Press Club

A bank could be coming to the former The G.O.A.T. space across the street from the Clarendon Metro station, a reliable source has told ARLnow.

A year ago, the sports bar closed after about three years in operation at 3028 Wilson Blvd. Previously, it was the chili-serving Hard Times Cafe before that closed in 2016.

But earlier this month, an ARLnow reader tipped us off that construction was going on at the space. An issued Arlington County permit confirms that interior renovations are ongoing, including removing the once-prominent staircase at the front connecting the first and second floors.

There were thoughts the space was being renovated for a new venture by The G.O.A.T. co-owners local serial entrepreneur Scott Parker and chef Mike Cordero, or, even, a hotly anticipated rebirth of Whitlow’s on Wilson. Neither appear to be the case.

Both Parker and Cordero confirmed they are no longer tenants and not involved in the revamping of the space. Parker also owns nearby Don Tito, Bearded Goat Barber, the soon-to-open Nighthawk Pizza, and a number of other local businesses. Cordero owns Taco Rock, including the location in Rosslyn.

Former Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams also said the beloved now-shuttered watering hole wasn’t making a comeback quite yet.

“I’m still looking for the right place,” he wrote to ARLnow. “Hopefully soon.”

The Whitlow’s former space seems set to become two separate entities, a Five Guys and restaurant, as well as possibly live entertainment concept “B Live” from Michael Bramson.

At the moment, it’s unclear the exact bank that would occupy the prime location on Wilson Blvd or when it could open.

The source said it’s likely that the bank would only occupy the first floor, leaving the second floor potentially available for a local venture.

ARLnow reached out to the Rappaport Company, which is the leasing agent for the Underwood Building (named after the former owners), for confirmation and more details, but a company representative declined to provide comment.

0 Comments

If you were looking for a place to procure a hearty sandwich, a lovely bouquet and a cold beer with the same swipe of a credit card, the wait is almost over.

Poppyseed Rye, a new restaurant and flower shop concept, is opening this week in the former Buzz Bakeshop space at 818 N. Quincy Street in Ballston. It will officially open to the public on Friday (Nov. 19), though a couple of private “soft opening” events are likely earlier in the week.

The shop will specialize in fresh flowers and craft sandwiches, while also featuring home goods, toasts, cold press juice, charcuterie, beer, wine, and champagne. That’s according to co-owner Scott Parker, who’s also a partner in Don Tito and a trio of other Ballston businesses: Bearded Goat BarberBASH Boxing, Bronson Bierhall.

Parker is opening Poppyseed Rye with partners Alex Buc, who formerly ran Jetties sandwich shops in D.C., and Akeda Maerdan, who owns Farida Floral in Fairfax. The opening can be seen as a vote of confidence in Ballston as a place that can support the kind of businesses that one might more commonly see in the city.

(Part of the neighborhood is, in fact, more population-dense than anywhere in the District.)

“Ballston is on fire,” Parker told ARLnow over the weekend. “We’re so excited to open in this buzzing neighborhood, and bring the best sandwiches and fresh flowers you can find in the area.”

Poppyseed Rye will we open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, starting Friday.

0 Comments

Bearded Goat Barber is opening its third location next week in Shirlington.

The 1,0888 square-foot full service barber shop turns on its shears Monday, November 1 in the former Hair Cuttery space at 4150 Campbell Avenue, next to I-CE-NY and Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub.

Bearded Goat Barber Shop is co-owned by serial entrepreneur Scott Parker and barbers Eric Renfro and Jon Dodson. Its first location in Ballston opened in 2019 and the second opened last year in D.C.’s Navy Yard. The expansion to Shirlington was first announced in February

With the region emerging from the pandemic, Parker believes that now is the time to grow.

“The Bearded Goat brand is stronger than ever,” Parker wrote to ARLnow via email. “There is currently a 4-5 week wait to get a cut at our first two locations. Since restrictions were loosened, we are busier than ever. It is the perfect time to expand, and we are slowly starting to look for our fourth location.”

As for where that fourth location of Bearded Goat could be, no further details were provided.

The barber shop offers haircuts, shape-ups, beard sculpting, grey blending, and straight razor hot towel shaves. It’s also “committed to following all CDC guidelines,” which includes sanitizing workspaces, tools, chairs, capes, and the waiting area between all visits.

Scott Parker is probably more well-known for his bars and restaurants. Those include Don Tito in Clarendon, Barley Mac in Rosslyn, Bronson Bierhall in Ballston, and, soon, Poppyseed Rye in Ballston and Nighthawk Pizza in Pentagon City.

