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by Ethan Rothstein — April 23, 2015 at 11:00 am 0

Willard's Parlour of Mystery's opening night show, Timeless Deceptions(Updated at 11:15 a.m.) “Willard’s Parlour of Mystery” a theatre showing comedic magic shows, is opening this weekend in the former Comedy Spot space in Ballston Common Mall.

The magic theater’s opening show will be tomorrow night, at 8:00 p.m., with a performance called Timeless Deceptions by brothers Peter and Matt Wood.

The parlour was founded by Willard Royal, a magic enthusiast who has been trying for more than a year to find a way to host shows in the black box theater on the third floor of the mall.

“My motivation was to look for a permanent home for the region’s best entertainers,” Royal told ARLnow.com this morning. “Magic is hot right now, and my friends who have good shows are all looking for venues.”

The Comedy Spot in Ballston Common MallThe opening night show is likely to sell out, Royal said, and tickets start at $45. The parlour occupies the small, several-dozen seat theater in the back of the venue.

There will be shows every Friday and Saturday night intended for adults, and Saturday afternoon shows starting May 9 intended for the whole family. Those shows will be hosted by Barry Taylor, owner of the former Barry’s Magic Shop in Rockville, Md.

The Comedy Spot moved because their lease was up, its owner told us in February. Royal’s lease goes until the end of the year, after which time he said he will “re-evaluate” because of the mall’s pending overhaul.

Photo, top, courtesy Willard Royal

by Ethan Rothstein — March 27, 2015 at 4:45 pm 2,225 0

Burn & Brew, a new shop that specializes in tobacco and coffee, is open on 23rd Street S. in Crystal City.

Owner Taha Humayun opened the doors to his new shop on March 18, just a few steps away from another smoke-themed store, Smokey Shope III. He said his shop sells the cheapest cigarettes in Arlington — $5 a pack — because of deals he’s supposedly worked out with a variety of cigarette and rolling paper companies.

In the five minutes an ARLnow.com reporter was in the shop, in the former expansion space of the Gossip boutique next door, a customer came in a bought a pack of Marlboro Lights. When Humayun told her the price, she said “wow, that’s crazy.” Most of the cigarettes sold in the county cost at least a dollar more per pack, we’re told.

Burn & Brew sells bags of coffee beans and drip coffee — “no lattes or shots of espresso or anything like that,” Humayun said — as well as vaporizers, vaporizer juice, “every rolling paper on the market” and all different kinds of pipes.

“A majority of the people who smoke drink coffee,” Humayun said. “And a lot of the people who drink coffee also smoke cigarettes.”

Humayun is still waiting for a number of products to come in. When he’s all stocked — he expects that to be complete by next week — he also will sell newspapers like the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

He wants to be a daily stop for the smoking and drinking crowd of south Arlington, many of whom, he said, are bartenders and waiters. The Crystal City location is his second shop — he’s operated the first store in Annandale for six years.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2015 at 10:00 am 4,609 0

(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Julie Drews and Beth Helle have lived in Arlington for a decade, and they grew so tired of not having a specialty craft beer store in their neighborhood that they decided to open one themselves.

They have leased space at 2004 Wilson Blvd, in the new 2001 Clarendon apartments, to open The Brew Shop, which will sell craft beer, homebrewing supplies, wine and locally roasted coffee beans.

The pair are accountants who hail from the Midwest. Drews is from Michigan, home of craft beer landmark breweries Bell’s Brewery, Founders and New Holland. She said now that the D.C. craft brewing scene has taken off with the likes of D.C. Brau, 3 Stars and Port City, it’s an opportunity to capitalize on the area’s craft beer community.

“There was almost nothing here when I first got here, but things are definitely turning the corner now with beer in D.C.,” Drews told ARLnow.com yesterday. “This is an area where people care a lot about beer.”

The Brew Shop will offer growler fills and partner with local breweries for events. Drews — who reminisced about drinking at Dr. Dremo’s steps from where her shop will open — wants The Brew Shop to be a hub of the local beer-drinking community.

