Proposed legislation in the Virginia General Assembly would allow patrons of Arlington’s Trolley Pub to drink alcohol while on board.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) has introduced House Bill 423, which would allow passengers on vehicles with a common carrier — which would include limousines and motor coaches, in addition to the Trolley Pub — to consume alcohol.
The Trolley Pub in Arlington launched last year but has been unable to serve passengers alcoholic beverages, as it does in its original market of Raleigh, N.C. Instead, it stops at bars and restaurants in Clarendon and lets passengers debark to drink.
The Sun Gazette, which first reported on the bill, suggested that Hope’s legislation might not sit well with Arlington County Board members.
“Board members last year blasted the entire concept of the trolley pub, and only calmed down (slightly) when they learned that those using it could not consume alcohol,” the newspaper reported. “But they have remained upset about the human-powered trolley’s impact on traffic in one of Arlington’s most congested areas.”
The Trolley Pub debuted in Arlington in March, and at the time owner Kai Kaapro said he believed the business was “perfectly legal.” That was backed up by a preliminary police review. A ruling in April by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, however, later determined no alcohol could be served on board.
Drinking in a vehicle in Virginia is currently only legal on chartered boats. The bill was assigned to the General Laws committee and is now in subcommittee, according to the General Assembly’s website.
Photo via Facebook
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.”
Officers responded to a home on the 3100 block of 1st Street N. just before midnight on Friday, after police received a noise complaint, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. They found numerous teens, as young as 16 but mostly 18 and 19, drinking beer and liquor.
“Officers responded to the location for a large party and discovered 28 under-aged individuals drinking alcohol,” Sternbeck said.
In all, police issued 28 citations to party-goers. Three teens were released without charge. Several people tried to flee, Sternbeck said, but none threw beer bottles at the officers, as allegedly happened during a teen drinking bust in the Williamsburg neighborhood in April.
No one required medical treatment for intoxication, said Sternbeck. Police investigating the party found an adult “in the upstairs portion of the residence.” It’s unclear if the adult knew about the under-age drinking that was allegedly taking place.
The restaurant will offer upscale takes on traditional bar food like burgers, wings, ribs and fries, as well as higher-end items like Maine lobster and healthier options like ceviche, a “superfoods salad” and chilled asparagus. A brunch menu is also offered.
The drink menu includes at least 15 beers on tap, from a $4.50 Miller Lite to a $6 Kona Big Wave. Sixteen bottled and canned beers are available, with prices starting at $3 for a PBR can. Numerous varieties of wine and cocktails are also available, but perhaps the most talked-about offering will be the 64 shooters, which are arranged on an NCAA-style tournament bracket. The “winning” shooter is $3 until March, while the 63 others are $6 apiece.
Bracket Room is located in the former Burapa Thai space at 1210 N. Garfield Street. Among the three partners in the business are Chris Bukowski, of “Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad” reality show fame.
The sports bar hopes to open its doors at some point next month (August). A press release announcing the menu, after the jump.
An officer responded to the 3500 block of N. Nottingham Street around 9:40 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, for a report of a loud party, according to police. Upon arriving, the officer approached the house and observed a large number of young people.
“Numerous” party-goers then began fleeing from the home by jumping over fences into nearby yards, while others started throwing beer cans and bottles at the officer, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Backup units arrived on scene and the remaining partyers were rounded up. In all, 43 people between the ages of 15 and 18 were charged with underage consumption of alcohol.
“Many of them were rude and uncooperative,” Sternbeck said. Another 16 juveniles were released into the custody of their parents without charges after a voluntary breath test revealed no traces of alcohol, Sternbeck said.
“Let’s just say there were a lot of unhappy parents responding to the 3500 block of N. Nottingham Street that night,” said Sternbeck.
No charges have been filed against the homeowner, who was not present at the time of the party but was later reached by police via phone. Police were unable to locate the suspects who threw the cans and bottles at the officer, Sternbeck said.
The day’s festivities included the Four Courts Four Miler race in Courthouse Saturday morning and the Shamrock Crawl bar crawl in Clarendon that afternoon and evening.
There were a total of 6 arrests for Drunk in Public on Saturday, including 5 incidents in the Clarendon area, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. There were also 7 arrests for Driving Under the Influence on Saturday, he said. By contrast, a planned DUI checkpoint on Friday yielded no DUI arrests, according to Sternbeck.
