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The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, February 4, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff talked about Valentine's Day, sledding and other snow-day activities on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. ET.

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washingtonpost.com: We've got another snowpocalypse. We've got football. I'm generally not immersed in the latter but under the circumstances, I've got to get my "Who Dat!" on. This is Rhome and the Gurus are ready to get to some Valentine's questions in addition to the main trending topics. Consulted the blog before your came here? Lots of helpful tidbits in there this week.

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Springfield, Va.: Oh no! The Old Town Alexandria Boutique Warehouse Sale is scheduled for Saturday but I don't think I'll be able to drive there if the snow is coming down hard. Do you know if it could be rescheduled?

Stephanie Merry: It could and it is! The sale is now slated for Feb. 13.

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Arlington: Love the chats guys! It may be a bit early (and I'm not even sure any of you would know regardless) but what a good resource to find good adult sports leagues? I'm currently in the Washington Field Hockey Association (which I love) but am looking an adult women's lacrosse league. I don't really care where it's located (Metro accessible or parking is fine), but I really want to get back into it. Also, any pick up soccer leagues that would take on an athletic person that's never really played before but wants to start because it looks like fun? Thanks a bunch!

Fritz Hahn: Well, I'll throw this out there: The local U.S. Lacrosse chapter has links and contact info for a bunch of women's lacrosse leagues.

As for pickup soccer ... I know you can find pickup games in Malcolm X Park on weekends, but I'm sure there are waaaay more out there. Chatters?

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Dupont Circle: Very important question for the upcoming snow day: Where can I buy a sled in D.C.? And where is the best sledding location?

Julia Beizer: Man, sleds are SELLING OUT!!! True Value on 17th says its out of sleds, but should have some tomorrow morning. Logan Hardware is sold out of sleds. My neighborhood hardware store, Pfeiffer's Hardware, is all sold out. None at Target and Home Depot, either, according to the people I spoke to there. Bruce Variety comes to mind, but that's in Md. I am way out of idea on this one. Chatters?

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Washington, D.C.: I have never seen "The Chateau" listed in your places to see in D.C. It is a club on Benning Rd, N.E. They have a DJ and play mostly "oldies" music. It is a great place to dance and is open Friday-Sunday nights.

Fritz Hahn: I know I've written about the Chateau before -- I'm a big fan of hand dancing. The Chateau and the Solar Eclipse (on Bladensburg Rd. NE) are great places to go dance, and watch some of the Smooth-N-EZ hand dancers strut their stuff.

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Bastille in Alexandria, Va.: Bonjour Gurus!

The "snowpocalypse" may spoil weekend plans for some people, so we've decided to have a party for our Alexandria neighbors at our restaurant, Bastille.

We'll offer our full menu but in honor of the storm, our specials will be our favorite comfort foods: cassoulet and pot roast -- French and American, just like us! Give us a ring (703-519-3776) so we know to expect you, and we'll keep the mulled wine warm.

All the best,

Christophe Poteaux and Michelle Garbee

Chef/Owners

Julia Beizer: We hate plugs, as you know. But I'm letting this one through. Cute idea, guys! I was actually thinking that the one place I might make it "out" to this weekend may be the bars across the street from my house.

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Washington Field Hockey Association : Ohh..I didn't even know that existed! How good do you have to be to play? Maybe if you don't know the answer, the other poster might? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: The couple of women I know who've been involved (or talked about getting involved) had played in college or at least in high school. The games I've seen on the Mall looked pretty freakin' competitive. (And I come from a school that has the most dominant Women's Field Hockey team in the country. Shout out to the Lady Terps...)

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Washington, D.C.: Are there any modern art openings?

Stephanie Merry: This weekend, a show of Georgia O'Keeffe's abstract work opens at the Phillips. If you can wait until next week, you can also hit up the Josef Albers exhibition at the Hirshhorn.

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Rockville: Seriously. I need help. My husband and I rarely go out without the little guy. But tonight we're going to the Banff film festival and would like to get something to eat. I'll be coming from Union Station, so either near National Geographic or Union Station would work. Do you have any suggestions for cheap eats near either of these places? Thanks!

