D.C.-area nightlife, events and dining

Got Plans?: Post-race brunches, outdoor happy hours and Hirshhorn After Hours

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The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, April 8, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discused post-race brunches, outdoor happy hours and Hirshhorn After Hours on Thursday, April 8, at 1 p.m. ET.

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washingtonpost.com: So, while we're all excited for today's chat, we're all REALLY excited for tonight's happy hour at ChurchKey. The Going Out Gurus are taking over the most popular beer bar in town for a private party, and you're all invited.Now, we know ChurchKey is generally slammed on Thursday nights even without a GOG happy hour, so there's a catch: If you don't tell the door person you're there for the Going Out Guide happy hour, you don't get in.To make it worth your while, we have free food (*while it lasts*), a slew of $4 beer specials, and your chance to get a FREE taste of one of the final four beers from Beer Madness.One note on timing: We're starting tonight's happy hour an hour earlier than usual, so the deals run from 5 to 7 instead of the usual 6 to 8. Got it? Cool. On with the chat ...

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Roofdecks?: Fritz, I remember way back when while we were all waiting for Churchkey to open there had been talk of them adding a roofdeck to the space. Did that happen or is it planned in the future? Though I think it would make the place even more crowded I think the extra space would be awesome...so, just wondering. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: It is definitely in the plans -- I've seen the intended space -- and if it comes out the way they've planned, it's going to be awesome. One long bar with 20-some drafts, tables and a cool, almost Brooklyn-esque view of the surrounding neighborhood. (It would also add some much-needed capacity on weekends.)

But there are construction issues to work out before it can open -- I wouldn't count on seeing it until at least the fall.

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Boston, Mass.: Hi Gurus, I used to live in D.C., and am coming back with a group of friends to run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler on Sunday. Any suggestions for a brunch/lunch spot afterwards? Obviously there's not too much nearby, so we are willing to travel. Looking for casual, since we probably will not shower, and a party of about 6-10. Thanks! C

Julia Beizer: Would *love* to get some reader suggestions on this. My sense is that your best bet is to get back closer to where you're staying and go to the most casual brunch place you can find. For example, Tonic and I have a fantastic after-race ritual that I hope to repeat on Sunday! Closer to the race site, I don't think Old Ebbitt would mind if you rolled up in your race gear.

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Washington, D.C.: I have tickets for the Hirshhorn After Dark on Friday night, the problem is that I have no idea what to wear. Any idea on this one? Cute jeans? Dress? Help!

Stephanie Merry: You can wear anything to After Hours, and you'll see the full spectrum, from jeans to dresses. The only caveat: Wear shoes comfy enough to stand in for a while.

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Hains Point, D.C.: Is Hains Point going to be insane this weekend. I know Cherry Blossoms are still going on but will Hains Point be too crowded to do a picnic with friends there?

Julia Beizer: My guess is yes. The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile race will be taking place on Sunday morning, so it will certainly be a zoo then. I think one of the spots in Rock Creek park may be a better bet. The grills at the intersection of Beach Drive and Tilden?

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Metro Centro: Gurus, I must say - your Best Bets series is TOPS. Here's one for you: what are your favorite outdoor seating happy hours?

Fritz Hahn: We actually do -- well, I actually do -- have a list of outdoor happy hours, but this fluky weather means that a number of places haven't fully gotten their outdoor happy hours up and running yet. (Some are waiting for the heat/cold to stabilize.)

I've been putting up a series of posts on the blog about outdoor drinks and nightlife until the whole list goes live -- maybe in a week or so?

But I would have to say that among the tops for drink specials al fresco in D.C. now would include Public Bar, Helix Lounge, Poste, Bourbon Adams Morgan ... and for cheap drinks, it's hard to beat Union Pub on the Hill.

I know there are other places with decks and patios that are open -- like, say Eighteenth Street Lounge, Current or Beck -- but they don't offer deals outdoors. Just at the bar.

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Washington, D.C.: Hirshhorn Afters:

I got my ticket to Hirshhorn after hours before it sold out. What time should I get there? By 7:30? Does the line move pretty quickly? This is my first time going. And since the weather might be chilly - are there going to be events indoors or most of the action outside? Thanks.

