The Washington Post

Got Plans? - Memorial Day

May 27, 2010

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun on Thursday, May 20, at 1 p.m. ET.

Afternoon chatters. We hope many of you are getting an early start on your holiday weekend, because the Gurus certainly are, Rhome and Fritz are have both skipped town and left us behind to fill some very big shoes. Those of still stuck in the office will do our best to answer your questions and not get distracted by jealous thoughts of Mr. Hahn sitting on the beach with a dark n' stormy. Speaking of which, what are your plans for the long weekend?

Any update on when the H St Biergarten opens? Thanks!

Got a phone call from one of the parties involved yesterday, and he said the new set-in-stone, this-time-we-mean-it date is June 11 -- the start of the World Cup.  There's not much wiggle room there, with Germany playing on Sunday. We will see.

Hi. I live in DC, but I'm thinking about taking my boyfriend on the "monuments by moonlight" trolley tour. Do you think that this would be more "cheesy but fun/romantic" or "when will this be over?" If it tips the scales, he has a new camera that he's been looking for ways to use. Thanks!

All this talk of tipping scales makes it sound like you really want to do it, so I think you should (not to get all Hax on you or anything). Of course, if it were me, I might opt for the cheesy but fun/un-romantic and take a Segway tour.

So what is the scoop on the 9:30 anniversary show? Nothing listed in their website.

It's on Monday. It's free. Here's the lineup: Bob Mould, Ted Leo, The Evens, The Pietasters, The Slickee Boys, Trouble Funk, Clutch, The Psychedelic Furs, Tommy Keene, The Fleshtones, Tiny Desk Unit, Marti Jones & Don Dixon and Justin Jones. Henry Rollins will serve as host. 

How do you get your hands on tickets? Most of them will be awarded through a lottery system to people who are: members of the club's online forum, subscribers to the Volume newsletter or the e-mail list. Remaining tickets will be available on Monday. That will be a small number.

Hi Gurus! Do you know where I can find Corsendonk on tap in the DC area? Thanks in advance!

Channeling my inner Fritz here (we miss you Fritz!) but Brasserie Beck should have Corsendonk's Pater Noster, a dark, medium-bodied Belgian Dubbel, on draft. Worth pointing out that all drafts at Beck are half-price from 5 to 7 p.m. every day, and 10:30 p.m. to close Thursday-Saturday.

I'm planning a vacation on the Outer Banks this summer, and I'm already worrying about traffic between here and the Norfolk area. Google Maps says it's going to take us about six hours to get from downtown DC to the house we're renting on Hatteras Island. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep to that time, or maybe even improve it? Like, little used back roads we can jump onto if the interstate is backed up?

I made this trip last summer and my best advice: Leave at the crack of dawn -- or earlier. It's the only fool-proof plan I know of. Maybe the chatters have other ideas, though....

I'm doing this same trip Saturday morning.  Steph has the truth of it. I'm packing the car on Friday night and plan to be out the driveway between 4 and 5. And I'll still probably get stuck around Norfolk.

Where can I go for good half smokes? I like the ones from Ben's Chili Bowl they serve at Nats Park, but they're not quite like the ones I remember eating growing up. I've tried a couple from vendors by the Ellipse and around the American History museum with disappointing results. Where else should I look?

What about the original Ben's, I haven't had the ballpark version, so I don't know how they compare, but I'd have a hard time believing you could get them more authentic than that. If you want to try though you could check out those offered at Hard Times Cafe or the Beenie Weenie in Shirlington. In fact, that Beenie Weenie is worth the trip whether you are on a half smoke quest or not.

Is anything fun going on in the city? Is there a pool party at Capitol Skyline or anywhere else? Thanks.

Oh, so many pool parties. Saturday, it's BYT's Summer Camp "Camp"-themed bash at the Skyline. And Sunday it's the kickoff of the Spike'd Sundays parties at the pool (which is really a gem). Also Sunday parties start up again at the Liaison pool (the only one of these on a rooftop). If you don't want to pay that much to play -- all the local pools open for the summer this Saturday, too.

Second the Spike'd Sundays recommendation. I spoke with Spike yesterday and he had a lot of energy about it. Sounds like that may be the place to be on Sunday.

