Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

May 29, 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.

Hi everyone. Hope you're enjoying this somewhat dreary Thursday afternoon. There's so much to look forward to, though. Check out our brand-new summer concert guide to see what shows you should be making plans for, Nightlife Agenda has details on Saturday's Tour de Fat and Showtime's first anniversary party, and Maura recently took a spin on National Harbor's new "Capitol Wheel," which is totally not a Ferris Wheel.

We're ready to talk about whatever you'd like. Let's, um, roll.

Any recs other than Lucky bar on where to watch my Orange for the World Cup?

Forget Lucky: Mackey's Irish Pub is the major Dutch stronghold in Washington. I've watched past World Cup and European Championship matches there, and the place is a sea of orange and stuffed lions, full of ex-pats. (Last time, people even brought their own kroketten to share.)

We're going to have a big World Cup guide coming before the tournament, so keep watching this space.

Is the Beer & Bikes event at Yards Park family friendly? How crowded do you think it will be? Any idea the pricing for the beers?

Taking your Tour de Fat questions in order:

1. It's very family friendly. There were lots of kids there last year. There are numerous kids' activities, ranging from arts and crafts to puppeteers to yo-yo champions, which will keep them occupied. I don't think the kids will necessarily be into comedian/musician Reggie Watts, who's headlining, but they'll be busy.

2. It will be crowded, especially early on, when the bike parade ends. But Yards Park sprawls, so it's easy to spread out. If your kid wants to run, take them closer to the fountains and the bridge. (I'm going by last year's setup.) It's not as if they won't be able to move.

3. All dozen New Belgium drafts will be $5, according to the press release I got.

If my team runs true to form, we will be stumped by the first puzzle, and retire to a watering hole to console ourselves that we really have different kinds of intelligence that are unused by the questions. Any suggestions for bars around Freedom Plaza?

The classiest is the Round Robin bar at the Willard, which is perfect for a mint julep on a warm day. (It's supposed to be in the upper 70s all weekend.)

For something lower key, try the scruffy-yet-touristy Harry's at the Hotel Harrington, which is a Washington institution. If you need to eat, get a burger and beer at Chef Geoff's, on 13th half-a-block north of Freedom Plaza.

We were planning on take advantage of the Corcoran free Saturday this weekend. Where is a good place for lunch (and drinks) within walking distance that is toddler friendly that has outdoor seating? Thanks!

Hmm. There aren't too many toddler-friendly places within a few blocks of the Corcoran that both offer drinks and have outdoor seating. If you forego the outdoor seating, you can get fancy grilled cheeses, cheese plates, and beer, wine or cocktails at GCDC on Pennsylvania Avenue. If you forego the alcohol, you can sit outdoors at Teaism, where your toddler would love the salty oat cookies. If you're willing to walk over to Foggy Bottom, I'd check out District Commons, Tonic or Burger Tap & Shake, or the new G Street Foods near McPherson Square (There is another G Street foods closer to the Corcoran, but it's only open on weekdays and doesn't serve alcohol).

Where are the best spots for a crab bake? Any good to-go places (maybe the waterfront)?

If you want a traditional Maryland-style crab feast, with hush puppies, corn on the cob, cole slaw and all the trimmings, you're not going to get that in D.C., unless it's a special event. We recommend going out towards Annapolis or Kent Island, to a place like Jimmy Cantler's or Harris Crab House. I had pretty good crabs at Skipper's Pier in Deale last summer, and it's easy to get there from D.C. -- you basically drive down Pennsylvania Avenue until you hit the Bay.

The waterfront is expensive for what you get, and crab prices are generally high so far this year.

Friends from college are in town visiting my husband and I this weekend. We have 7:45 dinner reservations Friday night at Le Diplomate. Any suggestions for post-dinner drinks in the area? We are a group of 6 in our late 20s. The friends are visiting from Texas, San Francisco and NYC and tend to like more casual spots. They are primarily beer and whiskey drinkers and won't want to dance if that helps! Thanks

If they're looking for whiskey on 14th Street, I'd head for Black Whiskey, near 14th and Rhode Island. Pretty good selection of bourbons, and it's a casual spot with a pool table in lieu of a DJ. Bonus: It's not as crowded as the bars at Pilar, Black Jack and other 14th Street spots.

