Got Plans: Advice from the Going Out Guide

Oct 03, 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.

Hi everyone. So we're going to do our best to steer clear of politics for the next hour or so. The Smithsonian's closed, Panadacam is dark, but we want to help you make the most of your time. The shutdown won't stop most of this weekend's big events, including Columbia Heights Day and the Taste of Bethesda. (One unexpected casuality: The Zydeco and Cajun Festival has been moved from the now-shuttered Glen Echo Park to Blob's Park.)

If you've got visitors in town, we have a handy guide to and sites, and suggestions for (free) activities for furloughed workers. (My favorite? Go tour the Flying Dog brewery.)

Anyway, the next hour is yours. On to the questions.

Fritz, Looking for a place to watch The Pirates game tonight. Looking for a place in the Capital Hill, Chinatown, Penn Quarter Area which would have a good happy hour/furlough deals. Bonus points for it not beeing Beer Garden on H Street!

The only place I've see raising the Jolly Roger (so far) is the Mighty Pint. The owners are from Pennsylvania and they're a big Steelers/Penn State bar, so it makes sense that they'd have a bunch of Pirates fans.

Tonight is also $2 drafts after 8 p.m.

I'm thinking about checking out Bardo this weekend since the weather's looking S.O. and I had our first date at Dremo's nearly 10 years ago, thought it might be fun to check out this sort-of reincarnation. Their calendar for October is blank though, is anything good going on? Is it worth it to go even if there are no movies or stuff on?

Bardo is a fine place to hang out on a warm afternoon -- there are picnic tables, games and corn hole. They have plenty of beer, though none of it is their own.

I don't think the movie screen is on during the day, since I doubt you'd be able to see it. They're showing sports mostly these days. I guess that gets more people out.

Hi - now I'm not affected by the shutdown but seeing as I was laid off a month ago I want to partake in the specials. Any good specials tonight were you DON"T have to show a govt id? Anything with a good outdoor area. Thanks!

Yep - some bars and restaurants have recognized the disparity between, the furloughed and, say, laid-off workers or contract workers who might not have ID, etc. Not to mention the fact that government workers who have ID and aren't furloughed can take advantage of many deals. It's not a perfect system, obviously. Here are a few that are open to all:

Posto gets cheeky with a special shutdown menu offering: "B-S Ravioli," or butternut squash ravioli, for $10. They're also offering $5 glasses of wine. Both of these deals are available to all patrons seated in the bar area.

The Coupe has a number of 50-cent offerings for everyone during the shutdown, from 2-8 p.m.: Sriracha-glazed chicken wings, deviled eggs with gravlax, chives, and creme fraiche, stuffed medjool dates with spiced Marcona almond, roasted corn hush puppies, and Camembert cheese, wrapped in Surryano ham. No ID required. You can also get $3 Natty Boh’; $4 rum punch and $5 house white and house red wine.

• There are $2 "Furlough Fries" at Quill at the Jefferson Hotel beginning today and lasting through the end of the shutdown -- and they're for everyone, not just workers with ID.

• 1905: Anyone – furloughed or not – can take advantage of 1905's Shutdown Sausage Platter: Artisanal sausage, three sides and a beer for $15.

• Bandolero: Get $6 house margaritas and a pair of tacos for $5 for the duration of the shutdown. No federal ID is required.

• DC Reynolds: Each day the government is closed, DC Reynolds will open at 11 a.m. and offer buy-one, get-one-free drinks until 9 p.m. You don't need to be a government worker to take advantage of this outstanding offer.

There are more: Check out our full list of eats and drinks.

Hey Gurus - a fantastic friend of mine is pregnant and we'd love to go out for some "drinks" to celebrate - any recommendations on a good spot for us to go where the bartenders make some creative non-alcoholic drinks? Thanks!

My favorite mocktails these days come from Hank's on the Hill, where all the house-made sodas (think citrus sage, blackberry or blueberry) can be turned into booze-free mixed drinks or even dressed up as floats.

The bar at Firefly also does lovely drinks that taste close to their hight-proof equivalents: The "Cosmo" is made with orange-flower water and non-alcoholic bitters. Meanwhile, you get to enjoy some rather nice cocktails: The Porcelina, with genever, campari, rose lemonade and St. Germain elderflower liqueur, is a nice place to start.

Planning to go to the National Museum of Women and the Arts tomorrow. Already had a free pizza from Range. Know that the Museum of Medicine in Silver Spring is open and free. Anything else really, really cheap/free to do this weekend with a government ID and a sad face? By the way, kudos to the people at Range for being so nice about things. They sat me and my friend at the counter and gave us menus, but there was empathy expressed and no one gave us a hard time for just getting the pizza and not ordering drinks or anything else. I gave the waiter a tip, of course, but I didn't do it because they were giving me a guilt trip.

