Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus were joined by guest Eric Channing Brewer of Dandies & Quaintrelles to discuss fashion, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

Mar 01, 2012

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus were joined by guest Eric Channing Brewer of Dandies & Quaintrelles to discuss fashion, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

Welcome, chatters who've decided not to spend the lunch hour laid out on a blanket in a park somewhere. Today's a great day to bring in Eric Channing Brewer, who, as one might expect of  the founder of D.C.'s Tweed Ride, is rocking an amazing ensemble today: tangerine trousers, navy blazer, pure Brit all the way. He's here to take your fashion questions and hype his upcoming River Ride, while the other gurus are on hand answer all your nightlife/going out questions. Oh, and we're giving away two tickets to this Friday's performance of DCypher Dance, as part of the Intersections festival. If you want them, just tell us what the area's most fashionable intersection is -- prime for people-watching -- and you can win them. Let's get this thing started.

What advice do you give to singles about appropriate fashion and places to go when dating. Are you single?

It is most important to know what kind of clothes flatter your figure and present you at your best. This includes knowing what color tones work with your shade of skin and hair.  Choose clothes that present the most favorable aspect of your personality. Look neat or artfully dishevled.  Avoid wearing tight and revealing clothing in an attempt to appear  sexy. Looking a mess or hot-mess won't impress anyone.

Pick a first date place where where you can actually hear one another and won't be bombarded and interrupted by other people.  Consider venues that leave surrounding options in the event your first choice is too crowded or just does not feel right. 

I'm eligible for great dates.

Every weekend my friends and I seem to hit the same spots Friday and Saturday night (most of them in Dupont or Clarendon). We were looking for a change of pace, any bar suggestions for the weekend?

You didn't say what you like about the places you go, so the first thing that comes to mind is to check  out some of the area's new-ish spots -- and there are plenty. Black Jack, abover Pearl Dive on 14th, is already beloved many; American Ice Company is another, and a little bit older. You might also consider heading to the end of the U Street strip, to some place like Dodge City or the rooftop bar at DC9. But I might suggest exploring some new neighborhoods entirely -- Bloomingdale has the popular Boundary Stone; H Street NE has plenty of places to check out, but the newest is Boundary Road (confusing, I know). Hope this helps!

Any suggestions for a good restaurant for a group of 10 40-50 year old women bringing a limo into DC from the 'burbs to celebrate an anniversary of sorts?

If you're springing for a limo, certainly, you can and should do it up. How about Corduroy on Ninth Street, or another favorite, Vidalia? Bibiana is getting a lot of love lately from Tom. But these all seem a little staid for a celebration, so  I have to add one crazy one. How about Sax, the Moulin Rouge-style restaurant on 11th Street? It's dinner and a show, and Tom describes it as "cabaret - ballet meets burlesque meets Cirque du Soleil." Sounds like an amazing night, no?

Hi Gurus, I'd like to do something special for my boyfriend's upcoming birthday and could use some advice. We both enjoy food centered dates so we've done many of the delicious DC restaurant options. This being the case, I was thinking of trying out Volt in Frederick. Here's my question, are there cute places to stay in Frederick that won't completely break the bank? Are there things to do along the way like wineries or something similar? I'm open to scrapping the plan too, so...what would you do to treat a totally awesome significant other who loves the food experience? Any expert feedback would be appreciated, thanks in advance!

I'm not an expert the Frederick food scene but I've spent many hours cycling in the area on back roads and woodland trails. It's a beautiful area to experience the outdoors.  If you find someplace nice to eat and stay and aren't afraid to get a little dirt on the soles of your shoes, consider a visit to Gambrills State Park.  There are  some short trails there that lead to extraordinary mountain views.  I've seen great settings there for a very romantic kiss.

Hey Gurus! So a while back I made plans with friends for this Saturday to either a) go skiing if it was still cold (optimistically) or b) go hiking if not. Well, the forecast for Sat. is rain rain rain. We're looking for an alternative activity. Any fun indoor events going on this weekend? DC or MD preferred. Thx!

Well, it sounds like you like outdoors things and aren't afraid to sweat a little. How about going rock climbing indoors? Or maybe mini golf?

I'm looking for 1 or 2 night spa weekend solo. I work full time, young daughter, hubby travels a lot. I need a weekend to myself. Know of any good spa resorts that ok with solo travelers? Thx.

We checked in with one of the plugged-in moms on the GOG staff, who offered some great suggestions.

Amy Joyce: Landsdowne in Loudoun County is close and there are other day spas in nearby Leesburg. 

I loved (but didn't spa at) Bedford Springs:
The spa looked gorgeous and people seem to really like it. Only 2 hours away and so very relaxing. One friend said it reminded her of the hotel in The Shining, but I still had fun.

