Melody Tavern Closes Its Doors

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm 6,357 17 Comments

Another business has closed at the Market Square at Potomac Yard development.

Melody Tavern (3650 S. Glebe Road), a bar/restaurant that hosted live music, has closed after about a year in business. On Facebook, the owners thanked customers for “10 wonderful months.”

“This location is far more challenging than anticipated so we have decided to close the doors,” the Facebook post said. “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause some. Thank you and God Bless.”

This is the latest in a lengthening line of business closures at the off-the-beaten-path retail cluster, located on the ground floor of the Eclipse condo building between Crystal City and Potomac Yard, just off Route 1.

Melody Tavern had replaced McGinty’s Irish Pub, which closed in December 2010. Hee Been Asian Bistro Buffet closed there in July after just 7 months in business. Harris Teeter has yet to reopen after a major sewage backup in May. (No word yet on a reopening date.) Meanwhile, across the street, a Jerry’s Subs and Pizza closed last year.

Part of the blame may be the lack of foot traffic from anyone other than residents of the two adjacent residential buildings, and the fact that the businesses are set back from the street and hard to see to people driving by. Another possible explanation: last November, we reported that Melody Tavern had to issue a press release after it was revealed that some GPS navigation systems directed people to a vacant lot several blocks away when trying to find the restaurant’s address.

  • Musicians

    I was just talking about this place last night (I’ve never been) and more than one person I knew tried to get in here to play but the owner was either not around or didn’t call them back. As a musician, I don’t understand why venues don’t fill their calendars with a variety of local talent–you never know who is going to fill the room. I guess now I’ll never know what it would have been like, oh well.

  • Michael H.

    As they say in real estate, location, location, location. The area is too far away from the Metro station. There is nothing nearby that would draw in passersby, other than residents who apparently don’t like shopping or dining in the same building where they live.

    But the design of the complex plays a big part too. It’s as though the architects wanted to hide all of these businesses from passersby. It’s completely bizarre. The Harris Teeter is very well camouflaged from the street, except for some small signs. The main entrance is in a depressing parking garage. The restaurants were hard to notice unless you already knew about them. If I hadn’t read about them on ARLnow and other local sites, I probably would never have known about any of them, and I pass by there frequently (while running or cycling).

    Another factor is the failure to pick up any tenants for the office building across the street (National Gateway). That building has been vacant for well over a year, maybe two years now, aside from the LA Fitness gym. The office market is weak in general, and even weaker for a building that is a long walk from the nearest Metro. Not much of a view from National Gateway either. Just a bus terminal on the other side of Route 1.

    They should try to get someone in there, even if they offer below-market rent on a short-term basis. Or do what they do in Crystal City. Open up some of the empty space to temporary events like Artomatic, Foto DC, etc. At least it would make National Gateway a little more lively (vibrant?) and bring in new people to the area. It’s not like the landlord would be losing any money by doing this. There are no tenants on the upper floors anyway.

    A Potomac Yard Metro station would help these complexes, but that won’t be built for at least several years (if ever). The landlord-owners need to try out some unconventional ideas. A redesign of the Eclipse restaurant/retail area would be good too. Otherwise, the pattern of small business closures will keep repeating itself.

    • Michael H.

      Or they may have to give in and convert those ground-floor areas to condos/apartments.

    • Bob

      Anyone know when Harris Teeter is reopening? Are they still cleaning up all of the feces?

  • NIMBY the Chicken

    The building was built the way it was under the assumption the entire sliver of land between the train tracks and route 1 would be built up. I would imagine more businesses surviving once that happens, but right now there’s just smart people who use that side-street to get to the shopping center from Route 1. Also comstock homes (the developer) isn’t the smartest group of real estate “moguls” around, although they did buy up a bunch of land in Reston around the new train stations.

  • DynaFlash 8

    Some nice buildings in the development, but the “stink” from the sewage facility negates any attraction to living or shopping there.

    • Gio

      And yet, some of us have chosen to live here because we want to, not because of any “stink.”

  • Brian

    Who were the absolute idiots that decided to open these businesses in that location? The ONLY people within walking distance of these places were residents of the condo buildings surrounding it, and most of those people are working professionals who travel a lot or work late hours during the week. Why in the world would a restaurant or pub owner think they could be competitive 7 days a week HIDDEN between a couple condos and the airport? No hub of people will exist in that area until the Potomac Yard metro comes and a more defined urban center develops.

  • VaGurl

    Melody would have done just fine if it had good customer service and wasn’t such a “niche” restaurant. Heebeen didn’t last because the concept was too narrow. In a place like the eclipse, simple easy and fast is the key. Paisanos does great. Because they have excellent customer service, does great carry out and delivery and they advertise to more than one group of people.
    And there really isn’t a smell except from the river sometimes. Oddly the smell from the water treatment place stays on the other side of rt 1….

    • NIMBY the Chicken

      Were the people who ran Jerry’s mean and bad at their jobs?

    • Sort of

      Hee Been at this location flopped mostly ’cause it was gross–unheated food left sitting there, and none of the at-the-table meat cooking. Yet the price was us as high as the one in Annadale (which does just fine and is super-tasty). True, the Market Square location is not great, but I think plenty of people would’ve frequented a Hee Been closer than Annandale, had it been just as good.

  • Mc

    Places off the beaten path can do well if the fill a niche that draws people from outside the area. Maybe an good Ethiopian restaurant. Given how expensive much restaurant space is in Arlington, there’s room for a less formulaic place outside the main expensive areas.

  • George

    I have a hard time associating that area with anything but feces.

  • Charles

    It’s a dead zone. And McGinty’s didn’t offer wifi so I stopped going.

    • Clarendon

      This would be a great location for a big railroad yard with track switching and boxcar storage.

      • Tabby_TwoTone

        Spa World East!

        • Julia Q.

          Be still my heart! If only!


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