Got Plans?

Feb 10, 2011

The Going Out Guide staff discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun.

Welcome to another Thursday, chatters. Love is in the air, and boy, do we have a a great contest, and prize, for you today. 


We're looking for your best Valentine's Day one-liners -- you know, the sort of thing you'd find inscribed on one of those chalky candy hearts nobody likes -- but here's the catch: It has to be D.C. themed. "You are the Biden to my Obama" or some such. 


We'll pass the best of them along to the folks at The Buzz, who will turn the best submissions into digital Valentines. AND -- we'll reward the most creative among you with pairs of tickets to Sunday's Grand Tasting at the International Wine and Food Festival. Sound good? Good. 


And with that, let's get chatting.

I'm asking early because I will be in a meeting for part of the chat. A large group of people (around 30 total) are going out on Saturday for a friend's birthday. We have a private room reserved for dinner in Georgetown. Where can a group that large go after dinner in the Georgetown area? We are all mid-20's and looking for a vibe similar to Clarendon Ballroom (which was our first choice but they are closed for a private event on Saturday). Thanks!

There's nothing in Georgetown proper that's similar to the Ballroom. Rhino is a glorified sports bar with DJs on weekends. Mie N Yu has great DJs and dance music, but the lounge might be a little small for 30. You could mingle with Georgetown students and just-out-of-school types at Third Edition, which is a little younger than the Ballroom, but as close as you'll get to the same vibe. (I'm not even going to go there by mentioning McFadden's.)

Maybe you could go up to Glover Park and hit Gin and Tonic?

Hi! So I have lived here for a while and am pretty comfortable doing the show DC to an out of town visitor routine. But over President's Day weekend, I have a slightly more complicated task. A friend is coming to visit with her daughter (my goddaughter) who is 4 and, more significantly, is blind. Any suggestions for hands on type things she can do so that she could actually experience part of the city? Thanks!

Just about all the Smithsonians offer tours for people with disabilities, though just about all of them require advance notice. A really good place to stop would be the National Museum of Natural History which has information on touchable exhibits. It might also be nice to take her to a concert. Jammin' Java has kid-friendly shows just about every weekend.

I'd give up my seat on the Metro for you.

Add the words "during rush hour" and I think we may have a winner.

Gurus, I'm desperate! I need a place to unwind tonight. Do you know of any restaurants that offer 1/2 price bottles of wine on Thursdays in NOVA or DC?

It's tough to find half-price bottles of wine on a Thursday -- Monday through Wednesday? That's a different story. What about cheap glasses of wine during happy hour? All of Bistrot Lepic's wines by the glass are half-price tonight until 7 p.m. and Vinoteca's daily happy hour, from 5 to 7, means 20 wines are just $5 per glass. 

I think Masala Art does half-price Sundays-Thursdays. But man, just try to get a table there these days. Maybe you'll have luck because it's cold.

Hi Gurus- looking for a suggestion, since I'm a bit stumped. I'm going to be turning 30 later this month and I'm planning a little get together. But where? I've run through a list of ideas, but havent come up with a spot that fits all of what I'm looking for. I'd like to go somewhere that has tasty cocktails and isnt so loud that people can't chat- but also maybe have dancing later in the night. With a large-ish group, where does one go for this mix? I love places like Gibson, 1905, etc- but they obviously wont work for a group. I've done Russia House- which was great- but not sure I'd like to go to the same spot again. Not so much a big clubby gal- but not looking for a total dive either.... Any great ideas? Thanks!

I really feel like what you're asking for is one of the biggest gaps in the market right now -- a place with good drinks *and* a dance floor. (I also wish the Passenger would make use of the old Warehouse Theatre space more than a couple of times a year.)

The best I can propose, if you're going on Fri-Sat, is Bourbon in Adams Morgan. (The esteemed Rich Medina is spinning tonight if you need an excuse to check the place out.) There's that cool little loft for private conversations, a DJ spinning, downstairs if you need somewhere a little more quiet...

