The Washington Post

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed Washington restaurants, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

May 10, 2012

Got Plans? The Going Out Gurus discussed fashion, nightlife, weekend outings and more.

Hey chatters, welcome to this week's Got Plans? chat, in time to talk about this week's big issue, The Summer Movie Guide, with all the details on the new Batman flick "The Dark Knight Rises," the new Woody Allen/Italian excursion "To Rome With Love," and yes, "What to Expect When You're Expecting."  In another example of the important journalism that we do, we're also wondering, what is the cheapest beer you've had in the city, not on happy hour? Tell us in the chat.  Let's get started.

Gurus - Do you know if there will be any events in Washington D.C. to mark Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne - e.g., reception at the Embassy? Thanks!

The only official open-to-the-public event I've seen is this weekend, during the E.U. Open House.

Is there a list of restaurants that offer pre-theater dining?

We don't have a comprehensive list, but we do have an Editor's Picks list of pre-theater eats, which you can find here. And here are two dining lists specifically for restaurants near Howard Theatre and Studio Theatre, respectively, in case you're headed to either of those two.

What does buying a ticket get you over standing on the Mall for this show? Also doesn't four hours of listening to different versions of the same song seem a bit excessive?

It helps to think of the Song 1 A Happening event as not that different than a Hirshhorn After Hours. For those who know the drill: There will be cocktails, there will be pretty lights and performances and you also can go inside and check out the fun Suprasensorial show by night (I know I personally would like to lay in that bed room with the Jimi Hendrix music again, at night, after a few drinks). If that doesn't sound up your alley, then by all means, pack a picnic and check it out on Saturday night when it's quiet and you can see it in a more meditative way. 

So, are the embassies going to be completely overrun with folks this weekend? Are any especially beautiful to check out? Any recommendations are much appreciated!

I've been going to the EU Open Houses and Passport DC for years, and I've found that the best way to enjoy the day is to avoid the really popular embassies -- UK, Germany, France, Spain -- because of the soul-crushingly long lines. I've had more fun eating goulash at the Hungarian embassy, looking at photos of historic Lithuania at that country's embassy, or snacking on Portuguese treats. 

If you're going this year, my hot tips would be a rare chance to check out the Spanish Ambassador's old residence at 16th and Fuller streets and, if the weather report is to be believed, check out the rooftop deck at the House of Sweden. (Be warned, though, that lines for the Swedish embassy can be intense.)

Also: While the Belgian Embassy offers Belgian beer, it has been along the lines of Stella, Hoegaarden, Leffe -- stuff that you can drink on tap anywhere these days. Not worth waiting for, except for it's free.

Any used this outfit, if so any opinions? ... They run buses to Merriweather from Union Station and Dupont Circle and seem to offer a cheaper alternative to spending the night in a hotel in Columbia. I suppose I could just abstain from alcohol, but that's crazy talk.

I haven't used this service, but I'm all for anything that can get me to Merriweather without having to go straight edge for the night. Anyone tired Rock and Bus?

Gurus, I will have time for lunch and a museum with a friend in DC this Friday. Any great ideas? Also looking to close out with happy hour near Dupont before seeing Working.

Ooo, have fun at Working! Jealous. I don't know how you feel about Catalan surrealists, but I'm a huge fan, so I would recommend you check out the Joan Miro exhibit that just opened at the National Gallery of Art. Then maybe lunch at Fiola? They're doing three courses for $24 or $34 there. Or try Proof, where you get a choice of entree and glass of wine for $12. Doesn't get much better than that.

Have you guys heard anything about this? Fun? Worth going to - at least until Jazz in the Sculpture Garden starts? Thanks!!!

Yes, we're looking forward to this one over here. The Yards Park  itself is amazing -- and Jazz in the Garden doesn't have these waterfront views, or catering by Buzz Bakery and ChurchKey. Also, you can get in the water. Yup, this one is going to be the one to beat this summer. Here's a link to the (teeny-tiny) calendar of concerts.

