Got Plans?: Desserts in Old Town, Chinatown hotspots, screenings for Oscar shorts and a "Lost" viewing party

The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, January 28, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff talked about restaurants near the Verizon Center, desserts in Old Town, group dinners, Oscar shorts screenings and "Lost" viewing parties on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 1 p.m. ET.

____________________ Welcome to the discussion, everyone. Sounds like we may be squeak by unscathed by another snowpocalypse. Which means you can actually make plans this weekend. Wondering what to do? Our operators -- i.e. all of us Gurus -- are standing by to answer your questions. Let's begin.


Alexandria, Va.: Gurus, please advise on a tricky desert situation. This weekend, we're going to be dining in Old Town Alexandria, and we usually don't like restaurant deserts, so we go to Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream. The problem is, the staff is taking a break, and it's closed until March 1! Do you have any suggestions as to where we can go for a delicious after-dinner treat? Thanks!

Julia Beizer: Gosh, really? March 1. It's so crazy to me that businesses can do that. Just called over to Pop's and they say they're doing some renovations as well.

Seems like the deep-fried Mars Bar at Eamonn's could be a good bet, if you have calories to spare. I also adore the crepes at Fontaine Caffe. You could also get cheese and wine at Grape + Bean.

Did you like how I just totally geeked out on Old Town right there? Whew. My fingers are tired.


Washington, D.C.: Gurus,

I would like to give my boyfriend one of those beer-food pairing meals for Valentine's Day. The one on Feb 22nd at Pizzeria Paradiso would have been perfect, but unfortunately he'll be traveling that week. Do know of any other such dinners coming up in the next month or so? (Any type of cuisine is fine).


Fritz Hahn: I always recommend dinners with the folks from Maine's Allagash brewery, which is one of my favorites on the East Coast. Owner/founder/brewer Rob Tod and the crew will be at Tuskie's (aka Tuscarora Mill) in Leesburg on March 3. $85 for four courses of food and all drinks.


Terra Cotta Warriors: You guys rock -- I have friends coming to see the Terra Cotta Warriors on a Saturday in February. We would like recommendations for a casual lunch place before the exhibit for 6 people -- one a vegetarian. Thanks.

Julia Beizer: Aside from the emphasis on chicken, Nando's could be a fun choice. I'd also throw Pasara Thai into the mix, as it's pretty veggie-friendly. Tom S. has good things to say about Malaysia Kopitiam, but I've never been.


Anonymous: Looking for a good place for live music and/or dancing in Bethesday on Saturday nights.

Fritz Hahn: There's really not much. Ri-Ra has live bands (without a cover charge) from 10 p.m. on, though it's just really a band set up in the corner of the pub. Barking Dog has the biggest dance floor, with DJs spinning hip-hop, Top 40, etc.


Alexandria, Va.: Does anyone know of any public viewing parties for next Tuesday's season premiere of "Lost"? I'd love to watch it with some other fans, especially since it's the last season.

Fritz Hahn: I was at Social in Columbia Heights last night, and they're apparently hosting a luau-themed party with tuna and other Hawaiian-style dishes, rum drinks, etc. The show will be on all TVs -- with surround sound throughout the whole lower level -- and they will be enforcing a strict "no talking outside of commercials" rule once the show starts.


Washington, D.C.: Hello,

I am looking for something fun to do with my friends in D.C. Friday night. The only problem....We are taking a short hiatus from drinking. What is something fun to do in the city that would still be fun sober?


Stephanie Merry: Hey, me too! I've been off the sauce for the month of January, and I've found (to my surprise and delight) that most things that are fun while drinking are also fun while sober. For example, last weekend I caught a show at Palace of Wonders then went dancing at Little Miss Whiskey's. Fun and fun. Of course, if you don't even want the temptation, then you could always catch the Upright Citizens Brigade or check out a screening from the Iranian Film Fest.


Washington, D.C.: Do you know of restaurants in the District that will do orders out? As in, I'm hosting a party in at my house and don't want to cook? Thanks!

Julia Beizer: Depends on the restaurant, obviously, but most will do some sort of takeout and/or catering. Not sure quite what you're in the mood for, but I'd look at a place like Taylor Gourmet or Surfside, if you're doing a Super Bowl Party. Cork Market for cocktail-party vittles.

