Got Plans? Discuss great ideas for local entertainment, dates and family fun with the Going Out Gurus.

May 12, 2011

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

Welcome back to another episode of Got Plans, coming to you live from the "second-tier" city of Washington D.C. That's true if you believe what Spike Mendelsohn said in an interview with People's District. We respectfully disagree, Spike. 

Onward, then, with your first-rate questions!

Hey Gurus! I'm planning to hit up the Passport DC event on Saturday and stroll through a few embassies with some out-of-town guests. Any tips or pointers? Is this weekend's event likely to be as busy as last Saturday's? Thanks!

It promises to be a somewhat bigger event in scale, with more embassies (34) participating this weekend vs. last weekend (27). But I tend to think a lot of people hit up Europe more enthusiastically than the rest of the world, since lots of the sexier picks fall under the E.U. banner. I wrote a blog post this morning with a few tips and suggestions on navigating the Around the World Embassy Tour: Argentina, Croatia and Thailand are on my list. 

Hi GoGs - I'm looking to do low key birthday drinks with friends next Saturday, and like the bars on H Street. We'll have 20+ people so I was hoping to reserve a few tables where people could sit if they wanted, but the bars I've called require large minimums, single tabs and sometimes a separate room. If we show up at the Biergarten or HSCC around 8pm, do you think we'll be able to casually grab a few tables? I'm usually there later and it's pretty packed. If you have any other suggestions for places where a large group can come/go/mingle on a Saturday night, I'd appreciate it!

Taking 20-plus people at a bar on a Friday night is not a good idea if you don't have a spot reserved, especially to already popular places.  Maybe you can squeeze 20 people into the first floor at the Country Club, but that would probably be pushing it.

Places where you might be able to pull this off: Buffalo Billiards, Iron Horse Tap Room, the basement of Laughing Man Tavern. If you need to be outside, give the Beacon Hotel's sky bar a buzz. It's not as exclusive as Donovan House or some other rooftop spots.

Hello!! My husband and I are looking to do something outdoorsy and fun in the dc area on Saturday. But not hiking. Would be great if it were adventurous - but not kayaking...could you help?

How about a trip to Terripan Adventures in Savage, Md., for an outdoor obstacle course?

I am taking my mom to the Corcoran Sunday afternoon and want to treat her to a late lunch/early dinner after the gallery. She really likes WestEnd Bistro, Estadio, Zaytinya (yes, she is cool!) What would you recommend around there that would be fun but not break the bank? We are very flexible on times. Thanks!

She sounds cool! This is tough, only because there aren't a lot of great restaurants right there. I'd probably wander over to Ceiba, which is a little walk away (about a half mile), and has a similar vibe of a  hip setting, but not at the expense of tasty food.

Hi gurus, been having the random urge to play minigolf lately and been thinking about trying out H st Country Club. Are there any times Friday without an insanely long wait? Or anything else in the H st./Columbia Heights/Logan circle with a similar fun vibe?

I would expect no less than a 45-minute wait throughout most of a Friday evening. That doesn't strike me as unreasonable given the size of the bar; throw your name on the list and have some drinks with the rest of your foursome. If you're really just interested in playing mini golf as opposed to drinking and playing mini golf, there's always Hains Point. There are no other bars in D.C. that permanently have a 9-hole minigolf course, to my knowledge. 

ISO a Texas-style two-step dance club in the DC area. Preferably not in Virginia, where the smoke is intolerable. Anything in Maryland?

You know that Virginia has banned smoking in 95 percent of all bars since December 2009, right? Nick's, the area's top country dance club, doesn't allow smoking on the dance floor/concert hall, or didn't last time I was there.
As far as country bars in MD, I'm blanking -- there's the California Inn in Laurel, which used to have bands like Southern Winds, but I haven't been there in years.

I bought a very nice used leather purse on ebay. It shows wear on the bottom of the four corners. Would it be possbile for a cobbler or repair shop to fix the leather if the color is honeysuckle?

