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December 30, 2010

1:07
P.M.

Got Plans?

Total Responses: 53

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. Join the thousands of readers who have followed us on Twitter and Facebook. And for nightlife news delivered twice-weekly to your inbox, make sure to sign up for the Going Out Guide newsletter.

About the topic

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.
Q.

Fritz Hahn :

Hi everybody. Welcome to the very last Got Plans? chat of 2010. Judging by the questions in the queue, you have a LOT of questions about New Year's Eve -- specifically low-cost, low-stress, low-hassle New Year's Eve events.  I've got a blog post about that very topic publishing any second now. In the meantime, a stripped-down Guru crew -- Stephanie, David and me -- is ready and waiting to help make your New Year's Eve rock. Let's get started...

Q.

Birthday Blues

Hi, Gurus! My birthday is in a few weeks, and I'm feeling pretty uninspired when it comes to party plans. I'd like to see my friends, but can't think of anything to do beyond the usual bar hopping that I no longer find particularly interesting. I need something cheapish (we're grad students), something in the metro area (not everyone has a car), and something indoors (the weather is pretty crummy right now). Any suggestions? Thanks for all your help!
A.
Stephanie Merry :

If you want to mix up the usual bar meet-up, what about darts and pool? Or bowling?

– December 30, 2010 1:07 PM
Q.

Looking for a New Year's spot with an address of 11 or 111 or 1111??

We're looking to celebrate 1/1/11, at 1:11am, drinking Ketel One (or some other appropriately named beverage), at an establishment located at an address that similarly marks the date - 11 or 111 or 1111 [fill in the street name]. Any thoughts? Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I'm going to start with a non-NYE question, simply because I love the premise. (But seriously, what's wrong with celebrating 1/11/11, 11/1/11 or even 11/11/11?)

If you don't sweat the address, I think Room 11 is the natural destination here, and they're open with no cover on New Year's Eve. Eleventh in Clarendon is another prime idea.

Address wise, try Brasserie Beck (1101 K Street) or Capitol City Brewing Company downtown (1101 New York Avenue). Not perfect, but the best I can come up with.

– December 30, 2010 1:08 PM
Q.

Help

I know NYE going to a common topic so here goes. My friend heard about something on U St that's a deal for 3 bars. I can't seem to find anything about it. Was this just drunk talk? If it was, what's a better neighborhood to try to go to a bar and camp out, Chinatown or U St? We'd all prefer it to be more like a normal night out at a bar than crazy NYE shenanigans. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I bet they're talking about the Brightest Young Things NYE party at Bohemian Caverns, which has DJs Chris Burns and Mike "Italians Do It Better" Simonetti spinning house and disco upstairs in Liv, local bands (inc. the Dance Party, Laughing Man and Bellman Barker) playing covers on the main floor, and a gay dance party with DJs from Mixtape and Homo Hotel Happy Hour in the Caverns basement.

The event's sold out, though I'm told they may release a few more tickets; watch the @byt twitter stream for info.

If you want a "normal" night, I think your best bet is Penn Quarter. You've got Iron Horse Tap Room or Rocket Bar for skeeball, pool and darts, or R.F.D. for beers -- all open with no cover charge or minimums.

– December 30, 2010 1:12 PM
Q.

Ice Skating and Hot Chocolate!

Hey there, Just wondering where the best place to ice skate is? And the cozy-est place to snuggle up and relax afterwards with some hot chocolate and good music. thanks jessica
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Here are our favorite skating rinks in the area. As for hot chocolate, I'm partial to ACKC, but Lavanya has a whole slew of suggestions for you here.

– December 30, 2010 1:14 PM
Q.

New Year's Eve

I'll be having a larger group of friend over to my place in Adams Morgan for New Year's Eve. If we decide to venture out, what are some good bars (lower cover charge, less crowded) to hang out and dance around/after midnight?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Less crowded? On New Year's Eve? Ain't gonna happen. I'd say stick with lower-key spots like Bedrock, Toledo, maybe Bourbon or Pharmacy, none of which has a cover. Bourbon has some killer deals planned, though, including half-price wines, half-price Willett bourbon (my favorite) and happy hour prices on beers all night.

– December 30, 2010 1:14 PM
Q.

