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The company behind several Arlington bars is launching a membership service that aims to position its portfolio as a casual social club, of sorts.

The D.C.-based hospitality group Tin Shop — which owns Pentagon City’s Highline RxR, Quincy Hall in Ballston, the soon-to-open Astro Beer Hall in Shirlington, and seven other D.C. area food-and-drink spots — is starting the “Tin Shop Social Club,” a $39.99/mo service providing drinks and food to members.

The aim is to give regulars (and would-be regulars) a deal that keeps them coming back.

At Highline and Astro Beer Hall, for example, members are able to get a daily free beer while at Quincy Hall there’s a buy one pizza slice, get one free deal.

There will also be “additional perks,” like monthly happy hours, members-only lines, and, eventually, early access to tickets at a new D.C. concert hall.

“We thought long and hard while our doors were closed during the COVID-19 pandemic about how to create a community to bring back a sense of togetherness and unite people,” Tin Shop spokesperson Mia Svirsky tells ARLnow. “Essentially, we created this membership to bring our customers together from our various spaces across D.C. and Virginia — aiming to create a real sense of community.”

The goal is to amass 10,000 members and to have weekly member events at each of the spaces, notes Svirsky.

Subscriptions have become somewhat of a restaurant industry trend. Locally, Arlington-based Lebanese Taverna launched a membership program late last year.

The popularity of such programs was part of Tin Shop’s thinking in launching their own.

“Clubs and memberships are what people want to be a part of. People want to meet like-minded individuals and join groups where they can meet up and have a good time,” says Svirsky.

She calls Tin Shop’s program “the DMV’s new not-so-stuffy, country club social club.”

Tin Shop has recently grown its presence in Arlington. While Highline opened in Crystal City back in 2015, Quincy Hall served its first slices this past spring. The new Astro Beer Hall in Shirlington remains slated to open sometime this fall in the former Capitol City Brewing space.

For Tin Shop, a successful membership program means creating a community of regulars that are grabbing a beer at Highline together one day and a slice at Quincy Hall the next.

“Success looks like a large membership base that can come together weekly at any of our venues and get to know each other,” says Svirsky. “What are bars if not a place to come together and have a good time? Meet new friends, maybe a new date? We feel as though this membership can help drive this point across — and ultimately build a network for individuals.”

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The banging metal covers on Wilson Blvd near the intersection of N. Randolph Street (staff photo)

A set of utility covers in the middle of Wilson Blvd that have bothered residents for nearly a decade may finally get a permanent fix.

For Alex Korolkoff, the banging noise from cars and buses driving over the covers is so loud — even on the 10th floor of his Ballston apartment building — he’s resorted to fans and white noise machines to drown it out.

Carlos Moran said the “constant heavy banging” coming from near the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Randolph Street, across from Ballston Quarter mall, “affect our quality of life” and prevent him from sleeping in his home.

Another nearby resident compares the situation to war.

​”It feels as if we are being held hostage, like POWs, in our very own apartments, bound by our leases and forced to live with the continual banging,” they wrote ARLnow. The noise happens day and night given that the metal covers are along one of Ballston’s most highly-trafficked corridors.

The banging is particularly loud when bearing the brunt of buses and trucks, with the noise bouncing off Ballston’s high-rises.

“There’s such disruption that we deal with 24/7, while trying to work from home, we can’t sit on our small balcony without it being even louder, and sleeping is difficult,” one nearby neighbor wrote ARLnow. “The noise is truly endless because traffic never ceases.”

And it’s been a problem for nearly a decade. ARLnow first reported on the loose plates in 2013, when they were deemed a “temporary measure” and would be fixed soon. The covers were also listed as one of Arlington’s most wanted road repairs.

Nine years later, though, they are still there, loose, and driving some neighbors nuts.

The plates are the responsibility of nearby apartment building Ava Ballston, both Arlington County and the building’s parent company AvalonBay — which happens to have its headquarters across the street — confirmed to ARLnow. The flat sheets of metal are protecting Dominion Power equipment that help provides electricity to the building.

Over the years, ARLnow has received periodic emails from Ballston residents complaining about them.

One 2019 note speculated that the surrounding apartment complexes might have a hard time renting out units because of the noise. Another from October 2021 called the plates “steel drums.”