Sounds like a great score! I'd try a luggage or leather repair place first -- and before you drop off the purse, ask specific questions about what products they'll use to repair it and how much it will cost. Another option -- check out some of the leather dyes available from Tarrago and try doing it yourself.

We the Pizza & GoodStuff have been on my to-do list for quite sometime, but I'm thinking now I'm just as content with the dozen other great burger and pizza joints around here. As for Spike, I don't intend to shed a second tear, let alone a first, when his business tank after his 15 minutes of fame run out and they have to succeed based only on their own merits.

Meow! Spike, of course, has taken to twitter, employing the "D.C., you know I love you, right?" defense.

You can have pitchers of beer on the porch of the golf clubhouse at East Potomac Golf Course before/after mini golf.

I have written about my love of doing just this on multiple occasions. Really cheap mini-golf, really cheap pitchers of Bud, and probably the best public pool in D.C.

I've never done the around the world embassy tour before. What are the best ones to visit? And will there be shuttle buses?

Here are a few of Alex's top picks and, yes, there will be shuttle buses.

Had a joint birthday get together there last September for 15-25. I called weeks before and they said it's first come first serve, closed for a private party until 7pm and fills up by 10pm on Saturday nights. Called the day before, told the same story. Night of--Made sure the a few folks arrived just after 7 to secure spots however, Pros in the city were there so they only had a limited preset drink menu and they called last call at 9:30! We were not the last ones to leave the roof top, we went down the same elevators we came up and found ourselves locked in the hotel restaurant. Kinda wish the emergency door alarm went when we went out it.

Yikes. That sounds horrific.

So maybe you shouldn't call Beacon, or if you do, check the Pros int he City/Things to Do/International Club of D.C. sites first to check for conflicts.

On the shuttle buses - speaking from experience here, I would recommend minimizing your use of the buses. Lines can be long, and I would rather be at embassies! So, look at the map and be strategic rather than hopping around and spending a lot of time on the bus.

Good advice. Lines are crazy enough just to get into the embassies, so opting for feet over wheels (if possible) is probably a good bet.

Cancun Cantina has a similar vibe (but I like it better than Nick's).

Ah, Cancun Cantina. Last time I was at that bar -- it's up in Hanover, near BWI -- they were holding bullriding events outback. Amateur bullriding events. With a live bull.

Sadly, they don't do that anymore.

For a girl who is hesitant about make up, but wants to learn more - any recommendations on where to go or if I should get a makeover somewhere like Sephora? Do I make a reservation ahead of time? Thanks.

Personally, I'd steer clear of department store beauty counters, primarily because the lighting is so terrible. You'll have better luck at smaller boutique locations, such as Sephora, MAC, Bellacara or Bluemercury -- for the latter two, call ahead or check online to see if there are makeup events where you can learn some techniques. You'll need appointments for Bellacara and Bluemercury; if you decide to visit a Sephora or MAC store, go early to avoid crowds and choose an artist with a look you find appealing -- since you're  a novice, choosing someone with a natural, flattering makeup look will be more helpful than someone with wild fuchsia lips and penciled-in brows. Be upfront about what you'd like to achieve (even skintone, shadows that bring out your eyes, etc) and don't be persuaded to buy anything you don't absolutely love. Take notes  on what products are used, and give yourself a chance to get outside and see your face in natural light before you adopt the look.

