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June 28, 2012

1:10
P.M.

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

Total Responses: 39

About the hosts

About the host

Host: The Going Out Gurus

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.

About the topic

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

Lavanya Ramanathan :

Welcome chatters. Sorry for the delay -- we were soaking up the last few minutes of nice weather before we all slow-roast this weekend.  Which brings us to our giveaway this week: We've got tickets to Arena Stage's "The Normal Heart" on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., the perfect thing to do that's indoors and air-conditioned, if you ask us. All you have to do is help your fellow chatter out by telling us all: Where do you go to stay cool when the temperature threatens to cook us all? (Here's where we go, if you're looking for inspiration.) Let's get started!

Q.

Plans for 8-Year Old

My 8-year old niece will be spending the night with me in the city this Friday, followed by a Saturday daytime excursion. Previously, we have visited the Natural History Museum. I was thinking of the zoo this time (where I have taken her older sister before), but it looks like a real scorcher outside. Any thoughts on a fun daytime excursion for an 8-year old? Love your chat.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

It is going to be a scorcher. So I'm of two minds on this: You could go outdoors and hit a nice cool pool with her -- Volta Pool in Georgetown is a hidden gem; afterward, you can head to Georgetown Cupcake (pre-order and skip the line), Thomas Sweet or any one of the fro-yo places for a snack. (For a more waterpark feel, with minigolf, in Arlington you should hit Upton Hill's Ocean Dunes waterpark.)  The other option: Stay indoors all day. I'd check out our movie  guide -- "Brave" might be a great one for little girls; I keep hearing good things about "Madagascar 3," too. Then, if you see the movie in Georgetown, zip over to Muncheez Mania or Snap for crepes. In Chinatown, definitely head to Red Velvet or Pitango. The National Theater actually has some fun kiddie performances on Saturday mornings, too, though they may be too young for her -- then I'd head back to Natural History and check out the butterfly exhibition if you haven't.

– June 28, 2012 1:19 PM
Q.

Euro Cup 2012

Where is the best place in D.C. or Arlington to watch the final of the Euro Cup 2012 on Sunday afternoon?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I think it really depends on who's playing. If you're a Spain fan, Elephant and Castle at 19th and I is a good spot -- it's the home of the local Barcelona supporters club, and considering the number of Barca players in the team, there will be plenty of songs and cheers. If Germany makes it -- Biergarten Haus is the way to go. (And if Germany makes the final but you're rooting *against* them, the Queen Vic will be supporting Spain and serving tapas.)

For neutrals, there are plenty of options -- choose from Ireland's Four Courts, Public Bar, Fado, Molly Malone's -- I expect them all to have decent crowds.

– June 28, 2012 1:19 PM
Q.

Capitol Fourth Dry-Run

So I'm convinced this is the year that I go check out the July 3rd run-thru of the Capitol Fourth celebration. Is there a website with all the relevant info--security, checkpoints, restrictions--or is that all exactly the same as the real event? Also, how long is the show? Does it run longer because it's a rehearsal?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The rehearsal runs pretty much the same as the full July 4 concert, only with smaller crowds -- and some standins for some of the key performers. Gates open at 3, the runthrough starts at 8, and lasts around two hours. You can bring a picnic (there's more room) but the cooler/booze restrictions are still in effect.

– June 28, 2012 1:24 PM
Q.

Beat the heat idea

The downstairs bar at Hill Country with an ice cold, southern, country beer listening to live country music.. the cool, dark, air-conditioned basement combined with relaxing yet fun music, makes you forget about the dreadful heat from outside. As a bonus, you won't feel any of the heat even when customers open the door to come inside because you're downstairs!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Cold Shiner Bock and chilled whiskey make everything better.

– June 28, 2012 1:25 PM
Q.

Where to go to keep cool

The movies are my first choice, as long as you're paying $10-12 per ticket, you can take advantage of the theater paying for the AC. Outside, Rock Creek Park and C/O Canal. The green spaces are so nice for a bit more moisture and cooler air, plus lots of shade
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Have to agree on the C&O Canal. I just stayed in a Lockhouse for a story, and being near the water does provide a nice breeze.

– June 28, 2012 1:26 PM
Q.

July 4th with a newborn??

