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O’Sullivan’s to Expand into Sam’s Corner Space

by ARLnow.com June 4, 2012 at 9:50 am 9,665 105 Comments

O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) in Clarendon has signed a new lease that will allow it to expand into two adjacent storefronts.

O’Sullivan’s will soon take over the next-door Fragrance World and  Sam’s Corner storefronts, owner Anselm Griffiths tells ARLnow.com. Fragrance World will move to a new storefront on N. Irving Street while Sam’s Corner, a deli, will close permanently, Griffiths said.

Griffiths hopes to start construction on the expansion in July. O’Sullivan’s is expected to remain open during most of the construction, which Griffiths hopes will wrap up around mid-September. When it’s all said and done, O’Sullivan’s will expand from about 1,800 square feet to 3,350 square feet. In addition to making more room for concert and happy hour crowds, the new space will allow O’Sullivan’s to focus a bit more on its dining business, Griffiths said.

The popular but often cramped pub first opened as Molly Malone’s in 2004, before Griffiths became an owner and changed the name in 2006. A second O’Sullivan’s location opened in Herndon about two years ago.

O’Sullivan’s and other storefronts along Washington Boulevard and N. Irving Street are not part of the Waverly at Clarendon Station apartment project behind it and will remain open even after the development gets underway, Griffiths said.

  • CW

    This cannot be real.

  • SteamboatWillie

    Popcorn ready.

  • sunflower

    oh noes!!!!

  • novasteve

    I hope they don’t try to make it into an “upscale” type place with the extra space.

    • SteamboatWillie

      Wait, you don’t like upscale places? Who knew?

  • JamesE

    Sam’s Corner will live on in our memories. I remember that one time I went there and it was closed.

    • karzai

      thank you

      • marie antoinette

        thank you again.

        • karzai

          Caller: “Hello, is this Sam’s Corner?”

          Answer: “Yes it is. Sorry, we’re closed.”

          • Long & Faster RE Inc.

            Was this an actual conversation, or just how you and Paul Wickre imagined it at your last weekly community roundup meeting on MySpace?

          • karzai

            I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t use Myspace and have no idea who Paul Wickre is.

  • pee party

    i hope for the sake of my bladder, and your shoes, that they add some more bathrooms.

    • Runz

      Great Bar, Horrible Bathrooms!! Definately need to add more urinals and stalls its ridiclious!!

      Quicker to go to Silver Diner then back to bar.

      • The bathrooms will be upgraded, we’re told.

        • Arltown Cruisers

          Please provide more details on bathroom location, size lighting etc.

          • novasteve

            I emailed them re: prospects of a smoking section, and they said there will be none because they are going to be putting the women’s bathroom into the new section. They will combine the two current ones, as a men’s room, and have a ladies room in the new section.

      • WileE

        I always went next door to Sam’s to use the restroom. And then, of course, to the alley behind.

        • karzai

          clever way to make the point about Sam’s.

        • AlleyCatz

          I hope people stop Peeing and having sex in my alley!!

    • JohnB2

      Yes, definitely need more restrooms!

  • Curious

    Does this mean that O’Sullivans will never be open now ?

    • Richard Cranium

      No, they’ll be open, they just won’t tell you when.

  • nom de guerre

    Karzai must have lost out in the negotiations to open his bagel shop. I bet it was due to his one man campaign against Sam’s Corner for being rude and disrespectful. Sam’s will be open until the end of June and will continue to feature “daily” specials.

    • karzai

      no comment

    • karzai

      It was nom de guerre and others who waged this campaign by repeatedly referring to that one-day debate, not Karzai.

    • karzai

      The bagel place will be located in the new Waverly building ground floor retail space. never intended to go in Sam’s space. I’ve signed the lease with USAA Real Estate already.

      • BookGuy

        Will the new bagel place carry bialys?

        • karzai

          It’s probably going to be called “New York Bagel,” and so, considering how popular bialys are in NYC, I will be carrying them, yes.

      • nom de guerre

        Do you still intend to hire Richard Cranium to put the holes in your bagels?

  • MC 703


  • DeportEmAll

    If we all start lining up at Sam’s and buy everything he has for sale — EVERY DAY — perhaps the landlord will change his mind.

  • barry

    Yeah, just what we need, more bars and restaurants.

    • Pat M

      Yeah, just what we need, a successful establishment expanding. This sucks that a small business owner is successful. Ugh.

      • Richard Cranium

        Next thing you know he’ll open a 2nd location and become AN EVIL “CHAIN!!!” NOOOOOO!

        • Don the Diner

          They aready have – it’s in Herndon

    • Elmer

      Barry,Know what you mean. I get lectured on how the folks here are part of the oh so oppressed 99% yet they seem to have an endless amount of money to spend on eating and drinking out.

      • marie antoinette

        I love eating and drinking in Clarendon. The 99%, let them eat cake!

