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Best Cellars Closing in Clarendon

by ARLnow.com July 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm 8,135 39 Comments

You only have about two more weeks to get your wine fix at Best Cellars in Clarendon.  The store will be closing mid-month.

For the past seven years, the store at 2855 Clarendon Boulevard has been frequented by customers who tout knowledgeable staff, fun wine tastings and low prices as their top reasons for shopping there.

So far, there’s no official word on why Best Cellars is closing, but we’re told employees aren’t happy about it.

The store is advertising a sale to get rid of inventory. Customers can take 25% off the price of wine, food and other various items, and 20% off of beer.

Best Cellars’ last day will be July 16.

  • novasteve

    Maybe they’ll stay open now that that BYOW law is in effect now?

  • CourthouseGuy


  • CW

    OK, read this story and then read the story IMMEDIATELY previous to it. Anybody think best cellars might need a new marketing manager, or to scrape up some capital to keep things running for a few more months? I have a strange feeling business might just pick up, given that there are, oh, more than a few restaurants in Clarendon…

    • CrystalMikey

      Good call…but I wonder how many people are actually going to do the BYOW thing? I doubt I’m going to bother with it.

      • novasteve

        Certainly nobody who is not married. I can see women dumping guys or not going on dates with them again for appearing “cheap”. grrl power.

      • CW

        If restaurants don’t set the corkage fee prohibitively high, I will definitely be doing it. The money I save on drinks I will likely spend on more food anyhow, which, while it’s lower-margin, means that they’re not going to be losing all the business. Or more restaurants could just be like Ray’s and figure out how to make things the finances work without falling back on exorbitant wine markups as one of the core profit sources.

        • TGEoA

          Corking is at the discretion of the business. I don’t see many business allowing this.

          • CW

            It’s an interesting little situation though. If you’re in an area where there’s competition and you want to undercut the other guy, that’s one way to do it. If you’ve got excess capacity and think that you can absorb more customers while turning a lower margin and still make higher net profits, then it might fit into a business model somewhere. I could definitely see some of the less-popular places, especially ethnic restaurants that make less of their money off of alcohol sales to begin with, giving it a shot.

  • karzai

    Can anyone shed any light on when Trader Joe’s is going to start building?

    • Lou

      It could be a while. They still have pending rejections on their Building, Fire Prevention, Zoning and Special Inspection applications.

    • CW

      3-buck chuck plus corkage fees…I like where your head is at.

    • rr

      They started moving building materials in at the beginning of the week!

  • KArlington

    Dang. They were always really helpful and carried interesting stuff. Guess I’ll head down and pick up a few bargains.

  • brendan

    Honestly didn’t see how this place stayed in business as long as it did… I guess it was helped by being located in a wealthy, wine-buying area but it just wasn’t set up in a way that would generate the revenue needed to support what i assume was an extremely expensive rental agreement.

    • John Fontain

      Ah Love Oil just announced plans to open their second location in the space currently occupied by Best Cellars. Wine – out, oil – in.

  • Caro

    I was just there and they said the reason they are closing has to do with the parent company filing for chapter 11. As a store they were doing well, but its the company that owns them that is going under, so they have to suffer because of it. Real shame!

    • CW

      Hmm, wonder if there’s any way they could spin off? Lose the branding and keep the concept, aside from any proprietary IP. Sourcing might be an issue without the volume of the parent company, but if you look at Best Cellars, while they are a “chain”, they still only have a few locations. I see a good opportunity for a local businessperson here.

  • wat

    “Store closes, employees lose jobs, aren’t happy about it”

  • Mayor

    This is such sad news! I will miss Christina and Julio and all the helpful staff. Now where will I go on my breaks?!

  • Erin

    Hmmm, so AP grocery store bought Best Cellars in 2007. But they filed for bankruptcy this past December. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-12/a-p-grocery-store-owner-files-for-bankruptcy-as-competition-heightens.html

  • BlueSkies

    Bummer. And I just found out two weeks ago they carry good beer.

  • ShirliMan

    Speaking of wine stores closing….any scoop yet regarding the Curious Grape’s new location?

  • ClarendonBlvd

    They were selling all the furnishings in the place; chairs were $5 and if someone needs some solid wood cubes for book shelves, et al., they had a lot of those that are stackable….place was packed when I was there (6pm)

  • OX4

    Low prices? I went in there once and didn’t find a bottle under $16.

    • Slayingthedragon

      really? best cellars specializes in low priced bottles of wine. almost everything they carried was under $16.

      • Tabby

        Yeah, sorry, same wine selections at lower prices a block away at Whole Foods.

  • Evil Matcher

    For anyone that knew wine, that place sucked. Too many off-labels marked at prices that were totally unfair. They are still making 15 points or so after they “discount” their current stock by 25%…

    • Abe Froman

      My wife worked in the events and hospitality biz and this is exactly what she said. Lots of no name stuff at prices that didn’t warrant takeing a shot on and the stuff they had that she was fimilar with was not priced to sell to anyone but wine posers who thing that if its expensive its good.

  • MSparkles

    As a former employee – I worked at the store for three of its seven years – I am going to miss Best Cellars Clarendon and its staff! The wines were fun and interesting, and the staff helped. We had music and speakers and special events, sad closing! Thanks Christina and Julio – and past managers Sammy and Amanda! -M

  • Chipper J.

    I enjoyed this place. Just a fun atmosphere and always a wine tasting! I am going to miss it.

  • Pingback: New Voluntary VA Corkage Law; Clarendon Best Cellars Closing()

  • Nels Andersen

    So sad to see Best Cellars in Arlington close. Great store with even better employees. We have been going there since the store opened 7 years ago.

    Speculation I have read on this site seems wrong. Best Cellars was sold to A&P food chain which in now in bankruptcy. A&P is selling off all its Best Cellars across the country. Suspect they saw an opportunity to end the expensive Clarendon lease even though the store was making good money. A&P wanted out of the lease which apparently was increasing.

    Hope some local wine store or other establishment employs the wonderful workers at the Best Cellars Clarendon store. They are knowledgeable, helpful, friendly and will be missed very much. These are good and hard working people. They just heard last Thursday they are losing their jobs, don’t know if they will get severance, but yet they are still working hard to close out the store. If any one knows of a job that might fit for these good people, please contact the store. I’m sure they would appreciate your help.

    Please contact these great people at the Arlington Best Cellars before the store closes on the 17th of this month if you can offer them a job. You will not be disappointed.

    -Nels Andersen

  • Tabby

    Comfort One closed in Clarendon because the already ridiculous rent was going up.

    We got some greedy landlords!

    • Zoning Victim

      Rent is only ridiculous if no one will pay it.

  • J

    Someone who works there told me it ultimately came down to the lease. They got someone to fill Best Cellars spot, and out they went. I guess they could have outbid the group, but with the financial stuff everyone is mentioning, it makes sense.

  • Nels Andersen

    Bottom line,

    Can anyone in Arlington, especially Clarendon, offer these good people a decent job?

    They are hurting and would appreciate a job offer. They are good people who need some help right now.

    -Nels Andersen

  • Nels Andersen

    Seems to me that our community ought to look after those that have been a big part in our county’s growth. The people at Best Cellars have been with our community for a long time (7 years). They need our help finding jobs for their ex employees. We should help them.

    -Nels Anderesen

    • Gabby Kauffmann

      Nels, I remember you. I was one of the first managers of the store and left in March 2005. It was a sad day when my brother called me to tell me that the store was closing. A&P ruined the company. It was still one of the best jobs I ever had.


    does anyone know who took the spot?


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