Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed fashion, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

Mar 08, 2012

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed fashion, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

Welcome chatters, to our first spring-ish edition of Got Plans? This week, we're guest-free, so ping us with whatever you've got questions about.  Pepe food truck? St. Practice Day? Gluten-free eating? The National Cherry Blossom festival? We've got you covered.

My boyf is coming to DC for the first time from a little known town of Louisiana at the end of this month. Do you have recommendations on really low-key bars where he won't have to dress up and beers are dirt cheap? And also activities for first time visitors to do? He likes being outdoors and drinking -- typical Louisianan. Anywhere in MD and DC are okay. Thanks for all your help!

Ahh, I know this type (I went to University of Texas, which is swimming in Louisianans).  I can't help but think a cool concert at the 9:30 club might be fun for a visiting  BF -- you guys can catch a beer beforehand at the totally unpretentious Duffy's.  For outdoor drinking, the Standard would be a fun thing to do during the day on a Saturday -- if the weather's nice, there's no better place on the planet. And obviously, the end of this month is cherry blossom time -- they'll be in full bloom by then.  Here's a list of all 2 zillion things you could check out. But I personally love the bike tours and paddleboat trip (reserve a space beginning March 12!). Totally cool stuff to do for couples. 

I am 7 months pregnant and my husband is overseas for one year but my birthday is coming up and a bunch of my girlfriends want to help me celebrate. To be honest, I am not up for a big night out and wanted to have them over to my house for a fun night of food and drinks (non alcoholic for me, of course). I don't want to have a stressful night of cooking. Any ideas on where i can get some amazingly delish appetizers for the night in or near Alexandria? Thanks!!

The recently opened Society Fair on South Washington should be perfect for your needs. The minds behind Restaurant Eve, the Majestic, Virtue Feed and Grain, the PX and Eamonn's run this food market and casual restaurant that sells artisinal cheeses, fabulous baked goods, wine and a variety of small bites and goodies that can also be found of the menus of the food group's various restaurants.

Is there going to be an elephant walk when Ringlings come to the Verizon Center. I work near Union station and would love to see it. Thanks!

For the first time the elephant parade is going to happen... at night! The parade will start March 13 at 8 p.m.--thankfully after rush hour. A map of the route is here and you can call 866-683-3670 for more information.

Hey gurus. I have a bunch of family (including a few kids, ages 5-10) coming into town and we need dinner near the Mall on a Saturday (Easter weekend, actually). Is there any restaurant near the Mall that would accommodate us? We'd rather not go to Old Ebbitt since I've taken them there before.

The Hamilton is located in the same building as the Old Ebbit (and is in fact owned by the same folks) and it is perfect for large groups and families. And while it operates at around the same price range, I think the food is a bit of an improvement.

My younger cousin and her friend are staying with my for a night and I've just learned that the friend is a gluten-free vegetarian. Where to take them for dinner in DC tonight without spending much? Thanks so much for your suggestions! This is totally out of my field of expertise.

Stephanie Merry: Since I'm recently gluten-free (and a former vegetarian), I know how hard this can be. I've started making a list of places that are especially accommodating (not to mention tasty), so here's a sampling: I've had good luck at Tortilla Coast, where the waiters seemed especially knowledgeable (beware of the chips though; they fry those up with flour tortillas, which means traces of gluten). Scion marks gluten-free options on their menu (and there are many) and although Commissary is hardly a foodie destination, their wait staff is extra careful when it comes to allergies (plus they have a huge menu including many vegetarian options). I've also become mildly obsessed with the bibimbap at Mandu, which -- with a tofu-for-beef substitution -- might just please both your buddies. Chatters, any insights?

Hi - We've been away for two years and are lucky enough to have a parent coming to visit our third weekend back in town! This guest likes American "comfort food" but is used to small-town prices. We've had good luck in the past at the Carlyle Grand and have successfully stretched his horizons a bit at Jaleo and with pollo a la brasa. Anything new in town we should check out? Downtown preferred.

