Hi Gurus! Any word as to when Hank's on the Hill will open? (I would have thought summer was prime oyster-selling season...)
Both Hank's on the Hill and The Eddy (Gina Chersevani's new bar within the restaurant) will open July 23.
Hello GOGs. BF wants to go to an Irish pub tonight and I am pretty clueless. Which ones in Arlington have the best happy hour and non-Irish food choices? Thanks!
My favorite Irish pub in Arlington remains Ireland's Four Courts, for the discounted drinks at happy hour, the solid fish and chips and the multi-bar layout, which means you can move around easily. I'm also partial to Ri-Ra, which, despite being a chain, has a great little balcony above the bar where you can watch all the action below. It does get a little crowded, though.
On the Pike side of Arlington, the massive P. Brennan's can be hit-or-miss, but when it's on, it's a lot of fun.
Hi Gang, My S.O. and I have horrendous TV reception (and no cable). We'd love to watch some Olympics events at a bar in D.C.; do you know if any bars plan on showing events during the games? We'd really like to find somewhere to watch the table tennis or equestrian events, but that might be asking too much. Thanks!
I'm still working on the massive list of bars hosting parties and happy hours, but one place that sounds promising is Open City, which is turning its little sunroom/patio into a Olympics viewing pavilion, with TVs, food and drink specials, misting fans, etc.
The best part is that they'll let you make reservations for the broadcasts of events you don't want to miss, like table tennis.
I've been sick for a couple of weeks and have been cooped up at home. My partner has been a good sport and has been at home by my side. I'm finally feeling a bit better & desperately need to get out of the house today. Anything interesting & fun going on this evening? Bonus points if it's outdoors. I live in Fairfax, but I'm willing to drive anywhere! Thanks!
A couple of thoughts -- since the weather's unpredictable today, I might steer you away from a rooftop or outdoor event and toward a cool theater event, like "Beertown" at Woolly Mammoth tonight; you could get a head start nearby at Cuba Libre's Hemingway's birthday party. Both feel boozy, but high minded at the same time. Since the weather is supposed to improve this weekend, I'd add the Purcellville Wine and Food Festival on Saturday (the town is teeming with wineries, so it should be an intimate, very locavore experience), or BYT's event at the new Union Market space.
Hi Gurus! Due to the chance of rain in the weekend forecast, I have to change dinner plans for tomorrow night, and I need a little help. I am looking for a restaurant/bar ..thoughts on the places on H Street NE? We would prefer an older crowd (35+) and a menu with variety.....and good drinks! Thanks in advance!!
You've basically just described Boundary Road, which has a cool (and fast-changing) menu of small plates and one of the street's best cocktail lists. It's also worth trying to get into Atlas Room, where the food is sophisticated and modern and the cocktails are inventive twists on the classics.
Hi Gurus! I got engaged two weeks ago. YAY!! Unfortunately, since then my fiance and I have not had a chance to properly celebrate because of family commitments and work travel. We're finally both in town this weekend due to a last-minute schedule change. Add to that stressors of overeager parents. I'd like to plan something for my fiance but at this point, getting a Saturday evening reservation at say, Restaurant Eve, seems out of the question. I want to plan something in town (because of frequent travel lately). We're both into yummy food and drinks, and the outdoors (I am allergic to wine, however, so no winery tours). Any ideas for what we can do or places we can go Saturday late afternoon and/or evening? Thanks!
I previously asked about going to see live music alone at the smaller venues and you told me to check back in with my findings. I went to the Black Cat recently and I don't think any of the hipstersnappers (I say that with love!) noticed me in the least, and I was really, really glad I went because the band was fantastic. I've also found some meetup groups for indie and local music fans that I'm going to check out, so thanks for the encouragement!
That's what we're all about -- getting people out of the house to try new things. Thanks for sharing, and we're glad it all worked out.
My niece (5) and nephew (13) are coming to visit this weekend - what can we do that keeps us out of the heat? They've done the museums, but are there any special exhibitions? Will the mini-golf at the building museum (they've seen the legos before) be totally packed? Fun places to eat? Basically, help me entertain them all day Saturday!
