Arlington, VA

If you were hoping to enjoy the nice weather with a beer outside at the Westover Beer Garden, you’re in for a disappointment. Westover Market and Beer Garden (5863 Washington Blvd) owner Devin Hicks says the beer garden has been shut down until April 1 due to county zoning rules.

Arlington County requires that certain outdoor cafes, like the beer garden, be closed for three months of the year due to the seasonal nature of the business. Hicks says he wasn’t serving beer outside, but was allowing customers to bring their beers to the garden (which has a fire pit) from his indoor bar area. That, he says, earned him a citation warning letter from the county.

Until it reopens on April 1, the beer garden will be off-limits to customers. Hicks says he’s disappointed with the county’s strict enforcement.

“You would think they’d be on our side but apparently they’re doing everything to make our business less successful and less available to the community,” Hicks told ARLnow.com. “They’re not being business friendly. I don’t know why they keep picking on us.”

When it does reopen, however, music will finally return to the beer garden.

Under a compromise reached between Hicks, neighbors and the County Board, music will be allowed at the beer garden on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. In April and May, only non-amplified music will be allowed. From June 1 to Oct 31, amplified music will be allowed on Saturdays.

Hicks says he’s in the process of booking bands now.

“It’s going to be a ton of fun for everybody, obviously everybody’s been waiting a long time for it,” he said.

Update at 11:40 a.m. on 2/24/12 — Via Facebook, the Westover Market says they will open the beer garden tonight (Friday) in defiance of the county’s orders:

“We tried to cooperate and follow the county’s imaginary rule about outdoor patios required to be seasonal; we took out the tables, chairs, tvs, bar. That apparently wasn’t enough. The county wanted to cripple our business even more so they told us to take out the stumps, turn off the lights, and not allow patrons to go outside. Enough is enough. WBG & Haus in Full Force open 11am-1:30am.”

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