Julia Beizer: I'd opt for something near National Geographic. My top picks in the area would be Nando's, Luigi's and Nooshi. Hope that helps!

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Washington, D.C. : This is an easy one, but I'm drawing a blank. I'm trying to put together a casual happy hour for next week. I am looking for decent specials, somewhere in/near Chinatown. But here's the catch: I would like people to be able to mingle, versus sit at a table where you can only talk to the people next to you. Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

Fritz Hahn: I'd suggest Rocket Bar or the new Iron Horse Tap Room. Actually, no. Forget that. I'd say Iron Horse. The two-level bar doesn't have pool tables, so there's more room to walk around, talk to people, check out the gorgeous vintage Honda motorcycles on display, or play on the side-by-side Skee-Ball machines. It holds a few hundred people, too, if that's an issue.

Oh, and the specials: $2 off all beers between 4 and 8, so you're looking at $3-$5 with the discount.

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Sleds: I bought mine at Sports Authority many many years ago (after the '99 storm). Hopefully I'll finally get a chance to use them.

Julia Beizer: Hope so. Sled-seeker, if you can get to a Sports Authority (soon!), that may be an option!

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Washington, D.C.: Happy Almost Snow Day Gurus! I have 2 completely unrelated questions. First, I attended my first GOG Happy Hour this week however was disappointed that none of you had flashing lights above your heads that pointed out who you are! Do you wear name tags or just prefer to blend in??

Second, I have the honor of planning my friends bachelorette party this spring. We want to do a winery tour and hit up a couple vineyards. What are some recommended resources that I can use to set up a tour like this? We'd prefer our own (there will be like 10 of us) or participate in a small one that is already set up.

Thanks again. Wear your longjohns!!

Rhome Anderson: We've started wearing t-shirts to make the ID'ing process easier. In the past, I've felt like some kind of weirdo just rolling up on people to start a convo like "Hey! I'm a Going Out Guru!" Since Fritz and David are such style mavens, they've chafed at the Guru Uniform Initiative sometimes. Do you all have any ideas other than us putting mugshots on our blog posts?

As for your trip, have you checked out Budget Travel or The Flight Crew? Are you trying to make it a short distance trip from the D.C. area? There's got to be some chatters with winery suggestions today.

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Cleveland Park: So I am new to Cleveland Park and was wondering if the bars and restaurants will stay open during the storm. I am debating buying a case of beer for the weekend, but if the bars are open, I would rather go to them.

David Malitz: Look, when in doubt ALWAYS buy the case of beer. I see three scenarios: 1) No bar, but case of beer, 2) Open bars, also case of beer, 3) No bar, no case of beer. You simply don't want that last scenario, especially when it can easily be avoided. Here's a partial list of what's open/what's closed from the big December storm, so that might give you an idea of what to expect. If a bar can open -- as in the staff can get there, etc. -- expect it to open. It's an obvious destination for people who can walk somewhere and want to get out of the house.

Fritz Hahn: Back during the big storm of 2003, Aroma and Nanny O'Brien's were open. I walked up there from Woodley Park, and there were plenty of people relieving their cabin fever with cocktails. Such a great convivial atmosphere.

But yeah, I'd call Santos at Cleveland Park Liquors now and have him deliver a case of beer or two, just in case.

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Washington, D.C.: How does the Source Lounge sound for a good Friday get-out-of-work early for snow happy hour?

Julia Beizer: Um, fantastic. Have you heard about the new Lounge menu? I'm probably not the first Guru to say so this chat, but please, exercise caution folks as you're out and about. Don'r drive if you don't have to. Certainly don't drink and drive. And, just in terms of logistics, call before you leave the house. You don't want to trek all the way over to some bar only to find out it isn't open.

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Washington, D.C.: I volunteer for a local charity and am looking to host a fundraiser at a local bar or restaurant. I'm looking for a place that gives a certain percentage of their proceeds for the night to the charity. Apparently there are local establishments that do this--do you know of any?