Some advice from Amy Orndorff, the editor of the GOG Kids newsletter:
1. Get tickets to the "How to Train your Dragon Live Spectacular" at Verizon Center.
2. Spend the rest of the day around Chinatown either at the National Building Museum mini-golf course (Be sure to read Fritz's review first) at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (check out "The Art of Video Games") or at the National Portrait Gallery (go for a scavenger hunt through the Luce Foundation Center for American Art, one of my personal favorite places in the city)
3. As for food, there is a Potbellys, Matchbox, California Tortilla and Five Guys nearby. All are reasonably priced, kid-friendly and within walking distance. They should be safe bets for picky eaters.
We've gone to nearly all of the marquee museums in DC, both paid and free, but hope to check out some of the seldom-mentioned ones on our next trip to the District. Some of the ones we are considering are the Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, the Hillwood Estate, Dumbarton Oaks, the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum at the Patent Office in Alexandria. We are adults and would not have children with us. Are these worthwhile destinations? Can you suggest something better?
It's not really a museum, but man, I love the Frederick Douglass House in Anacostia -- it's a gorgeous mansion, on the top of a hill overlooking the city, and it's packed with artifacts from Douglass's life. They give great tours (the Obamas have even visited). I also think it might be fun to check out the Phillips during one of its events, which is a totally different way to experience the museum, with performances, food, drink and more. The next Phillips After 5 is Aug. 2. A fave of mine is the AU Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, which frequently has really modern work. Of course, there is Artisphere, which is really similar in terms of having really cool stuff from emerging artists. And finally, Stephanie recommends the Art Museum of the Americas, which has a great show of installations up right now.
Hi- I went to Good Stuff Eatery recently and found the burger and marshmallow milkshake to be "eh." Definitely not worth the price. Do you think I went on an off-night? Has the quality been better? Is it worth another shot?
I think it's just "eh" these days. On the Hill, you can get a better burger-and-shake combo at Ted's Bulletin.
I love the toasted marshmallow shake at Good Stuff by itself but would agree with Fritz and steer you toward Ted's if you're staying on Capitol Hill.
What is your favorite company to tube with?
I've gone with BTI in the past and had no complaints. Others might be just as good but it's the only one I can speak of with experience. Chatters, any other good Harper's Ferry tubing experiences?
I'm hearing great things about the mini golf setup at the Building Museum. Now, when is a good time for a group of 4 adults to go - like when won't it be swarmed with kids? thanks.
Everyone I know who has been to the mini-golf course has had the same experience as me: It's packed with kids and large family groups and lines. Either go when it opens at 10 a.m. or wait until one of the late-night events (July 26 and August 23), when the course will be open until 9 and I'm expecting the vibe to be more grown-up.
My friends are coming to DC for her birthday this weekend. She requested Asian. Since it's last minute, I suggested Little Serow and getting there early since they don't take reservations. Is there anywhere else I should recommend? Thanks!
I know it's not DC, but we all go there at least once during the summer, right? I've got to find some more veg-friendly places to eat when we go to the beach. You'd think that all people eat at the beach is steak and seafood from the options. Any suggestions? We've tried Nage, Hobos and the Green Man. But I'm afraid that might be it.
I haven't been this year, but Planet X Cafe is always a place to find cool vegetarian dishes in Rehoboth. I do also love Nage for whipping up dairy-free -- but there's really cool news this year! The awesome, super-veggie-friendly chef there, Hari Cameron, just opened a new restaurant, Muse, in Rehoboth and is pledging to continue to do vegetarian at the beach. Can't wait to try it.
Cheers Gurus, I was looking at beer selections in a store the other day and saw 6-packs of DC Brau Citizen for $12.99. I was floored. I thought it was a pale ale, not an IPA, not a Belgian, not one of those special 120min IPA (e.g., Dogfish Head), so I'm having trouble understanding the high cost of the brew. I know it's a local beer, which I would want to support but I think that price is crazy. Especially given that there are fantastic beers on the market in the 8 dollar price range. I'd love to have your thoughts on this. Many thanks
That's really high for Citizen (which is the Belgian ale, btw -- Public is the pale ale). I usually see it around $10-$10.99, which is about what it costs at the Brewery.
