It started on Thursday night with numerous police vehicles zooming into Clarendon with sirens blaring. Drivers pulled over and pedestrians stopped in their tracks. Suddenly, revelers were met with a most unusual sight — a superhero in a cape and leotard emerging from the Chooser Cruiser. Arlington, meet Soberman.
While his getup produced many laughs, Soberman’s message was serious: don’t drink and drive. Speaking through a police car loudspeaker, Soberman told everyone to have fun and enjoy their adult beverages, but to make a smart choice when trying to get home by using a designated driver, taxi, public transportation or by walking.
Soberman’s appearance was coordinated by the Arlington County Police Department and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). Attendees were reminded of WRAP’s free holiday taxi service through SoberRide, which runs through New Year’s Day.
WRAP President Kurt Erickson said this is a bit of a different tactic for getting people not to drink and drive. The idea is all about engaging people in a fun way to get Soberman’s message to sink in.
“The message for the rest of the year is that police have stepped up to apprehend drunk drivers. But this message is not about that. This message is hey, celebrate responsibly,” said Erickson. “It’s extremely well received. It’s just a little bit of a different message.”
Soberman repeatedly said that people should enjoy the holiday cheer and they don’t necessarily need to stop drinking, they just should be responsible after drinking. He said his mission is “not to be a buzz kill, only to make sure the buzz doesn’t hit the road.”
Drinkers and non-drinkers alike gathered around Soberman to chat with him and to pose for photos. Passengers leaned out of passing cars to snap pictures and people who spotted the commotion came out of buildings to get a better glimpse. Soberman yelled across Wilson Blvd to a number of drinkers who had just stepped out of bars and began cheering. He waved them over to his spot in front of Whitlow’s.
“Partiers of Clarendon, come over here! Soberman wants to talk to you about how you’re getting home!” he said. “You can win prizes!”
The anti-drunk driving superhero approached one man emerging from a bar and said, “Hello, Arlington partier. I am Soberman.” The bar patron promptly replied, “I am Drunkman.” Soberman congratulated the man for having fun and asked the all-important question,”Drunkman, how are you getting home tonight?”
Like all those who were able to prove they had a safe and sober ride home, the man received a Starbucks gift card from Soberman for making a wise choice. The man flashed a Metro card and said he had no intention of getting behind the wheel.
Soberman especially encouraged folks in Clarendon to use social media to spread the word about staying sober while driving. Those who took the message to Twitter have a chance to win a John Wall or Alex Ovechkin bobblehead.
Part of the campaign is to get drinkers to plan ahead instead of trying to come up with a way to get home once they are already impaired.
“People just need to plan ahead, but they often don’t,” Erickson said. “Leaving the bar is not the time to make an exit strategy. If you’re able to plan an evening out, you should be able to plan a safe way home.”
Soberman first appeared at the end of August but has been particularly active during the holiday season.
“My mission is to prevent drunk driving before it starts,” said Soberman. “Any way you get home safe after having adult beverages — by designated driver or bus or Metro or cab — is the safe and sober choice.”
I’ve seen this question come up a lot in other online forums, and we also get it in person at the bar from time to time: You like a place, it seems to fit you, and you wonder how you get to be recognized.
The truth is, it’s pretty easy. Each place is different, and some are frankly not interested in you being a regular — they’re too busy or they just don’t care — but most bars and bartenders love their regulars.
To that end, I offer a few easy tips. If they seem like common sense, that’s because they are — there’s no secret password or handshake. Well, maybe at some of the speakeasies in the city, but you’re on your own there.
- Be nice. Yep, that’s it. Be friendly, patient if it is called for, and use basic courteous language. It’s a sad statement about our society that being nice often causes you to stand out, but it does. Customer service is a tough business, and bartenders have to endure a lot of people that forgot all the rules we learned in kindergarten.
- Come often. I know, you don’t feel like you’re learning anything here, right? Again, it’s basic. You have to show up to be recognized. Not every day, but once a week or so is good enough for a good bartender to easily remember what you like to drink and where you like to sit. Also, and this is important, you can’t only come when it’s packed. When there are 400 people in the place, all surging to the bar, the bartender doesn’t have any time to get to know you.
- Tip generously. Feel like you know all this already? Great, you’re perfectly qualified to be a regular, so come sidle up to the bar and get started. Honestly though, bartenders work for tips, so you’ve got to show some love when you pay your tab. I don’t mean 50%, but if you had a good experience, maybe even got a free cocktail, and you leave only 15%, the bartender probably won’t make space at the bar for you the next time you come in. (See “How to Tip,” below, after the jump.)
