Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Aug 21, 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. Pizza just arrived in the office, so we're running a touch late.

First thing first: Make sure you check out our guide to Trillectro, the electronic/hip-hop festival that's happening at RFK this weekend. (We have a schedule, too.)

We checked out Meats & Foods, the brand-new sausage-and-beer joint on Florida Avenue NW, and predictably loved it.

Have you been to any DC Beer Week events? Have a favorite?

Hi Gang, The Brew Ha Ha at Old Ebbitt sounds great! Do you think it will get crowded though?

Speaking of DC Beer Week ...

I went to BrewHaHa last year, and it was one of my favorite events of 2013. It's sort of like a mini Savor festival -- each of the participating local breweries works with a chef to come up with two small snacks to pair with its beers.

Last year was NOT crowded -- I think I maybe waited in line for 5 minutes at a booth before getting my beer and snack, especially at some of the more popular stands. (Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso was meeting-and-greeting at the Brewery's booth, for example.)

On the whole, it was a lot of fun. Get there early so you can try everything before the more popular beers start running out.

Please help! I have a major bug to go out dancing with a girlfriend coming into town this Friday night. We are straight, single, late 30s and while we can still get down like 22-year olds, we'd prefer be with a crowd that doesn't make us feel "old." Open to straight or gay venues. Any suggestions?

You need to go to the 9:30 Club for Hot in Herre, an all-2000s dance party with DJs Will Eastman and Brian Billion. It's a fantastic time, with crowds from 18 to 40s, gay and straight, getting down to Outkast, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott, Daft Punk, LCD Soundsystem, R. Kelly, MIA -- just hit after hit, remixed and blended. I went in cynical, but I loved it.

One note, though: It has sold out every time it took over the club. Get tickets in advance.

Some of us are going to play hooky next Wednesday afternoon and we are looking for a spot with a shaded patio and good cocktails/beer selection. Ideally Eastern Market area, but keeping it metro-friendly near there would be fine too. Thanks!

My favorite patios around Eastern Market are the two quasi-secret back patios at Lola's. I really like the second floor patio off the bar -- shady, kinda secluded, not more than a dozen seats. The only [potential] downside is that customers go out there to smoke.

Option B would be the back patio at Capitol Lounge.

Hi GOGs, Do you know of any other DC restaurants that offer a dining experience similar to Rose's Luxury's private rooftop dining? Ideally, something a little cheaper? Thanks!

So, if it's the atmosphere of the patio that you like the best about Rose's, I'd head to the Iron Gate. The tasting menu there is an indoor thing, but you can set up your own multi-course dinner on the restaurant's lovely patio, where an a la carte menu is offered. If you're more into the private tasting menu aspect of Rose's roof, you could pull together a group of six and take up the chef's table at Menu MBK, which is reasonably priced and gives you great views of the chefs at work. It also has a similarly playful ambiance.

Hi, I have some chair slipcovers that I would like to have dyed a darker color. Are there any local businesses that will do this? Preferably in Bethesda/ upper NW/ Silver Spring/ Rockville area. I called G St Fabrics and they don't do it and weren't aware of anyone who does. Thanks.

Chatters, any tips?

I keep hearing about the virginia state fair but is it worth it? I don't have kids so it just be my husband and I but living in NOVA is it worth the 1+ hour drive? I've been to other state fairs in the past and liked the shopping, food (everything on a stick!), etc.

Being honest: The traffic on I-95 would make me skip the Virginia State Fair, especially when we've got so many other county fairs, like Montgomery's and Loudoun's, closer to D.C. That said, the Virginia State Fair isn't until the end of September, so if you missed prime County Fair season, it's the best thing going. (And if you need your fair fix this weekend, the Maryland State Fair kicks off tomorrow with "Pork and Grain Day," "Masters of the Chainsaw" and SWIMMING pig races.

DON'T do this if you value the upholstery under the slipcovers. The dye is likely to transfer onto the fabric underneath. If the upholstery is in such bad shape you'd never use it uncovered, then go ahead, but it would still seem easier (if not cheaper) just to buy new slipcovers in the appropriate color.

Advice for our fabric friend from a reader who sounds as though he or she may have learned this the hard way.

Hi guys! I'm headed out to Wolf Trap tonight to see Robyn and Royksopp and I am SUPER EXCITED. Anyhoo, it'll be my first time visiting Wolf Trap - any advice on getting there/things to know about the venue? Thanks!

Lucky you. Was just telling Stephanie -- who's also going -- that I was jealous.

If you have lawn seats, the key thing to remember is that the gates to the lawn open 90 minutes before the start of the show. It's called the Lawn Rush for a reason: People line up well before that to stake out the best spots, so if you want to see, try to get there at least two hours before the scheduled start.

Yes, that sounds like a long time, but Wolf Trap is unique among local concert venues in that you're allowed to bring a picnic -- including wine and beer -- and eat on the lawn once you've got your spot. It's really the best way to do it.

Getting to Wolf Trap can be a pain, though, because the fastest way to get there is travelling on I-66 and the Toll Road at rush hour. (Remember the HOV rules.) 

Metro runs a bus from West Falls Church to Wolf Trap, beginning two hours before showtime. If you're bringing wine to your picnic without a designated driver, it's really the way to go, though it only runs every 20 minutes or so.

