Got Plans?: Karaoke, dive bars and brunches for bachelorettes

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

The Going Out Guide staff discussed ideas for a post-bachelorette party brunch, a night of dive bars and karaoke and indoor entertainment for kids on Thursday, March 4, at 1 p.m. ET.

washingtonpost.com: Got spring fever? An itch to get out? A sure-fire method to win the office Oscar pool? Share your questions and/or thoughts. We're the Going Out Gurus, and for the next hour we'll be your servers.

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Capitol Hill: Hi Gurus! Noticed the DCist Exposed Photography Opening Reception was a Washington Post Editor's Pick (and is free!) so am planning on going this weekend. Do you have any idea what the dress is for this event? Are jeans okay or is does it call for some other attire? Thanks for your great advice and chats!

Stephanie Merry: The DCist Exposed opening reception is actually $5, so be aware of that, but the event is a fun one so totally worth it. And you can get away with wearing whatever you want, including jeans.

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Need a cure for the winter blahs:: I'm so excited that the weather is going to warm up some this weekend. I need something different to do either Friday or Saturday night preferably in Northern Virginia - can be the burbs of Arlington but I'm open for suggestions. We do not drink but we do like good bands but I'm not all that young so I'd prefer to hear about venues with a bit of an older crowd. I'm familiar with the movies out but I was hoping for something, just a little something different. Any clues? Suggestions? What would lighten your mood this weekend?

Fritz Hahn: What would lighten my mood? Dancing to the swinging sounds of Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra at the Carlyle Club in Alexandria on Friday. Doc mugs his way through Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington songs and tells corny jokes, his band plays "Sing, Sing, Sing" with the best of them, and cigarette girls dance in a chorus line. It's only $10 to get in, too, though you can splash out for a full dinner if you'd like.

On the same night, you've got Certified Blues Legend Pinetop Perkins, the 97-year-old who played piano behind Muddy Waters for decades, and he's still pretty spry. He's a living legend and certainly worth seeing.

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Washington, D.C.: Hello, How do I submit an event for you to review? Thanks so much.

Anne Kenderdine: E-mail us at events@washingtonpost.com and tell us about your event! There's also a Submit a Listing form on the site (bottom right of every page) you can use.

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Downtown D.C.: Hi- You all have done a great job answering questions like this before, so I am hoping you can help me out. I am planning a birthday for a friend. Most people attending will be in their early 30s. It will be on a Saturday night and karaoke and great beer have been requested. A DC location would preferable, but there is some flexibility on that. Also, I am expecting around 15 to 20 friends to come out and help celebrate. Any thoughts? I am kinda lost when it comes to karaoke! Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: On a Saturday night in D.C., you have a couple of options for karaoke. Peyote Cafe goes out the window immediately -- loud, drunk college kids, too packed. I'd say Cafe Japone, which is the standby for everyone from 20something bachelorettes to 40something office groups. Great with a bunch of people, good song selections. You can call ahead and make reservations, too. Always a plus.

Outside of D.C., I think Rocket Grill in Alexandria is a great destination for a group -- lots of regulars who seem to get preference over newbies, but it's big enough that you can show up with 15 and it won't be a problem.

For something that's a little more over the top, it's Freddie's Beach Bar in Crystal City. Always a lively crowd, your occasional drag queen.

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Washington, DC: Submitting early due to a meeting - I feel like this may be the first weekend in a while that doesn't require constant hibernation. What's new/exciting that can bring our spirits back after the February doldrums? We're of the museum/outdoors/low-key bars type.

Michael O'Sullivan: The Building Museum is hosting an event on Sunday where you build and fly your own model airplane. (Part museum, part outdoors, but sorry, no bar.) From 9 to 11 a.m., there's a rubber band propelled model airplane workshop. Then from 11 to 4 p.m., you can watch as the D.C. Maxecutors fly their own model airplanes around the Great Hall. That one's free. The morning workshop is $14.

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Washington, DC: Hi - It's always been super helpful reading your suggestions and chats so I thought I would submit a question of my own: Where can I get an old record player fixed in the District? (Think 1970s tabletop unit in a sweet, brown wood veneer.) It's in good shape overall, as is the tuner it connects to, but I think the arm needs some tweaking. I can't find anything listed online so I come to you. Thanks!