Hi guys. I've been invited to attend the Shakespeare Theatre's "mock trial", in which some of the Supreme Ct justices "try" a character from the theatre's current play. As I've never been before, I was wondering if anyone knows whether I'd appreciate it more if I attended the play first or if it doesn't matter if I don't see the performance until after the trial?

Lucky you! And good question. I personally love An Ideal Husband, so I would take any excuse to see it. I also think it would enhance the experience somewhat. If it's general background you're after and don't want to shell out the cash for theater tickets, you could always watch the movie version with Cate Blanchett and Rupert Everett, which is pretty adorable. STC is also hosting a free open rehearsal of the play on Feb. 27 -- another budget-friendly option.

My boyfriend made reservations for us this Saturday at Columbia Room - something we've been wanting to do for a while and are really looking forward to. We know the plates there are small and limited; where would you recommend for some food prior to our 9:00 reservations, within walking distance? Maybe someplace we don't need a reservation, but can just order some small plates at the bar. Thanks!

If it wasn't Valentine's Day weekend I'd say the bars Proof or Rasika -- I've eaten at both counters recently -- but they're going to be crowded. How about snacks at the bar at PS7's? And honestly, for no-reservation snacks, I'm a big fan of the Passenger's menu, especially the kimchi half-smoke.

If I had to be stuck in traffic for 13 hours with anyone, it would be you. Alternate: If I was in an unmoving traffic jam for 13 hours, I'd talk to you until my cell phone died.

The wounds from the most recent #snOMG debacle are still fresh, I see. 

Help! Going to see Madame Butterfly on the 26th at the Kennedy Center and have no idea what the appropriate attire is? Thanks!

This is a great question, because I've always found that the ballet and the opera do bring out a crowd that is more artsy and tends to dress  up a little more than someone there for, say, "South Pacific." You didn't say if you're a man or woman, so I'll address both.  A simple black (red, navy, gray, etc.) dress will be fine if you're a woman (velvet and sequins are a little much). Because it'll be an artsy crowd,  you can do a big chunky necklace or dazzling  accessory.  For men,  it's kind of funny, but I always see a lot of black turtlenecks. But you can get away with a blazer, too. Just spare everyone the jeans. 

I've lived in London, Boston, and Philadelphia, and, in each of those cities, I've found my "local" - that neighborhood bar or pub that's low-key, not too expensive, and serves decent-enough food to allow you to stay and drink all evening with friends, possibly with a game on in the background. I have yet to find such a place in DC, especially in my neighborhood (U Street). Any suggestions? It seems like everything's overly-crowded, overly-priced, and/or doesn't have food.

Glad to help -- have you tried American Ice Company? Bar Pilar? The Saloon? Stetson's?

I know what you mean. Dodge City often has the feel of a 'local' but, alas, there's no food. Same with Solly's. 

On a weeknight though, when you're sitting at the bar, American Ice Company comes pretty darn close. Super-friendly bartenders (Joe's the man), good beer list and tasty BBQ. 

I also really, really like Duffy's when I want sports, beer and food but don't want to be overwhelmed with huge crowds. 

Filibuster Me

Sounds a bit naughty. 

I've been eyeing you from across the aisle.

+1 for the Carville/Matalin quality. 

Hi Gurus, can you please help me make sense of the Nightlife Agenda? I am looking for something fun to do on Saturday night (DC or NOVA, metro-accessible) and was thinking live music, but don't know much about the music scene. I tend to listen to rock, but mostly I'm looking for a lively, good, fun crowd. Any suggestions for this Saturday night?

David highly recommended the double bill at the Rock and Roll Hotel in this week's Nightlife Agenda:
"If you're one of those types that enjoys seeing bands before they hit it big, spend this weekend at Rock & Roll Hotel. Of the five bands performing, there's a good chance at least one will quickly outgrow the venue. ... Abe Vigoda and Wild Nothing find inspiration in sounds from the '80s. The former plays sharp, keyboard-driven songs while the latter draws on the slinky sounds of vintage Cure. And don't forget opener Deleted Scenes, a consistently excellent local rock outfit set to make an impact with its upcoming second album."