Hi GOGs, When warm weather arrives I always get the craving for beer out of a can. Is there a place in DC/VA that carries a large selection of canned beers of the non-MillerCoors/non-Anheuser variety? Thank you!

I was at Red Derby's rooftop deck a few weeks ago, and they had a great variety beyond the usual Schlitz/PBR/Natty Boh cheapos, including a bunch of 21st Amendments, Oskar Blueses, all three DC Braus, etc. Same with the rooftop bar at Eventide.

Hi Gurus -- what bar or venue carries the full slate of La Liga matches? Gotta see the relegation battle between Rayo Vallecano and Granda on Sunday, and GolTV doesn't have it. A las armas!

Interesting question, but I'm afraid I don't have an answer -- all the usual places are only listing Madrida-Mallorca for Sunday.

Can any La Liga fans help?

Hey all, I'm kinda broke and not a huge hockey fan but it sounds like Saturday's game will be worth watching. Where can a girl go that's reasonable, not a fanatical fan bar but will still be a good spot to watch. Thanks for the suggestions! Sincerely, Trying to be a good Washingtonian

Duffy's is an awesome divey neighborhood pub that gets packed with hockey fans. I'd also suggest Touchdown on U Street -- there's a DC United viewing party starting at 4:30, so the place should be good and loud when the puck drops at 7:30.

Thinking about pre-theater dining, are there options for dinner prior to a performance at Arena Stage? I don't think that there is anything in the immediate area.

There is Station 4, which does offer a pre-theater menu and is barely more than a block from Arena Stage. And don't count out Cantina Marina, also not far. But personally, I do this: I eat in Chinatown/Penn Quarter, where the options are far more diverse, whether you want something high-end (Rasika has a pre-theater menu) or easy and cheap, like Hill Country; or good for groups, like Carmine's. Then I just hop on the green line from Archives and am at Arena in a few minutes flat. 

Rustico has a somewhat hidden stash of craft cans as well as 'college cans'. During happy hour, they are something like $3.50 and $2, respectively. Westover Market in Arlington also has a great selection to purchase.

This is a good idea -- sometimes I get so focused on the draft beer list that I forget to check out the cans. Thanks. (The college can list, btw, is hilariously bad, but it's still way cheaper than the $6 Jack Rose was charging for a can of Coors Light on its roof last night.)

DC-area art lovers, please share ... and come to the Gateway Arts District Open Studios day-- Saturday, May 12. In Hyattsville, North Brentwood, Brentwood, and Mount Rainier, Maryland, along Route 1 (Rhode Island Ave.). More than 70 artists. Studio tours 12-5; Afterparty/art opening 5:30-8. All welcome. See more info and map here: Plan your own personalized studio tour and find places to eat. Don't miss it--it's world-class art and great community. Invite your friends. There is also a farmer's market going on between 10 and 2 in the lot between the newly-painted old funeral home, which is at 3200 Rhode Island Avenue, and the Thrifty Car Rental at 3210 Rhode Island Avenue. Please share this, GOG; Pr. Geo County gets VERY short shrift as far as getting attention for positive things from the WaPo. Thanks! Sara, Brentwood MD

Happy to share! The Gateway Arts District has some of my favorite artists' studios. 

I (and many others) used Rock & Bus to get to/from the Sweetlife Festival. If I wanted to say something nice, I'd say that I eventually made it there, and only missed 3 acts and had one sweatshirt stolen from the "locked" bus. DO NOT RECOMMEND.

One experience...

My brother is graduating from CUA on Saturday and we plan to spend the afternoon celebrating. He wanted to escape the immediate Brookland area (and Silver Spring) so we made plans to go to Lauriol Plaza for a late lunch and margaritas before venturing up to Muzette to do karaoke. We made a reservation for 2, not realizing Muzette doesn't open until 5 p.m. We're worried the three-hour window will test the patience of the two youngest members of our 10-person party (both under 6). Is there anything happening (or an activity I'm forgetting) in that 18th Street Corridor or Dupont or U Street area that might help them pass the time or is our best bet to change our reservation? Thanks in advance!