Rhome Anderson: I'd stop by Neal's spot and ask him. Most of the options I'd recommend are for pro sound DJ types, not consumer market antiques, which are even more specialized. The folks at The Vinyl District might be able to guide you also.

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D.C. Date Night: Hey Gurus, Looking for a fun date night for tomorrow night for couple in our late twenties. We've both lived here for 5+ years, so we're looking for something to shake things up. Thanks.

Stephanie Merry: Francophonie DC kicks off tomorrow with the Grand Fete at the French embassy, which could be a fun thing to do. If you're looking for more of a pre-dinner activity, then you guys could check out an opening reception at an area gallery. Both Transformer and Hillyer are hosting events.

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Washington, D.C.: My girlfriends and I want to go dancing Saturday night in DC. Looking for a similar vibe to the dearly departed Love. Where should we go?

Fritz Hahn: For a big-club atmosphere, I'd say Ibiza, though it can be kind of a warehouse atmosphere depending on the performer, and not as plush as Love. (This week, it's Jadakiss playing live, which could be fun.)

The Park at 14th has a similar vibe, but without the large dance floors. You might also try Lux, at NY and 7th. I've found it to be hit-and-miss, but when it's on, it's a pretty good Love substitute.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi there! The old Warehouse Bar/Cafe on 7th used to do punch night and fun parties with homemade wine coolers and interesting cocktails. Is anyone doing that stuff these days? Did they set up shop somewhere else? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Punch Club founder Dan Searing has opened his own bar, Room 11 in Columbia Heights. (The Passenger is now in the Warehouse space.) Dan has been doing Punch Club there, but he recently became a father, which has made the schedule rather ... unreliable. (It's totally understandable, though.)

If you're looking for interesting vintage punches, I know that PS 7's generally has one available at happy hour, though it can sell out pretty quickly sometimes.

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Washington, D.C.: Oh GOGs, I have a bar/relationship-related question! I'm meeting my BF's brother for the first time next week (Tuesday) and he, along with me, my BF and another brother, wants to go to some less pretentious, ie "dive", bars in DC. A plus if they have karaoke! I've got to make a good first impression, you know? Thanks oh so much!

fritz: Two words: Sticky Rice. Set up a little H Street bar crawl -- Argonaut, the Pug, the Palace of Wonders -- and wind up at Sticky Rice, where people stand on booths to sing '80s hits, old metal and Britpop. It's really fun, and you can chow down on tater tots and Tecate while you wait your turn.

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Adams Morgan: We had a ball at the recent '90s dance party at 9:30 club (particularly watching the DJs....they seemed so excited every time they pulled out a nearly-forgotten 90's one-hit wonder). I know that Dahlak has hosted 90210 nights before, but don't see any in the near future. Any other 90's nights coming up, preferably in the District?

Fritz Hahn: I love the No Scrubs '90s nights -- still can't believe they sold out the 9:30 club *in advance* -- and have a great time watching people singing along to TLC one minute and moshing to Nirvana the next, then going nuts to Technotronic. You really don't see that kind of DJ diversity much anymore.

Anyway.

Peach Pit, the '90s night at Dahlak, is the only monthly '90s event going. (No Scrubs is every three months or so.) The next one should be next Thursday, with DJ Matt Bailer. CK One, Cross Colours and overalls suggested, but not required.

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D.C. area: I have family coming into town and they have three small boys (1, 3.5 and 5). I am trying to come up with kid-friendly things to do Saturday afternoon. They have already been to the Baltimore Aquarium and it is a little chilly for outdoor activities. Any suggestions?

Anne Kenderdine: There's a bunch of good kids things this weekend, but with your crowd, a visit to Natural History would be a hit, I bet. For other events, the first thing that comes to mind is Kids in the Kitchen -- it might not work as well for the younger ones, but it's one where the grownups can have fun, too. (And it's free.) Big Apple Circus opens in Dulles, and I'm going for the first time -- I've heard from others that since it's smaller (only one ring), it's better for little kids.

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Capitol Hill: Help, Gurus! My mother and sister are in town next weekend and sis is a vegetarian. I want to take them someplace nice (area of town isn't an issue), but it has to be somewhere where vegetarians and carnivores alike will enjoy themselves (and be able to order an entree, not just sides!). I'm stuck - any ideas? Thank you!!!

Stephanie Merry: My first choice would be Zaytinya for Mediterranean tapas. It has an extensive list of vegetarian and meat options, and best of all, it's incredibly delicious.

