Coming Soon: Live Entertainment, Sidewalk Cafe, Metro Kiosk

by ARLnow.com May 9, 2011 at 10:13 am 4,450 44 Comments

On Saturday, the County Board is expected to approve a sidewalk cafe for Mad Rose Tavern, live entertainment for Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub, and a Commuter Store kiosk outside the Ballston Metro Station.

The three items are all part of the board’s site plan amendment agenda.

County staff is recommending the board approve Samuel Beckett’s request for live entertainment from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and federal holidays. The Shirlington pub, at 2800 S. Randolph Street, has said that it wants to host traditional Irish music.

Staff is also recommending a sidewalk cafe for the struggling Mad Rose Tavern in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd). The sidewalk seating would wrap around the restaurant from Washington Boulevard to Clarendon Boulevard, and would operate from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. seven days per week. Staff says the cafe “would serve to activate the streetscape at this major intersection” and is consistent with other sidewalk cafes in the area.

Finally, the board will consider whether to place a county-run Commuter Store kiosk at the Ballston Metro Station. Currently, there are Commuter Stores in the Ballston Common Mall, Crystal City Shops, Rosslyn Metro Center Mall and at the Shirlington Bus Station — in addition to a mobile Commuter Store RV.

  • LP

    Mad Rose Tavern is horrible. Just waiting for it to go down in $1M+ flames!

    • AllenB

      I understand not liking a particular place, everyone has their own taste. But I don’t get wishing financial ruin on a small business owner because you don’t like their food. Kinda lousy.

      • SoCo Resident

        Well, part of this reflects the inital ARLNOW story on Mad Rose which was so over-the-top glowing to the point that one commentator questioned whether ARLNOW was benefiting somehow. Then, the first manager’s quotes were remarkable, as well. He was fired. Intital customer reviews weren’t so great either including they’re not even have a list of scotches when that is what they specialize in! The food and the promises. So, sometimes when customers and a community feel they did not get what was promised, they don’t mind a place going bust. You only get one opening chance to secure faithful customers, and if you blow it, well…

      • LP

        AllenB- Nothing to do with their food, I haven’t even eaten their. It’s the vibe and idea that they’re the best place around that I dislike.

        SoCo Resident hit the nail on the head, I hated the place before I even went there (yes, I was big enough to give it a shot) due to the managers initial statements prior to the place opening.

        • dynaroo

          You want them to fail because they think they’re good, and their “vibe?” That’s even worse.

          The manager’s a jerk – so let’s hope he stops being one, or gets fired, and we’re left with a nice restaurant in a nice location with nice outdoor seating and a nice manager. Otherwise we’ll have unemployed wait staff and an vacant building.

          • LP

            I didn’t say “good”, I said “best place around”. Please don’t turn my words around.

            And yes, the vibe is horrible – that explains why the place is empty almost every night. I’m not the only one who feels this way, dynaroo.

          • RC

            My husband and I have been there several times in the evening to sit outside and enjoy some wine and appetizers. We had a wonderful time, loved the outdoor seating area and the service was great. I, for one, do not understand all the negativity.
            The courtyard area is very welcoming. Just 2 people’s impression.
            We hope they make it!

        • AllenB

          So basically, since you didn’t like the managers remarks before it opened, you wish them financial ruin?

          There are plenty of restaurants I don’t frequent for a multitude of reasons. But I don’t wish them financial ruin, to be wiped from the face of the earth and their staff out of jobs. I just don’t go back.

          • LP

            Nope. I found the managers comments very off putting from the get-go, however, I went there one evening with some friends to give it a chance. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover type deal. After going (and in combination with the managers comments) I decided that I didn’t like the place, the way they treated patrons and the overall feel of the restaurant.

            Just my 2 cents.

          • AllenB

            So again, you wish them financial ruin because you didn’t like the food or the feel of the place. Again, kinda lousy of ya… just my two cents.

          • PhilL

            There’s nothing wrong with hoping something better will replace something that a person does not like. People throw all kinds of hate at Ballston Mall, for instance.

          • AllenB

            Yes, PhilL, that’s a logical thought. But my comments started in response to LP’s taking such glee at the thought of someone losing their huge investment. Same endpoint, but totally different ways of expressing the thought.

          • PhilL

            I don’t take things said on here too literally. But I brought up the Mall example because I’ve seen equal, if not worse, bad wishes projected towards it. I don’t believe anyone actually wants to see the mall destroyed out of spite, but it’s been said. Or maybe some do really feel that way. Of course it’s easier for people to wish financial hardship on a large real estate holding company than it is on a small restaurant group.

          • dynaroo

            I’d much rather see a place with a big investment succeed than have a business failure, unemployed workers, and an empty hole in the wall for a few years until someone else finally opens another business there.

          • LP


            Hate to break it to you, but Ballston Common Mall was a MUCH larger investment than Mad Rose. I’d like to see Mad Rose fail because I know something better will replace it, thrive and add to Clarendon, as opposed to detracting from.

          • AllenB

            And LP I hate to break it to you but the owner of Ballston Common Mall is probably some very large business. There’s a difference between that and a small business who invested a lot of their net worth. BIG difference.

            So again, I have no problem with someone not liking somewhere and not returning. But to openly wish for some small business owner to lose their shirt is really disgusting.

        • john

          LP this yr own problem u don’t like the place so stop judging and the manager statement the one get fired because he was steeling and giving away the house that’s i heard

          • LP

            Holy spelling and grammar!

      • Eponymous Coward

        Mad Rose is fighting an uphill battle.