I hate to break it to the nice woman, but it is supposed to rain all weekend. CWG: Saturday is just dandy in the temperature department with readings slinking up from the 60s into the lower 70s. However, lots of clouds are a given and showers are likely to become an increasingly common feature as the day progresses. Breezes will be picking up from the south and humidity becomes noticeable, helping to feed the shower potential. The chance of rains today rockets up to 70%. The same is true for the evening. Lows should only fall to the low-to-mid 60s. Confidence: Medium Sunday promises plenty of scattered showers (70% chance) and maybe even a rumble of thunder as warmer air destabilizes the atmosphere. Rain chances reach their maximum in the afternoon. Despite the showers, we have our share of dry moments (best chance in the morning) with highs should still very comfortable mainly in the mid-70s. Overnight lows only fall to the low-to-mid 60s. Confidence: Medium

This is really putting a damper on my Yoga on the Mall plans. And yes, that was a bad pun. I couldn't help myself.

Now, that the weather is getting nicer I want to spend time at the Ntnl Harbor. Who has the best happy hour over there? I know there are a ton of restaurants, but which ones do you recommend? Thanks!

Funny you should ask! We just did our National Harbor Neighborhood Guide a couple of weeks ago, because it's kind of only a destination for festivals and sunny days this time of year.  The best happy hour has to be at McLoone's Pier House (which happens to also sit as close to the water as you can get; you can read Fritz's writeup on the guide).  Bond 45 has emerged as one of the best places to eat there; I know I'm going to get some pushback on this one, but I had a salad with a view at Rosa Mexicano, and I didn't hate it.

Any fun ideas for activities this weekend (even if it rains) that do not revolve around drinking? Anywhere is the DC metro area is fine. We're not really museum types, but could be if the exhibit was mind blowing. We love to eat and listen to live music, but its hard to find a fun restaurant without being surround by beer and/or wine. We just need a break from drinking scene. Thanks GOGs!!

Definitely check out the World Embassy Tour (see answers above). Lots of culture, marginal drinking. Anyone else have fun ideas?

My boyfriend just had a big victory at work, and I want to buy him a nice glass of scotch after work (his preferred method of celebration). We've been to the Round Robin bar - any other great spots?

I like Againn's selection, and it's got the right vibe for a celebratory drink. The forthcoming Jack Rose is promising 1,400 bottles of bourbon and Scotch, and that should be open by Memorial Day. It's also got an amazing roof deck, if that matters.

Finally, the Royal Mile in Wheaton has a killer Scotch selection and even its own Vatting Society of diehards who gather there to talk about their blends and give you more info than you could want about Scotch. It's a homey little pub. I enjoy it.

Hi GoGs, a friend of mine is coming to town this weekend and I had planned to do a bunch of stuff outdoors, Passport DC, etc. It looks like it's going to rain the whole time she's here, though. Any suggestions of cool stuff happening indoors?

I really like the sound of The Fridge's "Cold Light: Bioluminescent Evolution" show that has its opening reception Saturday at 8 p.m. The show is basically a collection of works that use fluorescence, ultra-violet light and fiber optics to mimic the critters who live at the bottom of the sea. Watch this video. You could pair that with an early supper at one of the many great dining spots on Barracks Row

In trying to make room in our tiny apartment, I decided that I would like to donate my beautiful Amsale wedding dress. Besides Goodwill, do you know if any good place to make this donation? Possibly a non-profit that collects wedding dresses? Thanks!

I just discovered St. Anthony's Bridal, a non-profit based in Maryland that helps low- and middle-income brides afford a nice wedding. They offer a $150 tax-deductible receipt (no matter the value of the dress). Another option to check out: Brides Across America.  If you decide to consign your dress, you might want to check out I Do I Do in Gaithersburg.

Greetings Gurus! I have a pet peeve regarding DC bars which you can address once and for all - what is the acceptable DC bar rule/policy/etiquette for people holding up seats indefinitely for "friends" that haven't showed up at the bar yet? Time after time I see people keeping their purses or bags on seats saying they are "taken"...while paying folks have to remain standing at the bar; and I'm not talking just a few minutes or even tourists; I consider this awfully rude and inconsiderate; I travel a lot and don't quite notice this phenomenon in other major cities; isn't it time DC bars at least have an implicit rule against seat squatters, like some kind of a time limit, or a first-come-first-sit rule? Thanks!

