Got Plans?: Dating secrets, Columbia Heights bars and good DJ nights

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The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, February 18, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discussed dating secrets, Columbia Heights bars, exhibits on Sumer and good DJ nights on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 1 p.m. ET.

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washingtonpost.com: Chinese New Year, happy hours to banish snow thoughts from your mind, shows to make you laugh this weekend ... what are you in the mood for today? We'll talk happy hour, cool events for entertaining your visitors and more, so hit us with your wackiest -- notice I didn't say ickiest -- questions. Let's go.

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Takoma Park, Md.: Hi Going Out Gurus, can you recommend some good theater/plays/performances for this weekend?

Stephanie Merry: Anne already threw out a couple of very promising comedies in the intro. Other than that, I'd recommend The Four of Us, which I can't recommend highly enough, the Folger's update of Orestes or Antony and Cleopatra for a fresh take on Shakespeare.

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It's My Birthday: Hi Gurus! I'm looking for a place to celebrate my birthday... I was hoping to find somewhere that's laid back to start, so people can drop in for drinks and just hang out for a while. 18th St. Lounge is out because I don't want to ask everyone to pay a cover and I've done ChiCha before... any other ideas?

Fritz Hahn: Happy birthday. You don't say what night you're aiming for -- and that's actually kind of important -- but if you're trying to approximate the ESL/Chi-Cha vibe without cover or other nonsense, I'd say Gazuza, Science Club, Little Miss Whiskey's, perhaps the bar at Mie N Yu or the lobby lounge at the W. (Trying to get everyone up to the roof would be a pain, but there is something to be said for the ornate lobby, with its DJs and cocktail bar.)

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New in town: I'm a single man in my late 30s who is moving to Washington. I was wondering where single women my age tend to hang out on a Saturday night.

Fritz Hahn: Okay, so it's after Valentine's Day, and I'm throwing this question out there. In general practice, my rule for "where are their late 20s-late 30s women hanging out" is anywhere that doesn't do drink specials on a Saturday night -- this means Masa 14 over Millie and Al's, the Gibson over the Reef, Eighteenth Street Lounge over Public Bar, Science Club over Rumors.

But then again, this isn't a hard-and-fast rule -- I know plenty of women in their 30s who go Little Miss Whiskey's, Bourbon, etc. on Saturday nights.

So I'm asking chatters, especially chatters in their 30s, where they would go to meet similar-aged people on a Saturday night. Your help is appreciated.

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You might see me in the 2014 Olympics!: So I'm nerdily excited about the Curling Expo at the Hilton Garden Inn tomorrow and figure I'd try my hand at it to see what the fuss is about. Do you know if I have to have my own equipment or will they have some there for 1st (and probably last) timers to use? Maybe I could grab my house broom as a last resort...

Fritz Hahn: I too am strangely excited about this weekend's USA Curling Expo, which runs all weekend and not just tomorrow. You can get lessons, try your hand at curling on four sheets of ice, watch Olympic curling matches, etc.

I was told there will be curling equipment there to use.

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Arlington, Va.: My parents are in town this weekend...any idea for a Sunday brunch near the White House?

Julia Beizer: Had brunch at Potenza last weekend. It was just okay: really interesting combinations, I just didn't end up loving anything we ordered. I'd probably steer you toward an old standby like Old Ebbitt Grill, instead. Cafe du Parc or Kellari Taverna could also work.

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McLean, Va.: Hi Gurus! My Mom's birthday is Sunday and I'm struggling for a plan. She loves Irish music and the town of Alexandria. Is there anywhere (including outside of Alex) that has live Irish music on the weekends? Is there anything fun going on in Alexandria this weekend? I was thinking of taking her to Againn but I'd like some additional ideas/options. Please help!

Fritz Hahn: Murphy's is PACKED on weekends with people singing along to "The Wild Rover" and "The Unicorn Song" and other pub favorites. (Pat Garvey, who's playing Fri-Sat, is quite good.) Same with Pat Troy's down the street.

Outside of Alexandria, you're close enough to Great Falls to visit one of my favorite Irish pubs, the Old Brogue, which has great music and (I think) one of the best pub menus around.