Fashion question

Aren't the fashionista gurus on this show now? If so, I would like to know if I can wear white jeans (denim) in the winter. I think it would look good with black sweater and boots - what say you?
A.
Stephanie Merry :

I may not be the best person to answer this since I'm totally averse to fashion rules (navy and black is like my favorite color combo, for example), but Holly is out so you're stuck with me! I love white jeans in winter, and I've seen more and more people doing it, so I say go for it.

– December 30, 2010 1:17 PM
Q.

NYE for married couple, no kids

Hi Gurus- My husband and I have no plans yet. We're not big on prix fix meals or all you can drink deals, and were just planning on staying in. Is there something we might be missing out on if we don't go out? We wouldn't mind going out for a nice cocktail or meal, but don't want to pay an exorbitant amount nor be at a mob scene. Any ideas for a couple of laid back thirtysomethings in NOVA?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

For a nice cocktail in NOVA, you won't beat the PX or the Majestic in Alexandria, both of which will be open tomorrow night. The PX is almost booked, but ever-reliable bartender Clinton Terry tells me that they will have some barstools available for walk-ins, and he'll be pouring some special sparkling drinks for the occasion. The Majestic down the street has turned into one of my favorite watering holes in Virginia. Reasonable prices for some fantastic seasonal cocktails.

– December 30, 2010 1:18 PM
Q.

bachelorette party!

Where to take a large (15+) group of ladies for a bachelorette party??? The only requirement is lots of dancing, but nothing too clubby or bump 'n grindy...
A.
Stephanie Merry :

That depends....are you planning on bringing veils, candy necklaces and anatomically correct straws? Or are you a more low-key crew?

– December 30, 2010 1:18 PM
Q.

Opera

Is the Opera House at the Kennedy Center the only opera place? My parents are coming and I think it is better either in MD or VA instead of going to DC all the time. Thanks
A.
Amy Orndorff :

When are your parents coming?

There are actually a few opera groups in the area including Bel Cantanti Opera (with performances Jan. 2, 8 and 9 in Rockville) and Wolf Trap Opera Company.

And if you are willing to try other venues in the city, I'd suggest checking out the Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program performing Jan. 28 at Georgetown U. Best part? It's free! Also, the In Series is presenting Ernesto Lecuona’s "Maria la O" beginning Jan. 8 at the Source.

– December 30, 2010 1:20 PM
Q.

Early Brunch Saturday?

Hello Gurus! Submitting early as I am a restaurant worker and will be working lunch tomorrow! I also drew the short stick schedule wise Saturday and have to be in at noon. I would love to enjoy brunch beforehand, but need enough time to be ready for my shift. Do you know of any place that opens earlier than 11 for brunch on Saturday? Thanks!
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Busboys and Poets should fit the bill. All locations are doing a pajama brunch (yes, PJs are encouraged) starting at 9.

– December 30, 2010 1:21 PM
Q.

Bars around Chinatown/Penn Quarter

Hi Folks, doing dinner at Asia nine around 9th+E. Probably planning on just hitting a random bar or lounge afterward for the countdown. Any suggestions? Prefer no cover, and able to accommodate a large group! We will be about 20+ people...
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Wow. You do know how hard that's going to be, right? New Year's Eve is the night when people who don't usually go out, so bars are twice as packed as usual. A group of 20 showing up at once may overwhelm most bars, and you could wind up with some people inside while some people wait in line to get in.

With that many people, your options are going to be Iron Horse Tap Room or Rocket Bar. I'd lean towards the latter, since it doesn't feel as claustrophobic, and it can hold around 200 people on both floors. (Realize that the bar would have to be at only 90 percent capacity for your group to have a chance of getting in together without busting fire code.)

– December 30, 2010 1:21 PM
Q.

Birthday for Teenager

My daughter is going to be 16 in January and I need to plan something for her and a few friends, but we just moved here and I have no ideas!! Help please!! Thanks!
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Not sure where you guys are, but I actually ran into a 16-year-old celebrating his birthday last night at Monster Mini Golf in Columbia. He had maybe a dozen friends and they were having a blast.

– December 30, 2010 1:23 PM
Q.

New Years Eve

Do you know of any New Years Eve events in Prince George's County (not at National Harbor) with live entertainment and dinner?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I'm pretty big on the Ultimate New Year's Eve Gala, which features comedian Donnell Rawlings (the versatile actor who played Ashy Larry and one of the Player Haters on "Chappelle's Show") and the Spur of the Moment band, plus other comics and musicians, for less than $50.

