Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Apr 17, 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.

Happy Thursday. The Nats are in town, the weekend forecast looks nice and it's Easter weekend. Let's get right to your questions! 

Hi Gurus! My husband's new boss is coming to DC from CO for the first time next week and she would like to take us to dinner in Bethesda (where she is staying). I'm not too familiar with the restaurant scene there and was hoping you could recommend a few? Since she is new, he does not know her cuisine preference. He has asked, but she did not specify. We, however, will eat anything. If it helps, we are in our late 30's/early 40's and will be in business attire. Thank you!

Hi there! Food, Wine & Co. is a spot that Sietsema raves about, so I'd put that at the top of your list. Alternatively, there's Redwood, Newton's Table, and the always-trusty Jaleo.

Hey there, where should we go for a post Lincoln theatre concert? Looking for a friendly bar with a great cocktail or whiskey selection that's not totally insane on a Thursday night. And do you know what time the show would start if they say "doors open at 7"?

Vinoteca is the kind of place that fades from memory between visits, but every time I walk in there, I wonder why it's been so long. Go there. The Brixton's ground-floor bar can be hit-or-miss in terms of crowds, but it too is worth a fly-by. Dickson Wine Bar is always pretty laid back too. 

Re: set times, it varies depending on how many openers there are. If doors are at 7 and there's an opener, I'd guess the headliner could go on as early as 8, but probably later than that. 

What kind of activities might you recommend for this Saturday afternoon or early evening, during which we could enjoy the outdoors?

If you like music and the outdoors -- and I hope you do -- then there are two great options: DC Brau is hosting a beer-and-ska party galled DC Braustomp, where for $12 you can enjoy beer, barbecue and the music of the Pietasters from noon to 8 p.m. 

There's also the Broccoli City Festival, which is a chance to explore parts of the new St. Elizabeths East campus. Read more about the festival here



I don't know if this will happen next year, but I was very disappointed about the parade. We did not get the grandstand tickets, but watched from the next block down. Several groups in the parade performed in front of the grandstands and then left via the sculpture garden, including Sheena Easton who was advertised to be in the parade! At least the bands/floats/marchers we did see were very enthusiastic and happy to be there. (Including the horse poop scoopers!)

I'm sorry to hear about that -- when we cover next year's parade we'll look more into what attendees can do to maximize their viewing experience if they're not in the grandstand. But hey, at least you saw some enthusiasm!

Just a quick p.s. to everyone about those Cherry Blossom floats - they're all hand-built by three generations of a very charming Maryland family that I had the pleasure of talking to for this Style section story last week.

Hi all! I have bought a fabulously fancy red dress that I would like to be seen in. I'd love a really nice place with a cool vibe, great drinks, amazing food and overall classy vibe. We live in VA but DC would be great too. I'm willing to spend but we're parents and need a memorable night out :) thank you thank you thank you!

A fabulous red dress calls for a prix-fixe menu at a fancy place, and I think Rogue 24 could be exactly what you're looking for. The food and drinks are inventive, the ambiance is chic, and it's fancy without being stuffy. Definitely a memorable night. Alternatively, there's Komi or CityZen, if you really don't mind spending big bucks. If you don't want to be tied to a prix-fixe menu, though, I'd check out Fiola Mare and Blue Duck Tavern - equally as special for a date, but a la carte.

Gurus if you had a day off (this Friday) what would you do in Baltimore between 10am-11pm? Adventurous couple in their 40s that never goes to bmore. Thanks!

Baltimore: So close and yet so unknown to many in Washington. The good news is that we published a guide to sightseeing the city late last year, and these picks should serve you well. If the weather's nice, I like to really play tourist and sit by the water with some seafood, even though that's about as authentically Baltimore as, I don't know, fake Old Bay. You've got a nice long window of time, however, so just leave open the possibility of wandering. 

My bff from CA is coming into town and we're going out to celebrate my birthday (it's in the mid-30s...) on Fri. 5/17. I'm thinking either swanky and low(ish)-key, like sei and then barmini (or vice versa), or fun and funky, like a restaurant on 14th street and then dancing at patty boom boom (or Marvin?). Also: since I'm old now, I don't like waiting in lines, but it also means I'm willing to go to clubs on the earlier side. Any advice? Much appreciated!

I'm in no position to disagree with either of those options, but if it's me, I'm choosing a mixture of low-key and funky. See if you can get a reservation at Barmini, then ride up to somewhere on 14th for dinner before ending up at Patty Boom Boom or Marvin. I'm sure your California friend has seen the inside of a club before. 

Help! Looking for a place near-ish 9:30 club for dinner before an 8 pm weeknight show. The challenge: my other half is a true meat-and-potatoes Midwesterner who doesn't each fish, anything cuisine from Asia or Africa, thinks small plates is the worst thing to happen to food since tofurkey, and thinks just about every restaurant in DC is wildly overpriced, no matter how good the food and service. Bonus points for a place that has a quality beer selection. So, the new BBQ place on Florida Ave? Right Proper? Some place else?

Right Proper would be a great option - I love the food there - but it can sometimes be overcrowded, so if you go, I'd stake out your spot early. Same problem with Garden District - totally worth it, if you can get a seat. Maybe your friend would like 1905? It has a burger for him, and some more exciting options for you. I noticed that Mexican food is not on your friend's list of banned foods, so El Rey could be another good option.

FYI: The Congress Heights metro is a REALLY long walk from the St. Elizabeth's campus.

It's about 7/10ths of a mile from Congress Heights Metro to where the festival is taking place, give or take. 

Hi Guru's, my husband and I only have a few weeks left until our baby is due and would like to have some fun activities to do before we're unable to go out as freely as before. Before pregnancy, we'd go out to new restaurants/bars, try different wineries. It feels like all we do now is go out to eat and either see a movie or stay in to watch tv/netflix. This momma needs to go out, even more so now that the weather is getting warmer. We'll take any suggestion and it doesn't have to be weekend specific but since we have some free time this weekend, anything fun we shouldn't miss? Also, any rec's for places that have good virgin cocktails? Thanks for your suggestions!

Congrats on your little one. Fritz gives up alcohol in January, and this year he wrote a great guide to mocktails. There are a bunch of little outdoor festivals coming up with the warmer weather: Be on the lookout for the Union Market drive-in (returns this weekend!), the Hill Country backyard bbq, Jazz in the Scuplture Garden, or even the embassy open house days mid-May - love those. Also, you're going to want to get out for a few good meals at places that aren't baby-friendly before your new arrival. A celebration at Little Serow, Rose's Luxury, Daikaya Izakaya, Kapnos, Le Diplomate, or maybe the new Kitchen counter at Menu MBK would definitely be in order.

Hi, looking for performances that could interesting for two teenagers and their grandparents: classical, theatre, etc. for tonight (Thursday) , tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. MOCO, DC and Fairfax County Thanks,

Something that appeals to teenagers and grandparents is something of a holy grail, it must be said. Without knowing your specific teenagers or their grandparents, of course, one thing that comes to mind is "Moth" at Studio Theatre. "Moth" is very dark and might actually scare your parents more than your kids, but it'll have resonance with the younger ones as it deals with adolescence in a way that many teens can probably relate to. Again, it's turbulent, but Studio is usually a great place to see theater. 

One more! You could also take them to Ford's Theatre for the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It's funny, cute, intergenerational.

We have to end the chat a bit early this week, but thanks for your questions and we'll see you next Thursday. Your Post Points code is GG4410.

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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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