Stephanie Merry: Personally, I'm planning on getting there a little late and letting the lines die down. Then again, those epic lines of yore were mostly due to people wanting to buy tickets the night of, which isn't an option anymore. But if you want to be one of the first people through the door, then I think 7:30 should be just fine. And bring a jacket, because things will be happening outside.

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Georgetown: Dear Gurus,

My family is coming into town for graduation and I'm trying to find a place for dinner. I need to accommodate my grandmother, who is quite hard of hearing. My parents will only eat basic meat and potatoes food and they'll be meeting my vegan boyfriend for the first time. I would like it if his eating habits were not singled out by having to ask about everything on the menu. Also, I would prefer somewhere dimly lit; my boyfriend is a few years older and I don't want it to be apparent.

Thanks!

Julia Beizer: Hear that sound? That's me, throwing in the towel. This question has officially sacked me. Anyone have some suggestions for this chatter?

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Downtown D.C. : Hi all, I have a friend coming into the city with her 3-year-old twins this weekend and am wondering what you guys suggest as a good brunch spot. Maybe around the Convention Center? Clyde's is on the top of my list right now, but if you can think of anything a little more unusual (but still good for kids) I'd appreciate the help. Thanks!!

Anne Kenderdine: I'm sure Clyde's will hook you up. Poste is snazzier, but the staff will treat the kids kindly. If you care more about funky/unique than relaxing with sit-down service, walk down a few blocks to Teaism. It's way more casual (counter service), but that does make it easy to escape fast if you need to.

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Arlington, Va.: It's been a while since my girlfriends and I have hit the dance club scene downtown. With all the new clubs and lounges around, where would you recommend a group of 30yo's go without feeling out of place?

Fritz Hahn: Fly and Shadow Room, probably. I always feel Ultrabar is a little *too* college-to-25. Muse might not be bad if you're into electronic dance music. Oh, and Josephine and Current are pretty reliable, though the former can be tougher to get into without the hassles of bottle service.

I think Nouveau Riche is one of the best dance parties around for house and electro -- it's at U Street Music Hall on Saturday -- and you get 30-year-olds on the dance floor alongside kids with Xs on their hands, which can be fun.

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Alexandria, Va.: My sister and two nephews (6 and 2) are coming for the weekend. I'm going to take them on the Duck Bus tour (of which we are all very excited). Is there anything else kid friendly going on this Saturday in Alexandria/DC?

Fritz Hahn: The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade has floats, giant balloons, marching bands and music -- something the kids might be really excited about. And the Japanese street festival that follows is pretty cool, too -- I bet the 5-year-old will love the martial arts demonstrations and activities.

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GO CAPS!: Where should I take my spouse & 2 kids for a quick dinner before tomorrow night's Caps game? Must be within walking distance to Verizon Center. thanks!

Fritz Hahn: I always see Caps fans with kids at Austin Grill (Tex-Mex) and Ella's Wood Fired Pizza (self-explanatory) before games. Both are about a block-and-a-half walk.

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Celebratory Lunch in Alexandria: I got a new job! It's so exciting that my parents are taking us out for lunch but I don't know where to take us. We want to stay in Alexandria (but it doesn't have to be Old Town), and it has to be pretty moderately priced for lunch (no entrees over $14). Parents aren't too into Middle Eastern, Indian or African cuisines, and my husband doesn't like Japanese cuisine, so I guess we're going with seafood, Italian, or American! Any suggestions?

Julia Beizer: Congrats! Okay, my first suggestion would be to check out the totally awesome Lickety Split lunch deal at Restaurant Eve. $13.50 for two totally amazing dishes. (Could I type "totally" one more time?) They have little tables in the bar area, so I'd call the restaurant and see what time you'd have to show up for your best shot at getting one of those.

Beyond that, what about Evening Star or the Majestic. I bet you'd find something lovely in your price range there.