There were also two significant fights reported on Saturday.
One incident happened just past 9:00 p.m., near the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street in Clarendon. The incident started, police say, when the victim accidentally spilled a beer on a woman in a restaurant. An altercation ensued and staff at the restaurant had to separate the parties. At that point, altercation spilled outside the restaurant.
During the fight, police say, the victim’s head struck either a low wall or a curb, producing a significant head wound. The victim was found conscious but bleeding heavily, and was transported to George Washington University Hospital. Two Alexandria men were subsequently arrested and charged with Malicious Wounding by Mob.
From the ACPD daily crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING BY MOB, 03/09/13, 1400 block of N. Garfield Street. At 9:05 pm on March 9, an altercation inside a restaurant bar, continued into the street. A victim sustained a significant laceration to his forehead and was transported to GW hospital. DC Danh, 28, of Alexandria, VA and Donny Danh, 27, of Alexandria, VA, were arrested and charged with malicious wounding by mob. They were held without bond.
Early Saturday morning, in another alcohol-related incident, two people were arrested for assaulting a cab driver and an apartment concierge.
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 03/09/13, 900 block of N. Randolph Street. At 4:13 am on March 9, two subjects exited a cab without paying and once confronted by the driver, physically assaulted him by punching and kicking him repeatedly. A residence concierge witnessed the attack and attempted to aid the victim, but was punched as well. Ramnik Aulakh, 30, of Arlington, VA, and Elizabeth Arias, 29, of Bowie, MD, were arrested and charged with malicious wounding, defrauding a taxi and drunk in public. They were held without bond.
Arlington Democrats will be watching the election returns on the big screen at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike). The event, which starts at 6:00 p.m., features free admission, a hot food buffet ($10 or $12, depending who you ask) and a cash bar.
“We will be joined by volunteers, candidates, elected officials and the general public as we watch the returns, share stories from the campaign trail and celebrate democracy in action!” said Arlington Young Democrats spokesman Mike Lewan.
Arlington Republicans will be monitoring the election results on five televisions at RiRa Irish Pub in Clarendon (2915 Wilson Blvd). The grand ole party will include $3 Heineken and Newcastle all night, plus “some specials on some Americana type beers, likely Sam Adams.” Nachos and pretzels will be half off.
The event is officially being held from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., but attendees are being encouraged to show up earlier and stay later. WiFi internet access will be provided for wonks who want to monitor real-time results and Twitter reactions.
The Arlington Green Party, meanwhile, will be holding a more subdued affair. The Greens’ celebration, which is being held at a private north Arlington residence starting at 7:00 p.m., will feature “vegetarian chili, corn bread, hot and cold drinks.”
Those hoping for a more non-partisan event can attend an “Election Day Decompression Session” at Iota Club and Cafe in Clarendon (2832 Wilson Blvd) on Tuesday. The free event will offer happy hour prices from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. DJ Sam Snow will be spinning tunes from 6:00 until “late.” The DJing will be decidedly undemocratic: no requests will be taken.
“IOTA is a politics-free zone lovin’ the donkeys and the elephants and the indies,” said co-owner Jane Negrey Inge. “It’s all about togetherness!”
Capitol City Brewing in Shirlington (4001 Campbell Avenue) is hosting Election Day festivities all day on Tuesday. The event, from 11:00 a.m. to midnight, includes election-related programming on the TVs, $5 appetizers, half dollar wings and happy hour-priced pints of beer.
Some local restaurants are offering election-specific specials in the run-up to the election.
Bar TNT (within Eamonn’s, 2413 Columbia Pike) is offering two bipartisan cocktails for the price on one: a red tequila-based “Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney-rita” and a blue rum-based “Obama-Mama,” $12 for the pair (pictured). Good Stuff Eatery in Crystal City (2110 Crystal Drive), meanwhile, is still tallying votes for its “Great Burger Debate,” featuring a Democratic “James Carville” burger and a Republican “Mary Matalin” burger.
Despite the closing of Chevys in Ballston — and rumors of its own demise — the Chevys Mexican restaurant in Pentagon City (1201 S. Hayes Street) is alive and kicking. So much so, it’s holding Cinco de Mayo specials every day this week.