Actually, it would also be easy enough for you to get to the Irish Inn at Glen Echo, which is one of the nicest Irish pub/restaurant combos around. Good food, and great traditional Irish music (especially on Monday nights, so maybe and after-birthday treat?)

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Silver Spring, Md.: What is the Greek restaurant in Bethesda that has been mentioned here before that has a party room? Planning ahead for my 40th. Thanks.

Julia Beizer: Happy Birthday! I believe you are thinking of Levante's, but that is closed. Lebanese Taverna is obviously not Greek, but perhaps that could work. Beautiful space.

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Arlington, Va.: Totally random question, but are there any museums or exhibits in the area that deal with the ancient Sumerian civilization? Out of town visitor this weekend is mildly obsessed and would love to see anything having to with them while he's in town. Thanks

Stephanie Merry: Threw this one out to the group over here because it's a little...specific. There aren't any special exhibitions at the moment, but I'm guessing the Sackler and Natural History will have a *few* things. My cube neighbor Michael O'Sullivan had a terrific suggestion, which is the Walters, though that would require a trip to Baltimore.

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Dupont: I promised my bf a late Valentine's date of a fun night of comedy. The only problem is that the D.C. Improv doesn't have any upcoming comics that pop out at me. Is there anywhere else I could bring him? I don't know of any other comedy clubs in the area. Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: These were mentioned in the intro, but here's the link again for a couple of funny shows that should fit the bill.

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Arlington, Va.: What's the deal with having Jimmy Buffett concert tickets for Labor Day weekend available early only at the Nissan Pavilion box office? That means thousands of people will be showing up at the box office on Friday morning to get tickets? That is crazy! Have they really thought this through?

David Malitz: I don't believe that tickets go on sale ONLY at the Nissan P -- er, Jiffy Lube Live box office. What they are doing at the box office is a random line lottery which will (most likely) give those people a better chance to get tickets as opposed to trying their luck online or on the phone at 10 a.m. on Friday. Because tickets WILL sell out very quickly. You can find all the details of the lottery on the right side of this page. It's complicated, like Denise Richards. But man, there are going to be a lot of Parrotheads chillin' in Bristow at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, should be quite a scene.

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Washington, D.C.: I'm looking for a fun place for birthday happy hour drinks on a Friday. Cheap, fun, room for a group and strangers by a bar (prefer not sitting at a table), cheapish, and in D.C.-- Metro accessible, preference to U Street area :) I do NOT want to be surrounded by sloppy college kids, and don't want to be smothered by crowds or drown in extremely loud music. My ideas so far are Patty Boom Boom (I love themes!), Russia Lounge, and the Raven Grill. Please guide me oh wise gurus.

Fritz Hahn: Well, as much as I love Patty Boom Boom, the music is loud. Feel-the-bass-in-you-gut loud. It's fun, though, especially when you're sipping on a Red Stripe or rum punch. So consider that with a caveat.

I actually prefer Local 16 at happy hour -- you don't get the kind of crazy lines and crowds at 7 p.m. that you find a few hours later, though I wouldn't do it with *too* big of a crowd, since the bar area can be tight.

I'd say the Passenger could be good, because it's not crazy at happy hour -- more of a late-night cocktail spot, and you don't have to sit down. (Unlike, say, at the Saloon.)

And in terms of lower-key spots, yes, the Raven, but I'd also consider Duffy's Irish Pub and Solly's Tavern -- both have plenty of room to stand around and some solid happy hour specials.

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Craving Brits badly: Hi here.

I've been keeping my eye on Againn but I haven't seen anything with the prices listed for food or drink. I hate going to places and finding out that it's really expensive AFTER I've gotten my foot-in-the-door. Anyway, can you let me know how the prices are for food and drink--and if it would be worth the effort? Is it super popular because it's pretty new-ish. I'd love to go before I jump out of my skin and until my next trip across the pond.

Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: I like Againnnnn, but it's not cheap. $8 draft beers. $10-$12 cocktails. One bottled beer -- the Black Sheep Ale -- was like $12 or so for a 16.9-ounce bottle, which is much higher than I've seen it anywhere else. (That Guinness and Harp are $5 at happy hour should tell you what kind of prices you're looking at for the rest of the menu.)

That said, it's worth a visit for some heavenly fish and chips, really tasty Scotch eggs, and, most surprisingly, fried brussels sprouts, which were nicely charred and came with curry for dipping. Those are $5 at happy hour, which runs until 7.

