Management Change at Mad Rose Tavern

by ARLnow.com March 25, 2011 at 11:26 am 8,134 126 Comments

It’s been a rocky start for Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Boulevard).

The Clarendon restaurant opened last month to mixed reviews and underwhelming crowds. Now, we hear, a management change has already taken place.

General Manager Seamus Phillips, who has been credited with the restaurant’s name and initial concept, is out. On his Facebook page on Tuesday, Phillips told friends that he was fired.

“Make your own conclusions,” he wrote. “And please don’t tell me you told me so.”

Among those who responded to Phillips’ post with words of encouragement was his wife.

“All I know is I love this man and I watched him bust his ass for these people,” she wrote. “Everything that has happened over there is wrong… [I] think it’s gonna be one hell of a year in court.”

Mad Rose Tavern’s owners reportedly spent around $1 million launching the restaurant.

  • 22201

    I’ve stopped by a few times for drinks – great beer selection and friendly staff. Sorry to say I never ate there, it was more of a launching off the night restaurants for us. But I guess the lesson learned is that when you try to class up the area, and stray from cupcakes and hamburgers – the crowds won’t follow.

    • anonymous coward

      The bottom line on the Mad Rose is unrealized potential due to an identity crisis. If they could just figure out who they are, and execute, I’m sure they’d do well given the pent up demand for decent bar/restaurant combos in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

      Mad Rose’s multiple personality disorder includes discordant elements such as TVs whose sports bar vibe clash with the decor that tries to be upscale and trendy but ends up feeling cold, sparse and a bit dated (frosted purple backlight bar) without committing to any particular vibe …particularly since they apparently wanted to market themselves as an accessible yet sophisticated scotch bar.

      The menu is likewise all over the place and of middling quality – is it trying for hearty gastropub grub, upscale continental cuisine, divey fried food, or what? Their marketing sucks, particularly exterior signage and the fact that they still don’t have a website.

      Whining aside, it’s got a lot going for it – great location & adequate space (including the outdoor seating) though the divided seating areas are a little weird. Servers were nice and tried hard despite some hiccups. The manager was under-dressed, poorly groomed and stalked around like a weirdo, and the meat head bouncer types w/ earpieces were totally out of place – this isn’t some hip club with frequent fights.

      If I were them I’d go for an upscale Scottish gastropub menu with a bar that focuses on scotch and great beer…a more mature, slightly upscale, laid-back vibe than your typical Irish-pub-in-a-box. Consider keeping the larger area as the dining room / bar. Ditch the TVs and perhaps add some dark heavy drapes that you tie back, to make more cozy and exclusive but still give people a glimpse of what’s going on outside (and lure passers-by in. The patio and smaller area can be the higher-energy more bar-focused area since the smaller interior area is probably too small to be a lounge.

      • kgp

        thats so funny that you said they should go for the more upscale crowd…a little older, more distinguished…scotch bar…because thats what was intended…a little something different from everything that is already in clarendon

      • The “tavern” part of the name seems particularly misplaced.

        • clarendon girl

          would not be misplaced if the owners had followed the original concept….now it just looks like no one knows what they are doing…

      • y8s

        This reads like a Yelp! review.

        actually, it reads like a couple of the reviews… sports bar! meatheads! i-cant-hear-you-over-the-music!

      • Tabby

        I walked in and walked out on their first night. I didn’t like the decor at all–are those pleather lounge chairs?

      • mehoo

        I HATE TVs in any place that isn’t a sports bar. Get rid of them. If I wanted to watch TV I’d stay home.

        • wmbrett

          Marketing wise, they should do what Clarendon Grill did in the beginning to become well known. Host fundraisers for every reasonable cause under the sun such as for a soccer or rugby league, cancer benefit, and other fund raisers. People got into the cadence of going there for happy hour becasue some friend’s cause was having a happy hour there and the place became very well known, and established. Could work for Mad Rose tavern.

  • steve

    If their business is doing badly, which it must be if they fired their manager in a month, why not convert the back bar to be a smoking bar? They’d be the only place in Clarendon that has a smoking section, non smokers can avoid the smoking room, it won’t impact them in the slightest, and Mad Rose Tavern could be the increased business of being the only bar with a smoking section. They want to stay in business right? There’s already a plethora of the hipster places in Clarendon. They need something DIFFERENT to make it, and they aren’t obviously doing that now, otherwise this story wouldn’t have existed.