If the weather's nice, I'd seriously recommend a walk down to Scott Thomas Circle and hitting the roof at the Donovan House Hotel. Great cocktails (now under the supervision of bartender Jon Harris from Firefly) and excellent views.

I was just told to give up dairy -- boo-hoo! With summer approaching, I want to find some good dairy free ice creams or sorbets to fill the void. Any recommendations for local ice cream shops who have great sorbets or other dairy-free options?

Dolcezza! Their new factory near Union Market is a beautiful space to visit, and it offers sorbetto. You could also check out the popsicles at Pleasant Pops near Adams Morgan -- I'm pretty sure not all of them include dairy.

It's not open on the weekends but would have been a good weekday option!

Oh shoot, you're right. Sorry OP, scratch this one off your list.

Is this as fun as it looks and, practical question--where do people store their bikes at this thing?

1. Yes, even if you're not a "serious cyclist," which I certainly am not. Good music, entertaining sideshow acts, giant beer gardens, cool crowd.

2. There will be a "bike valet," where you can have your bike parked and retrieved for you.

Hi, are there any outdoor festivals going on this weekend? I looked on the GOG page, but I wanted to ask in case I missed it.

Other than Tour de Fat (see all the questions above), there's also the annual Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival out at Bull Run Regional Park on Saturday and Sunday, where 30 Virginia wineries will serve up samples of their best while chefs offer demos, bands perform and food trucks serve up treats.

Hint: Play it safe an buy a ticket for the shuttle bus that runs from Vienna Metro to the park. (You can do that here.)

We have tickets for a performance tonight on the Catholic campus. Is there anywhere to have a good dinner? We like Menomale, but it's a bit of a hike in the opposite direction and we'll be SOL if the small place is full. It doesn't have to be fancy, but we'd rather not waste money or calories on mediocre food. (A liquor license is a plus.) Otherwise, we're just thinking of a quick meal in Penn Quarter before jumping on the red line.

I'd stick to your Penn Quarter plan, as there are still pretty limited options in the Brookland area (There's Carolina Kitchen, but it's farther than Menomale, and got a middling review from Sietsema). Your best bets would be to sidle up to the bar at the Partisan, or head to the top floor of Menu MBK for drinks and small bites.

If you like 'em tart like I do and live near Alexandria, check out The Dairy Godmother in Del Ray. They even have puppy pops!

Another suggestion for our dairy free chatter -- even though the name of this longtime neighborhood favorite would suggest otherwise!

Have you ever been? Is it worth the money and/or an enjoyable time? I'd like to try Rocky Mountain Oysters once in my life, and this seems like a good time to do it.

I've been to both the original Testy Fest at Rock Creek Lodge (Clinton, Mt., outside Missoula) and the Montana State Society's annual throwdown at the American Legion in Arlington. While nothing can top the anything-goes vibe in Montana -- seriously, ask me about it sometime when my employer isn't reading what I write -- the East Coast version is fun. There's live music by the Wil Gravatt Band, all-you-can-drink beer and Crown Royal whiskey and unlimited tastings of Rocky Mountain Oysters. (Seriously, though, have dinner before you head over.) Tickets are only $25. I'd love to be there, but I think a wedding is going to keep me away this time.

Re: grammatical me or I. Feel free to not post but one of my biggest grammatical pet peeves is when a person says XYZ and I when it should be me instead of I. I always wonder if it is to sound smart, trying to show mastery of the you and me or you and I grammatical conundrum that seems elusive to some. Sigh. OK, fussiness over. Thanks.

Can I offer my take? I think it's because growing up, a lot of kids were told by their parents that it's not polite to say "me," probably to keep the children from saying "me, me, me" all the time. (I've heard this from numerous people, and my parents did the same.) When they get older, they keep saying "I," even when it makes no sense.

Then again, if you've spent any time on the internet, you're aware of how many people ignore basic rules of grammar on a daily basis.

GOGS, what are the best dockside bars on the bay? They all seem about the same: great views, decent cover bands, and bad food. Do any of them stick out? I'm thinking in and around South River or over across the bay on Kent Island.

I'm a fan of both food and drinks at Skipper's Pier in Deale, and Harris Crab House on Kent Island. Red Eye's Dock Bar in Kent Narrows is pretty good. Hemingway's, which is in the marina at the eastern foot of the Bay Bridge, has decent bands (the last few times I've been there, at least) and good drinks, but I've also stumbled into classic rock bands that were just TOO. LOUD. TO. ENJOY.