Fritz Hahn: The Passenger does this every Monday night. (This week, which we hosted, was for Share Our Strength. Next Monday, it's FreshFarm Markets.)

Maddy's will do this too -- I think you get 5 percent of the take and all the tips on Tuesdays.

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Washington Field Hockey Association: There are a few levels of play. I personally play in the 'Associate Level' in the fall (which is broken into team 1 and team 2), which is a higher level of competition (I played d-3 in college and just gratduated and played on team 2) including some D-1 players. There is also the 'Club Level' which is people who are new to the sport or have been out of it for a few years. I have a lot of fun with the group and have played in the Summer and Fall leagues (I couldn't afford to play Winter Indoor, but most likely will next year). And yes, there are pick up games every Monday on the Mall in the summer starting at 6 p.m.. It's competitive but a whole range of player levels show up, so it's still fun (plus how competitive can you REALLY be playing on a crappy surface like that?). You should join!

Fritz Hahn: I love hearing from readers like this. Thanks.

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Washington, D.C.: So how gay friendly will the Madonna v. Prince v. Jackson dance party at 9:30 club on friday be?

Fritz Hahn: About as gay-friendly as *ALL* the Prince Dance Parties -- i.e., very.

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Arlington, Va.: Sports Leagues - go to sportsvite.com. There are leagues for just about everything, and if not you can form your own. You can ask to join a team that is looking for players, or you can just post your profile and make yourself available to teams that are looking for "free agents". Our softball team even started using it to organize Euchre nights at one point.

Fritz Hahn: Man, the threat of a snowy weekend has everyone thinking about getting out and getting active. I like it.

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Snowpocalypse: This isn't a going out question per se, but could you please remind your chatters that when they finally do go out after the storm, to please please please clear all of the snow off of the hood, roof, and trunk of your car. Besides being illegal, driving around with snow atop your car is extremely dangerous to the cars behind you. Tired of being blinded on my morning commute by thoughtless/lazy people. (Oh, and I don't want to hear my car is too tall. You bought it. You are responsible. Use a broom if you have to.)

Julia Beizer: Duly noted.

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Sleds: Your nearest McDonald's should have plenty of them.

Julia Beizer: We wouldn't EVER condone such a thing.

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Washington: So, Fritz, where are you watching the game on Sunday? Looking for a new place beyond the usual Lucky Bar, Summers, etc.

Thanks.

Fritz Hahn: Well, I'm assuming you're referring to Arsenal-Chelski, not the Super Bowl, based on Lucky and Summers.

I still like Fado, which gets a good complement of both Arsenal and Chelski supporters. There's the Irish Channel around the corner, which also shows matches (and is staffed by Liverpool supporters).

Public Bar opens early to show English league matches, and they have happy hours all day ($2 PBR, $3 Miller Lite, etc) thanks to the Super Bowl. Oh, and CommonWealth, which has British beer to get you into the proper mood.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I am a displaced Cajun looking for a place to watch the Saints win the Super Bowl. Where are all the crazy Louisiana fans going to be? I'm not looking for any old D.C. sports bar -- I want to bring my second line umbrella to a place where people will get it, and laizzez-les bon temps roulet when the Saints go marchin' in.

Fritz Hahn: The 18th Amendment on Capitol Hill caters to both the local LSU alumni group and Saints fans, and they have all kinds of specials (Abita beer, crawfish, King Cake) planned for Sunday.

Same with the Cajun restaurant Acadiana, where chef Jeff Tunks is cooking up a huge feast with Louisiana oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, Louisiana crawfish etouffee, Cajun wings and beignets -- $29 all you can eat.

There's another group of Saints fans that meets at Town Hall in Glover Park, and for the day, the kitchen is putting out muffalettas and jambalaya, plus $2 beers.

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Arlington, Va.: What's the usual SOP for the Verizon Center? I'd like to have some idea of what might shut down GU/Villanova on Saturday at noon.

Thanks!

