As many as 3,000 people are expected for the Shamrock Bar Crawl, billed as “Arlington’s biggest bar crawl.” The St. Patrick’s Day-themed event is taking place from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday (March 9th).
As of this afternoon, organizers said the bar crawl was sold out due to “high demand.” Some tickets will be available for $20 cash on the day of the event, they via social media, with registration taking place at Mad Rose Tavern and Velocity 5. Other bars participating in the event include Whitlow’s, SoBe, Hunan One, Wilson Tavern, Arlington Rooftop and Mister Days.
Drink specials include $2 Yuenglings, $3 rail drinks, $4 “shamrock shots,” and $5 Irish car bomb shots. Participants — who should be easy to spot thanks to free green beads and “Signature Shamrock mugs” — will also be able to nab $2 cheese pizza slices at Bronx Pizza.
A separate St. Paddy’s Day-themed event, the Four Courts Four Miler race, is taking place at 9:00 a.m. in the Courthouse area. The race is sold out and expected to bring thousands of runners and spectators to Courthouse. A number of road closures are planned for the race.
A pedal-powered pub turned heads in Courthouse today as it stopped by for a goodwill tour of Arlington.
The owners of Trolley Pub — a company that operates two open-air, pedal-powered party trolleys in Raleigh, N.C. – brought the vehicle up to Arlington in advance of their planned expansion here next month, to get a lay of the land and to introduce it to local law enforcement.
Police Department brass, County Board staffers, Health Department officials and other county employees stopped by on their lunch break to gawk at the 15-seat contraption and ask questions about its operation, legality and safety record.
The Trolley Pub, it turns out, is perfectly legal on the streets of Arlington, at least according to a preliminary police review. Owner Kai Kaapro said the trolley is classified the same as a party bus or limousine under the law; patrons are allowed to bring their own canned beer or boxed wine (no glass and no liquor) and drink it while pedaling around, since there’s a paid driver steering the vehicle.
The trolley itself does utilize pedal power, but it also has its own electric motor, capable of climbing steep hills and reaching up to 20 miles per hour. Normally, Kaapro said, the trolley will cruise around 5-10 miles per hour. Riders (up to 14, plus the driver) will be required to wear seat belts. So far, he said, there have been no reported accidents involving such vehicles in the United States (the concept originated in Europe).
Kaapro said he’s still scouting out possible routes in Arlington. Asked whether he thinks drivers might be annoyed by the slow-moving vehicle on local streets, he said it’s “really not more of an obstruction than a bus,” except it might move a bit slower.
“The novelty tends to moderate people’s tempers,” he noted.
Another concern he’s hoping to allay is that Trolley Pub patrons will be hardcore, out-of-control partiers. In fact, he said, most of his customers are in their 30s and 40s and not interested in getting sloppy drunk while pedaling across town. Twenty-somethings, Kaapro said, haven’t shown as much interest in his Trolley Pubs in Raleigh.
“Most young people don’t really need an excuse to go out and drink and hand out with friends,” he said. “We try hard to make sure it doesn’t get too rowdy. We like the older crowd.”
Plus, Kaapro said, the $35-40 per person price for a two hour tour might be a bit too high for those recently out of college.
Typical Trolley Pub customers are bachelorette parties, tourists, corporate team building exercises, and groups of friends on a pedal-powered bar crawl. Drivers, hired by the company, are typically bartenders or anybody else who can be fun and control a crowd at the same time.
Kaapro, 28, said he started the Trolley Pub two years ago after graduating from law school.
“For some reason this seemed more appealing to me than working for a law firm,” he said.
The Trolley Pub attracted quite a bit of attention during its stint in Courthouse today. One older woman blocked a lane of traffic, in front of about a half-dozen gathered police officers, to a take a cell phone photo of the trolley. Kaapro said he’s received some 20-30 calls for reservations already, just from people who have read about it online.
A new Trolley Pub (different than the older model pictured) is expected to start roaming the streets of Arlington in mid-April.
The open-air, pedal-powered trolley lets riders mix drinking and exercising while taking in the Arlington sights. Up to 14 people can ride along on a tour, along with one certified Trolley Pub conductor in the captain’s seat.
The trolley already exists in cities like Raleigh, NC. Pricing is not yet listed for the Arlington trolley, but Raleigh’s charges $30 per person for up to six people on a two hour tour, or $350 to rent the entire 14 person pub for two hours.