Five Ways To Never Be A Regular
This part could be even more helpful, and it comes to you by popular request. Popular request from bartenders across Arlington, that is. Remember that for the most part, bartenders love their job and love taking care of you, but as I said earlier, a lot of people forgot what they learned in Kindergarten.
- No touching. Keep your hands to yourself, even if you’re just trying to get their attention.
- No yelling. That also includes whistling, slapping the bar and — the most condescending of all moves — snapping your fingers. The bartenders will get to you, they are not ignoring you. Please be patient.
- No fighting. Crazy that I have to write this, right? Just relax. If someone bumps you or says hello to your girlfriend, take a deep breath and chill out. Fighting is the best way to not be welcome at the bar. In fact, it will get you instantly banned from Spider Kelly’s.
- Put your phone down. When it’s your turn, just put your phone down. The call or the text can wait, but the bartender won’t. It’s just basic courtesy. I see this at coffee shops all the time, and it makes me nuts.
The Sports Junkies — the four hosts of 106.7 The Fan’s morning sports talk show — will host the event at the Clarendon bar, 3185 Wilson Blvd, Friday night, starting at 7:00 p.m. There will be no cover charge at the door until 10:00 p.m.
The party is being held on the rooftop, and women, encouraged to dress in “summer’s finest,” will be eligible to win prizes from retailers like Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom’s and MAC Cosmetics.
This is the sixth year of the Summer Dress Party, and the second time Clarendon Ballroom has hosted.
Photo via CBS Local
Owner Lary Hoffman raised alarm on social media Tuesday morning when he posted on Facebook and Twitter: “Galaxy Hut for sale.” In fact, Hoffman is selling the bar’s old tap system. It’s listed for $1,500 in a Craigslist ad.
Customers panicked that the sale was the precursor to the entire bar being sold, but Hoffman told ARLnow.com that’s not the case. He’s upgrading from a 20-tap system (currently down to 14 due to a broken “kegerator”) to a 28-tap system.
“Just upgrading the beer system, not selling the Hut,” Hoffman wrote in an email. “I tripled the size of our walk in cooler last year, this is the second phase of upgrading to 28 taps all pouring from the keg room.”
Hoffman couldn’t say specifically when the new tap system would be installed and ready for use, but estimated it would be a few weeks. He said no other major improvements to Galaxy Hut are in store.
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.
According to police, on Friday, Feb. 8, the two groups were involved in a verbal altercation inside the bar which escalated throughout the night. Both parties left and while one group of four was trying to walk away, the other group allegedly followed and started a physical altercation.
One of the victims was knocked down and had his head kicked, resulting in a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. He spent four days in the hospital and was released to the care of his mother, who lives out of state. At the time he was released, the victim had not yet regained hearing in one of his ears.
Another victim was knocked out when she was punched in the face. She has made a full recovery and police anticipate she’ll participate in any upcoming trial or legal proceedings against the suspects.
Two people from the attacking group were arrested. Kevin Gutierrez, 21, was charged with malicious wounding and two counts of assault and battery. He spent four days in jail and has been released on bond. Ebony Hunter, 22, was charged with one count of assault and battery. She was released after being booked.
Police were able to catch up with the suspects quickly due to several witnesses reporting the fight. However, there are varying reports of exactly how many people took part in brawl, and some of the details reported by those involved are fuzzy.
“Everybody’s recollection of the night was a little bit impaired due to the amount of alcohol that was consumed,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Reality TV star Chris Bukowski is opening a “female-friendly” sports bar called “Bracket Room” in Clarendon.
The “sports lounge and eatery,” as described in a press release, is expected to open this summer. It will be opening in the former Burapa Thai space at 1210 N. Garfield Street, though as of this morning no building permits have been issued.
Bukowski, a Chicago native who is best known for his appearances as a cast member on the ABC reality shows “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad,” is opening the restaurant with business partners Jeff Greenberg and Nicole Pettitt. Greenberg is also an investor in Clarendon’s Cava Mezze Grill, according to the Washington City Paper.
“The trio plans to change the face of the average sports bar,” said the press release. “By meshing a stylish environment with healthier small plates, and state of the art technology, ‘Bracket Room’ will surely please every palate.”
The press release continued:
“Bracket Room” will boldly redefine the upscale, state-of-the-art sports bar, with wit and irreverent charm. This exciting gathering spot in hip and Metro-accessible Arlington, will serve-up fresh food and drinks that will be unexpected, with a twist. “Bracket Room” will be the ‘go-to’ place for sporting entertainment, yet it will have a modern and female-friendly ambiance.