Most small breweries are raising prices these days. It's a complicated situation that involves hop shortages, transportation costs and other factors. It's getting to the point where $10-$12 is the norm for a six pack of a good microbrew, and while that's tough to swallow, I'd still rather pay that than $8 for a six pack of Amstel.
Hi Gurus, Does anyone have any information/thoughts on Signature's "Sizzling Summer Cabaret"? We're looking for a casual event to attend with some friends from out of town. Thanks!
I think the cabarets are a total "do"-- I went last summer, and I really love it as a casual, musical way to stay out of the heat in the summer -- pick whatever vibe suits you. Sondheim? They got it. I have to say, Carolyn Cole, a super-cute actress who starred in Signature's "Hairspray" (and won a Helen Hayes award for it) is on my list. She sings tonight and next Thursday. Her voice is chirpy and distinctive, and she's a ball of Bawston energy. (There's also a wine-tasting night.) The nice thing about Signature is you can make a night of it -- eat at Cheesetique or Aladdin, and head over after.
I've got an anniversary coming up, and my wife and I are thinking of taking the day off and doing a progressive meal through a neighborhood, probably starting around late lunch/early happy hour time, on a weekday. My first thought is Penn Quater: starting at Fiola's happy hour, moving to Rasika or Jaleo, then Proof or Passenger (if we make it that far); maybe Coco Sala if we get a sweettooth. I know I've picked some winner in this group, but any other successful gameplans of this kind, or any you'd want to try?
That's a pretty great list, and a technique I use pretty often. (Last night included Blackbyrd Warehouse, Bar Pilar, the Brixton and Lounge of III.)
I might swap Oyamel in for Rasika because it can be so hard to get a seat for a quick bite at Rasika.
If you're looking for another neighborhood, I might try 14th Street (happy hour at Masa 14, small plates at Bar Pilar, cocktails at Pearl Dive or a glass of wine at Cork) or Adams Morgan (Smoke and Barrel -> Mintwood Place -> Bourbon or Jack Rose).
Chatters: What's your favorite progressive three-stop meal?
A bar would be fun, but some tips on the TV - we don't have cable either and we were able to boost reception a lot with a $30 antenna. I think that NBC may be streaming events online too, and you can buy another cable to run from your computer to your TV. So, whatever's on your computer can be played on your TV.
Cheaper than ordering drinks at a bar during a marathon table tennis match, that's for sure.
I inherited my mother's collection of vintage clothing (some gorgeous pieces from the 1960s and '70s) and would like to sell it. I'd also like to sell my own collection of clothes from the 1920s through the 1950s. I'm sorry to part with all of it, but I have a preschooler and work at home and I just don't wear any of it anymore. It all needs to go back out into the world again. Any recommendations on places to contact? Thanks much.
I would try a few places -- there's Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown, which does carry older vintage, typically labels, however. There's Pretty People Vintage in Alexandria. And I'm dying to go check out the new Amalgamated Classic Clothing and Dry Goods (sounds totally like a typical twee Lavanya shop, haha) -- I just called and they do buy by appointment. I also might try getting in touch with the ladies of Butler and Claypool if the stuff is really cool. They might snap it up for one of their regular sales.
So if I wanted to take my husband to the Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick where should we go afterwards?
Hi Gurus, do you know of any small powerboat rentals (15'-19') nearby that won't break the bank? Looking for something within an hour of DC for a half day out on the water. Sailboat options seem to be pretty abundant, but neither of us know how to sail.
Wow, I know a lot about renting sailboats but nothing about power boats. Can any chatters help?
Grew up in the area and have worked here for 20+ yrs. Always like to try new places. Lately, everything seems tired. Maybe it's the heat. Have gotten a couple suggestions from your chat today (Phillips after 5, which I've done and would do again, and late-night putt-putt @NBM). Any hot new restaurants in Penn Quarter or Old Town that may have an outdoor/rooftop area? So bored of the same thing all the time....
