Got Plans?

Feb 24, 2011

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

It's that time again, chatters: This weekend, the talk about town is Oscar and where to watch Sunday's star-studded action. There's also the Intersections festival, which has a ton of stuff that's definitely worth your time. Let's get chatting.

Is there a way to submit events that I know of that are not listed on your site?

You can always e-mail us at or hit 'Submit a Listing' on the right-hand side of It's a bit difficult to spot, but it's there. 

I have a lot of crappy mall store type jewelry from boyfriends past that I have no plans to wear ever again. What's a good way to get rid of it? I know it's not worth much but getting even a free lunch would be nice. Do you go to a pawn shop for that sort of thing? How do you find one that's trustworthy?

I'm currently investigating the same thing -- apparently high school boyfriends have universally bad taste. You might try a few different pawn shops to see what they'll give you for the pieces, or even some local jewelry boutiques to see if they could salvage the stones, etc. Or you might keep an eye out for gold parties if you have much of that to offload. If I have any luck with my own efforts, I'll post on Facebook.

Tips on best places to fill a growler with beer in DC or NOVA?

We're still sans Fritz for this week's chat, but I'm confident he would recommend Mad Fox Brewing Company in Falls Church. Try the Headcracker -- a really nice barleywine. 

hi GoGs...need to pick a spot w/ good spicy food options for Sunday. Doesn't matter what kind of food...I'm sure I could come up w/ some options, but thought you all might have some good suggestions. DC only, please. word!

Great Wall has some Sichuan dishes that pack some real heat... especially if you let them know you aren't afraid of some spice.

And there is also our old favorite Nando's, the "extra hot" sauce there isn't over-selling itself.

Its too bad you are restricted to DC, because Uncle Liu's Hot Pot in Falls Church is a great spicy destination.

Hi -- I believe someone was looking a few weeks ago for a place to watch the Rugby cup (Six Nations?). I noticed James Hobans in Dupont has a sign up saying they'll be showing it. Hope that helps someone!

Thanks! We're still looking high and low for a DC bar that's showing the ICC Cricket World Cup, but because of the time difference, with some matches starting at 4 a.m. it's tough -- chatters? 

I'm turning 35 in July, so I want to treat myself to a trip to Paris. But that's high season, and airfare is $1100 from NYC. Do you think it will dip down in March/April? It seems airlines keep having sales and that the "6-months-in-advance" rule is no longer the best timing for the cheapest flights. Should I wait? (OR - do I get a Continental credit card, take the 25,000 free bonus miles, and then pay $300 to buy extra miles that will cover the flight?!) Thanks!

This question is probably best for our colleagues in Travel -- you can find them talking airfare deals, getaways and more every Monday at noon

Question for Holly: I've got to get a bridesmaid's dress shortened and taken in a bit. My regular tailor's messed some things up lately and so I'm not confident taking this dress to them. The woman who did my wedding dress would do a great job, but I'm hoping to find someone cheaper. Any suggestions for a shop who will do a reasonable job at a reasonable price?

If the fixes are minor and the dress isn't overly complicated, a regular tailor should be able to handle it easily. I go to Lee's Tailoring on 15th and L, but not sure where you're located so I can't be much more specific than that.

Note to everyone...this AM tickets to Cake @930 Club went on sale at 10am, I was online at 9:55 and at 10am on the dot clicked purchase and was able to get them. So were a few of my friends. Some friends assumed they could buy tickets at boxoffice when it opened not realizing that if it sells out online it is SOLD OUT. I've learned my lesson with buying tickets for big shows at 930 Club, if you want to go you better be clicking buy at 10am when they go on sale. And, tickets were already for sale on Stubhub and Craigslist MINUTES after it sold out. Perhaps 930 Club should think about holding SOME tickets at the boxoffice for true fans so scalpers don't get all the tickets when it goes online. JUST SAYIN.

I like Cake a great deal, yet even I am surprised at how quickly the Friday show sold out. Worth noting that tickets for the Thursdays how are still available for all the die-hards. 

I am interested in going to the open rehearsal this Sunday with a friend. I know the seating is first-come, first-served, and I was wondering what time to arrive in order to get seats for either the 2 or 4pm show. Also, do any of the bars in the area do Sunday happy hour that we could hit up pre- or post-show? Thanks.

I just talked to the good people at Shakespeare Theatre Company, and they say that most people show up about 30 minutes before the rehearsals begin, so there's no need to show up any earlier than an hour before. For happy hour, I'd probably hit up Hora Feliz at Oyamel for discounted margaritas, tacos and wine from 4 until 6:30.

I have a pair of red driving mocs (I know you are not a fan of red shoes, but I have a Dorothy thing, I guess). The toes are a bit squared - what pant-leg cut would be best with square-ish toed shoes - straight? bootcut? Thanks.

I'm OK with red shoes -- in fact, I bought a pair of red suede platform loafers for the fall/winter. I just think red shoes are a little trickier to pull off than other options (evidenced by the fact that I've yet to wear mine). For your driving mocs, I'd go with either a straight-leg pant (more flattering if you're on the slimmer side) or a wide-leg trouser.