Holla back with more specifics about your soiree (and how much you'd like to spend) and I can probably give you a more focused recommendation. I know a girlfriend of mine has hosted fetes where she's ordered a ton of Thai food from a local joint. She plates it on fancy flatware and calls it a party.

Rule of thumb advice: just think of a restaurant you like and give it a call. I'm sure most restaurants will work with you on something like this.


Silver Spring: Gurus - My husband's birthday is coming up and he's a gin lover. I've thought about Gin Joint at New Heights and read Fritz's review but I'm not entirely sure what we can get there. Can we eat at the bar or is it drinks only? Will we have trouble finding somewhere to sit on a Friday or Saturday night? I'd love know if they do some sort of a gin tasting event. I'm pregnant so won't be drinking and I'd love for my husband to have someone to talk to about his love of gin. Any other recs beside Gin Joint?

Fritz Hahn: The gin joint is very cool. You can enjoy the restaurant's entire menu from a barstool (space permitting), which I've done a number of times, since it means quicker access to gin.

Other places he should go for gin cocktails (with a good selection of gins) include the Passenger and Againnnnnnnn.


Washington, D.C.: What is the best place in D.C. to hear live R&B & Funk music with a date? Love Jazz but, wanna hear something kinda upbeat for a Friday night. Cool atmosphere, live set, progressive crowd would be what I'm looking for. Hope you can help?

Rhome Anderson: Get thee to JoJo. If you feel like splurging, Roy Ayers is town.


Washington, D.C.: I second the recommendation for Nando's before the Terra Cotta exhibit. A friend and I did that last weekend. In addition to a salad, my friend got an order of hummus that was tasty. We passed on adding the little jar of hot sauce that came with the hummus. It is hard to believe that space used to be a hardware store.

Fritz Hahn: I am addicted to Nando's. I think I'm the only one in the office.


Alexandria, Va.: 'Rus - I need some help with a recommendation for a hair stylist that does wonders with short women's cuts. I want to go short (like a pixie cut) to start off the New Year (yeah I'm a little late). A stylist in D.C. or Va. would be great, and at this point I'm willing to pay for a quality cut!

Stephanie Merry: When I went pixie, I went to Mena at PR and Partners at Tysons. She did a great job, but I don't know for sure if she's still there. My best cut ever was courtesy of Patrick at Salon XYZ, and I'm sure he would do a fantastic job, too. No matter where you go though, I recommend bringing a photo along!


New to D.C.: Saw that there is an event at the Bottom Line tomorrow. What is the vibe going to be like?

Fritz Hahn: I'm not sure what to expect from the Dress to Get Laid party, other than what we wrote in the Nightlife Agenda. (Basically, you're asked to dress up or dress risque -- your choice -- and come party at the Bottom Line.)

Bottom Line owners are the same as Dewey's Starboard (and Dupont's Front Page), so it could get beachy-crazy or it could just be a better-than-average night at the bar. (I think I'm going to check it out, since I missed last year's "inaugural" event.)

Anybody have any insights?


Arlington, Va.: GOG (specifically Julia), Thanks for your help promoting the Haiti Fundraiser. We already are over $1,450 and if the last couple of pledged contributions come in, we will break $1,500 today.

Julia Beizer: Hiya! Not sure which fundraiser this is, but I am thrilled to hear about the success. I've heard back from the organizers of a couple of last week's events and one raised $1,600 and another $1,300. Pretty cool. Barhoppers, just an FYI, here's our list of Haiti fundraising events. Special hat tip (from me) to the Rock and Roll Hotel party and this Friday's happy hour at Local 16. The latter is from 6 to 9 p.m. $20 donation at the door goes to organizations supporting the children of Haiti -- PAZAPA and Haitian Timoun Foundation.


McPherson Square, D.C.: Hello dear Gurus. Where's a great place in the West End/Foggy Bottom to meet for a pre-dinner drink on a Saturday evening? This is for a couple of 40ish couples so looking for a nice bar as opposed to a college pub. Thanks.