Well, it's not Penn Quarter, but I just reviewed Pacifico Cantina on Barracks Row. Go for happy hour on the large rooftop deck, stay for the sunset. (That's about all that recommends it, unfortunately.)
If you want to be ahead of the curve, by the way, head to a preview of the refurbished Union Market on Saturday, with oysters, a "lamb bar," pop-up restaurants and, oh yes, a waterslide.
Hi Gurus! Looking for a group dinner location. Other places I love: Birch & Barley, Estadio, Graffiato. Thinking Pearl Dive, any thoughts or other suggestions? Thanks!
Oh, I'd totally consider Mintwood -- the food is great, and it's super cool. I've found that the barbecue at Smoke and Barrel is really refined (jalapeno gritcakes may be my new favorite food). Also, I've noticed that the Brixton's still building a dinner crowd, so it might be easy to squeeze in a group. I've heard nothing but good things about the fish and chips. And of course, there's the new Pig on 14th, too, where pork finds its way into everything, including dessert. Um, I do have to say, a couple of weeks ago, we heard from readers that Bandolero was incredibly hot inside -- and I'd confirm that is totally the case. So I might steer you away from that one.
Lunchbox, while good, is basically soup and sandwiches. If the chatter wants something more along the lines of a meal, consider the Wine Kitchen on Carroll Creek. Not affiliated with 'em. Voltaggio has also opened up a new place on East Street called Family Meal, it's like an upscale diner, but waits for a table can be long without a reservation.
Thanks. I thought about mentioning Family Meal, but, as you said, it's already got a reputation for lines.
My wife is turning 30 in a few weeks and said she would really like to go with a group of 10-15 to one of the local (MD or VA) vineyards for a wine tasting outing. I was wondering if you know which vineyards might be good for a group to taste some good wines and also offer food or music or anything else that may lend itself to the celebration.
Ah, I really recommend heading out to a place such as Purcellville, where you can hit maybe two or three wineries all within a couple of miles of each other -- I like Breaux for big groups, and Sunset Hills has a beautiful estate, and if you can squeeze in Notaviva, they frequently have music too. You can see a list of those wineries here. Sunset Hills and Doukenie do Friday night parties that are popular, but I prefer wineries by day. You can find a number of events here; just filter for Northern Virginia.
Went last night, and your review isn't correct. There was no drink special on Wednesdays. Glad I checked it out (I live around the corner) but if I am going to give the group money I'll spend it at Lola's or Boxcar instead.
I don't think I mentioned a Wednesday drink special in my review. There's the daily happy hour from 4-7, Monday is $5 margarita night, Sunday is $5 sangria, Tuesday is $1 off all tacos. (But then again, the happy hours at Pacifico have been wildly in flux. A month ago, it was half-price margaritas on Monday, which would make them $4, and half-price tacos on Tuesday, which made them two-for-$5. As you can see, prices are rising already.)
Take him to Firestone's for upscale pub food. Corned beef sandwich is great.
I called Brixton this week to see about a group dinner for 8 and the hostess told me that (a) they don't take reservations, and (b) they don't seat parties larger than 6. Just an FYI for the group dinner seeker.
Wow. Some of those tables on the second floor can definitely more than six people. I'll look into that. Thanks for the tip.
FYI, NBC is requiring you to have a cable package of some sort to live stream events (which is really annoying and stupid).
All the more reason to go out and watch the Olympics at a bar, but I can bet the cable companies would complain if NBC offered pay-level services for free online.
Hi great gurus! Where is your favorite venue to have a wedding (ceremony and reception) within 4 hours of DC? Any ideas? We can't decide on where to have our wedding next April. I like central VA...not too expensive...alot of activities for the weekend. Thanks guys! Love your chats!
Our folks have put together a cool gallery of wedding locations here in D.C. You might consider, as long as you're out in Virginia, looking into wineries for a venue -- near Charlottesville, folks can visit Skyline Drive, eat at great restaurants, and visit wineries and breweries when they're not enjoying your big day. Veritas is a beautiful estate - you might start there.