Where in DC can I watch the Spelling Bee tonight!?

I've been looking and I can't find anyone showing the Bee with sound. If any chatters have heard of a place, holler. 

The seafood eateries on the way to the DelMarVa shore are often crab shacks, but I'm not a big fan of dismembering crab. Their secondary offerings are frequently a fried glop I can get anywhere. Do you know where I can get some grilled shrimp?

Which way are you going? Places I'd recommend along one of the northern routes through Delaware (either Milford or Georgetown) are different than those along 50/90/54 through Maryland.

From your use of "fried glop," though, I have no idea where you're stopping, and it doesn't sound good.

My friend's parents are coming into town and want to meet for drinks near the convention center on Friday night. Looking for something fun but not too crowded so that the two parents and 4 or 5 of us in our mid-twenties can sit and catch up over drinks (snacks/bar food options are a plus). Is Passenger/Hogo out of the question? I'm thinking Chinatown or Busboys and Poets might be our best bet. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Hogo, which usually doesn't fill until later, is a fine choice. (Getting a tiki bowl with the parents sounds like fun.) If the parents don't mind noise, I like Baby Wale, which has service issues with food, but I've never had a problem just enjoying cocktails/wine there. The music is great, the setting is fun. While the bar is one of the longest in the neighborhood, you might look into getting a table if there are 7 of you. 

Passenger is way too noisy/crowded on a Friday for meeting parents. Same with City Tap House, where I have more luck getting drinks Sunday-Wednesday.

My husband and I will be off work tomorrow while the kids are in daycare, and we wanted to plan a nice lunch date to celebrate our anniversary. We had decided to go to Jackie's for lunch - then we realized Jackie's isn't open at lunchtime! Any recommendations for a nice grown-up lunch?

In Silver Spring, you might check out 8407 Kitchen. Or if you feel like venturing elsewhere in MoCo, head to Bethesda for a lunch at Food Wine & Co, a Sietsema fave. There's also Jaleo and Newton's Table in that neighborhood, too.

is at Thomas Circle, not Scott Circle!

Yes, you are correct. I was talking about Scott Circle earlier with someone and had that on the brain.

Fun fact: The statue of George Thomas in the middle of the circle is my favorite Civil War equestrian statue in D.C. It's definitely the best-looking horse of them all. (Phil Sheridan's horse is in a great pose, but it looks unnatural to me, for some reason.)

Speaking of the Post Hunt, are there any further details about it? Most importantly, location and time? It's my first time making it back since the inaugural years ago and I want to drag friends to it, but that'll be hard without more info. Thanks!

We've been running details about it in Weekend for weeks! I swear! It begins promptly at noon at Freedom Plaza. Bring your copy of Sunday's Magazine. (Bring multiple copies, actually, because you'll need it to look for fake ads, clues and other things, and that's easier if everyone's not looking over shoulders.)

Tips, tricks, etc. at

My mother-in-law is visiting this weekend. She's had a skin cancer scare, so we're avoiding the sun. Any indoor activities you'd recommend in Northern Virginia? Thanks!

This sound art installation at Artisphere looks pretty cool, if your MIL is into contemporary art. And theater is a great indoor activity - maybe Synetic's "Three Men in a Boat" or "Threepenny Opera" at Signature Theatre? The latter closes this weekend.

I noticed that the Rehoboth beach/boardwalk went smoke free over the winter; they have set up a few smokers ghettos that aren't well marked. I also noticed beach scofflaws. They were probably from Philly, as us DC types are well behaved. I also heard a rumor that Dogfish is getting a bigger factory in Milton. Will have to check them out this summer while they're still quaint.

Bethany also banned e-cigs on the beach and boardwalk. Ocean City will probably do the same, though not sure if they'll get that passed this year.

Dogfish's massive brewery expansion project in Milton has been underway for a while -- I think it broke ground last year? -- so I wouldn't plan on going there to see if they're still "quaint." The Rehoboth brewpub is the same as ever, which is nice.

Speaking of beer at the beach, here's a plug for my story last week about MD and DE breweries at or on the way to the beach. I hit a number of them over the holiday weekend, and I can report that Burley Oak and Mispillion River are still my favorites. 

Okay, that's going to do it for us. Remember: There's a nice weekend on the other side of today's rain. Enjoy it.


Post Points Code is GG5309.

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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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