I'm coming into DC soon for a couple of job interviews (yay!) but nearly everyone I know in the city will be out of town while I am there. Any ideas for a Friday after 4pm for things to do, drink, or eat if I end up being solo after these interviews? It might be celebratory of things go well (fingers crossed!), or wallowing in my beer if things do not. I'll be near the Archives stop for my interviews and am staying near the Potomac stop and am pretty comfortable going anywhere bus or metro accessible.

Friday is the first installment of Jazz in the Garden, which is close to Archives and seems like a nice thing to do on your own -- take in some music, sip on a post-interview beverage. Good luck!

In case you might actually have heard - what are friendly bars where straight solos or friends with age range 40's & 50's (but not staid or stuffy) would enjoy hanging out for drink, snack, and chats? NOVA or DC, happy hour or not, any day.

Ok, I'm thinking you are looking for something a little sophisticated without being stuffy or overly loud, which is really a winning combination for any demographic.  In the city I like Tabard Inn, Churchkey and the Passenger, which meet all the criteria above. In Arlington I'm thinking Eat Bar, its cool and comfortable, but far enough off the Wilson/Clarendon strip that it avoids that area's rowdier clientele.

Some of us Gurus are getting up there, and we (okay, I mean me) actually prefer to hang out with an older crowd.  Adding to Justin's recs, I have to give a shout out to Black Fox Lounge in Dupont, which stays sophisticated even on Friday and Saturday nights with good cocktails and laid-back live jazz. Quill Lounge at the Jefferson Hotel is homey (but pricey). And wine bars are always a good bet -- Veritas and  Proof in the city work in a pinch, and Screwtop in Arlington could, too. But I have to say, I've noticed that when I'm out, a lot of the people who are at the hippest bars aren't in their 20s anymore. You could go almost anywhere (except maybe Wonderland, where I feel old).

Gurus, have you seen any bros icing bros at D.C. bars? (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this website: Do you know of any bars that sell Smirnoff Ice? I'm looking to "surprise" a few of my friends. Thanks, Bro who wants to ice Bros

The Bro I know who Ices Bros is Malitz. Malitz, where do you go?

Hi Gurus! Our Sunday afternoon plans fell through, so now we're at a loose end -- is there anything awesome yet not insanely crowded going on this Sunday that we could hang out at? Good beer/food a plus! Thanks!

How about a block party in Chinatown? Clothing label Durkl is throwing a shindig behind their headquarters at Fifth and I Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. What to expect:  three grills if you want to cook your own burgers or dogs, food vendors (Fojol, etc.) if not. Plus music. Lots of music by local DJs you've heard of: Will Eastman, Nouveau Riche, etc. If I were you, I'd pack a bocce set and make a day of it.

Do you have any information about the dress rehersal for the Memorial Day concert on the Capitol lawn?

The dress rehearsal info is the same as the real thing. Gates open to the public on Saturday at 5 p.m. and the concert begins at 8 p.m. All of the same security measures will be in place.

can you recommend a cool place in dupont w/ a rooftop deck and/or patio? thx! scott

Can you make this date on a Sunday? The Beacon Hotel rooftop is a great place to spend a Sunday; there have been summer parties there for the past two years with great DJs and no cover. The parties start early -- 5 p.m. this Sunday -- so if all goes well, you can move things along to dinner from there.

We're taking metro to the Reverend Horton Heat show Saturday and we're looking for a place to meet up with friends before the show, we do want to eat, but nothing fancy, just beer and burgers. Any Ideas? I haven't been to the 9:30 Club in years so I'm somewhat out of the loop. Thanks!

Not long ago I would have said Solly's without hesitation, but I believe their kitchen has gone dark. Fortunately you can do a lot worse than the burgers downstairs at DC9.

Anyone besides me upset about the DC Jazz Fest? Used to be Duke Ellington Jazz Fest, and the final concert was at Sylvan Theater in the fall. The festival moved to June last year, and this year the final concert is INSIDE at Lisner. BOO HISS

I'm a little bummed about the name change. The Duke is a D.C. icon, for sure; but I get it, I guess. There are a lot of musicians, a lot of styles, and "DC Jazz Fest" does sound more inclusive. As for the outdoor concert moving inside -- it feels like Murphy's Law around here that any free, outdoor mega-concert must occur during a torrential rain. I'm glad it's indoors. That way it can't be canceled.

Any ideas of local happenings (memorial day festivities) for the few not traveling to Dewey this weekend?