    • JohnW

      Whitlow’s allows smoking in their back tented room. You just can’t designate a room or bar smoking anymore. The state, thankfully, has finally regulated it [with many loopholes].

      • steve

        That smoking room at Whitlows is rarely if ever open for people to actually smoke in. It spends most of its time either closed, or non smoking.

        • R0bespierre

          Good. Smoking is like farting…socially unnecessary.

          • steve

            So is drinking. It’s not necessary, causes a lot of societal harm, including drunk driving. Remember that when you drive home from a bar.

          • The Noze Bros

            Drinking has been around for as long as people have. Smoking (socially) has only been around since ~1500.

          • mehoo

            But farting has been around alot longer than either of those.

          • Chris

            Clarendon Grill also has an area in the back that allows smoking

          • steve

            That’s not indoors. When it’s cold and rainy, you are in the cold and rain. I’m talking at being able to sit at a bar, indoors, and smoke a cigar or cigarette. Non smokers do not enter this room.

          • CW

            I am so glad that everything is back to normal around here! Smoking discussions on every thread, yay!

          • Tabby

            Boo hoo, stinky!

          • mehoo

            Liberty Tavern has a farting section out back.

          • Overgrown Bush

            I’m pretty sure every place that serves food must have a farting room by law. It is called the bathroom!

          • gasbag

            You get up and go to the bathroom every time you need to fart? Sure you do.

          • Tabby

            I had a guy ask me out and suggest Hard Times Cafe. Chili on a first date? I think not.

          • nova22201

            Tabby, just a “head’s up” the guy was probably married, in a realtionship, or a real red neck. Guys will ask out a girl to low threshold places so they can tell you they are heading to Clarendon, but then select a location like Hard Times or Hunan Number One so they won’t run into their friends or wife’s friends and hide you away. It works towards their 3 date count till they start getting some action.

          • Rosslynite

            Maybe you forgot that Hard Times has the separate smoking bar upstairs. Now I bet you wish you had said yes to that date.

          • Tabby

            I’m pretty sure he was just an idiot.

    • over it

      it’s not one manager…it’s two that got fired.. and it has nothing to do with the managers themselves…it just might have something to do with the fact the owners not knowing what they are doing…just cause you drink scotch, doesn’t mean you are validated n trying to open a scotch/gastropub…when what they know is kabobs and wing houses…just saying

    • VA Barfly

      Christ Steve, learn another tune will you. We get it, you like to smoke, and hate people who don’t.
      Put your money where your mouth is and go open a place.

  • Josh

    On my only recent visit watching the way the place was run was giving me images of some Breaking Bad scenes going on in the back…

  • CW

    But did they get rid of that Arnold guy who didn’t know how to give an interview without making jackass comments?


    • Tabby

      That’s what I was wondering.

    • FrenchyB

      That guy did sound like a wanker.

    • Maitreya

      Yes, they got rid of that Scott guy during the first week. THAT was richly deserved. Getting rid of Seamus, the GM, and Derrick, the Bar Manager, was short-sighted and likely to be a big mistake. My understanding is that even more key bartenders walked immediately, and that others are looking. At this point, I think there has been at least full turn over of bar staff, and that the kitchen staff is unhappy.

      If Johnny, the ***-trained Exec Chef, bails, the place is in serious trouble out of the gate.

  • Clarenguy

    So I’ve only been once on St Patty’s – every other place was packed except for SoBe (SoBe seemed to get the spillover from Mad Rose!). I had a great time on the patio and the back room was cool. Our waitress was fabulous. I commented to one in my party that it seemed the crowd was pretty cool and not the DB’s that you find often. He came back later and said all the DB’s were in the front room (not sure what that was all about). Anyway, I’ve always thought the front room decor was kinda lame (keeping the office-like drop ceiling tiles was a bad idea for one) and that building (the Olmstead) just has issues. They need to let the exterior be more expressive. Might be difficult given the Post-Modern corporatist theme of the place but maybe some talented architect could figure something out. That plaza should be more active than its ever been since I lived here (’95).

