Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Jul 10, 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 all. Huge weekend ahead with the World Cup Final, Bastille Day and the Fringe Festival, plus events and activities surrounding the 150th anniversary of Washington's only Civil War battle at Fort Stevens. Let's get right to the questions.

Happy summer, Gurus! I'm hosting my young nephews (a 2-year-old and 1-year old) in the city for the first time this weekend. I've never planned three days of activities for kids before, so I could use some help. I'm familiar with the online Post resources, such as the kid-friendly guide, that recommend museums, parks, and paddle boat rides. Instead, I'm hoping you can point out a few restaurants and activities that are popular with an early 30s crowd, but that kids might also enjoy. GCDC and perhaps Penn Social (during the afternoon) might be examples. What do you think? Thanks!

Those are great options, for sure. They are pretty young, but maybe the kids would also like the National Building Museum's maze? You could also take them to Hill Country's backyard barbeque, where there's live music. For restaurants, 2 Amys, Ted's Bulletin, and Firefly (which has a special kids menu) would be great options. Or, you could pack up a picnic from a specialty market - maybe Glen's, Red Apron, or Union Market, something along those lines -- and take them to your nearest park. There are always tons of kids running around in the Georgetown waterfront's fountain, so they could burn off some energy there while watching the boats go by. Chatters, feel free to send in some other suggestions!

Hi all, My husband and I are heading out to Jiffy Lube Live tomorrow to see Bruno Mars in concert. What are your recommendations for dealing with the traffic which plagues the main routes to the venue? Just how early do we need to head out there to arrive in time to actually see the opening act? Should we plan on going late afternoon and look for a restaurant or try to tailgate? My last two experiences trying to get there for a show were so bad, I swore I would never go back. However, I really want to see this concert so I am hoping that careful planning can help us avoid the hours-long traffic nightmares of times past. Thanks!

There is no easy way to beat the traffic to Jiffy Lube Live, especially on a Friday. Your best bet is, as you suggested, heading out early: You ideally want to be on 66 well before rush hour starts. Gates to the parking lot open at 5 p.m.; I'd try to be there around 4:30-4:45, then spend a few hours tailgating. Better relaxing in the parking lot than sitting on the road, you know?

I'll admit I haven't been out to JLL yet this summer, so if anyone has recent advice, we'll gladly take it.

I'm one of those DC "snobs" who almost never leaves the district - excpet this weekend. I'll be in Landsowne for a class that ends at 3PM on Sunday. I'd like to go somewhere closeby to watch the World Cup final (preferably a Germany leaning crowd, but beggers can't be choosers). Any suggestions?

If you're in Leesburg, Doner Bistro makes fantastic bratwurst and doener kabobs to go with German beer.  As you might expect, they have a pro-German crowd.

(Check them out in our World Cup of Sandwiches.)

DON"T GO! Ever since they banned tailgating and then tried to bring it back, it hasn't been the same. Thankfully they don't have much to offer recently unless you like old metal or country....,

You're not the only one who feels this way, apparently...

What's the best place in the Chinatown area to watch the World Cup? I'm cheering for Germany (if that matters)!

For bars, I like Fado. Jackpot is a little more low-key, but still great -- and you can bring your own food.

Important note: Two venues I might usually recommend will not be available on Sunday. Penn Social has been bought out for a private event and will NOT be open to the public. The Goethe-Institut, which has been showing Germany matches to a German-speaking audience, also will not be showing the Final, as it's booked for Capital Fringe shows.

Hi Gurus! My mom and sis are in town this weekend for a quick visit, and I've got Saturday planned (wine tours in VA), but need some ideas for Sunday before they depart ~3pm. We are metro or foot bound, interested in cool, DC-specific stuff (not general tourist stuff), festivals, shopping, specific exhibits, etc. Does that help? Any ideas you can throw at us? Thanks!

Since you like shopping, you guys should brunch on 14th Street -- Kapnos has a great brunch, as does Le Diplomate (if you can get a reservation), Lupo Verde just started brunch service -- and check out the cool specialty shops there, like Redeem, Muleh, Treasury Vintage, and HomeRule. Grab a coffee at the brand new Wydown as you stroll and people-watch. Or for another treat, you could do the liquid nitrogen ice cream at the new Love & Faith Cafe at 14th and Belmont. The aforementioned NBM maze would also be a cool, DC specific thing to try (it's all-ages!), as would an early Fringe Festival matinee.

The one thing you need to know about small children is that you can have a plan, but you need to be flexible. Make sure you account for some nap time, otherwise you will have two very cranky kids on your hands. Kids that age love to look at things, so a trip through Eastern Market might be good, too. Also, take a walk through the various sculpture gardens so they can see things at their level.

Hi! I'm looking for a bar to go to for my birthday next week. The limiting factor? Location. I'd like to go somewhere cool in the district, but that's accessible to people coming in from NoVA who might be deterred by the trek if I picked something too far off the beaten path (i.e. I'd considered El Chucho, but it's unlikely friends from Vienna would haul across two metro lines and a brief walk). Otherwise just looking for a cool bar, that's easy for a group to come and go. Outdoor a bonus. Suggestions??