An avid sports fan, owning a sports lounge has been a dream of his since majoring in Hospitality/Food & Beverage at UNLV. Bukowski is involved with several charities, and he has plans to incorporate a charity with “Bracket Room.”
Last year we reported that co-owner Andrew Stewart had been raising money for a possible new Clarendon location for Dremo’s. That fell through, and almost exactly one year ago Stewart told Urban Turf that he was looking to open a “huge bar in DC with an in-house brewery.” Today, several news outlets are reporting that Stewart and his brother, Bill, will indeed be opening a Bardo Rodeo location at 1200 Bladensburg Road in Northeast D.C.
The Washington Post reports that Bardo will brew its own beer, using brewing equipment mothballed after the Arlington location ceased brewing operations.
“Everything’s going to be the same,” Bill Stewart, Jr. told the Post. “Same recipes, same equipment.”
Prince of Petworth has photos of the tire store and two adjacent buildings that Bardo will be replacing.
According to a liquor license application cited by Titan of Trinidad, the brewpub will have 98 seats inside and 251 seats at an outdoor “summer garden.”
The new Bardo is expected to open at some point early next year.
Photo by Patrick Kennerly via cizauskas/Flickr
Number of Households Growing — The number of households in Arlington grew by one percent over the past year — from 105,667 to 106,717 — a rate twice that of the 0.5 percent household growth in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [Sun Gazette]
New Ballston Bars Reviewed — Ballston’s bar scene has “received a shot in the arm over the last two weeks” with the openings of World of Beer and A-Town Bar and Grill, according to a review by Fritz Hahn. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
It may be only a matter of days before Columbia Pike’s most ambitious bar/restaurant effort to date opens to the public.
Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper and T.N.T. Bar, at 2413 Columbia Pike in the Penrose Square development, were hoping to open this coming Monday, but the opening had been delayed due to permitting issues, according to a PR rep. Nonetheless, the interior of the restaurant appears to be nearly finished and T.N.T. is already being touted as the “ latest and greatest bar” yet for famed local mixologist Todd Thrasher.
This is the first Arlington eatery and watering hole for EatGoodFood Group, which operates Restaurant Eve, Eamonn’s, PX, The Majestic and Virtue Feed and Grail, all in Alexandria.
Eamonn’s serves fish, chips, appetizers and small desserts in Old Town Alexandria. An official menu for the Columbia Pike location has yet to be released, but a press release (below) says it will expand on the concept with new offerings like southern fried chicken wings, mini meat pies, house-made biscuits with corned beef, sausage rolls in pastry, “Eamonn’s Dream Burger” (with salami and chicken), sardines, soft-shell crabs (in season), and “Hangover Chips” with cheese, Texas chili and a fried egg. There will also be an expanded dessert selection featuring Cadbury candies.
T.N.T. Bar, a new concept, will serve specialty cocktails in a 30-seat space with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe.
“Todd Thrasher wowed and wooed the district when he introduced us to the craft of cocktails at side-street speakeasy, @PX,” according to a Facebook page. “Now, the city’s granddaddy of grown-up drinks and mixology magic explodes all over again with the new TNT. (Named after his son, Trystan Noah Thrasher) His latest and greatest bar will mix a rock ’n’ roll casual atmosphere with a fizzy fun, “homage to the greats” cocktail list.”
No word yet on an exact opening date. The press release for Eamonn’s and T.N.T., after the jump.
Rendering courtesy EatGoodFood Group
This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday. That means there will probably be more people than usual heading out for some Irish cheer at the local watering holes. Here’s a list of a few places around town that have special celebrations planned.
Arlington County police will have an increased presence in Clarendon and other areas expected to have a large number of people celebrating the holiday. They’ll also be distributing information about SoberRide, which is offering free cab rides home from 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 17, until 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 18.
- Capitol City Brewing Company (4001 Campbell Ave) — The brew pub will tap two one-of-a kind cask brews: Irish Red Ale and Irish Dry Stout. A traditional Irish food buffet will be offered from 5:00-9:00 p.m.
- Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) – Doors open at 7:30 a.m. for those interested in starting early. Five different bands play all day starting at 11:00 a.m. Extra bars and a heated tent will also be set up for the celebration.
- O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) — Live Irish music throughout the day. The Boyle School of Irish Dance will perform at 5:30 p.m.
- P. Brennan’s Irish Pub (2910 Columbia Pike) – The green beer starts flowing at 9:00 a.m. The festivities include a performance from the Boyle School of Irish Dance at 3:00 p.m., followed by live music throughout the evening. Bagpipers are also expected.
