Got Plans?: Places for people watching
Thursday, April 15, 2010; 1:00 PM
The Going Out Guide staff asked you about your favorite spots for people watching on Thursday, April 15, at 1 p.m. ET.
washingtonpost.com: Thanks for joining us instead of taking that long lunch to enjoy the sunshine. We're talking outdoor patios, that beer garden and a surefire thing to do tonight: Shecky's Girls Night Out. If you answer our challenge, anyway. Tell us your favorite places to people-watch, and we'll pick two people to win the two pairs of tickets we're holding.
NW D.C.: I read an article listing Tax Day deals across the country (free starbucks coffee if you bring your own mug, etc.). Do you know of any local discounts?
Fritz Hahn: Yep. We mentioned a couple in Nightlife Agenda this week -- $2 pints ALL DAY at Cap City Brewing Company, for example -- but there's a longer list right on the homepage.
HoCo, Md.: Hey GOGs,
I'm heading out with a few buddies to celebrate a friend's bday in Baltimore on Saturday night. We're heading out on the later side (not leaving till 11:30ish due to work commitments), and I'm trying to figure out what time clubs in Baltimore need to stop pouring/close up shop. Normally we head down to D.C., but due to the timing, it's not feasible to make the 45-minute trek Saturday. Any tips on pour laws in Bmore/what clubs we should hit?
Fritz Hahn: Last call is 1:30, bars shut up shop by 2. I say your best bets for barhopping would be in Federal Hill (Ropewalk, Pub Dog, Mother's, etc.) or along the square in Canton.
People watching: With this gorgeous weather, people watching outside is ideal. But that said, I love airports and Union Station. I realize this is very "Love Actually" but watching people return home and/or see someone they've been away from for awhile is just awesome. I also enjoy watching people juggle too many bags and making up stories about where people are going or coming from.
Stephanie Merry: Definitely a heart-warming place to people-watch....
Adams Morgan, D.C.: My favorite place to people watch is definitely the patio at Alero on U Street. There are SO many interesting people coming and going from the Metro. As the night wears on (and I as I drink more delicious margaritas), I like to play a game where I randomly call out to groups of men. It's a total role reversal - I start off by saying "Heeyyyyy, where y'all headed?" and go from there. SO fun!
Fritz Hahn: Yes, sexual harassment runs both ways.
Keep them people-watching tips coming in, people. Who doesn't want to go to Shecky's Girls Night Out? (Aside from me and David, that is.)
Tysons Corner, Va.: Are there ever any type of boat races on the Potomac to watch? I seem to remember watching some type of small power boat race near National Airport when I was a kid, but maybe I'm just imagining things.
Justin Rude: Not sure about power boat races, but the river in front of the Georgetown waterfront will be crowded with high school and college rowing regattas Saturday mornings. There are also races held at the Anacostia community boathouse, including one this Saturday starting at 8 in the morning.
NW-DC: Softball season is starting. Any batting cages around my team can practice at? Bonus if Metro accessible. We mostly live in NW, and VA/MD near NW.
Our team is worse than the Bad News Bears, so a little practice goes a long way! Thanks
Fritz Hahn: Personally, I like the the batting cages at Upton Hill in Arlington -- more for baseball than softball -- and those might be the closest to you. Readers?
Arlington, Va.: Outside patio at Columbia Station in Adams Morgan is a great place for people watching.
Fritz Hahn: Maybe, but I love the window seats at Pharmacy Bar. And there's Big Buck Hunter if things get boring.
Also, Toledo Lounge's patio is a good bet.
Arlington, Va.: Do you know when Lyon Hall in Clarendon will open?
Julia Beizer: This is why I love this chat. Forces me to do my research! Just spoke with manager Andrew Limberg again, and he feels very good that the restaurant should be up and running next Tuesday! Good pics on their Facebook page, if you're interested. Other news from the Liberty Tavern folks, Northside Social is already open -- serving coffee, wine and all sorts of other things in the old Murky Coffee space.