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Crystal City: Hi Gurus! Can you help me find an activity for my boyfriend's super-boring and not at all adventurous parents? They're coming into town this weekend and need something low on intellectual, high on shiny objects. What are they into, you ask? History, plants and TV. A show or an exhibit might be good.

Please. Help.

Stephanie Merry: Let's hope you're able to hide your aversion to them better once they're here! When you said shiny objects, the first thing that popped into my head was the Hope Diamond, which is on display with another massive gem at the Natural History Museum. I think they would also enjoy the American History Museum, where they'll get a dose of history (obviously) and shiny-ness (Dorothy's ruby slippers!). If you want to squeeze plants into the mix, then add the Botanic Garden and the Arboretum to your itinerary.

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Dupont Circle: Want to take friend out to dinner for birthday in a few weeks. He's kinda healthy (lots of protein -- usually orders steak with as few carbs as possible). But likes to drink (but usually orders carb-free drinks like vodka and diet coke). Any suggestions for where to take him. Thought maybe J&G Steakhouse (kind of American food and lots of steak) or Russia House (range of vodkas that taste great on there own w/o carb-heavy mixers). Thanks.

Julia Beizer: J&G is a good choice -- expensive, but a great option. I'd add Fogo de Chao in there (meat on skewers! salad bar!) too.

Fritz Hahn: Russia House -- great idea. I'd also throw in the bar at PS 7's, which has introduced a new (and, on my visits, very popular) menu of drinks with less than 110 calories and 5 grams of carbs each. Oh, and you'd enjoy them too, even if you're not on a diet. I did.

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Rockville, Md.: Bert Kreischer (whom is performing this weekend at the DC Improv) is hilarious. Just because there aren't "big names" on the list doesn't mean the people performing aren't funny...

Stephanie Merry: Another comedy option (as well as a public service announcement).

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Silver Spring: I currently live in Cleveland Park and one of the things I love about the neighborhood is the ability to walk down the street to bars. I am thinking about moving to a much nicer apartment in Columbia Heights. My question is, are there any bars in that neighborhood that have a similar feel to places like Nanny O'Brien's? Commonwealth is great to get food, but doesn't really feel like a bar to me, are there any proper neighborhood bars or will I have to go to Mount Pleasant for those?

Julia Beizer: Don't sleep on a trip over to Mt.P! We have great bars in my neighborhood -- Haydee's, the Raven and Tonic among them. In Columbia Heights proper, though, I think the Red Derby could give you what you need. Room 11, as well. And Wonderland still has its moments of neighborhood-bar feel on certain weeknights.

Fritz Hahn: Let's step away from Julia's Mount Pleasant boosterism for a second, and point out that she's nailed two of my favorite Columbia Heights places. Room 11 is the cozy neighborhood wine and cocktail bar, when you'll regularly see familiar faces, and the staff learns your name after a couple of visits. Red Derby is the younger, more rocking bar with a great beer selection, cool tunes, theme parties and board games. You also have Social, a nice (if a little small) lounge full of people from the neighborhood, and Wonderland, where people from the neighborhood are in the majority Sun-Thu. (And maybe early on Fri-Sat, but I feel like there are a lot of people who justifiably come from outside of CH for great DJs and dancing, plus the scene.)

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Arlington, Va.: Hi Gurus. Having a girls' night out on Saturday with a group of early thirty-somethings. Looking for a good spot in Arlington or Alexandria to have some tasty appetizers and drinks. I like the food and vibe at Me Jana, so I'd like to try some place new that offers a similar venue.

Julia Beizer: I'd say the bar at Eventide, for starters. The cocktails and wine are good for girls' nights out. Screwtop, which Fritz just wrote about, could also be a good option for you.

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Foggy Bottom: Does Birreria Paradiso take reservations for groups? I checked out their private dining options, and while they don't charge a fee, the minimum on food is a little high for our group of 10, and I don't really need to rent out an entire room anyway.

Fritz Hahn: They do not take reservations for dinner. It's first-come, first served. What you were looking at is for people who want to book the Birreria downstairs at the Georgetown location for private events.