Fritz Hahn: I'd say the Circle Bistro inside the Circle Hotel on Washington Circle would be my first choice -- cozy spot with couches and a fireplace, plus good cocktails. Also tends to be a little less crowded than, say, the bar at Bourbon Steak or West End Bistro, which I don't think is great for a party of more than 4.

If you can travel a few blocks north, I like Firefly in the Hotel Madera.


Reston: Where exactly does the Megabus pick you up on H/10th? And how early should I get there for a 11:30 departure?


Stephanie Merry: I think Megabus picks up in that giant parking lot where Bolt and DC2NY pick up, too. You should be fine getting there 20-30 minutes before departure.


Perhaps for Sietsema: What's the take on Russia House (Connecticut Ave.)? Is it restaurant or drinking place? It looks pretty (restaurant-wise) from the outside, but reviews online seem to focus on vodka and beer. Confused. Anyone been there? Could I go there for quiet (yet fun) dinner with the folks?

Fritz Hahn: Honestly, I think of it more as a place for vodka, beer and snacks (pierogi, croquettes, game sausages). The larger dishes are fine (the menu is here, but not mind-blowing. It would definitely be quiet.


Beads: I need to buy some beads in bulk. Turquoise looking beads specifically. I would rather see them in person than order them online.

I've been to the bead store in tysons and dupont. Any others in the NOVA area?

Amy Orndorff: Have you tried the Potomac Bead Company on King Street?


Washington, D.C.: I'm so excited to see Bon Jovi perform at the Grammy's. Are there any bars hosting Grammy parties where I could go and watch among friends?

Fritz: From this week's Nightlife Agenda column: There's a Grammy viewing party at Maddy's on Connecticut Ave. Show up early to fill out a form with your award predictions, and the person with the most correct answers wins a restaurant gift card. They're also doing happy hour all night ($4 beer, cocktails, wine) and will have the Grammys on all the flatscreen TVs over the bar.


Verizon Center: My husband and I are going to our first Caps game tomorrow night -- do you have any recommendations where to eat? Between waiting for the sitter and sitting on Metro for probably an hour to get there, we won't have too much time before the game starts. GO CAPS!

Julia Beizer: I'm not a huge booster for the food at Bar Louie, but it's close to the arena and the staff is well-prepped to get you in and out of there quickly. Last night, my husband and his coworkers managed to suck down a beer before heading into the stadium (for our totally awesome seats).

If you have some time, I'd opt for Matchbox instead, but there's usually a wait. Chatters have recommended getting there as early as 5 p.m.!

In the really-quick department, there's also a California Tortilla, Chipotle, Chop't, etc. within a block.


Foggy Bottom: Hey Gurus - My friends and I are going out on H St. NE this Saturday night. Are there any dance parties or anything going on we should be sure to check out? Thanks!!

Fritz Hahn: The Amanda Blank show at the Rock and Roll Hotel is going to be full of people dancing -- lots of ;80s-influenced electro-hip-hop. That's $15, and there's a free DJ party upstairs with mashups and general dance music.

Don't know who's at Little Miss Whiskey's, but you almost never go wrong with dance music there.

And Sticky Rice's bar is a reliable spot with DJs/VJs/sake bombs and buckets of tater tots.


Washington, D.C.: Gurus

I have a date at HR 57 on Saturday. I know the doors open at 9, but when does the performer (AJ Parham) take the stage roughly? Just wondering, since we plan to eat at Rice, and don't want to rush.


Fritz Hahn: I believe it depends on the performer, but in my experience, it's generally about 9:30 or so before the performers start in earnest. (Of course, HR-57 being HR-57, it's almost impossible to get anyone on the phone on the day of the show to confirm this.)

The later you are, though, the more chance you'll wind up sitting in the back.


Dupont: You may or may not know the answer to this question but i thought it was worth a shot, and maybe some of your readers can help out.

Just got back from Thailand and a friend of mine loved the dish khao soi/kao soi/kow soi (really not clear on the spelling). It's a spicy coconut curry with soft and crunchy noodles that is a native dish in Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand). Anyways, his birthday is coming up, and we'd like to take him to a restaurant that serves it.

Thanks in advance!

Julia Beizer: DC Noodles serves the dish. Kind of a casual place, but fun! Anyone else have some recs to add to the list?

