Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Aug 22, 2013

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.

Welcome chatters, to this week's Got Plans? chat. This week have plenty going on in town, including the re-tracing of the March on Washington on Saturday, and the start of the Renn Fest. But really, who can think about all that, when there is the People's Burger - the best burger that D.C. could (hypothetically) make -- to ponder. Let's get going!

Tom was pretty harsh on Slate Wine Bar in last year's review. Despite that, I'm heading there for dinner tomorrow night. Any idea if they've improved things? Any recommendations on what to get or what to avoid?

Slate is a different place than it was when Tom reviewed it last fall. They blew up the kitchen this spring, and the new chef completely redid the menu. It's more Americana now. I've only been there for happy hour and snacks since. The crab mac and cheese was creamy and spicy. Shrimp and grits were fine, but not rave-worthy. The house wines seemed like a better-than-average list for $7 by the glass, but I was more impressed with the Slate gin and tonic, which had a nice cinnamon flavor. 

So, what are the activities that are going to happen this weekend? I can't take Wednesday off. I know that the Smithsonian has a few things, but they are in the Musuems, not out on the Mall.

Hi, we rounded up a few cool events and sites to visit to get a head start on Wednesday. The biggest event this weekend is the retracing of the March on Washington, which is set for Saturday morning, beginning at the Lincoln Memorial at what we've been seeing is 8 a.m. (I have a call in to confirm this start time; as another reader has a question about it, too).

My son got a remote control battleship that we would like to float somewhere this weekend - preferably somewhere reasonably clean - like a large fountain. Do you think the Capitol reflecting pool would work? do you have any other ideas? We'd prefer DC or MD. Many thanks!

I just tried to get in touch with the Capitol police PIO to see if this would be against the rules - alas, I was sent to voicemail. I'll update this question if they call back before the chat ends. If you try the Capitol/Mall area, you might get yelled at by a cop -- or maybe no one will notice and you'll be fine (Could be one of those "better to beg forgiveness than ask permission" situations). Other fountains where the rules might be more lax: Dupont Circle, Meridian Hill Park, and the especially kid-friendly Yards Park.


Update, 5 p.m.: The Capitol police tell us that you cannot bring your toy boat into the Capitol reflecting pool. Sorry!

I'm having trouble tracking down solid information on the march this Saturday. The NAN site says 8am, Lincoln Memorial at one place, and 10am Lincoln Memorial at another place... but the speakers aren't speaking until 3? And it seems like most of the Post links don't tell you about what's happening when, they just tell you who was doing what 50 years ago, and if they're coming now. Help!

You're right - all the websites seem to have totally conflicting info (for example, the image on this page says 10 am, right next to text that says 8 am -- ahhhh). But we've confirmed with the rally organizer that it begins at 8 am at the Lincoln Memorial.

Good afternoon - I'm going to be taking a friend out for birthday dinner on Monday and am looking for some recommendations. I live near H street NE but she's above the Petworth metro on Georgia Avenue and I'd like to find somewhere more convenient for her. Are there any not-to-be missed gems in that area or up in Silver Spring?

Monday might not be the best night to go out in Petworth. I was going to steer you to Chez Billy, as I've had some great food on the patio this summer, but they're closed on Monday nights. Same with Domku, a neighborhood gem that mixes Scandanavia (Swedish meatballs, lemon cod) with Slavic specialties (pierogies, kielbasa).

If I were you, I'd head a little south of Petworth and make tracks for Room 11 in Columbia Heights for delicious twists on comfort food. If you're looking at Silver Spring, we usually suggest 8407, which is now helmed by former Bar Pilar chef Justin Bittner. Haven't eaten there since he took over, but I was a fan at Pilar, so curious to see how he does in Silver Spring.

My beach plans for this weekend have just fallen and now I am stuck on what to do. I unfortunately live in Annapolis (where people can die of boredom). There is such limited ways to get our of town bur there is a bus to Baltimore and limited access to New Carrollton. Anything happening in Baltimore or DC that weekend.

So I'm crazy excited about Baltimore on Labor Day Weekend -- that's when the annual Grand Prix races through the streets of the city. I mean, D.C. is cool, but we need this.  Go, I've heard wonderful things.

I keep seeing Metro ads to see the Textile Museum's last exhibition on S Street before moving to a different building. Is it worth making an effort to go before it closes and moves?

The new Textile Museum will be in a custom-designed building that will look very different from the historic house that currently contains the collection. The mansion also has some beautiful gardens that don't seem to be a part of the new design. So those may be two reasons to go check it out before October.

A group of us are going indoor rock climbing in Columbia. Any nice places for a late lunch for a group of casually dressed people?