    • Greg

      “office-like drop ceiling tiles”? Someone should open a bar (call it “The Office”) decorated like a freakin’ office. With cubicals and everything.

      Or not….

      • Tabby

        OH, good call. And there could be a manager going around saying “yeaaa, gonna have to have you come in on Saturday…and and make it Sunday too, mmmk?”

        • VW_TDI_Too

          I think it’s an awesome idea. Who wouldn’t like to get drunk at the tffice for a change? Waitresses could bring you food & drinks on one of those interoffice mail carts, and their logo should be a red Swingline stapler. And lots of whiteboards.

          Somebody please do this.

          • Lyon Village

            “Honey, I’ll be late at the office tonite”
            “That’s what SHE said” (:’

          • McKenzie

            Too bad you kids missed the 70s, you could get away with that then. Oh well, you were bred to work.

      • Lou

        That’s one thing that has always turned me off about Crystal Thai. That cheap-ass lay-in ceiling.

        • CW

          Yeah, seriously. Whenever I dine out, the ceiling is the first thing I check out in the process of evaluating a place. Did you guys see the RAMMY finalists in the “Best Ceiling”, “Best Neighborhood Ceiling-Viewing Spot”, and “Up-and-Coming Ceiling Designer” categories?

        • borf

          I have never once looked up at Crystal Thai.

          • Greg

            I eat there on my back

          • CW

            Don’t choke!

  • Aaron

    I went by once and thought it had potential for a future happy hour but little chance of going there for anything else. It had the vibe of an Irish-y Gua-rapo crossed with a swank hotel restaurant.

  • Tabby

    Really dumb to show your hand on FB with that litigious comment by his wife.

    • clarendon girl

      no hands have been shown…she was just sticking up for him…i think its sweet and if they can sue..they should

      • Tabby

        For what? Employment-at-will, do you know what that means?

  • JohnB

    I hope that they can bring someone in who has an idea of what Arlington wants. I agree with Aaron with his assessment of the “vibe” there. They will do well with their outdoor space this summer, but I have a feeling that is just because of it’s location, not the prices or “ambiance.” Also, one thing I never understood about the place is if you claim to be a bar that showcases scotch, why do you not have a scotch list? When I asked to see a list, I was told to, “look at the wall.” How am I supposed to be able to read every bottle from 15 feet away?

    • Skeptical

      Oh you have got to be kidding. I wish it had been me. I would have thoroughly enjoyed offering a peep through my glasses to any waiter who said something so witless.

      And for the record I love Scotch. Can you say Balvenie? Laphroaig? Talisker? I have regretted out loud more than once not knowing about a place where I could go to sample all the ones I haven’t tried. Looks like I will not bother with Mad Rose till I hear better news.

      • Betty

        Skeptical, If you really want to go to try the scotches, go on an off night (pretty much any night according to these reviews) and sit at the bar. The bartenders don’t know much about scotch, but they do in fact have a scotch menu and you can work your way through at will. Have fun!

  • Tabby

    Well, there’s a Yelp comment that indicates that the owner is a complete jerk.

  • CW

    I wish they would quit throwing out that $1 million figure. If that cost $1 million, then either they wasted their money, or that’s just what it costs to open a nice restaurant around here. Because yes, it’s quite nice, but it’s not like sooooooo amazing to the point where you need to keep saying how much it cost.

    • duh

      $1M? That’s not even THAT much to open a restaurant around here… really.

  • charlie

    that building has a bad record of fancy bars with annoying owners — remember Blue & Gold Brewing Company. complete jack-ss owner.

    • ArlingtonNative

      Charlie … I do indeed remember Blue n Gold, as I worked there from it’s opening – and can only say it must be the Olmstead Building …
      1) Crazy, drinks too much owner (BnG & Mad Rose) – Check!
      2) Expensive bottles of Louie XIII (BnG & Mad Rose) – Check!
      3) Fired key Staff within first month(s) of open (BnG & Mad Rose) – Check!

      BnG’s owner was a good brewer and a very well trained chef, but had a huge ego problem and complete lack of experience in how to run a restaurant. If he had kept his management team (and listened to them) BnG would still be there and he’d be a VERY rich man by now.

