Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Apr 03, 2014

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

Hello, everyone. Hope you're enjoying the spring-like weather. I'm in the middle of putting together our big Nationals Home Opener package -- all the details about new food options (G!) and craft beers at the ballpark, and details about new bars and dining options around the neighborhood. You can find that in tomorrow's Weekend section, and online sometime during this chat. (Hopefully.)

In the meantime: Check out Maura's list of outdoor drinking options, read about a new electronic music festival coming to Union Market (with Jamie xx!), and, of course, the Hotlist: our guide to the best of April.


Anyplace to watch Game of Thrones in NoVA? Is Little Miss Whiskey's the only place to go?

After this week's "GoT"-heavy Nightlife Agenda column, I got questions from people asking the same thing (specifically for Arlington, mostly). I've asked around, but haven't heard of any bars that are willing to make the commitment, especially with sound.

But if there are, I'm happy to get the word out.

So I decided for my birthday this year (next month, so hopefully it'll finally be warm!) I just want to drink margaritas and eat queso with friends in the outdoors. Problem is, I don't own any outdoor space. Where can I head with a group of maybe 10 in DC or NoVa? Probably a weekend night too, which may complicate things.

El Rey would be the first place I'd suggest. I've been there on Saturdays when there's a lull -- maybe between 8 and 10:30? -- and you could probably grab seats between the dinner crowd and the late-night folks who need to get some Peking duck tacos in their belly.

Another option will be Hill Country BBQ's outdoor Backyard Barbecue on the lawn of the National Building Museum, which starts up again  on May 1. Had a lot of fun hanging out with friends and drinking margaritas there last summer. 

In NoVa, what about the Bungalow Lakehouse in Sterling? Huge patio with lake views, and good nachos. (Can't speak to their margaritas, unfortunately.)

Yay, baseball has returned! Boo, so many games are only available on cable. So GOGs, where in the Petworth/Columbia Heights/Adams Morgan area can you think of to watch games? Meridian Pint, yes, Duffy's, yes... Decent (or better) food and beer required.

D.C. Reynolds was promising free shots for every Bryce homer the other day, so they're pretty hight on my list.

Other places: Lou's City Bar (better beer than food) has plenty of TVs indoors and on the patio. Jack Rose only has four TVs on the roof, but they've said before they'll put baseball on during brunch or in the evenings. A friend of mine likes watching games at Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan, so I'll probably give that a shot this year.


I'm meeting some friends over on H Street, NE on Sunday around 12 or 12:30 for lunch. Planning to drive (bringing some gifts that I can't carry all the way from Virginia on the metro). Having never been over to this area, what is parking like? Are there garages or is street parking available? Thanks!

No garages. It's all street parking. It's not so bad on Sunday mornings; I'm often in the area around that time, depending on soccer viewing. Just park as close as you can to H Street itself.

Hi GoG gods/godesses, We'd like to go see The Grand Budapest Hotel and then get some Hungarian food, but it doesn't look like there are any options in the MD/DC area. Do you have any hidden knowledge, or should I start hunting for Borscht recipes?

So, to my knowledge, there aren't any strictly Hungarian restaurants in the area (If readers know of any, please chime in!), but you'll be able to get the closest thing at these restaurants, which base their menus on Eastern European cuisine: Domku (Has Hungarian wines and goulash on the menu), Bistro Bohem (Czech, has borscht), Cafe Mozart (Viennese goulash), Old Europe, and if Russian borscht would be acceptable, Mari Vanna or Rus-Uz. Hope that helps.

I'm looking for a place to watch daytime soccer this weekend and other than Fado, have no idea where to start looking. Brunch options, especially bottomless, are preferred.

First, here's this season's list of the best soccer bars in the Washington area.

For good food, you're looking at the Queen Vic (especially the Sunday roast), maybe the Four Courts. The only bottomless option I can think of is the Pug, which will do bottomless bloody marys and mimosas for $9, along with some pretty decent (if basic) hash and other breakfast dishes.

Where did all the other gurus go? How many of you are left?

We're all still here, but deadlines and other things make it tough to get everyone onto the chat at the same time. Maura and I are on duty today, and if people have questions that, say, Steph or Lavanya would be best to answer, we send the questions their way.

