.
Fritz: The golf course and bar are 21-and-over only, except on Tuesday nights and Saturday afternoon. Your friend should be able to go downstairs, but won't be able to accompany you on the course. Sorry.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus -- is there a way to search the reader Go Out lists? I tried, but couldn't see any way to search. I ended up sorting alphabetically, skipping pages to get to the right letter, and hoping that people named their lists intuitively.
I am willing to accept I might just be a moron.
Anne: Hey, thanks for asking. And thanks for checking out the lists. Do you mean searching by the name of the list or by the name of the person who made it? You can't search that way right now, actually. Right now, the main way to move through them would be from the pages for a particular place or event -- for example, when you get to the BlackSalt detail page, you can see how many lists it's on and why someone chose it. And there are other places around the site where we promote other lists, so those are ways to explore them, too. But how else would you like to search them? We definitely want your ideas, because we're always working on making changes to the site. Write back or e-mail to events at washingtonpost.com after the chat.
Arlington, Va. : It's my friend's 21st this weekend (the lucky girl!) and I won't turn 21 until mid-August, but I'd love to celebrate with her in D.C. Do you have any recommendations for places that we can both get into and have a good time? If it matters, we are going out on a Saturday night. Thanks for all your advice! I love the chats!
Fritz: There's always the Black Cat's backstage -- the dance nights are a lot of fun -- but a lot of D.C. bars are 21-and-over-only on weekends. Ultrabar is your best bet for a nightclub -- good size, not pretentious and 18-and-over for women. (Just make sure you print a pass from ultrabardc.com before heading out.)
Pimms Cup: For the person looking for a Pimms cup...Acadiana does pretty good pimms cups, and I think they're included in their $5 happy hour.
Fritz: There's an idea.
(BTW, there are a ton of questions I won't have time to get tp today, and since I'll be out next week, I'll try to answer a few on the blog tomorrow. If you don't see your question here, check back periodically on the blog tomorrow. Deal?)
Herndon, Va.: Ah Gurus, you are the best. Thanks in advance for helping me out with this! I have a friend moving to Australia in two weeks and I'd like to get a group together for a goodbye dinner/evening of debauchery. Can you help with some suggestions for restaurants/bars? We've gone to Lebanese Taverna and La Tasca in Va. for other dinners, and there will be about 10 of us. We typically go to the same old same old Lucky Bar, Sign of the Whale haunts and there's got to be some great places we are totally lame for not checking out. Prefer the bar scene to the club/lounge scene. What restaurant in the Dupont area can handle groups and won't totally break my entry-level job bank account? Also any suggestions for fun bars to get us out of our rut?
Julia: We gotcha Herndon. It's been ages since I've been to Luna, but that's an option in Dupont. I'd also check out Regent Thai and the Cantina (cheaper bottom level) of Darlington House. This came up in Sietsema's Table the other day, but I tend to agree that Luigi's, the red-sauce place on 19th is often overlooked. Afterward, I like Porter's and Big Hunt, which weren't on your bar list, but sound like they fit right in.
Dupont: For the foodie/wine loving girlfriend, a friend of mine is attending a sommelier course at the Mandarin in August. It's with the Court of Master Sommeliers program and is 2 days. Depending on the girlfriend's interest level in wine, I believe there is a certification test at the end.
Julia: Thanks for the tip!
Takoma Park, Md.: I just moved to Takoma Park and don't know much about what to do or where to go, other than Mark's Kitchen and the farmer's market on Sundays. Any ideas of things to do? I would especially love to find a low key bar to become a regular at, even better if they show Redskins games! Thanks!
Anne: Hey, welcome to the hood. Have you been to Roscoe's yet? I think it is full of possiblity and a lot of heart. The Middle East restaurant has a teeny little bar in the back that is definitely low-key. But for Redskins games, I think you're going to head to Silver Spring. Try McGinty's upstairs (Fritz concurs here). I really want to like Galaxy, but I don't know who goes there. You could also become a regular at Quarry House. But back in TP, everywhere you go, you will effectively become a regular. Mark your calendar for the folk festival, the street festival, the Halloween parade... for a small town, it sure puts on a lot of events.
I Love Arlington: The boyfriend grew up in Md. and lives in D.C., so he kind of has an anti-Va. bias. I love living in Arlington and I want him to love Arlington too!! I have a plan to secretly brainwash him to love it here... it involves taking him to a ton of great Northern Va. places. The more suggestions the better!
Julia: I married a Maryland man. It's hard to convert 'em, but they come around....
And that's it for today, kiddos. Have a great weekend!
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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