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dimly lit?: Dear goodness, I seriously hope that's a joke. All the other factors would be bad enough, but 'dimly lit' so family cannot see that BF is older? Is he going to arrive like a papparazzi-hounded celebrity via the back entrance so that mom and pops don't catch glimpse of him in the glow of the street lights??

Julia Beizer: All of the other gurus thought the question was a joke as well. Because I am hopelessly naive (and yes, will look for the word gullible on the ceiling), I do not. I believe it is reallllllll.

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Post-race brunch: I second Tonic. Went there after a race in the fall and it was great. Because we got there right when it opened, it wasn't crowded either.

Julia Beizer: Yeah, I've been to the Mt. P. one for countless races. It's always treated me well.

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Washington, D.C.: I have a friend coming Saturday with her 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 6-month old. Any suggestions for a fun afternoon activity? Our default idea is the zoo, but we've done that with the kids before. Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: The cherry blossom parade should be entertaining for the kids, and afterward you guys can wander over to the street festival where there will be storytellers, martial arts demos and origami-making for the little ones.

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For Boston visitor seeking brunch: I would think that anywhere with outdoor seating would be a good option. I've gone to Elephant & Castle after a race and their food is okay. I always suggest Tunnicliff's for casual brunch and that would be an easy metro ride away. Kick assphalt!

Julia Beizer: Hey, *great* suggestions! I often forget about the Hill for post-race ideas (since my priority is to return to my couch in Mount Pleasant as quickly as possible) but that's a really good idea. Good Stuff Eatery, all the spots on Barracks Row like Matchbox, Belga or Cava. Well played, chatter. Boston -- head east to the Hill!

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Brunch: I have to throw out my favorite place for brunch... Tunnicliff's on Capitol Hill. It's right across the street from Eastern Market and serves up some of the best options at good prices in a casual atmosphere. Since it's a bar at night, I'm sure they would be fine with post-race clothes.

Julia Beizer: Another vote for Tunnicliff's! Love their grilled cheese.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus, I'm taking the long-time girlfriend to the front row of Stars on Ice tonight, and I want to treat her to a similarly upscale dinner beforehand. Any suggestions near the Verizon Center? I guess I'm looking for fresh ideas, as we've already done the standard fare like Rasika, Zengo, Poste, Matchbox, etc. Any new or delicious places you want to recommend? Thanks!

Julia Beizer: Like sushi? What about walking a bit to Kushi -- which is sorta nearby at 5th and K.

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Arlington: My Marine husband is scheduled to come back from Afghanistan in less than a month. We want to reconnect after such a long time apart and I'm planning on making reservations at a really nice hotel for a few days after he comes back (kids and dog at home). Ideal would be very nice rooms, fine dining experience at hotel or nearby and nightlife nearby or easily accessible from hotel (he hasn't had a drink in a long time and will want to have a few!. So...what do you think? CitiZen? Jefferson? Gaylord at National Harbor? Lorien Hotel in Old Town? or another one? Thank you so much!

Fritz Hahn: Hi Arlington. Congrats on the impending reunion! My gut would say either the W (pricey, but plush), Hotel Monaco (funky and well situated), the Jefferson (gorgeous renovation, swanky bar/restaurant) or the Tabard Inn (perfect cozy, romantic couple's retreat, though not as plush as the others).

All four of those have bars/restaurants that Tom Sietsema and I recommend; the W and Tabard have the best bars. The advantage of Monaco is that you're close to some great restaurants and bars, like Proof, Rasika and PS 7's. And the Tabard ... I have a soft spot for the place because it's so well-worn and comfortable. And if your husband wants to go out to a louge/bar, you've got Fly, Eighteeenth Street Lounge, Current, Lucky Bar, Cafe Citron, Birreria Paradisco Dupont, etc.

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dimly lit: any of the busboys & poets will have vegan and American fare that will make every one happy. Try the vegan cheesecake!!

Julia Beizer: But what about the hard-of-hearing grandmother?

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Re: 3-year-old twins brunch: Poste is snazzier but not only will they treat the kids well, there is more room than Clyde's, so you won't feel trapped. If the weather is good, you can sit outside.

Anne Kenderdine: That is always a nice bonus. I love the light at Poste. So much to see, too.

