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American Tap Room Coming Soon to Clarendon

by ARLnow.com July 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm 5,288 57 Comments

Construction on Reston-based American Tap Room’s new Clarendon outpost is coming along.

The restaurant’s red facade, facing N. Highland Street, looks to be nearly complete, while interior construction is well-underway. A small red fence surrounds an outdoor patio on the north side of the future watering hole. Employees in Reston tell us that they’re pushing for a late-August or early-September opening date.

The “upscale comfort casual dining” restaurant, located across from the Clarendon Metro station at 3101 Wilson Boulevard, is replacing the shuttered Sette Bello Italian restaurant.

  • Chris

    Here’s hoping for a beer list that stands out against the neighbors.

    • Josh

      If you ever been to the Reston location you’re going to be unimpressed.

      • MC 703

        ATR in Reston is very pricey for what it is. I’ve eaten there a few times over the years and the prices seem to have risen a lot faster than the quality of the food.

        The last time I was there in April for a “farewell employee happy hour” at 6pm I think I paid around $5 for a Yueng Ling draft. That was happy hour. I will probably walk by and go to Osullies as usual.

        • CSW

          + 1 Except substitute Kitty’s for Osullies (with Osullies as the steady backup)

    • CW

      As long as there’s Miller Lite and televisions, their core clientele will be satisfied.

      For some reason I picture this place quickly becoming the vomit-soaked frat house basement of the neighborhood – think Bailey’s.

      • Southeast Ben

        Do non-smokers still go to Baileys? Their pro-smoking setups (Ballston and Crystal City), number of TVs, pay-per-view events (UFC and Boxing) is the only thing keeping them in business. Service is terrible and food is standard bar food. I agree that the beer selection will be nothing special (Miller Lite and/or Bud Light, Stella, Blue Moon, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, maybe their own branded beer which will be the equivalent of Natural Light or something or Dominion Lager).

      • LVGuy

        For reference, see Hunan

        • CW

          But Hunan has good food and good deals, so I go there, just earlier in the night.

          • Ben

            Bailey’s has a halfway decent tap list though….

            Maybe see Mr. Days?

          • FrenchyB

            Bingo.

          • Larry

            Hunan hasn’t had good food in years. I really miss the way they used to do the steamed dumplings . . ..

          • JS

            their beer selection at hunan also isn’t nearly as terrible as it used to be. i think a year ago, they only had like 4 beers on tap or something, and now they have closer to 10. it’s no rustico, but it’s no longer just plain awful

          • MC 703

            The evolution of Hunan has been interesting to watch. It was great before it got flipflopped and packed every single night but word spreads fast.

            Depending on the night the sushi rolls are on par with some of the better known places around and better than the average strip mall Japanese / Sushi place.

          • LP

            Hunan has good food? Seriously? You have to be joking.

          • MC 703

            Have only had the sushi a few times when I feel myself approaching the edge of a blackout. Wouldn’t do nigiri or sashimi there but I’ve had some good rolls.

          • CW

            Not good in high-end sushi circles – I don’t get nigiri or sashimi there either – but their rolls are quite good for $4. Their americanized chinese entrees are on par with any carry-out joint and run about $7-8, and their dumplings and fried dishes are quality. I’m not saying they’re “good” as in restaurant-critic rating, but good as in tastes good for the price. Couple that with $4-6 for 32 ounce beers and you’re going to be hard-pressed to see me complain.

      • TJ

        Actually, the one in Reston has a decidedly upscale feel to it. huge leather chairs, back-lit menus….if you’re into that kind of thing.

        Never paid attention to the beer list because, as someone that works in the Reston Town Center, I’m only ever there for lunch.

        • MC 703

          The first time I saw the menus I thought that it was crazy that everyone in the restaurant had an iPad haha.

          I wonder if the cost of LCD menus is what’s driving the ridiculous prices for everything.

          • TJ

            I found the lunch prices to be reasonable, maybe dinner’s more expensive, I don’t know.

          • MC 703

            I’ll have to check out their lunch. It’s only about 10 minutes from my office and I think they have nice outdoor seating when it’s not 102 degrees.

  • SomeGuy

    I have nothing good nor bad to say about ATR, but I am convinced that the readership here hates pretty much every restaurant. Perhaps the only eateries that could get a positive reception here are a new Taco Bell somewhere on the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor or anything that Trader Joe’s could open that resembles a restaurant.

    • Jackflops

      Do you mean every NEW restaurant? That could be true. Certainly plenty of people here love the old standbys–as demonstrated in the comments on the Morning Notes (at least the ones that aren’t still in moderation limboland).

    • Dyke Lee

      Or a Waffle House that serves cupcakes.

    • MC 703

      I am not one of the people who cans every NEW place because it doesn’t have nachos like Jay’s Saloon. I’m sharing my opinion of a restaurant that has been in Reston for 10 years that I’ve been to quite a few times.

    • CW

      You leave taco bell out of this.

      • Tre

        I’m almost willing to forgo the s—y restaurant ROI’s and put my life savings into a wholesome Taco Bell franchise.

    • CW

      And also maybe it’s because every NEW restaurant is some variation on an OLD, tired cliche. “Locally-grown”, “farm-to-table”, cupcakes, burgers, “wood-oven pizza”, “we have a ton of beers”, overpriced this, small plates that, upscale [insert name of cuisine that doesn’t need to be made upscale], extension of local quasi-chain opening new location, “i did well on a tv show so you should eat my food”, commodity food product with fancy branding…need I go on? I think what you’re seeing is a backlash against the beating to death of the general trend of taking simple things, branding the hell out of them, and pricing them through the roof.

