Got Plans?

Jun 03, 2010

Got Plans?

Thanks for joining us today. A couple of announcements. First up: We're giving away a pair of VIP tickets to the Ebbitt Block Party on June 19, which includes entry into the super-exclusive VIP lounge, free food and drinks and reserved standing room for the live performances. All you have to do is write in and answer this question: What is the quintessential outdoor Washington activity and why?

Second piece of business is that the Post Hunt is going down this Sunday at noon. And who wouldn't want to spend an afternoon with Weingarten and Dave Barry?

Okay, on with the show.... obviously exiting a metro station by walking on the left side of the escalator while simultaneously eating a half smoke, listening to chuck brown on your ipod, and trying to unload your hastily purchased nationals tickets for tomorrow night on your blackberry so you can go to jazz in the garden.

I love this. Just don't eat your half smoke IN the station, or risk getting a ticket!

Hey Fritz, I was walking down M Street and saw what looked like a new bar called, "The Mighty Pint." I cant find it listed in the Going Out Guide. Have you been there yet? Is it worth trying? Thanks!

Yeah, I've been on vacation for the last week+ and am just getting back into the swing of things. The Mighty Pint opened Friday night in the old Madhatter space. It's owned by one of the guys behind 19th, the golf-themed bar across from the world bank, and several other partners.

I just made my first visit last night, and it's kind of a cleaned-up, stripped-down Madhatter. They exposed the brick on the walls, put in new benches and flatscreens and really opened the place up. (The upstairs is almost unrecognizable.)

The gimmick is that all beers and mixed drinks come in pint glasses -- they even sell 16-ounce PBR cans.  Daily happy hour doesn't sound too bad: from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.,$3 Miller Lite pints and $6 pints of any mixed drink you want.

I have a friend visting me this weekend from out of town. I was thinking of taking her to the Dupont/Kalorama Musuem Walk Tour on Sunday. Any helpful tips? Does it involve a lot of walking?

It involves as much walking as you want -- you certainly don't have to go to all 10 museums. If I weren't leaving town, then my two must-hit stops would be the Celebration of Textiles at the Textile Museum and Jazz day at the Phillips. I should also mention that there will be free shuttles stopping by the different locations.

Soon it will be going to a Nationals game to see Stephen Strasburg pitch but for now, it is visiting the Albert Einstein Memorial downtown - such a hidden gem that no one knows about!

You're good -- that is one of my favorite spots in D.C.

What do you know about Meridian Pint and will it be open for the World Cup?

Sadly, it looks like Meridian Pint will NOT be open for the World Cup. Spoke to owner John Andrade (who also owns Asylum) and he says the American beer bar probably will be open by the 17th or 18th of June, but not in time for the first batch of games.

As for what to expect: Two floors, a great All-American beer list with a focus on smaller breweries like the Bruery, Lagunitas, Green Flash, Stone, etc.

Up until last year, I would have said the Shakespeare Free For All at Carter Barron. Now, I'd have to go with any of the free NSO concerts on the Mall or Screen on the Green!

As someone who grew up here, I was annoyed/disappointed by the  Free For All moving indoors. But I think Screen on the Green has replaced it in some people's hearts. Who doesn't love Bond films under the stars with a [flask containing a] dry martini?

What time is optimal to get to Capitol Skyline on Sundays for Spike's pool party?

I haven't been this year -- was out of town for the first one on Sunday -- but last year you were fine if you got there by 1. Plenty of time for grilling and swimming.

Anyone go on Sunday and want to share details?

I wouldn't suggest that everyone in DC does this, but whenever friends visit from out of town for the first time, or have already done the regular touristy stuff, I take them to Gravelly Point to watch the planes take off and land overhead, especially near dusk. It's like being in Wayne's World!


Please post this if you can. Thanks.

Sure thing. For those who haven't heard, D.C. United midfielder Devon McTavish announced that he has Crohn's Disease, and the team is holding a charity fundraiser at BlackFinn downtown tonight. $10 donation to charity is good for two drinks and a meet-and-greet with the team.

Jazz at the Sculpture Garden! Especially when you sneak in your own wine and a freak rainstorm comes out of the blue to ruin your picnic.

