Got Plans? - Summer tunes and crabs on the shore

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The Going Out Gurus
Thursday, August 5, 2010; 1:00 PM

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Justin Rude: Its far to hot to be outside today, but its supposed to be a beautiful weekend, so lets spend the day inside talking about how to fill it. Lets get started chatters.

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Best Crabs on water: Hi Guys! Just wondering if you know of a great little crab place on the water (preferably around the chesapeake) You know like a quaint town on the eastern shore so after the crab fest you can walk around and enjoy the scenery? Any ideas?

Justin Rude: I'm sure our chatters will have plenty of opinions on this, and I will be sure to send them through, but my pick for both good crabs and a quaint town would be Schooners in Oxford.

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POV/J&G steakhouse: I am splurging and having dinner for 6 at J&G Steakhouse for my birthday next Wednesday night. Will it be hard for my group (3 guys, 3 girls) to get into the rooftop at POV beforehand for drinks?

Fritz Hahn: If you have J&G reservations already, that should grease the wheels. I would call P.O.V. and explain that you have dinner reservations at J&G, but you'd like to come up at 5/5:30 for drinks. I've found in the past that they're usually willing to accomodate diners.

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Churchkey Arrival Times: Hey GOG's! So I have a very good friend coming into town for Saturday night of restaurant week. We're having a late dinner at the Tabard Inn and since she is a self proclaimed 'beer nerd' I thought we would start the night at Churchkey. I've never been there so I was wondering what a good time to get there would be on a Saturday night. I think it would be best if we could grab seats at the bar so my friend can talk shop with the bartenders and get the most of the experience wouldn't it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

Fritz Hahn: The best time for bar seats at ChurchKey on a Saturday is between 4 and 5:30, though I don't know about restaurant week -- I hear Birch and Barley is already booked solid. Obviously the earlier you get there the better, especially if she wants to chat about beers. (One note: ChurchKey has lost several good bartenders to Meridian Pint lately.)

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Pizzeria Paradiso in Old Town?: I heard rumors they are opening a Pizzeria Paradiso in Old Town. Is it really happening? And if so, do you know when? Thanks.

Fritz Hahn: Yep. Right down by the water. Latest date I heard (when I was in earlier this week) was early September.

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Need swank, real hard.: Gurus -- Posed this question to Tom yesterday but didn't make the cut. Where would you go for a great dining experience? I'm taking my boyfriend out for his birthday, and want to really pour on the posh. I love Prime Rib, but the cooking is just a little *too* standard for what I'm looking for. I was thinking either CityZen, Citronelle or Plume. Any other ideas? Price no object, we just need to stay in the District and our preference is contemporary American (French ok, no tasting menus). Thanks!

Justin Rude: That's an impressive list already. How about Komi or Palena? I would be completely thrilled to be taken out to any of those five places.

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Merriweather Post lawn: I am going to see Arcade Fire at Merriweather tomorrow. I could only get lawn tickets. What's my best strategy? How good are the views? Do people bring chairs or blankets (blankets seem better for everyone to be able to see, but I'll bring chairs if everyone will be blocking my view with theirs)?

David Malitz: I'd stick with a blanket. Chair people are annoying, don't you all think? And you are only allowed "low-back" chairs. The view ... it depends where you are. It's generally good, but the sound should at least be fine no matter where you are.

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Pool Party Question: I thought you may have answered this before but I couldn't find it when I searched the transcripts... how do the saturday pool parties at capitol skyline compare to the sunday ones? My friends have been sunday a bunch of times and liked it, but the saturday price of $15 (with no free burger!) seems a little steep...

Fritz Hahn: Yeah, that burger is a nice freebee.The tradeoff between Saturday and Sunday is that while Sunday is more of a laidback family-friendly pool party, Saturday is a full-on circus with games, karaoke, nacho-eating contests, water guns, DJs and hundreds of hip 20/30-somethings taking over the outdoor deck. (Full disclosure: I've DJed twice at the Brightest Young Things Saturday pool parties in the last two years, though I haven't been paid to do so.)This week's theme is Cold War Camp, with '80s DJs, drink specials, etc. Not really sure what to expect, but it should be fun.

