Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Gurus

Mar 14, 2013

Every Thursday, the Going Out Gurus discuss concerts, happy hours, cheap date ideas, weekend getaways, new exhibits and other ways to have fun in the Washington D.C. area. This week Columbia Room's Derek Brown and Rappahannock Oyster Bar's Travis Croxton join the Gurus to discuss 40 Eats.

Hi Gurus - I'm looking for a lunch spot on Saturday in Alexandria or Arlington area to catch up with a few friends. Two things that are making this difficult - a few people are interested in there at least being a TV to watch some basketball games (doesn't have to be the huge screens), and it needs to be at least a bit kid friendly (there will be a 2 year old and a 7 month old). Any thoughts are appreciated!

Hey there, my personal favorite place out that way to meet your needs would be Bayou Bakery.  David Guas is one of my favorite chefs in the country, super nice and the place has incredible casual food.  David brings in Saints and LSU games on a big screen tv, so I'm sure he'd turn on the bball games.   Abita beers, louisiana food made from scratch and great ambience - that's my bet for you.

Welcome, everyone to our 40 Eats-themed chat. Today, we have Derek Brown, co-owner of Columbia Room and the Passenger, and Travis Croxton, owner of Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Union Market, to talk 40 Eats, cocktails, and the city's best food. We'll also be taking your other questions, including all things St. Paddy's (see our giant list here).  Let's get started!

So far, Derek Brown has named bars after songs by Iggy Pop (born in Detroit), the Clash (from London) and Motorhead (from Stoke-on-Trent). Where are the local ties? Why no establishments named after Minor Threat, Bad Brains or Trouble Funk songs?

Straight Edge the soda shop? I love local punk rock and have always looked for tie-ins. You'll frequently catch Bad Brain tunes on The Passenger playlist and I even named a cocktail at The Gibson, Salad Days sour!  

Given that it coincides with St. Patrick's, any thoughts on a not-too-fratty (though maybe they'll be passed out by 6PM?) place to catch the bracket?

First, check out my list of bars with the biggest TVs in the DMV, since most of those will not be doing Oirish specials. (Penn Quarter is questionable.) I'd say the usual suspects for sports bars -- Public Bar, Cleveland Park Bar and Grill, First Down -- should be okay.

Hi GOGs - My boyfriend and I are going down to the Charlottesville area this weekend to stay at the 1804 Inn at Barboursville. We're eating at Palladino on Friday night, but wondering about where to eat in Charlottesville on Saturday? We're not particularly fussy, but he's not a huge fan of Indian or Thai. Also, are there any wineries or cider places down there that you particularly recommend? I think on Saturday we'd like to go do some tastings, and I'm especially interested in the cider side of things (but wine's good too!) Thanks very much!

Charlottesville is such a great place.  Definitely check out the Glass Haus (Tom Sietesma gave it a great review, fyi) where chef Ian Boden is doing some amazing stuff (formerly of Staunton Grocery).  Mas Tapas is another great option.  In a few months, my buddy Jason Alley from Comfort and Pasture in Richmond, VA will be debuting his 2nd Pasture out in Cville.  Check out Champion Brewing right off the mall area - they make great brews, including an Olde Salt Oyster Stout with our oysters that is incredible.  For wineries, go up towards Afton Mountain and meet our friends, the Gormans, owners of Cardinal Point Winery.  You also have Veritas and others nearby, as well as Blue Mountain Brewery and Devil's Backbone Brewery - both pumping out incredible beers.  Cider is blowing up in Virginia, check out Castle Hill and Albemarle Cider Works (though if you can drive 3 hours south to see Diane Flynt at Foggy Ridge, you'll be in heaven).

Big fan, first question! I'm on crutches due to an unfortunate ski injury and cannot put any weight on my right leg. I can hop 20 yards, tops, without becoming exhuasted, and I have family (ages 21, 36, 42) coming in this weekend looking for St. Patricks Day fun/other excitement. Can you recommend something in MD/DC that would allow for a rollicking good time, while seated? We like rock/jam music, bars, good food and theater.