"American comfort food" is exactly what Jose Andres was striving for with America Eats Tavern. Unfortunately, the prices are certainly not "small-town" -- I'll cite the infamous $8 PB&J (or $16 if you want it with ... foie gras?) as proof , though why anyone would order a PB&J from a fancyish restaurant in the first place is still beyond me. 

P.J. Clarke's comes to mind, as does the Hamilton, a new 24-hour dining and entertainment showstopper from the Clyde's group. If you can score a table, Lincoln is also highly worthwhile, with a good mix of reasonable prices and above-average food. 

If you're willing to venture a bit north of the downtown area, I'd recommend Ripple in Cleveland Park or the Atlas Room on H Street NE. 

Looking for something to do on Friday night, is this exhibit open in the evenings? Also GOG search-- any way to add a criteria for day vs. evening? That would make it even easier to find the next best thing to do! Thanks

Hi, sure, the Next Generation show is typically open till 6 p.m., so it's a pretty good way to kick off a night in that neighborhood, but can't be a night out in and of itself.  And unfortunately this Friday isn't one of the ones with all the  hot art events. At Montserrat House, however, there's the pop-up pho event Pho U, which might attract a huge crowd, but if it's not too busy,  should be quirky and artsy, what with karaoke with a live band.  And Saturday, there's a cool sounding show at the H Street Playhouse, "How to Disappear and Never Be Found." (There are a lot of amazing things coming up in the arts this month; here's a roundup.) And here's our list of  best events for the weekend.

Hey Gurus - My family is coming up for St. Paddy's Day, and I was hoping you could point me in the right direction for day-long fun... Any pub crawls or cool events (aside from the parade, which honestly, isn't our thing)? Sláinte!

For what it's worth, the D.C. St. Patrick's Day parade is on Sunday, a full six days before the holiday itself (March 17). If you're looking for things to do on St. Patrick's Day itself, you could start with a proper Irish breakfast at the Old Brogue in Great Falls before heading into the city to bop around the various pseudo-Irish bars hosting all-day green-beer-and-beads fetes, including Duffy's, Rumors, Irish Whiskey, the Mighty Pint and the Star & Shamrock. You could easily assemble a citywide pub crawl with those destinations on your own. Fado is showing the Ireland-England Six Nations rugby match at 1 p.m. which should be a wonderfully chaotic scene. 

This has nothing to do with going out, but the Gurus know everything! What the heck is going on with the National Gallery? It looks like they are putting bricks on the exetrior. They totally ruin the minimalist look of the building.

Stephanie Merry: John Kelly has the scoop on the NGA renovation, which is indeed a bit unsightly.

I'm taking my sister to Dupont Circle to visit Second Story Books and Kramerbooks (she's never been to either, which needs to be rectified ASAP); we may also head over to the Library of Congress/Folger library. Are there other related or just quirky places (galleries? museums?) we should visit while we're in Dupont? Also, could you recommend a fun and inexpensive place to eat? I've tried Shophouse Asian Kitchen, and was wowed by the meatballs, but not much else. Many thanks!

The Folger Library is a must. They have a lovely exhibit about women writers that she might find interesting. And not far from there is Capitol Hill Books, which is the library I dream of one day having. And if your sister is coming this weekend, consider checking out Elizabeth Nunez's talk at the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, which is right near Dupont Circle. We also keep a list of book events on the GOG that you might find helpful. Last thing... may I come too?

We're starting with pizza at Matchbox and looking for a great place for drinks and dessert. Location can anywhere from Rockville to downtown DC. Co Co Sala immediately comes to mind but any other suggestions? Thanks!

I would take residence at the bar at Fiola and work my way through their amazing list of sweets. Don't shy away from the impressive after dinner wine list and Amari collection either.

All my guy friends are coupled up...Caps games, concerts and dive bars aren't exactly conducive to meeting women. Any thoughts on where to meet women outside my usual circles without resorting to bar crawls and nightclubs?

Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer. I was out at a trail clean up on Saturday and met some very nice singles excited about the outdoors and meeting new people. Classy girls volunteer!

Hi Gurus, my younger sister (barely legal) is coming to visit this weekend and I can use some help. I've got Friday and Saturday covered with some friends' activities, but could use some day and night activities for Sunday and Monday. The catch? I'm 10 years older than her and have no idea what's she's into (except for our common ground of wine and beer). We are carless and in DC so all suggestions are welcome, particular those that make me look like the cool big sister. [Bonus question: I know its Fritz's least favorite "holiday" but will you be putting together a list of festivities for 3/17?]

Yes, our St. Patrick's Day list is already live (and we'll be adding to it in the days ahead). 

 

A common interest in wine and beer is more than enough of a starting point for a great time. Seriously, you would have BIG PROBLEMS if she was under-21 or, you know, didn't share those interests.  Since she's only recently legal, she probably thinks a classy drink is rail vodka and Diet Coke "on the rocks"  -- take her to the Gibson or the Passenger for cocktails, Estadio for porron, ChurchKey for craft beers and Standard for liters of German beer and barbecue (The Standard is closed on Monday so keep that in mind). All of those spots are Metro-friendly no-brainers, but they offer terrific people-watching so you'll never run out of things to talk about. 

It's a nice day outside. Unfortunately I don't get out of work until 5:30. What can I do to enjoy the outdoors at that time before heading home? I don't drink so HH's are out. Thanks, gurus!

Where are you located? I would be happy to suggest a park that is worth going for a walk in.

Going to Philly for the first time this weekend. I've asked 20 diferent people where to go for cheesesteak and have gotten 20 different answers. What do you guys think?

Pat's. Everyone else is simply wrong.

Gurus- I had plans to go see Light in the Darkness at Synetic Theater in Crystal City tomorrow... but just saw that there were "Visa issues" and the performers were not allowed into the country. Thus the show is off. Any ideas for something similar that would still have ticket availability? (It was described as "composed of dreams and fantasies and invites the audience to a fictional picture gallery of sins in which various images of death appear and disappear. One fantastic image emerges and develops into another, demanding the viewer’s individual imagination and experience. Light in the Darkness combines surreal and decadent poetry with elements of physical theater and modern dance. "

Stephanie Merry: I was so bummed to see that, as well -- it looked  intriguing. There is nothing going on that is quite like that, but if imaginative and unconventional theater is your thing, I would recommend Astro Boy and the God of Comics at Studio, which blends drawing, video and theater into a truly unique experience.

"Caps games, concerts and dive bars aren't exactly conducive to meeting women" Sure they are! Just be friendly and open without being pushy.

A tip for Romeo.

Just wanted to remind folks that DC United (our professional soccer team) has its opening game this Saturday night (7:30pm) at RFK. It's a great time, fun folks and even if you don't know a lot about soccer it can still be a blast. Most games do not sell out so you can always pick up tickets at the door. Join us, and VAMOS United!

Seconded.

There is always gluten free pizza - pi pizzeria has a good crust (crispy, not spongy!), rustico (outside of DC but still good), fireworks has good gf pizza too. I made my friends get hte gluten free crust when we go out and they are always surprised by how you cant really notice a difference (most of the time...). I dont know if its out of the price range but Oyamel has a great gluten free menu and the staff is super knowledgable and attentative with allergies.

Stephanie Merry: Thanks for the Oyamel tip! I have kind of a love-hate relationship with gluten-free pizza, because the crust is often really bland. Rustico is my personal favorite so far. I wasn't as big of a fan of District of Pi or Paradiso. Pete's is next on my list to try...

Can you make more categories? Or can you at least let us select more than one category at a time?

What other categories did you have in mind?

Going out Guide: Why no category for music? Why such a BAD fake photo for the wapo?