That pizza spot with “a 90s vibe and a beer hall-like atmosphere” was initially supposed to open this fall, but it’s been pushed back to “early 2022,” according to a spokesperson.

Parker is also co-founder of BASH Boxing.

Renfro and Dodson were barbers at Hendricks Barbershop in Clarendon before partnering with Parker on Bearded Goat.

“Jon and Eric decided to start their own shop, and asked me to be a part of it,” Parker told ARLnow back in 2018. “They’re super talented guys with almost 20 years of combined experience in barbering. For them it was a chance to finally realize their dream, and, for me, a great opportunity to work with two very passionate, accomplished people.”

0 Comments

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups, founders, and other local technology news. Monday Properties is proudly featuring 1515 Wilson Blvd in Rosslyn. 

An Arlington couple is looking to change the dating game in the D.C. area with a new service, Quench, set to launch in July.

Co-founder Leslie Bozoian said Quench — which aims to match people through curated group meetups — responds to flaws she and her husband Eric identified in popular dating apps.

“Many of our friends who used dating apps would complain about going on a first date and arguing about things like politics, not knowing their date wasn’t aligned with them. Our desire is to put people in a room with potential partners who do align with their background and values,” she said.

Most of Quench’s events will take place in Arlington, and people across the D.C. area are welcome to participate. The service plans to host happy hour events at Clarendon watering holes O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub, Don Tito, Bar Bao and The Pinemoor.

The Bozoians have hosted several events connecting members of the community like this tubing event (courtesy of Leslie Bozoian)

The couple developed the idea while running a nonprofit called Free Association, which helped people make friends and build communities in the D.C. area. They soon noticed relationships were starting to form during these meetups.

Bozoian says several couples who met through Free Association are now married, inspiring them to try their hand at local matchmaking.

“Eric and I felt like we had found our calling: to offer people a unique and engaging way to meet and find their match,” she said.

The Bozoians, with the help of a psychologist, developed a simple four-step process to setting up singles. It starts with a ten-minute questionnaire about the person and what they are looking for in a partner.

“We ask members some background questions such as religious and political affiliation, education level as well as a handful of personality questions,” she said.

People will then be categorized into groups of 20 based on their answers and receive an Eventbrite invitation for a meetup. These gatherings have a host — who Bozoian said will keep the conversations flowing — and cost $20, not including food or drinks. After the hangout, participants can share their experiences in a survey.

For $1 a month, people can keep receiving invitations to social events.

Bozoian said this summer is the perfect time to start a service like this and help people find romantic connections.

“As Arlington heals from a year of isolation, we hope to offer single people a way to connect again, not through apps or screens but face-to-face social interaction, community and fun,” she said.

0 Comments

Buzz Bakeshop has closed in Ballston and a new cafe from some familiar local names will be replacing it.

Poppyseed Rye, which describes itself as “a craft sandwich and fresh flower café,” plans to open this fall at 818 N. Quincy Street, a block from Ballston Quarter mall.

“We’ll make tasty sandwiches, salads, toasts, and charcuterie… and serve beer, wine, seltzer, and champagne,” said Scott Parker, a partner in the shop who also co-owns a variety of Ballston businesses, including Bearded Goat Barber, BASH Boxing, and Bronson Bierhall, as well as Don Tito in Clarendon.

Also helming the shop is Alex Buc, who formerly ran Jetties sandwich shops in D.C., and Akeda Maerdan, who owns Farida Floral in Fairfax.

“At our shop Akeda will sell bouquets, vases, candles, and other household goods,” Parker said.

The cafe will be open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily and will focus on lunch and dinner. The sandwich-focused menu will be offered all day. A weekend brunch is possible down the road, according to Parker, who notes that there will be a small patio area outside.

The space was formerly occupied by Buzz Bakery, which opened in 2011 and offered coffee, baked goods and other treats. Now known as Buzz Bakeshop, the cafe has a location on Slaters Lane in Alexandria that remains open. The Ballston location is listed on the Buzz website as “temporarily closed.”

The ownership group behind Poppyseed Rye includes Parker, Lee Smith, Jon Rennich, and Gary Koh, who co-owns Bronson Bierhall with Parker. The group is also working with chef Johnny Spero and Aslin Beer Company on the forthcoming Pentagon City brewpub Nighthawk Pizza.

More collaborations with notable chefs, artisans and producers may be on the way from the group, Parker hinted. But for now, he’s focused on getting the new venture off the ground.