- RiRa Irish Pub (2915 Wilson Blvd) — Irish breakfast buffet starts at 8:00 a.m. Irish dancers will perform, and the first of three bands will start at 11:00 a.m. The party will benefit the locally based children’s charity The Reading Connection.
- Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub (2800 S. Randolph St) — Opens at 8:00 a.m. for watching rugby tournament matches, with the big Ireland-England game showing at 1:00 p.m. Music starts at 3:00 p.m. There will be a prize for the best Irish costume.
- Sine Irish Pub (1301 S. Joyce St) — Discounted beer throughout the day and a buffet from 5:00-10:00 p.m.
- Union Jack’s (671 N. Glebe Rd) — Specials throughout the day, with a free Irish breakfast buffet offered from 8:00-10:00 a.m. DJ starts at 5:00 p.m. Patrons can participate in the Sexy Leprechaun Contest.
- Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) — Doors open at 9:00 a.m. for breakfast, and Irish fare will be served starting at 11:00 a.m. Live Celtic music runs from 1:00-6:00 p.m. and a cover band begins at 8:00 p.m.
If you’re looking for something a little more family friendly, here are a few ideas.
- Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford St) — Arlingtonians for a Green Environment is hosting the annual Green Living Expo from 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The free event features green living seminars, a raffle, exhibitors, cooking demonstrations and children’s activities.
- Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre (1611 N. Kent St) — The Arlingtones Barbershop Chorus presents “Spring Tonic 2012″ at 2:00 p.m. Ticket information can be found online.
Several local social clubs will be toasting the arrival of “Leap Day” in Arlington tomorrow.
Tomorrow is Feb. 29, a date that comes around only every four years or so during a leap year. Leap Day, as it’s known, might not be an officially recognized holiday, but it does have its fans. At least three Meetup.com groups are planning Leap Day events here in Arlington. Among them:
- The 20s and 30s Wine Lovers group will be holding a Leap Day happy hour at Cheesetique (4056 Campbell Avenue) in Shirlington, starting at 5:30 p.m. After sipping wine and sampling cheese, the group plans to head to a nearby bar.
- The Fairlington Social Club is planning a “Leap Day Sadie Hawkins Happy Hour” at Bungalow Billiards (2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive) in Shilrington, starting at 6:00 p.m. The “Sadie Hawkins” part, in case you’re wondering, refers to a pseudo-tradition of women asking men out on dates on Leap Day.
- An Alexandria social group is planning a “Leap Day Party” at Tortoise & Hare Bar and Grille (567 23rd Street S.) in Crystal City, starting at 7:00 p.m.
As for the motivation for having a Leap Day celebration, last week the show 30 Rock (pictured above) explained that February 29 is “a magical extra day… to do the things you normally wouldn’t do.”
For the local Meetup organizers, however, the motivation was more along the lines of: “why not?”
“[It] seemed like a good excuse to have a happy hour,” said Gary, organizer of the Fairlington Social Club event, in an email.
Screen grab via NBC
Arlington’s main event is the Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade. The free event starts at 8:00 p.m. More than 40 local groups will march in the event, some with floats and the quintessential beads. The parade will run along Wilson Blvd from N. Barton St to N. Irving St. The following street closures will be in effect:
- Wilson Blvd from N. Veitch St to N. Barton St will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Adams St and Wayne St, between Clarendon Blvd and Wilson Blvd, will be closed from 6:45-9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Blvd from Barton St to Irving St will be closed from 7:45-9:30 p.m.
In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. Parade-goers are encouraged to use Metro.
If standing outside for a parade isn’t your style, perhaps some of these other options will pique your interest:
- Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Rd) promises a celebration of Bourbon Street proportions. The Lundi Gras Party and Dinner kicks things off on Monday at 6:00 p.m. An all-inclusive four course dinner is offered, along with jazz music. On Tuesday, the party starts at 5:00 p.m. with “Parade Route Fare” like gumbo, muff-a-lottas, crawfish etouffee and oysters. Various ticket options are available for food, alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks. Contact the restaurant for ticket options at 703-243-2410 or online.
- Union Jack’s (671 N. Glebe Rd.) is turning the obligatory Mardi Gras bead throwing into a contest to see who can collect the most. Prizes and specials are available throughout the night, and the evening’s grand prize will be a New Orleans trip.
- You don’t have to have a night out to enjoy some king cake. Pick up one of the fruity, colorful concoctions from Heidelberg Bakery (2150 N. Culpeper St) and enjoy hunting for the plastic baby in the comfort of your home. The bakery is taking advance orders.