If you can't move but want to keep them entertained, then I highly (and selfishly) suggest our very own Union Market in Noma.  You can sit down and people watch the day away while your family checks out our fellow vendors such as alcoholic soda (and n/a sodas for the kids) at Buffalo & Bergen, sandwiches from Red Apron, korean bbq tacos from Takorean, lamb 10 different ways from Border Springs DC, my favorite - milkshakes from Trickling Springs Creamery, cheeses from Righteous Cheese and small plate seafood, cocktails and local DC beers from Rappahannock Oyster Bar.

A few weeks ago, I had a featured cocktail at Toki Underground which used powdered egg whites. What is your take on this supplement? Are there any key differences in the the use of egg whites vs. powdered egg whites in a cocktail?

I think there are differences but they can be overcome through proper technique such as immersion sticks, etc. Truth is, most people use way too much egg whites in their drinks, so may be helpful to measure it out. With that said, we use real egg whites at Columbia Room and The Passenger.

Tickets to the Caps game, 7 pm Sunday. Guessing that the area around the Verizon Center is going to be jammed with green-drinking. Safer to just get there and get food in the arena? Or are there places that won't be putting their shamrocks out? We already know metro will be busy, it's really the restaurants and bars I'm thinking about.

I suspect it will resemble a war zone. People who've been drinking since 8 a.m., people who've gone to the Parade and then are heading for Fado/Irish Channel/anywhere with booze ... 

The Passenger will be open and NOT pouring green beer. I'd also say Pi Pizzeria and District Chophouse, since they don't do much to attract the St. Patrick's Day revelers. 

Hi Gurus- I'm heading to San Francisco next week for a FULL WEEK of vacation! And my first trip there.....I'm generating a list of places to go and things to a lot of the "famous" things on there already I would say but I wanted to see if you or any of the chatters had any special recommendations. We are open to anything - walking, biking, good food or drink, museums, hiking, boating- whatever is the best to do! We are also specifically looking for a bus day trip to napa for some wine tastings- I have been searching randomly online but if you have a company you recommend I would love that! Finally, any good San Francisco blogs you recommend similar to this I could get ideas from? thanks!

I'm not sure about blogs out there, but definitely check out the Ferry Building on the Wharf.  It's somewhat close to what Union Market was modeled after.  The folks at Hog Island Oyster Bar are awesome (and you can also drive an hour north and visit their oyster farm and dine on oysters and small plates overlooking Tomales Bay).  At the Ferry Building, you have tons of artisans - my favorite being our buddy Chris Cosentino who has one of the best restaurants in the country, Icanto, but also a charcuterie takeout place at the Ferry Bldg.  Any of Michael Mina's restaurants are a sure bet, and I'm also partial to the experience at Swan Oyster Depot.  But definitely take a ride up the PCH and enjoy the scenery - that's my favorite part of San fran.

Typical that the oyster guy would recommend oyster places. So, let me suggest a few watering holes as the drink guy. I love Berretta and Bar Agricole. There's also the brand new Trick Dog.

Hi Gurus! I have an errand to run in Courthouse at 8:30am on Saturday and then have to be at brunch in Dupont at 11am. What should I do in between? It's so early, I don't know if anything is even open and I probably shouldn't go to a restaurant since I'm having brunch right after! I'll have a car if that helps.

The Court House flea market, which is right by the Court House Metro station, is fun to browse for records, antique furniture and other "treasures," and opens at 8. You could definitely kill some time there while munching on a Brooklyn Bagel from the shop across the street.

My husband and I have a rare chance to go out tomorrow evening and want to do something more exciting than the standard "dinner/ movie." With three small kids, we haven't really slept in 6 years, so we don't want to be out all that late. Any thoughts?

Having 3 boys (ages 2,4,7) myself - I can understand where you're coming from.  So maybe you should follow my routine and hit as many places as possible.  Go get drinks with Gina Chersevani at Hank's on the Hill and a few bites, then walk around Union Market and explore the offerings we have there.  Make reservations for dinner at Toki Underground and then head on over to finish the night off at Mr. Brown's bar, the Passenger.  Or better yet, get a later reservation at his amazing bar within a bar, The Columbia Room.

Derek, will Katie Nelson be returning to DC when your new sherry bar opens?