Sure, we can talk about the app (a new version of which was just released in the last few days). Music's in there; every concert or club event we have in our database is also in the app under the Events tab. You can search for a specific show (i.e. Black Keys) or by venue or date. Or if you're lazy you can just type Music into the search field and voila -- all of the events even have a little musical note icon. And if you play with the What's on Deck field, you'll even see a nice photo of Mr. Flavor Flav himself reminding you of this month's best concerts. So music's in there. As far as the BAD fake photo, I'm not sure what you're referring to. Are you talking about the Washington Post's main app? If so, that's a question for a different chat, I'm afraid. 

Take her to visit DC Brau!

Great suggestion for a group -- the brewery tours are super popular -- you can take a bus out there right? Because if I recall correctly, they're carless.

Is there a way to find out what conventions are in town? I get tired of trying to go to Chinatown or Woodley Park establishments, only to find myself smushed in with bazillions of conventioneers. I'd love to be able to make plans around those events.

That's going to leave you with not very many free weekends, I'm afraid. Just looking at the DC Convention Center calendar and it's pretty packed: The reality of Chinatown is that it's always going to be crowded, whether because of a convention, an event at Verizon Center or just the fact that it's a destination. 

Hi Gurus, I have relatives (my cousin, her husband and 2 daughters) coming out from California on April 8-15, and would appreciate suggestions on non-typical must-do's (if they exist!). The daughters are 12 and 15 and they will be doing the usual museums and government buildings and such, but want to get an idea of other fun stuff. For an example, the older daughter wants to hit Ben's Chili bowl ("the famous chili place that Obama goes to"). This might be the only time they get out here. Many thanks!

I did a guide to some under-21 fun a couple of summers ago, and we decided a fun trip to a place like Sticky Rice has a way of making you feel a little more grown up. Another thing we love is checking the Smithsonian events website to see if there are any cool film screenings.

And there a lot of other places the Obamas eat (should you not just want to go Ben's, there's Shake Shack, for example).

I like to take visitors to Eastern Market on the weekend for a vibrant look at Washington that you won't get by sticking to the Mall. Expect a mix of food emporium, flea market, craft fair and jewelry show. If you get there early enough on a weekend morning you can even sample the Market Lunch blueberry-buckwheat pancakes, one of our city's must-try dishes.

Have any of yall seen Really Really in Shirlington? Wondering what kind of grade you'd give it?

Stephanie Merry: I haven't had the chance to see Really Really, unfortunately, but Peter Marks gave it high...um...marks. I'm just now realizing what a great name that is for a critic. Am I the last to figure this out?

I have a one-month old baby. Like any responsible parent, I want to take him into a throng of tens of thousands of people just so I can use a cute picture with him in front of the blossoms as my Facebook profile for a week. Any suggestions, other than self-reporting to Child Protective Services? Specifically, where to park (even I'm not gonna take him on the metro), what time of month/day to go, etc?

We won't tell if you fake a picture at the National Arboretum.

Hi Gurus, I'm so excited for the Radiohead concert at Verizon Center on June 3rd! One of the best concerts I've ever seen was a Radiohead show in Cleveland at the Blossom Amphitheater years ago. My question: what time should I arrive at the Verizon Center Box Office for the General Admission Lottery? It says that fans should be in line by 8 a.m., but what time do you think I should actually arrive? Thank you!!!

Shouldn't matter too much when you get there, honestly. It's a lottery, rather than a first-come, first-served distribution system, so there's no real advantage to getting down there super early Saturday morning (or Friday night if you're really keen). I'd plan to get down there around 7 anyway just to sort yourself out and find your bearings. Good luck. 

I have always resented St. Paddy's because my birthday falls the day after and people (sometimes myself included) are often too hungover to do much of anything. But as my birthday falls on a Sunday, seems like a good year to embrace it. Where would you suggest going with a group of maybe 8-10 to celebrate, doesn't need to have green beer but would like a little festive feel. Hopefully not too crowded. I live in Foggy Bottom so Dupont, Downtown, or Georgetown would be ideal.