Another annoyed neighbor wrote in November 2021 that they put together a petition with more than 110 signatures of neighbors asking the county to do something to “right the wrong for a longstanding steel plate noise issue… it is distressing for those residents who need to rest, sleep, and work from home.”

ARLnow’s initial 2013 story was also spurred by an email from a reader.

“The noise within the apartments is now incredibly loud,” wrote a resident of the building that was then-called Archstone Ballston Square in March 2013. “This is a project that residents and the county were told would go on a few weeks — it’s [now] nearly 18 months later.”

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After spending all of their lives in kennels, nearly 70 beagles will soon be up for adoption through Arlington-based organizations.

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington and Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation began welcoming a number of rescued beagles into their facilities last week.

The dogs are now going through medical exams and being given a chance to adjust to their new life before being adopted out, both organizations told ARLnow.

There’s no set timeline yet for when the beagles will be ready to go to their forever homes.

Last year, inspections at an Envigo breeding and research facility in Culpeper, Virginia where thousands of beagles were being housed turned up dozens of animal welfare violations.

Finally, in July of this year, a judge ordered the release of thousands of beagles from the facility, with authorities having two months to find the dogs new homes. The plight of the beagles became an international story.

Several local shelters have lended a paw to the rescue efforts. AWLA in Shirlington took in 10 beagles while LDCRF, the non-profit beneficiary of Arlington restaurants Lost Dog Cafe and Stray Cat Bar & Grill, greeted 56 beagles at its Falls Church care center. The nearby Fairfax County Animal Shelter also took in 16 beagles.

Now the focus shifts to helping the beagles adjust to a world they’ve never encountered before.

“Nearly every experience for the beagles rescued from the mass breeding facility is a first,” Heidi Gioseffi from Lost Dog told ARLnow. “First sniffs of fresh air, first sunlight on their faces, first splash through clean water in a kiddie pool, first cuddles from caring humans, first chew toys, first ambling run outdoors, first collar with a name tag, first NAME to replace a code tattooed for life on the underside of their ear, first attempt to climb steps into a house. For volunteers witnessing their firsts is a joy one cannot fully describe. It is truly uplifting.”

While it can be a joy to watch these dogs experience all these new things, it also can be frightening for the animals. Chelsea Jones, AWLA’s spokesperson, says things like toys, dog parks, and, even, floors might be too much for them to handle right now.

“What might be super fun to a regular dog, might be kind of scary to these dogs that have never experienced it before,” Jones said. “So, we are just going really slow and kind of letting them experience the world at their own pace.”

Most of the dogs with AWLA are now in foster homes so caretakers can learn how they adapt and, so far, Jones said they are all doing “surprisingly well” with no major behavior challenges to report beyond not being house trained.

“They are beagles, though,” she laughed. “They do like to bark and are pretty chatty.”

That’s why AWLA named all of its beagles after percussion instruments, she said.

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(Updated, 4:10 p.m.) It hasn’t been a perfect ten months, but Mir is happy to be alive.

It was nearly a year ago when he, his wife, and his young son were forced to leave their native Afghanistan due to the Taliban’s occupation and made their way to Northern Virginia.

As he told ARLnow back in January, Mir believed that if he had stayed in Afghanistan he would have been killed. We are withholding his last name at his request because of safety and privacy.

Once here, though, the members of Arlington Neighbors Welcoming Afghans (ANWA) Facebook group helped turn his new barren Alexandria apartment into a home.

ANWA was a grassroots effort started late last year by military veteran Ryan Elizabeth Alvis to assist newly arriving Afghan families adjust to Arlington and Alexandria.

Since October 2021, ANWA has assisted more than 100 families and raised over $30,000 to buy household items, and groceries, Alvis tells ARLnow. In that time, about 85 people have become “team leads,” as in they are directly in charge of helping the families.

The Facebook group now has more than 1,800 active members, many regularly chipping in to buy such things from school supplies to kitchen pressure cookers.

In the seven months since we last talked, Mir says he and his family are adjusting. It hasn’t been easy, but he’s forever grateful to the group, Alvis, and his “team leads” — Karen Penn and Christy McIntyre.

“I’m creating a good career in this country,” he says. “I’m very happy I’m here and that I’m safe.”

Probably the most difficult aspect has been job hunting, largely due to the fact that the degrees and certifications he earned in the information technology industry in Afghanistan do not apply here.