“We want to be the first great beer shop in Arlington,” she said. “There are a lot of wine shops that sell beer, but we want to be the great beer shop that sells wine.”

Drews and Helle have applied for a permit with the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and are in the construction permitting process with Arlington County. They hope to open in the fall.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 16, 2015 at 3:30 pm 4,436 0

Metropole Brewing founder Michael Katrivanos (photo via Facebook)A new production brewery could be on its way to Arlington, on Four Mile Run Drive near Shirlington.

Metropole Brewing Company has applied for a permit to start a microbrewery at 2709 S. Oakland Street, in the Nauck neighborhood. The application is for a brewery producing 500 or fewer barrels per year — so far there’s no indication from either the application or the nascent brewery’s Facebook page if it plans to serve beverages on-site.

Metropole’s founder, Michael Katrivanos, did not return a message seeking comment this afternoon. He has applied for building permits with the county, but has yet to receive final approval.

If the ABC license and building permits are approved, Metropole could be Arlington’s first indigenous distribution brewery since 1916, when Arlington Brewing Company stopped making beer.

The only two places where beer is brewed commercially in Arlington are Rock Bottom Brewery in the Ballston Common Mall and Capitol City Brewing Company in Shirlington. Neither of those businesses brew beer to be sold off the premises.

This spring, Sehkraft Beer Garden and Haus plans to open in Clarendon and brew its own beer. Owner Devin Hicks told ARLnow.com last summer that Arlington’s Zoning Ordinance prohibits a brewpub from selling its beers to other businesses, but he was exploring options to work around the regulation.

Since 2012, at least two aspiring breweries had sniffed around Arlington to start operations, but both companies could not find space and close a deal.

Photo via Facebook

by Ethan Rothstein — February 19, 2015 at 3:50 pm 3,592 0

Beers in a refrigerator (Updated at 4:00 p.m.) An online service that would allow people to order beer and wine to their doorstep could launch next month in Arlington.

Ultra is already available in eight cities nationwide, including D.C., where it contracts with retailers to deliver beer, wine and liquor. While Virginia’s liquor laws restrict Ultra from selling spirits, Ultra CEO Aniket Shah says his company has reached an agreement with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to deliver beer and wine.

We are looking at Arlington as our first city to expand in Virginia, based on demographics, income levels and awareness for new technologies,” Shah told ARLnow.com. “We are expecting the deliveries to start first-second week of March.”

Ultra users would go to the company’s website, enter their zip code, and a list of products they can order (beer, wine, soda and mixers), delivery minimum, hours and estimated delivery time. Customers can order on-demand, which takes no more than an hour, or for more than 30 days in advance, including requests like the wine be chilled. Customers’ IDs are checked when the driver makes the delivery.

“We received huge response from people in D.C. when we launched there and we wanted to expand to Virginia as soon as possible,” Shah said. “[Virginia ABC] were very open to understanding our process and providing guidelines within which we had to operate our service in Virginia. We finally received the approval and we are actively in contact with several retailers to accept deliveries in Arlington.”

Ultra, a New York City-based company, can only sell beer and wine from stores that have delivery permits in place to do so. Shah couldn’t disclose which retailers Ultra is negotiating with because of confidentiality agreements, he said.

Shah said Ultra is the first service of its kind in Virginia, but individual retailers are already able to delivery beer and wine as long as they have an ABC license. Some restaurants, like Lost Dog Cafe, deliver beer along with food.

Shah also said he plans on initiating negotiations with the ABC Board to deliver liquor straight from ABC stores, but it’s unclear how much traction those discussions will have.

File photo

by Ethan Rothstein — February 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm 1,166 0

Cove, a pay-by-the-hour coworking space and “coffee shop alternative,” expects to open its first Arlington location in Rosslyn this month.

“We call ourselves a network of neighborhood productive spaces,” cove Brand Director Erin Gifford told ARLnow.com today. “It’s an alternative to working at home, a coffee shop or even your office.”

Cove already has six spaces in D.C. and one in Old Town Alexandria, and its eighth location will be on the first floor of 1735 Clarendon Blvd. Gifford said the space “fell into our lap,” and it should be open for users by the end of the month.