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Thanks for suggestions: I told you guys what kind of places I like around here & you suggested Federal Hill in Baltimore. The place was a lot of fun! Good call & keep up the good work!

Justin Rude: I believe that was Amy O's suggestion. As soon as she joins the chat I know she will be thrilled that you had a good time.

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Non-table service lounges: Are there any lounges in the District where an early 30s male can go alone, enjoy a nice drink and chair/table while listening to house or trance music and people watch without having to buy a table (Table service is a scourge on the bar scene, IMO).

Fritz Hahn: I agree with you about table service -- not really my thing at all, but it's nearly impossible to find a lounge that will give you a seat without you having to buy/rent it. You can try Slaviya, the former LeftBank in Adams Morgan, which gets an interesting Eastern European crowd -- they don't take out all the seats at the bar on weekends, or havent. One Lounge in Dupont can be hit or miss, but again, they don't get rid of the chairs.

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bar etiquitte: Received a warm-ish beer the other day. When I asked the waitress for a replacement I was offered a bucket of ice instead. Is this the dumbest thing you've ever heard? Had my cheap beer chilling like Cristal for 20 minutes before I could drink it.

Fritz Hahn: Uhhhh, yeah. I just would have asked if they could give me something that was, you know, cold. If not, I would have left.

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Date Ideas: What should I do tonight with my girlfriend?

Alex Baldinger: Take her to see Andy Roddick at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. His match against Frenchman Gilles Simon won't start before 7 p.m. in Rock Creek Park.

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Premier League: So the World Cup totally piqued my interest and I want to start watching Premier League. Here's the catch: I don't have a team and I'm just interested in watching some games and I'm trying to avoid places where the fans are super impressed with their soccer knowledge and not interested in having new fans watch. I'm really just starting to learn the game and the more of the players (ie non WC players). Any thoughts?

Alex Baldinger: Fado, Lucky Bar, Summer's, Flanagan's and Kitty O'Shea's are all highly recommendable to new fans of the Premier League. All of them will attract a more dedicated crowd -- hey, it's not easy waking up for a 7:45 a.m. kickoff on Saturday -- but nobody will ostracize you for your lack of rooting interest. You'll always see plenty of Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal supporters, and the odds are close to 100 percent that at least one of those teams will be playing on stateside TV each weekend. Both Lucky Bar and Flanagans do an excellent job of publishing their TV schedule a week or two in advance, so once you've decided which team you enjoy watching the most, that can be helpful in deciding where to go.

Fritz Hahn: I'd also toss in CommonWealth, where I've watched a few games in the past. Definitely a lot of casual fans and fewer jerseys than Fado or Lucky Bar. (I've stopped going to Fado because it can get *too* crowded.) I think the folks at Kitty O'Shea's and Flanagan's Harp and Fiddle are friendly without being condescending if you can't give your instant thoughts on whether Steven Pienaar is a great value for a fantasy league team.Also, if you tell people you don't have a team yet, I'm sure they'll give you 1,001 reasons why "their" team is the best.

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Merriweather: We're going to the Arcade Fire show tomorrow @ Merriweather. In order to avoid sitting in Friday afternoon traffic, we're leaving NoVa in the early afternoon. Is there anything to do in that area, or any cool restaurants or bars? Otherwise, looks like we'll be tailgating for 4 hours.....Thanks!

Alex Baldinger:

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Baltimore Fish Market???: GOGs, when I first moved to DC in 2000, I recall a friend taking me to an O's game and insisting we hit this fish market for crabcakes and beer before the game. I have family coming into town and wanted to do the same for them, but no one I know has heard of a place like this and I can't find it either. Any ideas? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Are you thinking of the Cross Street Market in Federal Hill? One of my college roommates used to live in the neighborhoos, and we'd go there for crabcakes and beers. It's an easy walk to the Yard from there. Could also do Broadway Market in Fells.

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Cigar bars in the District: Is Shelly's Back Room the only cigar bar in the District (I see some mention of Ozio, but it appears like it might be more of a club on weekends). By Cigar bar, I mean a place where I can go at 12:30 am on a Friday night, order a Bourbon and smoke a cigar. When I search online, I get results for cigar stores that close at 6.