So, so, so jealous of your trip. Chiang Mai is one of my favorite places on Earth. This guy who lives in my building just got back as well and I pretty much accosted him with questions about it in the elevator.


Culture and cocktails: In keeping with New Year's resolutions, a group of us 30-something females is seeking out after-work culture to be followed by discussion over cocktails. Our next foray is to Politics & Prose for author reading/post- culture drink at Comet. We've done E Street indie film and drinks downtown. My guess is spring/summer will offer lots more free/inexpensive options, but what can we plan for next few months? With emphasis on free/weeknight-afterwork/metro-accessible and interesting.

Amy Orndorff: How about catching a free Millennium Stage show at the Kennedy Center and then getting drinks at the Roof Terrace Restaurant?

Stephanie Merry: You can almost certainly find a gallery opening around town on any given Friday night, which could be good fodder for discussion. You can always get ideas from the "gallery pick of the week" that runs in Weekend every Friday. Pay-what-you-can nights for theater are also something to keep an eye out for, and your next opportunities for that would be The Miser and Barack Stars.


Party food from restaurants: Have done this lots. Just remember that from their kitchen to yours, some foods lose flavor. I've had great success in past with my local places for Thai or maki-rolls and Lebanese Taverna has served me well. If your order is large enough, your local place may well provide you with delivery. Otherwise, you have to plan for "pick-up" time that suits your timeline. And yes, always "replate" the food. It looks much nicer on porcelain than styrofoam. Really, though, most establishments are happy to help. (And there is always that TakeOutTaxi enterprise, but I find their delivery timing not always the most accurate. Perhaps others have more experience with them?)

Julia Beizer: LebTav is a GREAT option for people looking to do this. Great rec!


Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus -- please help me out -- Tom did not get to my question. Can you recommend a few fast, inexpensive, vegetarian-friendly restaurants near Studio theater for an early (6 p.m.) dinner tomorrow night? No sushi, but anything else is fine.

Stephanie Merry: I'm not usually a huge Logan Tavern advocate, but I actually just had a really good veggie meal there. There's also Rice, which would be cheaper and quicker.


20008: What is Patty Boom Boom like (e.g., how crowded?)? Is it suitable to take my sister (early 20s) and parents (middle age Midwesterners who'll probably be sporting tapered Levis) there?

Fritz Hahn: Strangely enough, I'm reviewing Patty Boom Boom in the Weekend Section tomorrow. (Early look: right here.)

Your sister will love it if she loves old-school reggae and dancehall music, since that's what the Selassie Sound will be blasting out tomorrow. The one-room dance club upstairs is full of rastas and hipsters and folks in office suits dancing side by side. So full, in fact, that it's hard to move around. The potent rum punchs make everything better.

I'll warn you that the bass can be deafeningly loud -- it socks you in the gut and you feel it in your joints. For that reason, your parents may not dig it. Also, there's not a lot of room to sit down.

Downstairs, there's a deli-sized counter selling Jamaican patties, which are like empanadas stuffed with your choice of meat (seriously, the spiced goat is the best) or spiced veggies. You can get cans of Red Stripe down here, too, and it seems far more parent-friendly.


Washington, D.C.: I'm looking for a place to have at least 20 coworkers meet after work in or around Chinatown. The catch? I am hoping for good deals, and would prefer a place where people can mingle (versus sit in the same chair, talking to the same 5 people). Any suggestions? Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: Rocket Bar is big enough to accommodate your crowd, they have good specials and the presence of shuffleboard will get people out of their seats.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus, Going to the Jimmy Kimmel show next Friday at the Warner Theatre & was wondering what the general attire is, and what your recommendations are for a few drinks and maybe a quick bite before or after (nothing too pricey, we're 'ordinary beer' drinkers, so we don't need an upscale cocktail list or anything - something other than Cap City Brewing Co, as their food made me ill the last time I was there), and hopefully something that won't break the bank. Thanks!

Rhome Anderson: I see a range of dress from smart business to tourist shabby at the Warner. You're out with your man or your lady, it's Friday night, I suggest you look sharp. Nothing formal or even semi-formal, just enough to impress a date. Looking for decent eats that aren't a chain, consider M & S Grill.


Washington, D.C.: I am intrigued by the beer pairings at Pizza Paradiso, I couldn't see any information on their Web site, can you give me the details?