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D.C. this Weekend: : Hi GOGs - You might want to suggest that folks plan to AVOID the entire Convention Center area this weekend. The roads are already starting to be blocked off, and security will be horrific getting ready for teh big Nuke Summit occurring there Monday-Tuesday.

Just sayin'.

Fritz Hahn: Yeah, this is kind of bad news for places like Bar 7 and the Passenger and the Columbia Room. People won't be able to go there Mon-Tues -- which are my favorite nights to go -- unless they work there, and if you're a bar or a coffeeshop, what's the point of opening if you won't have any customers. Feel really bad for the employees.

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Re: Hard of hearing, meat and potatoes, dimly lit for the vegan: How about Ray's the Steaks or J&G Steakhouse, or Central Michel Richard. All three have a menu with enough diversity for vegans. Vermillion in Old Town Alexandria has a special vegetarian tasting menu. I'd call them and ask about it to see whether your beau would be interested.

Julia Beizer: Ding ding ding ding! I think you're onto something with Vermilion. Graduation chatter, you should give that restaurant a call.

Gotta disagree with you on the other three. Don't think the the boyfriend would find much he could eat at two steakhouses and a place that's known for its burgers and uses a lot of cream sauce. J&G is quiet enough, but I think the other two would be too loud.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Where are the fun clubs for 40 year olds? I just moved back to the area and have no clue where 40 year olds who still enjoy the nightlife like to go.

Fritz Hahn: More details, please -- what areas are we talking about? And what kind of place? A bar with live rock, jazz spots, cool cocktail bars, wine bars? I can think of places that get 40-year-old crowds, but you'll have to help me narrow it down.

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Washington, D.C.: Gurus, with the advent of spring I'd like to wear a sharp suit I bought on sale during my last trip to Italy. The suit needs to be tailored and I am sadly at a loss. Does anyone know of a good tailor?

Fritz Hahn: I think Julia and some others here like Do's Custom Tailor, but I *swear* by Will Field at Field's Custom English Tailor. He's the best in D.C. for my money when it comes to tailoring suits you've bought elsewhere.

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Alexandria lunch: If celebrating means having a beverage or two, I'd throw Rustico into that mix too.

Julia Beizer: Another suggestion!

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Silver Spring, Md.: Gurus, I need your help! I have several guests coming in for the weekend and most of us are running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler on Sunday. Last year, everyone wanted to walk around on saturday to look at the friggin' monuments and see the same cherry blossoms we were going to see the next day. Against my better judgement, I didn't protest, and I was tired before the race even started! I'd rather save my legs this time around, but still would like to be a good hostess and find something fun and low key to do on Saturday afternoon. The only criteria is that it doesn't require an excessive amount of walking or standing around. Any ideas?? Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: Hm. You're making me rethink my walking-heavy plan for Saturday, Silver Spring! But how little walking are we talking about here? Anything site seeing-related will entail some walking. If you just want to camp out and not move too much, a matinee movie or play (maybe Reasons to Be Pretty) would probably be your best bet.

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Washington -- Wedding Hair and Makeup: Hi All -- any chance you guys might have some suggestions for salons that do great wedding hair and makeup? I would like to go to a place, not have the people come to me. My current salon is too far away and I am looking for one in NW D.C., preferably. Thanks for your help!

Julia Beizer: I am all about throwing questions out to the chatters today. Gals, any recs?

I've heard good things about Erwin Gomez salon for this sort of thing. I had my makeup done at DBrows, which was then on U Street, but now on Georgia Ave., and my hair done at Bang, because I couldn't imagine my wedding day without Patrick, my favorite stylist in the world.

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For Stars on Ice Goer: Sei is near the Verizon Center and is great.

Julia Beizer: Agreed.

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Washington, D.C.: I already checked your "best bets" column and still need help. Where are the best Saturday and/or Sunday brunch spots (aside from my standby, Argonaut) that have bottomless mimosas? Bonus points if it has outdoor seating. thanks!

Julia Beizer: I think Creme is among the best brunch places in town. Bottomless mimosas, no outdoor seating. Front Page has both. Food's not as good, but the drinks are just fine.