– December 30, 2010 1:24 PM
Q.

Kennedy Center

Happy NY! We're headed to see South Pacific tomorrow night at 8:30 pm, I am planning to wear a knee lenght purple satin cocktail dress. Will people be in all ball gowns? Not sure how fancy this gets and having nighmares of being under dressed. Our tickets come with an afterparty ball drop and dancing--how is this, fun? I'm excited either way...just want to make sure I don't need to run out and buy a gown tonight.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

You definitely do not need to buy a ball gown. Theater-goers (even at the Kennedy Center) will wear all kinds of things, from jeans to nice dresses. The after-party should be a good time, too, especially if you're looking for something on the classy side.

– December 30, 2010 1:27 PM
Q.

for the white jeans girl

ONLY IF THEY ARE WINTER WHITE. and please no skin tight stuff if you "shouldnt" be wearing it! Thanks, your friendly fashion police.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Sassy!

– December 30, 2010 1:29 PM
Q.

Where to watch Winter Classic

Hi Gurus -thanks for taking my question! I saw your recommendation to watch the Winter Classic at the Arlington Cinema & Ale House. Any other recommendations? I have some fellow Penguins fans in town for the weekend and would like to take them out to watch the game, but don't want to end up at a sports bar that is broadcasting college bowl games. On the yellow/green line is ideal, but within the DC limits would be fine. Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

The other big -- read "sponsored by the Caps" -- party is at Union Jack's in Ballston, with Slapshot, giveaways that include a stick signed by the team, etc. They're saying they're going to have the game on all TVs.

But you've identified a real problem -- many places that are ostensibly Caps bars near the Phone Booth, like Redline or the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, are going to be showing bowl games on Jan. 1. I'd expect them to turn a TV or three to the Caps, but not give it the attention that the Drafthouse or Union Jack's will.

– December 30, 2010 1:29 PM
Q.

New Year's with kids

Anything you'd recommend for young kids (& their parents) besides the Alexandria and Falls Church city events? We've spent way too much time freezing outside at those in the past. Thanks!!!
A.
Amy Orndorff :

No need to freeze outside! Go to the Frostival at Dulles Expo Center and celebrate a bit early. And if you are willing to drive to Baltimore there are kid-friendly parties at Port Discovery and the Maryland Science Center.

– December 30, 2010 1:29 PM
Q.

NYE in Silver Spring?

Any recommendations for NYE in the Silver Spring area? Lists I've read have lots of events in DC & NoVA, but not much up in MD. Either a bar with no or low cover, or an organized party (that's not likely sold out, or $200/head) would be great!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Quarry House is going to be open with low or no cover, and McGinty's has live music and a champagne toast for $15. But I have to say that if I was spending NYE in Silver Spring, the only place I'd be would be Sidebar -- $65 for an open bar from 8 to 2, free bar snacks, and some of the best cocktail bartenders in Montgomery County mixing my drinks? Yes please.

– December 30, 2010 1:32 PM
Q.

In response to South Pacific theater-goer

We went to the Kennedy center last year - people were in all manner of dress, including black tie outfits. We couldn't wait to see the ball drop because as each event let out, the main room got more and more crowded and we got a bit claustrophobic. If you have to be there for it, scope out your spot early and just stay put! Of course, celebrating midnight on the Metro is our pretty cool memory.
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Thanks for sharing!

– December 30, 2010 1:33 PM
Q.

NYE Fireworks?

Are there any places in DC (i.e. not First Night Alexandria or Leesburg) to see fireworks on New Years? Thanks for your help!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Well, there's Annapolis....

But no, no fireworks in D.C. officially this year, but I'm sure the good people of Columbia Heights will shoot a few off anyway.

– December 30, 2010 1:33 PM
A.
Amy Orndorff :

You can also go to Baltimore!

– December 30, 2010 1:34 PM
Q.