There's been a recurring theme these past few weeks of people wanting to drink in places they aren't technically allowed to drink. Should we be worried?

Quintessential outdoor activity: Complaining about how hot it is, rubbing your neck, looking wilted, then dashing back inside. That, or an ice bucket full of beers, a balcony, and maybe a deck of cards.

I'd add women who incessantly fan themselves while waiting for Metro, then continue on the train/bus as well.

Hi GOG-ers! I have a friend here for a couple of weeks visiting and we want to show him the best of DC this weekend! We are twenty-somethings and are going to Jazz at the Hirshorn, First Friday at Hilyer Art Space, and Eastern Market on Saturday. Do you have any other suggestions for fun DC events or places to go? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Have a great weekend! Thanks!

Funny you should ask! Tomorrow's cover story in Weekend is all about our favorite kind of tourists -- our friends and family -- and the coolest places to take them. Great call on Jazz in the Garden (it's at the National Gallery of Art on Friday nights), and Hillyer is always fun.  If you go to Eastern Market, go early to eat pancakes at Market Lunch (a tradition). Since your friend is around for a while, I'd also add an outdoor screening to the mix -- NoMa Summer Screen has DJs, food and movies, the (music-themed) U Street Movie Series starts Tuesday, too.  If you want to hit a bar, I really like Churchkey in the middle of the day on a weekend -- sun shines through the window, but you get to be inside where it's air-conditioned (plus no line!). It opens at noon on weekends.  U Street Music Hall is great even if you don't drink -- it's the best new place for dancing, hands down. As far as museums, the daily tours at  American Art Museum are really a great way to get into the collection there.  I just took one and actually learned a lot about significant pieces I used to just walk right by.


I want to take my girlfriend to PX for her birthday - do I really need reservations? Their website is a little confusing about whether or not you need a reservation to just sit at the bar, instead of sitting in the blue room.

Yes, you should make reservations if you're going Thu-Sat. No standing is allowed, so once the bar and the couches are full, no one can enter. With a place like PX -- and a girlfriend's birthday -- I would rather be safe than sorry, you know?

Outdoor films are the quintessential DC activity-particularly SOTG! Reasons it's quintessential DC: SOTG is free, it's right in the heart of DC with views of Capitol, Mall, Washington Monument,etc., you see all ages and types of people, and there can be drinking and food involved if you really want to make it an enjoyable evening.

Screen on the Green remains king, but there are so many film festivals in Washington nowadays, it's almost possible to forget it exists sometimes. From U Street to the Capitol Riverfront to Strathmore and Arlington, there are literally hundreds of outdoor screenings this summer.

OK Fritz. I'll give you until next Thursday if you need it, but will you be compiling a list of soccer bars for the WC? I know Ghana Cafe for Ghana, but what about North Korea?

Yes. It's running in next Friday's Weekend section, so it should be up by chat time next week at the latest, and I'm pushing for even earlier. I just have to, you know, finish writing it first. North Korea is a tough one. (I would watch them play Argentina at El Patio, a notoriously good Argentine hangout in Rockville, though.)

Gurus - I need your help. My girlfriend is a big fan of "A Prairie Home Companion," and I just found out that Garrison Keillor and Co. are coming to Pier Six in Baltimore in September. However, there's a password to buy tickets, and I can't find what it is (or even where to look). Please help!

That password is only for the pre-sale, which lasts through today. Public on-sale for A Praire Home Companion begins at noon tomorrow. Check back then and you won't have to deal with a password. I'd be very surprised if you had any problems finding a pair of tickets tomorrow, since Garrison Keillor and Co. just did two shows at Wolf Trap in late May.

It's a toss up between hiking the Billy Goat (although to be honest, it's a bit better when it's cooler and less crowded), kayaking along the Potomac at night, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Marine Silent Drill team at Iwo Jima and Doggie Happy Hour. If I can combine it all into one (long) weekend, I'm a happy girl!

That sounds like one busy week. Just out of curiosity: Which doggie happy hour?

