Got Plans?: Fried pickles and bars with wine dispensers
Thursday, April 1, 2010; 1:00 PM
washingtonpost.com: Hey y'all. Let's get this party started. Before we do, wanted to make sure y'all saw that we're giving you a 10-percent discount off tickets for Taste of the Nation. To buy tickets, visit this Web site and use the code GOG. On with the show.
H Street: Any update on the upcoming beer garden on H Street? This nice weather has be thinking about outdoor drinking.
Fritz Hahn: What, other than my blog post about the massive Biergarten Haus or the appearance on WAMU's Metro Connection to talk about the project? I think they're about two weeks from opening, maybe a little more. All the licenses are in place, though, which is very good news -- that's where many bars/restaurants flounder.
Arlington: Hey GOGs! I want to cheer on the Mountaineers this weekend in the final four. Are there any West Virginia bars besides Ragtime? It doesn't have to be in Arlington, but metro friendly would be great if it's not. If there aren't any other West Virginia bars, where would you recommend? Thanks for the help
Fritz Hahn: Ragtime really is ground zero for Mountaineer fans, but Penn Quarter Sports Tavern gets a good number of West Virginia alums, too. Any other suggestions, chatters?
Fried pickles: I have a friend coming into town who really wants me to eat fried pickles. Where's a good place to try them?
Fritz Hahn: I love the fried pickles -- sorry, fried pickled cucumbers -- at Kitchen in Glover Park. Great bite.
Rockville, Md.: Does anywhere in the D.C. metro area serve wine on tap?
Fritz Hahn: If you're talking about restaurants with the very cool Enomatic systems, then yes -- Proof is probably the best example, with a couple dozen selections offered in multiple sizes. Veritas is another option.
Fried Pickles: They also have them at Quarry House, if I'm not mistaken.
Fritz Hahn: I'm sure you're not. Good ol' Quarry House.
Pittsburgh, Pa.: Visiting D.C. with my senior parents this weekend. Looking for Easter brunch/lunch on Sunday that would satisfy the tastes of people that are most used to home cooking and no fancy schmancy food. I tried resos at Georgia Browns to no avail. Any ideas?
Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs! Next weekend is my 25th birthday, and I am organizing a group of friends to go to the drag queen brunch at Perrys. I've never been there before and I know that they don't accept reservations. Do you have any advice for me? Is this a good spot to pick? Will I have trouble with a group of around 12 people? Should I pick somewhere else fun, and if so, any suggestions? I'm really looking forward to this, so your help is really appreciated! Thanks!
Fritz Hahn: As long as your friends aren't shrinking violets, then it's a great place to take a group for a birthday. The no-reservations policy can be a bit tough, with lines forming anywhere up to an hour before doors open, and Perry's not seating incomplete parties.
My advice would be to show up late -- the performances run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., so if you get there around noon, you might have an easier time being seated, especially with a dozen people.
Another great drag brunch: Nellie's. $20 includes a buffet and your first Mimosa.
Fried Pickles in Silver Spring: For the person looking for fried pickles, the best are at the Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring. Hands down.
Fritz Hahn: A couple of people are saying this.
I stand by Kitchen, but I could be persuaded to go to Silver Spring for fried pickles, cold beer and Ray Charles' "Modern Sounds in Country and Western" on the juke.
Churchkey?: Hey There,
Coming to D.C. for the weekend and have been hearing good things about Churchkey? Is it worth the hype and/or better than Brickskeller?
Also heard that it is nearly impossible to find a table there. Do you have any good suggestions for when to go?
Fritz Hahn: Absolutely worth the hype and the best addition to the D.C. bar scene in the last 12 months. Fifty drafts and 500 bottles, and in many visits, they've only ever once been out of something I ordered.
The downside of CK's awesomeness is that it's packed to capacity on Friday and Saturday nights.
Unless you're like me and go at off hours, that is -- I was in at 1:30 to watch soccer two Saturdays ago and there were plenty of seats at the bar.
(Oh, and did I mention that the Going Out Guide happy hour is at ChurchKey one week from today? With free food? And for the first time ever at ChurchKey, HAPPY HOUR BEER PRICES? And that you'd be able to try some of the Beer Madness beers?)