Mir has worked, though, first at the Alexandria City Schools as a substitute teacher and, now, as an assistant general manager at a hotel in Chantilly.

Penn, who still works with Mir plus several other families, says this is the case for many other Afghan refugees. Looking for a job in their trained industry is the biggest challenge since the schooling and training they did back home often isn’t accepted by employers in the United States.

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The W&OD Trail in Green Valley on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is looking to expand the W&OD Trail in Arlington, potentially by 2027.

The organization, also known as NOVA Parks, released its five-year strategic plan on Tuesday. The plan includes proposed upgrades to Arlington’s section of the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, including the addition of a dual-use trail.

Sometimes called “the skinniest park in Virginia,” the old railroad-turned-trail actually starts in Arlington, with mile marker zero in Green Valley near the intersection of S. Four Mile Run Drive and Shirlington Road. It extends about five miles running northwest through the county to Benjamin Banneker Park, continuing into Falls Church, and beyond.

About 2 to 3 million people use the trail each year.

NOVA Parks says it is aiming to “design and expand the capacity of the W&OD Trail in congested urban areas” including the Arlington section of the trail. That could mean a widening of the trail.

The design work for this expansion is expected to be completed within the next two years, per the plan. The work will be done in collaboration with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

Plans will also be developed for sections of dual trail along the W&OD in Arlington, like what was completed in Falls Church last fall. Dual trails allow for separate pathways for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The idea was first brought up at the Falls Church ribbon-cutting in October 2021 and was embraced by many who bike, run and walk on the trail, which can get crowded during peak usage times.

There was some opposition to expanding the trail, however, including from current County Board candidate Audrey Clement, who decried a “massive uprooting of vegetation” and runoff from additional paved surfaces.

The expanded W&OD Trail, with separate cycling and walking paths, in Falls Church (courtesy of NOVA Parks)

NOVA Parks Executive Director Paul Gilbert told ARLnow in an email that there’s grant money available to design something in Arlington that is similar to what’s now in Falls Church.

“The goal would be to do like we did in Falls Church and, where possible separate cyclists from walkers with parallel paths,” Gilbert said. “There may be areas where we just have room to make the single existing trail a little wider and other areas where users can have separate paths.”

In terms of when this might be built, that’s not clear with design work still needing to be completed. The hope is to bring those designs back to the community for feedback by 2024 and begin construction “when permits are approved.”

Overall, NOVA Parks is pledging to spend more than $6 million on creating and improving trails across the region over the next 5 years.

As the only regional park authority in Virginia, NOVA Parks encompasses 34 parks and manages 12,335 acres of land in six Northern Virginia jurisdictions, including Alexandria, the City of Fairfax, Falls Church, Fairfax County, Loudoun, and Arlington.

The strategic plan also promises a number of improvements, big-ticket projects, and expansion of Northern Virginia parkland over the next half-decade.

NOVA Parks is committing to planting 50,000 more trees, restoring native plantings to at least ten new areas, reducing parks’ carbon footprint by 2%, and expanding solar energy to three additional parks, all by 2027. The plan is also to start introducing electrical vehicles and mowers into its fleet by 2024.

Additionally, there are several big money items on the agenda. NOVA Parks is looking to acquire at least five new properties by 2027, as well as build a W&OD Trail Visitors Center.

The center is likely to be built in Loudoun County, Gilbert told ARLnow, near where a trail maintenance facility is currently located.

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Diament Jewelry in Shirlington (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

A new jewelry and gift boutique has moved into the former home of The Cookery in Shirlington.

Diament Jewelry opened in mid-June, per a store employee. The shop first announced its move to Shirlington back in May on social media.

This is the jewelry shop’s second location, with its flagship shop at the Wharf in D.C.

Diament sells gifts and jewelry designed by its owner, Libby Diament.

“​​Libby travels around the country hunting for vintage parts and jewelry that can be brought back to life. It’s sort of like finding treasure!,” reads the website. “Diament Jewelry has been worn by celebrities including: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Fanning, Cher Lloyd, Rachel Bilson, Giada de Laurentiis, Meredith Vieira, Ann Veal, Becca Tobin, and Heather Morris.”

It also sells an assortment of t-shirts, baby gifts, greeting cards, and candles, mostly purchased from women-owned and indie brands, notes the store’s website.

