The pandemic has claimed yet another local restaurant — and this time, it’s one of the oldest bars in Arlington.
Summers, the soccer bar at 1520 N. Courthouse Road, will not reopen, owner Joe Javidara confirmed to ARLnow today. The restaurant’s furnishings — from kitchen equipment to framed soccer memorabilia to the Tiffany-style stained glass lamps — are now being offered for auction through Oct. 13.
Summers temporarily closed at the end of August, warning that the closure could be permanent if it was unable to obtain a permit for an expanded outdoor seating area. Javidara said he was not able to get the county permit and instead made the tough decision to close permanently.
A staple of the Courthouse neighborhood, Summers first opened in December 1982. It showed soccer matches from around the world at a time “when no one else in the U.S. watched soccer,” Javidara said, but went on to serve millions of customers over its 38 years.
It has remained in business through big changes to Arlington, but rent increases have made it difficult to make ends meet, said Javidara. It was set to close eventually due to a planned redevelopment of the block, but COVID-19 hastened the inevitable.
Javidara says he has been losing money every month since the start of the pandemic. The main dining used to hold 150 cheering soccer fans, but social distancing restrictions reduced that to 16. Only a handful actually would show up to watch the games, making it hard to retain employees who rely on tips.
Sales were off 95%, Javidara said, but the rent remained $20,000 per month. He said he was also unable to obtain a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan as a potential lifeline.
“It’s disappointing we have to go like this after 38 years,” Javidara told ARLnow.
Still, there’s some hope for the future. After taking some time off, something he hasn’t been able to do for decades, Javidra said he’ll test the waters to see if any investors might want to help Summers reopen elsewhere, perhaps as soon as next year.
Any new location would have to have more outdoor seating and, potentially, a rooftop. A German beer garden with sports could be a new format worth exploring, he said.
“We’ll look for another place,” he said.