You can thank us next Thursday.
Fried pickle(s) at QH: Yes, but be warned that it's a fried pickle spear, not fried pickle chips. Not as good, IMHO.
Fritz Hahn: Oh, no. That's not as good. Gotta be deep-fried chips or rounds.
I'm playing hooky on Monday...: ...and could use some lunch ideas. I was thinking Masa 14, but they're not open for lunch or St. Ex, but they're not open for lunch on Mondays. Looking for something along those lines -- and somewhere where I can enjoy an adult beverage. Thanks!
Julia Beizer: Gotta be in the U Street area? Eatonville open for lunch on Mondays. If you're willing to venture South, I think you could find many more options in the Penn Quarter area.
Wine on Tap, Va.: Evo Bistro in McLean also has numerous wines on tap.
Fritz Hahn: Thanks.
New format?: Why don't you all have the new chat format? Where's the love for the Gurus?
Julia Beizer: Paul? Is that you?
We will, one day, dear reader. It's kind of a long story, but the old chat technology allows us to answer questions more easily on the backend. We'll come around soon.
Baltimore, Md.: Hi there! Where's the best metro stop for cherry blossoms when I have a 2.5 year old in a stroller?
Anne Kenderdine: Smithsonian, because it's the closest. Be aware that it will be crowded, though. What kind of stroller do you have? Contemplate whether you could stand carrying the kid on your shoulders if someone else can carry your bags. The Tidal Basin path can be bumpy and isn't always so easy to push a stroller around, even though plenty of people do it.
Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs,
I can't remember if it was you all or Tom who recently recommended PS 7 for a large happy hour gathering, but I'd say based on personal experience -- don't do it.
I attempted the same thing a few weeks ago, and even called ahead and checked that no events were planned, etc., but by 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday they were at capacity and turning people away at the door. To top if off, the manager on duty was downright rude about it.
I can understand the "at capacity" issue, but not the rudeness. Sadly, it really soured me on the place.
On another note, have you tried that new lounge in Dupont -- One Lounge? Any thoughts?
Fritz Hahn: I don't think I'd recommend PS 7's for a happy hour group larger than, say, four, unless you're renting/reserving the whole lounge. The layout isn't the most conducive to mingling, and it's got a built-in crowd who drink/eat there on the regular. There's no space at the bar on an average Thursday at 6, so if you bring in more people ... that's gonna be a mess.
One is kind of a weird place. Thumping euro house music at 7 on a Wednesday. Decent cocktails, nice furniture, need to go back on a weekend instead of just popping in for happy hour.
Logan: Hey GoGs -- Future in-laws are in town this weekend to check out my new condo. Any suggestions for where to take them for a (relatively) affordable dinner in Logan Circle? We want to show them the neighborhood, so a place with a good vibe is important. They aren't particularly adventurous eaters, but would be willing to eat most cuisines. Thanks much!
Washington, D.C.: I keep hearing about $5 tickets to Nats games. Do these exist? How do you get them and where are the seats?
Fritz Hahn: The $5 Grandstand tickets are sold at the box office on gameday. You're stuck in the very top of the very end of the left field stands. I've bought those tickets before, then went and stood in the Red Loft and watched the game from there with a beer in hand and was far happier.
More Fried Pickles: Continental has them too!
Fritz Hahn: Good to know. Thanks.
Washington, D.C.: Submitting early so hopefully you can help! So the fam is in town visiting and I have most activities planned, except for pre-dinner. What the heck do you do from about 4 p.m. to dinner time? Normally I'd suggest happy hour but we have some underagers in the group. Any ideas? (FYI - this is actually for today and please in the District only!)
More wines on tap in Va.: Reston Town Center (the "new" section) has a spot, name escapes me though...
Julia Beizer: Are you talking about the Boxwood tasting room? Because I really want to go there.
That new part is WILD to me. Reston Town Center was one of my two "Mallrats" spots back in the day.
Arlington: Boring question but here it goes: what is the timeline etc. for Cherry Blossom festivities this coming weekend? I have guests showing up that I had completely forgottenwere coming and am not at all prepared.