Thumbs up or down for a group dinner of 10-12 at Zentan on a Fri/Sat night?

I would say thumbs up. Its a little pricey, but that menu should please a pretty broad range of palates, and some options, like the Singapore Slaw are stunners. Plus, its usually a pretty quiet dining room, which is nice for a group. They have some nice cocktails too, I like the  spicy Thai martini.

Hi there! I am looking for a place where I can get singing lesson but without getting into a lot of boring formal voice training. Some place where I can get advise, have fun practicing and performing once in a while in bars, pubs, etc. I am into traditional pop, folk, jazz., and have some previuos experience. I have done this in my home country but haven't been able to find something on these lines. Any idea if Bethesday Int'l School of Music may be an option? Any other suggestion? I really appreciate your advise! MAT

Hi! The Bethesda International School of Music may very well be a good option. They offer 30 minute lessons for $46, and you can enroll in classes with one of about 20 vocal teachers whenever you want. I would also encourage you to check out The Vocal Workshop, which allows you to sing (jazz, mostly) with a live band.

I'd recommend Shenandoah Brewing Company in Alexandria. $6-$7 for a growler fill, with some of their seasonal beers costing a little more. (Also, they're very open to filling most types of growlers from other breweries, while a lot of places around here, including Whole Foods, will only fill their own).

Our readers always have good growler advice.

I realize this isn't exactly a going out question, but I'm sure you guys will know...any recommendations for a good tattoo parlor in the DC area? I can't resist the urge any longer, so I'm looking for someone who will take a little time to sit with me and go over some ideas I have for a cover-up and a new piece. Don't want somewhere where they just expect you to order a tattoo by number.

I've been doing an informal poll about this recently, and so far I've heard the most raves about Tattoo Paradise in Adams Morgan, Jinx Proof in Georgetown and Britishink on H Street NE.

GOG, I tried to attend an event at the Museum of Black History last Friday only to arrive there to find them sold out. I was told they had been sold out for over a week. Why send this information out on Friday if the event is already sold out. Why not alert the readers that the event has been sold out. A lot of angry readers were turned away from this event. Don't suggest activities that are not available. Shame on you.

Our policy is to not run things that we know to be sold out. If we had promoted something online that we know to be sold out then we mark it as such. That said, we run hundreds of listings every week based on information venues give us and (surprise!) venues don't always tell us when their event sells out. I would be happy to give you more of an explanation if you would tell me what the event was and where exactly you saw it.


And I do apologize that something got in the section that was sold out and that it ruined your weekend.

I Do I Do in Gaithersburg won't accept wedding gowns over 2 years old for consignment. Regular consignment and thrift stores won't take wedding gowns at all. I don't want to "trash the dress"--it's too beautiful, and I like to think of some other woman enjoying it, even if I only get $20 back for the $1500 I spent--but don't know how to otherwise get rid of it. I've crawled all over the web, and can't believe I'm the only woman with a wedding dress that is taking more closet space than I have to spare! Do you have any suggestions?

Are you sure about the thrift stores? I see wedding gowns at Unique Thrift and Value Village all the time ... Otherwise, what about Craigslist? Or Ebay? As a last-ditch effort, you might try some of the smaller charity thrift shops, like Joseph's Coat in Annandale, that benefit women's causes.

Hi, I wanted to do something a little different for my birthday this year - I was planning on doing several things around the city on Saturday, March 5th, and invite friends to come and go as they please. I am hoping to find things around the city that I haven't done before - botanical gardens, national building museum, and the wax museum are all on the list of possible places. Do you know of anything else that could be fun, unique, and chill - and that does not require reservations because I wouldn't know how many people will be showing up.

March 5 is still in the thick of the Intersections Arts Festival, and that includes free events that would be great for a variably-sized group. And really, what a great excuse to trek out to H Street NE, where you can have birthday drinks at the freewheeling Biergarten Haus (pray for good weather!), spacious Smith Commons, the fetching Atlas Room or have a hands-on meal at the sophisticated Ethiopic

Does anyone know of any website that is streaming the Oscars? I don't have TV, so this is my only option. Help!

My streaming experience goes only as far as Arsenal matches that aren't being televised -- don't really know where I would try to stream the Oscars. As an alternative, how about getting out of the house and heading for an Oscar viewing party

Hi Gurus, My boyfriend picked up tickets to the Grande Fete de la Francophonie, coming up next month. It sounds like lots of fun but I've never been and am curious about the dress--is it low key and casual, smart and chic, or fancy-schmancy? I'll be wearing my usual sang-froid and sporting a certain je ne sais quoi, but I'm a little lost on the rest. Thanks!

A little je ne sais quoi goes a long way. I wouldn't put it in the fancy schmancy category, so you can steer clear of any ballgowns. Smart and chic sounds about right -- a skirt, a dress or nice pants should do the trick. was advertised pretty heavily on Weddingbee when I was a bride.

Thanks for the tip!

Here's the ever-present "what to do with kids" question. We've been stuck inside for what seems like all winter (with the exception of last week, of course). But I'd like to get out and do something. Any ideas? I'd prefer MD as kid still needs a nap.