I live in Woodbridge, VA so I know aaaall about I-95 traffic. Southbound is a parking lot on Saturdays, and northbound is the same on Sundays, during the summer, but after Labor Day it's fine unless there's an accident, but then just hop onto Route 1.

Not just Saturdays: I went down to Aquia Landing on a Friday afternoon for my recent story about beaches within a short drive of D.C., and it took me 2+ hours each way for a drive that Google maps said should have been just over an hour. Infuriating.

But yeah, there's always Route 1. 

Where's the best place in DC to get a couple's massage on a budget? Given that I don't have a huge amount of money to spend, it's fine if it's not the full blown spa experience, would just like a recommendation for a place that gives good massage in a nice room setting. Thanks!

I have heard good things about TuSuva in Adams Morgan, but I have never been, so I can't recommend it personally. Another one to throw out to the readers: Where have you had a good couples massage?

Can a solo diner go and eat at the bar?

Yes! Rose's is very kind to solo diners, and will often give you freebies, as Bon Appetit wrote in their story naming it the best new restaurant of the year.

Been dating a new guy for 2 months and looking to plan sometime fun around the DC area for Labor Day weekend. We do have a car, but don't want to get stuck in too much traffic. Thoughts?

Then go west -- no Eastern Shore beach traffic, no I-95 traffic. Head out to Purcellville for a day. Hit Northgate winery for a tasting, visit the Corcoran brewery, and try the farm-fresh eggs and sandwiches at Stoneybrook Farm and Market. (868 Estate is another place Lavanya recommends when you're out that way.)

Take the MARC Train up to explore Baltimore -- go try the pierogies at Broadway Market in Fells Point, browse the Visionary Art Museum, visit Fort McHenry, and try some of the bars I wrote about last year. And yeah, you have a car, but a MARC ticket is only $7, and you don't have to worry about traffic.

Summer nears its end and I'm devastated!!! Tell me the top 5 things that I need to do before it's over?? Outdoor stuffs are best since I want to savor every second of sunshine and sort-of high temps I can! P.S. - Love ya'll!

This is tough, but I'll try.

1. Go sit on a beach, read a book and get your toes in the sand. And I don't mean you have to go to Ocean City or Rehoboth: I'm happy enough with a crabcake picnic at Matapeake, a Chesapeake Bay beach with views of the Bay Bridge, or the quiet Beverly Triton Beach Park in Anne Arundel -- just watching sailboats and reading a book is incredibly relaxing. (Another link to that recent piece on county-owned beaches.)

2. Listen to music outdoors. Jazz in the Garden is a staple, and everyone loves it -- except for people who can't stand the crowds. That's why I always recommend other outdoor festivals, like Friday Night Live in Herndon, where you can sit in the grass, picnic and listen to, oh, a Journey cover band, like this Friday. Yards Park is another good one for Friday night food trucks and live music.

3. Drink outdoors. Yeah, fall is great and Oktoberfest is made for drinking in a beer garden, but I really like warmer temperatures. This is perfect weather for a gimlet with a view on the rooftop of Donovan House, a boot of German beer in the sun at Dacha, boozy slushies at Suburbia outside Union Market, or a glass of wine and a game of bocce on Vinoteca's back patio. (Speaking of, did you hear about the City Dog Rescue fundraiser there on Sunday? Details in Nightlife Agenda.)

4. Minor League Baseball. Cheap, fun, and hey, a few years ago, I got to watch Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop up close and personal. August 31 is Helicopter Candy Drop Night in Bowie, which is exactly what it sounds like.

5. Eat crabs on the waterfront patio at Cantler's or Skippers Pier. Had crabs at DC Beer Week's Monday night crabfeast, and they were *so* much better than at Memorial Day. Delicious, full of meat.

Any suggestions (besides the obvious - ChurchKey) for more than one sour beer on tap? I thought maybe some of the beer weeks would be featuring them, but I haven't had a chance to do much investigating. Thanks

There have been a few. There will be 10 or so (I think) tonight at City Tap House for beer week. Also, both of the D.C. Pizzeria Paradisos are doing a sour beer festival today through Saturday, with all taps pouring sour beer.

And my God, the Floridian Gone Wild Berliner weisse at ChurchKey last night was intense and incredible.

Go see the bartenders upstairs if you're solo - they are awesome!


Hi! My parents are visiting from the Midwest next weekend, and they're interested in getting French food? Any recommendations, aside from Le Diplomate (which doesn't have good reservation times left)? I think mom's especially interested in beef Bourguignon and a delicious dessert, with a good glass of wine or two. Thanks!

I love the beef bourguignon at Bistrot du Coin. Put that on your list, even if it's more Parisian bistrot than white tablecloth.

My favorite French places in the city, opposed to Le Diplomat, are the smaller ones -- the upstairs wine bar at Bistrot Lepic, the southern cuisine and organ meats -- washed down with a glass of minerally Languedoc -- at Bistro d'Oc. 

Bluejacket has quite a few of them. I've tried a lot, but still cannot get on the sour beer trend.

Yep. They've even got their own house strain of brett.

Okay, got to run. Don't miss my picks for tonight's D.C. Beer Week events, and maybe I'll see you out there. Post Points Code is GG5503.

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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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