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The Going Out Gurus
Thursday, July 1, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun on Thursday, July 1, at 1 p.m. ET.

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Justin Rude: Welcome chatters, I see we have already gotten our fair share of fourth of July questions, which means many of you plan to spend your Sunday outside. In that case you might be interested in a couple of reader photo galleries our interactivity team is working on this year. The first is a gallery of your outdoor dining shots, and the second is a collection of images of fireworks, costumed patriots and other Independence Day ephemera. So get out there, eat, watch the colorful explosions, take pictures, and share them with the class. In the meantime, lets get chatting.

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Twitter: I couldn't find a GOG twitter account. I found a number of Wash Post accounts, but nothing solely for GOG. Could this be possible? It seems like Twitter was invented for the type of advice GOG provides. Readers could receive updates throughout the week.

Justin Rude: You don't follow us on Twitter? How did you find out on Monday that the first Fort Reno show of the year was cancelled?Going Out Guide on Twitter.

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Outdoor activities: I heard Elliott in the morning talk about Go Ape - has anyone been? Is it good for dates?

Amy Orndorff: You are in luck. Weekend's very own Kristen Boghosian ventured out to Rockville a couple weeks ago to try it out. She seemed to enjoy it.Sounds like a great date to me!

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Fireworks, Eatery, near Dulles: I will be staying near Dulles Airport along with my 70 something parents this weekend. Is anyone having fireworks on Saturday night? We won't be in town on Sunday night. Also a fun not too stuffy eatery in that location too? Nice pub perhaps?

Stephanie Merry: As a matter of fact, the Hillsboro Independence Day Celebration is happening on Saturday, which will have fireworks plus a lot of different food options. There will be barbecue and a lot of typical fair-type cuisine, or you can bring a picnic with you. If you'd prefer to go out for dinner, you can always head to Leesburg for any number of options, including South Street Under and Fire Works Pizza.

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Outdoor picnic spot: Hi GoGs! I have a date this Friday night and I thought it would be fun to grab some food and a bottle of wine and sit outside picnic-style. Are there any parks or public outdoor spaces that allow alcohol? Any favorites? My preferences are: in DC, Metro-accessible, and somewhere that doesn't get scary after dark.

Lavanya Ramanathan:

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Rooftop happy hour: Hi GOGs! I have been reading your chats for a long time so I'm hoping you can answer my question. My friends are in town from Dubai and England and they want to check out the rooftop/patio spots in DC tonight since its supposed to be so nice out! Can you recommend some places in the U street/Adams Morgan area with good drink and food specials? Thanks so much!!

Fritz Hahn: I'm going to give a two-part answer, and deviate from AdMo/U Street just a bit.If you're trying to impress them: The rooftop pool party at the Donovan House Hotel has happy hour until 8 with a great-looking crowd and fantastic DJs. Later on tonight (after 10), head over to Eden (formerly Eyebar), which has DJs accompanied by sax players and percussionists. It's free all night with some frozen drink specials until midnight. (And for a view, while it's pricy, you can't beat the W's deck, though it can be hard to get in.)U Street roofs can be really crowded unless you get to Marvin or Local 16 right around 6 or so, and they get progressively more stuffed as the night goes on. (Local 16 in particular.) I'm partial to the roofdeck at Nellie's, where you can get $1 beers from 5 to 6. While it's certainly a gay bar, I feel like the happy hour is more gay and straight mixed.Off the roof, the Gibson's back patio is the best in the neighborhood. I also love Stetson's, though the patio there is a bit of a dive.In Adams Morgan, the Reef's roof is still the gold standard for outdoor spaces. Bourbon's back patio is pretty nice, too, and their happy hour has $4 beers and bourbons until 8.

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Go Ape Feedback: Went a few weeks ago-- a fun time but if you are the adventurous type don't expect too much of a challenge. Most of the "crossings" from tree to tree are built so that pretty much anyone can easily complete them.

Amy Orndorff: Thanks for the tip.

