D.C.-area nightlife, events and dining

Got Plans?: Buddha Bar, boxing and American History Museum highlights

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The Going Out Gurus
of The Washington Post's Going Out Guide
Thursday, April 29, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discussed Buddha Bar, restaurants for family reunions, highlights at the American History Museum and destinations for non-cougars on Thursday, April 29, at 1 p.m. ET.

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washingtonpost.com: Welcome to another week of Got Plans? The weather is amazing out there today, so thanks for spending the hour in front of a monitor with us. And since this seems like a great day to talk about this weekend's outdoor options why not kick it off with a reminder that Merriweather opens their season on Saturday with My Morning Jacket.

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Washington, D.C.: Submitting early, I hope you can help! Next month I'll be celebrating my birthday with a group of friends at the Nats game. I'd like to head to a bar to meet up with more friends after the game. I'm guessing Eastern Market is the best bet because its walking distance, but any ideas on where we should head? It is after a game, and we'll be a large group ourselves - but I'd like to class it up a little bit more than the Ugly Mug (late 20s/30s crowd). Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Dunno how big your group is, but I'd go to Molly Malone's -- probably the biggest space where everyone can stand around and hang out. I love the bar at Matchbox, but it can get kinda cramped.

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Washington, D.C.: Good afternoon Gurus! With the weather getting nicer, my friend and I would love to go somewhere where we could sit outside, have good margaritas, chips and salsa. Do you know of anywhere with easy metro access where we could do this? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: I love the roofdeck at Tia Queta in Bethesda -- great margaritas, free chips and salsa, and you're not on a sidewalk with buses rumbling by every five minutes, so it's easy to relax and catch up.

Alero on U Street is a popular choice, too. Good margs (and frozen, if you want that) and a large patio.

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Upont Morgan, D.C.: What's the status of the new venture by the Bourbon folks -- Jack Rose -- in lower Adams Morgan? I hear they will have a respectably large roof terrace for seating.

Fritz Hahn: I am ridiculously excited about Jack Rose, which is taking over the old Third Power Fitness spot on 18th just north of U. Three levels, each with at least one bar, and a total of 7,000+ square feet of space. They're removing a large portion of the building's roof (!!!) to make a year-round patio. There will also be a tiki bar.

Instead of bourbons, they're going to focus on Scotch at this location, and hopefully have as great of a whisky selection as Bourbon does.

Word from the Bourbon camp is that the best-case scenario is June, but I'd place my bets on it being later in the summer.

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Confused about the world embassy tour: Is this only taking place on May 1st -- the ad on TV said it was going on all month but when you click through to a few embassies they only mention May 1st.

Stephanie Merry: This is always a source of confusion because the Passport D.C. embassy tours take place a week before the EU embassies host their open houses. In short: The Around the World embassy tour is this Saturday, but you can hit up the EU embassies the following week on May 8th. As you mentioned, Passport DC has extended the festivities for the whole month, so there's also an international children's festival on the 15th and the Asian Heritage Festival on the 22nd. Check out the Passport web site for more info.

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The other C'ville, Va.: Do you know if anyone is opening for Reflection Eternal on Monday?

Gracias.

Rhome Anderson: A question I wondered myself. Called the Black Cat just now and was told that the opening act "hasn't been announced yet."

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Need drink help in Clarendon!: My husband is turning 30 and I'm taking him to Eventide. We have a seven-month-old and NEVER get to go out so I thought we'd be totally crazy and get drinks beforehand. Yes, I know - we're living on the edge. I know the bar there is small - what would you suggest? Spider Kelly's ok for that kind of thing?

Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Actually, I love the bar at Eventide. Some of the best cocktails in the neighborhood, though I'm looking forward to doing a little more exploration of the list at the new Lyon Hall. (I was visiting/tweeting about that last Friday.) Lyon Hall has a French brasserie feel, so if you'd like a nice glass of wine or a good German/Belgian beer, I'd do that.

Spider Kelly's gets really crowded on weekends these days, since the buzz on the place is ginormous, though I like the option of playing darts and having a nice Va. beer (Starr Hill, Legend, etc.) before dinner.

