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Morning Poll: Spending Less Time in the District?

by ARLnow.com — December 6, 2010 at 7:15 am 1,848 131 Comments

Over the past few years Arlington has experienced an amazing boom of new bars and restaurants (like the future BGR The Burger Joint in Clarendon, pictured).

But what exactly is fueling the expansion? The openings have far outpaced Arlington’s population growth. From a purely economic standpoint, there can only be a few explanations for how so many new bars and restaurants can open and stay in business.

One theory is that we’re spending more and more money going out to restaurants and bars. With so many new options, perhaps residents feel more compelled to go out when they would have otherwise stayed in.

Anther theory is that we’re spending less at older bars and restaurants. There have been a few restaurant closings lately but, then again, there have been many more openings than closings.

Yet another theory is that the new eateries and night spots are bringing more people into Arlington — either from the District, Fairfax County or elsewhere.

But the theory that’s perhaps most intriguing is that with all the new places to go out to, Arlingtonians are feeling less and less compelled to head into the District for dinner and entertainment. To attempt to prove or disprove that theory, we’ve devised the following poll.

  • G. Clifford Prout

    Went to dinner at 7:30 last Saturday in DC had to feed the meeters with $5 in quarters running out ever hour. Never never again.

    • LP

      100% agree. DC parking rates/rules are ridiculous.

    • rft

      valet

  • Jezebel

    The growing number of options locally also means the business $$ and tax $$ stay here in Arlington, which is a win for all involved.

    • SoArlRes

      Totally agree. Support our local economy. Plus, as G. Clifford Prout points out, who needs the hassle?

    • Bender

      Huh? Where and when has any individual’s taxes gone down due to all of these supposed business taxes that are supposedly keeping individual taxes down? Instead, taxes have gone UP to pay for all this development, not to mention the billion dollars in debt from bond issues.

      • mehoo

        Taxes in Arlington are among the lowest in the DC area, including both urban and suburban areas.

        • PurpleFlipFlops

          Except the car tax (If you own a non-hybrid vehicle.)

          • Westover

            The lower real estate tax more than makes up for the slightly higher car tax when compared to Alexandria or Fairfax, at least for us homeowners.

          • mehoo

            Yes, and it’s possible to live here with fewer cars per family or even none.

  • Novanglus

    Based on the hometowns that are listed in the crime reports for barfights on Wilson Blvd, there’s been an increase in patrons from outside Arlington.

    The county needs to take some of that increased revenue and bring back the extra patrols in Clarendon.

    • Ben

      I was just going to add, based on the increased number of people parking on our street during “bar hours,” I’d say it’s a lot of outsiders….

  • Lou

    It’s about the same for me, but that is to say hardly ever will you find me hanging out in DC. And food options are not at the top of the list of reasons either.

    • mehoo

      Why, Lou, why? Don’t leave us hangin’.

  • CrystalMikey

    When it comes to nightlife on the weekends, it’s all DC for me. Otherwise, I tend to stay in the county for most things.

  • mehoo

    Maybe it’s the smoking ban!

    When DC was smoke-free but Virginia wasn’t, I would go right past Arlington bars to get to DC so I could breathe. Now I can go out and breathe right here at home, plus my clothes don’t reek of smoke.

    • a’town

      totally agree.

    • Nick

      +1

    • CW

      +1

      -1 for Bailey’s, the only exception since they meet all the requirements to have a smoking section….GROSS.

      • mehoo

        Hard Times also has a smoking section upstairs, but luckily smoke rises.

      • PurpleFlipFlops

        I go to Bailey’s sometimes but they have the worst wait staff. Do they import workers? I don’t mean just from central/south america, but from all over the world, eastern europe and asia in particular?

        • mehoo

          Good help is sooooo hard to find these days.

  • Skeptical

    Unfortunately the reasons I don’t go to the District as much as I once did are the same reasons I don’t go out in Arlington very much any more either — creeping congestion. I’ve never been a night life person anyway, but I actually found one day that I didn’t even enjoy going to the library the way I used to because there were increasing occasions when I had to drive around the lot waiting for a space, and at some point people forgot that you’re supposed to be quiet in libraries. When I do want to go out for a sit-down meal — the county does have some terrific Thai and Asian-fusion places — odds are that someone is letting their trophy kid(s) use the restaurant for a playground. Not in a hurry to fight for scarce parking to have that experience.