Hi all, I'm tasked with making reservations for brunch for a group of 10 people on Sunday. I've tried the usual suspects: Matchbox, Ted's, Scion etc., but none of them have availability. It also needs to be in the Adams Morgan/Dupont/Logan Circle area. Haaalp me?

A group of 10 is tough - your options are going to be pretty limited, unless you're willing to go a little bit on the later side, like after 1, or try a different neighborhood. Looking at the scant noonish availability on Open Table, your best bets of what's left may be Tortilla Coast in Logan, Ping Pong Dim Sum, and Grillfish. I would call ahead just to be sure, though.

The location in Georgetown took over the old Third Edition space. They have a big outdoor tiki bar. It wasn't available last month when I went there, but they said they would be opening when the weather got better. They have very good food & drinks.

So my thing about the outdoor space at El Centro Georgetown is that it's mostly a drinking destination. A very crowded drinking destination, especially on weekends. I like it for what it is in the summer, which can be a just-out-of-college dance party fueled by Mexican beers and tequila shots.

That said, it's totally an option, but I'd advise the chatter to go early and be finished with the nachos, etc., before the dance party begins.

If you could go anywhere for Easter brunch, where would you go? Seems like reservations are hard to come by!

Good question! Neither Fritz nor I have ever actually done an Easter brunch in D.C. I just got a preview of the Greek Easter menu at Kapnos -- and it was super -- but it's more geared towards dinner. Chatters, what are your favorite Easter brunches in the area?

Hi Gurus, what bars will be hosting watch parties for teams in the Final Four? In 2011, Laughing Man Tavern was the go-to for UConn fans - is that still the case? Go Huskies!

A quick guide for neutrals:

Wisconsin alumni hang out at Hamilton's Bar and Grill (not to be confused with THE Hamilton).

Kentucky's best alumni bar is Grevey's in Falls Church, where beers and blue margaritas come in plastic UK cups.

UConn meets at the Grand Slam Sports Bar at the Grand Hyatt downtown, right at Metro Center.

Florida has several gamewatch locations, but the biggest is at the Pour House on Capitol Hill.

We are driving in for opening day & we are parking at a lot that stays open only 1 hour after the end of the game. We want to go to Blue Jacket after the game & will probably stay for over an hour. We're not sure what to do with the car. I know most people will be leaving and there will be a ton of traffic (we got stuck in it last year). What do you guys suggest? Thanks!!!

This is tough. I'd say you should move your car at the last possible minute -- I'd expect most of the traffic to have dissipated an hour after the last out.

Then again, I don't drive to Nats games. Chatters, we'd love your expertise here.

going to catch up with a dear friend that i only see a few times a year, probably around 8 or 8:30. want drinks and maybe light food. where we can hear each other, but it doesn't have to be quiet. a bit of a scene would be nice, as my friend is a new mom and doesn't get out much. she's looking forward to checking out something new and cool in dc while she has a babysitter (she's from here but has since relocated). ideally staying in nw dc. thanks so much for answering!

2 Birds 1 Stone could work for this -- fantastic cocktails, great vibe and not usually crowded early on Thursday. Also, the new Flight Wine Bar on Seventh Street, across from the Verizon Center.

The past few years, I've always just driven to Nats Park and parked in the lot under 695 or one of the lots near the Yards. Never been a problem and always managed to avoid traffic. But I've never done it during a game day and just realized my brilliant plans might be thwarted this time around. Are there any lots that will take game day parking during the work week? I'm not adverse to Metro, but have found that driving home usually only takes me 10-20 mins vs. the hassle of Metro.

During the work week, I'd try one of the lots that caters to office workers and the nearby Department of Transportation -- maybe the Colonial Parking lot at Third and M? (Have to be honest: I like Colonial Parking because their website has a really handy map.)

Any advice for what to do with my parents when they visit in two weeks? Last time we did a bunch of Smithsonians and a boat tour on the Potomac. I live in Georgetown and they'll be staying in Ballston, and we'll have a car available. Thanks!