Alex Baldinger: Good question, Arlington. I know Caps fans are wondering about the team's games on Friday and Sunday too. Lindsay Applebaum at Capitals Insider posted this earlier today looking at some of the issues that might force Verizon Center to close. Two issues she points out that apply to G'town/'Nova as well: Can the teams, league officials and arena workers get there? And can Verizon Center get enough gameday employees (ushers, ticket-takers, etc.) to operate. With the Hoyas set to tip-off at noon on Saturday, perhaps near the back-end of the predicted snowfall, I'd say you'll have to wait and see.

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SNOW: Hi Gurus,

That comment about clearing all the snow from cars is funny (well, if it weren't actually true) -- do people really drive with snow piled on their cars because they are too lazy to clean it off? Man, that brings laziness to new heights.

As a sidenote, but still a public service reminder -- please people clear the sidewalks in front of your home/apartment building/place of business. It's important, even if the snow falls on a weekend. It doesn't matter who you think is responsible for doing this; it's everybody's responsibility. Oh yeah. It's also illegal NOT to.

Thanks.

Julia Beizer: We've hit all the snow PSAs, right? For the record, I have been one of those lazy people in the past with regard to my car. I know the error of my ways and pledge not to do it again -- it is really dangerous!

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.D.C/Baltimore Drag Show: My wants to go to a drag show for her bachelorette party. Do you guys know of a good one in D.C. or Baltimore on Saturday nights? Preferably one that includes a mixed crowd? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Town Danceboutique's is a scream -- and they're doing the next Crack variety show on the 27th, which I'd strongly encourage everyone to see.

As at most drag shows, the audience is predominantly gay, but Town gets a fair number of women, too.

I'd also suggest the Saturday night Follies at Freddie's Beach Bar in Crystal City.

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Winery Tours: Reston Limousine usually runs trips from W. Falls Church metro every Sat/Sunday in the summer; you can probably arrange a personal one with them for your group only. I would check with the wineries ahead of time, because i got the impression when I went with a group using Reston Limo that some of the wineries were none too happy to have a group show up.

Stephanie Merry: Good point. It's always a good idea to call the wineries ahead of time if you're bringing a large group.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi. I'm having dinner/drinks (first date) in Dupont Circle tomorrow night. I'd prefer the north side of the Circle. It wouldn't usually be my first choice location-wise, but the weather forecast is a constraint. Do you have any moderately priced suggestions? Maybe Bistro du Coin? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Honestly, I wouldn't do Bistrot du Coin for a first date, especially on a Friday night -- and I say this as someone who loves the joint and has gone there on dates myself. It's really loud, it's crowded, it's kind of a zoo around the bar. You get great people watching, but conversation is a chore.

Instead, I'd suggest Maddy's, the cool little bar/restaurant where Timberlake's used to be. Laid-back but really nice, pleasant staff, solid American food. (Julia's reviewing it in Weekend tomorrow, as a matter of fact.)

Option #2: I like the pizza and Italian wine at Sette. Good date spot.

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Non-Super Bowl places?: Any places advertising that they are NOT playing the super bowl on their TV screens? Trying to figure out my options on Sunday night. thanks.

Fritz Hahn: Ladies and gentlemen ... my list of my favorite bars without televisions.

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8th Street, Capitol Hill: I'm going to meet some friends for dinner tonight on Barracks Row. Any suggestions for restaurants? We always end up at Matchbox or Cava (which I do love) but I'd like to try something new. I feel like new places are always opening there, but would you recommend anything?

Julia Beizer: How many friends? Because I love 7th Hill Pizza, but space is kind of tight. Don't sleep on the food at Lola's. I really dig it there.

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Adams Morgan, D.C.: I've recently moved into the .D.C metro area and I'm really excited about the snow predictions for this weekend (Originally from Louisiana so I haven't had much interaction with snow before). Are there any places in the NW area you could recommend to go sledding?

Julia Beizer: Deal Hill, baby! Always served me well in high school -- and accessible from the Tenleytown Metro.

Rhome Anderson: There are good spots in Rock Creek Park. And isn't there a good spot on Reservoir Road, near the French embassy between Georgetown and The Palisades? My memory's fuzzy.