  • Pip

    Put in a separate ventilation system and allow smoking in the back bar. They need to distinguish themselves from other clarendonbars and would have the only smoking room in Clarendon

    • ChrisG

      Doesn’t RiRa have a smoking room?

    • CW

      Steve would go.

      • CW

        Also please note that I posted that comment before Steve got going above! 🙂

    • Joe M.

      I am a Big-Time social smoker, and I been in and out of bars for the last 12 years, and I don’t see what the big deal is about having an indoor smoking section. I kind of fancy having to go outside.

  • mapchick

    I’ve only been once to the back bar for drinks. I had a good time and service was amazing. What actually kind of put me off was the amount of obvious security cameras watching over the bar area. They must really not trust their staff. They could have been a little more discreet about that.

    • 22201

      Being a former bartender myself, and friends who are bartenders, there are reasons to have security cameras. Every bartender gives their friends free / discount drinks, and there are other tricks to make some bonus bucks. However, I see that as just a part of the restaurant business, like nailing waitresses and hostesses is a bartender bonus.

      • Eponymous Coward

        However, I see that as just a part of the restaurant business, like nailing waitresses and hostesses is a bartender bonus.

        Is that a taxable benefit?

      • Tabby

        “nailing”? 50 going on 25 are you, by chance?

  • BeignetNova

    I went there on Tuesday for dinner. Food was bad…really bad. My teenage son could whip up a better meal than what was served. Lesson learned. I don’t know about the GM but they need a new chef. That’s too bad because it would be a good bar to hang out at.

  • Pip

    Nit sure about rira anymore, it had no bar, was literally just a room where people could smoke, no?

    • Jon

      You can’t smoke in the back room anymore. Only the patio, and out front.

      • steve

        Did Hard Times Cafe get rid of their smoking room? I heard it first went from being open all the time, to just weekends, and now I hear rumors that it’s gone now. Every time I went, it was non smoking in there, and I haven’t been back in a while.

        • South Arlington

          It’s weird how all these restaurants gave smoking rooms a try, and then after customer demand dictated that way more people wanted them non-smoking than smoking, they switched them back to non-smoking. Really weird. It’s like the free market and market demand dictated it or something.

          • Jon

            Not weird, it’s the law. RiRa let me get away with it for awhile. Smoking in the back room during the winter. But that was over a year ago now. The loophole is to have a room that is shutoff from everything is (a back room)… but it’s very tricky.

          • Steve

            All they have to do is want to install one. It’s a big place. They can afford to. The problem is, it, like EVERYTHING else in Clarendon, is a meat market. If you have a smoking section now under the law, you cannot shove in as many people becaues not all of them will want to be in the smoking section. There are pretty small places in other areas in Nova that have a legally compliant, separate ventilation system/room, like Moe Peyton’s Place in Springfield… The place isn’t a meat market, so the concern about not having people elblow to elbow isn’t there. Bars in this area and to cram in as many people as humanly possible on friday and saturday nights, and the only way they can assure that is by not having a smoking section.

          • South Arlington

            Yeah. Exactly what I said. The businesses can make more money not having a smoking room. Why should we expect them to make business decisions that don’t maximize the return on their investments, and defy the market’s demand?

    • Joe M.

      Galaxy Hut has a smoking area on the side of it.

      • Jon

        That’s because it’s outside.

        • South A-town

          Yeah keep all the smelly smokers at Galaxy Hut.

  • Southeast Jerome

    I think the million dollars was spent stocking the fancy scotch inventory that nobody orders. Then they realized how much that was going to cost and how long it would take to recoup that $$….led to cost cutting on the food/chef side. That type of ownership will never lead to a successful establishment – unless its owned by a deep pocketed corporation.

  • Pip

    You need to be a cigar bar to sell scotch like that, you’ll fail otherwise. I did a corporation search via the states website and whomever register mad rose Inc lives in a 350k home in Herndon. Probably a partial owner?

  • Dbag

    Was my comment not “politically correct.” So much for free speech.

    • mehoo

      You don’t have freedom of speech on other people’s websites. Go start your own.

