Got Plans?: Pick Your Own Farms, FedEx Field, Coffee Bars, Dancing, Public Displays of Affection

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The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, September 17, 2009; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff talked about pick-your-own farms, getting to FedEx Field, coffee bars, dancing and public displays of affection on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 1 p.m. ET.

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washingtonpost.com: Let's get this thing started without too much ado. Did you guys take our PDA poll? You totally should. On to the questions.

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Cathedral Heights: I think I too am terribly immune to bar kissing. Actually, when I see it, I get kind of nostalgic and remember times when I once did it with the same vigor as the couple generally going at it.

Julia: I totally know what you mean. We were talking about good date nights last night and I was thinking to myself, "I don't go on dates. I'm married." And then I was like, have I really become one of *those* people?

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Farragut Square: I am moving to an office building in the Farragut North area that does not have a shower/gym facility. I love to run at lunch and have been looking at a gym facility in the area. Results, Capital Hilton, etc are all too pricey or Golds is too far away to make it worth my while. Am I missing any place or does anyone have any ideas? The idea of waking up at 5:30 to run in the winter makes me cry.

Stephanie: When I used to work in the neighborhood, I'd hit Washington Sports Club. There's one on 21st and K and another one a few blocks up Connecticut. If you're looking for cheap though, I think Fitness First is probably the best deal (or at least it used to be), and that's at 19th and K.

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Judiciary Square: Hi, I need a suggestion for a reasonably priced Sunday brunch on the Hill with good food and I'm stuck. Only B Smith's comes to mind and I'm not a fan. Any ideas appreciated. Thanks.

Julia: Matchbox would top my list. I had a good brunch at Bistro Bis once, but it was like five years ago. It's probably more expensive than Matchbox.

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Washington, D.C.: Where's a really good, off-the-beaten path coffee shop in D.C.? Tired of places like Tryst and the Cosi chains. Is there some place that's original and cozy?

Stephanie: I'm super excited about the new addition to my neighborhood, Mid City Caffe. But as Lavanya mentions in her review, if you're in any kind of rush, this isn't the place for you. It's a great spot if you want to sit and sip though.

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Washington, D.C.: No dates because you're married?? You and your spouse need to kick it up a notch and start "dating" again. Meet at a bar and act like you just met...end the night "kissing" at the bar. Married people can have fun too!

Julia: Hahaha. I knew I was going to catch some flack for that. We're not *that* bad. I mean, we got out a couple nights a week for my work. So, technically, we go on a lot of dates. They just don't really feel like dates because they're also work. When I was thinking about this last night, it occurred to me that I feel like we're at our datey-est when we're at Redskins games. Gray Lot -- WOOT!

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Southeast D.C.: It totally depends on if I am part of the PDA or not...if I am PDA'ing, then everyone should! Go for it! I love love!

But if I am not, then don't rub it in my face. That's not very nice...

Stephanie: I don't think you're alone with this mentality...

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Arlington, Va.: Question for David -- Do you have any rec's for driving-parking to FedEx Field for the upcoming U2 concert? Don't think metro will work for an evening show. I heard the traffic for the McCartney show was a big headache.

David: Yeah, you don't need to bother with Metro. Driving there isn't so bad if you know what to do. We'll get more in depth with best routes/practices as the concert gets closer. I had minimal problems getting in/out at McCartney because I took Exit 16. Everyone -- everyone -- was lining up at Exit 17. Go to Exit 16, come in from the back (assuming you're coming from the south) and it should be no problem, getting out could/should be just as quick. FedEx is still a bit of a nightmare, but that's even more the case when everyone goes in/out of just one of the five or so exits/entrances.

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D.C.: Any recommendations for a married couple that used to go out a lot looking for a great dance club with a great DJ playing 90s hip hop?

Rhome: 95 Live, every Thursday at Steve's Bar Room. And Uncle Q's Living Room of course.

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Arlington, Va.: I need something fun and romantic to do tonight with a girl that I am trying to impress. Has to be after 7 p.m. and in the Arlington or D.C. area.