Hi GoGs- I was lucky enough to score tickets to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises tonight at the IMAX at the Natural History Museum. Any idea how late night shows work there? Nobody seems to be manning the phones, but I'm wondering what time doors might open, or how the queuing process might go. I'll probably be way too jacked up to sleep once the movie is over. Work is gonna suck tomorow. WHERE IS SHE?!?!
I have a message in to the Smithsonian folks asking about door times, but each theater has a specific entrance you'll want to use for after-hours showings: For Natual History, enter on Constitution Avenue; for Air and Space, enter on Indepdendence Avenue; use the main entrance at Udvar-Hazy. I would estimate that if you want prime seats, you should get there by 10:45 or so. I'll update the blog later today when I hear back from Smithsonian about door times.
Update: Just heard back from a Smithsonian rep. All Smithsonian IMAX theaters will open at 10 p.m. tonight. Queue accordingly.
What's the beer list like at DC Reynolds? I can't find it online. Thanks!
Got there just as it opened on Saturday - what a travesty. Kids screaming, swinging around gold clubs and damaging the holes, one kid causing a ball to zip through the hall (due to the half-pipe hell), miserable waits .... I gave up after eight of the twelve holes. Avoid, avoid, avoid.
Yeesh. I'm posting this as a public service. (I will say that my golf-date noticed that some of the holes were looking a little worse for wear from suspected kid-damage ON THE FIRST DAY.)
This will be my first time staying for a concert after the game! So how does this work? Does the band set up in the outfield and play? Do we have to stay in our seats or are we allowed on the field? Thanks!
Yep, they wheel a stage into the outfield and the band plays from there. You can watch from your seat 0r pay $20 for a field pass from the center field sales office if you want to get up close to Jakob Dylan and co.
Hi GOGs! We're planning a goodbye lunch for a coworker next week. Looking for a place that can take 10-15 people at lunch, somewhere between Penn Quarter and Union Station. Any suggestions? Thanks!
Family four adults, one 13 year old, will be in town for a Thursday night celebratory dinner. We are thinking that Bethesda would be the central location for Rockville, Silver spring, D.C. and Arlington. Is there any Ethiopian in the area? Or someplace where an adult can get fish and a real salad?
In Bethesda, I almost want to point you to Tandoori Nights, as long as you're looking for spice. For Ethiopian, you almost want to venture to Silver Spring, where there's Bete and Addis Ababa. If spice isn't the main requirement, anyone is interested in wine, Grapeseed, or Redwood.
Hi Gurus. I am 8 months pregnant, so I still have the killer days of August to suffer. While I'm pretty limited in how long I can stay outside and how much activity I can handle, I still want to do things! I'm getting bored! Can you recommend any activities/restaurants/anything that my husband and I can do to get us through these last few weeks? Thanks!
I asked GOG Editor and mother-of-two Anne Kenderdine for advice on this, seeing as how I have no experience with the subject. Here's her advice:
Hey, congratulations, and hats off to you for making it through this summer’s heat waves so far and for still wanting to go out. These last date-nights before baby comes are times you’ll relish. On one of the last nights before my first daughter was born, my husband and I went to Blue Duck Tavern and devoured the family-size ice cream bucket they serve for dessert. I also still remember hanging out at Churchkey a week before my second daughter arrived – and the staff there were totally chill when she came back for dinner as an infant as well. I’m sure others have mentioned it already, but we have lots of ideas for how to keep cool this summer. And Fritz is working on a story about house-made sodas that can be served with or without alcohol, so maybe he’ll chime with tips for you on drinks.
Oh, and on those sodas Anne mentioned. I love, love, love the kaffir lime and coconut soda at El Chucho -- and anything with berries and peppers there. The Green Pig Bistro in Arlington has some amazing house-made sodas. Try the hibiscus-lemon or the orange-vanilla-cream.
And my favorite soda right now is at Bourbon Steak, whose entry into the annual Rickey Month contest involves bourbon and a house-made dry cherry vanilla soda. It was so good I asked the bartender for a glass of the soda by itself -- kind of a less-sweet Cheerwine. I'm sure they'll do the same for you.