      • Dbag

        This is a travesty! Arlnow has become a dictatorship! If we cannot speak our minds what is next!? Will we not be able to speak out against burger shops!? Will we not be able to voice our opinions on Cupcakes!? I’m shocked and disgusted, has this country come to this!?

        • Joe M.

          Cats and Dogs. Living Together. It’ll be Anarchy.

  • JohnB

    I really hope someone from that restaurant reads the Yelp reviews and what people have written here. I was told by the bartender in the back bar that they are opening up that window behind the bar to the outside, have they done that yet?

  • Decor

    Honestly haven’t been – I don’t get purple backlit bar shelves, a red room, and yes – the office ceiling tiles. Wasn’t anything about that place that said “Tavern” to me besides the alcohol selection.

    • CW

      BUT THEY SPENT *Dr. Evil voice*…ONE MILLION DOLLARS!!!!!

  • Bard

    What’s with all of the cigar bar advocates? I can’t think of a worse idea for Clarendon.

    • steve

      Why don’t you just not go? I don’t like seafood, so I don’t go to any of the seafood places in Clarendon. I don’t like cheesecake factory, so i don’t go. What’s so difficult for you to not enter a cigar bar if clarendon got one?

      • CW

        I DO like seafood, and that’s why I don’t go to any of the seafood places in Clarendon. Seafood around here is generally underwhelming.

        What we need is an all-you-can-eat seafood and cheesecake buffet with a smoking section.

      • Bard

        why do you assume i wouldn’t go? I like cigars and scotch. I’d probably go every now and again. But I think that’s just about the worst idea for a bar in a neighborhood catering largely to 25-40 year olds. It’d be even less successful than the mash-up disaster they have going right now.

    • mehoo

      Cigar Bars are sooooo 1989.

      • Steve

        They also didn’t have the obesity epidemic back in 1989. Perhaps things were better in 1989.

  • Pip

    Fancy going outside to smoke? In the cold and rain? Losing your spOt as you pay premium prices to have to go outside?

    To the person saying the market dictates this, baileysand summers are doing just fine, rira and hard times only had tiny smoking sections.

  • VA Barfly

    If you fire your management and a bunch of your staff quit and start looking elsewhere, which is what’s happening there (I know one of the bartenders very well) then you need to look at your ownership.
    One of them is (or was, in case they have been settled) involved in two lawsuits with former business partners, so that would indicate a problem there.
    Apparently this owners attitude and drunken behavior is a huge put off for the staff.
    Staff didn’t get paid while the owners spent thousands on a coffee machine and a couple more thousand of a bottle of Louis XIII cognac.
    It was also these owners who started putting TVs up everywhere.

    Now that the hung their management out to dry, who are they going to blame…or sue

    • CW

      Wait, you’re speaking in a condescending tone about an Irish place being owned by an angry drunk?

      This place must be more authentic than I thought!

      • VA Barfly

        When did it become an Irish place?
        Ok, so we have an Indian owned, American, Irish, lounge, restaurant disco, sports bar.

        • CW

          Idk, seemed that way to me. The rose is a symbol generally associated with Ireland, and it’s a drinking establishment. What more proof do you need?

          • CW

            Btw was joking at the end there – but seriously, between the name and the fact that lots of reviews, etc. have referred to it as at least attempting to be somewhat Irish-influenced, that’s the category I put it into.

          • mehoo

            Not an Irish place, never was intended to be.

    • Anita C.

      For the record, I’ve known this Naeem Mohd for years now (10+) and I am surprised no one has yet commented on his abusive reliance on cocaine. Yes, you read right. Give this guy a few “goose and whatever”‘s and he’ll be back in the office breaking out lines in order to sober up. That’s the only way he does. I’ve seen him, on numerous occasions, do so. If you ever get a chance to speak with him, face-to-face, mention the word “chitaa” (it is Hindi for the word “white”) and his eyes will light up like a kid in a candy store.

      I’m afraid to say, but his employees are being taken for a ride. He promises the world and delivers squat. Mr. Phillips earlier mentioned something about how he didn’t want to hear people tell him “I told you so” because he now realizes that these people were right all along. A general rule in life: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably IS. This place has Caveat Emptor written all over it.

      God Bless!