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Chris in Herndon, Va.: Hey Gurus! My girlfriend and I are going to Gold Cup this Saturday and was wondering if you have any tips on drinks, food and where to eat post-Gold Cup. Thanks!!!

Fritz Hahn: Honestly, I've done Gold Cup a number of times, but always on buses that depart/return to a specific bar/restaurant.

If you're not going with a group, the best bet is to bring your own food and drinks down there and have a picnic with gin and tonics or mint juleps or Pimm's cups -- something like that. The concessions are always overpriced.

Chatters? Post-Gold Cup dining suggestions?

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Chips/Salsa/Outdoors: If Shirlington isn't a trek for you, Guapo's is a nice option for outdoor seating and good food/drinks.

Fritz Hahn: Right, I forgot that Guapo's has outdoor seating.

I'll also throw in Cactus Cantina (upper NW) and Austin Grill (Silver Spring) as more outdoor options.

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Fairfax, Va.: What are some good restaurant/bar places you'd recommend for a NoVA professional, which are located in either NoVA or NW D.C., that would be good for a middle-aged female (not cougar), often solo, to eat good food (any) accompanied by good to excellent/fine beverages (any)? Where one could drop in, relax at the bar and have a happy palate (either comfort or epicurean food), and either people-watch or chat easily with people around the bar? This might be late happy hour or after-dinner hours. These places would be known for the quality and interest of their food and drink, and friendly atmosphere (we could learn something from UK's pubs in that regard). May be low or high priced; fancier or casual (but not chain food & boring/typical bar fare & drink). Would be in a safe area with convenient parking. Clientele would be a mixture of others with a good proportion within my age group; would have a mix of singles, friends or couples, and after-workers or other drop-ins for either relaxing drink or dinner. Background could be rock, jazz or just keeping an eye on a game on tv, as long as they don't drown out all conversation below screaming. :)

Julia Beizer: It's a sad commentary on the world we live in when a lovely lady like this feels compelled to assure us that she's not a cougar, as if we'd all assume she was.

But I digress. You might enjoy this not-so-long-ago article by Mr. David Hagedorn on restaurant regulars. The thing I loved about this article is that most of the regulars were bar diners, a practice I've come to love in my couple of years as Food gal. I'd hit up the bar at EatBar and Eventide for starters. Even though the clientele can skew younger in both places, the eats are tops.

You'll be more likely to find that mixed age group you seek in the city. Bourbon Steak's lounge, Urbana, Cashion's, Johnny's Half Shell and Sea Catch in Georgetown come to mind. The latter if you like oysters and good rose. (Now I'm the one who sounds like a cougar.)

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The Zoo: I'd like to take my toddler to the zoo early in the morning. Am I correct that they open their doors earlier than 10 a.m. (knowing no exhibits are opened)? And if so, what kind of experience should I expect to have? Will there even be animals out and about at say 8? Thanks!

Stephanie Merry: Yes! You can go any time after 6 a.m. In fact, early morning is my favorite time to visit. And sometimes you'll get lucky and see the animals getting their morning feedings. You won't be able to get into the indoor exhibits until 10, but animals will be out, and you guys will get to enjoy a nice, chill atmosphere.

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Petworth: Submitting in a timely manner... Just curious, why do people constantly say they're "submitting early"? Does this in any way influence whether or not that question gets answered? Okay, maybe this is just a rant against needless exposition, to which I am now a part of as well.

Julia Beizer: I've always sort of wondered why people rant about other people saying they're submitting early. But you're not alone in your wondering. I think Rhome is on your side in this debate.

To answer your question. It makes no difference to us when the question gets in. Tom Sietsema, though. That man likes his questions as early as possible. (But, no, you don't have to tell us how early you submitted.)

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For the non-cougar: How about the Tabard Inn?

Julia Beizer: Another good choice!

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Washington, D.C.: Any suggestions on places who will be showing the Mosley vs. Mayweather fight this weekend?

Fritz Hahn: There is LOTS of interest in this fight -- I'm seeing plenty of places that I've never thought of as boxing bars, from the Hill (the Ugly Mug) to Dupont Circle (Maddy's, of all places). Ozio will have its usual hip-hop party (free before 9 if you RSVP to rsvp@usualsuspectz.com) and show the fight. Public Bar will have it on, too. In Arlington, Summers will have it on, and Velocity Five is pretty reliable for boxing/UFC events. Same with First Down in Ballston.

