Westover Market Granted Amplified Music Permit

by ARLnow.com June 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm 5,527 64 Comments

For the first time in nearly two years, amplified music has returned to the beer garden at Westover Market (5863 Washington Blvd).

Market manager Devin Hicks says Arlington County, at long last, granted an amplified music permit to the beer garden on Saturday, June 16. This past Saturday, June 23, about 90 people came out to see the Front Porch Rockers play the first full amplified set at the beer garden since 2010.

It has been an arduous journey for music at the beer garden, according to Hicks. The Market has “bent over backwards” to fulfill the county’s requirements for a live music permit — including building a restaurant within the Market, since only restaurants are allowed to have live music permits in Arlington. The beer garden was allowed to have non-amplified music this past April and May, but Hicks said it doesn’t compare to the full experience of amplified music.

“It was great having the music back, but you couldn’t really hear it,” he said.

Hicks said that so far, he hasn’t received any complaints about the music from neighbors. Per the terms of its music permit, the Market has hired an acoustic engineer to try to ensure that excessive noise from the concerts doesn’t disturb local residents. One of the methods being used to keep noise pollution to a minimum is a “sound curtain” around parts of the beer garden.

“It’s working out well,” Hicks said of the noise-muffling curtain.

Amplified music will continue at the beer garden every Saturday through the end of October. This coming Saturday, local soul and rock group lower case letters will perform. Non-amplified music will still be performed at the beer garden throughout the summer and into fall, on Wednesdays and Fridays.

“We have a lot of great bands on the agenda, so it’s going to be a great summer for everybody,” Hicks said. A full music lineup is available on the Market’s website.

When the Westover Market’s live music permit comes up for renewal in January, Hicks says he plans to ask the Arlington County Board for permission to host amplified music on more than just one day per week.

In addition to music at the beer garden, Hicks said he’s also excited about a new addition to the Market’s restaurant: Sunday brunch. From 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sundays, the restaurant is now serving brunch, using meats from the Market’s butcher shop. Hicks said the decision to add brunch service was made thanks to the new Westover Farmers Market, which has brought large crowds to Westover on Sundays.

Despite initial fears that it might hurt businesses in the area due to a scarcity of parking and competition from farmers market merchants, Hicks said the farmers market has been a net positive.

“I’ve never seen so many people on a Sunday morning around Westover,” said Hicks.

  • Richard

    Now if only they can have reasonable prices and not serve $9 beers in a plastic cup, we can really move forward.

    • CA

      If you want Coors Light and cheap food, there is a Ruby Tuesday’s in Ballston.

      • JohnB2

        Ruby’s closed like 5 years ago.

        • Bob

          LOL — CA just stays inside and complains about things.

      • drax

        I love the beer garden, but I wince every time I pay for a beer there.

      • Richard

        $10.99 6-pack of Troegs Perpetual IPA at Norm’s and Arrowine. $9 10oz pour of Troegs Perpetual IPA at Westover…..

        • market analysis

          Westover is for people who have the pretentions of Clarendon but can’t afford it, and don’t have the balz to move to Columbia Pike corridor.

          • nonagon

            Market Analysis is jealous.

    • cheryl hightower

      True, the beer is pricy, but its not Miller light either!
      Always well worth the price for not only the great beer, but hanging out in a fun place that is uniquely the WBG.

  • Corey

    Thank God. NIMBYs and yuppies need to understand that they live in a suburban area bordering on the urban and that music is part of the background noise of any successful city.

    Don’t like it? Move to Loudoun.

    • John Fontain

      I’m looking for a place for my new grindcore band to practice every Tuesday night at 10pm. What’s your address so I can set up right in front of your house? And by the way, if you don’t like it, move to Loudoun.

      • AshtonHeights

        If you let me wail on a couple of tunes, you can practice in my basement.

      • drax

        John, it’s Corey, remember?