  • Brendan

    I’m Irish born & bred so let me tell you that this establishment is no where near an Irish PUB & Restaurant standard.
    If any of the staff are Irish and looking for work ,get them to contact me.
    I have immediate vacancies for the right person.

    • VA Barfly

      It isn’t nor was ever intended to be an Irish bar, but there was one Irish person working there.

      He could probably do with a job

    • Tabby

      I look Irish and can fake the accent. Am I in? The Yankee teeth might give me away though.

    • Mike

      Hey Brendan…..I’m not from Mad Rose, but I’m Irish and looking for a job, hit me up

  • Steve

    Is it possible the place is cursed? I mean, is it handicapped super accessible? I mean, the place used to be the Endependence Center of Arlington which works to get disabled people to be more independent, doing things themselves…. Maybe this is some kind of bad karma for them if they don’t have super accomodations?

  • Brendan

    By the way the Rose is not Irish but it English. That’s a big difference.
    If you check English history you will come across “the war of the Rose’s “

  • cubscout

    Wtf??!!! This place blows! With all joking aside… F this place and the oil tank it rode in on. 7 law suits against the owners… No wonder and definitely no surprise.

  • Lord Voldemort

    You’re a fool Harry Potter. And you will lose…everything

  • MRT

    Here’s what happened, and this is from as close a source as you’re going to get right now.
    The owner Naeem Mohd announced that he was the GM quite a while back. He has very little experience in this position, two previous attempts resulted in law suits with former business partners, and relatives. This is all true and documented.

    He appears to have been completely overwhelmed by the position, got drunk a lot while allegedly in a supervisory position. Missed several work shifts and asked other management to cover him.

    He also alienated a lot of the bar staff with his behavior and demands. Several of the staff have quit since he fired his management.
    The two managers in question were working extra hours covering the duties of a third manager who was also fired by the owner/GM. They were also covering the shifts of the GM/owner when he was incapacitated.

    The original concept and name of the bar did belong and come from one of the fired managers who did work for less than minimum wage during the construction and development phase.

    It was not an Irish bar.

    To ARLNow. This is all true,and irrefutable, so you don’t need to worry about this post staying up.

    • Josh P.

      The first paragraph is spot-on to be true. Regarding the lawsuits, it’s all verifiable. Simply do a quick check on the Fairfax and Loudoun circuit court sites. Search for Naeem Mohd, Mohd Saleem (his father), and/or Seema Saleem (his mother). This Naeem is a 30-year old who still lives with his mommy and daddy yet acts as though he is some multi-millionaire; it’s all a veneer. Apologies for sounding a bit facecious but the truth is what it is.

  • Seamus Phillips

    As things go, I appreciate many of the comments, and from friends and family definitely appreciate the support. For the record,

    1) Although I am upset and I feel that a concept that I worked on for the last 12 years of my life has been stolen from me, I have never once stated that I intend to sue at all.

    2) My biggest regret in the entire situation is that I personally feel lied to and cheated. My family and friends are hurt by what has happened, and most importantly, Madeline Rosella, my 14 year old niece whom the restaurant was named for, is forever attached to this establishment.

    3) I personally feel upset for the people of Clarendon and Arlington who had expected so much more from the Mad Rose and have in many ways been let down.

    4) I feel for the staff who has worked so hard over the last 6 months, who have been bullied, cheated and abused during that time, many of which have moved on or are moving on at this point.

    5) I hurt for my wife, who stood by me even against her better judgment and supported me through the entire process of getting the bar open. Who worked as a cocktail waitress until 3 days before giving birth, supporting us for months as I was not paid my salary until the week we opened. Who now is going back to work to help support us again.

    6) I am saddened by the comments on the food as the Chef is extremely talented. The menu is very controlled by ownership and the entire kitchen staff has changed over more than once as well.

    There is so much more I could say, but I implore you, as you all post your comments under other names and hide behind the quirky handles you have given yourselves, there are people out there who are affected by your comments. And from personal experience the affects are sometimes very costly.

    • Tabby

      Best of luck to you, Seamus.

    • Derek

      Some sensible comments at last.

      I’m curious how many users of this site would like their work issues dragged all over the internet

    • Maitreya

      You deserved better treatment than this.