Thank you!

Fritz Hahn: The chatter earlier was talking about Pizzeria Paradiso's dinner with Pennsylvania's Troeg's Brewing Company on Feb. 22. Four courses, six beers, $65 all inclusive, if I remember correctly.


Washington - Group Dinner Ideas: Any go-to suggestions for last minute group dinners that come up and you know you won't be able to get a reservation anywhere? Am thinking La Tasca might be a good option, or Clyde's, but surely there must be others! Thanks.

Julia Beizer: This is a neat question. Yes, La Tasca and Clyde's both strike me that they would be good for this. I think a Thai place like Regent Thai would probably work too. Busboys and Poets and Cactus Cantina also come to mind. A place that doesn't take reservations could work -- since everybody has to wait. Obligatory chat plug: here's our Best Bets for Group Dinners list.

Chatters, hook me up. What do you do in this situation?


Petworth: Hey Gurus - has anyone announced screenings of the Oscar-nominated shorts yet?

Jen Chaney: The live action and animated shorts are scheduled to start showing at E Street on Feb. 19, and the National Archives will screen the shorts -- along with the documentaries, short subject and feature-length -- March 3-7. That info will be posted in the Going Out Guide in the very near future (after the Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday), so keep your eyes peeled.


D.C. Auto Show:Dear GOGs, I am expecting twins, so my husband and 2-year-old are going to the D.C. Auto Show on Sunday to check out cars (hopefully not minivans). Any place to eat around there that is within walking distance to the Convention Center (and not fast food), that is also kid-friendly? (We don't need a kid's menu, but high chairs would be nice). Thanks!!

Anne Kenderdine: Hey, congrats to you! If you are game to walk down toward Chinatown, you'll find tons of options. If you go in the middle of the day, I bet you will find the servers at Zaytinya very accommodating to kids, and they do have high chairs, too. You get to feel treated, and they'll be happy --that awesome bread comes early and fast, so they have something to nibble on. But lots of places there will be kid-friendly: Ella's for pizza or Austin Grill is easy, Poste is snazzy and should be used to kids, or for a very laidback scene, you could walk over to the Busboys at 5th and K. If you do need something fast, my discovery of the week is that Chop't is the dream place to take a toddler. The Chinatown one doesn't have high chairs for kids (rather, they have bar-height tables with high chairs) but there are a few booths. Here's the tip: you can get any of the salad toppings you want in a plastic container with a lid, perfect for porting home. Good luck with the car-hunting.


Virginia: Love the chats Gurus! My new years resolution is to get out of Arlington and into the District more often. I'm thinking of exploring Glover Park this Saturday or Sunday (weather permitting); are there any 'must see/do' things? Day and night ideas would be great, thanks!

Fritz Hahn: I'm sure the nice people of Glover Park will take offense to this, but I don't think there's a heck of a lot to do there during the day. You've got the Cathedral up the hill, Glover-Archibold Park for hiking and wandering around, the cool old gravestones in Oak Hill and Holy Rood cemeteries, the laidback Montrose Park for picnicking.

Then ... There's Old Europe for German food and beer in the rathskeller. Breadsoda, which feels like the coolest rec-room bar around, with pool, shuffleboard, great beers and tasty sandwiches. Surfside has a rooftop deck and killer fish tacos. Town Hall is a comfortable American bar and restaurant with a neighborhood crowd that comes in for beers and to watch sports.

For drinks, try Bourbon (for whiskey and American beers), Kitchen, which also has good Southern food and country music, and Gin and Tonic, which draws and early-20s Georgetown crowd.


Houston, Texas: Coming back into town for a girls weekend -- we wanted to do a fun, more casual dinner on Friday night - likely in the "Chinatown"/Verizon Center area - I thought a Jose Andres restaurant would fit the bill, but a couple of friends don't like to share their food (seriously, this cracks me up to no end). Thoughts - something Jaleo/Zatanyia-ish, but where everyone gets their "own" food!

Fritz Hahn: My vote would be for something like the lounge/bar at PS7's -- a place where those who want entrees can get them, those who want to share can pick up a couple different small plates. And you get some of the best cocktails in your city while you're at it.