Fritz Hahn: Know the feeling, Arlington. The big events are: Cherry Blast, which has DJs, artists and music on Friday night; the Saturday night fireworks, which are preceded by music, food and family-friendly activities on the Southwest Waterfront; and the Lantern Lighting ceremony on Sunday. We have extended information about all the events in our Cherry Blossom Festival guide.
For fried pickle chips in VA...: Try Continental in Rosslyn. They're half price during happy hour too! Delicious and cheap with a tasty dipping sauce.
Fritz Hahn: Will do. Now I'm hungry.
Fried pickles: Del Merei Grille in Del Ray has great ones, flaky chip kind. The place is a little over priced, but always good.
Fritz Hahn: Y'all are a fount of information. Thanks.
Kids itinerary help for Saturday!: Hello dear Gurus and Happy April Fool's Day. I just have a quick question for you. I am watching my nieces this Saturday morning. (Ages range between 5-8). Is there anything fun (preferably outdoors) that we can do in D.C. or VA? We did the cherry blossoms. No museums please. Some kind of activity followed by food (pizza) and ice-cream would be great. Thanks a lot!!
Anne Kenderdine: Would they still be into an Easter egg hunt? There's a giant one on Capitol Hill, but its sister event starts earlier in Ballston at 10:30. If you're heading to the Hill, it would be a simple walk over to Eastern Market for food later on, and the sights of the market can entertain all ages. Tudor Place has the schmancy Easter egg party on Saturday morning, but it will cost you. (Also, near Georgetown for food later on.) Or, introduce them to yoga at the free giant yoga class on the Mall, which starts at 11.
You put the Lime in the Coconut: Hello amazing and all knowing Gurus -- thanks again for another week of going out insights! Does anyone know where a girl can get some coconut naan? Va./Md./D.C. metro accessible if poss. Thanks!
Julia Beizer: I wish I had a good answer to this question. Taj of India has a naan with coconut in it, but according to the online menu, it also has cherries, raisins and almonds. Chatters -- any help?
And you had a GOG happy hour there?!?!?: Fritz Hahn: I don't think I'd recommend PS 7's for a happy hour group larger than, say, four, unless you're renting/reserving the whole lounge
Fritz Hahn: We've never had a Going Out Guide happy hour there.
You may be thinking of the Peeps Happy Hour, which some other Web sites erroneously reported was at PS 7's. It was actually held here at the Washington Post building with cocktails and food catered by PS 7's. I saw it listed as being at PS 7's and e-mail a couple of people about it, but I guess all the corrections weren't made.
Washington, D.C.: My girlfriend and I are celebrating our 1-year anniversary on Friday, April 9. Can you recommend a few romantic places in D.C. that we probably have not been to? Ideally, the cost would be between $30-40 per entree. Thanks.
Julia Beizer: Congrats on the milestone! What about Bibiana, Birch and Barley or Corduroy?
Alexandria, Va.: Hello!
I have a [lame] question for you all. Is there a bar/lounge in/near Ballston where a group of four 30-something ladies can have a drink after dinner and conduct pleasant conversation? This will be a much-anticipated night-without-babies for some and a rare night out for others, so the ability to catch-up is important. Thanks!
Fritz Hahn: In Ballston? I can't really think of many places. Caribbean Breeze would be my safest bet for conversation and cocktails, especially if you can snag a spot on the patio. If you're doing this early enough, maybe the patio at Grand Cru?
But too many places in Ballston are either too crowded/loud (Rock Bottom, Union Jack's, etc.) or lame (Willow, etc.) for me to recommend for such an important gathering.
Gardens: An English friend and gardening enthusiast will be visiting D.C. for eight weeks (late April-June)and I'd like to take her to Aboretum and Hillwood, at least. When is "peak" time for garden displays at these locations? Other suggestions welcome for places in and close-by D.C.?
Anne Kenderdine: Clearly, I'm no garden expert, but I think full-on springtime, the whole length of her visit, will be a great time to take her to any area garden. Spring is the season D.C. does best. Check out these ideas from our colleage Amy Orndorff on great gardens to see in springtime. I second your ideas on Hillwood and the Arboretum, and I'd toss in Tudor Place, mentioned earlier, and also Mount Vernon.