“We’ve been getting so many requests to come to Arlington. We wanted to get something as quickly as possible,” Gifford said. Cove is planning on opening more spaces in Arlington in the not-too-distant future, although she couldn’t say where or when. “We’re continuing our search.”

Cove charges for its space not by leasing it out on a monthly or longer basis, but by charging by the hour. Each user is given a personalized QR code and checks in when they enter, and out when they leave. Users pre-pay for the time they’ll spend in the space by the month.

Cove offers memberships starting at $32 for eight hours, and users can pay less by the hour the more time they plan to spend in the space. Additional time is billed at an hourly rate.

When Cove opens, it will have nine desks, a Keurig coffee maker with about six different types of coffee, soda and sparkling water. Gifford said Cove also has a partnership with nearby BeanGood Coffee Pub, allowing users to take refillable Cove coffee mugs and get 10 percent off their orders.

Cove also offers its users free WiFi, printing and scanning. Anyone who pays for a membership can spend time at any Cove location; there are two outposts in Dupont Circle and one in Georgetown, Columbia Heights, Capitol Hill, on 14th Street NW and an under-construction location on K Street NW.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 12, 2015 at 11:00 am 2,507 0

Two new businesses in Clarendon have opened their doors, in the new retail space on the ground floor of 3001 Washington Blvd.

Cherry Blow Dry Bar, which offers blow outs and extensions for women’s hair, opened on Jan. 30 at 1041 N. Highland Street, next door to the even-more-recently opened Citizen Burger Bar. Salon owner Jennifer Weiss said last week they offered a $15 blow out special and were booked solid all week.

“We were totally sold out and overwhelmed,” she said at her new shop yesterday. “We’ve gotten great support from women in the community who felt that there was a need for our services.”

Pure Barre opened late last year, offering ballet-inspired workout classes and athletic apparel. They have specials for new clients — $100 for 30 days of unlimited classes — and offer six to nine classes a day, starting at 5:50 a.m.

Cherry Blow Dry Bar offers blow outs for $35 and extensions for $395. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Sundays. Weiss said she’s considering opening at 7:00 a.m. on weekdays because her customers want to get blow outs before work.

Single classes at Pure Barre are $25, while a 10-class pass is $210. A 12-month unlimited membership is $185 a month.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm 2,638 0

Peet's Coffee's future location, at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd Peet's Coffee's future location in Clarendon, at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd

(Updated on 2/13/15) Clarendon residents will soon have another option to get their caffeine fix.

A Peet’s Coffee & Tea appears on its way, with signs up in the windows of the building at the corner of N. Highland Street and Washington Blvd. The store is expected to open this spring, but “our exact date is still to be confirmed,” according to a company spokeswoman.

When it opens, it will be the second Peet’s location in Arlington, following the coffee shop that opened in Shirlington last year.

Peet’s offers higher-end coffees and teas, and will compete with Oby Lee and the 7-Eleven across Washington Blvd. The location is also a long block away from Northside Social and a third of a mile from the Starbucks on Clarendon Blvd.

by Ethan Rothstein — February 10, 2015 at 3:15 pm 4,501 0

(Updated at 3:25 p.m.) Would you pay $25-30 for a day of unlimited coffee and snacks in a place that offers video games, board games, poker, foosball and the occasional standup comic or musician?

A husband and wife team are banking that the answer is “yes.” Vitaliy Hayda and Kseniia Shnyreva, immigrants from Ukraine and Russia, respectively, are planning on starting a new type of coffee shop, called The Third Place, in Arlington.

The pair has been blogging the travails of opening up a business, from the registering as an LLC to advertising to showing the initial renderings of the interior. They say they plan to open the business this summer in Arlington, but they do not plan to look for a location until April or May, the owners told ARLnow.com via email. They list “Rosslyn, Virginia” as the location on their Facebook page.

The name of the establishment refers to the concept of a “third place” where people can hang out and socialize.

“According to urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg, the first place is your home, the second place is your work and the third place is your ‘great good place,'” The Third Place’s website says. “It’s where you go to relax, have a good time, and surround yourself with friends both new and old.”