I also went to the Chesapeake Bay Resort, and it has a nice spa -- some of it specializing in treatments for pregnant ladies. There are lots of families there, though, so she may want to stay away. (Only kind of joking.)

The Homestead, of course, but that might be better for a couple's getaway. can be pricey. But it has an amazing spa with all sorts of things, including the hot spring baths.

And Amy hit this one during her second pregnancy.
Seems like it has decent deals every now and then.

My nails are in bad shape - dry, split, etc. Where would you recommend for a healing manicure within the DC area. Bonus points if its on metro.

Jess Righthand and I both like Mimosa on Connecticut in Dupont Circle (not on a weekend!) because they take their time, have some of the best color choices in the city (perfect for oddballs like me), and you get a totally healing glass of champagne or a mimosa with your mani. Again, go on a weeknight (they're open till 11 p.m., and I like to go on the late side so I get a little more attention) and skip the gel mani, which could make your nails worse.  And tell them what your issues are. Readers, any other suggestions?

Hey Gurus, I'm looking forward to step dancing, Irish music, and general Irish fun this year, but (for the first time) no drinking due to a medical problem. Where can I go to get all of that without feeling like a heel for not lifting a few green brews? Thanks!

I actually went to Shamrock Fest last year with my younger brother and *gasp* didn't drink. I still  had a fantastic time listening to music and checking out the different stands. If you really want to go dry, how about the Alexandria parade or the dc parade?

What time would you recommend getting to the Rock and Roll hotel tomorrow night to just watch (not participate in) the Spelling Bee? Does it get so crowded that we wouldn't be able to find seats?

Yeah, it can get really crazy at Rock and Roll, but sometimes, it's quiet. Either way seats are pretty much non-existent up there. (Spelling Buzz is held upstairs) Since you're just watching, you could totally get there at 8:30 or 9; but stay afterward, when it generally turns into a dance party that's actually pretty crazy and fun.

How long does it take you to get dressed to go out? Your style is fantastic without appearing over done.

Thank you for the compliment! Like many here in DC, I frequently go out after work and don't bother going home before hand to change so I tend to dress in a way that helps me transition to something  fun after a time my desk.  I consider important details that don't look out of place at work but shine at night.  Sharp shoes,  nicely shaped blazers, interesting neckwear make a difference.  The attitude is most important. I leave talk of work behind and appear happy to be out!

Visiting sister, brother-in-law and 9 & 17 year old nephews on March 29, 30 & 31. Also, 9 year-olds birthday is 29th. He wants to revisit Ben's and I'd walk him over to Cake Love for a cupcake, but that seems kinda lame. They'd love Caps game, but not @ $51+ Any party with the 9 year-old ideas that we can all enjoy? Thks, you're all so good considering you've heard every question, what, like twice?

I want to copy and paste this and send it to Ted Leonsis, because you are right, $51 is a tad expensive. Not to sound old, but I remember when tickets were given away when you bought four boxes of cereal.


But anyway. If it is sports that they love, then why not a tour of National's Park? Wizards tickets are far less expensive than the Capitals. Even DC United will be in action. Is there anything else that interests the 9-year-old?

Most fashionable intersection: 14th and U, especially on weekend nights. Maybe an obvious choice, but the U St. corridor has more diversity of nightlife options than some other popular neighborhoods, and the outfits and types of people walking about reflect this. Not only are there those dressed for bars and restaurants, but also for jazz clubs, dance clubs, rock concerts, poetry readings, and theater. There aren’t any benches to sit and people-watch, but you can spy down from above at Lost Society’s rooftop.

16th and U is fashionable as well. It's pretty much the corner of  vintage row. During the day you find hip shoppers along that strectch of U street between 15th and 16th.

Hello GOGs. A bunch of ladies (late-20s) are looking for a fun happy hour in the Gallery Place/Metro Center area. What would you recommend for a group of 8 that would like to hear each other? Ideas we had are Poste, Hill Country and Ceiba.

I would also check out Proof, which serves up some of the best cocktails in town. Their happy hour runs Mon-Fri from 5:30-7, and they have wine, beer and cocktail specials. Anyone else been to a Gallery Place happy hour they'd like to recommend?

Gurus-- please help me! My wife and I have FINALLY found a babysitter for the night of my wife's birthday, and we'd like to go for drinks or a light meal in the Foggy Bottom/Georgetown area. The trouble is, we actually want to spend time with each other (I know, so shocking for marrieds) so somewhere on the quiet side but with lots of great atmosphere would be ideal. Preferably not too crowded... and we'll be going out around 9pm. Ideas? Thank you so much!