I'm tempted to say it's their loss, honestly ... It really depends on how many people you think you'll have at once, and what day you're going to host it. (Also, most cool bars with great outdoor space are outside of central D.C. for a variety of reasons.)

So here are a few ideas: The rooftop at Donovan House has great views, but can get crowded on weekends and Friday happy hours. Hill County BBQ's large outdoor space never seems too crowded, despite the number of people who flock there for 'cue, margaritas and live country music. Poste's secluded courtyard is great, if a little pricey.

Is U Street "off the beaten path"? If not, try the rooftops at 1905 or DC9, which get less crowded than the nearby Nellie's or the Brixton. Also, I still love the back patio at Dodge City.

Is this the first time for this event in DC? They've had it in Chicago before, and the list of breweries looks solid. Anyone heard anything?

It is the first time for the event in D.C. (I wrote it up for this week's Nightlife Agenda.) I still don't have specifics on the "educational sessions" being offered. The lineup of 62 breweries is a little better than some of the other beerfests that have hit DC recently, though that $65 ticket ($70 at midnight tonight) still feels a little steep.

Why does it start later this year???

This is the thing I don't like about Hill Country this year, honestly -- I really liked hanging out there on Saturday afternoons last year. But the organizers told me earlier this year that it wasn't worth the earlier hours when it was hot in July and August, as they just weren't getting the foot traffic.

Celebrating a birthday...need something out of the ordinary, involving alcohol and chances to get a lil wild. Normally the maid race would be appealing but not really feeling it this year. If it includes some kind of game/sport/competition and lots of quality people watching, AWESOME! NoVA or DC is good by me! Thanks as always!

This weekend? I'm loving the idea of the free "Africa, Center of the Universe" show at Fort Fringe on Sunday night, featuring Chop and Quench, aka the band from "FELA! The Musical." I also think the vibes at the rooftop "Our Thing" party at Dunya sound pretty cool -- I was a big fan of Fatback. (You can read about both in Nightlife Agenda.)

GoGs, with Argentina's advance to the World Cup final, I need to find me some Quilmes, but it's rare in this city. I know that El Rey (sometimes) has it available from the bar, but is there anywhere that will sell me a six pack? Keep up the good work!

Six-packs are in stock at Chevy Chase Wine and Spirits on Connecticut Avenue, according to their online stock list. $9.99 each.

Only two games remaining in the World Cup -- sad stuff, as it's been a fun month. I saw that you recommended Del Campo, Cafe Citron, and Lucky Bar for Argentina fans. Can you briefly describe the scene at each? I can imagine the Lucky Bar vibe, but I'm curious about the other two, particularly Del Campo. Is it lively, with people standing and cheering? Or does the nature of it being a restaurant keep it relatively subdued? Any info will be helpful as I determine where to watch the final. Thanks!

Del Campo is a little more laidback than the others -- couple of TVs, some cheering, but still more of a place to eat or drink than Cafe Citron, where people are standing on booths and tables to see the projection screens, confetti cannons fire after goals, flags are waving and pop music plays. (During Colombia games, there were people salsa dancing on top of the bar at halftime. Insane and magical.)

I still say the best place is watch La Albiceleste is El Patio, which is worth the drive to Rockville. Great food and wine, South American beers, huge crowds -- check out the video of people dancing in the parking lot outside the restaurant after yesterday's win.

Dear Gurus, I have some hoity toity friends who are into galleries and indie movies in town this weekend. What recommendations do you have for this Friday for those types of activities or something similar.

There's something for everyone at the Fringe Festival, which has an additional focus on performance art this year - I'd check out that schedule and see if anything there interests you, and be sure to grab a beer at the tent afterwards. It's too bad you said Friday and not Saturday - on Saturday, ConnerSmith will be opening "Academy," one of its last shows before they move out of their H Street space. There's a reception Saturday night, so if you're looking for things to do later that weekend, I'd check it out. Otherwise, if your friends like activities on the artsy/weird spectrum of things, the Artisphere is hosting an old-timey carnival sideshow that night. For indie movies, unfortunately the Angelika pop-up is dark Friday night, so your best best is the West End Cinema.

Hi Gurus -- you have any ideas for the venues in DC for WC viewing this Sunday where I might be able to get a reservation for a table, won't be insanely crowded but still have some nice futebol atmosphere? Thanks in advance!

Most bars that we recommend for the best World Cup viewing don't take reservations unless you're coming with a large group. (Biergarten Haus, for example, takes them for groups of 15 or more.) That's why there have been long lines outside of bars all tournament long. I've watched games at more than a dozen bars during the tournament, and I think every one was first-come, first-seated. 

Chatters, have you made reservations for the World Cup?

Okay, all -- we have to run and put the finishing touches on this big Civil War story for tomorrow's paper. (Well, I do, at least.) Enjoy your weekend and the Bastille Day celebrations. There will be a special World Cup final post tomorrow with all kinds of drink specials, what's family friendly, etc. 


Today's PostPoints code is GG2539.

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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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