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William Jeffrey’s Tavern Now Open on Columbia Pike

by ARLnow.com December 14, 2011 at 11:45 am 7,724 62 Comments

An ambitious new restaurant and watering hole on Columbia Pike is now open for business.

William Jeffrey’s Tavern opened to the general public for the first time last night, co-owner Wilson Whitney told us. The restaurant, at 2301 Columbia Pike, offers seating for nearly 200 and a menu featuring American-style fare, 16 draft beers, and Prohibition-inspired cocktails.

Despite the high expectation of many Pike residents, Whitney warned that the restaurant is still in “soft opening” mode. With the kitchen still getting up to speed, early patrons should expect slower-than-usual service, he said.

Whitney and partners Adam Lubar and Chris Lefborn also own local restaurant staples Rhodeside Grill, Ragtime and Dogwood Tavern. Together, they’ve invested some $2 million in William Jeffrey’s Tavern.

  • novasteve

    Hurray. Another cookie cutter bar

    • E

      true 🙁

  • charlie

    That is so North Arlington — a tavern.

  • South Arlington

    Went last night, the pimento cheese and fried egg burger was on point. Also liked their craft beer selections. Only downside was that the server didn’t know what the happy hour specials were (still waiting to hear what they are!).

    • Chris

      Any notable taps? I can’t find a list anywhere. (also their webpage has the name spelled wrong in the title and the facebook link is broken)

      • South Arlington

        I’ve noticed the inconsistency in spelling Jeffrey’s. Offhand, I remember a few (the ones I drank). I am always happy to find Stone and Green Flash on tap, which they have. Also enjoyed a nice North Point Toasted Lager. They also had a decent list of canned/bottled beers also.

        • Internet Police

          This is where someone posts on if Jeffrey should have an apostrophe or not.

          • South Arlington

            Isn’t it a clear case of the possessive in this case?

          • Internet Police


          • Miriam Webster

            “whether” not “if”

          • South Arlington

            Also, it’s Merriam, not Miriam. There should be a dash between Merriam and Webster.

          • MC 703


  • OX4


  • E

    One day, someone in the bar business will make A LOT of money in Arlington with an establishment that is grimey, not pretty, but fun, and has some good music playing off an old beat up jukebox. The cookie cutter taverns that happen to serve beer (circa, 3, this place, etc) ain’t the answer, me thinks. other people’s thoughts?

    • South Arlington

      That’s why LA Bar and Grill is across the street from this place.

      • S.Arl

        I love LA Bar and Grill – it’s got a lot of character and the food is very tasty. Karaoke nights are very fun too.

    • JamesE

      First Down!

      • CW2

        I love me some First Down.

    • John Fontain

      Yes, we need a more Baltimore-like bar.

    • Jay’s?

      Jay’s Saloon? http://www.jayssaloon.com/
      Isn’t that place going to go under soon though? Your theory may not be correct E.

      • South Arlington

        I talked to Federico, the cook at Jay’s, a few weekends ago – he said Jay’s was saved for another year or two (FORTUNATELY!).

      • Jay’s?

        Although it says on their website they will be celebrating 20 years in 2013, so I guess they’ll be around another few years.

    • The Gov..

      Carpool… Although it has a new jukebox, still best around..

      • JamesE

        The app for the jukebox is good stuff, if I know my friend is there I play a Barney song from home.

    • Plus8

      We had one. I miss Whitey’s

    • FunnyMunny

      You just described Bardo and Whitey’s. Well, not the money part, perhaps.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      Jay’s Saloon.

  • Dive Bar Fan

    Yeah – Just cause those are the bars you (and I) prefer – I’m not sure if they’re making a ton of $. First Down is close to that description. Jay’s, too. Not sure they’re raking it in. Especially compared to something more cookie-cutter, like Carpool.

    • JamesE

      First Down is probably doing fairly well, it is usually pretty busy. Also the food there is surprisingly good for bar food.

      • Jay’s?

        What about Crystal City Restaurant? I haven’t been there in years but that gives the feel of a trashy Baltimore like bar. I’m sure the ladies like going to such an establishment as well. Class, class, class.

    • The Gov..

      How is Carpool cookie cutter? And yes CP is making some money.. And I’m like you I hate the “hip” places like Spyder’s, Circa, still have love for Whitloes, esp when weather is nice..

      • The AG…

        The space may not be cookie cutter, but the crowd sure is.

  • Rebecca

    People should expect slower service until things are up and running? I hate this. Get it right, then offer it to your customers.