Hmm... Adams Morgan is a playground for kids more your brother's age, but maybe not quite so awesome for the really little ones. That said, Lauriol is the kind of place where you want to relax for a while with one or three margaritas, so I wouldn't move your reservation too much later. Maybe 2:30 or 3?

Looking for somewhere for about 10 people that's low key, outdoors, and has beer for a Saturday afternoon. First thought was Biergarten Haus but they are already booked up - any other thoughts?!?! THANKS!

You could try getting to Standard as soon as it opens at noon (it always takes a little while for the neighborhood to wake up); or the roof at El Centro, which opens at 11 a.m., and stays pretty empty for a couple of hours before it gets going. If you wanted to stay near H Street, I'd definitely not count out Argonaut. The patio is super chilled-out. Other options on H, the patio at Queen Vic and the second level at TruOrleans.

I'm looking for a dance party like Fatback, but it's not the right weekend - anything similar happening in DC on Friday or Saturday night?

I'm looking forward to Hot Sauce at Montserrat House on Saturday: Kid Congo Powers (ex-Cramps/Nick Cave/Gun Club) is spinning a guest set of "'60s and '70s rock and soul," and if his sets I've seen at Comet Ping Pong are any indication, it's going to burn the dance floor down. Kid Congo's on first, and then DJ Rich Morel -- the excellent remixer who's one half of the Blowoff DJ team -- takes over. Doors at 10 p.m.

Saw this - what a disaster. Also this piece was written by my old Postie colleague in Style, Ally Schweitzer. So you know it's legit.  

Going on Saturday to celebrate 8th wedding anniversary. Are there any good blues bands playing?

Okay, so you're looking specifically for blues? Because Latin jazz legend Arturo Sandoval is playing at Blues Alley Saturday, which should be incredible. Also, you might want to consider checking out world funk ensemble Funk Ark at the Hamilton. If you're looking for something a little more casual, there's usually large crowds and good old-fashioned blues on the first level of Madam's Organ on Saturday nights. Happy anniversary!

Greetings gurus...whenever I'm in NYC, I make a late night pilgrimmage to Blue Ribbon for their roasted marrow bones with oxtail marmalade and parsley salad. I know the oxtail is their signature riff on the treat, and something I'm unlikely to find locally, but is there anywhere in the District or NoVa to go when I'm craving marrow?

I freaking love Blue Ribbon, and I don't eat nose or tail. It's incredible what they do with a tiny kitchen.

I'm in love with the offally delicious snacks at Green Pig Bistro in Clarendon -- pig ear tacos, slider-sized ox heart reubens, all washed down with great cocktails.

Also, you should check the daily chalkboards at the Queen Vic on H Street. Chef Ian Reeves loves to use blood sausage and organ meat. His oxtail pappardelle with bone marrow is one of my favorite dishes ever.

So I find myself in my 40s with all my friends married/settled/having babies, and yet the desire to see live music is still as strong as ever. And I like the rock and alternative stuff the kids are listening to these days, not the old hair bands of the 80s like so many of my middle-aged brethren. So how out of place would I be going solo to some of these gigs?

I do this all the time -- and so does David Malitz, and Chris Richards, and plenty of other people. So don't think twice about it.  I think serious music fans regularly do this here in D.C. (I'm not going to lie, sometimes I do this because I just want to watch the band, not socialize), particularly at DC9, the Black CatMontserrat House and Red Palace and Comet Ping Pong.  The 9:30 club, I've found is not so conducive to this; too many people who go to one or two shows a year and really make an event out of it. I usually just feel pathetic at those shows.

Thanks for the suggestions, but is there anywhere that won't be packed and loud? Crazy sports fans kinda freak me out

Yeah, but this is the Caps. Game 7. Do or die. The whole point of going out and watching the game in public is to be surrounded by people who are passionate. Otherwise, you might as well stay home and watch it on TV, you know?

Okay, so places that are affordable and won't be overrun. Tune Inn? Maddy's?