Arlington, Va.: Where is in your opinion the best pizza in town (Arlington or D.C.).?
Alex Baldinger: For starters, take a look at our Best Bets list on this very topic.
Julia Beizer: In my humble opinion, it's the Italian Store in Arlington (on that Best Bets list). Not fancy, just awesome.
Alexandria, Va.: I am not sure if I read it wrong or what, but I really love Skeeball but I can't tell if the places mentioned actually have skeeball all the time or if I have to be a part of the skeeball club (definitely no interest in the club). Can I go somewhere around here to play skeeball without the club?
Fritz Hahn: While the bars in Dan Zak's story all host Skee-Ball league events, you can also play the machines at any time.
There are a couple more places that have machines but no league nights, including the basement of the Pour House and the Big Hunt (as of this week), with machines soon to be installed at Buffalo Billiards.
In short, it's a great time to be a Skee-Ball fanatic. You can read much more about Skee-Ball and other bar games -- woo! slot cars! -- in next Friday's Weekend section.
People Watching: Navy Memorial at lunch time. Especially during tourist season. Kids trying to find their states, attractive men in suits eating outside, and the fountians keep the road noise to a minimum.
But I don't want the tickets, I'm headed to the hockey game. Go Caps!
Stephanie Merry: I agree, especially when it comes to watching tourists. Doesn't get much more entertaining than that....
Rville, Md.: What are some hot spots for the over 30 crowd? Too often, I find myself surrounded by people 10 years younger than myself and my friends.
Fritz Hahn: In Rockville or D.C.? Lounges or dive bars? Dance clubs? Where are you going that's packed with 20-somethings? Gimmie a little more to work with here and I'm happy to help.
Batting Cages: I'm guessing the poster wanted slow-pitch and for those there are some near the Eisenhower Metro (on Van Dorn btw Eisenhower and Huntington) - can't find the name quick. Much easier to drive, but you could certainly metro.
Julia Beizer: You are thinking of Cameron Run Park. It was my favorite place to go for waterslides as a kid. Now, my husband goes there for "batting practice" -- a ridiculous concept considering he only plays beer league softball.
New to Soccer, SE: With soccer season starting, do you have any advice for DC United tickets? Is it like the Nationals where you can walk up right before the game and get cheap seats or does it take more planning? Any DC United advice in general? Thanks!
Alex Baldinger: To answer your first question: you can almost always walk right up and buy a ticket for the lower bowl. Last year I bought tickets to the U.S. Open Cup final moments before kick-off and had excellent seats.
Now, how big of a soccer fan are you? If you're looking for a real FOOTBALL experience, you're going to want to buy tickets directly from a Barra Brava or the Screaming Eagles, two fan groups who have special reserved sections in RFK's lower bowl. You can find special BB or SE ticket windows near Gate B; or buy directly from them online. Only do this if you plan to stand and be generally rowdy for the entire 90 minutes: singing, chanting, yelling and airborne beer are par for the course. In other words, it's a great, great time.
Arlington: Re: Softball - forget the batting cages. Get your whole team out and grab a field that's empty at one of the area parks or on the mall with a big bag of softballs and take turns batting with everyone in the field - then you get practice batting AND fielding!
Fritz Hahn: Depends on the size of your team.
People Watching: Easy. The dance floor at Rumors -- The last time I was there, I observed a 70ish year old man sporting a moustache, fedora, sunglasses, and gold chain standing next to a twenty-something dude on crutches, who was dancing with a cougar, all while the mounted stuffed creatures on the wall looked on. I swear it was like observing a real-life Wes Anderson film.
Stephanie Merry: This one is getting the Gurus talking. I think you've just taken the lead, my friend.
Anonymous: I can't find a website for Lyon Hall. I hope they know some of their potential customers don't use Facebook.
Julia Beizer: You can click on the link to the Facebook page without having your own Facebook account. But I do see your larger point. Personally, I think restaurants/bars/establishments of any sort should be on the Web, Facebook, Twitter, any place they can. Meet your potential customers where they are.....