Traditional coffee shops, where people work on laptops, meet friends and hold informal business meetings, are viewed as a type of third place. However, sometimes “third place” business can be challenging for coffee shops, where customers can buy a $4 coffee and occupy a table for hours while tapping away at a laptop and using the free Wifi.

It appears that The Third Place seeks to remedy that by encouraging people to spend the entire day for a flat fee. It could almost be compared to an airport lounge, minus the airport but plus occasional entertainment.

The website says The Third Place will have bottomless coffee, tea, milk, juice and snacks for a $25 a day fee online, and $30 at the door. It will also sell coffee and tea to go. Hayda and Shnyreva also plan to offer memberships, including a $300 a month option that allows for unlimited entrance, eight guest passes, 50 percent off coffee to go and a 50 percent alcohol discount.

The Third Place plans to have a bar, allow for food delivery and let customers to bring their own food and alcohol in. In one of their blog posts, Hayda writes that they will have edible coffee cups, milk shots, a circular wood-burning fireplace and outlets with USB chargers.

The couple plans to run a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. They’ve already tentatively scheduled events, like board game night and a Latin dance party, for late May and early June.

by Ethan Rothstein — January 5, 2015 at 1:30 pm 2,706 0

A new store specializing in upscale Swiss watches is the newest tenant in Ballston Common Mall.

Watchstyle opened in November because, as owner Eric Kim said, he was “desperate to get open for the holiday season.” He found, however, that the Ballston Mall didn’t experience quite the holiday rush that he expected. Business was steady, and remained steady after Christmas passed.

Kim offers Swiss-made watches that aren’t the most recognizable brands, but, as a former Liljenquist & Beckstead watch buyer, he says the products he offers are the “equal or better” quality and more affordable.

“The watch market has changed so much,” he told ARLnow.com last week, “Swiss watch prices have gone up a ludicrous amount with no real increase in quality.”

Watchstyle’s watches start at around $200 with Mondaine styles and go up from there. Kim said he’s the only Mondaine dealer in Virginia. He also offers watches from brands like Ball and Maurice Lacroix. Despite the Ballston Mall’s negative perception and imminent redevelopment, Kim thinks he found the right place to start his business.

“It was definitely risky, but this mall is surrounded by the right demographic for luxury watches,” Kim said. “The mall may not be ready, but the market is.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 4, 2014 at 5:00 am 614 0

An innovative concept in healthcare and wellness has opened in Arlington.

Skyline Wellness Center has been in business since 2008, and provides its patients with “integrative healthcare focusing on the following areas: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, medicine, nutrition, physical therapy, psychotherapy, and sports medicine.”

The clinic’s new Arlington location at 1600 Wilson Blvd, Suite 320, in Rosslyn, is scheduled to open on Monday, January 5 , 2015.  They are already accepting appointments.  It’s their second location, and part of a strategic approach to expand the footprint of the clinic in the Washington D.C. area.

CEO and founder Ivan Santos says that the wellness center provides patients with an experience in healthcare “unlike any other.” Their mission is simple: keeping you healthy and happy. Their goal: finding natural and organic approaches to manage your health and wellness.

“We don’t want people to have to choose between traditional medicine and complementary healthcare approaches,” Santos says, “we give them all the options in one convenient location.”

All the practitioners at Skyline Wellness Center work as a team to offer a natural approach to health care. The experience is enhanced by easy check-in and check-out processes, online scheduling with same-day visits, accepting all major insurance plans, and encouraging email follow-ups with your doctor.

The clinic’s two founders, Mr. Santos and Dr. W. Jean-Luc Sansfaute, refined the clinic’s offerings by putting as much value on healthcare as in the “patient experience”.. Their flagship location in Alexandria expanded earlier this year to accommodate a growing demand for their services. They are clearly on the right track.

“Our patients were and continue to be an important part of our evolution process. We are who we are because we listen to them. They were the ones that told us what they wanted to include in a one stop healthcare clinic and how to combine all practice areas,” writes Dr. Sansfaute, who also acts as the Chief Patient Officer for the clinics.