    • Whitney

      stay away then

    • Em

      You’ve obviously never worked in the restaurant business. How exactly are you supposed to get it right without serving anyone? You have to practice. Anyone who goes to ANY restaurant in the first few weeks should expect some kinks; it’s really naive to expect any differently

    • MC 703

      You can’t “get it right” without serving real live customers in a soft open.

  • Stephanie

    Jay’s extended their lease for 2 more years, but when their lease is up, they’re done. This stuff is so sad to read. Arlington doesn’t need another awful “tavern.” It’s not that Jay’s isn’t making enough money. The property owner is selling to a developer that will inevitably bring in chains or more awful developers.

    • novasteve

      More living space for more clarendouches! So there will be even a bigger demand for a new “Tavern” place. Enjoy!

    • JamesE

      It will be replaced by a bar called MAC (Modern American Cuisine) Tavern. They will serve 3 types of mac and cheese starting at $35.

      • Clarendon’t

        I want to invest!

    • KalashniKEV

      That place is gross to even jog past. I would like to see an urban format Target or Walmart there… plus perhaps a bigger movie theater than Courthouse Plaza… and an OIF memorial or a fountain or something…

      • Old Timer

        KEV thinks anything constructed before 1995 is a “slum”.

      • I against I

        Wow! Another Target or Walmart, Just like the rest of America! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • novasteve

    I wonder if there were money in it if I actually made an authentic 18th century style tavern? You know, the word they are hijacking for these horrible snob places? Pewter mugs, dark, wooden everything. I think I recall something like that in Colonial Williamsburg when I was a kid..

  • Cookie

    To those who are calling this cookie cutter, (I’m not taking offense that its my nickname) I’m curious to what it is you’re all looking for in a eatery/tavern type of establishment.

    I’ve always found no matter what food is served up, the place takes on a character based on its clientele. I hope this place is a huge success as with all the other new places on the Pike. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 25 years and looking forward to seeing it thrive

    • E2DAV

      Totally agreed, Cookie.

      First, I don’t think this is cookie cutter as it looks like they are trying to get both the family vibe and the young singles vibe to co-exist. And, it looks like they paid attention to the details in this one and did not try to go out and replicate another Arlington bar. Point is, it could easily become another cookie cutter bar, but for now everyone should give it the benefit of the doubt.

      Second, there is no way this is a cookie cutter bar by Columbia Pike standards – there are windows, craft brews and presumably no remnants of 30 years of cigarette smoke.

      I look forward to being a regular.

      • Captain Obvious

        We went and were very impressed with the menu (beer and food) and with the atmosphere. Didn’t feel like a cookie cutter to me.

      • FrenchyB

        I ducked inside briefly on Monday night to take a look around – there’s definitely nothing like it on the Pike right now. I think they’ll do well.

        • Quoth the Raven

          At the risk of incurring the wrath of those who don’t like kids in restaurants….do you think it’s a good kids’ place? We’re always looking for another good spot –

          • South Arlington

            I don’t like kids in restaurants, but I think this would be a good place for them. There are tables separated by the wall that has a fireplace in it from the rest of the bar. There are also quite a few booths along the walls that should help confine your rugrats’ noise to your booth.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Thanks! Ironically, I was going to write in my question “…those who don’t like kids in restaurants, you know, the ones that call kids ‘rugrats.'”

          • YTK

            Slip a few suds in their milk and they will be REAAAL quiet.

          • FrenchyB

            I think it would be fine – seems fairly casual and the noise is fairly high, so I doubt you’d stand out. My guess is there will probably be a decent number of people with kids there, since there aren’t a ton of other good options in the neighborhood (yet).

          • Quoth the Raven


    • Em

      Finally some support of this place…so many haters. I’ve been in this place and it is definitely not cookie cutter. If you’ve ever been to these guys’ other spots you’d know they are not doing the typical Arlington bar thing; they’re really focused on making their spots feel comfortable and friendly. I can’t wait for the live music to start, and hear they’re planning on opening up a patio in the spring.

  • RosRes


  • James

    If you like sort of dive bars there is always the Cowboy Cafe on Lee Hwy and there is the Forest Inn. Trust me you won’t confuse the Forest Inn for a Clarendon Bar, not when some of the patrons are starting their consumption at 7 in the morning.

    • Lee-n-Glebe

      That place can be a bit frightening.

  • Seating for 200 and 16 kinds of beers– how ambitious! Patrons are sure to enjoy the Prohibition-era inspired cocktails, too– I know I would.

  • mundoe

    This place has terrible service and rude staff. I will not step foot inside again; not even if they paid me. Save your money and just go to Outback. It’s a nicer place and the prices are reasonable–after all–a chain is a chain. William Jeffrey’s isn’t worth the time or money.


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