We have lost our Southern Belle to the call of the South. She is currently mixing drinks at Rappahannock in Richmond, and mixing some amazing ones at that. Richmond is a charming town and I've been lured more than a few times myself. Go visit now! 

Gotta say, we have to apologize but hopefully Katie's only returns to DC will be visits.  She is running our cocktail program at Rappahannock in RVA and is doing a heluva job.  The RVA food scene is definitely on the up and it's a great challenge for Katie to make that same mark with the cocktail scene.  Please come check out chef Dylan Fultineer and Katie at Rappahannock - I'm biased but i think it's great for the city.

Hi! What can I do with two kids (ages 5 and 7) Saturday afternoon downtown? Anything other than Smithsonians, which we've done in the past, and will grudgingly do again if we can't come up with anything better? Unfortunately, weather isn't looking great.

the national children's museum isn't downtown, but it's not too far away in National Harbor.  I was there yesterday and got to and from city center in about 12 minutes.  Inside the city, i keep harping on Union Market as that's where i unleash my 3 boys - they love drinking blueberry sodas at Buffalo & Bergen and milkshakes from Trickling Springs - it buys us parents valuable time to enjoy wine and spirits.

I'm trying to compile some activities for weeknight date activities. The problem is that the earliest I can typically meet up is about 8:00pm, which eliminates a lot of options that aren't bars and restaurants. I'd like some other, more activity-based ideas, and especially things on the cheap. Preferably in DC, but metro-accessible options would work. I've come up with monument walk for the nice spring weather and comedy shows. Other suggestions?

Oh, there are some great ideas for dating, particularly as the weather gets warmer, there's more outdoor . The Dunes frequently has events that are quirky and off the radar (gotta follow them on Facebook to get details, though); on Friday, there's a fun, inexpensive comedy show, Consensual Sext, there, but today is Pi Day. You can check out the Kennedy Center's cool exhibitions around the Nordic Cool Festival, including some amazing architectural pieces, clothing and video art that's really cool (and a great way to understand the landscape there). In a couple of months, we'll see the kickoff of the Petworth Jazz Project (May 25), plus outdoor movie screenings.

When's the best time to come by and actually get a space at the bar to enjoy the oysters? It is PACKED every time I'm there!

We are adding staffing on weekends to better serve folks (doing a great job now but want to be better) so if you go on weekends just look for the outside tables when they pop open.  Otherwise, we get people in on Wed, Thurs and Fri but it's nothing like the weekends but still fun as hell.  Come by anytime.  On weekends, shoot for 11am or BREAKING NEWS - we are now serving dinner til 9pm (and will be going later as it warms up) and anytime from 6pm onwards it's much easier to grab a table.  The shad roe we are running is incredible (imo) and only here for a limited time so come in and say hello to our folks.

There has been a lot of plugging of Union Market today. Is the place really active now? I went the first month it was open and was quite diappointed by very few stands with very high prices. Would love to hear that it is better and may be willing to give it another try.

You will be amazed - go on the weekend and let us know what you think. 

I'm not into plugging anything, but it's definitely a scene, and I was just telling Travis that it's kind of a hotbed for some of the most attractive people I've ever seen in D.C., all eating oysters, and smoked salmon (at Neopol's)... I've lived in the area for most of life, and my eyes pop out a little at Union Market.

Hi - Are there any kid friendly St. Patty's day events on Sunday? I do know Bayou on Penn has music at 5pm, but I'm assuming that isn't kid friendly, even though its a resturant too. Thanks!

There's plenty on Sunday, actually -- if you're in D.C., you can do the St. Paddy's parade, and then grab some Irish food at Fado, then off to the Kennedy Center for playing in the exhibits, and the 6 p.m. performance of the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance.  Fritz suggests getting lunch at Fado, then heading to the parade. But that's up to you.

My bf's birthday is next Monday and we are taking the day off. He NEVER takes a day off from work, so I really want to take advantage of this. I would like to take him to lunch somewhere (he is really into meats). Do something after lunch and maybe hit a nice happy hour since we very rarely do that. We live in Fairfax, but I am driving and I'm willing to go anywhere. Anything you can recommend?