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Dupont Circle, D.C.: Hey GOGs!

First, excited for the Happy Hour event! Love me some B&B.

Second, I have some loser friends that will be stuck at the office until 7pm tonight - so they won't be able to make it. But they are still pumping me for HH drinks afterwards.

Here are our preferences, in order of priority:

(1) Good scene, preferrably with some single attractive young professionals (22-30 age range).

(2) Outdoors (patio/deck, etc.) to enjoy the nice weather.

(3) Happy Hour Specials that run past 7pm (as we'll likely only get there at 7pm).

Is this too much to ask for, or is there such a place in DC that will make our HH dreams come true?

Fritz Hahn: I've got not one but TWO answers for you, both of which have deals from 5-8 on weekdays:

1. Local 16. Great rooftop deck (one of my favorite around the city). $5 mojitos, Tequila Sunrises and other house cocktails, $4 beers and house wine.

2. Public Bar. Another great rooftop, and $4 drink specials.

Enjoy.

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Marvin Beer Garden?: I see that you can make reservations at Marvin, but can you reserve a table on the rooftop? If not, what time would you suggest showing up tomorrow evening to get a table?

Fritz Hahn: The reservations are for the first-floor restaurant only. The lounge and rooftop deck are first-come, first served.

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My Advice for Georgetown...: is that you can't make everyone happy. So find a restaurant where everyone can find something, ANYTHING they can eat, and grandma doesn't flip her lid. Have a good time, and leave the Vegan Inquisition and Gosh, My Boyfriend is So OLD stuff at the door. At the door of...hrm, back in the day Butterfield 9 would have been perfect!

Julia Beizer: Couldn't have said it better myself! (In fact, utterly failed to even try...)

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Graduation dinner!: Corduroy is perfect! Quiet and food runs from meat and pot to accommodating vegan (call in advance).

Julia Beizer: Great suggestion.

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NoVa.: Any ideas for something cool to do that's inside? My allergies are killing me.

Fritz Hahn: You and me both, my friend. Just play for rain.

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Arlington, Va.: What is the latest scoop on Buddha Bar?

Rhome Anderson: I just got an e-mail that they're hiring for DJs. But they're two years past the "Buddha Bar is coming!" date.

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Alexandria: Gurus, I have friends coming into town for the weekend. They have done most of the typical sightseeing things. I thought a baseball or soccer game would be fun, but the Nationals and United are out of town this weekend. Can you recommend any outdoor or active daytime activities for the weekend?

Anne Kenderdine: I'm guessing you've already done Mount Vernon? How about just a day of strolling through Del Ray, maybe with a stop at the farmers market?

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Arlington, Va.: HI Gurus--need your help! Any bars in Northern Virginia that will let you reserve a space/room/floor on a Saturday night? All I know of is Adams Mill in Adams Morgan...anything closer to Virginia would be appreciated! (not for dining--just for the bar) Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Places where I've been to private parties in Arlington -- Continental, CarPool, Rock Bottom Brewery, Gazuza (a whole floor if you want it!), Whitlow's on Wilson, the back/side bar at Ireland's Four Courts, the back bar at the Front Page.

I bet one of those would work.

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Bottomless Mimosas: The newly relocated Madhatter has a bottomless mimosas brunch on Sundays.

Julia Beizer: Nice -- thanks for the tip!

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Dim lighting for older boyfriend: I am a regular on this chat & I think this is the hardest I've laughed while reading the chat. Julia I like your comment as well! Ha!

Julia Beizer: Hey, well, thanks! Glad we could help break up the monotonous work day. Seriously, that question made my brain hurt.

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Tulip Library?: Is the Tulip Library north of the tidal basin still around? I remember going there to see the blooms a few years back, but I'm not sure quite where to find it. A friend is coming in from out of town who wants to visit. Any hints? I found a reference to it on nps.gov but no directions. Help!

Stephanie Merry: Yup, still there. It's between the Washington Monument and the Tidal Basin (by the Kutz Bridge). And if you want even more info about the tulip library, check out our special cherry blossom podcast.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Looking at places in DC, Silver Spring, Rockville or Gaithersburg. Places we can dance, live music would be good.