Re: Winter white

Dear Gurus, I'd like to offer my opinion to the OP, if I may be so bold. Old-time tradition has always said that white is a no-no for the winter months. It has been widely published over the past few years that it is absolutely acceptable to wear white year-round, even in places where you'll blend in with banks of snow piled high. (I'm not being facetious.) If the poster is planning to wear it for New Years Eve celebration or this weekend in Washington DC, even better, as we're supposed to be having near-Spring temperatures. I think a first in this winter season of ours. Even if we weren't having temperature spikes, I'd say go for it! The combination described is striking enough but not in a negative way. I do know something about fashion but would prefer to keep my credentials under-the-radar, if permissible. The best thing, by the way, to accessorize that outfit would be confidence and a great smile. Good luck!
A.
Stephanie Merry :

A carefully thought-out argument for white jeans in winter.

– December 30, 2010 1:34 PM
Q.

NYE Drag shows?

Hey Gurus, I'm looking for something a little different this NYE, maybe a drag show, belly dancing, or a burlesque show? (No freak shows like the Red Palace please, I hate seeing people hurt themselves.) Failing that, what's First Night Alexandria like?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Red Palace has a burlesque show this year with artists from New York and D.C., though there will also be some sideshow business -- fireeaters, sword swallowers, etc.

Town's big party opens with a special drag show featuring Tatianna (from "RuPaul's Drag Race") followed by dancing until 4 a.m.

– December 30, 2010 1:36 PM
Q.

New Year's Day Brunch

Can we talk brunch on Saturday? We're staying in on Friday night to avoid the crowds/amateur drinkers but want to do a boozy brunch somewhere near AdMo/Columbia Heights-ish area on Saturday then head out to watch some college football. I'm thinking like a bottomless mimosa deal or something along those lines. Any ideas?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

My favorite Adams Morgan brunch is still Bourbon's -- the Kentucky Hot Brown is brilliant at soaking up all the booze from the night before. They're serving brunch all day on Saturday.

Justin and I have a big blog post on New Year's Day brunch and bowl options going up tomorrow, but my favorite has to be the brunch at Firefly: $3 bloody marys and mimosas from noon to 6.

– December 30, 2010 1:40 PM
Q.

Holiday Cheer/Stress

My parents have decided to come into DC for a day of holiday fun. My plan had been to just relax, study for the GMAT and not worry about planning but now I'm frantic. They will get in late Thursday and leave Friday afternoon. Any suggestions including someplace for a casual but nice mid morning meal near an activity would be appreciated. The only places I came up with were the botanical garden for their exhibits and the national christmas tree (which we have already done before).
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

You could try adding a visit to the Willard Hotel, where they had some spectacular Christmas decorations up,   near tjhe White House. And for a parent-proof restaurant, how about Old Ebbitt Grill -- it has American food, hearty portions and a warm feeling. And if I could tack on one more stop -- I'd say the American Art Museum (yes, totally out of the way in Chinatown). The Norman Rockwell show is very much in keeping with the spirit.

– December 30, 2010 1:41 PM
Q.

Put the "H" in Happy New Year

What's popping on H Street NE this New Year's Eve? Preferrably low to NO cover charge.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

My pick for an event would be Soul Monkey at Sticky Rice -- an all-star DJ lineup (Meistro, Deep Sang, Joe L., Juan Zapata, etc.) spinning house and funk tunes for a crowd that winds up dancing on the bar and the booths by the end of the night. $5 cover, and the place fills up very fast (doors open at 9:30).

For no-pressure NYE, Biergarten Haus is open as usual. The outdoor fireplaces/fire pits aren't ready yet, but the back patio is tented and heated and was pretty nice the other night. Fruit Bat is going to be open, and you may get a sneak peek of the upstairs spot, Church and State, that's opening in January. Argonaut has DJ P.Vo with no cover and a champagne toast. Pug is open, of course.

Bars with $$$ open bars include Little Miss Whiskey's, Jimmy Valentine's, Star and Shamrock and the Rock and Roll Hotel.

– December 30, 2010 1:48 PM
Q.

Just got dumped

Happy new year to me. Turns out the guy I was seeing was also seeing someone else. I need something fun to do this weekend to take my mind off of it that's relatively inexpensive, and where I could possibly meet new guys. I am a late 20s female. DC preferred.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Sorry friend. That's rough. But 2011 is a new year, and there are all kinds of fun things to do this weekend. I was actually just chatting with some ladies from the Phillips Collection, and they were telling cute stories about couples meeting while looking at art. Bonus: they currently have a terrific photography exhibition. You should really just do the things you love, though. If you like comedy, spend some time with Washington Improv Theatre; if you're into music, catch some jazz at 9:30 Club. Or just enjoy the warmer weather and go for a stroll.