    • winner

      I think we found the [blank]hole of the day! Congratulations…really? “trohpy kids”? What the H is wrong with you?

      • Hey_Ovie_Go_Long

        Guess you’ve never been to Rio Grande around 6:30 on a Saturday night.

        • Westover

          ^;30pm on a Saturday night is a time you should expect families to be eating. If you want to be there without any kids there go out at 7:30-8 when it is bed time for the kiddies. I am sure that you sat still and quite when you between the ages of two and fifteen, didn’t you? A time for everything in this world, only grandparents and families eat out at 6:30pm on the weekend, you get the whole rest of the night.

          • david

            Seriously. If you’re out eating anytime between 5-7 than you can’t complain. Especially when you’re talking about a place like Rio Grande / Whitlows / Pietanza and so on…

    • The Noze Bros

      Those places are so crowded that no one goes there anymore!

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Whoo hoo, more bars and restaurants, great place to settle down, invest in the community and raise a family.

    • mehoo

      Yep, it’s awesome that my family and I have access to nice restaurants and shopping that are so close. I can’t wait to take my kids to some of the new rooftop bars that are opening. Great place to take kids on a sunny afternoon and still get out like the old days.

  • Sunny617

    Transportation is a huge factor. The trains run so infrequently on weekends and now you have to spend $2/hour to park on Saturdays. With so much to do in Arlington within walking distance, why bother with DC anymore? DC has no one to blame but itself.

  • Steve

    Every time I go to the district I get a parking ticket. It’s ridiculous. Once I went to out to lunch with a friend there. Tried putting money in the meter, and it didn’t register. So I left a note – meter broken. I came back 45 minutes later and not only had a ticket, but the meter maid had removed my note, presumably so he/she could trap other drivers. It’s not worth it. I go out in Arlington now, whenever it’s up to me.

    • Kevin

      Parking at a broken meter does not mean you get free parking. It sucks to have to move your car, particularly when parking is tight but thats the way it is

      • PurpleFlipFlops

        Actually parking at a broken meter is allowed for “free” for up to the legally allowed time. If its 2-hr parking, then 2-hr parking is allowed.

        I’ve received a ticket once after putting money in the meter, it not working, calling 311, reporting the meter number, time, and my name, as well as putting the “service number” in the dashboard as requested by CSR on phone. Still got ticket. “Fought” the ticket by mail and lost.

        • LP

          Then is it really allowed? If so, you shouldn’t have lost.

          • NPGMBR

            Actually it is allowed. All you have to do is play the game by DC’s rules and you’ll win.

            If you find yourself at a broken meter pull out your phone and immediately call DC Meter Repair. All the info you need is right there on the meter. When you’ve given them what info they need they will tell you that you are allowed to park in the space up to the allowed limit. Be sure to keep the reference # they give you in the event you get a ticket. If you have the ref # the ticket will be easily nullified. I know for experience.

      • Bender

        TOW HIM, TOW HIM, TOW HIM!!

        RULES ARE RULES!!

        When did Arlington get so many unfriendly people with such a TFB, sucks for you attitude?

  • JamesE

    I usually avoid DC because of the metro, if I do end up going I always take a cab back instead of waiting 45 minutes for a train.

    • Katie

      I went out in the city on Saturday night and it took me ages to get to Pentagon City, only to find that ZERO cabs look for passengers there. Yes, I should have gotten off at Rosslyn.

      • NPGMBR

        And thats exactly the reason why I’ll never get rid of my car. I can be just about anywhere in DC in 10 to 15 minutes by car but it can take a minimum of 50 minutes by Metro. Just not worth it!

        • mehoo

          Does that count the time going around and around looking for a parking space? And time isn’t the only factor – what about the cost of paying for parking in a garage? What about when you’re stuck in traffic? Or getting fat from lack of exercise, or going insane?

          Sometimes a car is best, sometimes it’s not.

          • a’town

            I have a car and guess what? I DRIVE one mile to the gym.

            Yes all you tree-hugging lefties, I DRIVE one mile, in ARLINGTON, to the gym.

            Im not fat though. And not everyone who hates metro is, either.

          • Westover

            I can respect that, time is limited in this world. A one mile drive takes two to three minutes. A one mile walk take ten to fifteen minutes. Only a single person with no obligations after 5pm would not be able to see this.