It should be a lively crowd, especially with Deleted Scenes on the bill, and there's plenty else to do on H St. after the show -- DJs at Little Miss Whiskey's, anniversary party at the Pug, the usual mayhem that is Red Palace....

I have two daughters - 14 and 12 - who will be here this weekend for their monthly residence in Maryland. Being a dad (and therefore a tad dense) I'm having trouble coming up with ideas for things the three of us can do that aren't retreads from prior weekends, holidays, etc. They both like sports, both read a lot, and more or less retain the usual interest in fashion. Help me o great gurus - I beseech you in the name of all things tween!

Um, how about taking them to the Justin Bieber movie? Just kidding. (Though David Malitz said shrugged when asked about his review.) Anyway! So they like sports... how about a woman's basketball game at UMD? The lady Terps are ranked #11 and always put on a good show. Tickets aren't too expensive, either. If they are avid readers then consider a book talk at Politics and Prose or take them on a tour of the Library of Congress... they can even get a library card. If all else fails take them to get cupcakes and/or ice cream. Holly, any fashion suggestions?

Hi Gurus! Thanks to you, I have come to really appreciate DC in the 2.5 years I've lived here. Keep up the great work! My birthday is tomorrow, and I'm taking the day off to go to the Baltimore aquarium (kind of nerdy, I know, but better than sitting in the office all day). Can you suggest any good restaurants, cafes, etc., either near the aquarium or between there and DC where I could stop in for either lunch or a sweet treat? I don't mind going a little off the beaten path, but I do need to be back in the District by late afternoon. Thanks!

If by nerdy you mean awesome.

There are plenty of dining options in and around the Inner Harbor for you to choose from. If you feel like going the cafe route, let me suggest either Rosina Gourmet or Miss Shirley's Cafe. Both are a short walk away and excellent.

If you feel like having more of a sit-down dining experience, I always enjoy walking past President Street to Little Italy. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and they're all within a few blocks of each other.  I took a date to Amiccis recently and it was quite good.

Ideas for going out on a non-date? Not sure if I like the guy and want something that is not too serious but fun. Thanks Gurus!

So not exactly love at first sight, eh? What about bowling? It's buddy-buddy enough to not seem to date-y, but gives you plenty of time to get to know him. Fritz also just wrote about a brilliant Lego-themed date that could fit the bill -- schmoopy hand-holding not required.

I need you as desparately as the Corcoran needs urgent financial support

Good one. Though I'm a sucker for anything museum-related.

Hi Gurus! I just moved to town in December from a little bitty place you've never heard. I've always wanted to go dancing at a big dance club, like you see in movies about New York and LA. Is there any place like that around here? I'm almost 35, so would I be too old/out of place? I've never been to a 'club' and I don't drink, so it'd be a bit of an adventure for me....Thanks! And that's for the blog and this service, I'd be sitting in my new apartment every night unpacking if I didn't have it. :-)

You're looking for the "big club atmosphere" with the lasers and the hordes of people going nuts with their hands in the air and a DJ dropping thumping hit after hit? You want to pick a weekend to go to Glow, the weekly party at Fur. Local hotshot Dubfire is there next Saturday, and he's really, really skilled at getting the crowd moving. He's been in the DJ Magazine rankings of the world's top DJs year after year, and when I've seen him, he's torn the place up.

You've won a simple majority of my heart.

Democracy in motion. Can love be put up for a cloture vote? 

I hate having to submit this somewhat trivial question to the "going out" chat, but it's now our only option - and I'm desperate. I have a black tie (optional) event on Saturday night, and since I'm trying to watch my pennies, I'm re-purposing an old dress and accessories. I love the dress - essentially this one ( but with sleeves and a neckline closer to this one ( but for many reasons I'm not comfortable with bare arms. The event itself is not a huge deal, but I'd like to make sure I was comfortable enough to let loose and have some fun. I've looked for some kind of evening shrug/jacket but they're outrageously expensive and I wasn't sure where else to look because the bust of the dress is covered in micro sequins. Any suggestions?