        • Robespierre

          Be careful what you wish for…

    • demonfafa

      O’Sullivans is quite different than the usual post-fraternity crowd that permeates Clarendon otherwise. Mostly, it’s sports fans (and occasionally Walking Dead fans) and fans of decent Irish bars that are actually owned by Irish people.

      • novasteve

        Anselm is Canadian, his wife, Karen, is Irish.

        • ArlForester

          That’s not nice to call him that. He could be a reformed Canadian.

  • Nunya

    Will they sell fragrances? Eau de Corn Beef and Cahbahge.

  • ClarendonDweller

    YESSSSSSSSS. Love this bar and hopefully the great character will survive the expansion.

    Also, this reminds me that I need to try out the bakery that opened on that block; anyone have an opinion on it?

    • Gypsy

      Worth trying–their warm bacon and cheese (gruyere, maybe?) baguette was hard not to eat in one sitting.

      • David

        That bacon baguette is amazing, if they sold those late night as the nearby bars were emptying they could make a ton of money. Love their regular baguettes as well.

    • cj

      Bakery is excellent.

    • Baguettes

      Yes, LeoNora Bakery on Irving is awesome, but they do tend to sell out of baguettes early. I second the Bacon and Gruyere baguette for $5 – it is not bacon and cheese flecks inside a baguette, but a layer of full bacon strips and cheese towards the bottom of the bread. Here are the hours:

  • A Rose By Any Other Name

    Anyone know if those stores are still open? I went to Fragrance World about a year ago and had some perfume made for $6. I guess I should stock up if they are going out of business forever.

    • drax

      Fragrance World is open. I’ve smelled them burning incense.

  • sam

    awesome. Good luck!!!!!!!!

  • Hokie

    Awesome to hear this! I’d go there with classmates after night classes to get my Master’s- it was a great chill place to go. I hope the expansion keeps the same character- the everymany’s bar that lacked a certain character/traits that places like Liberty, Ballroom, etc all have…

  • Matt

    I hope the best bar in Arlington doesn’t lose its weeknight pubbyness in the expansion!

  • Tre

    The Waverly is an UGLY building and I’m glad it has been perpetually pushed off.

    • karzai

      USAA Real Estate told me in late April that they have gone out for bids to several construction companies. They say construction is to start some time before September 2012.

      • Ben

        They have been surveying the property over the past week or so – so if not then sooner.

        • karzai

          Thanks, that’s great intelligence, Ben. USAA told me “summer,” so, given the repeated delays of the project, I opted to be conservative and interpret that as “September.”
          Not being a construction expert, I don’t have a good sense of how long it usually is between the surveying and the actual start of digging. But if there is surveying going on, I take it they have hired the construction company?

          • ClarendonDweller

            Are you really opening a bagel shop in that building, karzai? I must have missed the previous discussion on this.

          • karzai

            It is to be called “New York Bagel.”

          • nom de guerre

            It appears that the name “New York Bagel” is already in use. Or is this a franchise?


          • Community

            So rude how USAA refuses to just post a sign saying exactly when the construction will take place. Neither I nor anyone else has ever seen USAA doing construction at that site, and I have lived here for multiple years.

          • karzai

            It’s interesting how everyone who comments in Arlnow, outside of a few known people, all mention how Sam’s is never open. And, the joke is played out..

  • Southeast Ben

    Is that an A-frame sign out front?

    Has anyone ever eaten at O’Sullivans?

    • Trev

      The food is above average pub fare. They have an OK brunch lineup. The standard fries are not very good, but you can ask for the hand cut fries (i think for the same price) and they’re very good. Brah.

    • doug

      Get the French Dip, it’s my personal favorite

  • novasteve

    Is anything ever going to be done with that former indian restaurant that is next door to the moroccan place? It’s been vacant since at least 2004.

  • beerboy

    What’s the beer selection like? Anything good / local?

    • novasteve

      Irish bar beer. Guinness, harp, smithwicks, a cider, and molson. I think they’ve got some stuff like Stella to appeal to hipsters who know nothing about beer.

      • Corey

        Hipsters don’t drink Stella, Steve.

        • Josh S


          • nom de guerre


          • ArlForester


    • Southeast Ben

      Mostly domestic and “irish standards” – Guiness, Killians, etc.. if I remember correctly.

      • beerboy

        yuk…why can’t they get a couple of decent microbrews or even a cask? there are so many options to chose from – many of them local. I can’t see a reason I would go there if that’s all the beer they have, food doesn’t sound all that great. Shame – I was looking for somewhere maybe to watch the Euro2012..

        • WeiQiang

          Was listening to Kojo Nnamdi show and learned from the guy who buys craft beers/microbrews for local DC and VA establishments that state-specific laws for labeling beer often restrict local beer distro … well, locally. DC does not have additional jurisdictional beer labeling rules over and above federal rules. VA does have additional rules.


