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Mad Rose Tavern Adds Outdoor Seats, Preps for Grand Opening

by ARLnow.com May 16, 2011 at 3:52 pm 4,260 23 Comments

Slowly but surely, business has been picking up at Mad Rose Tavern (3100 Clarendon Blvd).

The Clarendon restaurant got off to a rocky start, but thanks to a new chef, outdoor seating and some positive buzz, General Manager Dennis Holland says they’re “starting to get off the ground.”

Over the weekend, the Arlington County Board approved the restaurant’s request for sidewalk seating along Washington and Clarendon Boulevards. The new seats — about 60 of them in total — should arrive either tonight or tomorrow, Holland said. The seating will supplement Mad Rose’s existing outdoor lounge which, according to Holland, seats about 80 patrons.

With approval of a permanent sign at least three months away, Holland hopes that the sidewalk cafe will help provide some much-needed visibility. The additional seating will serve not only to cater to customers who enjoy dining outside, but to attract attention and “let people know this is a restaurant,” Holland said. Mad Rose is located on the ground floor of the Olmsted building which, between the late ’80s architecture and the armed guards (the building houses the Defense Intelligence Agency), makes its entrance look decidedly unwelcoming from a distance.

In addition to getting ready for the new outdoor seats, Holland says he’s been busy planning Mad Rose Tavern’s grand opening celebration, which is scheduled for Saturday. The event will feature a cruise giveaway, 30 percent off all food items and a discount on drinks.

  • Terri

    Does anyone know about noise ordinances or how loudly Mad Rose Tavern is allowed to play music in the outdoor area? Sometimes I can hear this place from my apartment. And I can’t imagine that outdoor patrons at places along Wilson Blvd want to hear the crowds/music coming from this place.

    • CW

      I’ve heard that some residents in Westover can hear it…

    • FedUp

      65 decibels. That seems to be the number that was discussed at last Saturday’s board meeting. Might be different in each neighborhood, depending on whether the county staff dislikes the business owner.

      • Terri

        Even in outdoor areas? I think the shape of the buildings plus all the hard surfaces (and the fact that it is loud as hell) makes the noise carry pretty far.

  • John

    The Olmstead building is early 80s architecture (not late).

    I wish they would remove that drop ceiling.

    • The building was built in 1987.

      • CW

        So it was probably designed before then, since I imagine it went through absolutely zero bureaucratic red tape to get built, right?

  • Arrrrrlington

    “between the late ’80s architecture and the armed guards (the building houses the Defense Intelligence Agency)”

    Great, Cat is out of the bag. Looks like someone’s gonna be taken away in a black SUV in the middle of the night.

    • madisonmanor

      That would most likely be novapj out on another photo recon.

    • imissTX

      Not that it’s a secret to everyone, but is it really necessary to include this in the article?… it doesn’t add anything.

  • OaklandStreetHome

    Walked past this place during the middle of the brunch hour on Sunday and while Liberty Tavern, Whitlow’s, etc were packed, there was literally no one in the place. It was sad.

  • Arrrrrlington

    I was there Saturday night meeting friends for some drinks. The place is kind of divided up into two main areas so if the front part appears crowded, head to the back.

    The place was maybe 1/3 full (it was pouring rain outside though). Their beer selection is pretty decent, but very overpriced. $6 for a Blue Moon? Please.

    I can’t remember their happy hour specials specifically, but I took a look at that menu and thought the specials were pretty good. With all the outdoor seating I will probably hit Mad Rose up for an HH some time.

    The bartender we had was great. He admitted the first chef they had was “on crack”, but that the place was getting a lot better.

  • John

    The sign at the corner of Washington Blvd and Highland with the rendering of the building went up in 84 I believe. About the time Hi-land shoes moved from its location on Highland St. to Courthouse to make way for the construction. I’d say early or mid-80s, but not late-80s.

  • G20

    I paid my first visit last week for lunch. There was nothing good about the experience. I won’t go back.

  • Shane

    Come on, ArlNow. This reads as a regurgitated press release. How on Earth is this “news”?

    • NomNom

      Relax, guy

    • You won’t last long in PR if that’s your idea of a press release.

      • dynaroo


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  • Erin

    Is the food at Mad Rose any good? There is a capitol deal special for the place today ($20 for $40/dinner, or $10 for $20/lunch), but I cant find a menu anywhere online… I’d like to try it if it’s worth $20.

  • Matt

    I’ve become a huge fan of Mad Rose. The restaurant side serves excellent, upscale food for decent (by C-don standards) prices (my only gripe is they serve wine at funky temperatures). The lounge/bar side is nice enough and neither the clarendouches nor the exburbians have discovered it yet and Liberty-ed it Thursday-Saturday nights. With spring in the air and all the outside seating/lounging I’m afraid that’s about to change.

    Frankly they ought to Tallula/Eat Bar the place because the two sides are so different, but as I say, I’ve become a big fan of both sides. Good luck to ’em!

    • Vital Idol

      Clarendouches … classic!

  • The outdoor seating area should certainly help w/ publicity, but things like $6 Blue Moons certainly don’t exactly help the image.
    That being said, 30% of food might draw in some skeptics this Saturday.


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