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Ashburn, Va.: Help!!! My hubby and I are looking to go out for a nice dinner Saturday night in DC. We've got a babysitter and everything. It's my decision where to go, but I'm stumped. He is not a real adventurous eater, so no sushi or really exotic cuisine, location isn't really a deal-breaker as long as it's in the District, and price would be best somewhere in the middle...not too expensive, not too cheap. Thanks!!!

Fritz Hahn: Honestly, with those dietary requirements, I'd suggest taking him out for the best steak in the D.C. area at Ray's the Steaks in Arlington. Nothing beats a great dry-aged cowboy cut or rib-eye from Ray's. It's always one of the most affordable meals going, too.

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FYI: Grand Fete is sold out for tomorrow night: Boo.

Stephanie Merry: Oh no! Thanks for the intel.

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Rockville, Md.: I can't find this information on Montgomery County's website so maybe you can help. I'd like to start running on Rock Creek Trail, but am not sure if the snow is melted or not. Are you aware of resources that can help me find out the answer (other than walking the six- miles myself)? Thanks!

Michael O'Sullivan: You should be able to get an answer through the park manager's office at 301-948-5053.

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Silver Spring, Md.: I hear the circus is coming to town. Do you have details on the elephant walk? When and where? Thanks!

Anne Kenderdine: Ringling Bros. starts at Verizon Center on March 18, and the elephant walk is slated to start at 1 p.m. on March 16. There'll be five elephants, plus horses and clowns, and this year the walk doesn't go by Union Station but instead across the Mall on Third Street, so that will be your best photo op site (with the Capitol as your backdrop).

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Washington, D.C.: My boyfriend's younger sister is visiting from college during St. Patrick's Day this year (yes, she's 21). We have to work and were wondering what events she could hit during the day, either on her own or with friends - i.e. is DC 101 still hosting Kegs and Eggs? What other day-drinking events are out there? Also, once we get off work, are there any fun but not packed bars/events we could hit together? Thanks!

fritz: DC101 is indeed still doing Kegs and Eggs -- with Jet, Andrew WK and others -- but it's on Friday the 12th this year, not on St. Patrick's Day proper. Go figure.

For day drinking, I'd suggest McFadden's, which opens early, has all-day drink specials and will have a crowd with plenty of people her age. I've found the live music at the Dubliner to be lots of fun during the day -- folks in their 20s and much older enjoying live music all day. Same with the Irish Times next door. Fado is always lively. If you're near Virginia, you could do a nice little Irish pub crawl along Wilson Blvd., with RiRa and the Four Courts being my two favorites.

After 5 p.m., though, you'll find lines pretty much everywhere you go. Fact of live on St. Patrick's Day. Mackey's, Nanny O'Brien's and the Irish Channel are usually the best, but that's not saying much.

Chatters?

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Washington, D.C.: Where can a guy go near a metro stop for a barber shave? Do any of the chatters have a preference? Thanks

Michael O'Sullivan: The Grooming Lounge, On L Street NW near the Farragut North station, does an old-fashioned hot-lather shave, as well as massage and other pampering services. At 50 bucks, though, it ain't cheap. 202-466-8900.

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Alexandria, Va.: I'm trying to find a good restaurant/bar to go to for my birthday. Like most of my friends, I'm a grad student so something affordable is a must. I'm also looking for someplace fun yet centrally located in DC - easy for friends coming from Rockville or from Alexandria like me. I've only lived in the area for a semester so I'm lost, any suggestions?

Stephanie Merry: Happy birthday! The Metro Center-Chinatown area seems like the best spot for Red Liners and Blue/Yellow Liners to convene. For dinner, I'd probably go with Ella's or Matchbox, unless cheap means really cheap, in which case maybe Nando's. After that, you could head to any number of bars in the area, but if you have a big group, the spacious Rocket Bar might be a good bet.

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Kids in D.C. this weekend: Building Museum has a huge open floor as well as a "touch this" section, same with American History (in the basement). Also, there's the Police Memorial near the Building Museum with statues of lions the kids can climb. Fair warning - there isn't much to eat right there, but an easy walk/Metro to the Metro Center/Gallery Place areas.

Anne Kenderdine: All true -- good ones for any cold-weather weekend. The Building Museum has a cafe there, too, and the Great Hall is perfect for little ones to run around.