The daily specials started yesterday and include deals like $4 1800 fresh fruit margaritas (Wednesday) and $5 Dos Equis Grandes (Friday).
In addition to the drink deals, there are also food specials and chances to win free dinners. On Saturday, May 5, there will be games and dancing for the big Cinco de Mayo bash. The fiesta ends on Sunday with a “Kids’ Cinco” featuring balloons and face painting.
Arlington native Scot Harlan owns the restaurant and serves as a chef. His co-chef, Will Sullivan, also hails from Arlington.
Harlan has traveled around the world in an effort to perfect his culinary skills and has worked in kitchens of famed chefs like Gordon Ramsay. He made his way back to the area to work at notable local establishments such as 2941 and Inox, but now wants to try his hand at running a restaurant in the community his family has called home for many years.
“We’ve been here a while and we’ve seen this location change from a Sears parking lot to an area hot for 20 to 30 somethings,” said Harlan.
He said one of the things that will make Green Pig Bistro stand out is that it’s not run by a corporate entity, but instead by a chef-owner. Harlan thinks his desire to keep it simple and let the food shine without experimenting with exotic blends of spices in dishes will keep customers coming back.
“I’ve spent the last 10 years doing tiny, 16 touches on a plate,” Harlan said. “I find more value in not going in that direction. You’re not paying for the paint on the plate, you’re paying for the food and ingredients and our staffing. Not for innovation.”
He likes innovation in cooking techniques, but not in flavor combinations. Harlan believes some classic dishes just shouldn’t be messed with.
“Customers don’t always really dig it,” Harlan said. “It’s just a small percentage of customers looking for something like that. I’m trying to get everybody in here.”
Harlan stresses that the restaurant is an American take on a French bistro. But he wants customers to remember that “bistro” doesn’t mean “small restaurant.” Rather, it connotes a certain theme, such as Green Pig’s “nose-to-tail” cooking, in which all of an animal is used.
The menu will change slightly based on which items are available seasonally. One of the more unique dishes available right now is a “rabbit cake,” which is the Green Pig’s spin on a crab cake. More traditional items, such as hamburgers or steaks, are also available. Harlan’s pastry chef training shines through in simple desserts, such as a donut with chocolate and peanut butter ice cream.
The back of the restaurant houses most of the seating, and patrons can see into the kitchen. The front, which overlooks 11th St N. and Fillmore St, has a bar and a few tables. Harlan believes many customers will like the bar area not just for the food and ambiance, but also because he tries to keep beer prices below those of many nearby establishments.
For now, Green Pig Bistro is only open in the evenings, but the plan is to start serving brunch in about a month. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.
“People think it’s strange to be closed on Tuesdays, but I think it’s strange that people close on Mondays,” Harlan said. “You’ve got many holidays, you’ve got Monday night football.”
Green Pig Bistro’s grand opening party is scheduled for April 17.
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 derby will allow “competitive, casual and chic cyclists” alike to ride around an obstacle course in a massive parking garage under the Bureau of National Affairs building (1801 S. Bell Street) in Crystal City. The event will have an “edgy, glitzy” diamond theme, and participants will be encouraged to wear denim, rhinestones and derby caps.
To help organize the event, the Crystal City Business Improvement District is partnering with Dandies & Quaintrelles, the group that organizes the Tweed Ride and Seersucker Social, two annual vintage-inspired cycling events in D.C.
The derby — which is scheduled for Saturday, March 10 — will be open to both riders and spectators. For those not riding, there will be lounges and spectator viewing areas featuring music, food and drinks. There will also be diamond-themed art on display.
Registration is expected to open in early 2012.
Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser.
Apparently the anti-drinking video made by Yorktown High School students last month didn’t quite get the point across to everybody.
A letter sent to parents and students last week reveals that a number of students were caught under the influence of alcohol at the Yorktown/Washington-Lee football game on Friday, Nov. 4.
Dear Parents and Students:
We have had a large number of school activities this past fall season and want to begin by mentioning what has struck us most: the tremendous good will, good spirit and cooperation of our students who participated in and attended these events. We appreciate that, admire it, and thank you for it.