If a shawl or gauzy wrap won't work, you might look for an evening shrug/bolero/cropped jacket somewhere a little more budget-friendly, like Forever 21, H&M, Urban Outfitters or Target.  Not sure what color your dress is, but here are some random picks: a faux-fur jacket from Forever 21 and one from Target, both of which you'll be able to repurpose after the event; a velvet bolero from Macy's. As a last-ditch effort, try Filene's, Loehmann's, Marshall's or the new Nordstrom Rack at Pentagon City.

Husband and I are going out Sunday evening and I am trying to find something cool to do. We don't want to do the typical, quiet romantic dinner. Food would be good, but a cool event, new activity, even a interesting class would be so much better. Got any ideas? We are in NOVA, but willing to drive just about anywhere.

Don' t know if film screenings are up your alley, but the National Gallery of Art is screening a bunch of French shorts for the Lutins du Court-Metrage film festival. The films have been named the best shorts of 2010. Why not watch some good cinema in the language of love? (With English subtitles). Oh, right--and it's free.

Hi, Gurus! My So and I love doing the Tabard Inn hot drinks thing, and were looking for something similar. We've been to the Round Robin, Quill, and Off the Record. Any other suggestions for yummy hot drinks in a quiet setting? Thank you!

Here's my list of the best hot cocktails in D.C. -- for something quiet, I'd guide you to Bourbon Steak or the Gibson.

"I would watch a Redskins game with you....and for dessert: the Wizards."

Well, at least you'd know that their love can endure the worst.

My love isn't Smithsonian - its going to cost you something.

This is especially appropriate given the debate that's currently raging at Guru headquarters over using Groupons on a date. Stay tuned for the verdict...

Trying Estadio saturday with some friends who are down from NYC. Where would you recommend for drinks before and casual lounge/fun scene after? Early 30s.

ChurchKey before for beers -- it should impress even jaded New Yorkers -- and drinks at Masa14 after. (Masa's not crazy lively on Saturdays, usually just busy, but the cocktails are good and I've been digging the weekend DJs.)

Hi! I'm meeting a girlfriend for dinner tomorrow night and we want to try someplace new-ish. She's a diva and likes a little bit of a scene, and we'll be in the general china town area. She used to love Indebleu and Zenga; is there anyplace new and cool? Thanks!

For stylish and fun I would go with either Kushi for authentic Japanese Izakaya cuisine (skewers, sushi and sake) or Proof for contemporary American and great wine and cocktails. Another option: Zola - I'm a fan of the chefs prix fixe menu.

U Street? what about Solly's?

I love Solly's; no food though. 

I'd like to get into your restricted airspace.


Hello, I am looking for something out of the ordinary to do this Valentines Day Weekend! This is the first Valentines Day my husband and I are celebrating as a married couple,and would like it to be a memory that last forever. Ofcourse,at the same time be budget friendly!

Congrats! Okay, on to the cynical stuff: Fritz just pooh-poohed these sorts of  "unrealistic expections" on this blog this week. Restaurants and bars tend to be crowded, and the service can feel "off" - maybe because you expect (and pay) so much.  Plus, it is a couple of days before Valentine's, so it might be hard at this point to have an amazing five-course dinner. I do know there are some spaces at winery wine and chocolate pairings,   if you guys wanted to venture out to the country and do a little sight-seeing. There's also a Food and Wine festival this weekend that you might do as a couple. Or if food and wine aren't quite your thing, Sunday is Tender Loin, an all slow-jams dance party thrown by the Fatback fellows.  Or perhaps you can still get into one of these yoga/massage classes for couples.  I'd think quirky and interesting really might make for a more memorable V-Day than a visit to Charlie Palmer.