If he's into meats, then go to Red Apron's newest outpost in the Mosaic development.  No one does meat better than Nate Anda, and this is close to home for you guys and you can enjoy yourself a bit more.

Thoughts on naming your bar Eat The Rich in rapidly gentrifying Shaw? Will either of your 2 new ventures feature happy hours or drink/foods aimed at people in the neighborhood?

The name comes from Travis and my love of punk and hardcore music. It's a Motorhead song. We also love the neighborhood and I've been down the street (less than a mile) for awhile. We get it but also think that block needs great venues and ones that are inexpensive prices and fun environment. That's what we're bringing and many people in the neighborhood have expressed excitement that we're coming soon.

After running the half-marathon on Saturday, I'd like to treat myself with one of the poptarts from Ted's Bulletin. Can I just walk in and pick one up without disrupting the regular diners? I'll be all sweaty and stinky and wouldn't want to annoy sit-down customers. But at the same time, I really really want to try one and think after 13 miles, I deserve it. Thanks.

I've gotten pop tarts to go at Ted's before. Just walk in and walk up to the bar/counter and ask for one. If there's a stool you can perch in the front of the restaurant, if it's packed, grab a pop tart (or two) and coffee and walk over to Marion Park or Folger Park and grab a bench.

Springs coming up! What are your favorite places with patio/rooftop seating to grab cocktails?

I love the Tabard Inn patio! Get a Pimms Cup and enjoy.

So Derek how do you feel about the new SpiritsBar in Rogue 24. We want to know if it is up to bar with Columbia Room and other cocktail havens in the city.

Bryan Tetorakis is a beast. Go get his cocktails now. You won't be dissapointed.

For the person asking about what to do around Courthouse/Dupont on Saturday morning - be warned that the Rock N Roll Marathon is going on starting at 0730 on Saturday. I wouldn't drive into DC if I were you (if that was your plan b/c you mentioned having a car). The race doesn't go through Dupont this year, but roads are going to be closed all over the city. I would metro or bike it, personally.

This is something important to consider. Take a look at the police department's list of street closings. If you take the Key Bridge you'll be fine, but Memorial Bridge will be closed.

A friend & I decided to treat the 40 Eats list as our "bucket list", and started with Palena Cafe's cheese burger last night. Super disappointing. Would have rather paid $20 for a Good Stuff burger. Can someone explain to me why everyone thinks the burger is so special? On top of being disappointing, their fryer was "broken", so no fries, and they didn't offer us a comp for another menu item. Hopefully everything else on the 40 Eats list isn't so disappointing.

Aww, I'm so glad you are eating your way through the list, because there are some gems on there. But I'm sorry to hear about your experience with Palena -- I can say that this burger is one of the few old classics on the list. It's probably one of those legendary dishes that has been "the thing" to eat in D.C. for so long that no one dares to question it, like the half-smoke. The list, nominated by readers, really is a "to each his own" thing. The burrata at Mintwood blew my mind, but someone else might not love how busy and crazy the restaurant can be.   I think readers will appreciate your feedback on this, so I'm posting it.  And I hope you stick with the bucket list -- at least till you get to the pop-tarts and the gintonic -- because I think you'll find there are more winners than losers.

hi derek! my husband and i went to the columbia room for the first time the day after v-day. we had high expectations going in, and just wanted to pass on that you exceeded them. the staff were very hospitable, knowledgeable, and paced the night well. my only "complaint" is that the small plate jambalaya was too delicious for a snack....we certainly wanted more of those flavors.

Thank you, Mom. No - Just kidding. So glad you had a great time. We're in the making people happy business and it seems, in this case, we succeeded.

As an avid nationals fan and lover of Churchkey I must say I'm super excited to check out Bluejacket Brewery. With baseball season rapidly approaching is there any word on when Bluejacket will be opening?

No firm date yet, but I'm expecting it to open sometime in the summer -- June at the earliest. Gordon Biersch will be open for opening day, which is something, and should take some of the pressure off Justin's Cafe.

I've been to Virtue Feed and Grain in Old Town on the weekends - they have Tvs and the last time I was there a group was around with kids and it was fine.

They also have video games upstairs, which can be fun for the kids. And Pizzeria Paradiso is obviously kid-friendly in Old Town.