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Glover Park: Hi Gurus! I recently moved here from Texas. Where can I find Shiner Bock on draft when I'm a little homesick? Preferably in the District, but I'll travel. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Shiner's all over the place, thankfully, from Texas-themed spots like Austin Grill (Penn Q) to divier bars like Asylum (Adams Morgan). I'm pretty sure Capital Q has it, too, and any number of places on the Hill.

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Alexandria, Va.: My wife's family is having their family reunion this summer in Washington, D.C. Everyone is staying in staying in Old Town Alexandria. Do you have any restaurant recommendations in Old Town Alexandria for a party 23 people that also includes in the group small children?

Julia Beizer: I'd look at Vermilion.

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Places with Regulars: For the non-cougar, the bars you mentioned in your response, which are all great by the way, are a bit more of a scene. Something like Jay's Saloon in Arlington might be more of what she's looking for.

Julia Beizer: She was looking for a place with good food, right? Not sure I'd put Jay's in that category.

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Arlington, Va.: Visited Lyon Hall for the first time last night and none of the beers we got at the bar were more than 70/75% filled, stein or goblet... Considering the prices, far cry from the full pours at Galaxy. Have you guys experienced this?

Also, here it is, opening date for H street beer garden yet?

Fritz Hahn: I saw one or two short pours in pints, but one thing to remember: Many Belgian and German beers are not supposed to be served with liquid all the way to the top of the glass -- they have fill-lines on the sides, and the rest of the glass is supposed to be filled with the head.

As for Biergarten Haus: Opening next weekend, according to the GM. Maybe as early as Thursday.

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Shiner: Shiner can also be found at Stetson's.

Fritz Hahn: Yep. Stetson's is a fun little place, especially with a pitcher of beer and the awesome back patio.

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Submitting early debate: I always assumed it was because sometimes you guys ask for clarification on a question and that if someone says their submitting early they are doing so because they can't read the chat at the appointed time and can't respond.

Fritz Hahn: That's how I always take it, too -- seems like people submitting early put more info in their questions in the hopes of avoiding a follow-up.

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Eastern Market first timer: Hey gurus, I should've submitted this earlier so can get help with this, but going to E.M for 1st time, really excited. Any recommendations on what to see or where to eat? I hear the blueberry pancakes are really good. Also, how far of a walk is it from the metro station, says one block, but not sure how long it is. And anything else to check out around there on Saturday? Thanks so much!!

Julia Beizer: See? Submitted at 1:30 and we still got to it! First things first. It is only one block from the Metro to the market -- a long block, but only a block. The blueberry-buckwheat pancakes at Market Lunch are indeed delish. Lucky for you, they're only sold on Saturday. For more on market food, you can check out my story from last year, but really, I'd say those pancakes should be top of your list.

As far as specific things to see, the market ebbs and flows throughout the year, but I wouldn't miss a trip to the flea market across the street from the South Hall or a stroll through the artsy vendors on North Carolina Avenue.

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Pentagon City, Va.: Bless me Gurus for I have sinned. It's been 6 months since my last D.C. outing. I have been a work fiend over the past year and can't remember the last time I went out for a night of fun in D.C. and i've missed a lot of what's new, what's hot, what's not blah blah.

I'm hosting a bacehlorette party Saturday evening and am having trouble deciding where to go out. We have a late dinner in Chinatown and will then be looking for some drinks/dancing after.

There will be no matching tshirts or flashing phallic symbols. We don't want table service or $20 covers, no college bars or georgetown. Just 8 friends in their late 20's looking to have fun together. I was thinking somplace in the dupont area since I think there are bars and places to dance as well--Public or there a couple new ones I have no idea what the names are. What do you think? Also if we have to get a list at any of these places, any direction of how would be much appreciated. I'm completely open to any suggestions you have!

Thanks for saving my procastinating butt!

Stephanie Merry: Say ten Hail Marys and take three shots and all will be forgiven. I like your Dupont plan. I'd say Eighteenth Street Lounge would be a good destination along with Public Bar and any number of other bars/clubs in the area. I've also been thinking recently that H Street would be a great spot for (non t-shirt wearing, low-key) bachelorette parties: Dinner and sake at Sticky Rice followed by a crazy show at Palace of Wonders and dancing at Rock and Roll Hotel or Little Miss Whiskey's.

