Arlington, VA

When the adjacent El Chaparral Meat Market closed earlier this year, the owners of Boccato Gelato & Espresso in Clarendon (2719 Wilson Blvd) spotted an opportunity. They signed a lease for the space, and are now in the process of converting it into a bar/lounge.

The new “Boccato Lounge” will serve as a “place for families and the community to gather,” according to co-owner Cristian Velasco. Featuring beer, wine and live entertainment, the lounge will similar to Tryst in Adams Morgan — a hybrid coffee/alcohol hang-out spot.

Velasco says the lounge will allow Boccato to give its coffee and espresso program the attention it deserves, while giving customers more room to enjoy their drinks. There will, of course, be free WiFi.

The lounge will include a stage where local musicians will be able to perform and movies will be able to be screened. Velasco envisions Latin, jazz and bluegrass musicians taking the stage on some nights, and DJs performing on other nights. The rest of the lounge space will be able to accommodate various community uses, including yoga in the mornings, educational events during the day, salsa dancing at night and kids activities on weekends.

“Chill atmosphere, good music,” is how he summarized the concept.

Meanwhile, Velasco is busy opening a second Boccato Gelato on King Street in Old Town Alexandria. He expects the store to open in late June. No word yet on when Boccato Lounge may open.

H/t to John Fontain

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