Check out the Bakerella blog - she just posted a bunch of wonderful (!) places to grab desserts and snacks. And the comments are filled with even more ideas. As for what to do - the Museum of of Modern Art is usually free one day a week (it used to be Tuesdays) - I'm not sure if that's still true, it's been about 4 years since I lived there. Also, the exploritorium is cool and so is Golden Gate park and the California Academy of Sciences. Also, make sure to at least walk through Chinatown!

Thanks for the suggestions! So in the foodie world, when everyone did their best-of lists, a place called Bar Tartine ended up on everyone's list. Everyone's. So if you can get in, I would check that out, for sure.

Speaking of Pi Day, any place in DC that I can get a good slice of apple pie to go?

We're all super-fans of Dangerously Delicious's pies. I'm kind of a weird sucker for the peanut butter chess, but the apple is also fantastic -- and vegan. You can get slices there to go, too, or off their food truck, DCPieTruck.

Come on now gents. The oyster saturation in this city is out of control. Its almost like the cupcake and doughnut epidemic. Can this city come up with anything that is new. Food trends 2013, ramen, oysters, doughnuts, pitchers of cocktails, sound like another how can we sell out DC anymore.

D.C. has also historically been known for it's proliferation of oyster bars. George Rothwell Brown's food history of D.C. from the 1930s calls oyster bars D.C.'s cafes. In fact, we are opening just two blocks from where an oyster bar existed in the 1890s. Just check the Shaw historic placards along the streets.  

Hi! My birthday is weekend and wanted to have a celebratory brunch on Sunday. My friends aren't great at timely responses to invitations, so my manageable group of 8 grew to 14 in the past day. Any recommendations for a restaurant in DC that can accommodate a large group? My only real desires are not-terrible food and preferably a bottomless mimosas option. Thanks!

How about El Centro? If you can get there early -- around 11 a.m., when they open, they might be able to work you guys in (call ASAP) to be sure, though. Another option: The Brixton, which has ambience in spades. It just launched a brunch with unlimited mimosas.

Hi there, I'm entertaining friends Saturday afternoon after the Marathon and before they go to the Wizards game. Where can we eat dinner (either near the Mall or Verizon Center) with 3 adults and 2 kids before they go to the game? Any thoughts on where we may be able to get in without reservations? Oh and beer is a must so no museum cafes. Thanks!!

If near the Verizon Center, then go by Graffiato.  It's a bit crazy for kids later in the evening but for an afternoon early dinner, you can't beat it.  The kids will love the pizza, you guys can get some DC beers and anything by Mike Isabella's great, so you can't go wrong.

Hi Gurus - a couple friends and I are going to do a girls night on H Street NE. The plan is dinner at Toki, drinks somewhere while we wait for a table (Atlas Room?), dancing at Little Miss Whiskeys, and late night cheesesteaks from Taylor Gourmet. Any suggestions for our plans?

No, that sounds pretty awesome. Atlas Room depends on how many people you're out with: There are only six barstools, so I wouldn't go with a party bigger than 4 (max). Instead, try grabbing a table upstairs at Church and State, the "hidden" cocktail bar above Atlas Arcade, or maybe the upstairs back patio at the Queen Vic. 

I might suggest doing late-night pies at Dangerously Delicious in lieu of cheesestakes. (And if you do want to do cheesesteaks, go to Steak and Ice instead of Taylor Gourmet.)

Hi GOGs! My husband has an important event on a Tuesday morning. It starts at 8:30 and we think it will be over within a couple of hours. We're going to want to celebrate afterwards, so we're hoping to find somewhere in the NOVA or DC area that would serve brunch on a Tuesday morning. We could wait for an early lunch, if we had to. We're not completely sure how long this thing will take. The only place I've thought of so far is Ted's Bulletin. Do you have any other suggestions? Thanks!!

If you're going to want to celebrate, then wait for an early lunch at Bourbon Steak.  New chef John Critchley takes over on March 18th and it will only get better.  When I think of places for celebration, that restaurant immediately comes to mind.

Thank you. These constant marathons couldn't be more inconvenient for the rest of us. I was trapped in Crystal City during the Marine Corps Marathon, felt like every road out was closed. There has to be a more convenient place to hold them.