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Washington DC: Thank you so much for posting about PS 7's low-calorie cocktails! If you go out a lot, those calories really add up so it's good to know about them! Similarly, i was wondering--do you know of any bars in the area that have either diet tonic or diet sprite/seven up? because it'd be great to do a reduced calorie drink without diet coke (i've tried vodka with plain soda but don't like it). thanks!

fritz: Honestly, I've never tried diet tonic -- I like the good stuff, like Fever Tree. (Chatters?)

As for vodka and soda -- theoretically, that should taste like, well, next to nothing, if you're drinking a decent vodka. Try pairing the soda with whisky or bourbon which should have about the same caloric content as vodka. (100-115 cal per shot.)

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Cupcakes & Cocktails: Are they really doing that at FLY Lounge on Fridays? That's definitely more a pull then Open Bar or other promotions. Have you been yet? Is it The Gibson/Passenger meets Georgetown Cupcake? I'm excited to check it out!

Rhome Anderson: I haven't checked it out yet but it does indeed sound good. Ladies get one free cocktail/cupcake pairing.

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Washington, D.C: Friends and I are planning on going to see the live-action short films this weekend at the Archives. Any idea how far in advance we should show up to get in line for tickets/seats? Would an hour or 45 minutes be sufficient?

Michael O'Sullivan: The Archives people say an hour is plenty of time, and that people are rarely turned away: "It's a big theater." (290 seats, actually.) The line forms at the special events entrance at Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street, where free tix are handed out beginning an hour before show time. Doors open 30 minutes before show time.

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Under 21: I know this is a FAQ for you, but I never pay attention to the answer. My friend's brother and his gf are in town and they are under 21. Are there any bars (not clubs) that are under 21 on Fridays/Saturdays? Would like to watch college basketball somewhere Saturday night, so a sports bar would be good for that night if any are under 21. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: There aren't very many bars that are friendly to the under 21 crowd on weekends. But here's a solution for you: ESPN Zone is 18-and-over at night. Yeah, it's kind of corporate and a little expensive, but you'll get to watch the games.

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Nerd Night: Hey Gurus, I'm excited to try Nerd Nite at DC9 next weekend. What's the dress code like? I was thinking of wearing something hot and club-y (tight skirt, bare shoulders) but realized this might be a more intellectual crowd. Any thoughts?

Rhome Anderson: Just make sure you have thick-rimmed glasses to balance it out. Hawt.

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aren't cupcakes OVER?: talk about a concept with a short life, the bakery that only sells cupcakes. And what a way to ruin a good cocktail.

Rhome Anderson: As long as they're delicious, I don't care. Gimme cupcakes.

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Adams Morgan, D.C.: I apologize if you get this question a million times, but I'm desperate. I'm hosting a bachelorette gathering this Saturday for 10 women in their late 30s/early 40s. We're starting with drinks and dinner at Urbana in Dupont Circle but then I promised we'd hit some bars after that. Problem is I don't know what bars to hit with this sized/aged group. Any suggestions in Dupont or within a cab ride of places to go? The bride wants to just "hang out" but I'm sure dancing might be a desired activity.

Stephanie Merry: Fritz and I discussed this one and think your best bets might be Eighteenth Street Lounge (for a chiller, lounge-y vibe) or Rumors (if you guys really feel like dancing).

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Dupont: For the shave-seeking chatter, I think the barber shop on Q St. in Dupont does hot shaves. I can't remember the name of the place, but it's right next to Circa and Firehook. Know what I'm talking about?

Fritz Hahn: I don't, but if you want the classic straight-razor and lather shave, try Spiro's in Kensington.

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Falls Church, VA: So, kind of random but maybe chatters can help. I understand there is an old school printing shop in Baltimore where you can bring any photograph and they can make a rubber stamp. Unfortunately I cannot find a name. Does this sound familiar to anybody?

Michael O'Sullivan: I don't know about Baltimore, But Baumgarten Rubber Stamp in Laurel (in business since 1860) says that "more than likely" they can do it. It depends on the quality of the original photo. 301-317-3933. 325 Washington Blvd., Laurel.