        • cyclist

          You mean the guy who does not even live in Arlington?

      • Having fun yet?

        Your grindcore band practices? How long are your songs?

      • cheryl hightower

        you are seriously out of tune on this one!

      • SR Guy

        We have airplane noise in Loudoun, and unlike Arlington, when you buy a house anywhere near the airport flight paths, you must sign a contract saying you understand there will be airport news, and you promise not to sue.

        That being said, we don’t have the noisy and house shaking helicopters going back and forth from Quantico to the Pentagon every couple of hours that you have, so it all comes out evenly, I guess.

        • drax

          You do? A contract with the seller? Is it required by law or just custom?

          • SR Guy

            No, with the county and the airport authority.

          • SR Guy

            They will not sell you a house if you refuse to sign the contract.

          • Confused

            Is that the HOAs doing this? What if someone who owned a house before Dulles was built sells their house? Are they required to require the buyer to sign this document?

    • nunya

      i live near a church and gosh darned if they don’t play amplified music.

      are churches also required to get an amplified music permit?

      • J

        . . . church chimes don’t ring hour, after hour, after hour, two or three times a week . . .

    • J

      . . . people who want to play loud intrusive music that disturbs others need to move to a field in Loudoun. . .

      • SR Guy

        Here in Loudoun we have plenty of ve-hicles that ride around playing loud and intrusive music, thank you very much. It is usually white kids in pick-up trucks playing gangsta rap. We even have two ice cream trucks that slither through our neighborhood, always about dinner time, playing children’s’ songs over a loud speaker. The one that gets me is in the in the dead of summer, the ice cream truck is driving around playing “Santa Claus is coming to town.” Really!

        • Richard Cranium

          I’m constantly surprised that we don’t read about more suicides among ice-cream truck drivers. Can you imagine having to listen to that all day?

    • SR Guy

      In loudoun non projectile fireworks are legal. For the next three weeks it is going to sound like a war zone in my neighborhood.

    • J

      . . . loud music is NOT a necessity of urban life – it’s a decision made by a business owner so he can draw more people to his establishment and make more money for himself without regard of his neighbors. If he knows he will be a nuisance by blasting music, he should look for a place where he will not disturb those around him. Traffic noise, etc. IS part of the background scene of a city – loud music is not . . .

  • CW

    Hopefully they opened their set with a full-volume rendition of “Thunderstruck”.

    • Tabby_TwoTone

      That’s what I play when I’m angry.

  • Beer

    If you are looking for a great beer selection in a random place, try the K-1 Convenience Store on Columbia Pike across from the Giant. They have a crazy huge selection. The build your own 6 pack can get pricy, but the full 6 packs of off the wall stuff are reasonably priced. The lottery ticket clientele appear a little sketch some times but the people are nice.

    • CourthouseChris

      I like that we live in a county where beer consumers are concerned with the sketchiness of lotto players.

      • you hit it

        Thank you. 100 internet points for you.

    • Tabs

      Terrible wine selection though.

  • drax

    Where are all the county-bashers?

    • WeiQiang

      Keep that amplified music off my lawn!

  • BallstonNOTBoston

    Went here for the 1st time a few weeks back – place is wack.

  • Roover

    What kind of music do they play there??

  • JimPB

    It’s wonderful how the Westover Beer Garden has attracted a range of folks — parents with children, singles, older persons — Betty and me, too, and some dogs (on leashes, outside the Beer Garden fence, per rules). Reminds me of the delightful German beer gardens in Cincinnati when I was a boy.

    May clones of the Westover Beer Garden emerge all over ARLCo.

    However, I don’t share market manager Devin Hicks’ enthusiasm for amplified music. We could hear the unamplified music fine — indeed, the natural voices and notes sounded refreshingly fresh. Without amplification of the music, we could also converse readily with others at the beer garden, and those conversations were a big reason for our going to there. And without amplification, our delicate ears and hearing were not assaulted. So, please pull the plug on the amplification.