- Maybe you can’t wait until Tuesday to begin celebrating. In that case, Lucy’s ARL (2620 S. Shirlington Rd) may be the answer, with its N’awlins-style Mardi Gras on Saturday. Starting at 8:00 p.m., jambalaya, oyster po’ boys and a crawfish boil will be accompanied by festive drinks and music. Free pool will be offered all night, and bead contests take place every half an hour. Tickets can be purchased online.
- Piola (1550 Wilson Blvd) is also starting the festivities early, in addition to focusing on Rio instead of New Orleans. Its 5th Annual Carnival Party takes place on Saturday starting at 9:00 p.m. Brazil’s national cocktails, caipirinhas and caipiroskas, will be served while a live band gets people moving to samba music. Feathers, costumes and masks are encouraged. Contact the restaurant for reservations.
- A number of churches mark Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, with traditional pancake suppers. Because in ancient times people used up all the sugar, fat, flour and eggs in their homes to observe fasting during Lent, many made pancakes. One of the churches having a pancake feast is St. John’s Episcopal Church (415 S. Lexington St). Everyone is welcome from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. A food donation of cereal is also requested. St. George’s Church (915 N. Oakland St) will also hold a pancake supper. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 2-12 or $15 for a family.
The Greene Turtle (900 N. Glebe Rd) in Ballston has officially opened for business.
More than 50 televisions hang on the walls and certain booths have individual TVs that patrons can control. TVs along the windows allow fans to keep one eye on game action while keeping the other on action outside.
General Manager Scott Smith says patrons can expect the same service and sports environment people enjoy at The Greene Turtle’s other locations. He wants people in the area to stop by and give the newest one a try.
“There are a lot of sports bars, a lot of sports bars have a lot of TVs, but there’s nothing like this,” Smith said.
The Greene Turtle touts fare above and beyond typical bar food. New York strip steaks and crab cakes are a couple of the less traditional sports bar offerings.
“We pride ourselves on the execution of our food,” Smith said. “We want to bring a different level of service to the area.”
Another aspect that sets this place apart is the customer loyalty program. Customers can purchase one of the famous Greene Turtle mugs and bring it back for future fill-ups.
The Greene Turtle has more than two dozen locations around the D.C./Baltimore region, including two locations along the Delaware shore. The new Ballston location will eventually have outdoor seating when the weather improves.
Although the Greene Turtle will technically be a Redskins and Virginia Tech bar, they guarantee that not just local games will be shown. Every game will be on at least one of the TVs. Smith does point out, however, that Virginia Tech is the building’s landlord so that team will be particularly celebrated.
Besides the new Virginia Tech development, more improvement projects are slated for Ballston. The hope is that the Greene Turtle will gather a solid following, and be considered one of the forefront examples of positive expansion.
“It is an awesome area,” Smith said. “It’s good to get in early.”
It’s getting to be that time when some people look past Christmas and start firming up plans for New Year’s Eve. A number of venues will be raising ticket prices after this week, so it’s a good time to take action.
Here are some of the larger or unique New Year’s Eve events happening around Arlington. This list is by no means exhaustive, but provides some interesting options from places that have already announced their celebrations.
1. Hyatt Regency Crystal City — Professionals in the City is hosting its annual “Passport to the World Gala” at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (2799 Jefferson Davis Hwy). In addition to food, drinks and a DJ, the event has entertainment featuring various cultures around the world. Some highlights include the Japanese karaoke room, Red Light District adult-content comedians, Caribbean steel drums and Bollywood Hills Underground Club.
The $99 ticket option allows entry at 10:30 p.m. and includes six drink tickets. The $139 ticket option allows entry at 9:00 p.m. and includes eight drink tickets. Prices will increase after Friday, December 9.
2. Signature Theatre — Guests can take in the 8:00 p.m. performance of “Hairspray” at the Signature Theater (4200 Campbell Ave) and then stay for a countdown to the new year with the cast of the musical.
Tickets are $100 ($75 for Signature Theatre members) and include two drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and dancing to music from a DJ.
3. Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse — Ring in the new year at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) with a 1980s themed bash. Watch New York City’s Times Square celebration live on the big screen while dancing to ’80s tunes from a DJ.
Tickets are $15 and include admission and party favors.
4. Northside Social – The folks at Northside Social (3211 Wilson Blvd) are doing things a little differently for New Year’s Eve. According to their Facebook page, they’re auctioning off the use of the facilities to the highest bidder. The winner gets to throw their own party, fully customized by Northside Social.
Contact Sean Lowder at 804-305-0402 or email email@example.com for more information or to place a bid.