Thanks!

Julia: If you have a little cash burning through your pocket, maybe you could check out the new Bourbon and Blues night at Bourbon Steak. It starts at 8 p.m. and goes until midnight. The weekly event just kicked off on the 10th and offers live blues, bourbons for $11-$12 and shareable plates that range from $5-$19. Haven't been yet, so I can't tell you what to expect, but, in general, the bar skews toward an older crowd. Classy place, though. You could also grab some drinks at Eventide, EatBar or Yaku, if you want to stay in Arlington. Good luck with the date!

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Redskins Game: I'm going Sunday, we have a nice parking pass. Any tips on getting there? Car? Metro? When to leave?

Julia: I'd drive -- just because tailgating's so much fun. Depends on where you're coming from. If you can avoid the Beltway, I would, but it's really not too bad for weekend games. The lots open 4 hours before kickoff (I'm 99 percent sure of this) and a lot of diehard fans get there at around 9. We'll probably roll in around 10 or 10:30. Make sure to leave at least a half hour (maybe more) to get from the parking lot to your seats. The walk can take a while, particularly if you're in the upper deck.

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U2, Md.: Um, why won't Metro work for the U2 show later this month? I would think it would be over by midnight...Am I missing something?

David: It'll work but depending on where you're going it's a loooooooong ride. The night of the McCartney show trains were running every half hour, although that was a weekend with maintenance. Plus it's a long walk, and after you've been at a concert for three or so hours, you really wanna walk in the dark on a makeshift road back to Metro and then wait for a couple of transfers?

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Germantown, Md.: Anyone been to Bourbon Coffee on L Street yet? I'm interested in checking out and wondering if anyone had been there.

Julia: Haven't been, but our girl Lavanya had good things to say in last week's Weekend section. Look out for a Food section piece on the place soon.

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Re: Oktoberfest: Do you know if Cafe Berlin is doing anything festive for Oktoberfest? I've got a gift certificate for them just begging to be used on beer served by the liter!

Fritz: I'm not too keen on Cafe Berlin, other than for their excellent patio -- my favorite outdoor drinking spot on Capitol Hill. They'll have Oktoberfest beers, so if the weather's nice, like it's supposed to be Friday, I'd meet for drinks in the garden.

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Capitol Hill Brunch: You could also try Belga Cafe.

Julia: Another suggestion -- though I have to say, I can't imagine getting anything but mussels at Belga.

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Re: Sunday Brunch: Tortilla Coast right outside of the Capital South Metro has a good brunch.

Julia: Another suggestion!

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Washington, D.C.: I'm not too familiar with the gay-scene of Dupont, but from what I've seen it seems very male-centric. Do you have any recommendations for a bar, club, or even cafe that caters to the lesbian set? (Preferably within the District) Thanks!

Stephanie: It's not in Dupont, but Phase One in Eastern Market might be what you're looking for. And some of the gay bars in Dupont host weekly or monthly nights geared toward the female persuasion.

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Alexandria, Va.: I am a little confused about the answer given to the guy looking for something "fun and romantic." Grabbing drinks isn't really "romantic" & that was your only suggestion.

Julia: I think I suggested a brand new happy hour with live music *and* drinks. To me, this seems like fun. I suppose I could have suggested something a little more involved -- take her for a walk over the Key Bridge at night, for example.

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Columbia Heights: Best friend's birthday this Saturday -- we're looking for someplace for five people to get drinks and dinner (or hey, different places for each!) that will be delicious and not insane on a Saturday. She hates dancing ... We're at Bar Pilar a lot, but we know that'll be crazy on a Saturday. Anyway, I was thinking Room 11 for drinks, but is there anywhere nearby that would be a good dinner spot?

Julia: RedRocks could work. Or you could check out the just-opened restaurant Social, which might fill both your eating and drinking needs. There's always CommonWealth too. I'm a big fan of their burgers.