Have your parents had a chance to check out some theater in D.C.? Depending on their interest, it might be nice to take them to a show at the Kennedy Center, and afterwards, head up to the roof patio to take in the skyline. Two weeks from now at the KC, the Washington Ballet will be doing Peter Pan there, and the American Ballet Theatre will be presenting Don Quixote. If ballet's not their thing but they might like plays, there's Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Folger, or Camp David at Arena Stage. Since they like sightseeing and have a car, you could also take them to Great Falls Park or the Arboretum to take in some spring blooms. Or, further afield -- Wineries!

Park at the lot under the free way on South Capitol (used to be Lot HH). It's now a private lot and while it's a little bit of a walk from there, it's used as a commuter lot and will be open later than usual. And you're crazy for planning to go to Bluejacket after Opening Day. I hope it works out for you, but that place is going to be a mess

Thanks for the parking info.

The staff at Bluejacket says they've been preparing for opening day -- they're launching the new patio bar, with the outdoor grill, to increase capacity -- but yeah, I think it's going to be crazy crowded after the game. 

Friend and I tried to go to Bluejacket in the middle of the afternoon two Saturdays ago, thinking that everyone would be outside in the sun, and we could just relax and try a few beers. 

It was so crowded that we couldn't get to the bar.

My boyfriend is a Tigers fan and I'm an O's fan and they are playing each other on Sunday at 1. We are looking for a place that we can get brunch (preferably with good drink specials) and watch the game. I live in Arlington but we are willing to go into the city to make this happen.

This should be fun. Since it's supposed to be nice on Sunday (sunny and 65, fingers crossed), I'd tell you to go to the freshly reopened and redone Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill. I haven't checked it out yet, but they've been touting the fact that there are now bathrooms on the roof. Also, I have been there for Sunday day-drinking, and brunch includes $3 mimosas and $5 bloody marys until 3 p.m., which should be most of the game.

Any suggestions for brunch in Bethesda at places that open before 11am? Thanks!

How early are you hoping to arrive? Roof, Cafe Deluxe and Mussel Bar open at 10. Redwood opens at 10:30. And if you need to eat reeeeally early, there's good ol' Le Pain Quotidien, which opens at 8 a.m.

Tried this last week without much success so - Fritz, I'm on the wagon for a month (inspired by...Ahem). I know the point of abstinence is self-improvement through self-denial, but with all the beer flowing into DC nowadays - can you suggest any bars and/or stores that stock ZERO ALCOHOL beers (not the "Alcohol Free" kind that are up to 0.5% abv)? I'm sick of the club soda & lime routine, and mocktails are a hit or miss depending on the bartender, with most options tending to be fruity/sugary "virgin" concoctions that generally induce severe emesis in me...Cheers!

I have not had any "zero alcohol beers" on my recent detoxes. Haven't seen many around, either. Mostly those "non-alcoholic" Clausthaler or whatever, but as I said in my piece on giving up booze, I go completely cold turkey, so anything over .001% booze is out. 

There are some good options in that story for non-alcoholic drinks, though: Firefly, Green Pig, Hank's on the Hill, 2 Birds 1 Stone, Hogo, Passenger, Daikaya and Room 11 all made me some great drinks with fancy sodas and house-made ingredients.

Not exactly a GOG question, but related. Who do you feel are the best men's hair stylists in town? Recently lost my long term stylist due to a move.

Man, such a personal question, and I'm sorry for your loss. I've been following my current stylist around from salon to salon for years. (She's at Immortal Beloved.)

Chatters, send us some ideas and we'll post a list of the best.

Thanks for the good ideas! I had thought about the Hill Country BBQ. I never made it last year. How child friendly is it? I have a couple of friends with babies, and we've done some happy hours before, but will this be that casual a scene?

There were different hours last season: This time it's only open from 4 to 9 p.m. I saw LOTS of kids earlier on Saturdays last year (maybe until 6 or so), ranging from tots being carried to toddlers who could roar off on their own. I expect a similarly laidback vibe early, but I'm not sure how many babies you'll see after dark.

Do you know of any local juice bars that sell raw, cold-pressed juices?

Try Sweetgreen or Hawthorne. We're also keeping our eyes on Jrink, which is expected to open in Dupont soon.

Okay, that's it from us. We've got to run and get this baseball guide online. Keep an eye out for it in the next half-hour or so on the GOG Blog.

Today's Post Points code is GG7926.

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