Hi GOG - My folks will be in town for the 4th and we'd like to do something to celebrate. The only catch is that we have a month old baby so we cant do anything too wild, but we're definitely up for an outing. Thanks so much!!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Totally understand -- there are actually two super-cute events in NoVa. McLean does a small fireworks celebration at Langley High School  (may I suggest headphones for the little one?) And if you totally wanted to exploit your child before the baby knows enough to say no, you could dress the tyke up in red, white and blue  and hit the Great Falls Village Centre Independence Day Baby Parade. And if you're looking for something slightly bigger, check out Mount Vernon, which should please the parents with the great view (though it would be admittedly a little more hectic day than the others above).

– June 28, 2012 1:28 PM
Q.

Meeting on the Dulles Toll Road

Meeting up with a friend for a much needed girls night without the babies. I'm coming from Rockville, she's coming from Ashburn - we want to meet someplace in the middle. Maybe Reston? Am totally clueless about whatever exists after Tysons for an adult beverage and some snacks around 9pm on a weeknight. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Well, there's not a ton in Reston. Jackson's Might Finehas a couple of bars, decent cocktails and a fun retro vibe. Another option: trivia at Buffalo Wing Factory on Wednesdays. Small teams, fun categories and specials during the games. (Last time I was there, my date and I won.)

– June 28, 2012 1:33 PM
Q.

Re: the 8-year old

If going to Georgetown movies, go across the street to the new park and play in the fountain! You will dry soon enough in 100-degree heat
A.
Fritz Hahn :

This is a great idea. Yards Park was absolutely packed with kids the last time temperatures climbed.

– June 28, 2012 1:34 PM
Q.

32nd birthday cocktails...

hi Gurus -- looking for a casual place with good drinks to assemble 8-12 friends for my birthday, 7/14, around 7ish. i was thinking the Passenger, but i've heard it doesn't have much seating, and can get pretty loud. Bourbon was another option. any other ideas? bonus points for a good whiskeys and vegetarian food options! thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

You actually could get away with the Passenger, because at 7 on a weekend, it's really isn't that busy yet (I was there the other day, and most of the tables were still empty). I'm pretty sure you can squeeze your group into the back room (if you don't mind everyone kind of splitting up among adjacent booths); or into the table in the window, where I've often seen big groups. I'd also suggest Smoke and Barrel -- there's a huge list of beers and bourbons, plus plenty of veggie food (do not miss the jalapeno  grit cakes) and serious meaty food, too. One final thought -- Jack Rose. You can reserve tables  on the gorgeous rooftop as long as you're dining. And they've got some mean cocktails.  Just call ahead. 

– June 28, 2012 1:36 PM
Q.

The Old Porter's Location?

Hi Gurus! My husband and I were discussing the demise of Porter's, which we viewed as a casual, spacious spot that served a need in that area. Has anything replaced it? Any plans for something new in that spot? Seems like a great opportunity for someone. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Porter's became Irish Whiskey Public House earlier this year. It's a little more upscale than Porter's was, though still spacious enough to bring a group -- especially if you find a spot upstairs. For casual bar gettogethers in Dupont, I've been leaning towards Maddy's and (sometimes) the basement of Darlington House, or the back patio at Big Hunt if it's not 100 degrees.

– June 28, 2012 1:37 PM
Q.

Where to go

Not sure if this is your baliwick exactly, but I need to know where to go to the coast for a day/overnight trip. From the west coast and new to the area. Went to Ocean City last weekend and was, quite frankly, appauled. Where would you suggest instead where someone can walk along the beach, get a good meal, and NOT play miniature golf and dodge ferral children running through the streets, obviously drunk, in the middle of the day.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Rehoboth Beach DE is a little more classy than Ocean City -- good restaurants, wide boardwalk, no trashy T-shirt shops. I'm also partial to Bethany Beach, known as the Quiet Resort, which is sleepier and has fewer dining/entertainment options, but offers a wide, sandy beach and decent seafood.

For more ideas, check out our Beach Guide.

– June 28, 2012 1:41 PM
Q.

july 4 fireworks + bar

Any suggestions for bars that have roof decks with a view of the fireworks? Preferably in DC. Have been to Beacon bar in the past, but looking to try somewhere new. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Both the Brixton and 1905 will be open without a cover charge on July 4 -- neither is taking reservations -- and the two have great views of the Washington Monument from their rooftop bars. Just plan to get there early: 1905 is opening around 3, the Brixton will open at 5.