"Constant"? We have, what, five marathons a year? This one crosses my street and boxes me in somewhat, but it's not *that* bad. Only one bridge closed, as far as I can tell. The Marine Corps Marathon, which does a lot more cross-Potomac running, is far worse.

Hi Gurus! I have a friend coming to visit this weekend. We are both 40 and one of us is single. I would like to take her to an upscale bar that's somewhat "mature" but not stuffy. Do you think Sutra Lounge is a good option? What other options do we have? I live in Arlington, but would like to take her out in DC. Thanks!

To cure your hangover the morning after, be sure to take her to Bayou Bakery.  But for the night out, you guys should start the evening with a reservation at Derek's own Columbia Room for a great experience.  Once the drinks are flowing, take her to some great restaurants that have good bar scenes, or just fun, casual scenes with great food.  Mintwood Place comes to mind.  Or if you guys dont want to hop around, take her up to Chevy Chase and sit, drink and eat at the bar at Range.  The wine list is incredible, the drinks are amazing and Bryan and Matt are incredible chefs so you can really impress her with a one stop shop.

Err, don't go to Sutra. Sutra closed, as my cousin found out when she tried to go there on her birthday. In general, I think going to Adams Morgan isn't the best idea for 40-somethings, unless you're headed to Jack Rose. Why not stick with 14th Street -- Black Jack would be a cool place to check out; you'll find upscale at Hanoi House, too, or Satellite Room; you might have some fun at the Farmers Fishers Bakers bar in Georgetown, where you can get tiki bowls, and do a ton of people-watching.

Are there any happy hours you can recommend that offer more than one or two wines to try at happy hour prices? Thanks.

Vinoteca should fit the bill, with 20 options by the glass for $5. But in Arlington, there's Twisted Vines.

I am excited about the house line-up at U St. Music Hall this Fri. The problem is that our group is split between house lovers & haters. We will probably not spend the entire night there. Can you recommend some other bars/clubs in that area that play hip hop/pop/top 40 and have a dance floor? Thanks!

What about Liv? Black Alley Band is playing its mix of go-go, hip-hop and R&B, and DJ Sixth Sense of WKYS is spinning between sets. Just a block from U Hall, too.


yes, lawyers are welcome too:)

Hi! I'm planning a bachelorette party for my friends in DC. I'm having trouble lining up a bunch of upscale bars/clubs with dance floors. My list has Midtown, ESL, Cafe Citron...are there other places where people have had a great time that I'm missing? We generally go to dive and sports bars and are switching it up for the bachelorette party which is why I'm at a bit of a loss. Thanks so much everyone! :)

Lavanya may need to help with this question - Derek and my combined background is a love of dive bars, not so much experienced with bachelorette parties (though Derek did a little dancing in his younger years to help fund The Passenger).

Little Miss Whiskey's.

My pal and I are taking tomorrow off to play tourist. Thinking of starting with our own version of Kegs and Eggs at Tune Inn but then overwhelmed by options. Any new "not to miss"es on the mall? Or fun morning/afternoon activities? Leftover Pi[e] or Green Beer Tastings? From an answer below, looks like Union Market is fun option for a late lunch. Thanks!

I hate to encourage drinking, or maybe I dont, but I'd say just go restaurant/bar hopping.  Try one drink and app at each place and then yeah, wind up at Union for a late lunch.  Don't get too soggy, but this could be a great way to check out a lot of places. 

Derek is know for vocally stating that service staff should get higher salaries and that tipping should go away. However at Columbia Room the $69 fee is inclusive of tax and a tip. Have you changed your thoughts on this?

Definitely haven't changed my mind. I believe that tipping is fundamentally wrong. People deserve to be paid for work rendered. But I also know that I can't change people's minds overnight. So, at the Columbia Room, we have a small set of people we can talk to and explain what we do. At The Passenger, or even Mockingbird Hill, we're afraid that some people would leave never understanding why we charge what we do (if tipping was included).