I don't know why you didn't always just piggyback on  St. Paddy's and treat it like it's your birthday -- at least you know all you'll friends will be in. Two totally different thoughts :  Within walking distance from where you live, and also opening up early for revelers is the classy 2.0 take on Irish bars, the new Irish Whiskey Public House. But Kegs and Eggs at the 9:30 club sounds especially celebratory/debaucherous - you can start your birthday partying at 7:30 a.m.

Petes Gluten Free is really good too....I forgot about that one! Cafe Pizzaiolo in Crystal City has the best in the area though, by far. Its so light and crispy...I was worried the first time that it was regular crust, thats how good it was!

Noted. The only gluten-free pizza I've tried is at Fuel, and I found it quite tasty, even as a gluten eater. Maybe not quite the same texture-wise but I've definitely had worse "regular" pizza. 

would probably feel right at home at Hank Dietle's in Rockville.

Thanks! I also meant to suggest Jackie's Sidebar in Silver Spring -- has that cocktails vibe that's hot here in D.C., but is as laid-back as the Black Cat. And the deviled eggs are quite possibly laced with something addictive.

Outside events, festivals, wine, pet friendly, that sort of thing. More granularity in general. Yes I know about the Misc category. Too broad.

Thanks for the feedback. I actually think this might be doable if our "Refine By Special Interest" had more than free admission and kid friendly. I will discuss this with our IT department. Please stay tuned.

we've made the trip a few times, we like to park on ninth and get one from Pats and one from Genos and compare - its more fun that way. (The real answer is Captain Harvey's in Southeast Baltimore, just across the Francis Scott Key Bridge)

Thanks for the tip.

You forgot to recommend a lunch for the bibliophiles. I'd suggest Pizzeria Paradiso, Teaism, or Cafe Luna. Though Kramerbooks' own cafe is also very good, if a bit pricey.

I didn't forget... I was just hoping Justin would answer it as he knows restaurants far better than me. But I do like your ideas, especially Teasim.

Gurus, any word about whether Lululemon will be resuming yoga classes in Dupont Circle when the weather warms up? Do any other yoga studios or companies hold free or low-cost outdoor classes?

Stephanie Merry: Lululemon at Logan Circle plans to host the outdoor yoga series in Dupont again once the weather starts getting warmer, and around that time I will no doubt be doing a round-up on the blog of free outdoor classes. In the meantime, you can look forward to Yoga on the Mall (during D.C. Yoga Week) on May 19 and the annual Cherry Blossom class on April 7.

Go early in the morning (yes early), you can park around the Tidal Basin or by West Potomac Park (on Ohio Drive or the parking lot near Lincoln and Roosevelt). Crowds are less, the lighting is great and you can find PARKING. I play softball down there and we typically go park our cars early (before 8am) just to get a spot (with a bbq in the trunk) and come back later in the day to play and grill.

Totally agree.  I always say that tourists -- because they're coming from hotels, and typically trying to rouse three whiny, tired children and get them excited about a bunch of dead guys -- never seem to show up on the Mall till like 11 a.m. It's really incredible, but I can set my watch to it.  I agree that going very early, you'll miss not only the traffic, but should have luck parking (I suggest looking for parking on Hains Point or further up 14th Street NW too; go on a Sunday to avoid meter fees). Also, new mom shouldn't worry that much - there are plenty of other strollers out there, and one can veer off the basin onto Ohio Drive if it gets too crazy. There are trees there too!

Ha! I love that you are going to take your kid to the cherry blossoms for photos for FB. I just came off maternity leave and it was fantastic to be able to do things during the middle of the day, even to go to the grocery store. No crowds, no parking issues. I applaud you (from my desk...booo).

Another tip for the mom in search of the perfect FB picture.

Don't forget about Naked Pizza! They offer a gluten-free crust ... and there's even a LivingSocial deal today ... pay $8 for $16 worth of pizza at 4 different Naked Pizza locations.

And another option...