Are there any restaurants with good live bands and a dance floor? My husband and I are great dancers, but there's seems to be a lack of places to go in the DC area that aren't associated with dance studios.

What kind of band are you looking for? That will really help narrow it down. I'd start with the Carlyle Club in Alexandria, which has some great swing and blues bands.

Hi there. I'd like to go out with my four-year-old to say thanks for making me a mother. Any suggestions? Better in Maryland because of other things going on in the day. I saw the few puppet shows and butterflies at Brookside Gardens. Any there any movies out that are good for little kids? Any other ideas?

That's so adorable. You melted the hearts of the staffers here. I asked Amy Orndorff, resident kids/gardens guru, to tackle this, and here's what she said:  The butterflies at Brookside would be a great fit. Or, keeping with the nature theme, the aquarium in Baltimore would work. As far as plays go, "Five Little Monkeys" at Adventure Theater received a pretty good review. Plus they have two shows on Sunday.  We also have a weekly kids events newsletter, check out a couple of highlights (and sign up for the newsletter!) here.

I want to watch game 7 at a place that offers other items besides bar food. I'm tired my neighborhood bars & their burgers & wings. Can you please suggest a bar/restaurant in NoVa or DC that has plenty of tvs and good food?

We're all thinking Brasserie Beck for this one -- they're always on sports at the bar, and you can have a big old bowl of mussels, frites or beet salad while you watch. Also, check Jaleo, which will screen the game; and the new Green Pig Bistro, which also has refined food and TVs.

Lavante's in Dupont usually has La Liga on at the bar.

True. But from what I can tell -- and I've been doing research! -- just about every satellite channel that we can get in the U.S. is showing Real Madrid or Bilbao, so it's going to be tough to find this match.

Chez Billy's in Petworth has roasted marrow bone. Haven't tried it, but other food I've tried was good.

I KNEW we were forgetting  a place that had this. Thanks for the tip!

Dear GOG's, I am graduating Saturday with my masters degree, but I am at a loss for where to go with my parents and boyfriend afterward to celebrate. We will be eating mid-afternoon when the ceremonies end, and I am looking for something no more than $40/person in the DC/VA area. I was thinking Sequoia for the views, but I am allergic to seafood, which nixes a lot of their menu. Please help!! Thanks!

The views are about all that Sequoia has going for it, to be honest. Food is "eh" at best. If you want something nice and outdoors, what about the new rooftop restaurant area at Masa 14, the rooftop at Ardeo/Bardeo, or the rooftop at Eventide?

If you're feeling lucky, the patio area at Tabard Inn is my favorite celebratory spot in the city, and seating is first-come, first-served. There's often a long wait, though.

Restaurants editor Justin Rude says you should go to Sou'wester, the more casual dining spot at the Mandarin Oriental, for lunch with a fantastic view, but there is this caveat: Lunch is only served from 11:30 to 4, and then dinner service doesn't begin until 5:30.

I'm stuck attending an event with the in-laws at 4:00 at Sat in Bowie, I expect it will last a few hours. Any places near there you can suggest for catching the game?

DuClaw Brewpub in Bowie is where I'd go. Or Crazy Otto's, a short drive away in Crofton. Huge outdoor space there, and dirt-cheap drinks.

You do realize you are asking this in a public chat held by the Washington Post?

Ah, yes. We do frequently beat ourselves up for turning great, quiet little places into "sorry, we can't seat you till 2013"  places after shouting them out perhaps too often. But our point here was that it's the Caps, it's going to be packed anywhere.

Is it just me or does this girl seem seriously out of touch with what is involved in watching a Caps game?

Yeah, but as she says, she's trying to get into it. You have to give her props for that, at least.

Would the answer be different if I'm a woman?

Err, no.  I'm a woman, and I go to shows alone all the time. The of-the-moment indie bands this particular LW was asking about attract all sorts of people who are there to see music, plain and simple.

Thanks for all your questions, gang. We'll see you back here next week, hopefully after the Caps trounce the Rangers on Saturday night.

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.
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