Dear GOGs, I think I've written 4 times in the last two months asking for information on bachelorette party ideas. I've tried to be witty, I've tried to be desperate, and so now I beg you to help. Here's the deal: I'm getting married this summer, my three best friends are getting married this summer/early fall, I'm invited to 11 weddings this year. I'm involved in 6 bachelorettes parties and I'm running out of ideas! Now, I know bachelorettes are annoying and I know Fritz isn't too keen on them but it's rite of passage (or so I've learned) and I need help!!!!

Well I can't say no to groveling, can I? Okay. Here are some ideas (that I'm totally stealing from the infinite bachelorette parties I'm going to this summer): Head to Alexandria for an afternoon at the Torpedo Factory followed by drinks at Chart House, then take a Water Taxi to the National Harbor for some dueling pianos. That is my approximate itinerary from last Saturday, and it was a success. Other thoughts: rent a bus and hit up some Virginia vineyards; if you aren't sure which ones to visit, check out Lavanya's top choices. Lastly, what about a goofy concert, dance party or comedy show? Follow it up with some bar-hopping and voila! You've got yourself a bachelorette party. I hope that helps!

Quintessential outdoor activity: Going for a run on the Mall followed by drinks at the Georgetown Waterfront while complaining about the tourists, the Metro, and Lauriol Plaza followed by hitting on someone on the back deck of Marvin by asking what they do for a living.

This sounds like a very, very Washingtonian experience.

When I have out of town guests I try to take them to the monuments at night. Really cool when they are all lit up and no one is around.

Yup. That's a good'un.

For mine, I'd add people watching downtown during lunchtime.  Who are these folks that still insist that DC isn't full of attractive people?

Folk Life Festival. Its every summer, always on the hottest days. Grilled meat on a stick, various free programs. Family friendly. Changes every year.

Thanks, Ballston Dude. We knew we could count on you.

Why, that would be sweating. It doesn't matter where you go or what you wear, the Washington humidity will attempt to beat you back and your clothes will be damp and your hair not the same as when you left the house. But you will be undeterred because DC offers the best in free concerts, park, waterfront and Mall activities. And there are too many boits and clubs and patios where refreshments and old/new friends can be found. I LOVE this city! I LOVE this city in summer!

Me, too!

Hi! I'm looking for a bar with dancing, but not a club, to celebrate an upcoming bachelorette party. We thought of 18th St. Lounge, but the bride has been there a million times. Other ideas were Public Bar and Fly Lounge. Something somewhat nice, but not too expensive, but also steering clear of the Tom Tom intern crowd. Any location in DC is fine. Thanks!

Depends what night of the week you want to go... I'd take Fly over Public, which does get a younger and intern-ier crowd. I'd also add toss Gazuza onto your list. Buddha Bar, too, even though it doesn't offer dancing.

Are there any local Portuguese bars or clubs where a new-to-DC Portuguese girl can watch the games with her people? :) If not, then any places where I can watch my guys dive left and right and not get heckled too much (because let's face it, we know they're going to do it)?

Last time around, there was a GREAT Portuguese crowd at a cafe/bar called Espresso in Manassas. Bit of a drive, but the atmosphere was worth it for this non-Portuguese soccer fan.

We did one last Saturday at Josephine Lounge. Was really well executed and the bride to be had a blast!

Bachelorette parties at Josephine have gotten mixed reviews from readers in the past, so good to hear yours went well.

So its been a mightly long time since we have been to Vintage Virginia - it may have been the one with the crazy hail storm that took down the tents. Anyway, I was wondering if it was still all that crowded. I remember all those arms reaching for a taste reminding me of Captain Nemo on the nautilus. Or, in a different direction, are their other wine festivals you guys perfer, with a more easy going, actually get a chance to consider the wine sort of approach?

This is a tough one. I feel like if you hit any festival, you're probably not going to see  much of that "consider the wine" approach. Crowds are kind of the price you pay. I have had some luck with the smaller festivals, the ones held by wineries. Tarara starts its summer concert series tomorrow night; I've asked plenty of questions about wine during a tasting festival there and gotten really thoughtful answers (though I'm pretty sure the other tasters wanted to kill me). Notaviva is planning a music-and-wine pairing event on June 26. And Bluemont has been doing live music on weekends as well.  The downside to visiting just one winery festival is that you won't get the variety you'll see at Vintage Virginia, or get to taste the extent of what Virginia wineries have been doing in recent years.