  • SoCo Resident

    Two bars, Jay’s and Mad Rose, receiving many comments at once. One is beloved and loves its customers; one is not and appears cursed. Jay’s sadly may not survive and Mad Rose certainly won’t make it either.

  • Arlingtron

    I’ve been to Mad Rose twice. OK experiences both times. I love the location and am looking forward to the days of nice weather outside. I always look for decent food and not too fancy (see below).

    Am disappointed that complete menu, drinks and all, is not online (web or Facebook). Should be priority of any restaurant.

    Changing management just out of the gate is not a good sign.

    As a long-time Arlingtonian (20 years) I’ve seen plenty of establishments come and go, some not soon enough but there is a certain charm to the “dive bar.” Now that Jay’s Saloon’s days are numbered someone should perhaps look at that model. Let the hipsters with the excess cash and egos go to the “pretty food” places. Mad Rose could be the place for the rest of us.

    BTW: I do like the “office” theme, perhaps not for this location but somewhere. “Honey, I am going to be at the office tonight … late”

  • KalashniKEV

    This thread made me go there last Friday. It was so empty, except for too-many-dudes while the other side of the street had lines at every bar. I would have stayed longer if we could have had a chat in that great window on the corner, but the vinyl booth they constructed faces in, and you have to look over it… WTF? It needs a circular table like the one in CRB&G.

    • mehoo

      Don’t go to Clarendon, Kev! There are bums! Move away from Arlington!

      • KalashniKEV

        I pretty much basically live there. Some day there will be no Bums, Criminal Aliens, and Welfare Rats… and my people will reign supreme. I will send you a post card out west on Columbia Pike.

  • KalashniKEV

    Yeah, you’ve got me pegged right there… friend to the Nazis. Ridiculous. Also, you don’t have to wish me luck, the low-lifes will be forced out in time by the forces of the market. And then the Brown Flip-flop Party will rule for 100 years in Clarendon!

    • This is in reference to a comment that was deleted.

  • James

    Walking past this place multiple times, I can basically see that this place is just clueless about it’s identity. Bouncers and doormen in black suits? Velvet ropes outside? Giant white lit bar with neon blue highlight? TVs for sports, etc? Loud dance music? And the sign/logo is just horrible and in neon to boot.

    The Mad Rose has a Mad Identity crisis…not trying to be rude but the times I’ve walked by it and peered in, my friends and I all agreed this place better get casual, ditch the neon and brightly lite lounge bar look and loud music or it will fail quickly. (which it seems it is)

    Clarendon is not a lounge type of town. Period. It’s is a casual environment which allows jeans, shorts, tees, caps, etc in almost every place around. I’m not talking about people in wife beaters, ripped jeans or shirts or really badly dressed individuals but Clarendon is a casual town and has a casual vibe to it’s bars and restaurants. Even Circa is casual friendly (baseball caps, jeans, tees, etc).

    If you want to be a ‘lounge’ with a high end dress code which requires collared dress shirts, no jeans, etc, then you picked the wrong area…that’s across the river in DC.

    If you want a comparison to what Clarendon is or is trying to be, visit the gas lamp district in San Diego…a completely awesome 10 blocks of bars and restaurants all with a come and go as you please environment and friendly casual dress code (jeans, tees, shorts, caps, sandals, flip-flops).

  • Christine

    I guess an identity crises is what happens when you STEAL someone else’s concept and try to make it your own and then screw them out of the entire deal all together. I’m truly sad to see MR go down this path…I had high hopes. You won’t see me or any of my crowd in there again anytime soon. It’s too bad, the food is great (if they manage to hang on to the chef) and beer and drink selection is pretty good and I’m a big fan of the out door seating. All that being said, why should I spend money at an establishment that treats their staff like dirt and shows no loyalty to the community or the people who helped them get this far. It’s just a shame. My guess is that by this time next year it’ll be an entirely different place anyway.

  • Maitreya

    Word is that Mad Rose has fired it’s Culinary Institute of America trained, veteran Executive Chef Johnny Nielson, and replaced him with a 20-something sous-chef from Smith and Wollensky. Expect the food quality to suffer at this already deeply troubled establishment.


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