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Help out a guy in love: Hey Gurus,So I haven't been the greatest boyfriend of late and want to make it up to her. Friday happens to be two years since we met, so I'm taking her to jazz at the sculpture garden, then to Old Town to the places we had our first dates. Any ideas for a nice dinner option in Old Town? She's not picky, loves different things like Thai, Mediterranean, Ethiopian, etc.

Justin Rude: But Casablanca does good Moroccan and belly dancing, and if you travel up rt. 1 a bit there is a great Afgan place just before Potomac Yards.

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Cute shoes, cute dresses: My girlfriends and I are looking to plan an evening where we can wear out some of our fun dresses and shoes. We are looking for somewhere with good drinks, but not too overpriced, possibly dancing, where we wont be completely over-dressed.

Lavanya Ramanathan: I'm going to throw this one out to the chatters -- any other ideas for a fancy/cocktail-dress kind of night out?

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Canada Day: The most important question of the day is: Where can a Canuck get a beer in DC to celebrate Canada Day. And, not just Molson, know what I mean - eh?

Fritz Hahn: Surprise - I'm going to say Churchkey. Though the draft list on their Web site is about a month out of date, I've seen beers from a number of good Canadian microbreweries there in the past. (And you can order poutine -- though a fancy version called "disco fries" -- to snack on.)

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Alexandria, Va: Hi, GOGs! This isn't really a going out question, but you have been really helpful with this stuff in the past and I'm hoping you can come through again. Any good recommendations for a hair stylist who can handle very long, very thick, wavy (straight sometimes, uber curly other times depending on what I do to it) hair? I have such a hard time finding someone who can give me a cut that looks good both curly and straight. I have been going to a stylist at PRatPartners in Shirlington, but she's been getting less stylish and more boring over the past couple of years and taking me down with her. HELP! Please! (If it makes you feel generous towards me I'll add that my 30th birthday is this month and I'd really like a fabulous cut to help me start my new decade!).

Justin Rude: My wife has an impressive mane that is incredibly curly when short, but less so the longer it gets. She swears by both Fiddleheads in Dupont Circle and Nikki at Bang Salon, though you may have to track down which location she is at.

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Lame I know: So I'd really like to see Eclipse, soon. When would be my best chance of seeing it in a slightly less crowded theater. I was thinking sunday afternoon, because most people have family picinics/bbqs and such but maybe that's not the tweens and teens i'm trying to avoid.

Amy Orndorff: First: not lame. Weekend's copy editor is all grown up and she said she was going to see it twice--once at midnight and then again so she can actually enjoy it.As for going to a matinee on a holiday, well, I can't imagine there would be too many like-minded people. Go for it.

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to the guy in love: A little advice: Are you sure about the visits to places where you had your first dates? If I was your girlfriend, that sort of thing would make me think you were proposing... and then she'll feel let down or duped instead of just thinking, wow, what a special evening my boyfriend planned. Save the trip down memory lane for when it culminates in the proposal. Why not plan something new and special for her?

Justin Rude: This is some solid insight. The OP can hit some pretty great restaurants if they head NE from Jazz in the Garden instead of SW. Agora is a lovely new Turkish restaurant that sounds like just what the couple was looking for.

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Palisades Parade: Hi Gurus, I am looking forward to Sunday's Palisades 4th of July Parade (a truly wonderful event that makes DC feel like a small town). But, I can't figure out what time it starts! The website says noon, but other event site listings say 11 am. Since one hour difference can mean missing the entire event, I wondered if you know what time it actually starts. Thanks!

Justin Rude: I love the Palisades parade. True story: a close friend of mine who grew up in that neighborhood was born on the fourth of July (you can see where this is going). I think he was seven when his parents finally told him that the parade wasn't actually for his birthday.To answer your question, I contacted the Palisades Citizens Association and they explained that since the fourth falls on a Sunday this year they are holding the parade at noon. Other years it has been held at 11, which is the source of the confusion.So show up at noon and make sure you wish Matt a happy birthday.