– June 28, 2012 1:43 PM
Q.

When hot in DC...

I go to the Harper's Ferry area to tube the Shenandoah!

Q.

90s dance party

Some friends and I are planning to check out the 90s dance party at the 930 club on July 7 - thoughts on whether we need to get tickets in advance? Does it usually sell out? Thanks!!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

No Scrubs -- for my money, the best '90s dance party in the D.C. area -- almost always sells out, frequently in advance, sometimes at the door. 

– June 28, 2012 1:46 PM
Q.

Karaoke Birthday Party

I'm turning 30 next month and I'd like to do karaoke in a private room. I know there are lots of karaoke places in Annandale. Where else can I go where they have large private rooms for a party of 10-15?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I've had bunches of friends go to Adams Morgan's Muzette for birthday/bachelorette parties recently. It's really the only norebang experience in D.C.

– June 28, 2012 1:47 PM
Q.

Beat the heat, winter Olympics style

In honor of the upcoming Olympics, my (winter-themed) chill evening would involve having friends over to my air-conditioned apartment for ice luge shots and viewings of Cool Runnings and Miracle.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

How does one score an  invite to this amazing party?

For those who don't have the means to commission  your own ice luge, Fritz says he's seen the crowds partaking of one for the past two Saturdays at Capitol Lounge. And, if you're wondering, no. He did not.

– June 28, 2012 1:47 PM
Q.

HOT

I need to get wet this weekend and a non-oceanic beach would be awesome. What local swimming holes are there besides Colonial Beach, VA, Sandy Point park and Cunningham Falls in MD?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I think I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but if you're looking for a smaller/more low-key Bay swimming experience, try Matapeake beach, which is right across the Bay Bridge. (There's even a dog beach.)

– June 28, 2012 1:50 PM
Q.

staying cool....

The top floor of American Art is always very cool and calm. Especially if hang out for a while in the art installation with the changing color lights. Dark and cool is always cooler than light and cool.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Agreed. I love peeking in those drawers.

– June 28, 2012 1:51 PM
Q.

Staying cool

The pool! (I love free DC public pools) The library The movies
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

If you're hitting the pool this weekend, I'd get there as soon as they open, if you can -- the chairs at the D.C. pool go quickly. (My favorite, quiet pool has to be East Potomac Park; it's a gem.)

– June 28, 2012 1:54 PM
Q.

It's Getting Hot in Herrrre Back up plan

Was considering checking out Yards Park this Friday night however with temps near 100, do you have any suggestions for a back up plan? Group of four 30-40 year old women, based in Alexandria. Should we just pick a bar and do happy hour there? Any fun places, maybe with great finger foods?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

You know, if you're based in Alexandria, what about taking the water taxi over to National Harbor and checking out the bars and shops there? You'll get a cool breeze from the water, and then you can have a few cocktails at Bond 45 or McLoone's Pier House (outdoors on the water)? Here's our National Harbor Neighborhood Guide if you need suggestions...

If you stay in Alexandria, the new tiki drink menu at the Majestic is out of this world, and would be great on an extra-hot day.

– June 28, 2012 1:55 PM
Q.

staying cool

The South Germantown Recreational Park has a large indoor pool complex with water slides (large and small), diving boards, etc. Definitely not a secret cool location, but air conditioned and keeps my kids (2 and 9) happy and entertained.
Q.

Reston Town Center

Totally disagree with you Fritz. There are several options at the Town Center for weekday socializing and strolling without kids.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I dunno -- the last time I was at American Tap Room and Clyde's, they didn't seem like "Girls Night Out" kind of places to me. What do you suggest?

– June 28, 2012 1:56 PM
Q.

St. Arnold's Bar

I'm in need of some clarification, does St. Arnold's have more than one location? Am I wrong or did I hear it's closing? The place in CP always looks hopping!
A.
Alex Baldinger :

I wrote about St. Arnold's in the Weekend section a couple of weeks ago, and yes, two locations: on Jefferson Place near Dupont Circle and the newer Cleveland Park location. 