Farragut West: Hi Gurus, It's almost wedding season and I want to alter a few of my bridesmaid dresses so I can wear them again. I'm very cost conscious and I'm willing to go anywhere in the D.C. area. Thanks!
Sober-ville: Hey Gurus, I've given up drinking, in all forms. Let's just say it was a decision I needed to make but it's changing my style. Are there any good non-drink related places around town to see a show or hear some music? Will your Taste of the Nation be any fun for someone who isn't enjoying cocktails?
Fritz Hahn: Taste of the Nation has more than 60 restaurants offering food, so I think anyone can enjoy that, whether drinking or not. (We have three superstar bartenders working for us, but they're not the only attractions.)
As for non-drink related bars -- I've made it through shows at Jammin' Java and Twins Jazz without drinking, among others. (For me, with Jammin' Java and the Birchmere, it's a case of not drinking and driving.) I would say that the Birchmere and Blues Alley, being more of listening rooms than just bars with music, would be good options.
Yoga: Do you know how long the yoga on the Mall will last?
Julia Beizer: The class is supposed to be an hour.
RE: fam in town: Hey sorry to write in again - unfortunately did the Portrait Gallery last time they were here. I should have mentioned I'm a long-time resident and they visit often. I'm looking for something that's opened in the last few months or so. Thanks for the help!
Julia Beizer: Oh -- thanks for the clarification. No worries. What about the Cherry Blossoms? It *is* that time of year.
Penn Quarter: Hey Gurus! I didn't receive any confirmation that my question went through the first time, so I decided to submit again. I have a wedding-related question for you. I'd like to host my reception next year in a historic building in the District. I'd like to avoid a hotel, if possible. Do you have any recommendations? At this point, I've mostly focused on the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, the Corcoran Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Can you think of anything slightly less expensive? Thanks!
Julia Beizer: Hi there, I believe the Sewall Belmont House and the Josephine Butler Center are cheaper than the houses you mention. The Carnegie Building at 16th and P and the Arts Club of Washington are also slightly less expensive (or at least they were when I was planning my wedding many years ago). Other historic houses: Meridian House and the Decatur House (but both are pricey).
True story: I've often thought about leaving journalism to go into local wedding planning. I know entirely too much about this topic.
Good for beer drinking Friday: I have tomorrow off (woo hoo!) and add in that it is going to be gorgeous I'm going to take advantage which means finally getting to Happy Hour early. Where is the best place to grab an outside table for some happy hour specials? I'm thinking beer and/or wine and some grub. DC & metro accessible prefered. Thanks for helping me make the most of my day off and start the Easter weekend with a bang!
Fritz Hahn: The big caution I'll give you here is that many bars only offer their specials at the bar itself, not throughout the entire space.
That said, I'm SO looking forward to good weather.
We mentioned a bunch of outdoor spaces with deals in Nightlife Agenda, including the season debut of the patios at Capitol City Brewing Company, Cantina Marina and the patio at Little Miss Whiskey's. Take all of those, throw in Rock Bottom Ballston, Caddies in Bethesda (plenty of drink specials), the patio at Union Pub on the hill ...
Alexandria, Va.: My 16-year old nephew is visiting this week while on spring break -- any suggestions on what to do with him?? We have tickets to the Caps game tonight but would love some ideas for tomorrow afternoon/evening. Thanks! -Fun Aunt
Anne Kenderdine: Hard to say without knowing what he's into, but I think the Newseum could really appeal to high school kids. It's open until 5, and with the giant glass walls, you can kind of feel like you're outside even if you're inside. You could do dinner afterward and then hit a movie at Gallery Place. And if he's a sports fan, it's a great weekend for that: the last preseason Nats game and D.C. United's home opener are both Saturday.
Ladies in Ballston: Willow has a calm/quiet atmosphere.
Fritz Hahn: But it's kinda lame.
Washington, D.C.: I have a friend who loves all things Russia and even lived there for a while. I want to find somewhere fun for dinner. Is the Russia House on CT Ave a good choice? Are there any other choices?
Julia Beizer: Not for dinner, no (in my humble opinion....). Fun for strong vodka drinks!
What about Masa 14? That's a fun sceney spot....