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Biergarten Haus: Sadly, their website is reporting May 14th. http://biergartenhaus.com/

Fritz Hahn: Argh. I know these things are in flux, but I was told the 7th (pretty firmly) a couple of days ago when I was badgering them myself.

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Alexandria, Va.: Vermillion for 23 people? Does it hold that many?

Julia Beizer: It has an upstairs room that can accommodate big groups. 99-percent sure anyway. Chatters, correct me if I'm wrong.

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Follow up on the zoo: Thanks for answering the question! Maybe I could kill two birds with one stone and get my morning jog in at the zoo. What's the likelihood of this being enjoyable for me and for other early birds around me, given I'll be pushing the jogging stroller? Is that allowed? Thanks again!

Stephanie Merry: The zoo is a popular spot for jogging, actually, and I bet you wouldn't be the only one pushing a stroller. Have fun!

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Washington, D.C.: With the World Cup getting closer do you have any suggestions on what bars will be open for early games? I know Summers in Arlington does, but that place has the atmosphere and food of a, um, run down desert road diner. Is Lucky Bar a better option? Just looking for a place where there will be others watching, otherwise may as well stay home. Thanks.

Fritz Hahn: Ah, a question dear to my heart. I have a feeling we'll know more about this as we get closer to the tournament itself. In 2002, when we had the god-awful time difference between D.C. and Korea/Japan, bars had to go to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to get permission to sell beer before 9 a.m., and it looks like that may be the case this time around. (Germany's group game with Serbia, for example, is at 7:30 a.m. EST., though all three U.S. matches are at 10 a.m. or later.)

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Arlington, Va.: Hello,

This is a shopping question but I consider shopping to be going out. My partner and I are turning in our same sex marriage license this week. We want to purchase rings but are not looking for anything traditional. We are interested in Mexican-style silver rings with turquoise inlays. I have not been able to find any jewelry or ethnic shop that might have such items. Any recommendation is appreciated.

Julia Beizer: Congrats! Have you tried The Pheonix? The shop is expensive but specializes in BEAUTIFUL jewelry from Mexico. I interviewed the owner many years ago, but if memory serves, management has good relationships with the craftspeople in Mexico, so you might be able to get something custom, if you like. The Torpedo Factory is another good spot for one-of-a-kind wedding rings.

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Re: Vermillion: My recollection is that the upstairs has a bunch of affixed booths, so 23 might be a tight squeeze. Columbia Firehouse might be fun though -- I've had good experiences there.

Julia Beizer: Another suggestion.

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Atlas District: I am eagerly awaiting the addition of the Biergarten Haus on H St.... but so is everyone else, so I'm sure it will be packed for months. Anything else opening soon on H?

Fritz Hahn: I'm looking forward to the Queen Vic (a British pub near Little Miss Whiskey's), and the late-night noodle bar that's opening above the Pug. And the Rock and Roll Hotel's roof deck. And if you haven't been to the Star and Shamrock for the reuben egg rolls, you're missing out.

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Food at Jay's: It might not be fancy but it is delicious! It's a traditional bar menu but it will definitely surprise you given the fact that its Jay's...

It's most likely not what the poster is looking for but that doesn't mean that others shouldn't eat there!

Julia Beizer: A vote for Jay's! (But seriously, non-cougar, this is not for you.)

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Good draughts?: Looking for good draughts in the city that are not at a brewpub, Churchkey, Paradiso, Beck, or Kramer. Am I missing anywhere with a decent selection of some unusual micros? Metro accessible is a must. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Big Hunt is my first response.

Head to U Street and do a short crawl between Bistro La Bonne, the Saloon, and the brand-new Dodge City. (The latter has beers from Bear Republic, Green Flash, Founders, Bells, etc. for $5-$6 a pint, which is far cheaper than you'll see them at, say, the Black Squirrel, which has a half-decent list itself.

Also, the Reef had Goose Island 312, Allagash Confluence, Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA, and a couple of others worth checking out on draft on Monday night.