I'm hoping one of you has the heads up about a place where you can create your own six-pack with a good selection of craft beers like the ones being featured in the Post taste-off? I've seen these in other cities but don't know of any nearby. I live in Alexandria and work in Chinatown if that helps. Thanks!

Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits is a good one, and I believe Westover Market in Arlington also allows you to mix-and-match. Chatters? 

I think Ethiopian is mostly gluten free? Ethiopic on H St. might be a good choice.

Stephanie Merry: My heartbreaking discovery: Ethiopian is tricky, and I learned this the hard way. While injera is typically/historically made from teff, which is gluten free, a lot of restaurants now supplement that grain with flour. So it's a good idea to call and check with the restaurant first.

Hi Gurus! My husband and I are planning a day trip to Frederick. We have been there before, and we're wondering if you have any suggestions for things to do besides checking out the cutesy shops there. Thanks!

There are some nice places to eat in Frederick. I would plan on making time for a leisurely lunch at Shab Row Bistro, Tasting Room or The Wine Kitchen.

VOLT doesn't serve lunch anymore, which is too bad, because it was a steal at ~$30 for three courses. But you could check out Bryan Voltaggio's LunchBox.

Thanks for the map, and clearly we should take pictures on the Mall, but I've already taken that picture a few times - so where is the best place to drink on the route?

Keep with the animal theme, of course! Green Turtle, Elephant and Castle, Iron Horse.

So, I live in Petworth, and I'm a total yoga newbie. Like, never ever done any yoga at all. Is there a good place to try it out and see if it's what I want?

Stephanie Merry: If you'd feel most comfortable trying it out from the comfort (and privacy) of your own home, there are a bunch of free video podcasts you can check out on iTunes. I'm a big fan of Yoga District, Stroga and Flow (look for fundamentals classes or Yoga I, and also let the instructor know it's your first time), but those might be a bit far for you. Chatters, any yoga studios close to Petworth you'd recommend for a beginner?

FYI, I'm a dad. Mom's home on maternity leave, while I slave away to provide food and shelter by, ya know, reading the GOG chat.

Ha! Just think about the bonus points you are going to get when you have fun things to suggest this weekend.

We did Cherry Blossoms early in the morning (say 8:30 am) with our baby--he's still in his footed pjs in the pics. Not crowded at all!

Another tip for the FB Mom.

Pete's is okay; but Rustico is my favorite! (I'm been GF for 10+ years) I think it's because Rustico makes their own crust. Most of the gf pizza dough around here is all the same brand, so the crusts taste the same. There is one company that makes it and sells it to restaraunts. I would check out sushi places (but not their soy sauce) or both Papa Razzi and Filomena have gf pasta dishes.

Stephanie Merry: Great tips. Thanks!

Lost Dog also lets you make your own 6 pack. great variety there, too.

Yes, and great sammiches at Lost Dog, too. 

does holly still participate in these chats? Husband and i are going to london netherlands and belguim. lots of walking and biking through tulip felds etc. we both need shoes that dont scream sneaker. i was looking into a pair of the tom's dessert boots for me but I have no idea if those would hold up to the walking or if they are in at all. I also have a pair of cole haan nike air flats but they are much dressier than i wasnt to wear all day, and really not all that comfortable. husband would much prefer to be in a sneaker of some sort but is willing to go for a dressier sneaker if I can find one in his size (13). Also we will be bringing our 7 month old baby so I was mostly planning to pack jeans since we will mainly nbe doing casual kid friendly places casual but i would like to bring one dress, the issues are that i havent lost the baby weight and that i'm nursing so trying to find a decent dress has proven really hard. thanks

So, unfortunately Holly is no longer on these chats with us (but check her out at Refinery29!) As a semi-frequent traveler though, here are a few ideas:

-Shoes for you: I would go for a pair of casual kicks and a pair of flirty flats. I find that sometimes it's impossible to tell which shoes will stand up best with a lot of walking, and with two pairs you kind of hedge your bets. Plus, shoes can easily dress an outfit up or down, so if jeans are going to be your day-to-day you should be able to slip on a cute pair of flats to go out to dinner. These flats fold up and can fit right in your purse. And for something more casual and with a bit more support, desert boots could provide you with just the amount of ankle support you need.