The wellness center has “led the effort to change how our community views and uses healthcare.”  The new location is more convenient for Arlington residents, only three blocks north of the Rosslyn metro station.

“We are looking forward to becoming more involved in the Arlington community… and continuing to make changes to accommodate patients that value a higher level of service in healthcare.”

To learn more about Skyline Wellness Center, visit their website at skylinewellnesscenter.com.

The preceding was sponsored article written for Skyline Wellness Center.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — December 3, 2014 at 5:00 am 429 0

In the bustling, fast-paced county of Arlington, a tranquil haven called Oasis Nail Spa has opened at 1918 Wilson Blvd, a short walk from the Courthouse and Rosslyn Metro stations.

Owned by a family that has specialized in beauty services for 15 years, Oasis Nail Spa aims to provide a high quality spa experience for both men and women. Co-owner Kathy Nguyen, a former nail technician, knows of the abundance of nail salons and wants to offer something different.

“We didn’t want to make a regular old nail salon,” said Kathy. “We wanted to create a true spa-like experience that everyone can enjoy.”

A luminous, shimmering chandelier dangles over the main area. Calming music sets the relaxing ambiance and warmly welcomes people as they step into the spa, where they can choose from a wide range of nail, waxing, facial, and massage services. From a standard manicure that includes a paraffin wrap, to a smooth waxing session, to deep-tissue body massages, men and women can pamper themselves with the numerous options at the spa.

Newly opened on October 17, the beautifully-decorated spa has brand new appliances and strides to maintain a clean environment. All equipment is thoroughly sanitized. The spa also showcases hundreds of high-quality nail polishes, ranging from normal nail polish to gel and acrylic.

“We wanted to bring a little bubble of paradise, an oasis, in the midst of an exciting city,” said Kathy. “Sometimes we get so caught up with life that we need to take a step back and relax. People just need to unwind and pamper themselves from time to time, or have some fun with their friends.”

Catering to the vibrant Arlington lifestyle, Kathy wanted to try something unique by hosting exciting “Happy Hour” events every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. During these events, people can mingle with their friends and drink beverages while enjoying discounted services. For December, Oasis Nail Spa is offering 10% off spa pedicures during Happy Hour.

People can host special events at the spa as well by appointment, whether it is a birthday celebration, a bridal party, or just a relaxing get-together. People can bring their own food, drinks, decorations, and music. The spa can provide some privacy for these parties in the pedicure room, which is separate from the main spa area. Group parties of at least six people receive a 10% discount.

“We really strive to surpass expectations through our friendly hospitality and outstanding service,” said Kathy.

To celebrate its opening, Oasis Nail Spa is offering $10 off services of $60+ and $20 off services of $120+, limited one per person.

Oasis Nail Spa welcomes both walk-ins and appointments. To make an appointment, please call 703-522-1918. Hours of operation are: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm 1,211 0

A new “lifestyle studio” focused on aesthetic skin and body improvements using high-tech, non-invasive techniques is planning to open a studio at 2012 Wilson Blvd, in the new 2001 Clarendon building.

The studio is called Radovà Lifestyle, named for its owner, Gabriela Radovà. Radovà, a “Master Aesthetician” according to her website, said the studio is currently under construction in the new space, and she plans on opening by Thanksgiving.

“We specialize in customizing face and body treatments for each of our clients so that you are assured of achieving your specific goals,” Radovà’s website reads. “Radio Frequency, Ultrasound, next generation Intense Pulsed Light (AFT) and Coolsculpting are a few of our advanced technologies used to remove body fat and tighten the skin without the risk of needles and downtime. Our customized skin and body sculpting treatments are expertly applied by Master Estheticians following proven European techniques and proprietary protocols developed by Gabriela Radová.”

Although the studio is not yet open, Radovà is already taking appointments for services like chemical peels, body fat and cellulite reductions, skin tightening and nutrition and weight loss consultations.