Riders who want to drink on the ride have to bring their own alcoholic beverages, but are able to use the on-board ice chest. No hard alcohol or glass is allowed, and alcoholic beverages must remain on board at all times.
The tentative launch date is April 13, according to the Trolley Pub Arlington Facebook page.
Commission Says No to Lee Hwy Project — The Arlington Planning Commission has voted against a developer’s plan to build a 10-story apartment building and a MOM’s Organic Market grocery store on the current Bergmann’s Dry Cleaner site on Lee Highway. The commission expressed reservations about approving the project when there’s no overarching county development plan for Lee Highway. Some neighborhood residents who supported the development said they were disappointed with the commission’s vote. The County Board will have the final say when they consider the matter on Dec. 8. [Arlington Mercury]
Arlington GOP Still Trying to Stop Streetcar — The Arlington County Republican Committee is trying a new tactic to halt the planned Columbia Pike streetcar. The GOP is asking state lawmakers to pass a measure that would require Arlington County to have a voter referendum before selling bonds to fund the streetcar. [Sun Gazette]
Ballston Bar Crawl to Benefit Sandy — Eight Ballston-area bars are hosting a bar crawl to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. The bar crawl will start at noon on Saturday at Front Page (4201 Wilson Blvd). The event also includes a poker competition for prizes, like Redskins and Capitals gear. [Clarendon Nights]
There’s going to be plenty of Christmas cheer to go around in Arlington this weekend. A sleigh-ful of holiday events are planned around the county. Among them:
- Winter Wonderland in Clarendon — This event will feature family-friendly holiday activities and entertainment, including strolling carolers, professional ice sculptors and free photos with Santa. Mix 107.3 FM will be broadcasting live and the Marine Corps will be collecting toys and cash for their Toys for Tots campaign.
- Saturday, 4:00 to 7:30 p.m., Market Common Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd)
- The Gift of Art Reception — Support local artists and buy a unique, artful gift at this holiday showcase event.
- Saturday, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., Arlington Arts Gallery (5179 Lee Highway)
- Shirlington SantaCon — This daytime bar crawl encourages participants to come dressed as Mr. or Mrs. Claus as they go from bar to bar in Shirlington Village. The $15 registration fee will benefit the charity Dreams for Kids.
- Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Shirlington Village (2700 S. Quincy Street)
- Good Sports Holiday Party — Good Sports of Arlington will be holding its 6th Annual Holiday Party to benefit its Scholarship Fund for Arlington students. This year’s event will feature a raffle with prizes such as Capitals tickets, Presidents Club seats to a Nationals game, and a weekend getaway to Virginia’s brewery and vineyard area outside Charlottesville.
- Saturday, 7:00 to 10:00 p.m., Crystal City Sports Pub (529 S. 23rd Street)
- National Chamber Ensemble Holiday Concert — The National Chamber Ensemble and talented young guest musicians play seasonal favorites as well as a traditional carol sing-along. Tickets are $28 for adults and $15 for students.
- Sunday, 4:30 p.m., Artisphere Spectrum Theatre (1101 Wilson Blvd)
- Holiday Concerts and Sing Along — The award-winning, all-female Potomac Harmony Chorus will present its annual Holiday Concert and Sing-Along. Admission is free, but donations will be collected on behalf of Doorways for Women and Families.
- Sunday, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., NRECA Conference Center (4301 Wilson Blvd)
- Christmas Movie Festival — Christmas-themed movie classics are shown at the big screen at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse. The lineup includes: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Scrooged, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
- Sunday, 12:00 to 9:00 p.m., Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike)
Ireland’s Four Courts seems like the place to be this weekend for pre-St. Patrick’s Day fun. Saturday morning the pub will be hosting runners before and after the Four Courts Four Miler. It is also billing itself as a post-ShamrockFest destination.
Four Court’s normal Sunday activities will become even more Irish-y. Expect a special Irish Sunday brunch. Then, later Sunday night, karaoke become Irish-themed karaoke.
For more dedicated drinkers, the Arlington Athletic and Social League is holding its “St. Practice Day” bar crawl on Saturday. The $10 registration fee is almost worth it just for the t-shirt.
Registration starts between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. at Mister Day’s. Subsequent destinations include Hard Times Cafe, Clarendon Grill, Eleventh Street Lounge, and SoBe.
For more over-21 festivities, check out our St. Patrick’s Day Guide.
Photo courtesy Stacey Viera of Every Food Fits. Smiley faces added to protect the innocent.