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Walking in Memphis/D.C.: I checked out the Elvis 75th collection at the Portrait Gallery and the exhibit made me crave some of Elvis' favorite foods. Do you all know where I can find a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich or any of the King's other faves?

Julia Beizer: Okay, I'll fess up. I don't have a good answer here. I just liked the "walking in Memphis" thing. You can find the "Velvet Elvis" cupcake at Hello Cupcake: it's banana cake with peanut butter icing. Close enough? Chatters, any help?

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Washington, D.C.: A group of my female friends and I are single and in our 30s. We tend to stay away from Adams Morgan and Georgetown -- unless it's something like Napoleon for champagne or the waterfront in the summer. Usually Dupont, U St, or K St are the go-to areas: Marvin, St. Ex, Stoney's, Public Bar, Tattoo, Policy, any good wine bar. If you're cute and funny, don't be shy to say hello!

Fritz Hahn: Here's some advice for the guy in his 30s.

(FWIW, I would have recommended most of the bars on that list for finding women in the 30s, but not all. This is why it pays to ask the readers. Thanks for your help!)

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Where to meet single ladies on a Saturday night: Hey Gurus,

I don't get Fritz's answer--sorry, but I don't--why wouldn't single ladies hang out at a place with drink specials? Is it because if they meet someone they are hoping to find someone who would buy them drinks and not flinch at paying full price? I guess I've been out of the scene for far too long and am hopelessly clueless....

I'd really love to know.

Thanks

Fritz Hahn: Well, this question was concerning single ladies in their 30s. From all the dating stories and such I've written, I've been told often (by women in their late 20s, 30s, 40s) that they feel like they've grown out of the cheap beer/party scene on Saturday nights, and would rather go to nicer bars/lounges than places that offer cheap beers (Town Tavern, Lucky, Millie and Al's) in hopes of luring in a college/intern crowd.

But as I noted, that's not always the case -- I know women in their 30s who prefer Madhatter or the Black Cat to Eighteenth Street Lounge or Mate.

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Photo contest: This chat page needs a picture. You should have readers send you their best snaps and make it a contest to see whose you post each week. Winner gets ... bragging rights? A free beer at the next GOG happy hour?

Julia Beizer: Cute idea. What do you guys think? Would you submit photos to such a contest? We have a totally awesome user-generated photo gallery tool, but my attempts to get people to use it during Restaurant Week... fizzled. Six pics, two from me. Would y'all be willing to submit some super-cool nightlife shots? We'd love to see what you're up to each weekend.

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Greek with Party Room: I wonder if the chatter who asked about the Greek place with a party space was thinking of the Mykonos Grill? A little north of Bethesda, but frequently recommended for food and private dining space.

Julia Beizer: A suggestion for the birthday chatter!

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Minneapolis: Going Out Gurus::

Coming to town early in summer; 15 year old daughter wants to go see some of the Smithsonians...which ones would you suggest are the "must" sees, we've got a day to spend. Where could we do a lunch? I'm from up near the Mason Dixon Line but haven't lived on the East Coast since 1990. Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: It really just depends on your interests. I know people that love the Air and Space Museum (which is a huge hit with tourists), but I'm more of an arts person so the Hirshhorn, Portrait Gallery and American Art Museum are my personal favorites. American History is a big destination for tourist groups, and I'd also add Natural History to your plan, especially since the very cool looking Hall of Human Origins will be open by then.

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Bloomingdale, D.C.: I had such a fantastic time at the DC Record Fair on Sunday. The crowd was fabulous, the music was phenomenal (I especially enjoyed Eric Hilton's set), and the sellers were friendly.

Where are all of these people hanging out on a regular weekend or weeknight? Do you have any suggestions for places to find a similar crowd or atmosphere?

FYI: It doesn't have to necessarily involve shopping for vinyl or waiting for the next DC Record Fair.

David Malitz: That was a good time on Sunday, unbelievably packed. As for where those people hang out ... maybe they are sitting in their living rooms listening to LPs? Some of the local stores had booths there -- Red Onion, Smash, Crooked Beat, Som -- so anyone who shops at those likely stopped by Sunday. I bet you'd find a lot of those folks at some of the funkier DJ nights around town -- think Moneytown, Brazilian Rhythms, Fatback, etc.