Rockville, Md.: Have any of you been to the Puppet Co. at Glen Echo for shows? I have an almost two-year-old and wondered about their shows for someone his age. I know they say for the "under 4" crowd, but I still don't know if he's old enough. Thanks.

Stephanie Merry: What in particular are you worried about? That the content will be too old for him? In that case, I wouldn't worry; the shows are designed specifically for the little ones. If you're more concerned that he'll get antsy or start crying, well -- since the crowd will be full of kids under 4 -- I'm sure he won't be alone.


Foggy Horn Bottom, D.C.: Gurus, I need your assistance please! My girlfriends and I are looking for a SATURDAY brunch that offers bottomless mimosas/bloody marys. Do you know of one in our fair city? We're only finding Sunday offerings. Any help is appreciated! THANKS!

Julia: The Front Page has what you're looking for. I *think* Social does Saturday brunch, but call first to be sure. On Sunday, they offer bottomless bloodys and mimosas for $15, but neither Fritz nor I can remember what the deal is for Saturday and no one's picking up at the restaurant yet.


Re: Haiti: This was the Sign of the Whale one. I forgot to specify that.

Julia Beizer: No worries. Hi, Jon! Great news!


Pre LOC: Any reccomendations for a casual drink and food before the concert at Library of Congress?

Fritz Hahn: The food at Capitol Lounge (223 Pennsylvania SE) has gotten much better since Teddy Folkman started doing the food there a few months ago. Still a menu of sandwiches and pub food, but now much better.


Party food: Desi food (Pakistani/Indian) is great for this and most places in the area have party platters available because they do lots of wedding and special event catering. Try Ravi Kabob, East/West Grill or Mayoor Kabab House (or others). You can get trays of samosas, biryani, sikh kabobs, desserts and all the sides and the prices are reasonable.

Julia Beizer: Another suggestion for the party-thrower!


Washington, D.C.: I need ideas of where to take a girlfriend out for her 35th birthday tonight. She's been very stressed lately so I want to take her to a bar/restaurant that would be fun and lively but low-key with good wine. Preferably near a metro. Thanks!

Julia Beizer: A part of the city would be helpful here. I think Cork can be fun and festive. Proof has great wine, but the vibe can be more subdued than what it sounds like you're looking for.

Fritz Hahn: Veritas would work for lively and full of wine -- Sonoma upstairs, too. Maybe Dino, or the bar area at Two Amy's?


Virginia: Rhome: Great job with the BB&P acoustic session with Res a month or so ago. I'm planning a girls' night out, but have been out of the loop for a few months on the best new Fri-Sat hip-hop/urban nights for the African-American "grown and sexy" crowd, 26-39. Do you have any good suggestions? I already know about the Park, Love, Ozio's and please don't even mention anything in Adams Morgan... Thanks!

Rhome Anderson: Grown folks looking for that type of vibe don't generally party on weekends. The options are scarce. There's bottles and flash but I don't find much maturity in The Park and their ilk on weekends. You could try the W Hotel lobby and there have been weekend one-off's of urban style DJs at Policy and Recess but not regular weekly nights.


Group dinners: Something a hostess at La Tasca told me was that the restaurant only frees up a certain amount of tables for listings, so if you can't find one at, try calling. Barring actually trying to get a reservation -- I like La Tasca if you have a good amount of time, since Tapas can take a little while to prepare, especially on a busy night. Good Stuff Eatery in D.C. is really good for large groups if you are willing to wait for the big table upstairs and everyone is into burgers.

Julia Beizer: Thanks! Yes, it's true; many restaurants save a few tables for phone reservations. If you've got your heart set on a restaurant, call even if OT shows no availability.


Alexandria, Va.: Gurus, I picked Vermilion for a family dinner this weekend and I'm just wondering whether I made the right choice. We're a diverse bunch with classic tastes, but none of us have been there before. Should we try somewhere else instead? We want to stay in Old Town, Alexandria.

Julia Beizer: I like the place -- a lot, actually -- but it's admittedly been a while since I've eaten there. I think it's one of your best options in Old Town for the price point/kind of food.

This probably doesn't help you much, but my inclination would be to keep your reservation.


Old Town Dessert: Peach pound Cake with caramel drizzle and vanilla ice cream at Southside 815 has always been my late night favorite...