Um, National Harbor is "too far away" if the plan is to be in Downtown DC for some reason. It's not a stop on the Metro. Seems like if OP just wanted something to do in the area, they would have said that. And many people don't think that teaching kids that fun=food is a great life plan, so I'm not impressed witht the Union Market idea. The Atlas Arcade on H St. NE (and not too far from Union Market) is advertising kid-friendliness during the daytime. Rock-n-Roll hotel (I think) used to do a parents-and-kids thing on Saturdays; they could check on whether that still applies. The skating rinks may still be open at the Sculpture Garden and Canal Park, although I imagine they'll be a bit slushy.

I don't have kids, but ... National Harbor is really a 15-minute drive from downtown if you take 295. I've done it.

Atlas Arcade is fine for kids, but you're going to have to teach them who the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Donkey Kong are -- the games are pretty retro.

Rock and Roll Hotel hasn't done Baby Loves Disco in years. I don't think anyone is doing a similar party at the moment.

Also, ice rinks at Sculpture Garden, Canal Park and Georgetown Harbour are all closed for the season.

Will the lower-cost vegetable vendors who used to serve people from the Trinidad neighborhood be returning this summer, or will the market no longer be serving low and moderate income families the way the old farmer's market did?

I was just talking with some of Union's mgmt yesterday about this - we definitely need to find a way to help keep the farmer's market alive in that area, especially on weekends.  We buy all of our produce from the wholesalers in that neighborhood, as well as all of our smallwares and restaurant equipment.  It's a very unique place and is always filled with activities.  you can support these same people by walking or driving to that area between 4th and 5th street and get produce at wholesale prices directly from those families. 

Hey Fritz - thanks for sticking up for us runners! :) Honestly, this is probably the least disruptive course - and I'm also somewhat boxed in (though I am running this year). The races are fun to watch even as a spectator and with course limits, the roads will reopen by early afternoon. Good luck to everyone running!

Take the wine trolley in Sonoma - we loved it and there was a discount on yelp that might still be available.

Sonoma is amazing - great restaurants in addition to incredible wineries and fantastic scenery.  Great recommendation.

My birthday is on Sat night. I want to go dancing somewhere, but I also want to watch the UFC fight on PPV. Are there any places that will show the fight and have a nice dance scene after? If not in the same place, at least in the vicinity. Can you give me some areas where I may find both? We are driving from NoVa and we have DDs. Thanks!

Fight and then dance. I want to go there!

If you live North of Columbia Rd. there are no access points south into the city for this marathon. Ridiculous

You're right. But my experience, having lived both north and south of similar marathon courses, is that the closures are rolling -- if there are no runners coming, the cops will generally let you through, especially on busy roads. Or you just take Metro. It's a couple of hours on a Saturday morning. The world will NOT stop turning.

Oops, while Bourbon Steak might be delicious, I should have mentioned that my husband doesn't eat beef and I'm a vegetarian (no seafood either). Any other suggestions for a weekday brunch or early lunch?? Thanks!

Rasika's got some of the best food in the city and lots of vegetarian dishes - might be one option.  Sadly, I need to get a lot more cultured on non-seafood and meat options in the city.  Derek may have some better options for you.

Hate to be a broken record but Tabard Inn has great lunch options and generally veggie options too. Not just for Sunday!

Whoops, I meant Steak and Ice, not Taylor Gourmet. Could we get a table at Atlas Room just for drinks or is that a no no? What time would be good to get a table without a reservation? Thanks!

Atlas Room can be a cool option for drinks, and I don't think it's a no-no at all. I have dropped in with a group of 8 or so pretty recently, and they do have a bar area that's somewhat separate from the dining area, and we were seated at a table where we could all be together; I would go a little bit later than 8. 9ish is a little better so you're not bumping up against their dinner crowd -- you might call them to confirm that, but that's been my experience.

Hi there! Meeting up with a friend from out of town tonight. She is staying at a hotel in Woodley Park and wants to meet up in that neighborhood for a drink around 8pm. Any ideas? I was hoping to find a late night happy hour in that neighborhood but I don't see anything. Thanks!

There's not much in Woodley Park for late-night happy hour. The best places for a drink in my old 'hood are the fabulous gin bar at New Heights, which can make hundreds of different gin and tonics, or pints of Guinness accompanied by Irish music at Murphy's. Don't forget that you're a five-minute Circulator ride from Adams Morgan if you want to hang out at Smoke and Barrel, grab a late-night drink at Mellow Mushroom, or play one of the area's best jukeboxes at Bedrock Billiards.