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La Especiale, Donovan: Just curious as to what the point of the Facebook list for the La Especiale party at Donovan is? Last week I was there with a couple of girlfriends, our friends were upstairs and said the place was half empty, I was on the list but they wouldn't let us up because we all weren't. What's exclusive about reserving space for the 1,000+ randoms that responded yes to a Facebook invite and not letting a couple of fun, cute, dressed-up ladies up? Not only that, but the door guy was one of the most rude individuals I've ever encountered in DC. We had spend a good chunk of change at the bar downstairs and the bartender told us that we should drop his name. When I mentioned this, the door guy said it was in "poor taste" and asked us to leave. Too bad because that party sounds fun, but I really don't want to set foot in that place after that experience.

Fritz Hahn: As for the doorguy, I agree wholeheartedly. I went to the Maison party on the roof a few weeks ago, and he seemed to leave plenty of people -- including me and my friends -- with a sour taste.(As for the part about "fun, cute, dressed-up ladies" being left outside, I'm sorry, but I see groups fitting that description every weekend outside Josephine, the Park, the W and Lima trying to get in and convince the bouncer that they should be let in. Fact of life for nightlife.I'm sorry your friends weren't on the list, but it's free to get on the Facebook list for the party, so if you even think you might be going, it's worth getting on.

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Bethesda social/sports groups: I just moved to Bethesda from Alexandria and have been looking for outdoor social activities to take up this summer. Do you guys have any recommendations for existing groups I could check out? I know there's softball here, and I saw a posting for a Bethesda bocce league but I'm not too familiar with that. What advice do you all have for a Bethesda newbie?saw a link yesterday in one of the Bethesda blogs about a bocce league opening there this summer.

Fritz Hahn: It's a branch of the D.C. Bocce League, which Steph and I have played in. It can be a lot of fun.

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Brother-Sister Bonding : even planning on heading to J School to become a food writer. (And yes, I realize he sounds like the perfect kid. Something my mother reminds me of daily.) I want to show him a fun and interesting time but maybe off-the-beaten-path a little for the typical tourist. I think DC United is in town one night and he wants to try Sushi and Indian food, but other than I'm at a little bit of a loss. Do the all-knowing gurus have any suggestions?

Lavanya Ramanathan:

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plans for any day BUT the 4th!: Hey Gurus,I apologize if you get two questions from me....i think i accidentally submitted my last question half-way through writing it. Anyway, i have a 4 day weekend coming up but dont have any real plans. I am set for the 4th, but dont have anything going on on the other days. I'm a woman in my late 20's...into music, sports, culture, and I have metro access. Do you have any suggestions for things to do during the day or evenings on Friday/Saturday/Monday? Thanks so much!

Stephanie Merry: If I were you, I'd probably do something along the lines of: Friday night at Jazz in the Garden, Saturday checking out the new Chuck Close exhibit (for free!) at the Corcoran, maybe some pool time with BYT (depending on the weather) and then the Bulgarian Party at Slaviya, because Fritz convinced me it was going to be the best time EVER. And on Monday, you can always relive memories of summer camp at the Black Cat's Drink and a Movie.

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food after jazz in the garden: favorite restaurants close to jazz in the garden? thanks!

Justin Rude: I like the Source and 701.

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Room to Breathe, DC: This may be asking for too much but if anyone will know the answer it has to be you. I would love to locate somewhere in the District where I can enjoy some cold beverages with friends and catch some fireworks on Sunday... without the insane 4th of July crowds. Is there a rooftop bar, tucked-away patio or makeshift box fort out there that meets this criteria? Neighborhood is not an issue- in fact, throw in a decent beer list and I would even be willing to trek out to the burbs. Thanks for the help!

Fritz Hahn: First, there are no places where you can see July 4 fireworks without insane crowds, unless you're paying $200 to watch the fireworks from the W's rooftop with Adreian Grenier or something like that. It's D.C., it's a fact of life.Now, I'm very partial to Cantina Marina on July 4. Waterfront. View of the Monument and fireworks. Micheldas. It's open to the public -- well, the downstairs on-the-water area is -- and it will probably be crowded. But it's an option.Or you can go the the Uncle Sam Jam at Zanzibar, watch Soul Asylum and Virginia Coalition, and see the fireworks from there, but that has a $15/$20 cover charge.