    • Hal J

      -1. The music situation was much better before the county debacle started.

    • drax

      Damn, Jim, that post was awesome.

    • Having fun yet?

      I dig the idea. Basically, it allows parents to take their children to the bar without the social stigma that usually entails.

      • drax

        Screw social stigma.

        • Having fun yet?

          Yup, I agree. Screw it.

          I’m saying there’s none of it at WBG. Probably because it’s not a dive bar and mostly attracts wealthy neighborhood locals. People willing and able to pay 8 dollars a beer are probably not going to be a bad influence on children, though I suppose that depends on one’s perspective. 🙂

  • Tumblebum

    I’m hoping for a little go-go, hip hop, West coast rap, gunfire, gang fight, ambiance. Arlington is proud of it’s diversity and, dag nab it, so am I.

  • Thomas

    I would love to go there more, except their meat is and produce are completely foul, and the son is sooooo stoned all the time. He really, wow. He needs to understand what is going on, he is just so damn slow, lol.

    • Strato

      Also, wonder in their occasionally and the entire packaged meat and cheese section is empty. Like, either they missed their delivery two straight times, or the coolers gave up and everything spoiled.

      And everything has a weird smell from there. I bought ice cream, and even eating the ice cream the smell was coming off on my hands.

      *yes, I was eating it directly from the tub.

  • Joey

    I want to love this place so much. But the service is SOOOOO slow.

    On three occasions, I’ve gone there on afternoons when it wasn’t busy at all, and yet it’s taken between 35 and 60 minutes each time to have a cold sandwich made. And when I’ve asked the bartender from whom I ordered them, he asserts ignorance — that it’s the kitchen staff that’s slow, and that they don’t communicate.

    It really discourages me from going back, though I love the relaxed atmosphere.

    • drax

      You don’t actually eat there, unless you’re desperate.

      If you’re hungry, you go buy a can of Spam in the market and eat it with your fingers and then go back for more beer.

      • nom de guerre

        It’s almost impossible to eat the Spam gel with your fingers. May I suggest a spork?

        • drax

          It’s easy when you’re really drunk. Don’t ask how I know.

          Hey, that reminds me – doesn’t Sam have a special using Spam in honor of that potted meat product’s 75th anniversary?

          • drax

            Damn, n de g, I pitch and you miss.

          • nom de guerre

            Sorry, I was actually performing some work today. In honor of Spam’s 75th anniversary, Sam’s Corner is proud to feature the daily special-pan fried Spam steaks on Wonder Bread with Cheese Whiz and mayonnaise. Only while supplies last and you must display a certain level of intoxication to be permitted to place an order. Whenever I say mayonnaise I think of the following.


  • Jerome

    That place is cool if you like drinking at a daycare.

    • Having fun yet?

      It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

    • drax

      I like drinking at a daycare.

      So yeah, place is cool.

      • Bert


    • blah

      Way too many kids. Drinking is an adult activity. I have had kids on two occasions knock over my over priced beer. I don’t blame the kids, they don’t know better. It is the parents who bring the kids….

      • Papa was a rollin’ stone

        Tough it out or go somewhere else.

    • Bert


  • Junior

    If you ever ran a club or restaurant you would know: crowds that will assemble for amplified music drink much more than those who assemble for acoustic or no-music environment. Conversation and social interaction serve as dampers on consumption. That’s why this issue matters so much for the beer garden. You’ll lose patrons who don’t like that environment, but will serve more to the people who do come. Good luck to them. I hope they’ve reached a good compromise here.

  • TDC2

    It’s not like they were booking metal bands when they had amps out.

  • arlgal

    agreed on slow service. don’t think amps will help. i think the staff got high 2x between our order and service. and yes i had my baby there so i was not wanting to linger. she wasn’t mobile at the time.

    • Westover

      You know the service is slow when you give birth while you wait for your order.


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