Open Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. (kitchen until 1 a.m.), Friday until 3 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. MC, CB, AE, DC, CC. Food: Chicken and ribs are best bets Style: Loud music and soft lights Price: Reasonable

Face's calls itself a restaurant, but it is really a gathering place, a community center. There are restaurants in Washington where you can feel as if you are in Paris or Bangkok. In Face's you feel as if you in Washington. However, since "Face" Wiggins sold the place, the food has changed. The chitterlings are gone, the ham hocks are missing. But the waitress still recites a long list of vegetables, from greens to sweet potatoes; the service is still pleasant and quick; the spareribs are as smoky and sweet-tart as ever.

Although mostly Face's is a place for drinking and light eating, you can start a meal with some good tomato-based fresh vegetable soup. The fried chicken is as crisp and juicy as ever, a close second to Pigfoot's. The seafood platter is better than Pigfoot's, including as it does a fresh fish filet and wellseasoned, if heavy, crab cakes. But you can strike out with a dry, chewy strip steak sandwich or overcooked fried shrimp. The side dishes are boring - drab potato asalad, crinkle-cut french fries, neglected salad - and, despite the menu, there has been no dessert on any of my visits. Too bad; Face's has become homogenized, with a weight watchers' salad instead of ham hocks. But entrees still average $4.50 to $5.50. A cup of coffee has remained at thirty-five cents and a chicken basket is a good buy at $3.50. Face's huge semicicular bar, juke box and general chattiness all add up to a lively dining rooms.