Their dessert menu isn't online, but hopefully it's still served.

Julia Beizer: Man, that does sound good.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Gurus, I'm looking for a place for a group of 20-25 over-30 people to go out on a Saturday night. A not-too upscale, fun bar/lounge-type place with great music (no techno) where you can also dance later in the night. Does such a place exist...?...:)

Fritz Hahn: If you're taking out that many people at once, it can be hard, especially when you throw in the lack of upscale and "no techno." The places that could work -- Chief Ike's Mambo Room always comes to mind, though it can skew early-mid 20s, depending on the night. Same with Rumors, though that place *always* has a solid college-age crowd in the house. You might want to check out something like the Black Cat's dance nights, which usually have anything from '80s to vintage hip-hop to Britpop, depending on the DJs.

Clarendon Ballroom and Grille get the mid-20s-mid-30s crowds dancing with DJs (Top 40, 80s, hip-hop) and cover bands, so that might be some of what you're looking for.

For live music, not dance DJs, you could look close to home: McGinty's Public House has bands playing classic rock and covers most Friday-Saturday nights.


Washington, D.C.: A friend suggested Mrs. K's Tollhouse in Silver Spring as the location for my wedding rehearsal dinner. I've never even heard of it. Thoughts?

Julia: Never eaten at Mrs. K's, but I can tell you that the location is gorgeous. (Check the photos!) In the summer, the garden is incredible and I hear they are kind of big on rehearsal dinner business. If you're interested, try out just an average dinner there and see what you think. And please, report back!


Toyland: Heard about this place opening up on H street. I know nothing about it. Would this be a fun place for a work happy hour with about 20-25 people ages 20-35? what is the atmosphere like?

Fritz Hahn: It's waaaaaaay too early to judge: The *soft opening* has been going on for less than a week. The kitchen isn't set up. The decor is beyond sparse right now. I'd give the place -- a replacement for Pap & Petey's at 5th and H NE -- a chance to show its proper face to the world before decided whether or not it's fun.


Bubbles in Arlington: Hi gurus, a group of 10 will be eating at Brasserie Beck downtown Sat night, and I was curious to know if you have any nearby fun after-dinner drinks locations to suggest. Thanks!

Julia Beizer: Againn comes to mind.


Mrs. K's Tollhouse: I love Mrs. K's! Only been there for brunch (several times) but the food is good, the service is great and the garden is beautiful. Without having actually had dinner there, I'd say it is a great option to at least look into for a rehearsal dinner.

Julia Beizer: A vote for Mrs. K's! From the missus herself?


Mom question: Hi Gurus. Submitted this question earlier but wanted to re-submit in case it got lost or whatever happens in cyberspace. Mom and friends coming into town for the weekend. Young and fun 50-somethings who enjoy the same things my friends and I do on the weekends - good company, cocktails, music/dancing. Problem? I'm in my late 20's and can't think of a place to take them that isn't too young (ie loud, no place too sit, too crowded to move) and that they won't feel out of place. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

Fritz Hahn: Places with good music, seats, cocktails, etc., that aren't too loud: Science Club and Passenger are on my list, though it's a matter of timing for both. I've been at Passenget on a Saturday at 11 and gotten seats at the bar within 10 minutes, and been there at the same time on a different night and had them turning people away at the door because they were at capacity.

Breadsoda might work, too -- good drinks, weekend DJs, lively crowd, and plenty of seats if you're there before midnight.

For something different, you have to love the band at the New Vegas Lounge -- classic soul, funk and R&B, plenty of dancing and a bunch of seating (reports Steph from a recent visit).


Vermillion: It is a wonderful place to eat. Don't change your reservation.

I am so sad that this chat has become just food, drinks, clubs. There used to be such diversity in the questions and topics.

Fritz Hahn: Well, if you want to ask anything or spur discussion, feel free -- we can only choose from the questions in front of us.

(FWIW, I agree with you on Vermillion.)


Beads: Better suggestions are Stars Beads in Vienna and Talisman Beads in Rockville (which I believe is wholesaler)

Fritz Hahn: For the beader.

_______________________ That's all we can handle this week. But we'll be back again next Thursday at 1 p.m. -- see you then.


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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