          • mehoo

            You’re not fat, but perhaps you’re idiotic.

          • mehoo

            But if you walk, you don’t have to go to the gym in the first place because you already go your exercise…

          • Westover

            Depends on the planned workout. Walking a mile is not the same exercise as running that mile, nor is it the same as lifting to burn the same number of cals.

          • a’town

            precisely. the metro system is decent for to and from work but thats about it.

          • Westover

            Yup, Metro rarely operates on MY schedule during the off peak times. Waiting at East Falls Church for a half hour in thecold winter air sucks, same with waiting in the humidity of August.

          • mehoo

            Then walk two miles. Or ride a bike. The point is that driving to a gym where you pay to walk on a treadmill is kind of insane.

            You really want to work out? Walk, run, or bike to the gym!

          • Westover

            I don’t have the time to run or walk in time for the swim work out with the group and still take care of the kid obligations. Traveling to the gym on foot takes a minimum of four times what it would take in the car, even running my fastest. It is funny to me that so many think their situation fits everyone else’s. It is nice to be able to ride the bike or walk to the neighborhood pool on summer weekends, but during the week? Forget about it.

          • mehoo

            I didn’t say your situation fits; I think I made it pretty clear that everyone has different needs and schedules. I’m just saying some people don’t think this stuff through. I’m just saying “you” to mean any hypothetical person. I don’t know you personally. I know how it is, I have kids and a job too.

            You say you (meaning hypothetically) don’t have time to walk–well, how long do you spend at the gym? If you walked more, maybe you wouldn’t need any gym time. That’s my point, in general, not necessarily applying specifically to you.

          • Westover

            Walking for exercise is for when you are too fat to keep up with MY workout. ;)

            And yes, anyone that drives to the gym on all but the coldest or hottest days just to go walk or run on the treadmill can be considered a fool.

          • Take it down a notch

            So because I am single and have no obligations after 5 pm on many weeknights, I am incapble of understanding that it takes less time to drive 1 mile than it takes to walk 1 mile? Single people without evening appointments are stupid? Really? You really think this??

          • Westover

            If you think you are stupid, so be it. I was just pointing out that those without the experience of having children and the obligations that come with them would not understand. But hey, if you want to consider yourself stupid along with being ignorant, don’t let me get in your way.

  • Clarendude

    Also need to consider office population growth as many of those stay in town for happy hour and dinner. One thing I have noticed is the residential multiplier effect. New residents who live in the condos and apartments will have friends come in from either the exurbs or out of town to stay and go out. But, yea less need to go into the District for entertainment. While we have some good live music, that is one area that I still trek into the District for. And, hockey and basketball.

  • Politically Incorrect

    I avoid the District because of their Parking Vultures, speed cameras, and redlight cameras.

    • mehoo

      Whereas its so easy to speed, run red lights, and park illegally in Arlington.

    • PurpleFlipFlops

      Arlington has redlight cameras as well, but seems to post them in spots to get “outsiders,” just as DC does.

  • http://twitter.com/ClarendonBlvd ClarendonBlvd

    We left Woodley Park for Courthouse in August and the only time we returned there was during Thanksgiving break when (gasp!) you could find street parking at night. Otherwise I refuse to drive in DC before 8PM except on weekends. I’ve walked into Georgetown a few times too when the temps are nice. It’s a great walk.

    We do “date-night” once a week and its almost every time its been in the rossyln-clarendon corridor.
    We have a list of places elsewhere in Arlington left to explore (e.g. Shirlington).

    It is very easy to never leave the rosslyn-ballston corridor these days.

    • FormerDCres

      Agreed. Used to live in Cleveland Park and, while I do miss that true city vibe, there really isn’t much in my old neighborhood that the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor doesn’t offer. The only time I venture into DC in the evenings is for birthday parties and gatherings planned by my friends who still live in the District (and perhaps an occasional trip to 9:30 Club or Verizon Center). Otherwise, I’d rather head to Clarendon or CourtHouse for dinner any day.

  • Darwin

    I definitely don’t go to DC as much! I can fill my night here with less travel time and I won’t be shot and killed like in Adams Morgan (okay to be fair my friend was only shot but survived)!