– December 30, 2010 1:48 PM
Q.

Taxi

So I know DC has the free taxi thing (up to 30$), but does the same apply for Fairfax and PWC? And can you call ahead and plan a ride..?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

It's all over the area, with cab companies in all counties participating.

You cannot plan a ride ahead of time -- they dispatch a cab when you call. The caveat is that when I used the service last year, it took about an hour for the cab to arrive because of delays.

– December 30, 2010 1:49 PM
Q.

Arlington Sunday Brunch

Any good brunches in Arlington that aren't super played out (no Whitlows or Front Page please - been there done that!) and aren't too expensive?
A.
Stephanie Merry :

I just went to Lyon Hall for brunch and would definitely recommend it, especially the poached eggs with autumn squash. Delish.

– December 30, 2010 1:51 PM
Q.

Winter First Date

Hi GOGs, I am usually pretty good at planning dates, but am kind of stumped on what to do for a first date in this weather. I'd like to do something more active than just dinner or drinks. The only thing I can think of is ice skating. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Yeah, options really seem limited this time of year, but I think it just requires more inventiveness. I like your ice-skating idea, you could always follow it up by swinging up to Oyamel for some spiked (or not) Mexican hot cocoa; a lot of folks also bundle up and go practice their swing at Top Golf in Alexandria -- it's open year round and actually is pretty cool-looking in the winter.  Comedy is popular with a lot of people on a first date; if you can get to a Speakeasy storytelling show early and get a good seat, they're a ton of fun (the next one is January 11). And art openings are a cool way to begin an evening, before you head off for a glass of wine; next Thursday, there's a good one at Sova Espresso and Wine, which kind of kills two birds with one stone, no? I like a good walk if the weather is nice enough, because you can actually talk; you could always visit a memorial you've always meant to visit and haven't, or explore  Rock Creek Park in the winter, maybe even take cameras. Then, if all goes well, go grab a bite to eat. 

– December 30, 2010 1:54 PM
Q.

How to suggest an event?

Hi! How do I go about submitting an event for Best Bets consideration? This one has nothing to do with New Year's Eve, but I can't pinpoint who to send the info to. Thanks.
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

Sure, you can always send us your event at events@washingtonpost.com.  Be sure to include Web sites, contact phone number, price and all the other essentials.

– December 30, 2010 1:55 PM
Q.

New Years Eve

Dear Gurus, I'd love to have a couple of ideas, so it would be great to hear what each of the gurus would say is their ideal evening of New Years Eve cheer this year. Care to share? Thanks so much--and wishing you all a fabulous New Years Eve. Back in 2011!
A.
Stephanie Merry :

I'm not doing it this year, but my all-time favorite New Year's was grabbing a low-key dinner in Dupont followed by darts at Buffalo Billiards. No cover, fun games, good company and champagne at midnight.

– December 30, 2010 1:56 PM
A.
Amy Orndorff :

I am going to be in Pittsburgh for the Winter Classic. All I want for New Years is for the Caps to win! Well, no rain would be nice too.

– December 30, 2010 1:56 PM
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Good friends, good drinks, good music. It seems pointless to ask for anything more -- unless it means I could get a cab home at 4 a.m. without having to fight fir it.

– December 30, 2010 1:56 PM
Q.

New Year's Eve Suggestions

I have a girlfriend coming down from NY for New Year's Eve and we still don't know where we're going to go. We're going out with another girlfriend of mine, we're all 30 and are looking for a bar in DC that won't be overrun with 22 year olds, will play fun music we can dance to and preferably won't have a crazy high cover charge. Any suggestions? Thanks!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

How about Dodge City for Soul Call Paul's mix of '60s soul/girl groups/R&B? It's free, though I dunno if it will be crazy packed. (This is their first NYE, so I have nothing to base it on.) The Sticky Rice party I mentioned earlier will get its share of late 20s-early 30s. I'd be shocked if Lucky Bar is overrun by 22-year-olds. (They'll all be at Midtown next door.)  It's a little divey, though. And I am willing to be the Vicars and Tarts party at Commonwealth will be a blast -- free admission, late-night food and drinks, plus a DJ.