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Capitol Fourth Rehearsal: Hi Gurus- Planning to head to the Capitol Fourth rehearsal on Saturday and have never been. How early should we get there to get a spot? Can you bring food in to picnic? Thanks!

Alex Baldinger: Same rules apply to the Capitol Fourth rehearsal as the real thing: gates open at 3 p.m. and you can bring a picnic if you'd like. No glass bottles or alcoholic beverages.

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Uncle Sam Jam: What will the crowd be like? All 20-30 somethings, all ages?

Fritz Hahn: I'm guessing the inclusion of Soul Asylum will bring out some 30-somethings/40-somethings who remember the band's "Someone to Shove" heyday, but most of the events that Lindy Promotions puts on -- Friday's downtown bar crawl, for example -- attract a solidly 21-35 crowd.

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Formula One Racing: My husband is a huge fan of Formula 1 racing. Race day is always early Sunday morning since many of the races are overseas. Though he watches many races at home, I know he would love to find a bar in the area that showcases Formula 1. Are you all aware places of any in the DC area?Thanks!

Amy Orndorff: I went to a F1 race years ago and it was fantastic. I love watching the races, but with start times being so early Sunday mornings, I don't usually leave my sofa.But if your husband really wants the bar experience, Fritz suggests Summers Restaurant in Arlington.

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RE: Fireworks near Dulles: On July 3rd South Riding always has fireworks -- the neighborhood is just a few minutes from Dulles.

Stephanie Merry: Another option for Saturday festivities near Dulles.

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Fireworks!: I'm sure you guys are going to get a lot of these types of questions, but... Where are the best places to watch the fireworks? Especially for a large-ish group of 20-somethings. Are there any places with great views where alcohol is permitted? And where are the best places to get photos?Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: You'll get great not-blocked-by-buildings photos from the Iwo Jima memorial and Gravelly Point. Both are popular, but aren't as insane as trying to watch from, say, anywhere near the Mall.Best views with alcohol -- as I said earlier, I like Cantina Marina, but many rooftop bars don't have such great sightlines for the fireworks. (I've tried to watch from places like the Reef in the past without a ton of luck.) But if people have suggestions ... let's hear them.

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Canada Day Celebration: Hi there. Are there any bars in the area where Canadian ex-pats are celebrating Canada Day today? Thanks!

Alex Baldinger: O'Sullivan's Irish Pub is throwing its fifth annual Canada Day Party from 4 p.m. today. They're adding a keg of Molson to their regular tap selection and they'll also have Canadian trivia (answer: Justin Bieber) and University of Toronto door prizes.You can find even more Canada Day parties on the Canadian Embassy's Canada Day Across America site.

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Where to entertain Mom: My mom is coming into town and for the life of me I can't come up with a casual (jeans friendly), yet QUIET restaurant downtown where we can go for dinner after a museum early Friday evening. I'm looking in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter area as we're going to Newseum.

Justin Rude: I just used the Source to answer another question, but I don't mind giving them some love. The bar at the Source is more casual than the dining room, and you can still get a great meal there.

Fritz Hahn: I was just telling Justin that I've never worn anything but jeans to the Source's bar -- how declasse -- but have never had a problem because of it, and I've gone for drinks and food. Bistrot d'Oc at 10th and F is another solid French option, and they're pretty casual.

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Canada Day: forget churchkey and go hang out with the embassy staff down at Penn Quarter, who is probably showing NHL Free Agent day on TV. The food and beer isn't as good, but they have a Team Canada jersey on the wall.

Fritz Hahn: Ah, but does Penn Quarter Sports Tavern have Canadian beer? Maybe Labatt's?