Bethesda, Md.: Hope I'm not too late!! We are headed to the Nationals exhibition game this weekend and are wondering if the Bullpen will be open. Seeing as they have no phone number, not sure how to find out in advance. Any intel?? If not, any suggestions on outside patios to grab a few drinks before the game?? Thanks so much!
Fritz Hahn: It's opening for the season as of this weekend, and will be open before and after every Nats home game. (Opens two hours before the first pitch, closes at midnight.)
U St Music Hall: Hi Gurus, I read your review of the recently opened U St music hall and while it was helpful, it didn't provide enough for me so my question is: what's the vibe like? I'm a closet techno/electronic lover but can deal without the prentention prevalent at so many other lounges/clubs in DC. Is it really like the owners say they want it to be? Can I go there without worrying about what latest fashion I need to be wearing? Secondly, it's 18 and up most nights right? Will I have to deal with drunk underage fools who don't know how to act right?
Rhome Anderson: Most events are 18 and over with special exemptions. With the experience of the ownership taken into account, I doubt that under-agers will sneak in, but we'll have to wait and see.
And yes, it is really stripped of all velvet rope/bottle service culture. Wear what you like. Just dance.
Washington, D.C.: Gurus, please, Please, PLEASE help me! I am looking for a place to have brunch somewhere, anywhere in PG County and I'm coming up with nothing.
I found an old article about places to eat in PG, but 2 of the 3 recommendations for brunch have since closed down.
If you could help a girl out with some recs it would be more than appreciated.
Fritz Hahn: Franklin's in Hyattsville opens at 11 on Sundays, but doesn't do pancakes, eggs, etc. if you want traditional brunch foods. Same with DuClaw in Bowie, which I'm a fan of.
I've heard good things about Peachez Cafe and Lounge in Upper Marlboro, which has live neo-soul and jazz on weekends, but also does a full Sunday brunch buffet with $5 all-you-can-drink mimosas.
More Fried Pickles: Happy hour at Acadiana, basket for half price and they're very good. And you have the rest of their great happy hour menu to enjoy as well.
Fritz Hahn: Oh, I totally forgot about those. Had them with a Sazerac. Really good.
RE: Fam again: That's the daytime activity -- I've sent them around the city to hit up the Cherry Blossoms and some of the new Smithsonian exhibits during the day (Newseum tomorrow). By 4 p.m., they are usually a little tired but too early to get dinner. See, its hard figuring this out!
Julia Beizer: Man, this IS hard. I suppose it would be too much walking just to cruise around a place like U Street or Eastern Market?
Wedding in D.C.: I had my wedding at the Arts Club of Washington and it was amazing! The staff was top notch, food was really good, the Hotel Lombardy next door is very convenient for out-of-town guests.
Julia Beizer: I also went to an epically awesome wedding at the Arts Club. Good food, pretty setting. The people were really nuts about making sure you had your shoes on on the dance floor, but that was the only drawback I can think of.....
Downtown: For those of us planning on taking Monday off for opening day, any recommendations for before/during/after the game? Unsure if we'll be able to grab $5 at 10 am before the game or get scalper tickets, so I just want to make sure I've got all my bases covered...:)
Fritz Hahn: Before the game: Tune Inn for breakfast and that all-important first beer and a shot of the day.
During: The Bullpen is right across the street for beers, live music and the game on flatscreen TVs.
After: Barracks Row bar crawl: Molly Malone's, Lola's, Matchbox.
Re: Sober-ville: HR-57 on 14th serves alcohol but I think its much more about the music and nice way to spend an evening.
Fritz Hahn: True. I'd put Twins (again) in the same category. It's a concert venue, not a bar that happens to have jazz, like U-Topia or Cafe Nema.
Maryland: Any word on bars opening early for Opening Day this year? I know that since the President is throwing the 1st pitch, getting into Nats Park will be a nightmare and we will need to get in line early. Since the game starts at 1pm, I would like to pre-game a little before waiting in line and paying for overpriced beer. We were thinking of the Ugly Mug or Molly Malone's since they have those golf carts. Any thoughts?