The new Shirlington location is unique in that it’s specifically designed to “mimic a swimming pool,” with blue flooring and walls that feature blue on the bottom and white on the top.

Diament Jewelry in Shirlington (image via Instagram)

Located at 4017B Campbell Avenue, Diament is in the space that Cookery previously occupied until the kitchen store decided to not renew its lease back in February.

Diament is also next to two other coming soon Shirlington businesses: Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, which is opening this month, and Astro Beer Hall, which is looking to start serving later this year.

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Skateboarder Jaxon Vega at Powhatan Springs Skate Park in Dominion Hills (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

As seven-year-old Jaxon Vega positions his skateboard at the top of the concrete bowl at Powhatan Springs Skate Park, he takes a deep breath. Vega steadies the back of the board on the bowl’s lip, places his left foot on it and jumps. Boy and board drop 12 feet below, a distance that’s about three times his height.

Vega smoothly completes the trick. Taking a quick break after a run, he’s asked how he feels when skating.

“I feel cool,” he says, flashing a toothy grin. “I’m having fun.”

Vega is Arlington’s kid skateboarding phenom. He’s out there nearly every day at the skate park along Wilson Blvd near the Dominion Hills neighborhood, riding concrete. He can be seen doing kickflips, jumps, drops, and even riding two boards at once. He’s also almost always the youngest one at the skate park.

Jaxon Vega at Powhatan Springs Skate Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

While barely out of first grade, Vega has garnered the attention of the skateboarding community. This includes the legend himself, Tony Hawk, who’s liked one of Vega’s skating videos on Instagram. (Vega’s account is run by his parents, Walter Vega and Karla Almanza.)

All of this has come from hours of practice, with Jaxson asking his parents to go to the skatepark in the summer heat and freezing cold.

“It’s like church,” Jaxon’s dad Walter laughs, watching his son skate on a hot July day. “We are here faithfully.”

Jaxon started skating about two years ago, picking up a pandemic hobby like a lot of other people. He was only five when he first came to the park and saw the bigger kids skating. He begged his parents for a board. So, they got him a $15 skateboard from Walmart. They have since graduated to a $300 board, more befitting of the kid’s skills, his parents say.

They mostly come to this Arlington skatepark, renovated in 2019, where Jaxon skates three or four hours a day, just a 10 minute drive away from the family home. He doesn’t want lessons. He just wants to skate.

“We thought maybe he’d want lessons, but he just kinda freestyles his own way of learning,” his mom Karla Almanza says. “It’s crazy and kind of insane to see your kid pick up all of this on his own.”

Walter said he used to skate a little when he was younger, but not seriously. Both parents are not totally sure how or where Jaxon’s love of skating comes from, but they are thrilled to support this burgeoning hobby.

The falls, though, still make them nervous.

“This isn’t like any other sport. When you fall, you hit concrete, not dirt,” Walter says. “[I worry] all the time. But I don’t let him hear that.”

Skateboarder Jaxon Vega talking to his dad Walter at Powhatan Springs Skate Park in Dominion Hills (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Sitting down with Jaxon, it’s clear that like any other great athlete, he’s not content. When asked what his favorite trick to do is, he says a “laser flip” — a trick where both the skater and board flip. It’s considered one of the hardest tricks ever invented. The kicker, of course, is that Vega hasn’t quite nailed it yet himself.

“I can’t do it, but it’s my favorite trick,” Jaxon says.

It was last June when Jaxon, then barely six years old, completed an eight foot drop that garnered a Tony Hawk like on Instagram. The video features Jaxon completing the drop while everyone at the skate park cheers him on.

An Instagram post about Tony Hawk liking one of Jaxon Vega’s skating videos (image via Instagram)

The funny thing is that before winning the skating icon’s social media approval, Jaxon — like most six-year-olds — didn’t know who Hawk was. But his parents sure did. Now, they often catch Jaxon on his tablet watching old Tony Hawk videos.

There’s another reason why Jaxon has taken a particular liking to Hawk, which almost seems preordained by the skating gods.

“We have the same birthdays,” Jaxon says, again flashing a toothy grin.

Walter, Karla, and Jaxon are still figuring out what’s next. Jaxon has expressed some desire to be in tournaments and maybe even go to a skating camp in Pennsylvania, so they are considering both. But for right now, Jaxon’s just happy to skate, learn on his own, and be a kid.