        That complex has terrible architectural psychology for on-the-street commerce. It shouts unfriendly office complex. The marble and tinted windows do not say: “Hi. Come in for a friendly pint.” It says: “Hi. We launder toxic subprime mortgages into AAA investment-grade CDOs.”

        No wonder DHS took a liking to it.

        That street vibe cannot be good for dining establishments.

        • dynaroo

          I think the psychology will change a great deal when it’s ringed with chairs and tables for outdoor seating though.

          • Eponymous Coward

            One would hope.

        • Dan

          Bring back Egghead !!

          Software stores are overdue for a come back…………

          (that is where Egghead was isn’t it ??)

          • Clarendude

            I thought egghead was where Pacers is but I may have left my memory at Bardo 😮

            Unfortunately I don’t think the outdoor seating will help all that much for the reason already stated. Sitting outside is awesome but right now, on Washington Blvd there isn’t much of a street scene and I don’t think this will create one. If there was something across the street, maybe.

            The plaza seating area of MadRose usually seems busier than the SoBe outdoor seating, but that’s not saying much. The building needs a character facelift. I wonder if you can convert the roof of the 1 story portion to rooftop seating, maybe that would be desireable.

    • rk

      That is just mean LP. What do you have against them ?

  • plateman

    Love this site so much, was wondering what they were planning to build new Ballston Metro station, saw all the county planning flyers posted

  • Rick

    If station managers were nicer we wouldn’t necessarily need commuter stores…

    • RC

      Does anyone know what the kiosk will look like or where they will put it?

  • Meat

    Mad Rose SUCKS!!! Horrible Prices & Service

    • john

      I don’t know what Meat is talking about every time i go Mad Rose i have great time the new menu is really really good and back bar crew is GREAT keep up the GOOD WORK

      • RC

        I agree! The live music will just add to the courtyard charm.

  • JimPB

    Good — getting some life outside. Hope this these actions indicate a favorable prognosis for Westover Market’s Beer Garden.

  • StephN

    Considering the fact that you all are referring to an article about the manager who has been fired months ago, you have NO room to judge. I personally have been to Mad Rose on one of the slower nights and that made it all the more better.

    Yeah the vibe sucks and yeah the music makes you want to leave but their new chef from Smith&Wollensky in DC just started a new menu and it is to die for.. you all obviously haven’t tried it.

    I feel bad for the people who instead of trying a place you “hate” on what others have said without having your own opinion. Why don’t you actually go try the place out? Its not as bad as people make it out to be and honestly, i feel bad for Mad Rose for having to deal with all this from people who have no idea what they are talking about.

    I’m sure the outdoor seating will be great and just because of this article, I am dying to meet the new managers to hear their output on it.

  • KalashniKEV

    Why is it county run? I hate having to buy my booze from a government-run enterprise, at least I have other options to buy my candy and newspapers.

  • dynaroo

    Let’s all go patronize Mad Rose – to support it, or to find out if it really does suck.

  • Meat

    Mad Rose sucks, go to a real Pub Osullivans across the street.

    • dynaroo

      Mad Rose never claimed to be a “pub,” real or not.

    • StephN

      It was never a Pub in the first place. Its a contemporary restaurant and if anything, is bringing more revenue and more employment to the Clarendon area.

      No need to be immature, it is obvious you are personally grudging against the restaurant.

  • john

    i agree with dynaroo lets all support Mad Rose to find out

  • Mike

    I have to agree with dynaroo, give this place chance.

    I brought folks from work for Happy Hour to Madrose several weeks ago, our experience was great. The Beer Line up, food and service was stellar. I’ve been to local bars in Clarendon and all get so packed the service suffers. I think the Madrose Team has done great job. The beer line up and scotch is great. I would definetly stop by again… Can’t wait for outdoor seating.

  • Tony

    I have gone here couple of times and had a great time on both occasions although this place might need some minor fine tuning in few areas but then they have just been around for 2 months so I guess we gotta give them that leverage. We were pleased with the service and the staff at Mad Rose and especially the beer selection (which we were told was selected by the previous manager). We liked the atmosphere (had gone on a Friday evening) here and it drew matured crowd. Also learnt that the previous managers who were let go have been talking ill about this place just to vent out their personal grudges (hope thats not the case as I personally think this place has a great potential). With the existing patio space and the upcoming patio in the front this would be a great hang out place.

  • rk

    I like the fact that Madrose is different from the other places in Clarendon. In the summer the outdoor patio is a great place to hang out at and get a beer/bite after work. C’mon people give them a break, they are like what two months old and i dont think its fair to see them targeted the way they have been – i think some people just have it out for them. Maybe these people need to go back and give this place a second chance vs. trashing them all the time.

  • dynaroo

    Went past Mad Rose and had these thoughts:

    Liberty Tavern is also not even remotely a “tavern” but nobody cares.

    SoBe and Mr. Day’s are doing fine in that building with it’s inferior architecture.

  • karzai

    Mad Rose seems willing and able to adapt, and my view is that it will be just fine. Just because it gets off to a bad start does not mean it is doomed. The food was actually very good when I went there.

    A big problem, as some people mentioned, is the building it is in. Because space there is rented by some federal security-related agencies, there are officers with long-guns checking cars that park there, and there are the ever present “decorative” jersey barriers making sure a car bomber can’t get to the plaza. But, these barriers are very off-putting to customers of the retail on the ground level. The security-related fed agencies should clear out of Clarendon and rent in an area that is not as dependent on restaurants and streetscape as Clarendon.

  • ramu

    me and my wife went there yesterday to check it out. we were thrilled. awesome! great place for weekend hangout. We loved their food and good service. we will go again next weekend and post more.


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