Getting Out: Put your passion on ice

As a longtime hockey enthusiast, I harbor no illusions of ice rinks being romantic locales.

Most are not — unless you’ve got a thing for filthy rubberized flooring, dog food-grade refreshments and years upon years’ worth of accumulated sweat-stink. Whatever Hollywood might have to offer on the subject, for the most part it’s safe to say there are better spots to go a-wooin’.

But for every rule there’s an exception, and thankfully for Washingtonians, our local exception pops up in the heart of town. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s fountain underwent its yearly transformation into a quaint outdoor skating rink a couple weeks ago, thus eliminating the need to head out to the ’burbs — and, in all likelihood, to deal with crazed figure-skating moms, toothless hockey goons and rink rats with names like Chopper — in pursuit of a pristine sheet of ice.

An added benefit: The rink, which sits in the shadow of the National Archives, is also a stone’s toss from the Pavilion Café, hardly your typical ice-side eatery. Here canoodling couples and amorous adventurers, still red-cheeked from the cold, can tuck into high-culinary creations like the Pear and Duck Salad or the Winter Vegetable Panini, basking in the place’s cozy ski-resort vibe.

So rinkside romance may be possible after all, although I’d offer this word of caution: That thing where you skate real hard and slam on the brakes, showering your date with ice shavings? It was funnier in middle school.

Of course, it wouldn’t be totally insane to prefer to stay out of the cold, in which case there’s …

Middle Distance Runner
Live at The Rock and Roll Hotel,
1353 H St. NE
Friday: doors open 8:30 p.m.
$10 in advance, $12 day of show

As band names go, Middle Distance Runner fairly reeks of indie-rock pretension: on the longish side and not funny ha-ha — funny ironic.

Good thing the book-cover rule applies also to music, because to write this D.C. quintet off in advance for having a less-than-stellar name would be to miss out on the wide-ranging sound they’ll be bringing to H Street’s Rock and Roll Hotel on Friday, one that bounces from garage-rock jangle (“Man of the People”) to hipster balladry (“Naturally”) and even all the far-out way to wistful shoegaze (“The Sun and Earth”). Did we mention they’re from D.C.?