Sorry -- hit send too soon. But my big pick for you would be the Passenger, which is cooking up special cocktails for the occasion and turning the adjacent Warehouse Theatre into a DJ'd dance party. Only $5 to get in, too.

– December 30, 2010 1:56 PM
Q.

DC 12/31 Parking

Heading into DC with the kids on Friday to do the Capitol Visitors Center and some of the museums. Heard that they are not ticketing or towing tomorrow. Is this true and where is my best bet to score a "free" parking spot near the Capitol around 8:30am? Or am I just dreaming that it will be easy?
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Friday and Saturday are free according to the nice people at the Department of Public Works. As someone who once lived on Capitol Hill, I can promise you that once you head into the neighborhood you won't have any trouble finding a spot.

– December 30, 2010 1:57 PM
Q.

fun, festive, yet tame new years event?

Hello, I wondered if you could recommend a fun, festive event to celebrate new years for someone 9 months pregnant? It would be great to have a place to go that would be somewhat tame - not too loud, drinking not the focus, and where it might be possible to sneak out before midnight if exhaustion sets in early. Thanks so much in advance!!!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

How about dancing? The Swing dancing might be too vigorous, but Glen Echo's annual New Year's Eve bash fits the bill in all the other ways -- family friendly, no alcohol, and totally festive. 

– December 30, 2010 1:59 PM
Q.

Looking for a few drinks with a loved one.

It's about time to take it a bit more easy on NYE so I was looking for a romantic place to take it the celebration and be able to talk without screaming. Are any places similar to Tabard Inn where we'll be with other 30-somethings but able to countdown to midnight? DC is preferable.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Room 11 comes to mind. Wisdom is doing a Mad Men themed-party with marini and gin specials, which should be fun. The bar at Rasika will be open.

The Gibson, too, though that's now a $130-per-person open bar party, so that might be more than you want to spend.

– December 30, 2010 1:59 PM
Q.

fashion

See, I am about to prove why adding fashion here is not quite right. I have always skipped the fashion chat because statements like "please no skin tight stuff if you "shouldnt" be wearing it!" make me cry. But I like this discussion. But seeing this here makes me cry.
A.
Stephanie Merry :

Awww, don't cry. Besides, those types of comments are not limited to the fashion chat.

– December 30, 2010 2:01 PM
Q.

NYE Open Bar

What's the best and still available open bar deal left for NYE in DC. I just saw Duffy's cancelled their open bar.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Churchkey ($150, all the beer you can drink, plus hors d'oeuvres) and the Gibson ($130, open bar cocktails and food) are probably top of the list.

If you want to keep it neighborhoody (along the lines of Duffy's), I would mind doing the open bars at Tonic ($40 for beer and wine only, $60 for top-shelf liquor), 1905 ($70, open all night), or the Star and Shamrock ($70 in advance, $80 at the door)

– December 30, 2010 2:02 PM
Q.

Need to top last year's Building Museum let down...

Last year my friends and I went to the failed NYE party at the Building Museum. This year we have yet to make plans. We are looking to go to a bar around one of our neighborhoods (Dupont, U St, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights) with fun music and drinks. We are considering Meridian Pint... Any other suggestions for us? We are open to paying a small cover, but don't want to be let down like last year!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

You seem to echo what a lot of people are realizing this year: It's really easy to get let down when you pour hundreds of dollars into one amazing night. You might have a lot more fun at one of the free parties listed in today's NYE blog post. Some, like Science Club, will even let you buy open-bar access for a pretty paltry $25.

– December 30, 2010 2:02 PM
Q.

Volunteer Opps?

Happy New Year Gurus! I would love to do something different this year on New Year's Eve, like volunteer. I know it's late notice, but do you know of any organizations (food banks, homeless shelters, etc) that could use volunteers, or any search engines to help me find one? Prefer NoVA but not totally ruling out DC. Thanks!
A.
Amy Orndorff :

This is so sweet! I can't think of any specific event, but a good starting point would be your county's volunteer web site. Just about every county has one (example: Fairfax) and they are great resources.

– December 30, 2010 2:04 PM
Q.

Churchkey open bar NYE

Dumb question, I'm sure...is this even doable? I mean the place gets slammed on every ordinary day. It will be insane NYE with an open bar, right? Thanks--just trying to save myself from a stampede.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I am really curious myself. They told me that they're limiting ticket sales to keep things comfortable, but they're not guaranteeing seats, so...