This is one of my pet peeves, as it happens. Most bartenders I've talked to hate the practice, as those empty seats aren't buying drinks, but most are loathe to tick off customers by telling them not to do it. (I think the kind of people who'd hold a seat for 40 minutes for a friend who's on the way aren't the type of customers most bartenders want anyway, but that's just me.)

Even better story: I was scouting a bar for a review in Virginia a few weeks ago. It was crowded. Two women were chatting and knitting away while enjoying their drinks. The only empty seat was next to them, so I asked if anyone was using it. I was told they needed it for their totebag full of yarn and knitting supplies. Fearing their needles, I said thanks and moved on.

Question for the fashionistas. What are the new trends for spring? Any colors that are standout? I'm celebrating my birthday next weekend with a nice dinner and dancing with friends (late 20s), and I wanted to get a fun new outfit as a gift to myself. Thanks!

Bright, electric hues have been a big trend for a few spring seasons running -- tomato red, orange, coral, fuchsia, chartreuse and cobalt are all solid choices if you want to invest in a fun accent piece. If you're looking for a statement piece, try a flowy blouse or dress in a neutral/nude/blush hue; add some texture with a lace top or skirt; or be a bit more daring and try a sheer chiffon or sleek jersey maxi skirt and major heels.

Is my best bet something on Barracks Row? Any ideas?

Your best bet is at Uniontown in the center of Anacostia. I haven't done brunch there, but I've had dinner and seen the brunch menu. Everyone was raving about the fried chicken and waffles. (There's the usual omelets/pancakes/homemade French toast as well, but the other customers felt strongly that the fried chicken and waffles was worth driving across town for.)

Hey GOGs-- My husband and I are going to be in DC this weekend and we're trying to find a good place to go for brunch with about 5-7 friends. We love the usual brunch food, but are looking for a menu that has both healthy (i.e. egg-white omelets, oatmeal, etc...) and reg. brunch options and that's roughly in the $10-$15 range. We'd like to stay somewhere along the red line if possible..but are open to other places as long as its metro accessible. Thanks!

How about LIA's in Friendship Heights or Scion in Dupont Circle? Both are certainly egg-white and more or less within your budget (for entrees, at least). 

I have a friend coming into DC this weekend and I wanted to plan some fun activities. She has been to DC several times before (so no need to do the typical touristy stuff). She loves art, music, theater, etc, outdoorsy stuff,. and she's vegan, so that limits our potential restaurants. We're also looking for a fun, but not crazy bar to go to on Saturday night. Ideas?

Well, this weekend is packed with festivals, including Passport DC (for which ADinger has written this lovely guide).  You could try Velvet Lounge, Dodge City and maybe even the El Centro DF for bars, but there are a LOT of artsy night events this weekend that your friend would love, including Asia After Dark.   As for limited options for vegans, that's not necessarily true; here's our list of vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurants, and our list of best veggie burgers.  And I think you'd totally score friend points with a little vegan brunching on Sunday at Asylum or Meridian Pint, which has both vegan and meaty options. (If you're at Asylum, you must order the vegan chili "cheese" fries, which my meat-eating boyfriend actually turned me on to.)

Does it cost money to eat/drink/tour the embassies?


Blue Mercury does "makeup parties" with different lines (Nars, Laura Mercier etc.) At the one we went to, they had cupcakes and champagne and the makeup ladies were really nice. Might be a good place to start.

I mentioned these earlier, and they're great for beginning beauty junkies ... I recommend getting the earliest appointment you can, since these events can get crowded and the last thing you want is a makeup artist who feels rushed.

Just wanted to put in a plug for Terrapin. The activiities you mentioned were fun, but personally I love the zip line and the Giant swing. I scream during each of them, but it's worth it. Great for adults and kids.

I enjoyed the swing, but the zip line didn't do much for me.