Skee Ball!: I had a perfect date night last week involving skee ball. We had dinner at the new Liberty Tree (which was PACKED! on a Thursday!) and then headed across the street to play skee ball at H ST CC. I had a great time - maybe bc I was winning at skee ball? We arrived at H St CC around 8:30 and had no problem getting a machine - we left around 10 and it was picking up, but def not overly crowded.
Fritz Hahn: I find that if you get to HStCC between happy hour and 9:30, you're generally good to get a Skee-Ball machine or even get in some mini-golf without a wait, but after that, all bets are off.
It's generally easier to get a machine at Pour House and Old Dominion Brew House (near the Convention Center).
Best Wineries in Middleburg area?: My boyfriend and I are thinking about a drive out to the Middleburg, VA area this weekend. We'd love to hit a fun winery or two while in the area, but we're not sure which ones offer the best experience (and good wine). Would appreciate any recommendations for Northern VA wineries!
Justin Rude: They are two of the bigger names out there, but my favorites are Chrysalis and Pearmund (which may be a bit south of your planned route). Its hard to beat Chrysalis's colonial manor house for scenery, and if the weather cooperates their outdoor seating areas are great, plus their focus on wines of the Norton grape gives the whole experience extra local flavor. Down at Pearmund cellars I love their whites, especially the Chardonnay and Riesling (a variety that I normally find far too sweet).
Lavanya Ramanathan: I did a story last fall about that very subject, and there are some great new wineries worth checking out, too, including Bluemont (which has great cheese and fresh warm bread, not to mention an awesome view). Really, it's a great thing to do in weather like this.
I also enjoy watching people juggle too many bags and making up stories about where people are going or coming from.: You know what's really fun? Hanging out on a day when nearly everyone's flight has been canceled to do a little people watching.
Stephanie Merry: Okay, okay. That portion of the response did sound slightly sadistic (especially for someone like me who's constantly juggling too many bags), but you have to admit: Seeing people greet each other at the train station/airport is pretty cute.
Alexandria: The story this morning about the blue crab population in the bay increasing by 60-percent has me dreaming of summer crab feasts. We've been going up to Cantler's for years and love it there, but it's gotten SO crowded! Over the weekend I was talking to someone about crab feasts and they mentioned another place in Annapolis "where the locals go" and for the life of me I can't remember the name of it. Any idea what they might have been talking about? Any other favorite waterfront crab shacks?
Julia Beizer: Are you talking about Mike's over on the South River? Cause it's one of my favorite places on the planet -- great outdoor dock, $8 for a dozen oysters, tons of crabs. I went last weekend -- check out this mouth-watering pic.
Cup Fever: I can't score any tix to the Caps games 1 or 2, so where in the city is the best game watching experience, you know game on with sound, many other fans watching...Thanks!
Fritz Hahn: Here's an advance look at my story in tomorrow's Weekend section about bars that are offering drink discounts and promising to play Caps playoff games with the all-important full sound.
Bourbon: My favorite spot to people watch is the small outdoor seating area at the Glover Park Bourbon. Between sports on the field across the street and the usually busy Wisconsin Ave corridor within Glover, I really don't think you can beat it on a warm day (with a Blantons in your hand).
Fritz Hahn: This is a good idea -- and the fact you're drinking Blanton's is even better. (Though a mention of Willet might have given you the win.)
Best Place to People Watch: If you can get yourself outside of the city, Tyson's I and II are great places to people watch. Tyson's I has more people, but the shoppers at Tyson's II tend to be dressed up more and in more interesting ways. I could spend hours there analyzing fashion choices.
Stephanie Merry: Julia and I -- both former mallrats at said establishments -- appreciate your sentiment.
Alexandria, Va.: My sister and her boyfriend are coming to town. The boyfriend is a pizza connoisseur of sorts and has heard of jumbo slices in Adams Morgan. I haven't been out in Adams Morgan in years, so I was wondering if you could suggest some good watering holes to hit up while we're there. We're looking for places that aren't too crowded or too loud. This will probably be either Friday or Saturday night. Thanks!