Radovà joins Southern restaurant Tupelo Honey Cafe, a 7-Eleven, a Hair Cuttery, Olive Oil Boom and a nail salon as retail businesses moving into the ground floor of the recently opened building.

by ARLnow.com — October 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm 3,599 0

Village Sweet logoIf you have a sweet tooth, get ready to spend time hanging out at a new shop coming to Westover. “Village Sweet” bakery is preparing to move in at 5872 Washington Blvd.

Owner Dawn Hart has operated a customized sugar cookie business online since 2006. She had wanted to expand her offerings and to secure a brick-and-mortar location, which would allow her to stop renting commercial kitchen space. It was her dream to open in Westover, the neighborhood where she lives, but she didn’t think any space would open up. It just so happened that the day after she talked to her husband about the prospect of opening a bakery in Westover, he ran into the landlord for the space Village Sweet now will occupy.

“We’re very excited and the location honestly could not be better,” said Hart. “It’s such a happening place.”

Although customers can continue to order the customized cookies Hart made so popular with Monster Cookie Co., the shop will serve a wide variety of sweets. Donuts, guava and cotija cheese pastries, seasonal granolas and dark chocolate cookies with steal cut oats are some of the goodies Hart plans to offer. She’s still playing around with the full menu and will do small recipe taste test events until the shop opens.

“We’re pairing some things a lot of people probably have not had before and opening up some unique flavors,” Hart said.

Something she’s passionate about is making sure the treats taste good, but also are baked on-site each morning with quality, local ingredients. There will be gluten-free and nut-free options for customers with allergies.

“We’re baking foods you’re going to feel good about eating. They’re not loaded with preservatives. They’re the best quality pastries you can possibly get. It’s just an updated version of your’s mom’s baking,” said Hart. “If you’re going to put a doughnut in your mouth, you should feel good about it. It’s so important to me, the quality of what people are eating.”

During the day the shop will have seating for customers, but certain nights will be designated for groups to rent out the space for custom cookie decorating parties. The bakers will come up with custom sugar cookies for nearly any occasion — such as kids’ birthdays, book clubs and holiday parties — and customers get to ice and decorate the cookies however they choose.

Village Sweet does not yet have a firm opening date, but Hart hopes it will be in January. There will be a grand opening celebration once she feels operations are running smoothly.

by Ethan Rothstein — September 26, 2014 at 3:30 pm 4,200 0

Beacon at Clarendon West constructionA late night healthy food option could be on its way to Clarendon.

Toss’d, a new salad business, is planning to open in the ground floor of the new Beacon at Clarendon West apartment building near the corner of Washington and Wilson Blvds. The company launched a Kickstarter page this week to raise $50,000 to help with the cost of building the restaurant’s interior.

“I’ve noticed that the fast food salad industry is sort of at its infancy stages of growing, so I thought it was a good chance to enter the market,” Jason James, one of the restaurant’s owners, told ARLnow.com today. “Something we’re really trying to do is not just bring in the healthy concept of a salad shop, but something farm fresh and GMO-free.”

James said he plans to keep Toss’d open until 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, to serve as a late night option for the bar crowds in Clarendon. The location is less than two blocks from Clarendon Ballroom, Clarendon Grill, Spider Kelly’s, Mad Rose Tavern and O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, among other popular watering holes.

“In Clarendon, there are 22 bars that are open, and when all those let out at 2:00 a.m., there are two places that people can get food,” James said. “There’s Goody’s Pizza and Bronx Pizza, so we thought we could be a healthy alternative. We’ll change up the atmosphere and music for late night crowd, and give them something different.”

James said the $50,000 Kickstarter goal — the funding round closes Oct. 25 — is just part of the investment that will go into the restaurant; he also has secured bank loans and private investors. He also said he’s using Kickstarter as a way to market the business. Another marketing strategy he plans to use: during Toss’d’s grand opening weekend, he plans to give away salads to residents and office customers in the area for free.

“We just want to get our name out there,” James said. “That way people can be excited for a new alternative to fast food in the Clarendon area.”

Toss’d is still negotiating the lease with the building’s retail manager, Asadoorian Retail Solutions, but once the space is confirmed, James estimates a four-month buildout period.

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