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The Going Out Gurus
Tuesday, November 23, 2010; 1:00 PM

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.

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Justin Rude: Welcome to our special pre-Thanksgiving chat, where we have answers for all your questions on post-feast libations, vegetarian celebrations and more.And because holiday decorations always start popping up on Turkey day, our giveaway this week is a pair of tickets to the December 5th 7:30 p.m. performance of the Christmas Carol at Ford's. To win them just let us know your favorite post-dinner Thanksgiving tradition. Our favorite takes the tix.

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Happy Hour: Will you ever start the monthly happy hours again?

Fritz Hahn: Yes! In fact, we will have a GOG happy hour in January, though I can't share all the details yet.In the meantime, you can join us for a night of D.C.-centric trivia at Bedrock Billiards on Sunday, Dec. 5. All the rules and more info is right here.

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Fur nightclub: I love electronic dance music, and am super excited that Axwell is making an appearance at the glow party this Wednesday. But, I've never been to Fur. What should I expect? Is it nice and plush, or more on the warehouse side of club offerings? Thanks!

Fritz Hahn: Fur is very much on the warehouse end of the spectrum, though not as bad as Nation. It has some nice amenities, including a coffee bar and some seats, but I wouldn't call it plush. It's basically a giant room with a very impressive light system and risers for dancers.

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€ activities.

Alex Baldinger: The Bull Run Festival of Lights opens tomorrow and is open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving. It's among the biggest displays in the area: 75,000 lights, a skating rink, holiday shopping and a midway with carnival games. It's not MoCo, but it sounds well worth the trip. Closer in, the Symphony of Lights in Columbia is also up and running.

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Craft Shows?: Hi Gurus,I know it's unlikley with this being Thanksgiving week, but my mom is coming to town and never met a craft/art fair she didn't like. Any of those going on this week?Thanks!

Justin Rude: The closest thing I can think of this weekend is the Holiday Market at National Harbor that is part of their annual Holiday Lights festival. It kicks off on Friday, and the market is open from noon to 9.

Lavanya Ramanathan:

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Rain on friday...: Here's the deal: Can't stand the in-laws. Thought a hike would be nice on Friday. It's supposed to be cold and rainy. HELP! They're staying in Baltimore, any chance you have a good suggestion for something to do up there with a group of 10 ornery adults (ages 30-70) who will complain about anything, given the chance?

Lavanya Ramanathan: Outside of Baltimore proper, there's the Symphony of Lights in Columbia, but you will have to be in a car with them for at least a half-hour to see the light show.

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Arlington: Okay, so what's going be open "Post-Thanksgiving" as your chat promo says? Arlington/NW locations preferred.

Fritz Hahn: I wrote a blog post about a good number of Thanksgiving Night options. Decided not to run the usual laundry list of all the places that are closed -- -- the Passenger, the 9:30 Club, Marvin, Brasserie Beck, Buffalo Billiards, the Red Derby, all the Dogfish Head alehouses, the Quarry House Tavern, U Street Music Hall, so on, so forth -- and just focus on all the places that will welcome you for a cold one.For Arlington/NW, I'm partial to Breadsoda (free pool/shuffleboard/darts, $3 beers), the laidback scene at Galaxy Hut, the usual $1 longneck happy hour at Bungalow Billiards in Shirlington...

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Sidebar: just wanted to throw it out there--Sidebar (next to Jackies in Silver Spring) is a wonderful, fabulous place with drinks & snacks--would be a great place to show off this area to visitors this weekend!

Fritz Hahn: And hey, it's open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, says Gordon Banks, one of our favorite bartenders.

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Post-dinner tradition: We always have family football pools. We do the squares and have winners for each quarter. We do this for all three games. It gets us much more interested in the games and keeps us awake so we are less likely to suffer from the triptophan coma. Plus, we might come away from the day with more money than we started with!

Alex Baldinger: This year's games are sort of lacking in the Department of Competitive Balance, so a little extra incentive to pay attention might be needed. Like the Thanksgiving football pool. Thanks.

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Monuments by moonlight: With family in town, I looked into this tour offered by Trolley Tours - is this the only monuments by night type of tour out there? It sounds like a good tour, just that it has a 7:30 start and is 2 hours long, so thinking that cuts into dinner plans.Any other suggestions?

Stephanie Merry: I know there are Segway tours and bicycle tours at night around town, but I'm not sure what other companies run bus tours. Although, I'm guessing timing will be pretty similar even if you find a different company. Chatters, any ideas?

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Sports bars: One of my dinner guests is a Cinncinati Bengals fan. I'm a Texas Longhorn fan. Our games are on at the same time Thursday night, so we're hoping to venture out to watch both at a sports bar in the Columbia Heights/Adams Morgan/U Street area. Any ideas?

