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BREAKING: Carpool to Return to Arlington This Fall

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Beloved local watering hole Carpool is returning to Arlington after a more than four year absence.

A popular after-work and sports-watching spot, Carpool closed its Ballston-area location on the 4000 block of Fairfax Drive in 2017, to make way for what is now the 22-story J Sol apartment tower. After two decades in Arlington, the brand lived on in the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax County. But now it’s coming home.

Co-owner Mark Handwerger tells ARLnow that the new Carpool will open on the ground floor of the Virginia Tech building at 900 N. Glebe Road in Ballston. It will occupy a space that has been home to a succession of short-lived restaurant outposts over the past half dozen years or so, including Greene Turtle, Applebee’s and, most recently, Filipino eatery Bistro 1521.

“We have already put in for permits and licenses and hope to do minimal work and be open next month (October),” Handwerger said this morning. “We plan to bring back all the fun, tons of the decor, and a lot of the staff in a refreshed space and upgraded kitchen.”

“We also plan to feature some of our signature garage doors opening onto a large patio,” he added.

A PR rep later revealed additional details.

“CarPool’s new 6,382 SF location will offer the same fantastic experience locals and regulars know and love including billiards, pinball, craft cocktails, live sports, and an extensive draft beer selection,” the rep said via email. “The space will be able to accommodate up to 300 people, and host private parties of all sizes. Patrons will also enjoy an expanded menu, courtesy of a large, second-generation kitchen space.”

Carpool relocated to the Fair Oaks area of Fairfax County following its closure in Ballston, “but couldn’t come to terms with our landlord during the pandemic so [we] agreed to truncate the lease,” Handwerger said. That location closed at the end of May.

A second Carpool location, in the Herndon area, has been in business for nearly 20 years and remains open, he noted.

A full press release about the new Carpool in Ballston is below.

KLNB, the region’s leading multi-service commercial real estate brokerage firm, today announced that CarPool, the celebrated sports bar and grill, is returning to its original home of Ballston, the thriving urban neighborhood in Arlington, VA. The new location is slated to open next month at 900 North Glebe Road.

Located less than a half-mile from its original address, CarPool’s new 6,382 SF space will offer the same fantastic experience locals and regulars know and love including billiards, pinball, craft cocktails, live sports, and an extensive draft beer selection. And like the original Ballston location, customers will enjoy large garage doors that will now open onto a sizeable outdoor patio, a welcome new addition. The space will be able to accommodate up to 300 people, and host private parties of all sizes. Patrons will also enjoy an expanded menu, courtesy of a large, second-generation kitchen space.

CarPool’s President and Founder Mark Handwerger opened the original CarPool in Ballston in 1995 and relocated the business to Fair Lakes, VA in 2017 when the property was re-developed. After several years in Fairfax County, however, he began to miss the energy and activity of the old neighborhood and started to investigate the possibility of returning to Arlington. He soon mentioned his idea to a business associate, who immediately recommended speaking with KLNB Principal and retail expert Kim Stein. After hearing what Handweger had in mind, she quickly went to work to locate a spot that could help recapture the magic and fun that the original CarPool brought to Ballston.

Ultimately, it took Stein just one showing to find the perfect new home.

“Kim understood our needs so well, I fell for the first location we toured,” says Handwerger. “She was a fan of the original CarPool and perfectly understood what I had in mind and the kind of property that would allow my dream for a new CarPool to become a reality. Kim’s knowledge of the area and ability to quickly find an ideal space was simply phenomenal and because of her expertise and efficiency, we can open our doors quite quickly and get back to doing what we love – providing a lively, welcoming environment for our customers.”

Handwerger says his partnership with KLNB is just beginning and is already discussing possible future projects with Stein. For Stein and her team, the combination of retail industry expertise, knowledge of the regional market, and an unmatched ability to bring a client’s ideas to life are what allows KLNB’s professionals to consistently deliver an exceptional experience.

“Since I had experienced the energy of the original location myself, I instantly knew what Mark was looking for and the type of space he would need to reignite the excitement the bar brought to the neighborhood 25 years ago,” says Stein.

Stein adds that there has never been a better time for CarPool to return to Ballston as the neighborhood has experienced massive growth in recent years. Within a one-mile radius, an estimated $134 million is been spent annually on food and dining, and the average resident age is 33.5 years-old with a median household income of nearly $147,000. For a populace that’s affluent and eager to dine out and gather, CarPool will be a welcome addition.

Added Handwerger, “Everything that our customers loved about CarPool is coming back:  the décor, the staff, the vibe, the fun- it’s all there. But now, thanks to Kim and KLNB, it’s going to be even better.”

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