        • Runz

          They have a Bells and Lagunitias in Bottle (I think)

      • Leaves of 3

        Killians? really? Awful, both the beer itself and the fact that a bar carries it.

        Do they have Murphy’s? That’s generally the favorite in Munster and it is mine as well.

        • NotKillians

          They do not carry Killians! Their taps are Guinness, Harp, Smithwiches, Killkenny, Fat tire, Yuengling, Blue Moon, Molson Canadian and Miller Lite. They have a micro brews in bottles. I’m not into them so I couldn’t tell you but no, this Irish pub is not a micro brewery.

          • DrunkPeter

            They DO have a Bells and Lagunitas in Bottle

  • sdo2323

    Can’t believe these guys are doubling-down… predict they’ll be closed within a year.

    • ArlingtonNative

      Doubt it.
      I frequent both the Clarendon and their Herndon locations. Both are very well managed … and I worked in the “service” industry enough to recognize between well managed and poorly managed establishments.
      Like the other poster stated – good for them, it’s great to see a local, non-chain, business thrive.


    • Dum Dum Guy at the Gates of Dawn

      Whitey’s revisited.

  • Irish Chick

    Bouncers there are Hot 🙂

    • Irish Queen


      • Irish Chick

        Which one do you like?

        • Clarendon Skank

          The hot one.

        • Mary-Austin

          The one laid back one with the scruff going on is really cute.

          • DrunkMegan

            I think he is single!

    • novasteve

      That a place has bouncers speaks volumes about its clientelle.

      • Corey

        Not really, it’s mostly just a way to improve service inside the restaurant by concentrating ID checking at one spot. That way, waitstaff can take orders and fill them, rather than waiting for people to dig their IDs out, etc.

      • JohnB2

        It’s definitely very Clarendon-ish on weekends but very dive/pub-like during the week.

      • Irish Chick

        Doorman – no need for a “bouncer” there

    • Mary-Austin

      Agreed. More than can be said for Ballroom, Spider Kelly’s and especially Whitlow’s.

  • Mo Kersai

    too chad’y.

  • Mo Kersai

    too much chads.

    • Clarendon Skank

      Hung, I mean, hanging chads?

  • nom de guerre

    As a hat tip to our neighbor and the new occupant of Sam’s Corner, tomorrow’s daily special is the Erin Go Brah-thinly sliced beer braised corned beef, freshly made sauerkraut, Gruyère cheese and Russian dressing on a marbled rye bread and then grilled to perfection. Trevor Fryes are $1.00 extra or free to those who can prove they are a Brah. While supplies last.

    • John Fontain

      no garlic powder?

      • nom de guerre

        Our food supplier has informed us that there has been an acute shortage of garlic powder since May 14, 2012-something about a new local fad of putting generous amounts of garlic powder on pizza.

    • Tabs

      Trevor Fryes come with a side of vinegar.

  • MC

    The demand for dumpy dive bars never seems to disappear. It’s a virus.

  • Shanks

    Why? This place is mediocre compared to other options in the area.


    One of the few times I went to O’Sullivans, the bartender refused to serve me a beer until I paid him in cash first. Forget that place. The next time I went the men’s room was broken. The third was a collar-popping bro-fest. Again, forget that place.

  • DrunkO

    I hope they have a Smoking Section, Better Beer Selection, Better Restrooms, Better Food, and Lower Prices!!

  • Mossin

    I absolutely love this pub, and congratulate them on the expansion plans, I for one cannot wait for this ‘local’ pub to become even better.
    The food at O’Sullivan’s is well above average, the Chicken Tullamore and Fish and Chips are great, but the best thing is the Guinness Burger!! FANTASTIC hardly describes it enough!
    They have daily food specials, which I hope continue after the expansion, including 1/2 price Fish and Chips, 1/2 Price Shepherds Pie, $5 Burger and Fries, and a deal on the Guinness Burger to name a few…
    The bar offers 9 draft beers, all pretty much mainstream stuff, and they do NOT offer Killian’s, they have Kilkenny, an Irish Cream Ale, which is very nice, and hard to get in many places.
    As has been mentioned, they offer micro-brews in bottle, and they have Bells Oberon, and Lagunitas IPA to name 2. They also offer a Gluten Free beer, which is good.

    From my understanding of the expansion from talking to the bartenders there, the toilets will be a lot larger, and in Sam’s corner there will be another smaller bar, and that side will concentrate on a dining experience, whereas the bar as is, will only see cosmetic changes to it.

    To all those who had a bad experience before, why not go back once again before all the changes are made, and then go after they are made, and then compare. We all have had bad nights in places, and to be honest, I’ve never had one at O’Sullivan’s!

    • Irish Chick

      And the bouncers, I mean Doormen are HOT!


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