Fritz Hahn: Shelly's is the last refuge of cigar smokers on weekends. As you mentioned, Ozio is more of a lounge/nightclub and not really somewhere you can fire up a Cohiba.

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Brunch outdoors: I'm also interested in talking about brunches on patios, but not interested in sidewalk cafes. Are there any good brunches in back gardens or on rooftops?

Justin Rude: The Tabard Inn, Iron Gate and Bourbon all have nice enclosed outdoor spaces and a good brunch. Unfortunately, two of our favorites for brunching outdoors (and off the street), the Reef and Blue Ridge, are on hiatus for the time being. We will let you know when that changes.

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Komi: Your answer to the person looking for swank sparked a question. Is Komi a tasting menu only place (she didn't want a tasting menu), or is there an a la carte menu? I feel like I've heard you can choose to do either, but their Web site doesn't really say either way.

Fritz Hahn: You can do either, though I've only ever done the tasting menu with wine pairings.

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travel tip?: How far in advance do I need to leave Dupont Circle for a 7:30 pm flight from Dulles tomorrow night? Planning on doing the Orange Line to shuttle, but open to better ideas.

Alex Baldinger: I'm leaving out of Dulles tonight at 9:50 p.m. so I'm right there with you. My plan is to catch the 5A Metrobus from L'Enfant Plaza tonight. It runs about every 30-40 minutes during peak times. In your case, I'd shoot for the 4 p.m. bus from L'Enfant, just to be absolutely safe, which means you need to leave Dupont at...3:30? Chatters, any experience taking mass transit from downtown to Dulles?

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Meridian Pint weirdness: Any word re: Meridian Pint's plans for that awkward seating area at the bottom of the stairs (to the right)? It looks like an unfinished hotel lobby. I read awhile back that they had plans to change it up... but no movement as of last week.

Fritz Hahn: I don't think it's going to change for the time being. (And my full review of the bar is running tomorrow.) The original idea had been to have music down there, and Meridian Pint does have a permit for live entertainment, but owner John Andrade reconsidered. I kind of like the openness of that half of the basement -- a nice contrast to the crowds around the pool/shuffleboard tables and the two booths with their own draft beer taps.

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On Hiatus: What do you mean the Reef and Blue Ridge are on hiatus? Are they both temporarily closed?

Fritz Hahn: The Reef's brunch is on hiatus, and Blue Ridge's outdoor area is closed for two weeks.

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Birthday dinner suggestions in Bethesda/Rockville/Potomac area: Happy Birthday to me! Friends of mine are taking me out to dinner tonight to celebrate my birthday. However, I haven't really come up with any place to go. We're a small group (4 ppl) and don't have to worry about dietary restrictions (e.g. no allergies & no vegetarians, etc.). We're adventuresome when it comes to food, but also like more conventional/simple fare. My main thing is that I want something that has relatively healthy options...or at least not only really unhealthy options. Any suggestions? New places we should try? Old favorites that maybe we've overlooked/forgotten about? I'm having a brain cramp (senior moment? I am turning a year older afterall), so would appreciate some help in coming up with ideas. Thanks.

Amy Orndorff: I feel like all you gave us to look for is something around Bethesda/Rockville/Potomac that isn't McDonalds, Wendy's, Buger King and IHOP.Let's narrow things a bit. How much are you willing to spend? Looking for something cheap (in that case I'd go with some yummy Chinese at A&J's in Rockville) or upscale (Addie's maybe?)? Do you need to win everyone over? How about BD's Mongolian Grill in Bethesda and just let them pick their own.There are tons of possibilities...

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Kids: What to do this weekend with a busy 3 year old boy?

Justin Rude: The Brickfair Lego Fan Festival is at the Dulles expo center this weekend, if he likes building stuff with colored blocks. The Howard County Fair starts Saturday if he likes pig races, petting zoos and fried food. And if he likes planes the Air and Space Museum's Udvar Hazy center is always worth the trip out to Chantilly.

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Crab Shack: Cantler's in Annapolis. Great onion rings, too.

Justin Rude: Ah yes. We have a few Cantler's lovers on staff.

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Re: Fun in Columbia: If they've got time to kill before Arcade Fire and like beer, why not go over to Frisco's? It's not too far from MWP and has a great selection.