Hey Gurus! I was lucky enough to get tickets for tonight's Adele concert at the 9:30 club. Two questions. 1) Isn't the normal schedule something like doors at 7, opening act at 8, and headliner at 9? We're trying to decide which time to get there. 2) If you had to choose between American Ice, Dodge City & Nellie's to take out-of-town friends for pre-show drinks, which would you choose? Thanks!

You are correct: Tonight's schedule is doors at 7, Civil Wars at 7:45, Adele at 9.

I take my friends to American Ice more than anywhere else around there -- was just there with a bunch for the Metal Cocktails Night last night -- but it gets really crowded before popular shows. Nellie's could be a good call if you want to enjoy the weather, and depending on whether you need to see the Civil Wars, happy hour's a win, with $2 drinks from 6-7 and $3 drinks from 7-8. Dodge City's the best bet if you want to keep things low-key.

Dear Gurus, It's such a beautiful day- any suggestions on a place in DC to sit outside and have a good pre-Friday martini and maybe an appetizer but not a full dinner?

I'm kind of dying for a margarita and some tacos on the roof of the brand-new El Centro today. Bourbon cocktails on Bourbon's patio would be a winner, too.  Or a friend was just raving about the happy hour drinks/snacks on Art and Soul's patio. Haven't been there in a while, so today might be a good day to catch up.


I'd like to find a local studio or place that offers relatively inexpensive acting classes for adults. I think a few acting classes would help me in presentations at work, but I don't necessarily plan to be in community theater. Can you help offer some suggestions? Thanks!

You might try the Theatre Lab, which offers classes and puts on shows. If you're looking to improve your off-the-cuff skills, then classes at Washington Improv Theatre might be just the thing. They even have some free classes coming up later in the month, so you could test one out before committing.

I'm looking to take my wife on a relaxing day trip after her long week on the road for work. I was thinking of hitting the "Brew Ridge Trail" but wasn't sure if this can be done in a day. If not, which wineries would you suggest (we've been to the Leesburg and Middleburg wineries too often)?

I love the Brew Ridge Trail -- the series of Virginia breweries throughout Nelson and Abermarle Counties -- but I don't think you can do it in a day. Devil's Backbone, which is the absolute rockstar of the group, is about three hours from D.C., so you'd more time driving than touring.  (If you can get away for a night, Staunton is a good base for going to Blue Mountain, Starr Hill, etc.)

For something different, there's also Albermarle CiderWorks.... As for wines, Veritas is the probably the big boy. And I'm not a fan of berry or even sweet wines, but some people are; in Nelson County, there's Hill Top; and Wintergreen. In fact, here's a cool little list the county maintains.

Dear GOG's, I can't help but wonder how people feel when a group of 15 or 20 get together and "take over" a place. Many places in the DC area aren't really made for big groups to be able to do that but then what's a big group to do? Renting a private room takes away the ambience factor and sometimes places set a high minimum, which is not always something everyone is able to do. On the other hand, when a big group/party of 15 or 20 goes into a place, it can really change a place where couples go or small groups of friends gather. What's the best solution? Is there one?

I know what you mean. For birthdays and holiday parties, I usually take my own advice and rent out a private space. You don't get to mingle with the non-guests, and you have to make your own ambience, but it makes everything run that much more smoothly.

I've found that the best way around high fees, etc.,  is to hold a party on a night other than Friday or Saturday. Bars are willing to work with people who will bring crowds on otherwise slow nights, and you don't run into overly packed spaces as often during the week. (There are exceptions, of course.)

Planning dinner on Monday to catch up with a couple of girlfriends, budget around $15 person. Best bests near U St./ Logan Circle for this? Would go other places as well. Thanks!