The person looking for wedding venues needs to specify price and number of people -- there are great venues in each category, but they vary widely depending on price (and, FWIW, I'm a wedding planner, and my absolute favorite venue is Glen Echo Park)
Glen Echo is a great idea. And thanks for the advice -- there are so many options, depending on the size of your party, and your group. We're not all Building Museum types.
Excitedly made dinner reservations at Graffiato to celebrate our anniversary. Turns out it's during RW week. Really worried this will ruin the experience. Should we cancel our reservations, and if so, are there any restaurants you recommend that don't participate or still provide good service/ambience during that time? Thanks!
I wouldn't worry about a place like Graffiato, honestly. The place is bustling with Clash songs and conversation even when it's not Restaurant Week (if you want a serene atmosphere, it's not the place you're looking for) and you don't have to order from the Restaurant Week menu if you're not so inclined (and I'd skip it since the sweet corn agnolotti isn't being offered).
I've been itching to flex my golfing skills at the NBM but I've been worried about the kid aspect and the poster who described what sounds like a nightmare (first thing on Saturday) is confirming my unfortunate suspicions. Woah, what is up with out-of-control kids? I'm not anti-kid at all but why can other countries raise civilized children? It should never have to be a question of is it okay to bring kids to a fine-dining establishment if kids weren't out-of-control in the first place.
So, you know how at nice restaurants, you feel like kids are invading your space? When it's mini-golf, the kids are probably thinking to themselves "Who let in all the uptight old people? And why are they so crabby?" Sorry, but minigolf, like Trix, is for kids. The Building Museum's course was even designed for little ones. We adults are invading their space, so we have to cut them a lot of slack. There are adult nights: On Thursday, July 26, and Thursday, August 23, the course will be open until 9 p.m., which should make it a great date-night/pre-happy hour destination.
Can y'all use your bully pulpit to inform DC bartenders about the supposedly official drink? I like bourbon rickeys and I've been to more than a few bars that either looked at me cross-eyed for not ordering gin or had no clue how to make them at all.
Sure. For good or bad, the gin rickey has become the standard rickey, the one that misinformed bartenders "learn" is the "real" rickey, the same way that some assume every martini is made with vodka. Either way, it's just 2 ounces of bourbon/gin, half a lime (with the shell dumped into the glass) topped with soda water. Period. (Unless it's rickey month when everything goes nuts and you get rickeys like I had last night at Pilar, topped with house-made lemon sorbet.)
...if you kids are going to cause a ruckus and have a track-record of damaging stuff...like...say....a putt-putt course -- please do the rest of us a favor and STAY THE HECK HOME. Signed, parent of 2 kids under 10, that hates kids with no manners and their associated parents.
Original poster (and the kids were swinging golf clubs, not gold clubs :-) - typo on my part). A lot of the problem comes from the fact that it's an enclosed space - your usual mini-golf operation is a lot more flexible and runs 18 holes, not 12, causing a massive pileup. I understand NBM's problem - they're working with the space they have - and the fact that this is really popular and gets money in the door. But just having adults-only times would be great.
I'll cosign on this.
I want to take my girlfriend out to celebrate an anniversary this weekend. She's lived in DC for years and has pretty much done it all. Any unique suggestions for something sweet and romantic we could do?
We'd normally suggest renting a lockhouse, but looks like there's not enough advance notice for that (unless you don't mind waiting till Aug. 3). On short notice like this -- how about an awesome romantic picnic that you make, full of things she likes (we won't tell if that happens to include a homemade sangria), in a remote spot where you won't be bothered. Fritz thinks Pierce Mill in Rock Creek Park would be a beautiful spot for that.
Lavanya, Thanks for your reply but I think it was a little harsh given that I said I am not anti-kid. I don't have a problem bringing children to fine-dining establishments, so long as the parents know how to manage if they get fussy. Destroying property that is being shared by adults and kids alike is not cool, as it isn't respectful, whether a kid or an adult does it.
Yeah, I get you. Sorry I was harsh. I am the aunt of a rowdy little guy -- he takes after his aunt, who still destroys things, mostly computers now -- and I was feeling defensive.