Rhome Anderson: Jumbo slices are to pizza connoisseurs as Ke$ha is to Marian Anderson.
Everything in Adams Morgan is crowded and loud on Friday and Saturday nights. Getting an early start (before 9pm) might enable you to avoid the crazies. You could try Pharmacy, The Reef or Soussi.
Washington, D.C.: Think the H St Biergarten will be open this weekend??
Fritz Hahn: Sadly, no. I took a look through the windows on Friday after the Spelling Buzz at Rock and Roll Hotel and they've still got a bit of work to do. Maybe by next weekend?
People Watching: Two favorites, although there are so many: National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Fountain-it's busy all year long with ice skating in the winter, and you get a mix of tourists and locals. I saw a guy's friends set up a marriage proposal there last summer and then watched the friends surprise the girl after the guy proposed!
Easter Market- just an eclectic group of people with the vendors and buyers!
Julia Beizer: I love this answer!!! Our girl Alexandria Garcia does this AMAZING video series on fashion in D.C. -- which you should totally check out if you haven't. One of my faves was Episode 4 -- at the Sculpture Garden.
Toddler-Friendly Family Activities:Hi all. Being a first-time mom, new to the area, I wonder if you could recommend websites (besides your own!) or places to go for ideas of family activities with toddlers. It seems the weeklies I pick up at the store are just ideas for camps and lessons. Good ideas, but not stuff we can all do together. Thanks!!
Justin Rude: Of course we would love for you to keep up with our own page of kid friendly activities, but DC Urban Moms is also a popular networking and planning stop, and a great place to meet other area parents. Two of my own 16 month old's favorite stops are Clemyjontri park which is a totally bonkers collection of mazes and jungle gyms and JW Tumbles, which is like the same thing, but indoors. He's an active little man.
re: People watching: portrait gallery steps. sit back relax and enjoy the view. one time i say jose andres walk by and no one recognized him.
Stephanie Merry: You're not alone. It seems like the Portrait Gallery steps are the place to be on nice days.
Best people watching: is at bus stops. If you're at a crowded one and you stand back far enough you can see some interesting stuff. Men sizing women up and down. Women totally oblivious. Interesting conversations (and sometimes confrontations) between strangers. Everyone getting a sense of camaraderie when the bus is late. The strange lady who complains about everything in the universe, and brings her own foldable stool to sit on until the bus gets there.
(I'm posting this but I don't want the tickets...)
Julia Beizer: I love this one too. As I think it says in my official bio on this site, the bus is my favorite way to get around town. One time, I was on the 14th Street bus, and a car came speeding off a side street and rammed straight into us. The car driver panicked and turned around and sped away. Only problem? He left his mangled bumper -- complete with his license plate -- sticking out of the side of the bus. This woman across the aisle from me started laughing and said "Only in Washington!" A fave refrain of mine ever since.
SE Washington D.C.: Recently moved to SE near Eastern Market and looking for good places to dance this weekend with some friends, suggestions? Also read Bohemian Cavern has a good 3rd sat dance party, worth crossing town for??
Fritz Hahn: There is not much dancing in Southeast, unless you want to go watch some naked go-go boys gyrating at Secrets, do some line-dancing at Remmington's or party with the interns upstairs at Hawk and Dove.
But Fatback (at Liv, upstairs from Bohemian Caverns) is one of the funkiest, sweatiest, most awesome dance parties in the city. Hundreds of people getting their groove on to raw funk and soul music. And it's free.
Caps link fail: Fritz, your link in response to the Caps question isn't working. Unleash the Fury!
Fritz Hahn: Really? Weird. Let's try this again.
Washington D.C.: Second the over-30 crowd question - my girls and I are in our early 30s and want to check out the guys, have a few drinks, dance some, live music would be a bonus. Looking for a good party vibe (like Adams Morgan) without the frat/intern/college boys and girls (like Adams Morgan).