Alex Baldinger: A good suggestion for our chatters headed to Merriweather on the early side tomorrow. Thanks.

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Seafood in Annapolis: Meeting a friend from Seattle in Annapolis on Sunday night for dinner. She's staying at the Marriott there. Can you recommend some good seafood type restaurants that are within walking distance? I'm looking for something mid-range but that is hip and not too stodgy. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Level is my favorite bar/restaurant in Annapolis -- menu of small plates with locally-sourced ingredients, and cocktails to rival most of the big-name D.C. bars. It's an easy walk from the Marriott. (I've actually stayed at the Marriott on weekends to avoid a drive back to D.C.)I also dig the Boatyard Bar and Grill, which is right across the bridge from the Marriott in Eastport. Bands on the weekends, popular with the yacht club crowds.

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crab house: I like Mike's Crab House in Riva, but I don't think you could call it quaint. More like a roadhouse on the river.www.mikescrabhouse.com

Justin Rude: A riverhouse?

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Re: Baltimore Fish Market: Could also be looking for Faidley's at Lexington Market. Best. Crabcakes. Ever. Not sure if they have beer or not, but they do have an Oyster Bar in addition to the crabcakes.

Fritz Hahn: Faidley's is awesome. Haven't been to Lexington Market in ages, though. (Haven't needed to buy guns/drugs along with my Utz potato chips.)

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Places to watch Premier League: I would also throw Babylon in Falls Church, in that list. I like it because it's less crowded than the other places, the place is big so you can sit with the crowd or alone. It's also a hookah bar.

Fritz Hahn: True. I haven't been there to watch anything other than international matches, but the place has a ton of TVs.

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Pottery Class: I love the idea of taking a pottery or ceramics class. Are these as fun as movies portray? Besides the Torpedo Factory, where else could I take a class? Northern Virginia, preferably. Thanks, Gurus!

Amy Orndorff: Weekend's Deputy Editor Amy Joyce is a huge fan of potter classes at Torpedo Factory. I am pretty sure it is what keeps her zen after a day of working with us.She also suggests Hinckley Pottery in NW, if you are willing to cross the river.

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Summer Playlist: Hi Gurus. This would be a better question for a music chat, but the Post doesn't have one. I've got a roadtrip coming up and I'm looking to put together a playlist. The only catch is the songs should be about summer. Any ideas? Suggestions from the Gurus or peanut gallery are welcome. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: That "catch" makes me think this is a friendly competition. So I would advise you to skip the Go-Gos and the Beach Boys and all the super-familiar stuff.My must-haves would include Dizzee Rascal's relentlessly grooving "Holiday," the vintage R&B Craig David/Artful Dodger collaboration "Summer Jam" and, for some old-school WHFS flavor, the Slickee Boys' "When I Go To The Beach."

David Malitz: The first songs that immediately come to mind - and only one really has to do with summer, directly - are "Ghetto Superstar" (Mya/Pras/ODB), "Uptown Top Ranking" (Althea + Donna), "Paper Planes" (M.I.A.), "Summertime Clothes" (Animal Collective). I can spend time in the sun with those.

Rhome Anderson: Kool & The Gang - Summer Madness.Roy Ayers - Everybody Loves the SunshineQuincy Jones - Summer in the City.Nocera - SummertimeDoug E. Fresh - Summertime (I'd say it actually trumps Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince)

Amy Orndorff: "Doin' Time" by Sublime.

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dinner tonight: Hi gurus--i'm sick of all of my usual restaurants and looking for something new and not asian on the way home tonight between courthouse (arlington) and mclean. dogfish, elevation, pizzeria orso, i'm a bit tired of all of them. thanks!

Justin Rude: How about the Tunisian place Chez Manelle in Clarendon? And what does it say about the Neapolitan proliferation that someone is tired of Orso after its only been open for a little over a month?

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Late Night Tyson's Corner: Hi Gurus! I'll be performing this weekend near Tyson's Corner, which is not an area where I generally hang out. Where can I go with friends after the show for drinks and snacks that isn't, you know, the mall?

Fritz Hahn: burgers and wings.I keep meaning to get to Panache, which is a much bigger version of the D.C. restaurant with outdoor seating and a large bar, but haven't made it yet.