At the same time, when there is a problem, we want to address it. Several students in attendance at the football game this past Friday arrived under the influence of alcohol. Even if this were the case with only one student, it is unacceptable to all of us who work as supervisors at school activities. Knowing you are concerned about your own student’s health and those of all fellow students, I am sure that this is unacceptable to you, as well.
At school and school events, we will continue to stress the importance of healthy decision-making for all our students. We will continue to contact you if there are any incidents involving your child’s well-being. While we believe all high schools across the country have an important role in educating students about the dangers of alcohol, we also know that parents are crucial in working with us to ensure that students are safe and alcohol/drug free.
Parents, please make certain your children understand your clear expectations regarding the underage, illegal use of alcohol and other substances. Know who your student is associating with and where they are going before and after a school event. If your house will be unattended on an evening, make sure your child knows who can and cannot be in your home. Optimally, you may want to have someone else keep an eye on it. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call the parent of another student, if you have a question or need to express a concern. The bottom line is the same for all of us: we want to ensure the safety and health of every single Arlington Public School student.
Thanks to each of you — students and parents — for communicating openly and honestly about this issue. It is important we communicate the same message and help all students understand that we will hold all students accountable for any violations of underage use of alcohol (or any other illegal substance).
Dr. Raymond Pasi
Principal, Yorktown High School
Mr. Gregg Robertson
Principal, Washington-Lee High School
Arlington’s Community Health Protection Bureau is looking for a volunteer with marketing or communications experience “to partner with a community-based coalition working to address underage binge drinking and drug use in Arlington County.”
Responsibilities include working with a team to develop program image; developing marketing plan; and creating various promotional materials such as pamphlets, brochures, and press releases.
Desired qualifications include: communications/marketing experience, excellent organizational skills, attention to detail and accuracy, good interpersonal skills, and proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Publisher, PowerPoint). This is a great opportunity for someone looking to expand their portfolio and work with a community group.
This is a Virtual Volunteer position. The volunteer will need to meet with the program team periodically and communicate on a regular basis via e-mail and phone. All work can be done off-site.
See more details here. Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Margaret Ostafin at 703-228-5659.
A new survey of Arlington high school and middle school students, cited this morning by the Sun Gazette, shows that certain vices, like drinking, are on the decline.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Arlington students are, in fact, still drinking, joining gangs, smoking pot and carrying weapons in somewhat surprising numbers.
According to the survey, the percentage of 10th and 12th grade students who reported binge drinking in the past month has fallen from 29 percent in 2004 to 22 percent in 2010.
The percentage of middle school and high school students who have carried a weapon in the past month is 10 percent, down from 14 percent six years prior.
The percentage of students who say they’re a member of a gang is down to 3 percent. While lower than the 8 percent of kids who said they were gang members in 2004, the fact that there are an average of three gang members in every four Arlington middle and high school classrooms is still striking.
Bucking the downward trend, the percentage of high school students who reported actually using marijuana recently remained steady 21 percent.
The percentage of students who say their parents would disapprove of marijuana use is 95 percent. If taken literally, that means that one out of every 20 Arlington households doesn’t mind if their kids smoke pot. The percentage of students who say their parents would look down on cigarette use is one percent above the pot figure, at 96 percent.
See the Sun Gazette article for more detailed information.
Pentagon Metro Station Closed — The Pentagon Metro Station has been closed due to a suspicious package, reports Dr. Gridlock. Trains are still passing through the station.
Boy Scouts Enter Homeless Shelter Debate – At the county board meeting over the weekend, there was an unusual moment when a speaker used his time at the podium to ask questions rather than pontificate. That questioner was Spencer Cobb of Boy Scout Troop 167, who was inquiring about the possibility of a year-round homeless shelter as part of his citizenship project. There are 530 homeless individuals in Arlington, county officials estimate. More from the Sun Gazette.
Eventide General Manager Departs – Changes may be in the works at Clarendon’s Eventide restaurant, which just lost its general manager and bar manager to “differences” with restaurant partners. More from TBD.
SoberRide Nears Milestone — The regional SoberRide program, which funds free cab rides for people who’ve had too much to drink on certain holidays, is approaching its 50,000th ride. Organizers hope to reach that mark by New Year’s Day. Of note: Arlington’s Red Top Cab provides and staffs the call center that dispatches the cabs, a service worth nearly $50,000. More from the Washington Post.
Flickr pool photo by Reid Kasprowicz