YES, IT'S BEEN a long Sunday of serious browsing, check-writing and stroller- dodging at Tysons Corner. All those late-night TV commercials this week for the album of your favorite Christmas songs by your favorite country artists, that's what prompted it; you had to be among the first to beat the Dreaded Holiday Rush. And you did it. You found the perfect gift for your rock- musician brother: a sleeveless, black-leather nightshirt, with matching slippers.
Now, it's Miller time.
No, you don't have to ask specifically for Miller, but the least you could ask for after using up all your savings and super-unleaded in pursuit of presents is a place nearby in which to sit down, maybe have a drink and be entertained, yes?
Yes. So here are three after-shopping suggestions meant to get you in the mood, all within a five-minute drive of two on-the- Beltway emporiums in Northern Virginia: Springfield Mall and Tysons Corner.
Just a few hundred yards of blacktop from Springfield Mall, for instance, is the Springfield Hilton. Most nights of the month, the Hilton's West Indies Trading Company (the name of its smartly laid-out, nautical-theme lounge) has a quiet hotel-lounge singing act during happy hour and a top-40 show band later (with a weekend cover charge), but Sunday is special. Specifically, one of the two Sundays (or so) a month that the Buck Creek Jazz Band plays the room -- for no cover, no minimum, and substantial appreciation.
You don't have to like New Orleans-type jazz to like the seven-piece Buck Creek Jazz Band, but it helps. You will notice that many of the decidedly over-30 folks sitting in the audience (or actually waiting beside the dance floor for the next number) are wearing Buck Creek lapel buttons somewhere below their smiles.
These button people already know that the Buck Creek band is composed mostly of Washington-based professionals, led by Alexandria architect Jim Ritter, on coronet. They know the band plays music mostly for fun (though it sounds far from tossed-off) and mostly at the West Indies Lounge -- plus occasional dates at dixieland and jazz festivals from Sacramento to Scotland. They also know about -- or own copies of -- the band's four albums, and they know they can get out of the West Indies, after two draft Michelobs and a club sandwich, for $10 and change. Judging from their dress, which varies from jeans to jacket-and-tie (with an unusually high bowtie quotient), these folks may or may not have been shopping earlier in the day.
If you were, but you were closer to Tysons Corner, try following Leesburg Pike west through a few of those killer traffic lights to Mr. Smith's of Georgetown.
Though the parking lot of Pike Plaza doesn't look anything like Georgetown, the recently redone interior of the Virginia branch of the M Street saloon is sophisticated enough -- and on a Sunday night, Mr. Smith's usual nighttime fare of deejay and big-screen video gives way to another cover-charge-less bargain: live swing (as in big band, usually provided by the Doc Dikeman Orchestra) and jazz, right there on the gazebo dance floor occupied earlier in the night by burger-eaters of all ages.
Draft beer here is $1.25. (This Sunday, Mr. Smith's is having a special jazz "festival"; $10 admission gets you a free sandwich-hors d'oeuvre buffet and music by K. Shalong, O'Donel Levy, Charlie Young, Wade Beach, George Jones and others).
If your kind of dancing works better to "Bad Moon Rising" than "Moonlight Serenade," and if it's a Friday night after 9, you might want to cross Leesburg Pike and find your way to Hurrahs, the restaurant-bar in the lobby of the huge corporate exercise temple known as The Sporting Club.
Hurrahs -- open to the public as well as club members, the latter distinguishable by damp hair above and canvas tote bags below -- now has a live pop band on Fridays in the atrium that envelops the three-level lower area. And after they turn off the lights of the two glass-walled exhibition courts and the sound of the big-screen TV over the bar, people tend to dance.
Unless, of course, they already burned out on racquetball -- or they're carrying too many shopping bags full of leather sleepware. Most likely the former. HURRAH'S -- At The Sporting Club, 8250 Greensboro Dr., McLean. Bar open 11 a.m. to midnight Monday to Saturday, 11 to 8 Sunday, live music Fridays 9 p.m. to midnight. 442-9150. MR. SMITH'S -- 8369 Leesburg Pike, Tysons Corner. Open 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. daily. Live music Sundays at 8. 893-1204. WEST INDIES TRADING COMPANY -- At the Hilton, 6550 Loisdale Rd., Springfield. Open 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 daily. Buck Creek Jazz Band next plays October 21. 971-8900.