You've got Clyde's, which is the reliable spot -- and right on the lake, too. Iron Bridge Wine Co, which Tom Sietsema enjoyed, looks classy, but its menu is heavy on salads, quiche and burgers, and I've been there in jeans and sneakers without feeling out of place. (Sorry, I'm never quite sure what people mean when they say "casually dressed.")

I'm a fan of the Ale House Columbia, a beer bar run by the people behind Baltimore's Oliver Ales, and they do a great job with everything from crab dip and fish tacos to burgers and flatbreads. Definitely a come-as-you-are place.

Hi- My parents are coming to DC (with my sister (25)) next weekend for labor day weekend. Whenever I have visitors i love to plan fun activities! We are pretty set during the day but I was trying to think of fun alternative nighttime activities to going out to bars (not really their style). we might go down and visit the monuments at night one night but I wanted to see if anyone else had ideas for good things to do...nothing to over the top or expensive, but maybe some kind of free or low cost show? (jazz club, comedy show, etc), or any kind of night time event over labor day weekend. Sorry, kind of vague but I'm just brainstorming! Thanks!

You can definitely add the Page-to-Stage festival at the Kennedy Center to your possible options; it's free, and on Saturday, there will be cool events till 10:30, including a performance from 8-10 p.m. of a bioplay about Ella Fitzgerald. I've seen the show before, and it's fun, lots of music. I'd also make time for a dusk walk on the Georgetown waterfront, which now connects to the . For low-cost comedy, you could consider a trek to Arlington -- the Arlington Cinema N Drafthouse smallish grill is an excellent place to see the city's young working comics. Friday night's Three Guys On showcase is always great, better than your average open-mic stuff. And it's free. Just get some nachos or sodas to earn your keep, you know?

Going to Nats Stadium to see Sammy Hagar next Thursday evening. Not worried about seeing the game but would like to get a nice dinner/drinks in the area. Prefer to park and walk not have multiple stops. Any recommendations? Thank you.

That area's still not the best for dining -- I keep finding myself drawn to the house brews and pub grub at Gordon Biersch, or the pizzas and stuffed sandiwches served with microbrews at Justin's Cafe. Kruba is a good place for spicy Thai.

Nando's just opened near Yards Park yet -- lord knows how much I love their chicken -- and I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of Bluejacket whenever that will be.

My wife and I will be celebrating our 27th Anniversary (Thank you Jesus) during Labor Day Weekend. We plan to stay in a hotel near the Baltimore Harbor. We have yet to decide on where to have a nice dinner in that area. Can you recommend a place?

Tom Sietsema has given great reviews to Pazo, Charleston, and Woodberry Kitchen, so that would be an excellent place to start. I've also had special occasion meals at Blue Hill Tavern and TenTen, to give you a few other choices.

Hey GOGs, I have a friend visiting from out of town that wants to do something wild and crazy. I don't drink so getting sloppy is off the table. Something in DC or at least inside the beltway. Fri and/or Sat night. Any ideas?

Well, there's the Trapeze School o f New York (near Navy Yard Metro), which is fairly crazy, if flying through the air isn't your usual bag.

Guys, I am wracking my brains over this, and I can't think of anything in D.C. that's wild and crazy. Because, perhaps, it's D.C.? Any thoughts from the peanut gallery? (Please, keep it family-oriented.)

Just wanted to note that when you through the People's Burger pages, the Post is counting each ingredient's page toward your 20 free articles. Gee, thanks, Post.

I experienced the same when I was checking out the story on my phone.  I will check on it!

I have some major soccer fans in town from Seattle this weekend. Is there anywhere in town that is planning to show the Sounders MLS game? Thank you!

Right, the Pacific Northwest Derby is on Sunday. I'd check our list of the area's Best Soccer Bars, as most of them will show MLS games if they're on. (We don't have much of a Seattle/Portland expat base out here in terms of soccer, though.) I'd try Lucky Bar, the Pug, Summers or the Queen Vic, to start.

Go to Jackies for the $12 fried chicken dinner with all the fixins and dessert. It's great.

Ah, right you are. The Silver Spring restaurant serves its Monday dinners family-style -- $12 per person for fried chicken, potato salad, cheddar biscuits, kale and dessert. Sounds like a filling and inexpensive meal, and the service there is generally great.

I recommend Park Tavern; Gordon Biersch is way too crowded for me anyway

The food at Park Tavern has been so hit-or-miss for me, and they just lost their chef to Hawk and Dove as part of the big Xavier Cervera-related shakeup. (Tim Carman had a great story about the shifts on Capitol Hill and Barracks Row.) I think if you're going during the game, not before or after, it's a much different situation.

 Okay, guys, it's been a slow day, so we're going to wrap this up - if you were hoping to submit a question still, go ahead and email us at We'll be happy to respond! See you next Thursday, when we'll be discussing all things end-of-summer. UPDATE: The Post Points Code GG8246.

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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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