Pike Sports Bar Denied Karaoke

by ARLnow.com March 18, 2013 at 11:20 am 13 Comments

Location of Sports House Grill on Columbia Pike (image via Arlington County)Crime concerns prompted the Arlington County Board on Saturday to deny a live entertainment permit for Sports House Grill at 3249 Columbia Pike.

The establishment, which is located in a strip mall at the corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road, was seeking a renewal of its entertainment permit, to allow it to continue to host karaoke nights. Neighboring civic associations, the police department and Virginia ABC all opposed the renewal due to concerns about crime.

In a report to the Board, county staff said Sports House Grill has “had numerous [county] reviews and a consistently high number of police calls.”

“In the last year alone, there were 15 police calls for service for incidents (most resulting in arrests) related to the establishment,” staff wrote. “The consistently high numbers of calls for service at this establishment, along with concerns about over-serving of patrons, litter, various inappropriate activity in the parking lot and surrounding neighborhood, and other issues have adversely affected the health and safety of surrounding businesses and communities by, among other things creating noise and reducing the residential character of the area.”

Neighbors told the Board that Sports House Grill owner Hugo Flores had made “zero effort” to respond to their concerns over the past few months. Concerns cited by neighbors include violence in the parking lot, vandalism and “drug sales.”

The business owner and his attorney told the Board that Sports House Grill has private security inside the restaurant, has had no problems with noise or health code violations, and has just appointed a new community liaison. The liaison appointment, however, seemed to be viewed by the Board and neighbors as too little, too late.

In the end, the Board voted unanimously to deny the live entertainment permit renewal.

“The County goes to great efforts to allow businesses to do this sort of thing,” said County Board member Chris Zimmerman, who lives in nearby Douglas Park, citing the relatively long list of county reviews of the business in the 7 years it has been owned by Flores. Zimmerman said the Board’s vote to deny the permit was “highly unusual.”

Sports House Grill is the second Columbia Pike restaurant with a primarily Hispanic clientele to face questions about its karaoke nights in the past year. In November, the Board deferred a live entertainment permit request for Restaurante El Salvador (4805 Columbia Pike) over crime concerns.

Pines of Italy at 3111 Columbia PikeIn a separate agenda item, the County Board voted to allow a live entertainment and dancing permit for another Columbia Pike restaurant with a history of crime and noise problems.

After numerous deferrals, the Board voted unanimously on Saturday to grant Pines of Italy (3111 Columbia Pike) a live entertainment permit. The vote had the blessing of the president of the Arlington Heights Civic Association, a major reversal of the association’s outspoken opposition to the permit last year.

At the request of the restaurant’s owner, who said a county staff recommendation to require a midnight closing time would scuttle its nightclub-oriented business plan, the Board also voted to allow Pines of Italy to stay open until 2:00 a.m., on the condition of quarterly staff reviews and a County Board review in one year.

The Board was told that the owner had conducted sufficient neighborhood outreach and had agreed to various measures to address problems that had previously plagued the location, which borders a residential neighborhood and which has seen a succession of owners over the past few years.

  • Jenna

    I lost my virginity at the Pike House in Morgantown my freshman year at Georgetown university. Good times.

    • CK


  • G Clifford Prout

    And to think I’ve been trying to score my drugs at the Days
    Inn parking lot.

    • Kat

      No, no, no! The Days Inn is where you go for hookers! They trolley sign has already been designed. Drugs will be a different stop.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Yea, un-usual because it’s not a high rise, high density building on the Pike. If they undercut the current small business/owner’s business, it’s puts pressure on them to flip the property for re-development. Clearly social engineering – government declaring winners and losers.

    • veeta

      Great theories, but have you looked at the police reports?

      • Scott

        None of the Whole Foods crowd break any laws –buy and use illegal drugs, fight, etc. Surely if the police traced all the DUIs in Arlington we couldn’t make the same case to close Ballroom, Spider Kelly’s etc.

      • Veeta is on to something. Sports Bar and Grill had a history of serving intoxicated patrons, and the police picked up many DUIs leaving the Grill.

  • Scott

    Gentrification made law. Please move/ close so we can put in a new doggy day care please.

  • jackson

    Virginia ABC opposed the renewal? Odd. Don’t they have a store half a block away now? And don’t they supply the bar with the alcohol that causes all these issues? They’re not throwing punches in the parking lot over someone’s rendition of “My Heart Will Go On.”

  • Cakes

    Check out LA Bar for kareoke. Viva LA!

  • Kill the Trolley

    Sounds like Clarendon.

  • ARL

    Stupid County Board, never listening to the concerns of the…oh, wait.


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