  • G

    I live a mile from shirlington, and it’s great being able to just drive there and park in one of the many free garages at the village.

    • Tony Hayward

      You drive one mile?

      • CW

        I can’t think of any place within 1 mile of Shirlington where I’d feel safe walking myself…

        • Claremont

          There are many places (neighborhoods) within a mile of Shirlington that are safe and walk-friendly. Four Mile Run Drive is not a beautiful spot itself, but many of the surrounding areas are fine, at least for those who care to venture outside of their vehicles.

          • CW

            Last year, I was riding my bicycle along the W&OD as I often do (nearly every weekend during nice weather) down near where the trail goes along a bluff that’s about 20 feet above Four Mile Run Dr. on the north side (between the intersection with Walter Reed and the end of FoMiRuDr…like my acronym?) Anyhow, I hear some screaming and yelling in Spanish, and then to my amazement, a car FLIES off of the cliff to the left, hangs in the air as though suspended in time, and crashes full-speed into one of those parked dump/tow/delivery trucks. If I had been 100 feet further forward I would have died. A couple guys, still arguing in spanish and one holding a beer, run out to inspect the damage.

            I love riding my bike along that section of the trail, but I’m just saying, that’s what I think of when I think of that area. So no, I don’t think of walking a mile at night in that region.

        • SB

          Seriously?

        • mehoo

          Really? You need to get out more.

          • mehoo

            CW: A car crashed somewhere, and therefore it’s not safe to walk anywhere if it’s a mile from Shirlington?

            And doesn’t that mean you’re not safe on your bike either? Except for a mile within Shirlington, of course, where cars never crash…

          • CW

            No, I said that I saw two crazies PUSH A CAR OFF A CLIFF, while DRUNK, and used it as an EXAMPLE of the kind of wild, lawless stuff that goes on down there. God.

          • Westover

            That is awesome in a funny sort of way! :D

          • CW

            Also, neither of your statements in the post make any sense.

            “CW: A car crashed somewhere, and therefore it’s not safe to walk anywhere if it’s a mile from Shirlington?”

            I was referring to the exact spot that we were talking about. My anecdote happened very close to the Shirlington Village development thing. Less than a couple hundred yards. I don’t even understand your sarcasm. Do you mean less than a mile from Shirlington, or greater?

            “And doesn’t that mean you’re not safe on your bike either? Except for a mile within Shirlington, of course, where cars never crash…”

            A mile within Shrlington? What does this even mean?! Do you mean “within a mile of Shirlington”. This is what I actually said, after all. “Where cars never crash”. I’m assuming you meant that to be sarcastic? So wouldn’t that then be saying cars crash a lot in Shirlington? You’re implying that I’m NOT safe anywhere, but (sarcastically) saying I’m safe near Shirlington, (the opposite of what I aaid), meaning that I am NOT safe in Shirlington (which is what I implied?)!!

            I think a student of the ancient Greek philosophers could write a dissertation simply upon the logical contradictions and inconsistencies contained within that post, which loops upon itself like a mobius strip, confounding the mind of anyone who attempts to understand it.

          • Westover

            I don’t know, I lived in SHirlington/Fairlington for five years after we first got married, and we always felt safe. But your story still cracks me up, because I can totally see it happenign with some of the old neighborhood down there on Four Mile Run. ;)

          • CW

            It was just mind-blowingly random, and for that moment I really felt like I was somewhere in the third world. The funniest part of it was that the two participants just kept arguing as they went down and inspected the damage. What a great trick to play on someone when you’re mad at them: walk over and throw their car into neutral while it’s poised atop a cliff.

          • mehoo

            Well, then, I’m convinced. I’m moving to Shirlington and never walking anywhere outside of a one-mile radius.

          • mehoo

            I understood your words just fine. You think you’re only safe walking when you’re within a mile of Shirlington. When asked why, you cited a car crash. Yeah, I’m the one with logic problems.

          • mehoo

            Okay, maybe I mixed your words up with someone else’s though.

        • Take it down a notch

          Fairlington. Park Fairfax. Two nice quiet neighborhoods that are safe for walking and within a mile of Shirlington.

          • Westover

            Essentially at all depends on which side of Four Mile Run you are talking about. Strangely enough, it is the south-side of the stream in that part of the county that is safer/quieter. The Arlington, Claremont, Fairlington are all nice quite neighborhoods.