After a hard fall while skating, Jaxon wandered back over to the shade. Asked about it, he shrugged.

“It hurts,” he says. “But I got back up and did it again.”

Skateboarder Jaxon Vega at Powhatan Springs Skate Park in Dominion Hills (staff photo by Jay Westcott)
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Deka Lash in Clarendon (photo courtesy of Deka Lash)

Clarendon’s newest lash and brow studio is hoping to open next month.

A mid-September opening is likely for Deka Lash at 1041 N. Highland Street, a company spokesperson told ARLnow. It’s moving into a space that was formerly home to Cherry Blow Dry Bar, which closed almost exactly a year ago.

Deka Lash ownership had initially hoped to start plucking in July but permitting moved slower than expected.

The studio is set to provide a number of eye-raising services including lash lifts, lash fanning, lash extensions, eyebrow sculpting, lash fanning, eyebrow threading, and eyebrow lamination.

The latter is a “hugely popular service these days since Hollywood stars started promoting it,” a company rep said back in May.

This will be the fifth Deka Lash location in Northern Virginia, including one in Fairfax’s Mosaic District. The owners chose Clarendon as the site for their next studio because of its vibrancy.

“​​The owners chose Clarendon because, as Arlington residents, they know what a vibrant, fun, and active part of NOVA it is,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “You get the city experience without having to drive into DC. Clarendon has everything; bars, shops, restaurants, gyms, and now a studio of the largest international lash franchise in the world.”

There are more than 120 Deka Lash locations across the United States and Canada. A number of them are franchises, including the Clarendon studio.

This is owned by retired Army officer Charles Cox and his wife, as well as former Arlington school teacher Christina Cox. They also own the Mosaic District location which “is consistently one of the top performing studios in the entire franchise,” per the spokesperson.

“As they approached retirement from their traditional jobs, they wanted to try something completely different. Realizing they were behind on the massage, wax, and nail trend, they were excited to be among the original group of franchisees to join Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top New and Trendiest franchises in beauty,” wrote the spokesperson.

A grand opening celebration with discounted services is being planned and will be announced at a later date.

In recent months, Clarendon has had several high-profile business openings (and reopenings). Clarendon Ballroom announced its return last month; B Live moved into Whitlow’s old haunts (which is coming back, but in D.C.); a gun store opened in a former cafe space; and a medical weed dispensary will be opening in the neighborhood soon.

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A drone hovering near the Pentagon (courtesy of Dave Statter)

The beacon of light in the Arlington sky early Sunday morning wasn’t a UFO, but an authorized Pentagon drone flight.

At about 2:41 a.m. this past Sunday (Aug. 7) morning, some people spotted a dot of light hovering above the general vicinity of Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon.

As former-news-reporter-turned-safety-advocate Dave Statter pointed out on social media, the skies above this section of south Arlington are a general no-fly zone for anything other than military aircraft and commercial flights heading to or from National Airport. He, then, theorized that this was an “authorized [drone] flight (or someone really looking for trouble).”

Turns out, he was right about it being an authorized flight.

“I can confirm the drone activity observed in the early morning hours on Aug. 7 and 8 was part of a Pentagon Force Protection Agency (PFPA) security exercise and was approved drone activity,” a Department of Defense spokesperson told ARLnow in an email.

“Due to operations security, we cannot discuss the specifics of the activity,” the spokesperson said, in response to requests for more details about the exercise.

Drone flights, both authorized and not, do happen on occasion here despite the restrictions.

Arlington County used drones to count the deer population, with permission from federal agencies. Just last month, meanwhile, an unauthorized drone flight prompted a ground stop and flight delays at Reagan National Airport.

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Colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox virus particles (photo via NIAID)

Arlington is now setting up appointment-only clinics to vaccinate against monkeypox as cases continue to rise across the region.

The Virginia Department of Health has expanded access to the monkeypox vaccine to “those groups at increased risk for exposure,” per Arlington health department spokesperson Sondra Dietz, allowing the county to run the clinics.

The Arlington County Public Health Division is now running clinics 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, by appointment only, Dietz told ARLnow. As of this morning, 511 total doses of monkeypox vaccine have been administered by the county health department, another spokesperson said.