      • Aaron

        Those things are bad, but usually the deal killer is the sense that the proprietor thinks that he or she is the first to come up with the idea and is gracing Arlington with their originality.

  • William Jefferson Clinton

    I’d tap that.

  • Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini

    Once again, more of the same rather than a new offering.

    • KalashniKEV

      First Clinton posts and now Obama… under his real name, no less!

      • JS

        hurrrr

      • doodly

        You really need therapy.

        • Maria

          +1

  • CSW

    Wow. I haven’t been to the one in Reston, but I was initially excited at the possibility of a bar with a decent tap list coming to Clarendon (Lyon Hall’s beer list gets overlooked but is pretty solid).

    After looking at the Reston menu, not only does it have a pretty poor selection for a tap room, but the prices are ridiculous. 5.50 for domestics? 6 bucks for “Imports” like Molson…and 6.30 fro standard crappy imports like Heineken and Amstel. What a ripoff. It’s not that people hate new restaurants, it’s that it gets old over-paying for mediocrity.

    • MC 703

      +100

      I checked the online menu to try to remember how much I paid for my Yueng Ling draft. Turns out it was $6 – a full dollar more than the $5 that I was remembering as ridiculous. No wonder I was turned off.

      And $5.50 for a Bud Light bottle is thillly

      • FrenchyB

        Yeung Ling? Is that some kind of fancy Chinese microbrew?

        • Wang

          ROR!

          • FrenchyB

            That’s wrong, but I’m still laughing!

          • WellDone

            OMG, Hilarious!

      • CW

        Lol, all joking aside…32 oz of Yuengling at Hunan One – $5. See why I like the place?

        • LVGuy

          Yeah, I do love the place. I just try to leave before 9 when the walls of the bathroom are covered in puke.

  • J

    The color of the exterior of ATR makes my eyes bleed. Just to prove that we’re not hostile to EVERY new restaurant, Clarendon needs, in no particular order: any Jewish deli, a good Italian deli, a sandwich place that does not stock mayonnaise, a good bakery, something quick like Pret a Manger, more trees, and a store that sells tasers and batons.

    • Southeast Jerome

      def need a jewish/ny style deli

      maybe in the new office building that is gonna go up by the graveyard. they can sell bagels in the morning, good deli sandwiches and at night turn into a pizza-slice shop for the overgrown tanned frat guys leaving grille with their 5 years too young, 15 lb overweight trophy for the night

    • Vicente Fox

      What about the floors, lighting, and walls?

  • novasteve

    No smoking section, no me. It’s that simple. This place will be indistinguishable from any other place in the area. What’s the point? It’s like adding another cupcake place…

    People are right about Hunan No. 1. It’s got a great deal. If you don’t want to get sick from the sushi, eat the shrimp rolls, the shrimp in sushi is cooked. Otherwise all sushi tastes the same.

  • Southeast Jerome

    The ATR in Reston is what it is b/c its in Reston.

    You get a bunch of divorced women in their late 30’s, 20-something guys who live at home with their parents and a few college aged girls around the holidays when they are back at home.

    Otherwise, it sucks. Plus they charge DC prices for Reston location and even worse looking women? Get outta here

    • Cougar

      But I like the twenty-something guys.

  • Dan

    Jerome is RIGHT on the money.

    I wish Clarendon wouldn’t get so many chain restaurants. I won’t go to ATR because I imagine their bar will be similar to fireworks pizza, but fw actually has a good selection, and atr’s menu is really boring. This place is for frat losers that just stood in line for 20min at SK.

    • sweetie

      Jerome,
      You have to come check out this place! There pizza’s are amazing and kick butt over anyone’s in the neighborhood. I know I just had one the other night for their soft opening.

  • Madison

    Hey what’s up Arlington? Do you pansies do anything besides gossip and bitch about meaningless crap? Life must be so hard. Jesus, if you don’t like the place, then don’t eat there. Reply if you like, but you know I’m right and I won’t be reading it, as I’ll be following my own advice and bolting the hell out of here.

    This place is dead anyway.

    • SouthArlingtonReady

      +1,000,000

  • karzai

    If they serve Reston food in Clarendon they’re going to flop miserably. If they become a Bailey’s type sports bar they’ll survive, but not with any praise or reputation of note. If they serve down home food at decent prices, like Whitlow’s, I’m there.

    (And if ATR only has one other location, I don’t think it exactly qualifies as a “chain.”)

    • atown

      I believe there’s one in MD too, though I thought I remembered being to one in Manassass it’s possible it was another place with a similar title or it’s an older location that’s since shut down. It’s not a huge chain, but it’s a chain none the less I’d say. Regardless of how many there are, the less unique the menu and style, the more chain-like it will appear to everyone around. :-/

  • AbeFroman

    I’ve been to the one in Bethesda. The food was good. The beer list was good, although I am not sure it will really stand out against the better competition in Arlington. The service was excellent.

    And lets not forget what we traded in for ATR. Sete Bello charging absurd prices for the left overs from Cafe Milano. Cracked pasta and sauce from a jar anyone? I went the Sete Bello maybe 4-5 times and left disappointed every time. From the service to the food to the prices the place was proof that you can’t polish a turd.

  • ArlingtonNative

    I’m from Arlington & I’ve been to the ATR in Reston & the food is great & wings are the best I’ve ever had. Drinks are awesome as well. Personally I think its going to do great & I’m excited for it to come to Clarendon…have they announced when its opening?

  • T

    ATR is open. They have several locations, including Bethesda and Reston. They are part of a small, locally-owned hospitality company that operates a number of brands including Marvelous Market and Austin Grill. What is most unusual about ATR are the almost unformly bad reviews, with details to back them up, that ATR gets on Yelp.

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