You have all kinds of options: Saturday marks the first installment of the Corcoran's Free Summer Saturdays, and on Sunday you have the option of either the Summer Blast Off at Wolf Trap or the Memorial Day Concert. You can also catch massive neighborhood festivals in Vienna and Rockville all weekend long.

Lets say someone is going to put off the sauce for a while. Do you have any recommendations for bars with good 'mocktails'? I guess this would apply to designated drivers, preggers, etc. too. Thanks.

Since Fritz is en route to the beach, let me pass along his words of wisdom via a story about non-alcoholic beverages he wrote last year when he went off the sauce for two whole weeks. I know -- we couldn't believe it, either.

Hi GOGs -- For my wife's birthday, I am throwing her a dessert + wine party. I'm willing to drive anywhere in the DMV area for her -- do you have any recommendations for where to get killer desserts? Bonuses for chocolate and apple, preferably not cupcakes. Thanks!

Drive anywhere? How about two suburban locations on opposite sides of the city:  Capital City Cheesecake in Takoma Park for miniature, hand-made  cheesecakes and Artisan Confections in Clarendon for their beautiful and tasty chocolates.

I heard about a wine tasting in Mt. Airy, MD on Sunday but I cant seem to find a website or any detailed information. Do you know about this and can you direct me to a website?

I know that Black Ankle is Mt. Airy -- great wines, nice location. There is an event tomorrow night that sounds amazing; on Sunday, there's a $40 tasting. Linganore Winecellars (which really specializes in sweet dessert wines) is having a Caribbean Wine Festival this Saturday and Sunday. Maybe it's one of those?

Can you tailgate at the new Nissan? I'm going to WMZQFest next weekend and it wouldn't be the same w/o hanging out in the parking lot beforehand.

This came up a few weeks ago. The official policy is "no" but in reality it seems to be more "don't be an idiot." This was the best response we got on the topic:

"Seasoned vet here -- as long as you behave and look like you're old enough to drink, you won't be bothered. It's the beligerent teens pounding Natty Lite that draw the most attention."

It looks like it's going to rain continuously from tonight throughout tomorrow. What's the sculpture garden's policy on canceling the event?

Really? Ew. Jazz in the Garden turns into Jazz in the Pavilion Cafe when it rains.

"Google Maps says it's going to take us about six hours to get from downtown DC to the house we're renting on Hatteras Island." Don't forget that Hatteras Island is a good hour's drive AFTER you get down there to the bigger island. 5 hours is *great* time for that drive.

Pearls of wisdom for the person headed to the Outer Banks.

What bars in DC serve this delightful refreshment?

Plenty of places serve a good Dark 'N Stormy, but if you're a discerning palate, your best bets are the Islander and Ceiba.

Hi Gurus! Was wondering.. do you know of any way to get to Ocean City via a direct bus or rideshare? I know there is Greyhound, but that's very indirect. I think the "Rehobus" is defunct, right? Thanks!

It's not quite Ocean City but the folks at DC2NY are running daily bus service to Dewey and Rehoboth beginning tomorrow.  $35 each way. The first pick-up is tomorrow:  Dupont Circle at 5:30 p.m. and Union Station at 6 p.m. If that's too soon, you can catch the 7:30/8 a.m. departure Saturday and Sunday. I'm thinking that's close enough if you're dying to get to O.C. this weekend, right?

Hey gurus! So, has Buddha Bar officially opened? If so, what type of attire is appropriate there?

Yup, Buddha Bar is open for business. It's a lounge, which means it's always a good idea to dress up, but make sure your shoes are comfy. It's new, so the lines to get in are still really long.

GOGS, Will it be possible to avoid spoilers of world cup games for those of us who are always on social media sites? This was not so much of an issue last world cup as technology has allowed so much up to the second updates. Facebook should make a blocker for your feed if it contains any world cup information. Do I just avoid all sites until I watch the games on DVR when I get home?

We here at the Post are in luck: the Sports department just moved next to us in the newsroom so we'll have full view of their flat-screens during the World Cup. Having said that, I think your biggest challenge is going to be avoiding those friends of yours who will update their Facebook/Twitter profiles with things like "WOW! MESSI!" etc. You should un-friend this type of person immediately.

On Twitter, etc. I'd just recommend you un-follow any real-time World Cup feeds. Not sure what the ESPNs are going to do about posting spoilers, but I think for certain games it's going to be tough to avoid.