Fritz Hahn: Try the Quarry House Tavern and the new Jackie's Back Room in Silver Spring, Growler's and the Dogfish Head Ale House in Gaithersburg. All of those have live music, though they're not huge dance clubs, if you know what I mean.

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RE: Friends Coming to Town: For friends who have done the touristy activities, you could take them for one of those sightseeing trips by canoe or kayak.

Stephanie Merry: Or Segway! I've always wanted to try out one of those ridiculous contraptions...

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twitter?: do any of you have individual twitter accounts? I'm a big twitter fan and love following Tom for his take on things...

Rhome Anderson: Yup. They're awesome when we're all at the same place at the same time and tweeting about each other. We're dorks like that.

Fritz Hahn: Put "first name last name" twitter in teh Google and then you can read all about me going out and drinking beers and playing ping pong at bars. Scintillating stuff, I tells you.

Julia Beizer: I also have a twitter account. @juliabeizer. Sadly, I am not nearly as fun to follow as these guys. I am not funny in 140 characters. Or in 1,040 characters for that matter.

Anne Kenderdine: I think we all do, right? And you know about twitter.com/goingoutguide, I assume.

David Malitz: I live tweet every episode of "The X-Files" that airs at 2 a.m. on Syfy. OK, only half of them.

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Washington, D.C.: I live in D.C. but work in MD, which means that the earliest I get back into town is 6:30pm. D.C.'s happy hour culture is amazing, but I haven't been able to take advantage because the deals are over by the time I'm back and parked. Any recommendations for great mid-week happy hour specials that go later?

Fritz Hahn: See my previous answer about Public Bar and Local 16, add Cafe Asia (until 7:30), Lucky Bar (until 8, and all night Thursday) ...

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Gurus! I'm a beer drinker, but I want to start drinking a martini or two when I'm out. What bars are proficient at this? I know there is a place in Old Town that is popular for this and other mixed drinks, but if you could suggest some restaurants/bars DC proper ( preferably on Red Line) I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: I would go -- on an off night, preferably mid-week -- and sit down at the bar at the Passenger, PS 7's, the Gibson, Againn or Tabard Inn and ask the bartender for help. Tell them what flavors you like -- food as well as beer -- and ask them for suggestions. Most bartenders will be happy (and flattered) to help, as long as the place isn't slammed.

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Alexandria, Va.: All this talk of outdoor dining recently has got me wondering about Rumors. I walk by it a lot and think that the patio seems like a good people-watching place, but my memories of that particular bar aren't all great (namely, crowded with bad music) I've only been there in the winter, though, so I'm looking for your thoughts on the patio. Thanks!!

Fritz Hahn: The Rumors patio is just an extension of Rumors inside. Still crowded, still cheap beer, still a crowd that ranges from college kids to cougars. Cheap happy hours, though.

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Dim Bulb: As a guy in my mid-30s, I'm all about encouraging college girls to get/stay involved with older dudes, so here are my thoughts on how to hide his age: 1) After-sunset reservations for outdoor dining 2) Have him bring along a few even-older-than-him dudes, so he looks young by comparison 3) Along the lines of #2, try an early-bird special, so at least he's the youngest guy there 4) Find someplace where dining in costume is acceptable. Piratz Tavern, maybe?

Good luck! And, hey, if for some reason the above don't work out for you (though I can't imagine #4 wouldn't) and you have to dump your current beau, I'm sure I'm not the only 30-something guy around here that wouldn't mind having another recent grad with a thing for older men running around.

Rhome Anderson: I just hang out with Fritz as his wingman. Since I'm older, I get all the babes he rejects.

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Chantilly: Any thought of doing a GOG Happy Hour at Nats Park one of these weeks?

Rhome Anderson: I support this.

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washingtonpost.com: Okay, that's it. We have to get ready for happy hour. Reminder: It starts at 5 p.m. ChurchKey is not opening until 5 (instead of its usual 4), so get there as close to the start as you can. And say hi. And remember the password is "I'm here for the Going Out Guide happy hour."

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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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