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Balkan restaurant Ambar looks to bolster business by bringing more laughter to Clarendon

An event at BABA, the speakeasy-style bar underneath Ambar in Clarendon (courtesy of Ambar)

Clarendon’s newest comedy venue is in the basement of a Balkan restaurant.

Starting next Thursday, the speakeasy-style bar underneath Ambar, called BABA, will host free bi-weekly comedy shows.

The “Elite 11 Closed Mic” show with the Savage Gentleman Club will feature seven local comics performing 11-minute skits. For the inaugural show next week, doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

The comedy show is free but BABA will offer Ambar’s unlimited Balkan dinner menu for $49.99 per person, with the small plates available à la carte as well, and discounted wines. Registration is recommended but not required.

Comedy is not the only way that BABA has been blending dining and experiences, in an effort to maximize use of the restaurant’s basement space. It also hosts “Dine in the Dark,” a blindfolded dining experience in which guests eat relying solely on their taste and smell.

Guests are given a secret three-course menu that caters to their preferred source of protein. This sensory-based experience occurs on most Tuesday evenings but an updated schedule can be found on the website. Registration for this dining experience is required before attending.

Then on Fridays, BABA opens up the dining area for live music from 8-10 p.m.

While Ambar tests out different ways to attract potential patrons to its subterranean space, several other restaurants and nightlife spots in the neighborhood have struggled to stay open.

Over the last year, Clarendon saw the closures of new arrivals Bar Ivy and Chicken + Whiskey as well as more established destinations, including Pamplona, Cava Mezze and The Pinemoor.

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It is the decision of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Washington Headquarters Services (WHS) to implement the Proposed Action: the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update (Pentagon Master Plan) as the framework to guide future decisions regarding land use and infrastructure at the Pentagon site and Mark Center. The Pentagon Master Plan aims to provide an update to the existing conditions at the Pentagon and Mark Center and presents projects and revisions to land use categorizations that will address the specific needs to reduce the Pentagon’s environmental impacts and advance sustainability, security, and resilience. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review has been completed through preparation of a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate environmental impacts arising from implementation of the projects. WHS has concluded that no significant impacts to the human or natural environment will result from implementation of any projects, and recognized negative effects will be reduced by adherence to standard best management practices, applicable permit and consultation conditions, and standard operating procedures. This decision is further documented in the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) signed on March 20, 2024.

This notice announces the availability of the FONSI to implement the 2024 Pentagon Reservation Master Plan Update.

For further information and to request a copy of the Final EA or FONSI, please contact Brian King, Environmental and Sustainability Program Manager, WHS/Facilities Services Directorate/Standards and Compliance Division/Environmental and Sustainability Branch; (703-614-3658 or [email protected]). Please include “Pentagon Master Plan Final EA and FONSI” in the subject line.

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Arlington has made substantial strides in advancing housing equity and improving fair housing policy with the adoption of the Regional Fair Housing Plan in 2023. Come learn what’s next to fight housing discrimination, incorporate equity for marginalized populations in our housing policies and programs, and increase awareness of fair housing rights under state and federal law.

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Please RSVP in advance to ensure you receive your free lunch at the conference. Free and open to the public.

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