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Arlington: I was just wondering if there are any "don't-miss" Smithsonian exhibits going on right now. My mom and sister are coming into town next week and want to see Julia Child's kitchen at the American History museum, but I figure as long as they're down there they should hit at least one other exhibit/museum. Anything good? Thanks gurus!

Rhome Anderson: I love Julia Child's kitchen! Everyone does though. It can get pretty crowded.

Personally, the 'African-Native American Lives in the Americas' exhibit is on my list to catch before it ends on May 31.

Stephanie Merry: Since they'll be at the American History Museum anyway, tell them to make a stop at the new exhibit devoted to the Apollo Theater. After that I'd probably direct them to the new Hall of Human Origins at Natural History and From Impressionism to Modernism at the National Gallery for something totally different.

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Not Submitting Early: I always figured people mentioned they were submitting early to indicate that they wouldn't be online during the chat to answer any questions that might come in response to their comment or question.

Rhome Anderson: I can see that.

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Washington, D.C.: Please help...I am desperately seeking a fun club to dance to 80's and 90's music for those of us in our 30's and 40's.

Fritz Hahn: If you can make it out TONIGHT, I'm betting you'd love the '80s dance party at Chief Ike's, which features the DJ from the long-running '80s Dance Party at Heaven and Hell "facing off" against the DJ who used to spin at the all-retro Polly Esther's back in the day.

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Washington, D.C.: Helloooo I'm submitting LATE so hopefully this will get in :) On Saturday I'm going to a Derby Party from 5-8 p.m. in Columbia Heights. "Derby Attire" is requested. Where can we go out to dinner after and not feel like an idiot in such attire? The end of evening spot is Local 16 so anywhere between Columbia Heights and U st. would work. Looking forward to a wise suggestion!

Julia Beizer: On Derby Day, I doubt anyone would bat an eye if you showed up in full seersucker/bonnet/sundress attire, especially in the neighborhoods you mentioned. I'd grab a seat on the patio at Logan at the Heights or Room 11 (depending on the size of your group). Toward U Street, I'm sure the Southern-themed Eatonville would be happy to have you.

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General: If my question doesn't get answered, does that mean it was just a lame question?

Fritz Hahn: Not at all. There are six of us answering 100s of questions. Some take more time to answer than others, some are on topics we covered in-depth last week, some we just don't see in the long, long queue. Please don't take it personally.

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Restaurant Recommendations: In choosing restaurants, folks may also want to research the "Ask Tom" archives and try the Going Out Guide restaurant finder feature.

Julia Beizer: And this is the kind of reader we love.

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Jay's in Clarendon: I wouldn't go to Jays for food, but I would definitely recommend going there for a drink or two before getting dinner at Eventide. Not crowded, great staff, great location.

Julia Beizer: Everybody love Jay's.

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[lightbulb!], Va.: Oooooh, your answer to the gold cup question just reminded me: where can one find a good Pimm's cup in the city or Va.? just had one for the first time the other weekend and thought of having it more often this spring/summer.

Fritz Hahn: Good word from some friends of mine about pitchers of Pimm's Cups on the secluded patio at Bourbon Steak. Last summer, I also had a pretty fantastic version on the patio at Poste.

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Buddha Bar: I am big fan of one in NYC. Eargerly waiting for the music. Is Buddha Bar scheduled to open May 8th or May 10th?

Fritz Hahn: It's now May 10. They were telling everyone May 8, and then realized that opening on a Saturday might not be the best idea, so it has been shifted back to the 10th. That way, the staff get a few days to get the hang of the place before the weekend kicks off.

I've talked to the bar manager -- who ran the Little Buddha in Vegas -- and am looking forward to the cocktails, but as of yesterday morning, they hadn't even finalized the cocktail menu. (It will have a bunch of sake cocktails to go with 27 different chilled sakes, though.)

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Washington, D.C.: A bunch of friends (about 10) and I are running the Race for the Cure on June 5th on the mall. Any suggestions for a post-race brunch that will be open that early (race starts at 8 a.m.) and can (accommodate a group of sweaty (but nice!) people?

Stephanie Merry: Me, too! After the cherry blossom race, I struggled with this as well because so few places open for brunch before 11 or 11:30. I ended up at Busboys and Poets but also considered La Fourchette, Afterwords, Firefly and Luna Grill, if only because they were open at that hour.