      • G

        I run 5 miles to and from work every day… when I get home and want to go out for dinner or a drink, or need to go to the grocery store in shirlington, I drive.

      • Bender

        You drive a mile?? You monster! Why, you’re no better than Timothy McVeigh!

        • Bender

          G — there is NO need for you to justify yourself. What the hell business is it of anyone that you might want to drive anywhere?

          • Timothy McVeigh

            Let me guess…you’re a typical obese American who can’t understand why he keeps getting fatter but won’t exercise and expects to pop a pill to take care of his huge saturated fat and salt intake.

          • mehoo

            I agree, everyone who is in cars behind mine have the God-given right to drive wherever they want. The ones in front of me, though, should get the hell out of the way, *%$#*@!

        • JamesE

          Sometimes I drive 1/2 mile to the grocery store, but I also drive a large liter v8 so I make sure to keep it near redline the entire time.

  • CW

    But HAS it really outpaced population growth? I’d like to see the breakdown and see the stats controlled for a few variables. Sure, it’s outpaced bulk population growth of Arlington county, which include Crystal City, Columbia Pike, the bazillionaire neighborhoods north of Lee Highway, etc. But has it outpaced 1) growth in the orange line corridor or 2) growth of the demographic that frequents these aforementioned restaurants and bars?

    Regarding #1: I moved into a brand new 100+ unit apt. building in VA Square last year. The property owner opened a new low-rise building a couple blocks up a few months later. A huge new residential complex is going up in Ballston. This spring, I’m moving to a brand new 250+ unit complex in Clarendon (guess which). Point being, seems like there’s been a decent bit of growth to me.

    Regarding point #2, I’d conjecture that nearly all of the growth has been in a demographic and age range which frequents these establishments much more than other population subsets. This namely of course being the easily-stereotypable under-30 brown flip flip crowd, of which I guess I am a de facto member. These people have a decent (or in some cases, indecent) amount of money, no one to support, often don’t like to cook, and just plain like to have a good time. Since the major single-family-home residential neighborhoods are effectively saturated with very low turnover, nearly all the demographic changes in the county that are relevant to this discussion (don’t bring up immigrants please, it’s not relevant) are going to be of direct impact to this conversation.

    I’m just mentioning this because it’s a point no one has brought up. While the R-B corridor has been relatively young for some time, I think that the bulk of the growth has further targeted this demographic. This has also been exacerbated by the fact that, for new college graduates, D.C. is literally one of the only cities in the country that offers job opportunities.

    • jenn

      excellent points. on the south arlington side, it’s similar – i used to live in the dolley madison towers, and a brand new apartment/townhouse complex just opened right next door (glebe/395). now i’m over on columbia pike, and there’s the halstead across from the cinema & draft house that’s been open for a little while, plus 2-3 new “luxury” apartment complexes that have either just opened or will be opening in the next 6 months. lots of new businesses recently opened and spaces for lease there, too.

  • NovaGirl

    The reason for the renewed nightlife in Arlington is pretty easy — Men will go to where the girls are! As a Clarendon girl, I feel safer in Arlington than DC – no sketchy metro rides, no waiting on dark streets in DC for questionable “cabs” to take me home. And at least compared to my not so distant college days, girls in Arlington are “easy” which keeps the boys in town!

    • PurpleFlipFlops

      When you say girls in Arlington are “easy” are you including yourself in that list?

    • JamesE

      shut down the poll, this is clearly the only real answer.

    • NovaGuy

      Let’s hear it for the Easy Arlington girls! They are helping to bring in local tax revenues to pay off Arlington’s Billion dollar bonds/debt! I knew the county board had a plan after to pay for that Dog Park. NovaGirl – just let me know where to meet up with your friends so we can maximize the Arlington “business” transactions.

      • JamesE

        They are also tax deductible

      • Let’s Be Free

        Be careful guys, this is the internet. There is no guarantee that NovaGirl is either in Arlington or is a girl.

        • mehoo

          Still, you wouldn’t have to go all the way to DC…

  • PurpleFlipFlops

    I like to stay in Arlington, if only my friends would realize that its a short Metro ride over, or an even shorter car ride over from DC. I even have free guest parking!

    • mehoo

      Would you describe your guest parking as “easy?”