Fritz Hahn: For dancing to live music, I don't think it gets a lot better than the soul/funk/blues bands at New Vegas Lounge on a weekend. The crowd is a little older (late 20s-30s) and it's a guaranteed good time.
People watching: For some stellar people watching, head over to Freedom Plaza now. It's a scene, man. SO many ill-advised jean shorts going on.
Justin Rude: You are not lying my friend, I rode the metro in this morning with some of those folks. Jorts everywhere!
People watching: Love people watching at Nats games, beats watching the baseball unfortunately...
Stephanie Merry: Sad but true.
Arlington, Va.: Where is the best place in the area to get fish and chips to some people who are coming to visit from outside the US and have never tried them?
Fritz Hahn: Well, I mean, fish and chips aren't exactly an American delicacy. I think you'd get the best examples in the U.K.
But my picks for D.C. would be Againn, which has a perfect flaky crust, and Eamonn's in Old Town Alexandria, which is more of an Irish style.
Cocktail Classes?: Happy wonderful weather day! I saw on the Passenger (or I guess Columbia Room) website that they offer cocktail classes, but wanted to get your feedback before I sign up. Do you know if they are any good?
Lavanya Ramanathan: I got to take one of the Passenger's classes last month for this story all about the new spate of foodie classes being offered. I have to be honest, I totally got sucked in. The classes are in the Columbia Room, which is usually reservation only, and so it really feels exclusive. A few things to know: You don't get behind the bar to learn to make drinks. And you really won't get to drink enough to get crazy. And if you're not already a serious at-home mixologist, take notes. There will be a lot to digest.
It reminded me of my favorite college seminar, with one of those awesome professors who'd meet up with students for drinks afterward.
Olney, Md.: Have you guys ever heard of Pizza Moto in Brooklyn? They are a mobile wood burning pizzeria that appears at the Flea Market there. Does D.C. have anything like that? This is my new obsession. Thanks for your help.
Julia Beizer: I only know what I know from the twitters. This pizza truck is a-coming to town -- maybe as early as Friday?
Rville, Md: Over 30 crowd clarification- sorry about that! Looking for some dive bar options in DC (maybe a little closer to the MoCo line in NW) with music and good beer. No interest in clubs or lounges. Not a fan of anywhere similar to Blackfinn in Beth- too young and music is too loud. And bartenders with personality are a must!
Does that narrow it down a little?
Fritz Hahn: I think you'd love the Passenger in D.C., and the Quarry House Tavern and the newly-opened back room at Jackie's in Silver Spring. Oh, and not sure if it qualifies as a dive per se, but the Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan has a great beer list and a low-key personality, and they've started live music nights.
Adams Morgan: so, my boyfriend's birthday is coming up, and i want to rent out a room in a bar to screen a movie he and his friends quote incessantly, drink beer and eat. we could do it on the earlier side so we wouldnt need to rent out the room for the entire night, and the bar would only be making money on our early drinking. any suggestions?
Fritz Hahn: Try the upstairs at either at Bourbon (Adams Morgan) or Stetson's -- both can hook you up with the A/V you need.
Italian Store Pizza: I second that emotion.
Julia Beizer: Thank you. Man, that place is good.
20009: GOGs, I really need your help with this one! I'm organizing a Girls Night Out for 4 of us this Saturday. I made dinner reservations at Sei (to keep the 2 pregnant women, one vegetarian, and one low-carb dieter happy), but I'm stumped about what to do after dinner. Ideally, we would like to stay in the same neighborhood (or at least not have to walk too far). I'd love to find a lounge where we could relax and chat, and not have the pregnant non-drinkers feel unwelcome. We will be heading to the lounge pretty early (around 9-ish). Any suggestions would be really welcome!
Stephanie Merry: I'd suggest Co Co Sala, which has plenty of deliciousness for the drinkers and the non-drinkers. I should also mention, though, that sushi is not generally recommended for pregnant women. Just want to throw that out there...