The one at the Hotel Monaco. Thursday it's mobbed, much quieter on Tuesdays. I do wish the table service was better but you can't beat the cheap drinks and $5 appetizer specials. I've also decided the best job in the world is the guy who fills the water bowls and hands out biscuits to the pups. My dog is convinced this man is Santa Claus/best human being EVER and I pale in comparison when he is near.

Monaco remains my favorite dog happy hour, though Argonaut and Cantina Marina are close behind.

And I don't even have a dog!

Early 30s couple. Broke. Any fun and cheap ideas for Saturday day or night? Thanks! We have very diverse interested and are open to all ideas!

Someone already brought this up, but I'd recommend checking out the Dupont Kalorama Museum Walk, or you could take advantage of free admission at the Corcoran, if you prefer. The WPArade is also Saturday down at the Riverfront, which should be a scene. You may want to check out Nightlife Agenda for some nighttime ideas -- the ice cream social and wild dance rumpus atComet Ping Pong sounds like fun.

Fritz - sorry if this is a plug and late... but it's a great cause and a pub you love. Having a benefit for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year Campaign tonight at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton. All bartender tips and $10 voluntary cover donations go to the LLS to help fight blood cancers. Live Irish, folk and rock music from a variety of artists starts at 7pm. Scotch tasting specials, happy hour prices, good food and draft beer on offer all night!

I can totally get behind anything that involves charity and Scotch tasting.

Only because one of the girls knows the promoter and the other the GM Piero we went to FLY on a Friday and had a blast. They gave us a table no minimum and a few bottles of champagne(FREE!). Also the music was great to dance to. Lot's of Top 40 and 80's.

Here's another suggestion for the desperate bachelorette.

Hi gurus! Do you have any recommendations for bars in D.C. where I can reserve a room on a Saturday night in August for a birthday gathering for 20-30 people? I's early, but I'm a planner! I'm thinking about covering a couple hours of open bar for friends, and am looking for a place where people can talk, but later becomes livelier with music.

Oooh, Saturday night makes it tricky, unless you want to start early  (Say, 7-8 p.m.)  or pay a lot of money. Places where I've been to privatish Saturday night parties that rocked include Science Club, the Reef (the first floor level, not the fish level or rooftop), Bourbon Adams Morgan, Cantina Marina, Cabanas at the Georgetown Waterfront...

It's people-watching. It's like a sport in DC. You've got your family of 4 from Kansas who can't figure out the Metro, your politicos, your celebs in town to stump for their causes, your locals who are too cool for all of the aforementioned...and it can happen anywhere. Pick a patio, grab a drink, and wait for the crazy, my friends.


Any ideas for Blues music for my visiting brother this weekend? Logan/U Street locations a plus.

Wayne Wilentz on Sunday at U-Topia would be my top rec. I'd also throw in Dr. Blues at the New Vegas Lounge for more Stax-ish blues.

Well, the classic DC outdoor activity USED to be going to Hains Point to picnic and hang out with "The Awakening." Or perhaps it was going to the Mall for the Beach Boys and fireworks on the 4th. Now I suppose it could be going out on the paddleboats. Hiking Rock Creek park? Walking through Congressional or Rock Creek Cemetery. Or my personal favorite - sitting on the front porch of a classic DC rowhouse with a cold drink and a bunch of friends, talking to neighbors and enjoying being right where you are.

Yeah, as I mentioned before, I found myself at the National Harbor last weekend. It was kind of cool to see the Awakening, but just not the same, you know?

Is the Hotel Monaco the one by the Verizon Ctr/Penn Quarter? Also how do you get there from Dupont Circle if you don't have a car? Will Taxi's in DC pick you up? I have a 40lb Poodle.

No, it's the one in Old Town Alexandria. Don't know of any doggie happy hours in Dupont offhand -- can anyone help?