      • CW

        I’m guessing NovaGirl would…

        • NPGMBR

          Guest parking in my building is easy and free. Then again, I live along Columbia Pike!

  • NJmetsfan

    I usually go out to Rock Bottom and Mister Days, but I still enjoy taking the metro to a bar in D.C. sometimes.

  • charlie

    The recent renovation of whole foods is a clear indication that no one cooks anymore. The valuable land in that store that is dedicated to prepared or almost prepared food/ meals was greatly increased and one would assume it was by market demand.

    • CW

      Very good observation. Also note that more and more places (CVS across from Eventide as of a couple weeks ago being an example) are featuring “grab and go” or “small grocery” type displays, aimed at people who just want convenience and don’t go to true grocery stores too often. Also, the fact that Trader Joe’s, which features a really high proportion of prepared foods and which also scouts potential new locations meticulously, has chosen Clarendon speaks to this as well.

    • NJmetsfan

      I much prefer to pay for prepared food over cooking something healthier and cheaper. It gives me more time to relax in front of the T.V.

    • Westover

      Well look at the demographics, the Clarendon community is generally singles or DINKS, not that many families are going to be shopping at Whole Foods there. On the otherhand the Whole Foods on Rt7 between Tysons and Falls Church does not have nearly the prepared to non-prepared foods ratio since they have a lot of McLean/Vienna/Falls Church families as customers.

  • Bender

    I spend less time in the District for the same reason I spend LESS, not more time, in places like Clarendon — they have told people that they don’t want your business with their anti-parking obnoxiousness. (And don’t tell me that I should instead spend a couple of hours on the bus and Metro to go there.)

    Plus Clarendon, Rosslyn, et al. also have the benefits of being overdeveloped, overcrowded, and a not people-friendly attitude.

    Make no mistake, all of the build, build, build, spend, spend, spend — pushed by government in bed with rich developers — will come crashing down because there are not the economics to sustain it.

    • Diana Ross

      Where do you go out? Nelson County?

    • mehoo

      Go to a mall somewhere far, far from the city, where parking is plentiful and it’s not too developed for your taste. There’s a Ruby Tuesday’s that you’ll love.

  • PurpleFlipFlops

    I tend to spend time in areas where I can carry concealed. Legally, I am allowed to in Arlington, although they may try to opt-out of that as well!

    As to open-carry, never never never would I try that in Arlington (even though its 100% legal.)

  • John Andre

    Not only do I go to the District or Maryland less often, but I’m using Metro/Metrobus less and ART far more. It’s far easier and more efficient to take ART 41 to the Clarendon Ballroom than to take Metro. It would be nice to see more swing dances, blues dances and ballroom dancing at this and other Arlington and nearby Fairfax venues. Currently I don’t patronize the Salsa Room and other venues with bouncers. The presence of bouncers at dance venues implies the possibility of frequent attendance by troublemakers.

    As for Metro, I keep seeing higher fares, but what am I getting??? More and more delays for “track maintenance” and other reasons, some of them safety related. If Metro needs to keep raising fares, their service needs to be improved. At least the airlines are losing less luggage and improving baggage handling along with the luggage fees.

    • mehoo

      “The presence of bouncers at dance venues implies the possibility of frequent attendance by troublemakers.”

      I would think they would deter the troublemakers.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      I too am a convert to the ART system. They go where I want to go, they run frequently, and are mostly on schedule. Much better than driving OR Metro.

    • G

      I’ve had a completely different experience with the ART buses. Though I’ve only taken it 3 times (which was more than enough for me), all 3 buses were a minimum of 30 minutes late. Metrobus has always been on time for me.

      • mehoo

        Most ART buses only come every 30 minutes. Maybe you just missed the last one. Sometimes – and this is insane, I know – they actually get there early, and don’t wait.

        • G

          Yeah, but I knew the schedule and was waiting for a scheduled bus. One of them was over an hour late.

          • mehoo

            Okay. Yeah, buses are late or don’t show sometimes. It happens.

      • Juanita de Talmas

        In my case it’s always been the opposite: ART buses always on time, MetroBus NEVER on time.

  • Bluemont John

    Count me among the ranks of those who won’t go to DC because of the parking and crime. And the fact that there are no reasonably priced restaurants to speak of.