Washington, D.C.: Best place to people watch: Clydes at Tysons. It's just like the bar from the original Star Wars -- lots of mismatched, alien looking people. Second might be the new Spider Kelly's. I've never seen more people try so hard -- and fail -- to meet women.
Julia Beizer: Hahahaha, I will back you up on that Spider Kelly's comment. I was only in for a few minutes one night a few weeks ago, but yeah, I saw the exact same thing.
Bengie's?: Have any of the gurus ever been to Bengie's drive in? I was thinking of going this weekend to see Hot Tub Time Machine...do you know if I'd have to park my small SUV (Rav-4) all the way in the back? Any tips on going?
Alex Baldinger: Our colleague Amy Orndorff LOVES Bengie's. Here's her take:
This is one of my favorite things to do during the summer... I have even attended the dusk 'til dawn marathons twice. (I fell asleep once but made it through the other!)
You might have to park in the back, but the screen is so big that there isn't a bad view.
As for tips:
They are big about the rules so read them before you go.
Your ticket gets you into all the films that night so, if you are interested, check out "Kick-Ass" too. They don't accept credit cards at the box office so get some cash before you go.
@Alexandria Pizza Visitor: Take the sister's boyfriend to Valentino's in Alexandria on Beauregard. Enough Said!
Julia Beizer: Never been there......
Washington, D.C.: Hey GOGs! Heading to U Street Friday night for the first time in a while. Where is a good place for a group of 5-6 friends to go out? Looking for somewhere a little livelier than the Saloon but not interested in waiting in line at Marvin. Is Patty Boom Boom really as loud as I keep hearing it is? And are St. Ex and Bar Pilar still as crowded as ever on weekends? Thanks!
Fritz Hahn: My favorite weekend spot on U for sitting and catching up is probably the patio at the Gibson; only problem is that it's first-come, first-seated, and the capacity is like 45 people.
Patty Boom Boom is loud. Really fun, but really loud. It can be hard to talk, but the music is tremendous. I'd say Dickson wine bar (where I spent a lovely time on Saturday before dancing my [butt] off at Nouveau Riche), but I don't know if it would work for a group of six.
What about the bar at Velvet Lounge? It'd make for some interesting people watching while you sipped Natty Bohs. Masa 14 is fun if you get in early and can do some tequila flights.
Re: Boyfriend's Birthday: What movie does boyfriend & friends quote often ?
Julia Beizer: I actually want to know the answer to this too.
D.C. Proper: Fritz, here's one for you --- I'm thinking of putting together a daytime event that requires as much of the following as possible: (1) an outdoor area that allows you to drink alcohol or a bar with patio (2) a place that allows us to bring our own iPod and plug in/play our own music (we'll bring a portable player if necessary or if it's a non-bar outdoor area) (3) some decent walk-by traffic so we could invite others to join us. This would take place on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for a group of anywhere from 30 or 40 people and up. I thought of Penn Quarter Sports Tavern or maybe the Mall (but I don't think the latter allows alcohol). Could be anywhere in DC or close-in suburbs. Any ideas?
Fritz Hahn: The Red Derby was honestly the first thing that came to mind, if only because I know they're happy to let people plug in their own iPods and play music for a while, and they have a cozy little front patio.
Let's open this one up to chatters, even though it's late...
The Parisian: I like to watch people:at Redwood restaurant in Bethesda, and while eating a French pastry at one of Cacao's outdoor table on Bethesda lane -- tres chic
Julia Beizer: Aw, Bethesda Lane -- tres chic indeed!
Van Ness, D.C.: My best friend is visiting me this weekend for the first time since I moved to DC in Jan. (We're 30, btw) She lives in the LES in NYC and thinks that DC must be pretty lame in comparison. Even if that may be true to some extent, I'd like to show her that it's actually a much cooler town than she thinks. Could you guys recommend some hip, yet not-too-expensive restaurants/bars?