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Bourbon Coffee: I've been once and it vaulted to the top of my list for good coffee. Previously Illy had held the spot and in truth they are 1a and 1b. Bourbon gets the nod because they have a better atmosphere. Both Illy and Bourbon are light years ahead of the competition. Since Bourbon is a very small outfit, I hope they can compete and stick around for awhile.

Stephanie: More votes for great coffee spots.

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District Snob, but willing to use passport for Va./Md.: Hey Gurus! Thanks for all your wisdom.

Enjoying Oktoberfest: Gordon Birsh's is commendable, Mozart's was acceptable (thanks, Greg), Becks and Sam are ok. Do you'll have some advice for beer enthusiasts this Oktoberfest?

Cheers!

Fritz: Sounds like my Tuesday, but in reverse. (I got out of the office late and did Mozart before the Gordon Biersch tapping party.) Mozart has a the Spaten Oktoberfest on draft, and since that's one of the six breweries who serve at Oktoberfest, it's near to my heart. Biersch's is good, though I think I've liked it more in previous years.

District Chophouse's tapping is tonight, and I've said on here in past years that Barrett Lauer's festbier was my favorite locally produced Oktoberfest beer. We'll see if that holds up.

For good, local-ish Oktoberfest beers, you're not going to beat the Capitol City Brewing Company's Oktoberfest on Oct. 3, with 30-35 breweries pouring samples. Yes, it's a crowded [event] with long lines, and no, you don't get unlimited tastes any more, just 10 samples. But if you want to try, say, beers from Vintage 50, Starr Hill and Clipper City without driving all over creation, it's a good event.

I feel the same way about the Maryland Brewers' Oktoberfest at the state fairgrounds -- I love having all my choices in front of me.

As far as bars: R.F.D. is hosting a week-long Oktoberfest happy hour with a different beer for $3.50 each day, so that's one way to try them. And I expect Birreria Paradiso -- especially the new Dupont location -- and Rustico to have lots of seasonals on tap.

Long list of Oktoberfest events: Right here.

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Cafe Berlin: Check that gift certificate, some can't be used to purchase alcohol. Though if it can, care if I join you?

Fritz: Yeah, word.

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Dupont Circle: Not that I would ever admit liking Rumors, but if someone theoretically did, what other bars would you recommend where one could get their dance on and not be to embarrassed about it?

Fritz: Draft Pix, Town Tavern, Heaven and Hell, Third Edition and -- if you don't mind a sea of college kids -- McFadden's.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi GOGs! Its my fiance's 30th birthday this weekend and I have totally fell through on planning much of anything. I feel bad and am hoping you can help me out and save the day! We have reservations for dinner on Saturday night at Jaleo downtown but no other plans. Is there anything fun going on Saturday night or maybe a festival or something during the day that sounds like a good time. We like plays, music, but nothing too clubby please. Thanks for the help!

Stephanie: No worries -- there's still time! If you guys haven't spent much time over on H Street, Saturday would be a good time to check it out during the neighborhood festival for good eats and live music. WalkingTown is also this weekend, which means lots of fun interesting walking and bike tours for free, or you could head out to the Virginia Wine Festival for vino + live entertainment.

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Baltimore, Md.: I was thinking about heading to the O's game Saturday but I haven't been in a few years so I have a few questions you might be able to help me with: With the influx of Sox fans, is the game in danger of selling out? (I'll leave the question about Sox fans themselves selling out to another day.) Do I have to buy through ticketmaster, or will tickets still be on sale Saturday? What's the best bet for a few ladies wanting to hang out after the game? Thanks guys!

Fritz: Anytime there are Red Sox fans around, the game could sell out. I would suck it up and buy the tickets now, just to be sure. (The Orioles are lousy again this year, the Sox are not.)

After the game, you're a quick walk from the bars of Federal Hill, where there are plenty of taverns and cool bars to hop around. Start with the Ropewalk and go from there.

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Washington, D.C.: Just learned we are doing a company dinner (only 4 of us) the first Friday in October. Any new, fun restaurants to try? Or any unique restaurant or chef where we can still get a reservation at this point? I'm guessing Minibar is out.