Saturday night I'm going to a friend's birthday party at a club with a dress code. Most women will be in short skirts/dresses and stilettos. The shoes I want to wear are peep-toed and my skirt is above the knee. What do I wear to keep my legs warm? I don't like the idea of pantyhose with peep-toed shoes, but I also don't think footless leggings would look right. Do I go barelegged and freeze, or change my outfit and wear knee-high boots? Thanks for the advice.

It's supposed to be a teensy bit warmer this weekend, but if you're out in peep-toes and a miniskirt, 30 degrees doesn't feel much warmer than the usual 20 degrees. Here's what I'd do:  swap the peep-toes for regular pumps and add a pair of tights, or stick with the peep-toes and wear slim black pants instead of the skirt.

girl, you're a total ellipse of the heart.

You guys are killing this.

1. FDR said that if he were to have a monument in Washington, it should be no larger than his desk. He got his wish in 1965. Where is it? 2. Ronald Reagan was a "Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath." What other President is also?

1. It's right by the Archives on Pennsylvania Avenue. I love that monument.

2. I know all about the Order of the Bath, but I don't know the answer. I'll guess Eisenhower for his services as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II.

I am a recently single female coming out of a two year relationship, who is looking for somewhere this weekend that will have a great indie/educated vibe that won't entirely sour the single girls' Valentine's Day. I have amazing friends who are also single and looking to mingle, but we don't want to have to deal with the reminders of love everywhere while we're trying to find something new!

 Chad America's Valentine's Day Rock-and-Roll Dance Party is calling you. It's at the Black Cat, a lot of singles go, and there will be no slow jams --  it's garage and dirty rock.

I have a hunch there will be plenty of cute, smart boys/girls looking for love at Nerd Nite on Saturday. And you'll learn more about the Periodic Table, even if you don't find love. How sweet is that?

Meeting someone for a first date this Saturday afternoon and may want to do some kind of interesting activity after lunch (at noon). Any suggestions for what's going on this weekend that might fit the bill (nothing seriously romantic--just fun)? Thanks!

Where are you going to lunch? That could help narrow things down. A few ideas are the chocolate festival at the American Indian Museum or the new exhibit at the Textile Museum about recycled fabrics. Of course, if you're feeling adventurous, there's always Cupid's Undie Run (or just go to the spectator party).

Let me be your mama grizzly.

Too scary.

Holly--My boyfriend and I are doing dinner at one of my most favorite restaurants on Valentine's Day. We don't get to do many "date nights" so I'd like to make this special and get dressed up while at work so that I can surprise him when we meet for dinner. I want to wear something that is special but not too dressy since the restaurant isn't too fancy. I definitely want to wear a dress (but don't want to be cold). Suggestions?

If you want to minimize what you're stuck carrying around all day, I'd head to work in a figure-flattering dress (a sheath in a bold color is a good choice) with a blazer, tights and whatever footwear you're comfortable with for work (flats, pumps, boots). Before you head out on your date, ditch the  blazer at your desk, add some fun statement jewelry and freshen up your makeup. Bring some eye makeup remover to work and take off your workday shadow/mascara; start fresh with shadow, liner, newly-curled lashes (run the curler under hot water for the best results) and two coats of mascara. Add a swipe of lipstick or gloss in a bright shade that compliments your dress/skin tone, and you're good to go.

Men should not wear turtlenecks - ever!

If it's good enough for Bill Murray...

Without you, my heart is like a metro escator... broken.


Hi Gurus, need your help on this one. My boyfriend's birthday is coming up on Sunday, March 6th. I'd like to take him to a nice dinner followed by some live music (preferably jazz). Unfortunately, neither of us are interested in the act that night at Blues Alley and HR-57 is closed. What's a girl to do? Does Tabard Inn still have live jazz on Sunday nights? If so, what time should we get there to ensure a seat? Any other ideas?