No question, just wanted to say a quick thank you to the nice guy who paid my parking fee at the Kettler/Ballston Mall parking garage late last night when I stupidly didn't have enough cash! It was so random and nice! I'll make sure to pass along the good karma....

Got Plans? has officially turned into Missed Connections....

So most of the Arcade Fire tickets for other cities went on sale yesterday and sold out quickly, but the Merriweather date is still just "on sale soon". Any idea when I need to schedule myself out of all work meetings to have any hope of getting to the show?

I'm thinking they will be on sale next Friday. It's at Merriweather, so it's an IMP show. This week IMP had a Belle & Sebastian show to put on sale. Similar audiences, they don't want to lose any $$. That's my theory, at least. So leave your calendar open a week from Friday, I'd say.

I find the silent drill affecting and something "out of the ordinary" for visitors to DC. There are also some pretty good, inexpensive places to catch a dinner or drinks around that neighborhood. It's Metro accessible with a bit of walking. Something to put on the list for out-of-towners (or in-towners for that matter).

Couple that with Eastern Market, browsing the triple-stacked shelves at Capitol Hill Books, dinner at Matchbox, wrap it up with Belgian beers on the patio at Belga Cafe or the back patio at Lola's, and you have a great summer night.

Thank you for posting the pool guide. I wanted to find out whether any of the DC pools would be conducive to swimming laps (rather than lounging around) - are they super busy weekday afternoons? Thanks!

I just hit the pool this weekend myself.  For laps, I really think East Potomac is the best -- it's quiet, serious and long. But I was at Francis Pool this weekend, and there were a couple of lap lanes there, too (is that what you call them? I'm more a pool-goer than a swimmer). It was pretty crowded; I personally couldn't imagine getting in a workout. One note: Be sure to check the hours - the pools  are open only weekends till  June 20. So you can't swim on a weekday (at an outdoor pool anyway) till after that.

This is why I hate this town.

Actually, I love doggie happy hours -- the dogs can be nicer than the people at most happy hours in this town.

Since summer has now officially come to DC, I'm in the mood for some beachy/nautically themed bars. The caveat is though, that I am also looking for somewhere with good happy hour specials. Know of Cantina Marina of course but any suggestions on other good summer spots?

It's not in D.C., but Pusser's, which is located right on the water in Annapolis, would top my list. Strong rum drinks,  an outdoor patio where you can tie up your boat... Actually, Naptown has a couple of good boating bars, including Boatyard Bar and Grill and Davis' Pub.

Does Fritz have a St. Bernard? One with a large barrel of brandy at all times draped around its neck.

The barrel would actually be full of bourbon.

But no, no pets.

I NEED some pancakes...for dinner...TONIGHT! Besides The Diner in AdMo, do you know of any places that are Metro accessible that serve breakfast all day???

Open City or Luna Grill should fit the bill.

A picnic at the Arboretum combines enjoying the beautiful outdoors with the relative serenity of a tourist-proof attraction. As a bonus, you can go to the little bonsai or tropical plant pavilions or the fern gully walk for total changes of pace, without having to break up the day. Outdoor heaven.

I love the Arboretum! There really are so many nooks to spend a little quiet time.

I think the best idea ever was the volunteering/charity bachelor party John Kelly did a column on. Seriously, you will bond, do good, and make a lasting and unique memory. Don't have time to find column--can you all link to it? It was last week.

Ta-da! That's a great suggestion.

You hate dogs, people who like dogs and happy hours? Or just one of those things? I'm used to people saying they "hate this town" in reference to summer tourism, politicos, lawyers, but not doggies!

Yeah, I agree 100 percent with this one. I would say "better doggie happy hours than baby happy hours," but that might get me into trouble.

When some relatives visited one summer they wanted to see a whole string of monuments in a row, right after I got off work. We did FDR, Korean War, I can't remember what else - basically a checkoff list and we spent maybe 5 minutes at each before rushing off the next. It was exhausting trying to pack it all in quickly during rush hour. One person drove and stayed in the car, and the rest of us ran to the monuments, running to the others within in walking distance, then running back to the car to move on. But the highlight of the evening was when a very low flying plane came by on its way to National. The relatives went nuts, thinking it was crashing.