Julia: Wow -- you must have a lovely boss if minibar is even in the running! There are a bunch of restaurants that have chef's tables either in or close to the kitchen. Here's a list. I've heard great things about table 21 at Volt. But since it's in Frederick and you're (presumably) in Washington, maybe some place like Tosca would work?

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Arlington (Clarendon) Virginia: I am tired of the live band scene, and people spilling drinks on me. Is there a place I can go to hear some good music without the younger people of Arlington? I have a group of 10 going out this weekend. I've heard Guarapo, Eleventh Street Lounge, Eventide, Yaku are good places. Which one is best in your opinion or is there a place that I am leaving out?

Rhome: What are you looking for? Guarapo is really lively with latin combos playing on the 1st level on weekends and DJs upstairs. Eleventh Street also has DJs with the energy level brought down a notch. Eventide and Yaku are at the other end of the spectrum with the food taking precedence but both have bar areas that are conducive to mingling.

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Falls Church, Va.: Gurus, I'm looking for a pick-your-own farm that has flowers. I see they are available at Great Country Farms in Loudoun but they charge an $8 admission fee, and I'm wondering if there something a little less expensive in the D.C. metro area. I would consider travelling toward Baltimore for a good deal.

Anne: Yeah, I'd say only go to Great Country if you want agri-tainment for kids or are waiting until the leaves turn for the scenery there. I was about to say that tons of farms should have flowers in Virginia (and not charge admission), but the I started looking into it, and some didn't have a good crop this year, or they are so incredibly far away. Since you said you'd be game for Maryland, give Larriland Farm a call. You could find other ideas at pickyourown.org.

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Palisades: Submitting early so I don't miss it. It's been a long week and a couple of girlfriends and myself are going out for happy hour tomorrow. We've decided to try a different place every Friday to keep it interesting. I'm downtown, they're in Arlington, we're all kinda broke (sadly) and in our early 30s. Any suggestions for something fun and not the same old?

Fritz: I like the way you think. (I fell into a rut where I was hitting the same circle of Friday happy hours.)

So let's see: 30s, cheap happy hour, let's say Arlington to keep it easy. How about $2 beers/$3 sangria at Yaku? Cool vibe, great DJ, definitely more mature and chill than rambunctious. You could try the cut-price drinks and free pizza and snacks at Piola, which is definitely not the same old.

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Dupont: Hi GOGs, My boyfriend is vegan and I am a omnivore/foodie who loves trying new restaurants and eating adventurously. It seems like every time we go out to eat, there is only one option on the menu that he'll eat, which must be so boring for him. I was looking through your Web site and was hoping for a "Best Vegetarian" list but couldn't find one. Any suggestions for moderately-priced or upscale restaurants that are veg-friendly? Other than Vegetate, I'm at a loss. Thanks!

Julia: Worried this is a plant, but I'm taking it anyway. Vermilion *just* launched a four-course vegetarian tasting menu, so that could be an option for your guys. CityZen is another one that offers high-end veg fare, but it's no where near moderately priced. We've been talking about how to do a list that fills this all-too-common need. Restaurants that serve the needs of both vegetarians and non-vegetarians Got suggestions? Send 'em our way.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus!

I am trying to figure out where I want to go for my bachelorette party in a few weeks (on a Saturday), and I am at a loss and could really use your help! I was thinking about starting the night off with some 1/2 priced champagne cocktails at Metropolitan (that goes from 8 to 9 p.m., right?). But after that is where my dilemna is -- I don't want to go to a typical bachelorette party place (e.g., the Adams Morgan Scene, Rumors, etc.), but I am looking for a place that plays the same sort of "Top 40" music as those places. I want to be in a place with a fun vibe where we can all dance to music that we know. I would also prefer to stay in D.C. because I don't want to have to deal with smoke at places in Va. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated! You guys rock!

Fritz: There just aren't enough places around D.C. that play the kind of Top 40 music that you (and the other bachelorettes in the chat question queue) are looking for, other than Rumors, Town Tavern, McFadden's, etc. Most of the lounges spin electronic music (unless it's someone doing mashups), and it's the same way at bigger nightclubs.