I think it will be doable because there are still tickets left, and and in the current economic climate, I think there are many people who are wondering whether spending $150 is a wise move, which should leave plenty of elbow room for the people who do pay.

– December 30, 2010 2:04 PM
Q.

New Year's Day Lunch/Brunch

Greetings, Gurus. I need a fine dining suggestion for lunch/brunch on New Year's Day. DC is better, but will travel if the food is worth it.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

I like the sound of New Year's Day Brunch at Cashion's -- $30 for pastries, coffee, an entree, a mimosa or bloody mary.

Bottomless cocktails at Masa 14 sound pretty good, too, and Birch and Barley will have a special menu as well. As I said earlier in the chat, we're posting a big list of deals on the blog tomorrow, so please check back.

– December 30, 2010 2:08 PM
Q.

NYE Fashion Help

Please help! I want to wear a really cute deep red strapless dress to a NYE party but I have no idea what to wear with it as a cover up (both to keep warm and to dress it down if need be). I was thinking a black cardigan, just because I'm not sure what else really goes with deep red, but that is so boring. I could do a pashmina, but those seem so formal. What would you suggest?? Thanks in advance for your help!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

I'm fairly practical, but I think you'll have a much better time if you just wear your warmest cute coat over your strapless dress and strappy shoes. Almost every place you'll go (that is nice, anyway) will have a coat check -- just bring cash to tip your friendly coat check guy/gal.

– December 30, 2010 2:09 PM
Q.

tomorrow -- what to do with young kids

We just moved here 1 week ago so didn't have time to look for a babysitter or meet friends -- we have a 2 yr old and a 6 yr old, what can we do tomorrow to have fun?
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Not sure where you are, but I sugget going to the Frostival at Dulles Expo Center.

– December 30, 2010 2:09 PM
Q.

Newlyweds looking for a good hang bar...

Hi Gurus! I am a newlywed and we are saving for our new home, so trying to save money - that being said we still like to go out occasionally and have a few drinks with friends. Where is a good neighborhood bar in arlington (orange line corridor - or if you must within walking distance to crystal city metro) that we can go to that wont cost us an arm and a leg and doesnt subject us to annoying techno or people trying to pick us up all the time? kudos if the place has games like golden tee, megatouch, or has a jukebox...
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Continental, Galaxy Hut, ireland's Four Courts, Eventide and Murky Coffee all come to mind. (Continental and Galaxy Hut have video games and jukes; Continental also has pool, darts and BBH.) Rustico or Fire Works are good for pizza and microbrews. I'm curious to see how the Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill is going to be in the spring. Right now, it's pretty promising.

– December 30, 2010 2:11 PM
Q.

NYE at the National Harbor

I'm going to the Gaylord for their big NYE party (at the National Harbor). Ive already spent a lot on my ticket, so do you have any recommendations of a cheap meal before the event? I know they have food at the event, but I heard its pretty bad. Thank you!

A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

A lot of places at National Harbor are on the pricey/overly fancy side, but I had a good Thai meal at the relatively simple Thai Pavilion (I'd call to be sure they're not booked up); Elevation Burger seems low-maintenence as well.

– December 30, 2010 2:15 PM
Q.

Washington, DC

Our plans fell through for New Years in NYC and we were thinking of just going out to a low key dinner and drinks with a few friends at a local bar. Would a place like the new PJ Clarkes be good for this? I don't think it would be too packed, but we also don't want dead either. We're in our late 20/s early 30's if that helps. Any other suggestions?
A.
Fritz Hahn :

P.J. Clarke's is a weird space, because it doesn't have a built-in neighborhood audience the way Stoney's or Kramerbooks or Meridian Pint do, with people living all around them. Even when I've been to P.J. Clarke's on a Tuesday night at 9 p.m., it feels like it's all people who have been hanging in the bar since 5 and haven't gone home yet. I guess I'm trying to say that if enough people think, "Let's go to P.J. Clarke's," it could be kinda awesome. If not, it will be dead.

For low-key dinner and drinks, I think we've mentioned a ton of places already, but I'll post another link to today's list of free/no cover New Year's Eve parties.

– December 30, 2010 2:16 PM
Q.