This sounds like the "What NOT to do with tourists" answer.

Taking a long lunch break from work to sneak off to Hains Point to enjoy a cold lite beer from a plastic cup and a hot dog before hitting a couple of balls, all while feeling miles away from the office. There aren't many other cities where you could fit that in at lunch!

This is seriously good advice.

What/where is Meridian Pint?

Bar opening soon at the corner of 11th and Park in Columbia Heights.

The quintessential string of DC outdoor events: Playing kickball in the shadow of the Washington Monument (adult kickball started here and is now a national phenomenon), drinking too much beer at the team bar (undoubtedly a DC institution with a porch like Kelly's Irish Times or Adams Mill), grabbing a jumbo slice (legendary in DC), and running to catch the Metro before it closes on a weeknight.

You had me until the words "Jumbo Slice." Never, never do that on a weeknight. Or any night.

Have you gurus heard anything about possible locations for Lilith Fair?

Information keeps coming out and disappearing but I expect it to be at Merriweather. It's a largely Live Nation-promoted tour, but the local stop is one of the few non-Live Nation dates. At least that's what I remember reading recently. So that would lead me to believe it's a MPP thing. No word on tickets, etc. But Sarah McLachlan, Court Yard Hounds, Indigo Girls and Cat Power should all be playing.

Hi GoGs, I really need your help on this one. Long story short, my parents are having going through a rough period and (my mom is) possibly considering separation. My dad has been very obviously affected by this and has not been feeling very uplifted lately. So my brother and I have vowed to make this year's Father's Day the best yet. We usually go all out on Mother's Day and then when Father's Day rolls around it's really low key and nothing special. But we want to make my dad feel just as special as we do our mom. I'm at a loss for what we can do that day though. My dad is a real laid back guy who doesn't like a lot of fuss. He likes beer & music (classic rock, blues, jazz, bluegrass) and likes the outdoors. Are there any events going on that Sunday that you guys know of yet? Short of that, do you have any suggestions for things we could do/places we could go that would really make my dad feel like we took the time to plan something nice for him? My brother & I just want to let him know how much we love and appreciate him and that he deserves to have a good time too. Thanks so much!

Oh wow, I'm sorry. If he's a low-key beer-drinking guy, what about going to a Nationals game? You guys could get some good tickets and take in the game while enjoying each other's company. We'll be adding more events to the Going Out Guide as it gets closer to Father's Day, but you could look into this cruise as a potentially cool option.

Lavanya and I were just talking -- we like the sound of the Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue festival, which should be Dad Heaven, from the music down to the BBQs firing up. Spend the afternoon there, then get a boat from National Harbor to the Nationals game.

Really? What if it's late and you just got done playing darts and are drunk and starving? Those huge floppy slices in Adams Morgan often hit the spot for me.

I did my share of jumboslicing when I was like 22. But never again. (The fact they're like the most unhealthy food in the world doesn't hurt.)

Much better food at Shwarma King, Old City of Jerusalem, Astor (until 4 a.m. on Fri-Sat), etc.

I don't mind dogs, but I can't stand a lot of dog owners. Dogs are not people. They do not belong at people places, such as happy hours, restaurants, fireworks displays (they lose their MINDS), or Screen on the Green (last year an unleashed Labrador gobbled our dinner!). Moreover, having a large dog who needs a lot of exercise in a city apartment with no yard is just cruel. Of course, now all the rabid dog people will complain that I'm mean and would kick Fido and Fifi, but that's not the case. I like dogs, I had them growing up, but I don't have one now because it's not practical. I just take issue with owners who don't care for them properly.

That's fine. I agree with a lot of what you're saying here. But these dog-friendly happy hours, with treats and water for the dogs, and drinks for people, are targeted for dogs, and they're a great way for people with dogs (and for dogs themselves) to mix and mingle.

Thanks for playing, guys. You threw out some seriously awesome responses. The lucky winner is Logan Circle who picked running on the Mall, complaining about tourists and hitting on people at Marvin. Email us at events (at) for your tickets. See you guys 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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