Fritz Hahn: I think David is spot on. People digging for arcane vinyl aren't going to be hanging out at places spinning Top 40 hip-hop on weekends. Check out some of the more off-beat nights at Saint-Ex (like Brazilian Rhythms tonight), Marx Cafe (where the Friday night offerings feature vintage reggae, little-known post-punk or twee indie pop), Little Miss Whiskey's, DJ nights at Velvet Lounge rather than the Black Cat, etc.

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Women in their 30s: I'm the type of woman who doesn't spend time in bars, but every single time I've taken a foreign languages class (at places like USDA, everything from beginner's to more advanced classes), single women in their 20s and 30s outnumbered everyone else. If you're looking for an intelligent and worldly woman, this is definitely something to look into. Volunteering is definitely another good avenue.

Stephanie Merry: I can vouch for this. I take foreign language classes and the ratio of girls to guys is 3 to 1. Still, that's an expensive/time-consuming way to find a date.

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Washington, D.C.: Thinking of going to the new Recess this weekend. Any field reports on the new spot?

Fritz Hahn: My Recess experiences have been generally positive, though it depends on the DJ. Saturday with Adrian Loving sounds like a good time. The space is really set up for bottle service, but it's a pretty nice layout with a good-sized dance floor.

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Public Bar, Dupont: Hi Gogs,

Isn't Public Bar more like a frat-bar/sports bar? For some reason, I always had the impression that it was a cool multi-level bar with a laid-back vibe, but after a recent visit, I was disappointed in the atmosphere because it struck me more as frat-boy/sports scene, which isn't really my scene.

Thanks

Fritz Hahn: It depends on the night. I've been there on weeknights and it was a laidback bar with lots of sports on TV, and I've been there on weekends when, for reasons I cannot fathom, there is a line down the block to get in. I like the spot. I do. But I don't understand why anyone would wait in line for 35 minutes to get in.

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30-Something Ladies : I'm going to speak for 30-something ladies and mention that it also has something to do with the state of the bathrooms. I like a good dive bar, but a disgusting bathrooms is a complete buzzkill. I'm talking to you, Porter's and Big Hunt. And as a side note, I think the new Madhatter will definitely attract a more mature crowd.

Fritz Hahn: I agree with you on the new Madhatter, which is opening soon on Connecticut Ave.

Also, bathrooms ... yeah, but even some of the "classy" lounges could use some help in the bathroom dept.

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30s woman: I am going to second Fritz's answer, and I am a single woman in my 30s. I stopped going to the "drink-special" bars in my mid-20s. My idea of a Saturday night out is not a college kid in a baseball hat asking me what my major is while spilling his $1 lite beer on my shoes. I also avoid no-cover bars. Same principle. Young, college-age crowd. When the whole point of a bar is to drink as much as possible as cheaply as possible, I am out.

Where to find women my age? Wine bars. Quieter neighborhood bars during the week, when you can strike up a conversation with us. When we want a bigger night out -- U St, Dupont. Not G-town, Adams Morgan. You get the idea.

Fritz Hahn: More comments for guys wondering where to meet women.

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Camera Obscura, Royal Mile: Fritz - "Twee" indie pop? Is there another variety of indie pop?

Fritz Hahn: I don't think Unrest is twee. Or Versus, maybe. But you have a point if we're talking Sarah records.

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Fairfax, Va.: We've got a rare chance to go out Saturday night without the kids for a few hours and my husband and I were thinking that rather than a dinner/movie combo we might take in some of the nightlife we've never tried (we moved to D.C. with two young kids). Where would you send a couple of thirty-something parents who are looking for a taste of what we've been missing?

Fritz Hahn: Oooh, this is a very good question. It totally depends on your mood (dancing? cocktails? wine?) but I would say a list of 10 places for you to consider -- and guessing you don't want to be around a largely 20-something crowd -- would have to include:

Drinks

The Gibson for cocktails

ChurchKey for beers

The rooftop bar at the W (if you can call ahead and make reservations)

Veritas Wine Bar

Dancing

Eighteenth Street Lounge

Patty Boom Boom

Tattoo Bar

Cafe Saint-Ex (or the neighboring Bar Pilar)

Hanging Out

Chi-Cha Lounge

The Passenger

Bourbon (also goes for drinks)

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Women in 30s: Two more ideas: Running clubs (I personally know 3 couples who met & married after meeting in a running club) and cooking classes (fairly inexpensive & fun ones available at Sur la Table, Lebanese Taverna, and more expensive options at L'Academie de Cuisine).

