Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed the local college basketball scene, hot restaurants and cool nightlife.

Jan 19, 2012

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed the local college basketball scene, hot restaurants and cool nightlife.

Welcome, chatters, to today's all things basketball chat, with guest chatters Dan Steinberg and David Malitz, who'll be taking your sports questions/commentary, while the rest of us continue as usual, helping you have a nightlife. So, readers, tell us, who's your favorite local college team? Maryland, Georgetown, or does your heart belong to Mason?

Hi Gurus. I want to meet some friends for a drink in metro accessible Arlington this Saturday. The catch - I want to bring my 1 year old with me. We're planning on meeting early and quickly to miss the crowds - probably just from 5-6pm. Any place that you would recommend? Thanks!

I'd try Northside Social, which straddles the coffeehouse/wine bar divide nicely. You can have a glass of wine, while buying your child's silence with a nice brownie or tart.

Please help! I'm a San Francisco native. I was home last week -- what fun to be in a city where every bar and restaurant was packed with spectators! The city came to a standstill. What bar do you recommend for gathering with my fellow niner fans to watch them play the Giants?

Our resident San Franciscan, Jess Righthand, heartily recommends Town Tavern, which saw big crowds for the S.F. Giants World Series run. Go there, or you risk being swallowed up by the inevitable blue horde of fans rooting for the other Giants. 

There's a great team playing tonight at the Comcast Center, the maryland Women's team. Only top 10 team in the area...

As I said in last week's cover story, if you're hoping to see a local hoops team that has the best chance of reaching the Final Four this year, the Lady Terps are your best bet. It was good to see them bounce back after the loss to Miami. Alyssa Thomas is playing some great ball this year.

Are there any tiki bars in the DC area? Or any bars that serve delicious drinks that a normal tiki bar would have available?

Oh, yes, we're having a tiki moment, aren't we? While there aren't any pure tiki bars, both the Passenger and Tryst go all tiki on Tuesdays, perhaps for the alliteration alone. If you wanted the tiki vibe without the high-end classic cocktail service, there's Mango Mike's in Alexandria.  And this one is kind of funny, but if anyone knows the good old Chinese restaurant Meiwah, I stumbled upon the fact that they do tiki drinks, too. I had a flaming scorpion bowl (god knows what was in it!) there recently, and not only was I the envy of the entire restaurant, I was out about $12, for enough alcohol to fell a baby elephant.

What are your favorite places to play darts in the District? Preferably something located east of 14th St NW (U St, Penn Qtr, H Street, Barracks)....we may make an evening out of it and bounce from place to place. Thanks!!

Man, back in the day, the old Malt Shop (when it was above the Dancing Crab) used to have a terrific darts scene. Now, I like the boards at Atomic in Cleveland Park and Bedrock in Adams Morgan, but if those are too out of the way, you could start with Rocket Bar or Iron Horse in Penn Quarter. I could have sworn the Queen Vic had a board but it turns out they don't. Chatters, where do you play darts in this town? 

I know, I know, not DC related but hoping you can help! Heading out of town with the hubby this weekend for some much needed R&R and was wondering if you guys had any suggestions for nice restaurants in the area and maybe an idea for something more exciting than a movie for Sunday evening. Thanks!

Sounds lovely. Check out Mas, a tapas place that draws a nice crowd of wine tourists and R&R'ers like yourself. 

My birthday is tomorrow and my boyfriend and I have 8:30 p.m. dinner reservations at Nora. I'm looking for a place to grab a drink beforehand with my some friends. Can you suggest a place that can accommodate a small group (6 -8 people) on a Friday night? I love a good cocktail, especially lime gimlets. Thanks!

If you didnt mind a short walk to dinner after drinks, I'd go with trying to meet folks over at Tabard Inn on N Street at 17th, I've done the walk to Nora before, and it's not bad at all (and maybe it'll get you ready for a multi-course meal). Two places closer to Nora are Circa on Connecticut, where they do cocktails, though they veer on the fruity side; and Black Fox Lounge. Circa gets a little hectic, but Black Fox is very very chill for a drink with several friends, if you actually wanted to catch up in a place you hear each other.

Hi GOGs. I'm interested in checking out Volta Bureau at St. Stephen's church this weekend, which I heard about because of you! Do we buy tickets in advance, or just show up? Also, never seen a DJ set at a Church. Will there be beer? Thanks!

Just show up at the door and you'll be set. And there will absolutely, positively not be any beer or alcohol -- and don't even think about bringing your own!

In a recent Living Social (or some other coupon site) had a thing for joining a league. Our children and suburb living make a league hard, but it sounds awesome for a date night. Where can we find this? Thanks!

H Street Country Club is probably your best bet for serious one-off skeeballing. 

Gurus, I'm sure you've answered this question before, but my friends and I need help! What are good bars in DC to meet straight guys in their early-mid-late 30s? We always feel like the only guys we're meeting are 21. We are open to any part of the city - Dupont, U Street, Capitol Hill are preferable. Any place that's fun and not too loud to talk. Many thanks!