We're going to see the White Stripes doc tomorrow at DC FilmFest...and I'm planning on trying The Gibson with her Saturday night by U St. Any cool bars around Gallery Place for after the movie, as well as any restaurants/bars for the rest of the weekend? I'm counting on you guys to help me out! Thanks!
Lavanya Ramanathan: I once lived in New York, and when I visit now, I now pretty much spend all of time in the LES. I think taking her to the Gibson is spot-on. You might try to squeeze in at Masa 14 beforehand for some food or even duck into the Red Room bar at the Black Cat (maybe the crowd outside will remind her of the scruffy kids who hang out at Pianos?)
As for cool bars near Gallery Place, um, they don't exist. It's awfully touristy, and if you want to give her a D.C. experience, I'd hop a cab over to H Street NE after the movie. Try Little Miss Whiskey's, which blew me and my fellow former New Yorker friend away on our first visit -- the patio in the back could be straight out of a place in Brooklyn. Or try its even-more scenester sister bar, Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club.
Maryland: Hey guys -- we're big Red Wings fans and won't be able to watch the 3 p.m. playoff game at home. Any thoughts on bars/restaurants in Bethesda that might be playing the game?
Alex Baldinger: Can't help you out with a Red Wings-specific bar, but that game's the nationally-televised NBC game on Sunday, so your best bet is to head somewhere with lots of TVs. Bethesda? Tommy Joe's and Union Jack's come to mind. Go Caps.
Washington, D.C.: Hi GOGs! My best friend moved away in June and is coming to visit this weekend. I want to take her to some of her favorite places and also show her the new sights. We're thinking of going to Gibson around 6 on Friday and then stopping at Masa 14 for dinner and then making our way to Churchkey to meet some other friends. How early do you suggest getting there on a Friday to avoid lines? And if there are lines where else would you suggest in the 14th sreet/U street area? Any other places you'd suggest to show off the best of DC?
Fritz Hahn: It is neigh-on impossible to avoid lines at ChurchKey on a Friday, unless you're in the door at 4:01. Fact of life. (I don't think it's that much fun to be there on a Friday night after 6, even if you're only in a group of three.)
Your best bet is honestly to arrive after happy hour -- maybe 8, 8-30 -- or after 10:30, when the crowds thin out a bit.
National Gallery: The mix of tourists here is fascinating, and you can never go wrong overhearing and seeing people's reactions to art. I'm especially fond of the parents covering their children's eyes to save them from a nude painting/sculpture as well as the parents telling their children ridiculous and inaccurate historical information.
Julia Beizer: Hahaha. I've seen people do this!
People Watching: It only happens once a year but the Cherry Blossoms. My husband and I park ourselves under a tree, have a picnic and watch people navigate the tiny little path by the Tidal Basin - everyone from families with SUV strollers who obviously have been walking all day and spending too much time together to the girl in the ballerina tutu and pointe shoes getting her graduation pictures taken under a tree and then all the tourists taking pictures of the photographer taking the ballerina's picture. Too much fun!
Fritz Hahn: There is something about those pink flowers...
20009 again: Don't worry, the pregnant ones are going to stick to Sei's many delicious cooked entrees (and stare enviously at the sushi!).
Julia Beizer: Good to know. We almost thought your original question might be a repeat of last week's vegan-old-boyfriend/meat-and-potatoes-parents question.
Washington, D.C.: Where is good bar to watch boxing on TV? There is a fight on Showtime Friday night and I can't figure out a where to go.
Fritz Hahn: Public Bar usually has fights on.
Washington, D.C.: Hi GOG's! A group of friends and I are headed to the Nats game on Saturday. For many of us, this will be the first time attending a game. Since we are kind of a large group (around 15) I was wondering if you could clue me in about tail gating (is there any?) or a good place to meet up for some beers before the game. Should we meet inside the stadium? Someone suggested the beer garden. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Fritz Hahn: There's not much tailgating in nearby parking lots, since a lot of the crowd seems to take Metro. I'd meet at the Bullpen, the beer garden across the street from center field gates. Cold beer, grilled meat, rock bands, corn hole beanbag games if you get there really early.