Fritz Hahn: More advice for our guy.

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Washington D.C.: Hi,

SO I'm seeing an improv performance at the Leavey Center on Georgetown Campus tomorrow evening. I;'m super excited, but I have no idea how to get there! Do I just take the circulator as close as I can get? I'm coming from Dupont, is there a better way?

Stephanie Merry: I'd take the G2 bus which will take you right from Dupont up P Street to Georgetown.

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Washington, D.C. - a sort of "reunion": HEY GOG's!! First, let me say I LOVE reading these chats. You guys do a great job! Now, here's my issue...Thanks to Facebook, I have run across more than a few friends from my elementary school days. We're all either already 30 or right at the threshold..LOL There are a few of us who have kept in touch over the years and some others have recently come out of the woodwork (thanks to good ole Facebook). I've been trying to figure out a good place where we can all meet up for good (reasonably priced) drinks/good food/music and catch up on everyone's life. Also hoping for ample parking as most of us are suburbanites...LOL I'm thinking there may be at least 10 of us, possibly more. Any suggestions???

Julia Beizer: We've been debating this. Bars in Dupont come to mind, as they have that low-key feel. I'm talking places like the Big Hunt, Lucky Bar and Buffalo Billiards. They're big enough for a group of your size. Parking, of course, is an issue.

How about a place like Iron Horse Tavern? The Penn Quarter area has plenty of garages to accommodate your friends, and the bar is cool. Click on that link a little later today and you'll see what Fritz has to say about the space (and the Skee-Ball -- if that's not an elementary school throwback, I don't know what is....)

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Dupont, D.C.: Any word on Diamond District Seafood, that is supposed to open on 14th Street? I walked past and it didn't seem like there was any buildout taking place. Also, what about the wine bar called "Dickson Wines" at 9th and U? Thanks!!!

Julia Beizer: In the last paragraph on this page, you'll find reference to a "still-unnamed Logan Circle" market/restaurant that chef Barton Seaver's working on. That's the deal.

Fritz Hahn: Dickson Wines is another Hilton family opening (along with the neighboring and also forthcoming Brixton pub). It was under construction until recently, so I'm assuming the wine bar, at 903 U St., will be opening in the spring, along with (hopefully) Brixton. But I would bet the U Street Music Hall will be here first.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Need a Saturday trivia night with good beer -- any suggestions? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: I don't know of any good Saturday night trivia events -- many bars are too loud or crowded on the weekend to allow for a good game. Closest you might come is hitting a place with Trivial Pursuit cards, like the Red Derby or the Pug, and quizzing each other.

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Alexandria: Hey GOGs, love the chats! I'm looking for a fun place to grab drinks and dinner in Adams Morgan on a Saturday night. There will be a group of us so we'll need a place to fit a lot of different taste buds. Thanks for help

Julia Beizer: Dining in Adams Morgan, a challenge, to say the least. I like Bourbon for eats -- the food is good and cheap. Burgers, grilled cheeses, etc. L'Enfant comes to mind as well.

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Women in their 30s: I have to admit, while I do not want to be around the college/intern crowd, I love a good dive bar and beer special. Unfortunately, it appears you cannot have one without the other in this town.

Fritz Hahn: Have you been to Jay's in Arlington, the Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring, Dietle's in "North Bethesda," the Tune Inn on the Hill?

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Adams Morgan, D.C.: Interesting question from the person from Cleveland Park looking at bars in Columbia Heights.

Much as I like Columbia Heights (and Mt P)and would endorse all of the spots you mention, it always strikes me that Columbia Heights is a big neighborhood. Wonderland/Room 11 to Commonwealth is quite a trek. Red Derby isn't really close to anything else similar (although lots of latin food around).

I think 11th Street is on its way to becoming a "strip" - there's not the same opportunities for easy bar hopping like you get on CT Ave in Cleveland Park.

That said, I'd prefer to walk, even in the snow and ice, to drink in Columbia Heights bars.

Julia Beizer: A good point.