Sorry to hear about your furlough. And a hat tip to Range for their kindness.

A few thoughts: You can get free or cheap yoga classes or fitness passes with your government ID. And the NMWA isn't the only one extending its deals to government workers -- there's also the National Geographic Museum and the National Building Museum. The Phillips and Corcoran are offering BOGO admission to government employees, so take a friend and have him or her pay your way, using your ID. There's also Columbia Heights Day, free.

I've been looking at the lists and there seems to be a dearth of shutdown specials on the Hill/Barracks Row, other than Cap. Lounge, Johnny's, and Art & Soul. Got anything I'm missing? H St. is too far.

There are many on the Hill featured on our list of shutdown happy hour specials.

 Here are a few: 

Hank's on the Hill is offering $1 oysters and happy hour cocktail prices to anyone with a federal ID.

The Ugly Mug has $4 drink specials.

Tortilla Coast is starting happy hour at noon.

Union Pub has $3 whiskey shots and $6 pizzas every afternoon from 2 to 5:30.

Just a heads up that this game is at 5pm, so that HH deal wouldn't work since it's after 8.

Sorry, I should have explained that the $2 drinks is in addition to the Mighty Pint's usually happy hour deal: $1 drafts and cocktails from 4 to 5, then $3 drafts and $5 pint-sized rail drinks from 5 to 7.

You can make out like a, uh, pirate.

Hi GOGS: I have family coming to town this weekend but our previously made plans are busted due to the shutdown. We were thinking of doing the Newseum, but we're worried that this normally packed spot will be even more so since all of the other museums are closed, and tourists have limited options. Am I paranoid here or should we skip it? If so any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

It's definitely going to be more crowded -- yesterday our live blog reported that the Newseum had double the visitors it gets on a normal weekday. I suppose it depends on how crowd-averse you are. The non-Smithsonian museums closest to the Mall -- i.e. the Newseum, Corcoran, Building Museum, Spy Museum and Crime Museum -- are all going to be pretty busy. But you could take a look at some of these non-Smithsonian museums that are further away. We also have a shutdown guide for tourists that may help you adjust your plans.

You'll be the ones in the gray uniforms tonight. Welcome back!

Zing. I wonder if David Malitz will be sneaking out early today...

Thanks for taking my question. Any suggestions of where Cardinals fans will be getting together to watch playoffs games?

Continuing the run of baseball questions, there's a Cardinals Meetup group that watches games at Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. And last year (mumble mumble letting Teddy win) the District of Pi Pizzeria at 9th and F had Cardinal fans watching games there, since it's a St. Louis-based restaurant that serves a half-dozen St. Louis-brewed Schlafly beers.

Can you list some volunteer opportunities that those of us who aren't working due to the shutdown could participate in on weekdays (assuming the shutdown will continue)?

What a great idea. The Post's local Extras sections have their own "Seeking volunteers" pages: Here are this week's lists for P.G. CountyAlexandria and Arlington,FairfaxLoudoun and Prince William, for starters. Most local governments have their own pages, too. Montgomery County runs a clearinghouse calledMontgomery Serves. I'm also a fan of One Brick, a website that matches volunteers and organizations based on the time they have available. It might be handy during this unpredictable shutdown. 

Hello! I'm already thinking Halloween costumes. I'm thinking of renting one this year. Are there any good costume rental places within DC (preferably Shaw neighborhood)? Looking not to go out to VA. Any other costume tips?

With the closure of Backstage Costumes on the Hill -- it's now the DCanter wine shop -- there's really no place for Halloween costumes in D.C. 

Even the pop-up costume shop Total Fright, which used to take over the empty storefronts in the Georgetown Park Mall every fall, has moved out of the city, and set up in the Ballston Common Mall.

Your best bet for awesome costume rentals, rubber masks and other frightening goodies is Gene's Costumes in Kensington. They're on Connecticut Avenue north of the Beltway, though, so you really need a car to get there.

Hi there, My husband and I will be celebrating our eight year anniversary on Tuesday. Are there any good Italian places in Bethesda? We live in Silver Spring and don't want to venture too far out on a "school night". I'm also thinking Jaleo. Is that still a good choice? Thanks!

 If you want to stay close to Silver Spring, an anniversary-worthy option is 8407 Kitchen, with homey meat and fish dishes. The best choices in Bethesda don't really veer towards Italian. Jaleo is fine -- and that location was recently renovated -- but some other attractive options would include Food, Wine & Co. and Bistro Provence.

Will the government shutdown affect any big events this weekend, in particular Taste of Bethesda, Columbia heights Day, and Takoma Park Street Festival?

Nope. Everything at all of those festivals is go.