Homebrew Groups?: I just started making my own beer - a fun hobby fo sho. Anyway, are there any local clubs or contests to get ideas and meet people who also homebrew?
Justin Rude: In fact there is a really big one: Brewers United for Real Potables. They have over 300 members, and the ones I know are very serious about their beer, homebrew or otherwise.
Petworth: The Derby wouldn't work for the group that wants to sit outside with an Ipod, because the patio is limited to 13 seats. I don't think they want that much of their group having to stand, especially as they have to stay inside the fence.
Is the patio at the Zoo bar big enough? How about Cafe Berlin?
Fritz Hahn: Right, forgot about the Derby's voluntary agreement.
Zoo bar on a weekend is *always* crowded with tourists and their kids. (There are times when I'd love to have an al fresco beer there but there are too many strollers.) Berlin's patio is in the "eh" range. The fact they really want you to order food is a strike in my book.
So let's think of some others -- I'll toss out the patio at Helix Lounge, maybe Elephant and Castle on Pennsylvania Ave.?
Washington, D.C.: Are there any fun concerts coming to town soon? Something smaller at the 9:30 club or a major band? Thanks!
Alex Baldinger: It's not for a few weeks yet, but Ozomatli's live show is practically the dictionary definition of "fun concert." They're at 9:30 on 4/26. They're really the ultimate party band; constantly touring, constant effort level, great crowd response. Just go. And if you aren't drenched in sweat at night's end after dancing for two hours, do let me know.
Washington, D.C.: Re: Boyfriend's Birthday:
I'd guess it's either The Big Lebowski or American Psycho
Fritz Hahn: Or, in my group of friends, it could be "Top Gun" or "Point Break."
Or "Fletch," which I think people watched about a dozen times over one beach weekend.
Arlington, Va.: Why no love for the Lost Dog Cafe in Arlington (north and/or south)? It's gotten the snub from two 'best bet' categories though its an Arlington Institution. Great beer, subs, and Pizza. Just wanted to get that off my chest.
Fritz Hahn: Both Steph and I think the place is okay. Good beer selection, though I can think of a number of places with a better one. (And we both really despise the place's "you're only allowed three beers, no matter how long you're here" rule.)
Washington, D.C.: Hi guys--
My boyfriend and I are huge Caps fans and excited for the playoffs, but we have non-hockey-fan guests visiting this weekend. Our friends have graciously agreed to go to a bar to watch Game 2 with us on Saturday, as long as it's not TOO crowded and has good wings. Red line accessibility (we live near Van Ness) and drink specials would also be nice. Suggestions?
Fritz Hahn: In addition to the Caps bars I posted earlier, how about Cleveland Park Bar and Grill? And you'd even have the option of a rooftop.
Arlington, Va.: Are there any Buffalo Sabres bars in town?
Fritz Hahn: Jimmy's Old Town Tavern is a Buffalo-everything bar, with great wings to match.
washingtonpost.com: We're about to shut this party down, so it means it's time to announce our contest winners. We're in agreement: The DC United tailgates sound like a classic weird Washington scene, and to the astute observer who found a Wes Anderson scene at Rumors, well, we salute you. You almost made me want to go there. Almost. If you sent one of those answers, e-mail us with your full name at firstname.lastname@example.org by 3 p.m. sharp so we can get you on the list for Shecky's Girls Night Out tonight at DAR tonight. It's 21 and up, and it starts at 5 p.m. Have a great weekend, folks!
2:27 Update! One of our winning chatters can't go tonight! If you're the person who submitted the answer about the National Gallery and watching parents tell their kids historically inaccurate information, e-mail us at email@example.com now! You win!
The Going Out Gurus write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene. Check in with them throughout the week on the GOG Blog or join their live Q&A every Thursday at 1 p.m.
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