Fritz Hahn: Ugly Mug or Molly's would work. I'd also say Cantina Marina, which is a 15-ish minute walk from the stadium (or one Metro stop) and will be open at 10:30 for pregaming.
Metro Center: Hi Gurus! What have you heard about the closing of Aroma? I was in there last week and staff is saying it will be open another month or two before changing (not sure if ownership is changing) to a wine bar.. kinda sad! Although one thing I won't miss is the cigarette smoke..
Fritz Hahn: I think I've mentioned this before, but ages ago -- They're turning into a wine bar, and (shock) adding a kitchen upstairs. It will be kind of sad. When I first moved into the city, that spot was like my second home, although the staff was what really made the place and they've pretty much all moved on.
Shirlington: What are some good places to watch the CB fireworks in VA? Would Indigo Landing be good?
Fritz Hahn: None of us have actually watched from that side of the river, but since they're set off around Haines Point, I'm assuming they'd be completely visible from Indigo Landing.
Cherry Blast: Advance tickets for Cherry Blast are sold out. :( What are my chances of getting a ticket at the door if I show up early? Otherwise I'm thinking about hitting up the Buzzed Spelling Bee which is on the opposite side of town.
Fritz Hahn: If you show up early (before 10?) you shouldn't have much trouble getting in. You just don't get the free drink.
And I love the Buzzed Spelling Bee at the Rock and Roll Hotel. I came in third a few weeks ago. (You should have seen the looks on the faces of some of the contestants who didn't realized they had to do a shot between *every round*.)
U Street: Restaurant quickie question: Celebrating the 1 year anniversary with my boyfriend on Tuesday night. Because he complains that I've been everywhere in D.C. (not true at all, btw), he picked a few options for dinner that I have not tried: Restaurant Mio, Acadiana and one of the Belgian places by the Hill that I can't remember. Judging just from their menu online and knowing his tastes I'm leaning towards Mio, but do you think it would be amenable for an anniversary dinner for two young people who love good food and cocktails?
Julia Beizer: Guru split on this one! I like the food at Mio -- even still after numerous chef changes over the last few years. The place has never been known for its cocktails, but I think it's a classy spot and could work for an anniversary. Fritz isn't wild about the place, and votes for Acadiana, specifically for their cocktails. I'm an Acadiana fan, too, so I support his response here as well. You'd have to be into spicy food though.
Have you been to Siroc? Totally love that place. It's also not a cocktail joint, but it seems like it would be a nice intimate spot for a good dinner.
Anonymous: Hi Gurus, Am headed to Marvin tonight for the first time....any beer suggestions? I've heard about the great selection there but have no idea where to begin.
Fritz Hahn: I usually start with the Affligem on draft, or DeKoninck, depending on my mood. One of those.
Annapolis, Md: Taking my boyfriend to see the Cherry Blossoms for the first time after 6pm tomorrow night. The question is where are we grabbing a beer or a good cocktail afterwards, say around 730-8pm? Something within walking distance, and if possible, near the orange line, thank you! and Happy Thursday!
Fritz Hahn: There really isn't much at all near the blossoms for cocktails or beer; The blossoms are kind of in an isolated spot (such as it is). You could hike up to the area around GW University (on the Orange line) and have a cocktail at Circle Bistro, maybe Tonic.
Arlington, Va.: Any idea when Lyon Hall is opening? Things are coming together inside it looks when I walk by and I even noticed their wireless network showed up in my available networks last night.
Julia Beizer: Just spoke with manager Andrew Limberg. They just passed all their inspections so they are less than two weeks away, he says. (Speaking as a now-experienced watcher of restaurant openings, I have a hunch it'll be sooner than that. Passing all the inspections = a super good sign.) Let's give it up for Arlington, right? Crazy stuff happening over there.
Washington, D.C.: hey, i know this is a repeat question, but what's the best way to try and get you guys to list and event in the nightlife agenda or blog? it's a theater night and its for charity (i promise!)
Fritz Hahn: Send all the info to nighlife [at] washingtonpost [dot] com. No guarantees about inclusion, but feel free to send us details. Thanks.
washingtonpost.com: And that's all for us today, kiddos. Don't forget to get your Taste of the Nation tickets using the link above! I mean, come on. Who doesn't love a discount?
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.