    Even if you live in the heart of DC and don’t drive, the restaurants there are so expensive. I don’t believe there’s anything like a Hops or even a J. Gilbert’s (which is kinda pricey but often has coupons)–the one notable exception being Eat First (though the parking near there is awful).

    If I’m going to spend a lot of dough going out to eat, I better get free parking. Hello, L’Auberge!

  • CW

    At the end of the day though, I think this is a pretty open-and-shut issue. Arlington is building up and attracting a large influx of new residents and money, which is leading to the development of more local attractions. This, coupled with the fact that downtown is a PITA to get to at peak going-out hours due to infrequent metro service and less-than-savory cabbies, makes people less inclined to brave high prices and potential crime (if only a more of an imagined threat than a real one). Why go elsewhere when you have a playground in your own back yard?

    The exception being fine dining (I mean fine fine, think 1789, Oval Room, Bourbon Steak, Komi). Arlington doesn’t really have it, except for Eventide (sort of). If you want to celebrate a big occasion, or just not have to scream over the drunken Va Tech alumni as they slosh their beers all over you, then downtown it is.

  • Westover

    I will go anywhere in the DC area to be with friends and good food. I am not going to tie myself down to Arlington alone.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      Agreed, except for I try to stay away from Maryland. There’s nothing there that I can’t find closer to home.

      • Westover

        No Dave & Busters on this side of the river like you have at White Flint and no Peeps store like National Harbor has.

  • G

    Having a reliable 50cc scooter is actually a very convenient way to get around the DC area (at least when the weather is nice). No registration needed, no prop. taxes (or sticker), no registration or license requirements. And you can park on the sidewalk! It’s also much faster than taking metro or the bus. I bought one when I first moved here but sold it at the end of the summer because it was having problems (don’t buy the cheap Chinese ones). I plan on buying another next spring.

    • CW

      Off the table once you’ve had a beer or two…

    • mehoo

      All true with a bicycle too, plus you don’t have to guy gas…

      • Uncle Julio

        Guy gas…always a problem at Mexican joints.

        • mehoo

          You should know, Julio, I’ve been to your joint.

          • Uncle Julio

            Most of the easy NOVA girls have visited my joint.

          • mehoo

            Even with all that guy gas?

  • MC

    Dining options are far more interesting in DC, but the hassle factor of getting there and back is often too much, and some places that break the mold are also in somewhat creepy places if not crowded with people. The other downside is that some potentially interesting places are too much a scene, praying on would-be hipsters who have too much time on their hands.

    Arlington gets lots of Fairfax residents looking for a safe urban experience. While I doubt they do much to push the culinary envelop here, I understand the desire to want to feel safe on a sidewalk cafe table during the summer.

    • Justin Russo

      Anybody who fells unsafe while dining al fresco in the District probably would do well to stay in Fairfax.

  • Crybabies

    Wow…. you all live some sheltered lives.

    It’s great Arlington has all these new places to go eat and drink. Only problem is that they all or more less the same- mediocore food, mediocore drink. Little character to distinguish one restaurant from another anymore. Parking has become a pain too.

    Conversely, I spent all weekend going back and forth to DC. Saturday afternoon I was up in Georgia Ave/Petworth- found parking around the corner from the coffee shop. That evening I was in Columbia Heights- parked right acorss from the wine bar I visited. Later in Adams Morgan for dinner- scored a spot right on 18th St near Columbia. The next morning, back on 18th St., right in front of the place I went to meet up with friends for brunch. I’ve been in the area 15 years. Never once have been assulted, mugged, or had my vehicle vandalized in the District. So I don’t know what you’re all talking about. Worst thing that has happened to me in the District is getting some parking tickets, but have also gotten just as many here in Arlington as well.

    I don’t know where you all go or what you do, but DC is no less a hassle than Arlington at this point. Arlington was more convienent back in the day, but that is no more. Unless you live in Shirlington like I do. Great, family friendly place. Easy to walk at night to the Village for a movie and quick nosh and such. I’d take that over the faux hipster, brown-flip flop loving, solidly generic establishments that ring the B-C-R corridor now.

    • mehoo

      Well, there you go – the reason Arlington places are more popular now is because there are more faux hipster, brown flip-flop lovers here, due to all the faux hipster condos.

      And there are still good, interesting food joints here, but most are just not on the urban strip any more.

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