Fly does a good job of playing lots of popular music, thanks to DJ Dirty Hands, so I'd say that would be a good option. Tattoo's another. And Public Bar, which had a line down the BLOCK on Saturday night after midnight.

Oh, and the new Midtown Loft -- not the regular-old Midtown -- is another I might recommend.

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PDA? : I don't mind it if it doesn't linger too long. A few short kisses is sweet. My husband and I do that, too. But people who cannot take their hands off each other and make out in front of me, not so much. It feels weird to sit there during such an intimate moment. I'm really thinking more of people who are out in a group. If you're not hanging out with me I don't care if you make out with your SO on the bar stool next to me. I'll ignore you. If I'm supposed to be conversing with you, it's just awkward. I also don't like when I'm out and someone in the group is constantly on their BlackBerry -- another annoying PDA.

Julia: This may be our favorite comment of the day.

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Gramm, AR: Could you please edit your poll slightly? "Alright" just isn't a word, all right?

Stephanie: I know some people are totally anti-alright (including, possibly, the Post's style guide), but check this o, UT.

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Shirlington, Va.: Hoping I can get this in....Similar to the person liking Rumors, I love Mr. Days because it's in Arlington and the music they play is great and my husband can watch football if there's a good game on. However, I'd like to find a place pretty similar but that has a better wine list and maybe a little older? Not a wine snob, but I don't drink beer and although I like liquor, I'd rather have a few good glasses of wine throughout the evening...Hope you have a suggestion!

Fritz: I like both Liberty Tavern and Eventide, which are around the corner, have a slightly older (late 20s/early 30s) crowd, and plenty of flatscreen TVs that go to sports on the weekends.

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Pick Your Own Flowers: Might be too far, but Catoctin Mt. Orchard in Thurmont, Md., has pick your own flowers. They have great fresh-baked pies, too. yum.

Anne: And so great for fruit, too.

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Pick-Your-Own flowers: Butler's Orchard in Germantown has PYO Flowers (as well as PYO fruit, etc.).

Anne: Yes, I was about to say them, too. Butlers is so popular.

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Arlington, Va.: I have to disagree on the Yaku recommendation. I was there recently for brunch with a few friends and the service was awful. We were seated by a surly hostess and then sat there for at least half an hour waiting for a server (we did eventually get water, but nothing else). Finally another diner told us we should leave because their table had been waiting for their order for at least an hour! Probably not the best atmosphere for a date (or anything else, really).

Julia: An interesting take, thanks. My Yaku experiences have been limited to happy hour (the restaurant is 30 steps from our office) and I haven't had quite the same service mishaps you describe, but, obviously, the happy hour bar is lower.

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Vegan question: I promise it was not a plant! I'm a loyal GOG Blog reader. Working on a list of vegetarian/vegan restaurants and will share my experiences after we try out a few! Thanks for the advice, particularly on Vermillion - sounds great!

Julia: Sweet, thanks! Here are some restaurants that we've tagged "vegetarian friendly". We use this tag if they cater to vegetarians or offer a sizable vegetarian section on their menus. These are often lower-end restaurants, but they could help for an average weeknight date night.

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Washington, D.C.: Fritz can you tell me the difference in the two Bourbon locations. As far as each of their respective scenes go and any other notable differences. If there are any of course

Also you have mentioned hip-hop being played at one of them. I presume AM location. What are the DJs like? I'm a huge golden era (87-96) fan and can't tolerate current beats.

Fritz: Bourbon Adams Morgan is much bigger, has a dance floor and a back patio. There are DJs on the weekends. More diverse crowd than Bourbon Glover Park, which is more like a neighborhood pub. I also think the bartenders in Adams Morgan are more knowledgeable about their bourbons, especially the new ones, but that could be because I'm in there more often.