 

You may have heard that the Cleveland Park location's sister bar, the Underground, is closing. It's being transformed from a London-themed place to St. Arnold's the Abbey, which will continue the chainlet's focus on Belgian beers. Look for that to open by mid-August. 

– June 28, 2012 1:59 PM
Q.

Fireworks in Old Town?

My friends vetoed going into DC for the 4th this year and agreed to go to Old Town. Will we still be able to see any fireworks? Is there anyplace you can recommend to go to celebrate? It will be mostly grad students, so affordable food and drinks are must.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Alexandria does its fireworks on July 7 (the town's birthday) instead of the 4th.  National Harbor's fireworks are this Saturday. So if you want bombs bursting in air, I think you're out of luck. 

For affordable food and drinks, it's hard to beat Pizzeria Paradiso, which offers half-price beers and discounted food from 5 to 7. Dark Horse has good happy hour drink deals and a killer burger. 

– June 28, 2012 2:01 PM
Q.

4th of July

It's been years since we have seen the fireworks from closeup but we have tickets to watch from my husband's office rooftop. Traffic-wise would we be better eating dinner downtown near his office or waiting till 8pm or so to head into town?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

July 4 traffic is a nightmarish experience. Eat dinner downtown.

– June 28, 2012 2:02 PM
Q.

Indoors in VA?

Hi there, My girl friend and I want to hang out in NoVa (I live in Fairfax) but she's not local to the area, so I want to take her to something unique. Also we'd like to keep it indoors, and not too crazy--we're both fighting off colds! Any ideas for what might fit that bill this Saturday? Daytime activities? Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

If you're beer fans, Port City Brewing in Alexandria is celebrating its expansion and bigger, better tasting room with a party.  And there's Wine in the Water Park in Crystal City -- outdoors, I know -- but cool nonetheless. If you want to do something somewhat touristy, I'd hit Mount Vernon -- besides the view, there's plenty do inside.

– June 28, 2012 2:05 PM
Q.

Spain vs ?

Fritz, where are you catching the final this Sunday?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

If Germany's in: Biergarten Haus. If not ... probably half-watch the tedium of Italy-Spain while sucking down $2 local beers at Meridian Pint's anniversary party.

– June 28, 2012 2:05 PM
Q.

Prerequisite 4th of July booze question:

Sorry to be so predictable, but the plan is to watch the fireworks at Iwo Jima and wonder what the tolerance is for drinking. Are we talking Screen on the Green not allowed or actually not allowed bag search, etc.?, Any other tips for Iwo Jima? Does it fill up fast or could a small group stroll over in the evening and still find a space on the grass? Thanks for your help!

A.
Fritz Hahn :

I haven't been to Iwo Jima in a few years, but my experience is that (a) it fills up fast, so you should be there around 7/7:30, and (b) there are no searches a la the Capitol and the Mall. 

If you've been recently, please chime in...

– June 28, 2012 2:06 PM
Q.

4th of July

Any ideas for 4th of July in the Bethesda-ish area? Doesn't necessarily need to be fireworks, just something lovely for the day off that doesn't involve going downtown with a million other people.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Rockville and Kensington both have smallish Fourth of July events. But I can't help but think it'd be fun to pack up a cool, red, white and blue picnic and head to a local lake and chill out all day with friends. I like Lake Needwood Park  for that (Amy Orndorff says it can get crazy busy on July 4, but she's had fun there on July 4th nonetheless.) Another one is Seneca Creek State Park.

– June 28, 2012 2:10 PM
Q.

Place for a Going Away Happpy Hour?

Looking for a place to hold a going away happy hour in a few weeks. I'd prefer somewhere around Metro Center / Penn Quarter since people will be coming from different parts of the city. It'll probably be a group of 10-15, with different people coming and going over time. Right now, all I can think of that could definitely handle a group of that size is Poste, which I've been to a lot lately and isn't a great option if it's hot out. Any other thoughts? Maybe the bar at Zaytinya?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The bar at Zaytinya gets way too crowded for a group of six, let alone 15. I'd suggest the basement of Iron Horse, the upstairs lounge at District Chophouse (if you like beer), the basement bar at Hill Country BBQ ...