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Girl's Night in the city: On Friday, a group of my girlfriend's and I have plans to go to Co Co Sala in Penn Quarter and partake of lots of drunken chocolaty goodness. We wanted to go somewhere beforehand for drinks and.. something different (from the usual bar and dancing). I thought that The Palace of Wonders sounded fun.. but realized later that it's a strip club! When I first checked out their web site it described it as a "sideshow" What is it exactly, and what kind of crowd? Do you have any other suggestions?

Rhome Anderson: How to describe the Palace of Wonders without falling back on stereotypes? You'll see "hipsters", weirdos, standard issue yuppies and curiousity seekers. It can get kind of packed during the shows, which are burlesque and olde tyme circus oddity type stuff. If you call that place a strip club, you're delightfully sheltered! Try it out if you're feeling adventurous.There aren't too many surprises in Penn Quarter, although games at Rocket Bar are fun. Do you want to explore other H St. options? Rock and Roll Hotel is doing their drunken spelling bee on Friday.

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Rooftop Sunday: Fritz I read your article in Weekend Section of the Post. I wanted to let you know I stopped by this Sunday to Eden for the day party but stayed all night! The same trio that used to do Fly on Fridays (DJ Dirty Hands, Jamie Hess and Ezra Qassim) are now doing a nighttime party. It was a cool rooftop and I'd loved the transition from House music in the day to Top 40 at night. Thanks for the suggestions!

Fritz Hahn: The squirt gun party doing the day is a blast (literally). Glad to know you enjoyed it.

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places to eat around Merriweather: Union Jack's is very close. Also on the Lakefront is Sushi Sono, Red Pearl, Clydes, Tomato Palace, Copelands.

Amy Orndorff: Oh Tomato Palace how I love thee and your gigantic portions... great suggestion.

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Biergartenhaus: I love this place. But man do they need a new system for the outdoor seating. A recent conversation with doorwoman went like this: "Hi, I'm with them." *points towards table of friends* "What's your table number?" "Um, I dont know." "You need a table number." "But i can see my friends." "Can you call them?" "Why would I call them? They're right there." At which point a manager of some sort intervened and let me walk to my table.

Justin Rude: I had a similar experience on Friday night actually. But to be fair they are dealing with an incredible demand for limited space, and I bet they are trying to do whatever they can to keep a potentially chaotic situation under control. My philosophy is to forgive them the occasional rough patch as long as the wursts stay wonderful and the beer keeps coming by the liter.

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Dance Club 30s/40s: What are some good dance clubs/bars where late 30s/early 40s folk fit in? Almost all that I've seen (e.g. Clarendon Ballroom) seem to cater to a much younger crowd. Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: It really depends what kind of music you like. The Carlyle Club in Alexandria caters to an older crowd for jazz and R&B and the occasional oldies (like the tribute to Bobby Darin next week). I see people in their 30s and 40s dancing to the Motown and blues bands at the New Vegas Lounge, too.

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Board Games: Hi! My friends and I like to play board games, but most of us don't have space in our small studios. I know there are a few places around town that offer board games (Bedrock Billiards or Red Derby), but do you have any suggestions of low key pubs or coffee shops that might not mind if we bring our own game, claim a table or booth and spend a few hours playing in their space? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: As long as you're drinking and not squatting, I'm sure you could pitch up at Tryst or Open City with no problems. Same with Nanny O'Briens -- I've seen people do this there. Or one of the pool parties around town, if you can grab enough space.

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Yoga Instruction: After practicing yoga off and on for over five years now, I'm ready to commit and become certified to teach yoga. Where do I do this in DC?

Amy Orndorff: Steph recently did this and would be happy to tell you all about it... except that she is on vacation right now. Come back next week and she'll get back to you. Promise.

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Orso: haha it says that Orso is awesome and i've been twice already since it opened :)

Justin Rude: If any of you out there have crazy 19-month olds and find yourself in Falls Church, stop by for great food in a relaxed atmosphere.

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For the summer playlist:: The Ramones: "Rockaway Beach"

Amy Orndorff: Yes! Great suggestion.