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Help! Mother of the Groom Dress: Hey Gurus-

My mom is coming down to visit this weekend for one specific purpose- to find a Mother of the Groom Dress. She has tried where she lives with no luck. She is young and does not want anything that looks matronly. Do you have suggestions of dress shops that we should go to? I'm thinking along the lines of more general dress shops than specific wedding shops. Thanks!

Julia Beizer: We got you, groom. To be honest, I think her best bet would be a department story like Macy's or the Bloomingdale's in Chevy Chase because there are so many more choices. If she wants to try an independent shop, I'd look at Proper Topper and other stores along upper Wisconsin Ave. in Georgetown. It's pricey, but Intermix on M Street has a bunch of one-of-a-kind finds. Chains like BCBG, also in Georgetown, might also have what you're looking for.

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Any chance "I'm submitting early,": ... is actually a plea (i.e., I prepared ahead, I did my homework, please answer my stupid question about wine festivals)?

Julia Beizer: VERY possible.

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Black Cat: Submitting very late! Saw the GOG review of the No Second Troy album, is it worth seeing these guys in concert this weekend?

David Malitz: We always support an all-local bill on the Black Cat mainstage on a weekend, and that's what you'll get on Saturday. Very polished, radio-ready rock; read a full review here. Openers Soft Complex are playing their first show in about a year and a half, so that should be fun, too.

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re: Turquoise Rings: Hope this gets in on time...the couple (congrats, by the way!) looking for custom rings should also look at the Silver Parrot in Old Town Alexandria. LOVE that place, and they have some great, unusual stuff!

Julia Beizer: Another great suggestion!

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Washington, D.C.: I recently started taking public transportation (bus and metro), and I'm starting to disrespect/dislike men. What happened to chivalry where men opens the doors or offers their seats for/to women.

I'm going out, thus putting the vent here.

Julia Beizer: I never feel like a man has to give up his seat for me, but man, I could really do without all the creepy dudes on the bus. Hint to all the playas on the 50 series: licking your lips at me will never make me want to talk to you.

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Petworth: So, is it true that Aroma has closed?

I miss the days of Krishna, Lili, Bill, Rees, Glenn... but because they are gone, I haven't been there in forever either. I bet I am not alone.

So, is it gone? And what's going in that space? And who will be running it? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: I also stopped going to Aroma as regularly once the Krishna/Lili/DJ Dredd team was broken up. I also suspect we're not alone, and that's why the place is ditching the cocktails-and-cigars format and being rebranded as a wine bar. There's going to be a kitchen (!!!) serving small plates. I have my doubts, especially when you have Bardeo and Dino on the same block, but I'm going to guess the owners know what they're doing. (It's still the Bedrock team.)

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Pimm's Cup: Check out Ben's Next Door for a great Pimm's cup! Great bar overall.

Fritz Hahn: My problem with BND is that they tack an 18 percent service charge on tabs when you're sitting at the bar on Friday-Saturday night and don't tell you about it -- they just hand you the bill with a line for a tip. If you don't read the fine print, you don't see that the surcharge. (I'm glad I always read the tab before paying.)

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Washington, D.C.: Looking for a swanky rooftop bar to go to on Saturday night. Somewhere we can get all dressed up and sip martinis. Would be great if we could get a table, but standing is ok too. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: There aren't many "swanky" rooftops around, sadly. I'd say the W is by far your best bet, but it can be hard to get up there without reservations. (Call now!)

Perry's could work, too. I mean, yeah, there's Local 16 and Marvin and Public Bar and ..., but I wouldn't call any of them swanky (or ask for a martini).

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Arlington, Va.: Gurus,

Any ideas for a fun date night in D.C.? You guys used to have a link that had prefabricated dates, but I can't seem to find it. We also are big fans of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and wondered if there were any bands with a similar sound playing this weekend in the area?

Thanks!

Rhome Anderson: Funk Ark is opening for Chopteeth at Jammin' Java on Friday. You might dig that.

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washingtonpost.com: And that's it for us, chatters. Thanks again for spending your lunch break with us, now get outside and enjoy some of this beautiful day.

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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.

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