Twins Jazz on U St usually has jazz on Sundays.  Normally, I would also recommend Bohemian Caverns (also on U St), but they don't have any music on Sundays in Feb. For the future, Capital Bop has a good/current jazz calendar. Other jazz on March 6: Kevin Pace Trio at Chef Geoff's, the Jolley Brothers at B. Smith's, a jam session with Peter Edelman at Columbia Station, and the Potomac Jazz Project at Laporta's in Alexandria. Hope that helps!

My mother has a birthday coming up next week, and I want to treat her to a fun activity instead of buying a normal gift. I was thinking of show tickets or a nice dinner for my whole family to do together (4 people total). Any suggestions?

Can you give us a little more info? If shows, what kinds of plays would your family enjoy? As far as restaurants, are there food restrictions? Also, what's your price range? Help us help you!

I'd drive the Balto-Washington Pike for you.

Don't know if this is better or worse than the MARC.

Any opening date information for Jakes American Grille on Connecticut across from Comet or the new Public in Tenley? The neighborhoods need them.

Public in Tenleytown should be open by the end of the month, according to the owners. I'm still trying to nail down a date on Jake's, though I'm intrigued about the cocktail menu coming from Gina Chersevani of PS7's.

Gurus, would you advise against paying for a first date with a Groupon? I go on a fair amount, and I don't mind treating...but, as you know, drinks and an app around here usually runs about $60. It adds up! Still, I'd like to put my best foot forward for a first impression.

If you're being chivalrous enough to pick up the tab, you can cover it however you like, I say. We're not all minted, and if they're going to be that fussy or put-off about you using a Groupon, it's probably a good time to ask yourself if you want to see them for Round Two or Three.

No round two for me I suppose... save your groupon for a later date. Please. And no gift cards either.

I'm with Alex. Although it might be nice to warn the girl that that's the reason you're picking a particular place, you know like, "Hey, I have a groupon to Archibald's; thought that would be the perfect excuse to go there together." Or something...

I'd rather cut off my arm than pay for a first date with a Groupon. I can see, a few dates/months down the line, saying, "Hey, there's a groupon for Brasserie Beck. I've wanted to go there outside of happy hour. Think we should grab it?" But if you just whip out the groupon on the first date, you're hurting the chances for round #2.

Nobody said you had to whip out or theatrically present the Groupon. Heck, you don't even need to announce it at the table. Approach your server in a low-key manner and work it out that way if you're worried about looking stoopid.

I say no way. Those things last for a year - use it on date 5. I don't think you have to spend a ton of money, but a Groupon says "I bought this before I met you, and I asked you out just to use it." Here's Fritz's list of happy hours that will impress a date. If you want to spend less, start there.

I'd give up drinking during the State of the Union for you.

Well that's no fun...

Question for Holly -- I bought a fabulous long tan trench coat for the spring, but unfortunately, it's way too long (almost to my ankles). Where can I get it shortened so it hits right below my knee (so I can wear dresses underneath without them sticking out)? DC strongly preferred -- I live in Columbia Heights, but anywhere downtown/Dupont/U Street area will work. Thanks, love the chats!

Finding a good tailor is a trial-and-error process, but I can give you a few tips: Look for a tailoring/dry cleaning combo, not just a dry cleaners that also does alterations, and ask about pricing before you leave the shop. I take my stuff to Lee's Tailoring (mainly because it's right across the street from our offices) but I'm impressed with the service at Georgetown Valet on 1100 13th St. The ladies at Revamp on U Street are another good option.

This is a random question but hoping you guys can help me out. I'd like to get my hubby a massage for Valentine's Day. What is a good spa in NoVA/DC for guys to go to? The only place I've ever been in the Kprean Spa, and I know that wouldn't be his cup of tea! Also, would prefer a place not too ridiculously expensive- since we've had a lot of expenses this year we promised we'd go "light" for V-Day (didn't officially set a limit, but I suspect anything over a $100 gift card would be overkill). My backup plan is a cooking or beer-making class, so any advice on those would be appreciated as well. Thanks!