Fritz Hahn: This is a good point. Cleveland Park's entertainment/shoppping district is more of a linear, Adams Morgan-style area, with all the bars in a small, narrowly defined row. (These zoning regulations are the bane of my existence and the first thing I would destroy if I could.)

Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant cover a much wider area, so you can wander four or five blocks east-northeast to get to another bar. Which I like.

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Submitting pics: I would submit a picture of me and my friends out but I wouldn't want the Gurus chat to turn into a Late Night Shots sort of fiasco, I mean double.

Julia Beizer: I see what you're saying. We don't need an amihotornot kind of thing going on. But we moderate this chat, so I can't see us putting through a comment that focuses on, um, a reader's physical appearance.

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Please let this be true and not Punk'd: This is 2nd week you've gotten a 30s guy looking to meet D.C. women. I hope these are real questions and not planted because we're out here and we're looking for you too, but I concur with the previous posters we're not always at the bar scene but we're in various outdoor activities clubs, cooking classes (etc) and volunteering all over this city.

Fritz Hahn: Here's what you do, guys: You get involved in activities you're genuinely interested in (whether that's a cooking class or volunteering) and visit bars you'd like to check out. You relax. You stop trying too hard. Then the magic happens.

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RE: Women in 30s & divey bars: I should have mentioned I prefer dive bars with beer specials in D.C. proper.

Fritz Hahn: Tune Inn? Lil' Pub? The Hitchin' Post? If we're stretching, the Pug?

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Washington, D.C.: Wow, no mention yet of Will Eastman's 90's Extravaganza at the 9:30 Club tomorrow? I bought my ticket beforehand, but I have some friends who didn't but are worried about it selling out. Will they be ok if they show up when the doors open?

Fritz Hahn: I will bet on it selling out. The advance sale numbers I heard were unbelievably strong for a dance party. And No Scrubs is ALWAYS a blast.

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Eastern Market: Just moved down here and am loving Banana Cafe's happy hour deals. Any recommendations for other awesome places to hang out in the area?

Julia Beizer: Lola's and Molly Malone's rock my world. Just spent the morning at Matchbox; love that place too.

Fritz Hahn: Lil' Pub and Tunnicliff's are my go-to neighborhood bars. Ugly Mug is the best place in the neighborhood to watch a game. Do love Molly Malone's with a group, or for a D.C. United game.

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Downtown: Gurus! Any secrets to a successful night at Gibson? I've only been twice, but the first time was fantastic and the second wasn't so much. The trouble is that I'm a beer and wine gal usually, pretty uneducated about my cocktails. So, how are you supposed to pick a drink? The last time, I described to the bartender what I liked and he made me something that was...awful. I even took my liquor-loving mom for her birthday -- she also hated what she ordered (tasted like bacon. I kid you not). She sent it back, and they generously didn't charge us for it. But how many times can you get away with that, really?

Just makes me nervous to go back when you're spending $15 a pop for drinks. What's the best way to go about ordering there, in your opinion(s)?

Fritz Hahn: I do exactly what you do. Don't sit at a table, only sit at the bar, and explain to the bartender what you've had before, mention other drinks you know you like -- even if that means saying something like "I like this beer because it's crisp and dry."

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Cute Outfit: Quick: I look super cute today - I need a hoppin happy hour in Old Town for today. Thoughts?

Fritz Hahn: You're not Kelly from "The Office," right?

But our suggestions would include Vermilion, Flying Fish, maybe Light Horse Tavern. (Julia thinks the latter is a scene at night, but hasn't done it for happy hour.)

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Arlington, Va.: Hey Gurus! Hope you can help! A gal pal and I are looking for some Happy Hour ideas for tonight in Arlington (Rosslyn to Ballston corridor). Last few places we went were DEAD during the post-work hours. Any places that draw crowds on Thursdays between 6-9? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: In my experience, I'd choose from Continental, Rock Bottom, Whitlow's, Eventide, Rock Bottom or Union Jack's, depending what kind of scene you're looking for.

Okay, and that REALLY has to be it. We're like 30 minutes over. Enjoy your blizzard-free weekend.

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With all this where-to-meet-people advice...: How many of the GOGs are married?

Fritz Hahn: In the interests of full disclosure, Anne, Julia and Jen are married.

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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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