Any good recommendations for Happy Hour near Natl Defense Univ? Looking for a place for my military friends and I to gather. Thanks!!

The closest spot is the dockside bar at Cantina Marina, which just reopened for the season and specializes in Micheladas, dark and stormys and other summery concoctions.

You can also hit the bars between NDU and Nationals Park -- Justin's Cafe is the best, but Station 4, near the Waterfront Metro, isn't bad.

but like that other rabbit, I have need of some cool eggs for an Easter Basket. Has anyone seen cool, crafty or otherwise (not snap plastic) eggs?

Err, I'd head to Michael's and get a glue gun while you're there -- I've seen tiny wooden eggs that are kind of blank slates for paint and glitter and bedazzling. Chatters? Eggs?

Pie Sisters sometimes has apple pie by the slice and in cuppie size.

i think i just found my lunch spot today - thanks for the info!

Ok GOG can u tell me where in the DC metro area can a person between the ages of 35 to 50 find happy hour where you can have food and drinks plus dance along the lines of the Zanzibar, Hogate's, RSVP, Oak Tree (way back) I could name a few more but hopefully you get it . Thanks

I would have said Fever, but their recent closure takes them out of the equasion. Martinis in Fort Washington has that old Zanzibar/Hogate's atmosphere.

Hi! We have group of 20-25 people going out on March 23rd to celebrate 3 birthdays. Any ideas where we can go to eat for dinner? We are all in our mid to late 20s, want to go bar hopping afterwards (oooh, any ideas on that too?), and don't mind being broken up into 3 or 4 smaller tables. Close to H street would be preferable, but not necessary. Thanks! It'd be great to get an answer today so that I can attempt to reserve a place now.

Maybe you guys should do a takeover of pearl dive.  Definitely would need to split into separate tables but it's a great, fun place and you have Black Jack upstairs for your first stop on the barhop.  Not sure if PD could accommodate that many people from one party but call 'em to find out.

Going to see it tonight. Do you know how long the show is? And it is really right across the street from the Metro?

The shows are typically about an hour and a half -- no words means very brief. You'll LOVE it. Really, I know why companies don't do water stages -- there's water everywhere, and it's somewhat insane -- but it's hands-down one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. And those Synetic dancers really work it, kicking up water and making it splash. And it rains onstage. Yes, Synetic is really easy to reach by Metro -- in fact, you don't have to come above ground at all. Crystal City has underground walkways, so you can walk right to the theater.

SF has terrific free walking tours:

More ideas...

The world won't stop turning, but it makes it pretty difficult if let's say you have to attend a County Board meeting in Arlington at 8:30, get to Dupont to meet out of town relatives at 11, get back quickly to Arlington to cook St. Paddy's Day corned beef for 5 hours before guests come over at 6. The marathon makes travel totally unpredictable. Plus the metro can't be trusted these days, especially on weekends and with all of the orange line track work. I'm happy that people like to run, so do I, but it is a burden on the rest of us.

I know, I get it. But marathons, St. Patrick's Day parades, DC Pride, the Cinco de Mayo Festival, the Barbecue Battle, the lightings of the National Christmas Tree, the Capitol Christmas Tree, the National Menorah -- these are all things that people look forward to, and they all cause street closures and disruptions. It's a tradeoff for living in D.C. the other 40-odd weekends where you don't have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.

Is there a convenient place to park if I want to take my little ones for a nice walk in the next couple of weeks? In years past I've struggled. Thanks!

Kenwood is simply a busy place this time of year, because it's so famous, even international tourists now know to go there. You might try going before peak bloom -- maybe this weekend or next weekend (though it will be rainy and chilly this weekend)? Another option is to head to the National Arboretum, where there's ample parking, and lots to explore, and most people don't think there's a lot of spring blooms to see there, but there are.

Thanks everyone for joining us, on this chat with Derek and Travis -- wish you could all be here to hear us gabbing about bars, food and more. See you all next week at 1 p.m.

In This Chat
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.
Recent Chats
  • Next: