The Arlington County Board granted new Ballston bar Bronson a permit for an outdoor patio and live music, following initial wariness from staff and neighbors over bad experiences with its predecessor, A-Town Bar and Grill.
The County Board reviewed a use permit application from Bronson — which is currently under construction atat 4100 N. Fairfax Drive and billed as a German craft beer bar — on Saturday. It unanimously approved the bar’s request to seat patrons along the sidewalk and to host live music.
“There’s not a lot of trust, frankly,” said Board Member Erik Gutshall of the relationship between the neighbors and the bar after years of complaints with A-Town. Bronson is operated by some of the same owners as A-Town.
But Gutshall added that he wanted to give the new establishment an opportunity to prove “you will be good neighbors and you will fit in the community.”
“We don’t even need security here because we’re not bringing that crowd,” said Mike Cordero, one of Bronson’s owners. He acknowledged there was a “stigma” against the bar left over from A-Town.
Bronson originally requested to set up public seating buffered from the sidewalk with a 3-foot-high, removable fence, according to a staff presentation for the Board. Plans indicate that the set up would leave between 7 and 10 feet of sidewalk available for pedestrians.
The Bronson also asked to keep outdoor seating open on Mondays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. The nearby Berkeley and Alta Vista condominium associations requested the patio close by 9 p.m. on Sunday, 10 p.m. on Mondays-Thursdays, and 11 p.m. on Fridays-Saturdays.
“If the Bronson is appearing to be a family-friendly restaurant, if they are seating [and] they are looking to bring in a different kind of clientele, the necessity to stay open until 2 a.m. is slightly befuddling,” said a neighbor, adding of nearby residents: “We all really like to sleep.”
Staff recommended Board members approve the permit, but curb the hours, keep sidewalk space clear, and require regular community meetings and permit reviews.
The County Board approved the Bronson’s request to stay open opening from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The Board also approved staff recommendation to require the bar to close its outdoor patio by 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and by 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Lee Austin, who lives in the Alta Vista Condominium near the Bronson, said he appreciated the restrictions but added that he wanted the German bar’s new roll-up doors to also close when the patio does to “help ensure quietude” for the neighborhood.
The recommendations come after the bar formerly occupying the space, A-Town, faced permit scrutiny after neighbors said its outdoor patrons were too loud. Police at one point considered it “to be the most troublesome establishment” in the county, generating fights and drunken drivers. The bar was also cited in 2014 for serving patrons outside from an unlicensed “champagne truck.”
County staff also recommended the Board make the permit subject to:
- An administrative review in August.
- Another Board vote in October.
- Quarterly meetings with the Berkeley and Alta Vista condominium associations.
Images 1-2 via Arlington County
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The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Learn about the new assessment of Arlington’s urban tree canopy and the many ecological and social benefits trees provide. Staff from the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) will share study results and compare canopy cover for different areas of Arlington.The webinar will include assessments of ecosystem services such as stormwater mitigation, air quality, carbon uptake, and urban heat islands. For background on Arlington trees see the “Tree Benefits: Growing Arlington’s Urban Forest” presentation at http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/Presentation_TreeBenefits_Arlington.pdf.
Please register in advance to assure your place at the webinar, https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/29543206508863839.
About the Arlington County Civic Federation: The Arlington County Civic Federation (“ACCF”) is a not-for-profit corporation which provides a forum for civic groups to discuss, debate, inform, advocate and provide oversight on important community issues, on a non-partisan basis. Its members include over ninety civic groups representing a broad cross-section of the community. Communications, resolutions and feedback are regularly provided to the Arlington County Government.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 21,2023 at 7 pm. This meeting is open to the public and will be hybrid, in-person and virtually through Zoom. Part of the agenda will be a discussion and vote on a resolution “To Restore Public Confidence in Arlington County’s Governance”. For more information on ACCF and this meeting, go to https://www.civfed.org/.
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village