I highly suggest the National Wildlife Visitor Center in Patuxent. They have a nice nature center and plenty of public programs for kids of all ages.

There are plenty of places to sell your dress online: OnceWed, Recycled Bride, PreOwned Wedding Dresses, Offbeat Bride, Weddingbee... The key is probably that it's a dress that not everyone else is also trying to sell, and that it's a size that people need.

More good options ...

Hi Gurus, Any update on when HR57 is reopening on H-Street?

It's a bit of a mystery thus far. There's no official word on when the space will be reopening, and as of a month ago, the location was drowning in rubble. I haven't checked on it within the past few weeks, though. As an H Street resident and jazz enthusiast myself, I hope it opens soon!

Hello Gurus! I have had one of the longest work weeks! I'm so looking forward to grabbing a drink after work tomorrow with a friend. Normally I'm up for mingling with after-work crowds, but I'm looking for a quieter place tomorrow. Somewhere I could sit at the bar with a great beer or cocktail and chat. Any suggestions? I live/work near Dupont but would be willing to travel a metro stop or two.

This sounds like a job for Russia House

I'm planning to check out the Newseum this Saturday. This will be my first time there: anything there in particular that I should not miss? Also, any recommendations for a lunch spot in or near there? Only real requirement is for it to be fairly cheap - say under $15 for food and a soft drink.

Be sure to check out the Berlin Wall downstairs, which is also conveniently near the great G-Men and Journalists exhibit. The 9-11 gallery is pretty powerful, but my favorite display is probably the Pulitzer Prize-winning photos. As for lunch, either Teaism or Merzi would be good options.

I'm wearing a black and white small patterned skirt that is basically gray with a dark navy top and dark gray heels. Is it okay for me to be wearing sheer black tights? I cannot for the life of me find dark gray tights or hosiery, they're all light gray and look childish and don't match my skirt or shoes, so I figured sheer black was the next best thing. Does it work?

That sounds fine to me; it's well-established that I like any combination of neutrals. If you want to pick up some dark gray tights, however, try these in heather charcoal.

I'd HIGHLY recommend Rick's in Arlington. They specialize in cover-ups and custom pieces. I've seen some really great results fixing previously questionable work.

Thanks for the rec!

Try ebay! Or an online store - do a search on and you'll find tons of ideas of how to sell your dress. There are TONS of people in the market for a once worn wedding dress.

Lots of replies to this q -- looks like Wedding Bee and Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses might be the way to go.

I just found out that I am responsible for taking two interns out for a late dinner tonight (8-830pm) in Foggy Bottom. I am trying to find a great place that is vegetarian and gluten free friendly, not super-expensive (under $15), okay for those under 21, and less than a 10-15 minute walk from Washington Circle. I'm stumped-- do you have any suggestions?

Maoz fits all of your criteria and it's totally vegetarian. It's definitely within a 15 minute walk of Washington Circle, as well. Here's the menu

I think the poster is putting too much blame on the Post. If it's an event you really really want to see, and a sell out will ruin your weekend, then you should call before you go to the event. Not the Post's fault it was sold out, and they can't be expected to make follow up calls to all events to find out whether it's sold out. The whole "Shame on you" thing was a bit much.

Thank you for being so understanding, but we do have an ideal that we aim for and I personally want to make that clear. All of us here like you and we want you to have a good weekend! Really.

G-Men exhibit is great. Tickets are good for two days so consider that. I could've spent an entire day in the room with racks of old front pages. And the cafe downstairs was both decent and moderately priced, and they have a build-your-own salad bar. We had lunch for 2 for about $18.

More ideas for the Newseum-goer.

Hi Gurus! So I would like to take sailing lessons, any suggestions? Thanks!

As a youth I took a couple summers worth of sailing classes at the Belle Haven Marina. I never turned into much of a sailor, but I did have fun on the water. And it's cool to watch the planes land at National while fumbling with the lines.

My wife turns 40 in August - any suggestions on which VA or MD vineyards would be best to host a party for her?

If Lavanya were here I know she'd back me up on suggesting the Black Ankle Vineyards in Mt. Airy. My cousin had her wedding reception there and it truly is a lovely venue.

Thanks for the great suggestions! And I just found a BOGO coupon for admission, on their website. Yay!

Yay for coupons!

Hey do you guys know of any other great Friday off-beat bar events such as the Rock n Roll Hotel Spelling Bee? Preferable something that is not just dancing or a variation on a happy hour.

This particular Friday, DC9's 7th anniversary party would certainly qualify as offbeat. Doors open at 9 p.m. for a 90-minute rail cocktails open bar, followed by a show by the Dolchnakov Brigade, a burlesque-electro band/troupe that mixes circus attire with rhythmic, trance-inspired dance moves.  It's weird. You'll probably like it. 

And with that, we're out. Good luck to any of you brave souls venturing out for the 24-Hour Best Picture Marathon this weekend -- we're pulling for ya. See you next Thursday!

In This Chat
The Going Out Gurus
The Going Out Gurus are the experts behind The Washington Post's Going Out Guide. They write about restaurants, bars, movies, the arts, special events and visitor attractions, and they're out every night to keep you on top of the D.C. entertainment scene. 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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