– June 28, 2012 2:11 PM
Q.

plans for 8-year-old

I'd suggest something other than a movie she can see any old time. How about the American History and American Indian Museum. I think that NGA has a self-guided tour aimed at children. That would give her a nice exposure to art, without being overwhelming. NGA also has a nice cafeteria and a great bookstore (if you are inclined to get her a small gift). National Geog has an exhibit--critter cam--I think, which might be of interest to her. Have fun--and cool!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I like these ideas, and will toss in one more: if she still wants to see animals, you could do the Butterfly Exhibit and the Hall of Mammals at Natural History.

– June 28, 2012 2:13 PM
Q.

Reston again...

The Tasting Room, Mon Ami Gabi and Il Fornaio are all lady friendly, Jacksons is good too - more meet market though. For sweets there's Pitango, a cupcake place and Ben & Jerry's for noshing, talking and strolling on a pleasant evening. You're right about ATR and Clyde's -- gross and washed up!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Oh, Tasting Room. Totally blanked on that, and I was in the Chevy Chase location not so long ago. Thanks.

– June 28, 2012 2:15 PM
Q.

Heat!

Stay cool and eat a pleasant popsicle! (I do NOT work for them, i just heart them).
Q.

Beaches

I agree with the poster regarding the general quality of Maryland beaches and the general not-worth-the-drive for the crowds. The past few years I have found a pretty decent solution (at least for my needs) I take the Bolt/Mega bus up to New York overnight and then get on the LIRR or Path. Particularly fond of the Montauk and Long Beach City. Its about as cheap, much more charming coastlines and much less crowded.

A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

I think a trek to  New Jersey or New York is a totally worthy experience. But comparing them to Maryland's beaches is like comparing apples and oranges. Montauk (and Robert Moses, and Rockaway) in New York are some rocky, grassy beaches. They are beautiful, but not really "get in the water and splash around and then go eat funnel cake" kind of beaches. Both totally have their value.

– June 28, 2012 2:19 PM
Q.

for 8 year old...

Does she like gross stuff? I think the meat eating plants exhibit at the Botanic gardens sounds like a lot of fun. And is there a kids event planned for the free Saturday at Corcoran this week?
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Thanks for the suggestions. And the reminder that the Free Summer Saturdays at the Corcoran are still going strong; I wonder if Diebenkorn is too esoteric for an 8-year-old, but there is a  poetry reading from 2-4 p.m.

– June 28, 2012 2:22 PM
Q.

Folklife Festival....

Brought to you this year by the letter C? Is is my imagination, or are they getting a little free form with the Festival in recent years. Wasn't it traditionally a country, a state and an agency? Oh, and any particular recommendations or what not to miss?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

In 1986, the Folklife Festival did "American Trial Lawyers." In 1970, there was "Dairy Traditions" and "Arkansas." And who can forget 1996's double-up of "Iowa: Community Style" and "Working at the Smithsonian"? I guess they're trying to shake things up a bit.

For what to see this year, check out Lavanya's preview on our blog.

– June 28, 2012 2:25 PM
Q.

viewing from Iwo Jima

I viewed from Iwo Jima a few years ago, we got there maybe 30 mins before the show and were able to get a standing spot quickly. Watch out for the trees there though, some people who had been sitting there for hours didn't realize that the spots they had would be obstructed.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Thanks.

– June 28, 2012 2:26 PM
Q.

Harpers Ferry

Going tubing this Sunday. Which of the vendors is the best? And is the "no beer" an actual rule, or more of a recommendation?
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Check out the Summer Bucket List, photo No. 4 for our faves (sorry, that's the fastest way...) As for beer, the HF Adventure Center does officially forbid booze, but kindly mentioned to us that they don't actually inspect your stuff. So.

– June 28, 2012 2:27 PM
Q.

staying cool

I go to visit any of my friends whose apartment complexes have pools! :)
Q.

Fritz Hahn :

Thanks for another interesting chat. We're going to give the "Normal Heart" tickets to the chatters who suggested cooling off in the basement at Hill Country and hanging out on the top floor at American Art. Please send your e-mail addresses to fritz.hahn@washingtonpost.com and I'll get everything squared away. 

If you need more July 4 advice, don't forget to check our guides to Fireworks Viewing and July 4 Nightlife.

See you next week.

Q.

 

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