For a really nice cocktail and light plates, I'd say Bourbon Steak; it's classy (and a little pricey) but a nice place to do a birthday, even if you sit at the bar. Ris is another option in that area that has those hallmarks of a nice quiet experience -- upholstery, curtains, and the sorts of touches that absorb noise so you can hear each other. Another option is Bistrot Lepic, which is not the newest kid on the block, so it's not going to have a huge crowd.  

11th and U - both the neighborhood and metro stop provide the perfect intersection of hipsters (Dodge City, DC9), millennials (UHall, 9:30 Club, and Town all cater to 18+ crowds), YUPpies who have wandered a bit far east of 14th Street, the wine bar crowd (Vinoteca, Dickson Wine Bar), residents heading to Ben's or Island Cafe, and folks just looking for a cheap beer (Solly's, Saloon). And they all have plenty of options for brunch the next day.

I also tend to find well dressed people at art gallery openings.  Hamiltonian by the corner of 14th and U attracts a stylish crowed at every opening.  Gallery openings also happen to be a great place to take a first date.

I have family members staying with me for a couple of weeks. He grew up in this area, but has been overseas for 10 years. His spouse & kids (1 & 8 yr olds) have never been here before. Can you suggest events/places that I can take them to in the next 2 wks? We have cars. Thanks!

First, I would make sure the big spots (Smithsonian museums, White House, etc.) are covered. We have a pretty handy visitor's guide that will help you get started. I would also set a day aside to go to Baltimore and explore the aquarium and inner harbor.

Hi GOGs! I'm going to be taking some friends to Baltimore for the day next Saturday and I was wondering what you suggest. There will be 2 adults and 2 teens. One of the teens loves history, especially military history. I've done a little sightseeing in Baltimore, but not enough to plan a day. Any suggestions? Thanks guys!!

Our Baltimore Guru, Bradon, has you covered: 

If it's military history you're looking for, Baltimore has plenty to offer. The first deaths in the U.S. Civil War occured during the Pratt Street Riots in the city. The National Park Service has mapped out a 1.6 mile trail that will take you by the site of these fatalities, John Wilkes Booth's gravesite and the Baltimore Civil War Museum, which further details the city's role in the war. All are very close to the Inner Harbor's restaurants and shops. Might I suggest stopping by the new location for Phillips Seafood for crab cakes? Not far from the Civil War museum is The Flag House & Star Bangled Banner Museum, in the house where Mary Pickersgill sewed the broad stripes and a connected building. Of course, the story of the flag and the national anthem it inspired is most impactful at Fort McHenry, where American forces fended off the invading British Navy during the War of 1812. If the weather is nice, you can take the Baltimore Water Taxi and enjoy beautiful views of the city.

Looking for a place for afternoon tea on a Saturday for 6 ladies. Been to the British Pantry in Aldie, Pink Bicycle in Occoquan, and the Four Seasons in Georgetown. Prefer within an hour of Reston area. Thanks!

Some of our favorites are in this list, but I'll narrow it down even further. I fell in love with the tea service at the Mayflower's Cafe Promenade, which is a classic posh tea. At the Mandarin Oriental's tea at the Empress Lounge should be high on your must-try list, namely because it's one of the most luxe hotels in the area, and the tea can include creme brulee.

I would say definitely NO to Bibiana!

Is this Bibiana backlash, or someone who doesn't want a large crowd rolling into their favorite restaurant?

When dating do you think it is important for your partner to be as stylish as you are?

I don't insist that anyone I date be style-obsessed and you know how the saying goes. "Opposites attract."  A true sense of style extends beyond a display of sartorial savy. My date's personality is the most important thing I  consider. 

We have family visiting DC for Spring Break and need a restaurant for 11 people with kids ranging in age from 6-14. There is a request for seafood but we need other options as well. Anywhere in DC is fine but nothing too expensive. Thanks so much!

Justin Rude, our restaurants editor, offered up a couple of suggestions: For your crowd, you can try Watershed, which is undergoing a bit of a makeover, but should be on the upswing by spring break.  For something casual and fun, there's Tackle Box in Georgetown, or better, the one in Cleveland Park, which shouldn't be quite as crowded.

Shouldn't one be themselves rather than dressing to impress? I'm a band t-shirt and jeans guy. Why give the potential date a false impression?

The band t-shirt? Rock and Roll has been influencing style all over the world since the 60's.  A potential false impression can happen regardless of how a person decides to dress. Let's be honest, with thousands of different denim styles available in the US alone, jeans are hardly an afterthought.  There is a reason for the description  "mom jeans!"  Many people even take special care in selecting the right casual look to reflect their sense of style and to make an impression.


any suggestions for a late happy hour/early going out location for tomorrow evening in Dupontish? probably 7:30/8ish (so I'm guessing we'll probably miss any happy hour specials?), 10 people or so, some people will want dinner, some just drinks. thanks!