Two thoughts. Okay, three. You're going to have better luck avoiding the 21-year-old set if you stay away from H Street and Adams Morgan (unless it's Jack Rose), and if you go out for a cocktail on a weeknight instead of a "let's get crazy" Friday night. The crowds skew a little older at El Centro upstairs on the roof, Marvin, and Bar Pilar (which hasn't re-opened yet), downstairs at Blackbyrd. Black Jack is another possibility. The Standard was full of cute dudes (though I suspect they were young), when it was open (it'll be open again in March). Readers? Any ideas? 

Thanks for taking my question Gurus. Just in need of some suggestions for a night out for my wife's birthday. She will be going out with her sister who will be coming in to town as a surprise. They're both 30-somethings and both vegetarians. I'd like to help offer up a few destinations to them for an overnight stay in DC . Maybe something in the Logan Circle/Dupont area. Dinner and drinks (wine or cocktails). Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.

If they really wanted to do a high-end dinner, you can't beat the entirely raw Elizabeth's Gone Raw, which is amazing. Other places doing vegetarian tasting menus include Restaurant Nora and Cityzen. In less rarified air,  Rasika is a great option, too -- you should definitely do a reservation, then get there a little early to sip cocktails at the bar. In Logan Circle and Dupont, I'd add Estadio to the list (if they get there either early (like, before 6) or around 10, it's a much more relaxed vibe, and the cocktails are amazing.  Vinoteca is another option. And for the rest of the weekend, check out our Vegetarian Best Bets List

Any info on Wagamama? The sign nows says early 2012. I thought they had given up on opening in DC.

Ugh, should we all just give up on Wagamama? Some other perfectly good homegrown noodle bars are here; it's one of the microtrends we're seeing, in fact. Wagamama alternatives include Toki Underground, Mandu has started doing late-night Korean-style ramen (check their Facebook page for which nights they're serving it); and for Japanese ramen, there's the new People's Noodle Bar pop-up, which requires you to enter a Senor Chicken. Go figure.

My sister is visiting this weekend and we're looking for a brunch spot in DC that will accommodate her, a vegan, and me, eater of anything, especially waffles. Any suggestions?

One perfect place comes to mind: Busboys and Poets. I know, I know.

But brunch might be the best thing they do, and their vegan tempeh sandwich is enough to change the minds of non-vegans. Another option is Meridian Pint, but I didn't see anything as sweet as waffles on their brunch menu.

I am hoping to get some advice on a place to get my hair cut (female, with long thick hair). I am still slightly new to DC and so have not found anywhere to get my haircut yet- I am hoping also that it won't cost an outrageous amount- between $30-$50? I think you have posted about this before but I cannot find the past conversation. I would really appreciate any recommendations. Thanks a lot!

Two places that are pretty popular around here: Bang on U Street, and PR at Partners (the Metro Center location is a favorite around here); I've had a surprising amount of luck at both, and both are pretty affordable. 

Don't forget Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring!

I haven't been there, but perhaps I should. It's like I can now go a week, and not have a single drink that's not in a pineapple....

Where would we go to see any local men's basketball players that we might see in the NBA one day so we can say we saw them when?

Go see Maryland when they host North Carolina and Duke is the sad-but-true answer. Local squads are light on pro prospects this year, although some Hoyas could get drafted in the next year or two. But the ACC and Big East games are your best bets.

I've got a second date on Sunday and I would like to do some kind of activity(exhibit, gallery,etc) after brunch. Any suggestions in the District?

Opening this Friday at the American Art Museum is the big Annie Leibovitz show, which Stephanie just got a peek at and heartily recommends, so that's one of the best options. The nice thing about that neighborhood, is that if it's all going well, you can kill time in the Kogod, or walk over to Zaytinya for a drink, or Chinatown Coffee for a coffee. Another option: Ice-skating at the National Gallery. Afterward, I'd zip up to Pitango on Seventh Street for hot cocoa.

Do you have any information on when Z Burger is opening in SW? Rumor has it that it may actually happen this month.

Nothing official, but my powers of observation from having walked past the place over the weekend says "soon to very soon." This month doesn't seem like a stretch. 

Hi! I love your chat. My BF's birthday is coming up and he wants to go to a karaoke bar. We live in NoVa and are open to going to places there or in DC. Any good suggestions? Preferably places that do not charge a cover nor make you wait hours to sing.. thanks!

There are a lot of options these days; off the top of our heads, Hill Country on Seventh St., and Kostume Karaoke on H Street and at Solly's on U Street. And Sticky Rice's karaoke is a legend. You'll know every song, which is really useful when trying to sing along, in front of people. Check out our whole karaoke bets list here.

On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you about AU's Jeff Jones Bobblehead giveaway next month.

Dan had problems logging into the chat, we apologize for his absence. But we got him to answer a couple of questions...