Julia Beizer: This just in. One of our editors says the H.B. Woodlawn school has a "legendary" hill. Another one of our colleagues actually got a press release from Fairfax County (I believe) saying this:

Fairfax County Parks Offer Best Local Sledding Hills

- Lake Fairfax Park located at Lake Fairfax Drive in Reston, just off Route 606. Sledding on the hill behind the picnic area restrooms.

- Mason District Park located at 6621 Columbia Pike, Annandale, approximately two miles east of the Little River Turnpike. Sledding on the hill at the end of Meadow Trail.

- Jefferson Manor Park located at 2909 Farmington Drive at the intersection of Telegraph and Franconia Roads in Alexandria. Sledding on the hill from the shelter building toward Telegraph Road.

- Cardinal Forest Park located at 6121 Roxbury Avenue in Springfield.

Sledding along the sewer easement between Carleigh Parkway and Roxbury Avenue.

- Greenway Heights Park located at 8203 Riding Ridge Place in Great Falls, just south of Rt. 193. Sledding through the stream valley property.

- Westgate Park at 7550 Magarity Road in McLean, approximately one mile east of Tysons Corner. Sledding behind the second ball field.

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Maybe not appropriate forum: I don't usually do this, but . . . . Just wanted to suggest to going-out guys that if you pass a homeless person in your travels, you might want to share a couple bucks and let that person know a storm is coming tomorrow. They need to find shelter and a few dollars in their pocket for hot coffee, whatever, would be a good thing.

Julia Beizer: Alright, third PSA. But a thoughtful one.

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Washington, D.C.: I've got a first semi-blind date with someone on Tuesday for Happy Hour. Any recommendations around Metro Center (or elsewhere) to make it memorable? Don't want to go all out for an introduction but would like something nicer then a dive...but still want to be able to hear.

Fritz Hahn: Ceiba is kind of a go-to for things like this for me -- great cocktails in the lounge ($5 at happy hour), fun food to share, never too loud. On a Tuesday night, you might also have a good time at the bars at the Passenger, PS 7's, maybe tasting Italian wines at Dino?

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Villan: Up the Villa!

As for pick up soccer games. There are plenty out there once the warmer months roll in. One caveat, D.C. has arguably one of the best post-collegiate soccer cultures in the US. There are very serious leagues that are set up just like the european leagues with relegation and promotion, there are a bunch of coed leagues including indoor and outdoor. There is a huge women's soccer scene here in town. The only problem that someone might run into though, is that even in the "fun" leagues there are one or two yahoos who have forgotten that they are no longer playing for their country (I've had to mark a former national team member. He was cool though) and take the game WAY too seriously. As in, causing injury, too seriously. So, my suggestion is to ask around. There's a one degree of separation from soccer in this town so you'll find out about teams and groups and be able to quickly decide if you've inadvertantly got sucked into someone's adolescent fantasy of athletic glory.

Fritz Hahn: Here's some advice from an Aston Villa supporter. (I've never met one of those in D.C., for some reason.)

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Champagne Brunch in D.C.? Bueller?: Are there ANY places to do a champagne brunch in D.C./Arlington? I'm looking for a under $20 all you can drink mimosas/bellinis, whatev. type deal. Does this exist??

Fritz Hahn: Throwing it out there: Social in Columbia Heights has $15 all-you-can-drink mimosas and bloody marys on Sundays at brunch. The Front Page -- which I've done for birthdays and had fun -- offers unlimited champagne drinks for an extra $3 when you buy the Saturday or Sunday brunch buffet.

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Sled: Dupont Circle: Sports Authority just answered the phone "Sports Authority, we're out of sleds, how can we help you?" So much for that!

Rhome Anderson: Dang.

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Snow is great: Where in D.C. (or burbs of Va.) can I rent cross country skis? Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: As much as I love the Ski Center in Northwest, I'm pretty sure they don't rent cross country skis. You may want to give Ski Chalet in Arlington a try.

