Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Jul 24, 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.

Good afternoon! This week, we're celebrating National Dance Day and looking forward to Lyman Tavern's pinball tournament. Tiki bar Hogo is going out with a bang. And as soon as this chat is over, I'm making a beeline to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken to try its new Old Bay fried chicken doughnut sandwich. We're happy to entertain your rants, raves, and questions.

GOG's -- My husband and I are meeting in Bethesda tonight for happy hour before meeting up with his family for dinner. Problem - we can't figure out where to go. There are too many options! We don't get out to often because we have two young kids, so the pressure to pick the "right" place is high. I'll be arriving via metro. He will be driving. We like good wine and beer. We eat seafood, but not meat. Could you point us in the right direction. We were thinking about going to Black's Bar and Kitchen, but we don't want to miss out of a better place if there is such thing out there. Thanks so much!

My favorite new-ish Bethesda options right now are outdoors, which could be hit or miss tonight. (Capital Weather says the storms will hold off this evening, so who knows.)

The Piazza Beer Garden, formerly known as the patio at Cesco Osteria, sells good local beers, Italian wines and a menu of Bavarian-style pretzels, sliders and calamari. Flowers and hanging baskets make for an attractive space.

The rooftop deck at Roof Bethesda is a nice spot with lots of room, a good drink selection and light snacks. It's lively without seeming as loud and college pubby than some other Bethesda bars.

While it's not new, I still think the patio at Redwood is fun, if frequently crowded, spot.

What's a good place to get dinner in Old Town that won't break the bank? Looking for good food and a cute scene, but don't need something incredibly fancy. Cute and romantic is a plus, but not a necessity; great-excellent food is more important. Thanks for your help!

Hello! You can always rely on trusty Hank's Oyster Bar for such occasions. There's also Virtue Feed & Grain and, if you want to keep it really cheap, Pizzeria Paradiso.

I'm heading to the Billy Joel concert Saturday night - can we expect that all food and drink vendors at the park will be open? I've been to concerts there in the past and it's kind of hit or miss. Hoping to snag sandwiches from G... Thanks!

As you know from past experience, it can be unpredictable. We've reached out to the Nationals to find out which stands will be open. If the answer doesn't come before the end of this chat, you can check this blog post, which we'll be updating: 


Seeing Billy Joel at Nats Park? Here's what you need to know. 

Happy Thursday, Gurus! My nephews, just turned 1 and 4, are going to be in DC this Saturday. Any kid-friendly events going on this weekend? (And we've done the Building Museum before, so hoping for something new.) Thanks for all your help!

I passed this question along to our On Parenting columnist Amy Joyce, and here's what she had to say:

  • Yards Park is great for those ages. Wear bathing suits, bring a picnic lunch.
  • The pirate ship in Georgetown
  • The little nature center in Rock Creek Park, and then a visit to the horses nearby, or a walk along the trail where you look for your own treasures (no crowds!)
  • ClemyJontri playground is always a hit
  • Any of the museums that you haven’t hit – Air and Space, American Indian, Natural History – have fun things for younger kids, plus you can get a ride on the carousel.

Excited to be headed to the BIlly Joel concert Saturday night. Information on the website isn't clear regarding the schedule (just says show starts at 8PM). Do you know (or can you call and find out) things like what time do the park gates open? Also, is Gavin Degraw opening and does he come on at 8 or earlier? Thanks!

Nats Park gates will open at 6 pm. Parking lots open at 4 pm if you want to get down there extra early, but note that tailgating is not allowed. 


As for the concert schedule, nothing has been announced publicly -- we'll update you if we find out more -- but you can expect special guest Gavin DeGraw to open shortly after 8 p.m. with Billy Joel to follow. 

I'm heading out to the Beck concert at Merriweather tonight and the website says "Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pm". This seems odd to me seeing that usually shows start 90 mins after doors open. Any idea what time Beck will actually go on?

From the Merriweather site

Gates 6pm

Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger 7:30pm

Beck 8:30pm

Wondering what you all would do if you had a weekend alone in DC. My SO and a bunch of my friends are out of town this weekend so I'm looking for fun things to do on my own. Maybe an early morning breakfast spot with great people watching, off the beaten path museums or stores to check out, or anything special happening this weekend I shouldn't miss. Even a nice spot to sit with a book for a few hours, just looking for some new ideas!

If I were you, I'd check out one or both of the city's newest & fanciest coffee options: The Wydown, and Mockingbird Hill.  If you feel like being with people, head to the Kennedy Center for the free National Dance Day celebrations. If you feel like being alone, I'd take the time to explore D.C.'s great outdoors by hiking through Rock Creek Park or the Billy Goat Trail and enjoying the quiet. As for off-the-beaten-path museums -- have you been to Hillwood Mansion or the Kreeger? You should also treat yourself to a good cocktail and bring your book -- NPR recently did this story about how to read in bars that might come in handy for you this weekend. Enjoy the solitude!

Greetings, what do you suggest for a day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Something 1-2 hours away for a late 20s-30s couple?

Charlottesville! It's two and a half hours away, but still. Here's a travel guide. Closer by, you can check out the wineries, or if you're more in the mood for an outdoorsy challenge, you can hike Sugarloaf Mountain, and stop by Frederick for dinner afterwards.

Going to Six Flags in Maryland this Sunday - any food options nearby in case we don't want to eat at the actual park. If we do - do they have liqour there? Thanks.

The Boulevard at Capital Centre, which you'll pass near if you're heading to Six Flags via 495, has many places to eat. As for liquor at the amusement park? A place inside the park called Calypso's advertises beer, wine and coolers, while Hurricane's offers "Mardi Gras style mixed drinks" so yeah, that should cover you. 

Any idea how long the Billy Joel concert will be and will the metro still be running at the end of it?

Metro runs until about 3 a.m. on weekends. Safe to say Billy won't keep you that late. 

Hi all - we have to head out a few minutes early. Deadlines and sandwiches await. Thanks for joining us! Your Post Points code is GG9919.

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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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