What is the requirement to use the local D.C. pools? I am a resident of D.C. for the summer only. I have my Pepco bill or Comcast bill but I won't have a D.C. license. What can I do?

Student IDs for a local university or a Pepco or Comcast bill with your name on it will work -- I've seen it with my own eyes. But it never hurts to bring the $3-$4 required for non-residents, you know, just in case there's a misunderstanding (um, particularly surly person) at the counter.

I was a bar Monday night where it was half price burgers and reduced price beer. What is the tipping "rule" when food/drink is discounted?

One of my best friends was a cocktail waitress at Rock Bottom, and she would get pretty surly on Wednesday nights when people tipped on the discounted total. When you think about it, it's the same amount of work whether it's discounted or not (and sometimes more work because of the cheap beer-loving crowds), so I personally always tip on the non-discount total.

Gurus, A couple friends and I want to have a BBQ this weekend. We are all apartment dwellers with no yards, patios, grills, etc. Sad, right? So, I'm looking for some park in the area (have car - will travel!) with public BBQ grills that we can snag. Would love it if there were also space to play lasso golf/bocce, picnic tables, and no laws against bringing in beer. However, we're flexible about all of those requirements. I was thinking somewhere with a set-up like Great Falls (VA side), which is not out of the question, but was hoping for some more options as that's the ONLY option I've come up with yet. Thank you!!

Well, I am not going to be able to help you with the no laws against bringing in beer thing, governments tend to be pretty picky about that on public property. There are plenty of local parks that have public grills, picnic tables and activities though. I like Cabin John in Maryland and Virginia Highlands Park on the other side of the river.

leave at 4 or 5 a.m. - that's what we always do. no traffic until we hit the actual island, and even then its not bad. plus we get there early enough to get a good beach day in.

Another early riser....

"As for the outdoor concert moving inside -- it feels like Murphy's Law around here that any free, outdoor mega-concert must occur during a torrential rain. I'm glad it's indoors. That way it can't be canceled." You must not have gone last year - it was a scorcher. Some folks brought beach umbrellas.

Yeah. I saw the crowds. I mean rain generally messes with our good times -- in 2006 rain washed out the Mall concert, but opera on the Mall, Earth Day on the Mall, storms have plagued them all.

Isn't the whole point of happy hours to get more business in? Theoretically, I would guess it would balance out right? If there weren't a food/drink special, there wouldn't be as many people there, thus less tips. But with the specials, the tips would be slightly less, but there would be more people tipping. Sounds like having your cake and eating the whole darn thing!

I was anticipating some backlash. Here's another opinion on tipping on discounted food and drinks.

I have a 4 and a 1 year old. I live in Fairfax and was wondering any fun places to visit in the area. I had thought of a small picnic at the Burke Lake Park, but what other outdoors activities do you suggest in this area?

Its a little closer-in than Burke Lake, but a walk down the boardwalk through the wetlands at Huntley Meadows park is a really interesting way to spend an afternoon outdoors.

My wife gets back into town from being away for a couple of weeks on assignment. [On the plus side, she got to hang out for the Idol finale.] She'll be flying back from LA on Saturday, probably getting in after 10. Any thoughts for a good late night meal/date?

If you can handle some almost-but-not-quite-too-loud downtempo techno playing during your meal, the new Buddha Bar in Penn Quarter serves decent Asian fusion into the night.

Hey Gurus! Your help is needed. My 17-year-old step-daughter is coming up (from AL) for a visit June 2-6. We know the basic touristy stuff to show her, but would like to tailor it more to her interests. She's into photography, new/local bands, and lived in Germany most of her life, so she's into German food. Are there any must-see photography exhibits in town? Any good German restaruants? Any other ideas to keep her entertained? Thanks in advance!!

Oh bad timing... I was all set to tell you about the really cool photography exhibit at the Goethe-Institut but alas, it doesn't open until June 17. But it looks like they will have a really cool-sounding EuroAsiaShorts film festival on June 2... and it's free!

As for food, my favorite German restaurant is Doner Bistro in Leesburg. If you are on the other side of the river, Tom Sietsema gave a good review to Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown.

Last thing, the German-American Heritage Museum recently opened on Sixth Street NW. I haven't checked it out, but it might be worth a visit.

is there a place i can go and find out where the public pools are in dc (specifically dupont)?

ta da! try Francis Pool. 

also we put together a list of best pools today!




Well, that's it for us today, thanks for chatting with us and we will see you next week.

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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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