Try the Grooming Lounge -- there are a couple of locations, and it's a manly place to get massages, shaved, the whole bit. I think you can cobble together something for under $100. DC Spa Week is in April, so if you can wait, you can save, but I didn't see Grooming Lounge on the list of participating spas.

Bush Sr. got a knighthood, along with Caspar Weinberger, Colin Powell, and Norman Schwarzkopf. Lesser grades than the two Presidents, though.

I just googled this, and according to the national Archives, Eisenhower got a Knight Grand Cross. The original question was flawed.

I know this is staying in rather than going out, but for my first Valentine's with my husband (not too long ago), I left work early and made a great dinner at home, breaking out all the china from our wedding. It was a great way to baptize our china and make a memory - he was so impressed with the table setting that he got it on camera. Our kitchen wasn't crowded, the food was up to standard, and we had a ton of fun.

This is a great idea for all the first-anniversary folks who are panicking right about now.

My s/o used a gift certificate our first date. Not the same as a Groupon, but we're still together a year+ later...

Good to know. Like I said, it's not always a dealbreaker; it just depends on the lady.

I'd pick you up from Dulles... during rush hour


For the guy from last week (and any others) looking for jeweler recommendations, check out DRZ Jewelers on 17th and K NW. It is a husband-wife owned business. Very nice and knowledgable. I plan on getting my fiance's wedding ring from them.

Thanks for joining in!

You raise my marginal interest rate.

Not bad.

Gurus, please help! My friend who is on the verge of getting married came to me last week desperate to have a night out in DC dancing with the girls this Friday. No serious clubs but not just a regular bar with a miniscule dance floor either. Music is key for me - I really like to dance to music I recognize. Ideally like top 40/hip hop with a few cheesy 80s tunes mixed in. Any ideas? I want to make sure she and I have a good time. I don't know how many more opportunities we'll have to do this! Also, we're in our mid to late 20s so nothing too college-y if possible. Thanks!

I know you said no clubs, but I think Ultrabar is your best bet, I think -- I like DJ Geometrix, who has been remixing the likes of Rihanna lately. It's not a sprawling megaclub like Fur, but a normal-sized building that happens to have three levels of DJs and dancing.It's really compact and manageable, and you can get in free with a pass from

You might also want to check out Shadow Room, where the DJs play a lot of music you're sure to know. Primarily a bottle servicey lounge, but there's a pretty active dance floor.

Not sure how much you want to spend but there are bunch of places in Harbor East like Pazo, Cinghale, the Oceanaire, or Aldo's. Definitely stop by Vaccarro's bakery for delicious Italian pastries!

Also good choices.

I bow to your superior wisdom, O Trivia Master!

Ha. Eisenhower was seriously just a guess -- I was actually considering saying FDR, but figured he died before it (probably) would have been awarded.

Hi, I've got 2 six-year-olds and a three-year-old coming to visit DC in mid-April (all boys--interests include the stereotypical things--sports, cars, anything involving activity and movement). They've been to the zoo already. Other suggestions for best places to take this age group?

Take them on a tour of Nationals Park! What kid wouldn't like to throw a pitch in the bullpen or sit in the dugout?  They are supposed to be year-around but I put a call in just to double check. I'll update if I hear anything. Also, the O's offer tours that are pretty cool.

"You are my Jumbo Slice of love." I used this on my now-husband during our courtship.

So, sometimes you regret him and wish you'd went with the falafel instead?

I would pick you up at Dulles...

Whoa. That is love.  I almost broke up with my boyfriend when he asked me to drive to Dulles.

Baby, you rock my caucus

I second this nomination.

Looking for restaurant suggestions for a small group (5) to celebrate a 30th birthday on a Saturday night. At this point my head is spinning because I have too many ideas and just can't decide - help! Looking for something slightly upscale with bars for post dinner drinks within walking distance. Looking more towards Penn Quarter or Dupont area, but really open to anything.