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The 4th in a wheel chair?: Good afternoon gurus! So, I've experienced the crush of humanity that is the mall on the 4th many times and would prefer an alternate location for fireworks on Sunday, but my family just won't have it. Nope. They insist on lugging my 90 yo grandpa and grandma down to the mall... crazy. She is in a wheelchair, which could make it harder or easier, I have no idea! Have you heard anything about handicap accessibility for the 4th? Is there special parking? What are the chances of catching a cab home after the fireworks? Ugh, I so would rather watch them from the Cathedral but am trying to be a good granddaughter. Thanks for your help!

Lavanya Ramanathan: Capitol Fourth concert; it's on the West Lawn of the Capitol, and the gates open at 3 p.m., so perhaps it will give you more time to settle in, plus, there will be performances, and maybe you'll avoid some some heaviest traffic coming out of the Federal Triangle station? Has anyone else had to find a good spot that will accomodate people in wheelchairs?

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More solid insight: Justin, not all women get weak in the knees over staged proposals. I wouldn't even remember the places I went on my first date.

Justin Rude: This is very true, though if their first date destinations weren't memorable, why re-create them? Either way, here is some more advice for our chatter's special night.

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movie: I'm going to a movie tonight. Is Cyrus good?

Stephanie Merry: None of us have seen it, but Ann Hornaday liked it...

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restaurants near E street (GOG does not work): Would you give me a couple of recommendations for a casual, inexpensive, vegetarian-friendly restautants near Landmark E street for Sturday dinner? I could not get the GO Guide to work (would not reset to limit distance). Thanks!

Lavanya Ramanathan: You want to make reservations, though. Nando's several blocks away in Chinatown has some pretty surprising veggie options, including hummus, and corn on the cob. And Zaytinya is another great veg-friendly restaurant. Again, reservations are imperative, but it doesn't mean it's terribly pricey.

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Birthday Date Restaurant in DC: My birthday is this weekend and my husband asked me last night, "If you could go to dinner in DC this weekend, where would you go (assuming that I have a babysitter for our one-year-old)?" What a nice surprise, but when I couldn't answer right away with anything new or interesting - I knew I needed help! I thought about trying Gibson, Passenger, or Churchkey (and I know the food is supposed to be good at B&B) for drinks since we haven't been yet and you consistently suggest them all, but thought it might be fun to try two separate places for food and drinks. (Places we have been to in the last year: Rasika, Firefly, Brabo, Tabard Inn, Brassiere Beck.) Suggestions for festive, fun dinner in DC that might match up well with one of the drink locations?

Fritz Hahn: Hmmm. This is a great question. My pairings would probably be...Etete (Ethiopian) or the solid French bistro cooking at Bistro La Bonne with the Gibson.Birch and Barley followed by Churchkey. (Honestly, two very different experiences.)PS7's (with cocktails) or Zaytinya followed by the Passenger. (If you can get in to the Columbia Room, that's a little more special than just going to the main bar, though I will say flat-out that the Tom-and-Alex bartender pairing at the Passenger right now is one of the strongest anywhere in the area for folks who want special made-to-order cocktails.)

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Not the typical happy hour...: My weekend starts today. Any suggestions for a group of 30-somethings that want to try something other than your average bar?

Stephanie Merry: For tonight? I'd head to Phillips After 5. They've shut down their advance ticket sales, but there are still tickets left that you can buy at the door.

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Cleveland Park - Ripple of Ruffle?: What's the word on Ripple in Cleveland Park? I keep hearing "great wine, bad food, big prices." What's the GOG take?

Fritz Hahn: I think that's a pretty fair assessment for the early days. Portions are a little small, the wine list is decent. Like the cheese selection, though.Honestly, right now I'd rather go grab a chair at the bar at Dino.

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July 4 at Meridian Hill Park: My friends and I plan on gathering at Meridian Hill Park to watch the fireworks on Sunday. Does the park get really crowded for fireworks like the mall? How early should we get there? Thanks gogs!