As far as Golden Age Hip-Hop -- we just wrote in the Style section today about the return of Uncle Q's Living Room, which pretty much has your name on it. DJ Dredd, Harry Hotter and Uncle Q spinning lots of classics and some choice new beats. (If you can't tolerate the new Mos Def, I don't think you're really listening.)

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Midtown Loft?: You just mentioned Midtown Loft for a possibility for popular music -- do they have a DJ on Saturday nights? Do people dance there?

Fritz: Yes and yes. It's also waaaaay more laidback than downstairs.

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McConaug, Hey: If "alright" isn't a word, then how do you spell "Alright, Alright," Mr. or Mrs. Smarty Pants?

Stephanie: Valid point...

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D.C. Date: Hi GOGs,

Date and I plan on doing breakfast near the Smithsonian this Sunday before seeing some of the exhibits. Any suggestions for breakfast spots (Metro accessible) for a good bite that isn't too chainy, i.e. something like the Paper Moon in Baltimore would be great!! Thanks.

Julia: Sunday breakfast isn't easy near the Smithsonian. Maybe Teaism could work; the Penn Quarter location opens at 9:30 a.m.

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Washington, D.C.: Butler's Orchard up in Germantown, Md., has pick your own flowers right now (and really good red raspberries).

Julia: Love that place!

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Similar to Mr. Days: Ah, Fritz! you forgot one of the most important things: the music! You can't shake your booty at Liberty Tavern. (Haven't been to Eventide).

Fritz: Fair enough. I find it odd when people are dancing at Mister Days. (There's good music at Eventide, but no dance floor.)

Julia chimed in with Thirsty Bernie's, but I don't think you can dance there, either.

Back to square one, then.

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District Snob, but willing to use passport for Va./Md.: Just stay in D.C. please. Thanks, Virginia.

Julia: I love it when the chat stokes inter-state rivalries.

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Kanye Swift, Va.: Looking for a decent bar in the Chinatown area for Saturday night?

Julia: I'm answering this pretty much only because I love the subject line. For me, Rocket Bar seems to work for pretty much any occasion.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I hope you got my bday question. I have 4 minutes. Sad bday girl with no plans. wants to go out next friday. loves to dance to fun '70, '80s, '90s music. friends don't want a club. Any ideas? Thx.

Fritz: I'm a sucker for birthday girls -- and especially sad ones -- but man, I've been looking at calendars and can't find anything that fits the bill next Friday. If you could go one day either way, you could catch the great cover band Gonzo's Nose playing for free at Clarendon Grill (Thursday) or maybe the Two Sisters DJ night at the Rock and Roll Hotel (Saturday). I'll keep looking, though.

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Adams Morgan Guy: Hey Gurus, thought I'd pass along a great find -- somewhat known -- for a Fall Day trip: Fredericksburg, Va.. Sort of came across it by accident last weekend. What a great small town! A main st with NO franchise stores! Just lots of small interdependently owned specialty shops. The city has a ton of American history both from the Civil war and the Revolutionary war. Just walking around looking at the historic homes was amazing -- beautiful old home from as far back as the late 1700's. The city has a good selesction of resturants of all sorts -- we had lunch at a great little outdoor wine bar. All this about an hours drive South!

Rhome: This question comes up a lot, and there are indeed a bunch of really great short trip excursion options from D.C. Thanks!

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Fly: Confused -- is DJ Dirty Hands at Fly on Fridays or on Saturdays? Thanks!

Fritz: He's there Fridays, and he was there last night. (When you're one of the founders/owners, I think you can play as often as you like.) But you're right -- not there Saturdays. Still good music, though.

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Eastern Market, D.C.: I'm planning on heading out to the Virginia Wine Festival this weekend with my boyfriend and we're both hoping to learn a bit more about wine and get some tastings in at the same time. Any tips?

Julia: Drink lots of water. Don't drive. And if you really don't like a wine, head off to another table and find one you do like. I spent way too much time at Vintage Virginia sipping bad wines.

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washingtonpost.com: Look at the time. We've gotta bounce. Thanks so much for hanging out with us today. Catch you next week!

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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.

Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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