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Washington, D.C.: Wait, what, Timberlake's is gone? I have been out of town too long! And clearly need to read you all more often (which normally is the highlight of my week). Thanks for all your work!

Fritz Hahn: Yeah, Timberlake's closed last summer. Maddy's is not the same. (No Iranian bartenders doing James Bond impressions.) But I like the place -- especially b/c it serves food until 1 a.m. during the week.

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Deal Hill: Deal Hill IS fun for sledding and a nice mix of the young and young-at-heart. Not to mention dogs galumphing through the snow. Since it's pretty much right at Tenley Metro, you can also find places to grab a coffee or cheap eats. See you there!

Rhome Anderson: Is there anything better than galumphing dogs? I think not.

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Washington, D.C.: Re: Charity - the Greene Turtle will do this for groups too.

Fritz Hahn: Cool, thanks.

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Free Sleds: Free sleds are easy to come by these days, just pound some kid at the bottom of the hill and take his.

the gooch

Fritz Hahn: Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Gooch?

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New to D.C.: GOG I need your help badly, I am going to the DC Improv to see Aisha Tyler. I need a laidback place to grab a quick bite and a drink before and a chill bar for drinks afterwards.

Thanks, From Philly to D.C.

Julia Beizer: Welcome to town. First thing you need to know: the Improv has a two-drink minimum. Just FYI. As far as food goes: Nando's, Luigi's and Nooshi (mentioned above) could work for a bite to eat. My colleague Tom Sietsema like Malaysia Kopitiam as well. DC Bread and Brew is pretty much the definition of chill, so it could work for before *or* after. There are a bunch of relatively chill bars nearby I'd go for Porter's (divey/sports) or Science Club (not).

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Leesburg, Va.: Considering the 17 feet of snow we will be getting tomorrow, I'd prefer to chat with the "Staying In Gurus."

I recently dropped a pretty penny on some Caps tickets that I won't be able to use tomorrow, and I'm not very happy about it.

Rhome Anderson: Re: staying in, if you don't have a Wii, you're losing!

Really though, my life is insanely hectic. Snowpocalypses are good times for me to get re-acquainted with the joy of actually reading books.

And aren't Caps tickets hot commodities? You can't resale them quickly?

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Arlington, Va.: Is there any place that will make a big deal out of the opening ceremony for the Olympics? I hope.

Fritz Hahn: You know, I honestly haven't heard much chatter about this, and I've spent the week talking to three dozen bars about their Super Bowl plans.

There's this weird car crash of events within a week of each other: Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, the Olympics, Chinese New Year ... I think people are taking it one event at a time.

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Ellicott City: My Saints are in the Super Bowl...I'm just saying...WHO DAT??

Julia Beizer: I love you guys. Not Saints fans. Just the chatters in general. Also, this.

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Capitol Hill: I just moved to D.C. I'm a single professional man in my late thirties. What's the best place to meet single professional women in my age group? Where do they hang out?

Fritz Hahn: Ladies? Looking for a single professional man in his 30s? Here's your chance to tell him where you hang out -- and on the eve of Valentine's Day, no less!

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Washington, D.C. : Hi GoGs!

I'm organizing a good friend's 24th birthday night out this weekend. I've gotten a table at Co Co Sala, but our reservation (for 10) only lasts two hours. Do you have any recommendations for bars or lounges nearby where a group decked to the nines can go?

Julia Beizer: Assuming the weather doesn't scuttle your plans, I think there are plenty of places you could go. The lounges at Proof, PS 7's and the Source come to mind. (But remember to call first re. snow closings). Happy birthday to your friend.

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Washington, D.C.: For this weekend, you might want to do a "Staying In Guide," as I imagine the snow is going to really inhibit the ability to go out.

Fritz Hahn: Totally not true! During last week's snow storm, the bars in Adams Morgan (for example) were packed all afternoon, and apparently the crowds were huge at night, too. I guess it all depends how easy it is for you to get to a Metro station or walk from one.