It might not hit your 8 p.m. timing, but I do want to tell folks about Fritz's  new round-up of  late-night happy hours; the trend we're seeing is new bars, and the nice ones in particular, are coming up late-night happy hours as a way to keep folks in seats. Ceiba could be sort of  right for your crowd - food, and $5 drink specials that pick up at 10 p.m. - if you can guys can push your get-together back a bit, you might be able to score some deals on the tail-end of your get-together.

The title sums it up. Need to find a place for a small group (8-15?) to go have birthday drinks on March 17. Obviously no Irish bars since it will be jammed. Prefer a place that is not a "club" but someplace with dancing is fine. Just don't want that typical young 20's, trying to be seen, scene. Willing to pay for a table/bottle service or other area. Is this even realistic due to the "holiday"?

I think this is totally realistic, especially at more upscale, decidedly non-Irish places. What neighborhoods are ideal for you? And does it need to be someplace where you can actually sit down, or is gathering around a bar okay?

Where are good places to shop for reasonably priced footwear for men in DC and online?

Regarding footwear. I get lucky on all the time.  Great shooes at reasonable prices tend to stick around longer than other items that go within minutes.

In DC, I know that Dr. K's vintage has a great collection of shoes that have been previously worn.  If the thought of that does not scare you off, you can find shoes and boots in rare quality and styles in great condition.

That would be the corner of Wilson and Fort Myer Drive in Arlington. People are constantly coming and going from the buses that pick up/drop off there from New York, ABC News building is across street, and gorgeous women and men are everywhere. Just don't tell anybody - it's a secret. lol

Ha, that does sounds like some good people watching.

Is that also near the bus from Dulles? I'm not asking for me, for a friend, you know. 

Name 3 men and 3 women celebs whose personal style you admire.

I tend not to follow celebrity fashion. Celerbrities have stylists and get often get paid to wear particular brands. I admire individuals who have become recently visible because they started blogs to showcase their own sense of style. is an example.

Thanks for that late night happy hour list! You note that Ceiba's starts at 10pm, but the guide says "right after dinner. " It might be helpful to update the guide.

Haha, yeah, that's just our idea of dinnertime, haha. We're night owls. Our late-night eats story was prompted, in fact, by the fact that I couldn't ever find dinner after 11 p.m.

Can you help draw attention to the fact that many bands are skipping DC for Baltimore. In the last year, Jeff Mangum did on his first leg, Malkmus and the Jicks, Frank Turner, Samiam, Matt Pryor, and on Monday, Titus Andronicus. With the lack of public transportation at night between the cities and WMATA's 2AM closing...I can't afford to rent a car or zipcar up to see bands I want to see. I've done it on occasion, even going to Philly or taking the train to NY for shows....but this is becoming a real problem. Billy from Samiam said it's booking managers thinking we're one market. We've got the venues. Help!

From Brandon Weigel: As someone who lives in Baltimore, I can tell you the view to the north is the exact opposite. The 9:30 Club and the Black Cat are an embarrassment of riches, and it often feels like we have to travel down here for a lot of the bands we want to see. I love the Ottobar to pieces, but it definitely plays second fiddle to the 9:30 and Black Cat. Really, it's just a case of bands hitting different markets on different tour legs. Titus Andronicus definitely played D.C. at least once last year, and Jeff Mangum eventually played a few shows at the Lincoln Theatre earlier this year. I'm sure Malkmus et. al will find their way to D.C. soon enough.

My family will be staying in Alexandria over the weekend to attend a funeral on Monday. Is there anything family friendly going on that might provide a diversion?

As a matter of fact, Saturday is the Alexandria St. Patrick's Day Parade! Look for tons of bagpipers, Irish dancing and all kind of other festivities. I know it might seem early for St. Patrick's Day, but seems like it might be the perfect diversion.

Mine needs some revamping . . . Any recommendations for stylists in the DC area who could help me give my wardrobe spring cleaning/kick in the $%#?

I would suggest researching and following some local style bloggers to get a sense of what others are doing to revamp their looks.  It costs nothing. Katie Warren's blog is gaining plenty of momentum and inspiring women in the area to take more risks.  check her out  If you are a guy, visit the Hugh and Crye blog and learn how important it is to build your new wardrobe around shirts that fit very well.  the team behind the local shop can get you headed in the right direction.

Thanks so much for playing. For the winner of today's chat, we like the daring chatter who suggested the most fashionable intersection was in Arlington. You've won those tickets; just e-mail me at and we'll get you set up with the tix. Thanks, and see you next Thursday at 1 p.m.

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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.
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