Hi, My parents live in Fairfax and want to take me and my boyfriend out to dinner to celebrate my 24th birthday the last weekend of October. My parents, bf, and I have dined out many times, but it's always a process for me to decide on the right place. I eat fish but not meat, and my boyfriend eats Paleo (no grains or legumes, occasional dairy) but will cheat if the occasion calls for it. My parents eat everything, although my mom doesn't have an adventurous palate (doesn't love Mexican or Asian food). It's my birthday, but since they are treating, I want to take the somewhere they will enjoy, too. We have been to Zaytinya, Sixth Engine and, Sea Pearl in the recent past and enjoyed all of those places. Am open to suggestion in Northern Virginia and DC. My parents would drive into the city if we eat in DC, so somewhere with valet would be preferable. Any good recommendations? Thank you!

I think the Blue Duck Tavern would fit the bill nicely for you guys -- it has some great fish offerings for you, plenty of veggies for your boyfriend to avoid the carbs, and it's elegant but accessible to your parents' tastes. Valet, too. A few other options: 701, Vermilion, and 1789.

If you're not afraid of a regional bus, the MoCo Ride On bus goes right past Gene's. You can pick it up from the bus depot at Friendship Heights. (I know this b/c I had to take it to an orthopedist's in Kensington when I sprained my foot, while my car was in the shop!)

This is good to know for us carless folks. Thanks. 

Hi Gurus, I am all set this weekend thanks to you - (e)merge art fair, mt vernon wine - oh boy! But next weekend I have a friend who's in town and I want to tow him to more fun fall festivals... I'm all set with bars and restaurants but what's going on either in the city or in the surrounding area for next weekend?! Thanks!

Sure! There's a big fall festival in Centreville next weekend: Pumpkins, corn maze, the works.  Not a seasonal festival but a festival nonetheless, the Bentzen Ball will be bringing a bunch of comedy shows to the area next weekend.

Shutdown has my budget to must pays only. Where are some free local places/events to shake off the furlough funk?

There is so much good free stuff happening this weekend, depending on where you live. We've covered Columbia Heights Day and the Takoma Park Street Festival, both of which have live music, games and plenty of peoplewatching. 

If you have a government ID, you can catch Alice Russell for FREE on Saturday night at the Howard -- she's one of the top picks in the Nightlife Agenda -- or Take 6 on Friday night, thanks to the Howard's free tickets for furloughed workers scheme. 

Stephanie's "What to do in your free time" roundup has details on free concerts at the Kennedy Center and Alexandria Symphony, free tickets to "Miss Saigon," places to play ping-pong, free admission to museums and even details about free movies.

If your not particular about certain flavors, I would just ask the bartender to make a mocktail of their choice. Almost every place I've done this in DC has been accomdating, and I've gotten some great drinks that way (prickly pear, that thing where you squeeze a lemon peel and light a lighter for spark, etc.).

True. Just about any cocktail bar worth its imported sea salt these days can make you a drink without booze. The caveat: While on my annual no-booze-for-a-few-weeks kick, I've had bartenders make me "non-alcoholic" drinks made with alcoholic bitters. Miniscule amounts, to be sure, but that's not the point.

Can you give me any more details on the Miss Saigon tickets? I have a DoD ID, but it says Contractor. Can I still get a free ticket?

We think that's okay, but call to be sure. The deal is that there are a number of tickets set aside at each performance at Signature Theater. Bring your ID to the box office and present it for a free pair. (You can't make reservations online -- you actually have to go to Shirlington to get your tickets.)

I think Bardo has some DJs doing a show this Saturday, at least according to FB.

Huh. I'm not seeing anything about DJs on Bardo's Facebook page or their events feed on Twitter.

I mean, they may. I just have no idea. (Hey Bardo -- update your events!)

Hello Gurus! Do you know where we can watch the baseball playoffs with sound? Petworth to U Street area is preferred. We are especially interested in the Braves.

The only place I've heard showing the Braves is Mason Inn, and that's spillover from the place being an official Georgia Bulldogs/Atlanta Falcons bar. Kangaroo Boxing Club, a hotbed of Detroit Tigers fans, will have games on. I'd check Touchdown Sports Bar on U Street, DC Reynolds in Park View ...  

I wrote last week asking about half-price tickets for Shear Madness. I was concerned because the half-price website wouldn't tell you the seat numbers before you bought the tickets. I ended up going with the half-price tickets anyway, and I was really glad I did. We got fantastic seats in the fourth row.

Good news for those who want to save a few bucks on theater tickets.

Okay, gang. We have to run -- there are sandwiches to review for lunch. Keep checking the GOG blog for shutdown-related info: Happy hoursdeals, and even the unexpected closings.

Oh, and a deal for everyone: Cuba Libre is turning three tonight, so the restaurant/mojito bar is offering FREE cava, $3 mojitos and a platter of three empanadas for $3 during happy hour. All the details are right here.

Finally, Post Points code for today is GG2912.

See you next week.

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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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