I already suggested Zola, Kushi and Proof as Gallery Place/Penn Quarter options in this chat, and I stick by them for your purposes, but I would also celebrate my own birthday happily at Zaytinya or Oya as well. In the Dupont area you have a lot of options, obviously. I love the Tabard Inn, and also think Eola is really interesting. Slightly farther from the circle you have Birch and Barley which gives you both great beers with your dinner and Tiffany MacIsaac's wonderful sweets to finish the meal.

I'd stop sleeping with my intern for you




Whom should I contact about a free classical concert on Sunday at Catholic? The performance is by professional musicians (not students), and it seems like it would be a fun thing to let people know about for a pre-Valentine's idea.

You're always welcome to send events via email to Try to send it as early as possible, though. Thanks!

Get out of my dreams, get into my motorcade

Bonus points for a Billy Ocean reference.

According to the website the tours are year-round.

Yeah, but if you try to buy tickets for any day you can't.

Is Brandon Weigel single? I want to go out with that guru!!!!!!!!!

Do you mind if I use a Groupon deal?

Do you have any experience using personal shoppers at department stores? Is it worthwhile or does it just amount having someone exchanging sizes for you while you're in the dressing room? Is there an expected minimum amount to spend? Thanks.

I've never used one personally, but I'd recommend calling your favorite local department store and talking to the personal shopper directly to see exactly what their services entail. It might be a case where you can give them your sizes, explain what you're looking for and they'll have items pulled for you before your appointment. There's no minimum purchase required, but you'll probably feel some pressure to buy (whether you put it on yourself or feel it from the employee), so be firm if you're on a tight budget. You might enjoy this piece that ran in the Post a few years back; if you decide a department store shopper isn't for you, there are lots of other options in the DC area you should investigate.

I'm no fred flinstone, but i can make your bedrock (billiards)

You made Steph laugh out loud.

I'd cross the MD/VA line for you!

We've talked about this around the office. If you're from Maryland, you can try to cross the line, but trust me, dating someone from Virginia will never work. You will wake up one day after spending a couple of hours in traffic on I-66 trying to get home to Reston and wonder, "What on Earth am I doing here?"

I'm heartbroken because I lost an earring that my boyfriend gave me. On the upside, I think the remaining earring could make a cute necklace. Do you have any recommendations for local jewelers that could do something cute and creative? The earring is not a precious metal/ is more like an item an artist made. We're trying to find the original artist to see if she will do something, but if that fails, do you have any recommendations?

This might be a long shot, but you might want to browse the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria -- bring the earring with you and if you find a jewelry artist you like, ask about custom work. There are plenty of fine jewelry stores in the area, but the cost of having them rework a costume earring might outweigh the sentimental value of the piece. If all else fails, do an Etsy search for an earring similar to yours and work with the artist to create something new.

Does the zoo or the aquarium in the Commerce Building have touching pools?

Thanks for the suggestions, I considered both of these. The zoo follows the other Smithsonians in that it offers a tour, but you have to set it up in advance. As for the aquarium, they don't have animal touches as part of their regular exhibits. However, if you call ahead I was told that they would try to be accommodating. 

Alright, you guys really, really rose to the occasion with your Valentine's Day one-liners today. We are humbled. But we've culled the vast submissions down to a Top-4: 

1) Girl, you're a total ellipse of the heart. 

2) I'd like to get into your restricted airspace.

3) You've won a simple majority of my heart

E-mail me -- -- for your Wine and Food Festival passes for Sunday. 

We've got one runner up, who's going to the New York Festival of Song, Saturday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center!

4) I'm no Fred Flintstone, but I can make your Bedrock (Billiards).

Came in last-minute, but it had us all in stitches.

Okay gang, that's it for this week. Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours and we'll 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. Join the thousands of readers who have followed us on Twitter and Facebook. And for nightlife news delivered twice-weekly to your inbox, make sure to sign up for the Going Out Guide newsletter.
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