The county is asking anyone is who interested and is eligible to receive the vaccine to fill out the vaccine interest form. The form is open to all Virginia residents and not just Arlingtonians; so far, there is no word on how many people have filled out the form.

Just over two weeks ago, ARLnow reported that the county was not yet planning any clinics due to VDH’s “limited” supply of monkeypox vaccine JYNNEOS. It appears that since that time VDH has started to provide more vaccine supply to individual localities. This has allowed Arlington to proceed with vaccinating those in high-risk groups, not solely those “contacts of known cases.”

“As ACPHD receives new vaccine shipments, we will issue new appointment invitations,” writes Dietz.

To be eligible to get the vaccine in Virginia, an individual must be a Virginia resident and 18 years or older. Per the county and VDH, the criteria to receive the vaccine also include:

Within the last 14 days are:

  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners; OR
  • Transgender women and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men; OR
  • Sex workers (of any sex); OR
  • Staff (of any sex) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs); OR
  • Persons (of any gender or sexual orientation) who attend sex-on-premises venues (e.g., bathhouses, sex clubs)

NOTE: If you had monkeypox, then you likely have some protection against another infection and are currently not eligible to be vaccinated.

The county also noted that eligibility “may change as the outbreak evolves and based on vaccine supply. ”

This comes as the federal government declared monkeypox a “public health emergency” late last week and cases continue to rise across the region.

As of today, VDH is reporting that there are 32 known and confirmed cases of monkeypox in Arlington. That encompasses just under a quarter of all the cases in Virginia. A majority of people who have monkeypox are between 20 and 39 years old and are white or Black, per VDH data.

Of the 145 people with monkeypox in Virginia, all but one are reported to be male.

Number of monkeypox cases in Arlington and Virginia as of Aug. 8 (image via VDH)

Monkeypox is spread primarily through close or intimate skin-to-skin contact. Anyone can get and spread the illness, though there are higher risk groups.

Symptoms usually start appearing a week or two after exposure and can include blister-like rash, fever, body aches, and exhaustion. The symptoms can last 5 to 21 days.

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A Bolivian cocktail lounge is moving into the basement of a Clarendon restaurant for a five-day pop-up starting Sunday.

Casa Kantuta will be serving drinks with names like the Angry Llama, Charca Punch, and Inca Child on the bottom level of Balkan restaurant Ambar starting on Sunday (Aug. 7).

The basement of the restaurant at 2901 Wilson Blvd was formerly home to Ambar’s cocktail lounge “Baba.” The pop-up bar will be open for four other days next week: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Casa Kantuta comes from siblings Carla and Juan Sanchez. They debuted their cocktail lounge inspired by their upbringing in the Bolivian capital city of La Paz last year in D.C. but have decided to bring it to Arlington this time around.

“There is a sizable Bolivian population in Northern [Virginia], and we know that many people who wanted to check us out did not get an opportunity to join us at our last pop-up,” co-owner Carla Sanchez tells ARLnow. “Arlington was strategically chosen because it is metro accessible and a close drive from our original location in ADMO, allowing both D.C. and [Virginia] patrons to join us, should they so choose.”

Baba, which never reopened after closing due to the pandemic, is a good temporary home for the pop-up cocktail lounge because the “aesthetic was similar to our own,” Sanchez said.

“‘Baba’ means “grandma” in Serbian which made me feel like this space would be perfect for Casa Kantuta,” said a press release. “The decor and design of their bottom level very much matched ours as a lot of our pop-up aesthetic is inspired by our own ‘abuela’ aka ‘grandma.”

The lounge is keeping it simple and offering a menu of only five cocktails, chilled singani shots, and Bolivian wine. That includes its signature cocktail Angry Llama, which has tequila, celery, pineapple, the Bolivian national spirit Singani and the traditional spicy sauce Llajua.

“Our focus is and has always been on providing unique cocktails that tell a story and celebrate our rich culture in an environment that makes you feel transported to another place,” Sanchez said.

While Casa Kantuta looks for a permanent home, the owners are thankful that Ambar Clarendon is allowing them to use the restaurant’s basement for a few days around Bolivian Independence Day.

“When the opportunity at Ambar presented itself, the space was already booked for different dates during the month, but thankfully, the dates closest to seis de Agosto were free,” Sanchez said. “The dates lined up in such a way that allowed us to put together this five-day pop-up that is really intended to celebrate Bolivian culture.”

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