The Metropolitan School of the Arts - formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center - was founded more than 14 years ago. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization takes a holistic approach to teaching and encouraging performance-arts skills, creating performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Ford's Theater and Signature Theater. Youth programs include year-round programs in dance, theater, music, music-theater, and acting, as well as a performing-arts program in the summer, all for children as young as 2. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.
When Kim Allen Kluge took over as music director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in 1987, the outfit was made up of a small but enthusiastic group of community musicians. Sensing the potential of the orchestra, Kluge augmented the ensemble with freelancer virtuosos, quickly establishing the ASO as the premier professional symphony in northern Virginia. Today, the collective performs in the elegant Schlesinger Concert Hall on the Northern Virginia Community College campus, which makes for an acoustically friendly venue and a convenient base of operations for pranks on the Dean.
Shooter McGee's bolsters its neighborhood pub atmosphere with a menu packed with pub-fare classics and modern comestibles. Chefs prep appetites for satiation with hearty appetizers, including the modern-leaning trio of duck tacos, with spiced duck confit filling out tortillas ($9.99). Patties of Angus beef take up residence between pillowy buns for burgers such as the bacon and cheese, with applewood-smoked bacon and a choice of 10 cheeses, plus a side of hand-cut fries, slaw, mac 'n' cheese, or baked beans ($9). The herb chicken & greens salad piles herb-roasted chicken over mixed greens with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic reduction ($12). Revel in the twin-flavored pursuits of the strawberry-balsamic pork tenderloin ($16), or delicately nibble through the eight hours of flavor that go into each rack of barbecue ribs ($20).
Food and wine make for a great tag-team duo, assuaging stress while filling the belly with scrumptious sustenance. At GRAPE + BEAN, patrons can sample wines, small plates, and large plates to satisfy the pickiest of sippers and tasters. A knowledgeable staff helps customers pick out palate-soothing drinks and eats amid an inviting atmosphere that features original brick walls, exposed beams, and rustic wood finishes. Sample tasty bites off the lunch, brunch, or dinner menus, which offer selections such as the rosemary ham with melted aged gruyere ($11), truffled egg toast ($12.50), and duck confit with white-bean casserole ($22). Or, opt for smaller plates, such as artichoke with pecorino, fresh mint, and basil ($9) and organic heirloom tomato with serrano ham ($9).
Inspired by early 20th century chili parlors, Hard Times Cafe aims to preserve the tradition of delectable, hearty fare served in a friendly, lively community eatery. Elevate taste buds to new heights with an order of legendary grilled wings in one of five flavors, including original Texas, chili-lime, honey-barbecue, and eternity ($8.99 per order). Hard Times Cafe serves four distinct varieties of chili. The authentic chili mac is served over spaghetti with your choice of accouterments ($7.49–$8.89). Burgers, sliders, and chili dogs are easily transportable by hand or hovercraft, and savory steaks and other suppertime favorites provide more refined nourishment options. To reward you for your literary prowess, every Groupon reader who texts HTCGRP to 59925 gets an additional coupon good for one order of bar nachos. Combine this offer with a Groupon, or save it for a subsequent visit.
Patrons struggle to narrow down choices from a menu of pizzas, burgers, and seafood at FireFlies while live bands and athletic events on a big-screen television draw cheers beneath eclectic works of art. Chefs slip norwegian smoked salmon amid the seemingly conventional BSLT sandwich's apple-smoked bacon, lettuce, and tomato ($9.99), delighting diners and homesick mermen. Light chipotle jus permeates slow-roasted pork shoulders ($14.99), and ripples of garlicky goat-cheese sauce gurgle among roasted red peppers, onions, olives, and artichokes atop the Red, White & Green pizza ($13.99). Chipotle mayo and guacamole compete for top billing in maws clamping around the half-pound Cali burger ($10.99), which hides beneath a house-made bun like a baker's spare house key. Though they are not included in this Groupon, inventive cocktails such as the FireFlies chocolate toddy, which floats a marshmallow on a dark sea of chocolate sauce, Maker's Mark, and Disaronno, slide down the gleaming bar to chatting patrons. FireFlies' online calendar and Twitter feed contain constantly changing updates about live musicians, trivia, and other events.