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New Beer Garden Coming to Old Building on Columbia Pike

by ARLnow.com June 30, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

It’s being billed as Columbia Pike’s first beer garden.

BrickHaus, a new beer-centric watering hole and restaurant, is coming to the former Blanca’s Restaurant space at 2900 Columbia Pike, at the corner of S. Walter Reed Drive.

News of the opening comes a year after ARLnow first reported that the long-vacant Spanish Revival-style building was perhaps getting a renovation to accommodate a restaurant with a rooftop seating area. A look inside the window reveals that some work has been performed, but there’s a long way to go before it will look anything like a beer garden.

The building was once briefly considered for a “southside” version of the popular Clarendon cafe Northside Social. But prospective tenants worried about the poor condition of the interior and other challenges, not the least of which is the age and relatively small size of the building and the challenge of setting up any substantial level of outdoor seating on the small adjacent lot or roof.

The potential downsides were not enough to deter Tony Wagner, the owner of BrickHaus, who’s also the owner of Twisted Vines Bottleshop and Bistro, which is located across the street at 2803 Columbia Pike.

“Columbia Pike is such a thriving and growing community, we want to make sure there are great [dining and drink] options out there,” he said. “We’re going to make BrickHaus a great gathering spot for the community… It’s very exciting, this is going to be a fun one.”

Wagner said BrickHaus will be a beer garden on the first floor, with some 20 beers on tap and an approximately 30-seat outdoor patio. The second floor — the mezzanine — will be a sit-down steakhouse.

Wagner said extensive renovations will be getting underway on the “beautiful, historic property,” which was once a bank before becoming a restaurant and then, most recently, serving as the construction office for the next-door Halstead apartment building. The interior will be pretty much all new and the exterior will be rehabilitated. Plans for rooftop seating fell through after it failed to receive Arlington County’s approval, he said.

Beer-wise, BrickHaus will offer almost all regional brews from Virginia, D.C. and Maryland, in addition to perhaps a couple of German beers, Wagner said. Just as Twisted Vines offers wine for sale and a special wine club, BrickHaus plans to offer beer for retail sale and, eventually, a beer club. BrickHaus’ ABC permit application would also allow the business to sell kegs of beer.

Wagner said he got the idea for BrickHaus after listening to feedback from customers at Twisted Vines, who said they wanted an outdoor option on the Pike and were also looking for better beer options. Staring out the front window at the vacant building on the other side of the intersection also sparked his interest.

It’s because of the success of Twisted Vines that Wagner is looking to expand on the Pike. Since taking over ownership last summer, Wagner says Twisted Vines has “had a really fantastic year.” An anniversary celebration is being planned for Aug. 10.

Whereas Twisted Vines has “one of the best wine-by-the-glass and whiskey selections” in Arlington, in Wagner’s estimation, he’s hoping BrickHaus can be its beer counterpart, filling a void in the community.

“We wanted to keep it local,” he said. “We said, let’s give Columbia Pike another great option with great beer.”

BrickHaus is hoping to open by late summer, in time for Oktoberfest.

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