Fritz Hahn: I honestly don't think the view from Malcolm X is all that, especially given the huge crowds that start showing up two hours or so before the fireworks start. You get a much better view (without the humongous crowds) a few blocks away at Cardozo High School, where I accidently bumped into Guru Emeritus Julia last July 4. As a bonus, there crowds are rarely there more than 20 minutes before the show starts.

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The Chesepeake Room: Thinking of dinner there with the Mrs. this weekend - what with this great weather and all. Hit or miss?

Justin Rude: Yes. Meaning hit or miss. The place has great potential and an interesting menu but their service can have trouble keeping up with their crowds. But if the weather is good and you are patient it can be really nice.

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RE: Staying Near Dulles: I live near Dulles, am not a regular pub goer so don't have any suggestions for pubs, but would suggest the Reston Town Center, about 10 minutes away from IAD. They have many different types of cuisines, Italian, French, Asian, and American and it's not so busy that you can't take a relaxing stroll after you eat.

Justin Rude: From a local.

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Going Out of Town: I will be heading out of town for this 4th of July Weekend, specifically NYC. Maybe it's not your area of expertise but would appreciate any suggestions/ideas for things to do in NYC. 3 late 20 year olds + 1 6 yr old would be the crowd. Thanks!

Lavanya Ramanathan:

Lavanya Ramanathan: Check out the schedule and see if anything suits your fancy.

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First time club: My friend and I are looking to go to a club in D.C. on Friday. I've never really been before and I'm not sure what to expect. Do you have any suggestions for where to go for a first timer? We're looking for dancing and good drinks. Were 23-y-o females FWIW

Fritz Hahn: So we have a bunch of advice for you, starting with clothes -- wear shoes that you can stand in for most of the night, because unless you're at a bottle service table, it's hard to find a place to sit. So.1. U Street Music Hall. They play great house music on Friday (and it's free if you RSVP via www.uhalldc.com). It's low-key, and attracts a good mix of people, wearing everything from T-shirts to party dresses. I love the vibe, which is hipster-meets-who-cares.2. Ultrabar. If you're looking for a multi-level club with different styles of music, and a mix of radio hits, hip-hop, mashups and electronic, this is a good place to go. It's got the lasers and lights, but it's intimate -- more so than the warehouse style places like Ibiza. And you can get free admission from www.popnightlife.com. THere are also all-night drink specials.3. Napoleon. Lavanya and I both like the basement champagne bar, which has good DJs, fancy cocktails and a fun European vibe. It honestly does remind me of some smaller lounges in Paris. No cover, chic-looking crowd, and friendly bouncers.4. And Lavanya again says she likes Midtown, because the bouncers are friendly and admission is free. Plus you can move between the casual Midtown Loft floor and the jacked-up energy of the dancefloor one flight of stairs away at Midtown Lounge.

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Gurus' 4th of July: What are each of the Gurus doing for 4th of July?

Stephanie Merry: Camping on Saturday and a barbecue on Sunday followed by watching the fireworks from somewhere between U Street and Columbia Heights.

Amy Orndorff: I'll probably be working as an EMT at the Rockville fireworks. (But I'd be there anyway, Rockville is awesome.)

Justin Rude: I took in the Fireworks Before the Fourth display at Tim's Rivershore Crabshack last Saturday, fulfilling my patriotic duty to enjoy an evening of music and explosions, so this Sunday I'm planning on driving out to the Deale area for some dockside dining and small town celebrations.

null null: Got my fill of fireworks when I was a kid. Can't stand big crowds. So I'll probably just sneak some booze into a movie or something. Y'know, just another Sunday night.

Lavanya Ramanathan:

Fritz Hahn: Pool parties (inc. BYT and its mechanical bull) on Saturday, a rooftop or two early on Sunday (brand-new free day party atop Eden that opens at 2 is on the list), backyard cookout, and some bar-hopping to take advantage of the Sunday holiday.

Alex Baldinger:

Justin Rude: And that does it for us chatters. Thanks so much for spending your afternoon with us. Have fun, stay safe and we will see all of you next week.


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