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Bachelorette party for guys and girls: Hoping you can help me! I'm helping to plan a bachelorette party for about 12-16 people - the group will be guys and girls (most of the brides really close friends are dudes). I've looked at the bachelorette guide and reviews and have gotten some great ideas for food and cocktails but am at a loss for the activities part of our evening. We would like to stay in the Penn Quarter neighborhood if possible. Is there anything going on the weekend of August 21st you would recommend or anything in general in Chinatown/Penn Quarter that would be fun to do for a mixed bag of people? Also, Lucky Strike is in the running, but this group went bowling for her birthday party last year.

Fritz Hahn: If you want something active that's not Lucky Strike, why not organize your own Skee-Ball tournament at the Iron Horse? There are two machines, which makes competition easier. (Rocket Bar also has two Skee-Ball machines, but I like Iron Horse's basement better.) Plus there's Big Buck Hunter and other games to keep the group busy.

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Pentagon City/Crystal City: Hi GoGs. I'm newish to the area and am looking for a nice place to meet a friend for a drink and appetizers after work one night. Lively but not super loud. I know that particular area doesn't have a ton of good options, but I'd love hear what you think. Thanks.

Fritz Hahn: Not a ton of fancy options, no. How about the Tortoise and Hare, which is on the same strip at the Sports Pub and Freddie's? It's casual, gets a decent crowd and has bands and activities (trivia, etc.).There or the McGinty's Irish Pub.

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Games in bars: Nellie's also has games available, but I have seen people bring their own to the tables on the first floor.

Fritz Hahn: My favorite thing about my last visit to Nellie's was discovering that their "games" section includes multiple Ouija boards.

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Columbia: Clydes isn't too far from Merriweather and is a decent place for a pre-concert adult beverage and snack.

Amy Orndorff: I don't have any hate for Clydes, but the Tomato Palace is right next to it and if I had to choose I'd go to the palace!

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A little love for the Patuxent: I don't know why people are so fixated on "being on the Chesapeake" -- do they realize how large of an area that is? Anyway, I would like to turn them on to the various "great little crab places" in St. Mary's County and surrounding areas, on the Patuxent River (which flows from the Chesapeake, if that helps). Its an hour/hour and a half away away. Stoney's is a great option, as is the Drift Inn (crabs/shellfish only -- don't eat the food). They're both on the water, and there are lots of other places in between. The Drift Inn is very local and not well-known. As always, call to confirm they have enough crabs on hand before you go.

Fritz Hahn: I think being on the Chesapeake is shorthand for being on the water -- I mean, Mike's being on Broad Creek instead of the Bay doesn't make me love it any less.St. Mary's is great. I'd throw in Chesapeake Beach in Charles County as well. And Tilghman Island, which is very cool for many reasons, including that it's only accessible by boat or drawbridge.

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Crystal City: The person looking for CC/PC happy hour options will do well, I think, in spite of the area's shortcomings. I second your rec for Tortoise & Hare, but would also recommend the Kora happy hour -- it goes til 8:30 and there are good specials ($5 pizza and pasta, plus drink specials). Jaleo hour is good too, but only goes until 7pm. McCormack's is always full too, if they're looking for that kind of thing.

Fritz Hahn: Oh, and I forgot Mackey's, which I also enjoy for happy hour. Good Guinness/fish and chips option.

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Summer music: Island in the Sun from Weezer

Amy Orndorff: Wow. I just had a lovely flashback to high school and the best summer of my life. Thank you.

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Crystal City: McCormick and Schmick's has AWESOME happy hour food deals.

Fritz Hahn: Yeah, it's tough to beat the $2.95 half-pound cheeseburger. Or the peel-and-eat shrimp.

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Hope I'm not too late!: I was shocked to hear you say the sunday pool party at capitol skyline was family friendly. I have never been, but always assumed it was a college party like atmosphere. Do people bring little kids? Can the kids swim in the pool without being trampled??? I would love to do this with kids if that is really possible.

Fritz Hahn: There have been plenty of kids every time I've been there. Saturdays have a crazier atmosphere than Sundays, which are more like a cookout-with-a-pool. Grown-ups predominate in the pool, but yes, kids get in and play on the floating rafts and such.

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Justin Rude: Thanks for the lively discussion chatters, see you next week!


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