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Bethesda: Hey Fritz, I've been wanting to get to the H Street bars (Argonaut, Rock 'N Roll Hotel, etc.) for a long time now but haven't made it there. I was thinking of getting a group together to head there during the afternoon one upcoming Saturday to bar hop and hopefully watch some of the basketball tournaments. Can you give any insight into the TV situation at these bars (bonus if there is actually a sports bar in the area). Also, is there any parking out there or is that not a good idea? Any additional thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: There are TVs at the H Street Country Club, the Argonaut and the Pug. Pug's usually on soccer on Saturdays, though you could ask nicely. I think the Argo's your best bet.

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Kid's Tip: Hope this is in time! We visited recently took our 4-year-old to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum by the Dulles Airport. He loved seeing the Space Shuttle, seeing the astronaut suits and climbing in plane. His absolute favorite was going up in the tower where you could watch the airplanes take off and land. Be warned - parking is $15. He also would have been satisfied to ride the Metro around all weekend.

Michael O'Sullivan: Good suggestion. Thanks.

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Washington, DC: Hi - I have some friends visiting from Philly on Saturday and Sunday and the guy wants to go to a flea market. I love Eastern Market but it's not exactly a typical "flea market," let alone the fact it's geared toward women (let's be honest). He's kind of a macho, "thrifty" guy's guy and I'm at a loss as to whether there's something of a more traditional flea market out there to fit him. Close to a Metro is good but other than that the area of the city doesn't matter. Thanks!

Rhome Anderson: There's the 9th and U flea market. Not as crafty and polished as Eastern Market.

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Bethesda, Md.: GOGs (and readers!!!) - I have been tasked with finding a place for our group (could be as many as 20) to head to at the conclusion of a fundraiser we're attending. It is being held at the Chamber of Commerce (17th and H NW) in DC this Saturday evening. We will be in semi/formal attire and we are all in our early 30s-40s. The event ends around midnight and we were hoping to find a bar that might allow us to continue for another hour or two. I think most of the hotel bars in the area (Hay Adams, St Regis, Sofitel) would probably close at midnight so not sure if that helps. Other thoughts like Black Finn might work - but would we have to wait in a line at that hour? We'd prefer to avoid that as well. Thanks!

fritz: Yeah, I would have said Le Bar, but that's closed at midnight, so you'd probably get chased out a little earlier. How about the bar -- the lobby bar -- at the W (15th and H), or maybe the bar at West End Bistro at the Ritz-Carlton? It's like eight blocks away but would do the trick.

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DC: I am in the mood for some pie. Do you know the status of the pie place that is supposed to open on H St (Dangerously Delicious Pies) and whether you have to buy a whole pie or can get individual slices? Thanks!

Michael O'Sullivan: An employee at the Baltimore branch says that the H Street NE location will open for sure on March 12, and that they will sell whole pies, pies by the slice and (very likely) mini-pies. 202-398-PIES. 1339 H St. NE.

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Bethesda: I'm thinking about going to Passenger for my birthday on the 13th. We will be about 10 people, I know they don't take reservations for the bar....is this a bad idea? Do you think there's anyway we get it?

thanks in advance!

fritz: I think it's doable. Call and ask if you can have the train-car room (in the back) -- there was a party going on in there when I went to see Cherry Red's snuff.mov last weekend.

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Falls Church, Va.: Hi Gurus! Love, love, love your chats. 7 ladies, all mid-twenties, looking for a post-Bachelorette Party Sunday morning brunch in the Georgetown/Foggy Bottom area. What would you suggest? And any "must go" bars for Saturday night? One mentioned she'd like a piano bar but not sure if there is one...

Stephanie Merry: I have a soft spot for Leopold's for weekend brunch, but Papa Razzi and Circle Bistro do decent brunch as well. If you're willing to travel a bit farther, I had an amazing brunch at Bistro La Bonne on U Street last weekend. The service was a little rough around the edges, but it sort of added to the French charm somehow.

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Washington, D.C.: This question isn't your usual kind, but I figure... why not give it a try? I am a very liberal female who has always wanted to shoot a gun. Where can I do that? Do I need to have my own gun (obviously not heppening?)What do I need to know? Where can I go? I don't really want to take classes, I just want to do it once, just to say I have. Any ideas?

Fritz Hahn: I love this question. I really do. I have friends who've been to shoot at ranges at the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax and at Sharpshooters, which is out near Lorton. I'm dying to go to the NRA range -- any chatters been and have tips?

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washingtonpost.com: Hey, that's it. Thanks for chatting this week. If we weren't able to get to your question this time, come back next week, same time.

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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.

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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