Fritz Hahn: This is tough, since some bars I'd usually suggest are closed (Ventnor), opening after kickoff (Meridian Pint, 8 p.m.) or closing early (Commonwealth, 7 p.m.)While it's not a sports bar per se, I'd suggest making your way to Duffy's, which is opening at 7. They have a bunch of TVs, and are celebrating Thanksgiving with a "Beerfest" that offers all-you-can-drink beer (draft, can or bottle) for $20 between 7 and midnight. Also, the staff is generally pretty good about making sure your game gets on.

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Fritz Hahn: ... which means that your favorite bar can *probably* stay open until 3 a.m. on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. (Caveat: If a bar has a binding "voluntary" agreement about hours, they have to close at the usual time.)

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Need suggestions for a family day: My family is planning a day (maybe noon-10pm) together for "everyone" which includes adults (30s and 50s), young adults (college age), and kids (10-11). Not very athletic, although walking is not a problem. The week before Christmas is the target time and DC is our preference. A trip to the trees on the ellipse is part of it. Would love to get some really good hot chocolate too. Need to keep it inexpensive. Any suggestions?

Stephanie Merry: After the ellipse, you guys could head to the Botanic Garden for their seasonal display, which I mentioned last week, along with some other ideas that could work for you. As for hot chocolate, I'm a big fan of all the fancy versions at ACKC.

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fav post-dinner tradition: After stuffing ourselves and drinking way too much, our family usually has some kind of competition. It used to be wiffle ball or football. however, lately, we've also thrown competitive children's-puzzle completion into the mix...you'd be amazed how difficult 10-12 piece puzzles are to put together after multiple glasses of wine.

Fritz Hahn: I really like the sound of this.

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Post-TG dinner: Our TG tradition is to dine early in the day and, oddly enough, gather together again in the evening to watch (en famille) "A Christmas Carol." (The debate rages on: George C. Scott or Patrick Stewart or Mr. Magoo!). I've always had a soft spot for Dickens, and am always pleased that the oldsters and youngsters in our family uncomplainingly gather to share his magic with me.

Fritz Hahn: um, Barbie) you can watch a new one every year!

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Panda gin: If Hendrick's is the panda of the gin world, what does that make Gordon's?

Fritz Hahn: Ha.So by way of explanation, some friends and I got in a discussion in a bar last night about gin. (As you do.) My contention is that Hendrick's gin, like a panda, is an evolutionary dead end. Unlike say, Beefeater, Plymouth, Aviation or other traditional gins, it doesn't work well in a variety of classic cocktails. It's a curiosity, not very useful. So I started tweeting about this.Anyway, if Hendrick's is a panda, then Gordon's is... a hamster?

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Where to take the in-laws...: My boyfriend's family is visiting from Nebraska and wants us to take them out after Thanksgiving dinner. They are considering moving out here. I don't want this to happen. Where would you suggest taking them to convince them not to move to DC?

Fritz Hahn: Take them to some of the shuttered bars in Columbia Heights and Petworth, mumbling "I don't know why everything is closed! D.C. is usually so lively!" then buy 'em a short stack at the new IHOP.

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Moonlight: Has anyone done the moonlight tour/hike at the Arboretum? I'm looking for a few odd and possibly magical things to do this season and wonder if this one of the unique to DC things I should consider. (Can I bring a thermos of hot mulled cider?)

Stephanie Merry: I've been meaning to do this, too! Moira McLaughlin wrote about the hikes a couple years ago; here's her take.

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Where to take (someone you don't want moving here): Too funny! But, really, what would be your "GOG" suggestions for NOT showing off our city? (E.g., public transportation is really "great" here: and take them on Metro with bus transfer rides through the city?)

Fritz Hahn: Trying to take people anywhere via Metro on weekends would be my suggestion. Or a tour of all the half-vacant condo buildings in "NoMa" and Columbia Heights while discussing property values.

Stephanie Merry: Depending on their inclination to claustrophobia, a well-timed trip to the Air and Space Museum on a popular tourist day could do the trick. But in defense of Metro, Fritz and I are both big fans of the bus!

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arboretum: I've done this hike and it was great and unique. I'd recommend it. I bet you can bring your cider (not sure if they would care about alcohol, but also not sure how'd they know). The leader when I did it had a good hiking pace, so be prepared. It's tough to get there without a car, especially at night; that's the biggest downside.

Fritz Hahn: Thanks for the first-hand report.As a car-less member of the GOG community, I'd certainly recommend Zipcar or similar for going to the Arboretum.

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Don't Move Here: I suggest Tysons Corner on Friday morning. Tell them that traffic seems light. Then venture over to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. That should give them a good scare.

Justin Rude: Cold sweats just thinking about it.

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Justin Rude: Ok chatters, that does it for us. Thanks for joining our last-minute holiday chat. As for the contest, we felt inspired by the tales of drunken puzzling. If you are the winner please email us at events@washingtonpost.com to claim your prize.Hope you all have a fun, safe and stress-free holiday!

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