-Shoes for him: You know, he may just want to go the desert route too. They're really versatile, can be dressed up or down, good support, etc. Here's one idea.

-Dress: Go flowy, all the way. Try something with  a fun, flowery print that could be dressed up and worn with flats or dressed down and worn with a canvas sneaker. Something crinkly will be less likely to wrinkle in your suitcase, can be worn more than once, and it will flatter any figure! I'm loving this, this and this.

Couple of weeks ago, a "competing periodical" did a piece on The Manhattan, suggesting it was the one drink, where small innovations with the three key ingredients would yield exotic results and insights into the skills of the maker. Ive long felt that I should better understand the craft cocktail arena. If you were to propose a cocktail tour (bar crawl being too inelegant for our purposes), which establishments and artisans would you recommend for a survey of the variations for a Manhattan (and what signature drinks for the bartenders might you also recommend?)

Justin Rude, our food editor, and I were talking about this, and we both agree that any cocktail can vary wildly from bar to bar; I think I've really been witnessing this, since everyone seems to have a Last Word, negroni and Suffering Bastard on their  menu right now, and every one I've had has been...let's say, an adventure. But I like the idea of the Manhattan as, like, say, a wine tasting, especially because you already know each one will be wildly different: You taste it at bars that aren't even necessarily known for their classic drinks, and see where those bartenders take you. I'd definitely put Tabard Inn on your list (call ahead and find out when Chantal is working - she's their guru);  and then I'd skip down to Off the Record at the Hay Adams and see what they whip up; you could try Bar Pilar, whose fairly green mixologist might turn up something surprising; the Gibson (on Tuesdays, reservations aren't required for upstairs). And finally, as a wildcard, Estadio on 14th Street. Adam Bernbach is great, and the drinks all complement the Spanish food served there. I can't help but think they might offer a Spanish twist on the Manhattan - and they're certain to least throw in some of their amazing house flavorings.

I think World Market will let you create a six pack.

And they have a pretty good selection.

Hey gurus, I'm in a post-winter/pre-spring RUT and am hoping to do something during the day on either Saturday or Sunday that gets me out of my comfort zone and is good old-fashioned fun. Any ideas? I'm open to any and all suggestions but have already done a fair amount of neighborhood exploring in the area (one of my favourite activities). Here are the parameters: I'll probably be solo but might be able to convince a friend or two to come along, I have a car and am willing to travel and I'd like to think outside the box a bit. Thanks, can't wait to see what you (or any readers) come up with!

Stephanie Merry: Nothing says getting out of your comfort zone like going on what could be called a fashion show bike ride. If that doesn't strike your fancy, check out our list of best events for the weekend.

My friend is looking for a very specific kind of bar for her Saturday night birthday party in late March. Metro accessible, ability to mingle but not be too crowded, and "nicer than a sports bar but not like a club". There will be 20ish people at the party. Any ideas? Thanks!

Easy! Barcode. I actually think "nicer than a sports bar but not a club" should be in the review. There are plenty of TVs, a la sports bar, but a going-0ut vibe, as well as room for groups. I think you can/should give them a call about your group of 20 - I know lots of people who've told me they're great to work with on that.

Hi! We're going to host a 14 yo French student in mid-April. Do you have any suggestions of events or places that might show him we have a bit of home here? I mean, short of taking him to see the Statue of Liberty.

Check out Alliance Francaise! They have a constant flow of interesting events, from author talks to film screenings to concerts.

Okay, guys, it's late so we're going to wrap things up. Be sure to join us next week, when we'll be taking all your usual dilemmas as well as all your cherry blossom questions. With the festival just about to kick off, and  literally more than a 150 related events, we'll help you wade through the lists to the best events.

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The Going Out Gurus
The Going Out Gurus 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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