 I would recommend Dickson Wine Bar on U Street, but even if you just stick to a banh mi, you'd probably want to order wine and that would blow the $15 per person limit. How about Etete? Crowding around a mesob (I had to look up the word, but it's one of those basket tables you see at Ethiopian places)  is a great way to catch up with your pals, and $15 per can go a long way in an Ethopian restaurant. Another option might be small plates at Bar Pilar, which got a solid review in Tom Sietsema's Spring Dining Guide

Big Chair Coffee has breakfast - not a formal brunch, but good. Does Ray's at East River (just up into NE from Anacostia) do brunch or Sundays, or is it only lunch?

I haven't been to Ray's on a weekend, and Justin's not here today -- anyone know what the menu's like?

I lived in Greece for a while and I miss a lot about the country, but especially the cuisine. Where can I find good, authentic Greek food? Bonus points if they put the fries inside their gyros, like the Greeks do.

You picked a great weekend to ask t his question: The Spring Festival at Saint Sophia's is a Greek food lover's paradise. Whole lambs roasting on the spit all day long. That kind of thing. Year-round, I go with Greek Spot, but I don't know how it would rank on the authenticity scale; it is a humble carryout, after all. I do know that if you order the Gyro platter, it comes with enough fries on the side that they inevitably spill inside the pita. 

I would like to get back into ceramics--mainly throwing pots on the wheel. Is there anywhere I can take classes? I used to take classes at the Chevy Chase Community Center in DC, but those aren't available any more. I checked Dep't of Agric. Grad classes but nothing there....

Glen Echo offers ceramics/pottery classes and a reliable source (Hi mom!) says they're a lot of fun.

I have a 21 yr old family member coming into town today. She has other family members here but they are between 20-21. Where can they go that will allow the 20 yr olds to party with them? They prefer a place with hip hop, Latin music & a mixed crowd. I am 28, but I'm willing to party with the young girls. Any chance there is a place that will accommodate all of us? We are looking for places for Fri-Sun night. Thank you!

More of the big nightclubs are going 21-and-up all the time. Ultrabar is about the only one that's 18-and-over and fits the bill for hip-hop and Latin. Check the schedule (and get free passes) at

Hi Gurus, So the boyfriend's parents are headed into town this weekend. They've spent quite a bit of time in DC, so this trip they are staying in Baltimore and want to visit the B'more/Annapolis circuit. Problem is- the weather isnt looking so hot. What would you do with 'rents on a rainy Saturday/Sunday? They aren't uber touristy, but also not opposed to a little history/art activities. Also could use a good recommendation for dinner in Baltimore on Saturday night. Thanks!

From Brandon in our Baltimore office:

There are plenty of great museums, including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History Museum, the American Visionary Art Museum or the Star-Spangled Banner Museum.

Tourists love the Maryland Science Center and the National Aquarium, so both will likely be packed, but they're well worth it.

If they're into sports, there's also the Sports Legends Museum near Camden Yards and the Lacrosse Hall of Fame near Johns Hopkins University.

There are plenty of great dining options around whichever one of those you choose. But I'll pick a centrally located restaurant and suggest the B&O American Brasserie.

I realize this is a little way off, but I am hoping you can help me. Every year, my mother visits for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and loves it. She considers this "our thing". Unfortunately, this month she is undergoing major surgery, and will not be able to travel by the end of June. She is upset that she will be missing it, so I am trying to find a substitution - preferably the first half of August. I have scoured the WP calendar and the Smithsonian websites, but can't find anything to fit the bill. Any recommendations of cultural events, exhibits, festivals, special performances, etc from end of July thru mid August? Prefer something that will expose Mom to a new culture. Bonus points if it is Smithsonian. (Posting early. Have an appointment at chat time, so likely won't be online.)

Bummer. The Folklife Festival is a pretty unique event, so it's a shame you're going to miss taking part in your tradition. Have you thought about the Capital Fringe Festival? New, edgy, quirky, weird and hilarious theater performances come to various venues throughout D.C. from July 7-24. It's not quite as multidisciplinary as Folklife but it's still a bona fide event. 