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Adams Morgan: Its true. The bars are open and its a fantastic excuse to be in them at a usually inappropriate time of day with your neighbors (rather than the usually weekend crowd from over the river)

Fritz Hahn: Agreed. I ran into so many familiar faces last Saturday afternoon, including a lot of people I wouldn't expect to see in Adams Morgan on a Saturday night.

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Vegetarian Valentine: Hey Gurus! I really want to take my wife out for a nice Valentine's Day dinner but unfortunately most upscale restaurants don't have vegetarian options. I do not want to take her to a place that's known for seafood/steak and order the one meatless item on the menu! Help!! We just got married and its our first V- Day together so I want to make it special. Do you have any suggestions?

Julia Beizer: Wait! I do!! The aforementioned Bastille had a pretty veg-friendly option as part of their V-Day package: Winter root vegetable tagine, orange-fennel coulis, garbanzo "panisses." Seems like it might fit the bill right? Here's the full menu. Perhaps Rasika or Nora could work too?

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Bowie, Md.: I'm going to see a Wizards game for the first time. Can you recommend a place near Verizon that is good and cheap? One of our group is a picky eater so no Thai or sushi, please. Thanks - love the chats!

Fritz Hahn: Nando's! Best spicy chicken sandwiches around. Also very affordable, since it's casual. (And they have beer and wine, which is a plus.)

Matchbox is good for pizza, and Clyde's is the American place that will make everyone from grandparents to kids happy if you have a big group.

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Washington, D.C.: Dear GOGs,

I need some ideas because my brain is freezing, even before the storm. I've been in DC for years, so maybe that's why I can't come up with any ideas. I'm looking for a more cozy romantic than pulling-out-all-the-stops romantic place for dinner with a good variety of traditional drinks available (beer, wine, old-fashioned cocktails, as opposed to ones with fruity or trendy names). I would prefer a place that is low-key and moderately priced instead of form and super expensive. Any ideas? Is there a place where I can go to do this in DC, metro accessible a must.

Thanks so much for your help with this.

P.S. with the long winter's embrace, a warm fireplace would be a bonus.

Fritz Hahn: The Tabard Inn. Maybe not super-moderately priced (entrees in the mid-$20s), but there's nothing I like more on a cold winter night -- or find more romantic, really -- than getting small plates and amazing cocktails in the hotel lounge in front of its roaring wood fire.

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Sledding: My son and his friends used to sled the stairs at the Mason Temple in Alexandria. They even built a jump there during the big storm in 2003. He was the lawyer reading the disclaimer at the top.

Julia Beizer: But did you see this?

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Sigtnature Cocktails: I'm hosting a celebratory night out for a friend who reads this chat regularly so I'm going to have to be vague on the details to avoid getting spotted by him. Are there any bars or restaurants in DC that might work with me ahead of time to arrange a custom cocktail in our friend's name? The bartenders at Equinox are very friendly, but I'm looking for somewhere a bit livelier. Any suggestions? Maybe PS 7's or Gibson? Thanks so much in advance.

Fritz Hahn: I'd definitely check with both of those. Maybe the Tabard Inn, too, or Room 11.

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Winery Tours: Grab one of the VA winery maps available at any touristy area around here and make a plan. Also check out the website virginiawine.org. They'll have wine tours (like the south or north tour near charlottesville) that are really fun.

Rhome Anderson: A tip as the clock winds down.

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Artsy fartsy: What is the "normal" suggested donation for Phillips After 5?

you kids are great! love the chats!

Stephanie Merry: I addressed this last week, but it's basically whatever you feel comfortable with (and, if you want a frame of reference, the usual price is $12 because that's the cost for special exhibits). There's also a cash bar, so if you feel like imbibing, don't drop all your dollars up front.

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Fairfax, Va.: Are there any REALLY good hot chocolate places you can recommend? Distance is not an issue. Even better if the location is close to a museum or theatre. Advance thanks!

Julia Beizer: Okay, love the ACKC options. I think Oyamel's hot chocolate is good too (close-ish to the Mall).

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washingtonpost.com: That's a wrap for this week. Please don't go to the grocery store and trample anyone. We all need less milk and toilet paper than hysteria would lead you to believe.

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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.

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