Dan Steinberg: I'd say 3. I used to get more excited about bobblhead giveaways, but people always take the bobbleheads from my desk, so it's kind of pointless. And no offense to Jeff, but I'm not sure he has any hugely comedic distinguishing characteristics. A Gary Williams bobblehead with a squirty sweat button would be way better.

Here's one for Dan, Since it's looking like it'll be quite a while until we get to see a"Nobody beats the Wiz" marketing campaign, we need your help making Wall & Co's games more tolerable. Any thoughts for a drinking game to play during Wizards broadcasts? We'd been thinking about every time Blatche hoists an ill-advised jumper but decided we want to be conscious for the second half of the games.

Dan Steinberg:  Every time the home fans boo would be one suggestion, but I'm assuming you want a game that also works on the road. Maybe every time the team gets an assist? They average 16 a game, which is 2nd to last in the league, by a sizable margin. I'm not saying you'd want to do a shot for every assist, but maybe a drink for every assist? Or you could do a drink for every time the announcers say something about the draft.

I'lll add one that I think will reliably get you buzzed but not sloppy drunk each and every game -- a shot for every goaltend. With Jan Vesley getting more run and JaVale McGee being JaVale McGee, the Wiz are good for a few each game.

Probably too late to get a table for this weekend, but Founding Farmers is a nice vegan-friendly brunch spot, with vegan stout waffles! Ask for the vegan menu. No, I don't work for them, I'm just a vegan who likes waffles. If people are willing to travel (far) outside of DC, the best vegan brunch spot in all the land (or at least the DMV) is Great Sage in Clarksville.

Great, thanks for the suggestions. I often shy away from recommending Founding Farmers because it's frequently way too busy for comfort. But the new Founding Farmers in Potomac might mean it's a little more airy these days. I've got to try the stout waffles, though.

Speaking of which, I use this opportunity to spill that next week's guest is Erica Meier of Compassion Over Killing; she's a huge vegan advocate, and will be joining us to talk veggie dining in D.C.

I recently went to a GMU game and really enjoyed it. However, I got my tickets more than a month in advance and was somewhat surprised that the best seats I could get were Row R, which is fine, but I'm just wondering, how early do you need to buy your tickets in order to get closer seats? (I even went during the school's winter break and still...)

It seems that tickets are unavailable for the first dozen or so rows for every game ... maybe that's the season ticket base? Mason hosts Towson on Saturday at the Patriot Center; Towson has lost an NCAA record 38 straight games...

Hi Gurus! I have entered the world of online dating and although I thought guys would be filled with creative ideas for first dates, most ask me to pick the bar we should go to for drinks. Assuming he might pay, I don't want to pick something too expensive. But, on a first date I want a reason to dress up a little more than I would for a dive. And I usually meet up around 7 or later, on a weeknight. Where are some fun places I can suggest, preferably in DC and off the blue/orange lines?

You can always split the difference and do a nice happy hour. I like Brasserie Beck for this (not far from Metro Center), Oyamel is a scene at which you can also do small plates if you get hungry, and Ceiba's is great, too. Another bargain, Proof, from 5:30-7 p.m.; Poste does a nice one, too - I'd wait till its a little warmer so you can sip outside. (These are CLOSER to Chinatown, but easily a 5 minute walk from Metro Center Metro, so no excuses).  Since online dating can mean more than one first date a week, you're probably going to need options, huh? Here's a handy list you can refer to.

Does anyone know anything about the "FM Karaoke" place on Veirs Mill in Montgomery County (near Twinbook)? I can't tell if that place is for real or not!

I don't know about this one. Readers? Anyone ever karaoke'd here?

I am of no help to answer this question but it's an answer I want to know. Really where do single men in their 30s hang out in this city, bar or otherwise? Or are they all too busy training for marathons and triathalons or rushing home to let their dogs out? Is that just me?!

Haha, yes, I'm pretty sure they are all at the gym when the shlubs are at happy hour. But I see plenty of single men in their 30s around at night. Single men in your 30s - where are you going?

I am a long time follower of the chats and have found them very useful over the years. You guys have given me some great suggestions. I am not loving the new format with guests on the chats. I feel that most of the questions that get through are geared to that one subject and that some of your responses may be a little different because of the guest being there. Anyway, just thought I would share....

Thanks for your feedback. We try really hard to answer all of the questions we get, so if the chat veers toward a particular subject sometimes, I think it's just the way the questions are rolling in. Message me at after the chat - Are we still answering nightlife questions?  How are our responses different? I'd love to hear some specific concerns. Thanks.

Okay, guys, that's a wrap on this chat. Thanks so much for joining us and throwing us a couple of basketball questions to make our guests feel wanted. Join us next week, on Thursday at 1 p.m., for a chat that's dedicated to all-things veggie in the restaurants world. Joining us is Erica Meier of Compassion Over Killing (as I mentioned above). Thanks!

In This Chat
The Going Out Gurus
The Going Out Gurus 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.
Dan Steinberg
Washington Post staff writer and D.C. Sports Bogger.

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