I'll add the annual Asian Festival to the list; it's in late July. A little later is the Shakespeare Free for All, which, as many many people will tell you, is that easy to get into. There are also county fairs, which are a lot of fun; there's Arlington County's fair, Loudoun, etc. There's a lot of fun to be had in August, perhaps more than in July. 

I have a man-friend and we aren't dating yet but it is his birthday next week, gift ideas??? help

We're a little confused on this one -- you're dating but not exclusive? Or you're friends but hoping for something more? In any case, Amy says a "flask is always a classy gift." I'd probably go with taking him out for a celebratory drink, which also might help things along if you're dealing with the second scenario.

MAXI dresses...but I think you have to have a killer figure to pull it off! If you can, more power to you!

Good suggestion! Petite and curvy figures can still pull off a maxi silhouette, if the color is simple, the neckline is flattering and the length is just right.

Say it ain't so! I'm sure the bartender loved that.

As long as you're spending money -- and not just one drink every 90 minutes -- I'm sure the bartenders don't care whether you're knitting, doing crossword puzzles or reading the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A large group of friends and I have tickets to the Mt. Vernon wine festival on Sunday (yes I am worried about the weather!). Do you know if there is any public transportation for this event? The one bus that seems to run from metro apepars to stop running shortly after the festival starts. Thanks!

I called Mount Vernon, and they say you should take Metro to Huntington station and then you can catch the bus on the way there; at the end of the night, you'll have to taxi back to the station, but the rep for Mount Vernon says there are plenty of cabs that will line up at the end of the festival. If you don't see any, a staffer will absolutely call one for you.

I need some extra spending money, any ideas?

You do realize we're the Going Out Gurus, right? Speaking for myself here, but I don't know if we're all models of fiduciary wisdom, considering how much we spend on drinks, food and, for some of  us, sunglasses. 

You could do what this guy did. I'm actually surprised he hasn't had any copycat rivals yet. Maybe it's because "hipster" and "clean" are usually mutually exclusive?

Not sure if I am too late, but I went to a friends birthday party at the Passenger and the space was perfect. She had about 25 people, but the doors stayed open into the main bar so we flowed back and forth between the room and the main bar. It was nice to not feel isolated, but we had out own space!

This is a good idea -- and the perfect use of the Passenger's back room space. Meridian Pint does something similar: They'll cordion off a portion of the basement for your group, but you can still get up and walk around if you want to.

Hey gurus, I'm trying to plan a date in DC for tomorrow night for guy I've recently started dating. Problem is, I live in the Maryland burbs and have been out of the dating pool for a while,so I seem to have forgotten how to do this. So I'd love some suggestions for good eating and then something fun to do afterward that won't be insanely crowed or filled with college kids. We're in our early 30s.

So as long as you're in MoCo, how about a cocktail bar? You're awfully close to Jackie's Sidebar. Silver Spring is packed with good places to eat, including Ethiopian -- Addis Ababa. There's a rooftop - in case it doesn't rain. Normally, I wouldn't suggest an eat-with-your-hands-date, but since you've already knocked out a first date...

"Big fish in a small pond"... vomit. I'd be ok if our pond had one less particular fish.

Spike is getting a very strong reaction from our chatters today...

Question about our neighbor to the north - I'm headed to Philly this weekend for the Adele concert (I wasn't as lucky as the earlier poster). Does anyone have recommendations for gastropub type places there? We'll be in jeans, so can't do anything too fancy.

I love Philly eating! So many gastropubs too! You have to go to Standard Tap. I'm a big fan of Abbey Bar, too. Continental has the most amazing fries, too.

That was fun today, all. Thanks for stopping by. A quick PSA: Next week, we're going to be giving away all kinds of stuff on our Facebook page. Be sure to Like us so you can be in the running for things like tickets to the Decemberists show at Merriweather. And remember, you can follow us all week on the blog and on Twitter

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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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