Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Feb 27, 2014

Every Thursday, the Going Out Guide staff discusses concerts, happy hours, cheap date ideas, weekend getaways, new exhibits and other ways to have fun in the Washington D.C. area.

Afternoon, everyone. The biggest thing on our calendar is Mardi Gras, which is only days away. Looking to party? We've got a rundown of events, from parades to all-you-can-eat po'boys. Need to buy a King Cake? We know where to get one.

Other bits of news: Did you hear that District Flea is coming back? Poppabox has bibimbap to go in Foggy Bottom? Or that Rye Rye is opening Strathmore's latest concert series?

Okay, on to your questions. 

I'm looking to rent a private party space for my husband's 30th birthday. Is there anywhere that is sort of lodge-like and very manly, you know with animal heads on the walls and such? Thanks!

Two places that instantly come to mind: The second-floor bar at the Brixton, which is modeled after an English country lodge -- fireplaces, guns on the wall, etc. And Copperwood Tavern in Shirlington, for its woodsy/outdoorsy vibe. Old wood, canoes mounted on the wall, antique fishing poles -- and a great moonshine selection.

My boss is looking for a place to get french onion soup a couple times a week very close to our office at 20th and L NW. Devon and Blakely at Foggy Bottom has soups, but that's a bit too far. It really has to be within two blocks, she's a busy lady. Help make me a hero, gurus?

It looks like there's French onion soup on the menu at Teddy & the Bully Bar, at 19th and M -- one block away from you & your soup-loving boss!

One of my best friends wants to celebrate her B'day next weekend... Is there a nice bar/club were the crowd is 30+ and a good mix of music? We would like to get a table, dance and just have a good time with ppl close to our age! We tried El Centro in G'Twon last week... Not our cup of tea. Please help!!!

I think you might want something like the Huxley or Heist. Both book "open format" DJs, where you might hear Jay-Z followed by house music followed by a Lorde remix. Also, the crowd at both will be a little older than El Centro or Shadow Room, for example.

Haven't been to Georgetown on a weekend night in awhile (ex: back when third edition and the like seemed to set the tone). It appears that a lot of the old guard gtown bars have shuttered... anything new and noteworthy for someone wanting to explore the area for craft beer and good food rather than 80's rock and miller lite?

Georgetown's a much different beast now, minus Third Edition and the Guards. But it's home to one of the best craft beer bars in town (the basement Birreria Paradiso under Pizzeria Paradiso), and some new arrivals are promising: Fiola Mare has a classy cocktail bar, with amaro-based cocktails similar to those at sister bar Fiola, and Italian small bites. (You can see Tom Sietsema's preview here.) I also really like the upstairs whiskey lounge at RiRa. Yeah, it's a chain, but it's far different than the Clarendon location; this one is all dark wood and plentiful (and rare) Irish Whiskeys. There are craft beers from Stillwater, Dogfish Head and Perrennial, though they change relatively often. 

My boyfriend's childhood friend from Norway is coming into town this weekend and we are looking to find a place to get a meal and drinks. We're both students, so it can't be terribly expensive, but we're looking for a classy place where we can enjoy some good DC food and catch up with a friend.

Since you don't specify a cuisine, here's a wide-ranging list of some of our favorite cheap-but-not-too-cheap eats, with lots of ambiance: Small plates and excellent cocktails at Daikaya (reserve a booth to cut down on noise), Ethiopian at Ethiopic, a little bit of everything at Baby Wale, oysters and small plates at Eat the Rich, the casual A&D for drinks (with sandwiches from SundeVich next door), all-American food at Ted's Bulletin or Satellite Room, rice bowls at Donburi, or the super-affordable cocktails at Bar Charley. Chatters, feel free to chime in with other favorites!

Hi yall, I'm designing my own 14th Street Pub Crawl to take place on a Friday night after work. If you were making your own, which 5 14th Street destinations would make the cut? We'd like to grab food at at least 1 spot. Thanks!

ChurchKey, for beers before it gets crowded.

Black Whiskey, for a glass of bourbon and a craft beer.

Garden District, for barbecue and great grilled cheese with a liter of German beer.

Bar Pilar, because it feels more like a pub than some of the other spots. If crowded, the basement of Saint-Ex.

The Black Cat, because I love the Red Room.

If I was doing a cocktail crawl, it would be pretty different -- you'd see 2 Birds 1 Stone on there for sure. Maybe Le Diplomate.

We're thinking of going there on Saturday evening. Are all parts of it open now? I'm sort of confused about the different service on different floors. If we just want a cocktail, where should we go? If we want dinner - but not necessarily a formal multi-course one - do we go to the same level?

So here's the rundown on Menu, which is fully open: The first floor is a market. The second floor is a six-seat reservation-only tasting menu. The third and fourth floors are what you're interested in: You can get casual drinks there, and there's an inexpensive a la carte menu. If you stick around for dessert, try their super popcorn/nougat/cola ice cream sundae - so worth it.

Oh boo, Teddy and the Bully Bar won't do their french onion soup to go!

Really? What a bummer. It looks like M Bar at the Renaissance on New Hampshire between L and M has it on their menu too. Try them next? It's also on the menu at Ris, but that's one block further.

In case any gluten-free folks are looking for king cakes, The Happy Tart in Alexandria has them - special order only, though.

Thanks for the tip!

No, not regular bar food. GOOD bar food. It's a birthday, and I want to take him out to celebrate, but I do not have a ton of money (unemployed nonprofit type=flat broke) I've saved up some though. In the past, we have really enjoyed the bar menus at Corduroy, at CityZen, and Herbsaint (ok, that's not here. still). Are there other places like that around DC? I really would like to treat him well.

As someone who eats at a barstool 99% of the time, my favorite bar food menus would be Vidalia's twists on Southern classics (crayfish hushpuppies with honey butter, pate with pimento cheese and pickled okra, pork belly sliders with bacon marmalade); Roofer's Union for everything from pig's ears to roasted brussel sprouts to German sausages; the pork rolls, spicy marinated beef and Asian dishes at 2 Birds 1 Stone (they come from the highly rated Doi Moi kitchen); and the small bites at Boundary Road. 

The best part about Vidalia would be that you can get the food and drinks at happy hour prices until 7 p.m. daily. He doesn't even have to know ...

Has the Shakespeare Theatre Company announced the selection for the Free for All yet? We like to know well in advance so we can read it before attending. Also, kudos on Ron Charles's review of the Kindle book "Why Shakespeare WAS Shakespeare." Good review. And funny. It's the first time I noticed a review of an e-book in WaPo. (And no, I am NOT Jeff Bezos.)

I just gave the STC a call, but no one there could give me an ETA on when the announcement will come -- you can be sure that when it is announced, we will have it on the GOG Blog.

(And thanks, boss!)

What would that look like?

The Gibson
Bar Pilar
2 Birds 1 Stone
Le Diplomat
Estadio

Maybe Barcelona if I felt like dealing with that crowded (and badly laid out) bar area. The cocktails are good, but I don't think you get jostled as much anywhere else on 14th, especially if you're trying to stand with 2-3 other people.

Okay, that's going to do it for us today.

Our March Hotlist -- the guide to what to try, see and taste over the next month -- should be up on the GOG Blog soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Otherwise, we'll see you next week. Have a happy Mardi Gras.

Post Points Code for the day: GG5412,

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The Going Out Guide
The Going Out Guide staff are the experts behind The Washington Post's Going Out Guide. They write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene.
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