NY Day Brunch

"New Year's Day Brunch at Cashion's" and Krishna's behind the bar!
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Okay, that has me sold, since I just tweeted the other night about how great it was to see him behind the bar.

(Krishna Ramasundar, btw, is one of my favorite bartenders of all time in D.C. Worked at Aroma in Cleveland Park when most of today's scene mixologists were drinking Natty Light, and is fantastic at concocting your perfect drink with a couple of quick questions.)

– December 30, 2010 2:18 PM
Q.

tomorrow -- what to do with young kids

We are in Rockville -- the Frostival seems like a mad house for our 2 year old...any other idea?
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Ah, yes, that would be a bit of a drive. In that case I would head to Baltimore and go to the Port Discovery Children's Museum or the Maryland Science Center. Both have kid-friendly fun going on all day. You can also head to the Great Kids Village in Silver Spring and check out the Grandsons Jr. who are performing for NYE.

– December 30, 2010 2:18 PM
A.
Amy Orndorff :

Oh and for what it is worth, I interviewed a family whose nearly-two-year-old had a blast last year at Frostival.

– December 30, 2010 2:19 PM
Q.

Nice NYE Dinner in the District

My husband and I are looking for a nice, affordable place, preferably in NW, for a NYE dinner, that may have a special NYE menu. We were thinking of Little Fountain Cafe. Any other thoughts? Thanks!
A.
Lavanya Ramanathan :

1905 is super moody and cool, and the NYE dinner doesn't seem too pricey; the price-fixed 4-course menu is $65, and you can add an open bar after 10 p.m. for $35. I'd call ahead however, because it's intimate, and well, we're getting very close to New Year's.

– December 30, 2010 2:22 PM
Q.

single chica in dc/va

Help! All my girlfriends are married with kids, and. I just moved here from Dallas,Texas newly single and ready to mingle. Any NYE IDEAS in DC/VA where I. Can party solo without being gawked at? Fyi I'm in my early thirties and love all types of music and venues. The wackier the better.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Lavanya thinks we should send you to Glover Park for the evening -- she's from Texas and thinks you'd have a good time. Try Bourbon, which has half-price wines and bourbons and happy hour beer specials all night, and falls just in your age group. I also like Breadsoda, which is a little livelier (I think there's going to be a DJ), with pool and shuffleboard and cool people.

– December 30, 2010 2:23 PM
Q.

For NYE red dress

I would suggest a white cardigan for the simplest, most straight forward suggestion. It's a little different than black, which is what most people would pair with a red dress (not that there's anything wrong with that option). If you're adventurous, you could think about other color combinations, but I'd go back to white (for something different than black) but coordinates with red nicely.
A.
Fritz Hahn :

Just more advice for the lady in red.

– December 30, 2010 2:25 PM
Q.

Galaxy Hut

Gurus- I see you mention Galaxy Hut quite a bit - we went in once and only saw a few tables and a pac man sit down game. Is there another room we missed? Or is it really that small? We didn't even order their famous tots because we thought there was no room...
A.
Fritz Hahn :

It's really that small -- capacity 48 -- but there are three sit-down video games, including a '70s pinball table that I really love. Worst part of no longer being in Arlington: No sandwiches from Earl's, no happy hour at Galaxy Hut, no dinner at the bar at Liberty Tavern. Le sigh.

– December 30, 2010 2:28 PM
Q.

House Music Tonight - PLEASE I NEED A FIX

I want some deep house like the old days at Red & Five. When Sam Burns used to DJ. Where can I get my fix of house music tonight?

A.
Fritz Hahn :

Dunno about anywhere tonight (sorry!) but Sam is spinning at the Little Miss Whiskey's/Jimmy Valentine's New Year's Eve party, and is at Eighteenth Street Lounge every Sunday night -- and there's no cover and happy hour prices until 11 p.m.

– December 30, 2010 2:30 PM
Q.

Fritz Hahn :

Okay, we are 30 minutes over our allotted time and could probably go on for at least 30 more, but we have to call a stop for now. Whatever you do for New Year's Eve -- and see our FAQs on the GOG Blog for ideas, and my list of free/cheap parties with DJs or bars that are just open as usual -- we hope that you have a blast.  If you drink, please remember to call SoberRide at 1-800-200-TAXI. And we'll see you all here in 2011.

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