“As Ballston continues to grow and become more vibrant, we’re excited to bring our unique new sandwich and flower shop to Wilson Boulevard,” said Parker.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Rainy, Then Windy TodayUpdated at 8 a.m. — From the National Weather Service: “Rain will end later this morning into this afternoon from northwest to southeast. However, gusty winds will develop and river flooding is expected along portions of the Potomac River and nearby tributaries.” [Twitter]

Freddie’s Expanding to Delaware Shore — “Freddie’s Beach Bar, the gay bar that has been operating in the Crystal City section of Arlington, Va., since 2001, is planning to open a new version of itself in Rehoboth Beach in time for Memorial Day weekend, according to owner Freddie Lutz. Lutz said that similar to the Freddie’s in Arlington, the Rehoboth version will operate as a restaurant and bar with entertainment that is expected to include karaoke, drag bingo, and possibly drag shows.” [Washington Blade]

AG Candidate Wants to Intervene in Local Cases — “A candidate for state attorney general says that, if elected, he’ll press for the authority to step in when local prosecutors will not act on specific cases. ‘George Soros-backed commonwealth’s attorneys are not doing their jobs,’ Del. Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach) said in remarks to the Arlington County Republican Committee.” [InsideNova]

Local Restaurants Make New Washingtonian List — A half dozen Arlington restaurants are among a new list of “61 Neighborhood Restaurants That Make the DC Area a Better Place to Eat — and Live.” Among them: The Green Pig, Lebanese Taverna, Los Tios Grill, Medium Rare, Nam-Viet, and Pupatella. [Washingtonian]

Church Providing Food to Those in Need — “The Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington hosted its first Mobile Market Feb. 25 in conjunction with the Capital Area Food Bank to serve those dealing with food insecurity. This drive-thru food distribution provided nonperishables as well as fresh produce including fruits and vegetables. The monthly market originally was scheduled to begin Feb. 18 but was delayed due to inclement weather.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Bouncers Recognized for Spotting Fake IDs — “Tonight the Arlington Restaurant Initiative, Washington Regional Alcohol Program and Responsibility.org recognized staff from Don Tito and Whitlow’s on Wilson for their excellence in detecting false identifications and preventing underage drinking. We commend the recipients for their dedication to safe service and responsible alcohol consumption.” [Facebook]

Crystal City Company Planning IPO — “Leonardo SpA is moving forward with an initial public offering for its Arlington-based defense electronic systems subsidiary. The Italian defense and space contractor filed its plans Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The unit will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker ‘DRS.'” [Washington Business Journal]

0 Comments

(Update at 11:50 a.m.) A new Bearded Goat Barber shop is opening in Shirlington this fall.

The full-service barber shop — from local entrepreneurs Eric Renfro, Jon Dodson, and Scott Parker — is opening its third location, at the Village at Shirlington. It will be located 4150 Campbell Ave, next to Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub and across the street from Damn Good Burger Co.

It’s opening in the former Hair Cuttery space, which appeared to have closed during the summer. The ice cream shop next door I-CE-NY, which opened in October 2018 ,was listed for sale late last year.

“The Village at Shirlington is the ideal location for Bearded Goat Barber to open its third location,” writes co-founder Scott Parker in a press release. “Having opened our first shop in Ballston in 2019, and our second location in Navy Yard in Washington, DC this year, we are focused on neighborhoods that are future-focused, while retaining a certain charm.”

The barber shop will, of course, adhere to strict CDC guidelines, according to the release.

This includes santaizing workspaces, tools, chairs, capes, and waiting areas in between all visits. Masks are also required to be worn at all times by both patrons and employees, through the entire grooming experience.

The first Bearded Goat Barber location opened in Ballston about two years ago in 2019. It temporarily shut down last March due to the pandemic and re-opened in May with new safety and health guidelines in place.

The second location recently opened in Navy Yard in Southeast D.C.

The upscale barber shop is a partnership between two barbers, Renfro and Dodson, who were previously working at Clarendon’s Hendrick Barbershop, and serial local entrepreneur Parker.

Scott Parker is perhaps most well-known as a co-owner of popular bars and restaurants, including Don Tito in Clarendon, Bronson Bierhall in Ballston, and soon-to-be-open Nighthawk Pizza in Pentagon City.

He’s also co-owner of Bash Boxing, which also has two locations in Arlington. Another of his ventures, Clarendon’s The G.O.A.T., closed earlier this year.

The 1,088 square-foot barber shop joins Stellina Pizzeria and Market among Shirlington’s newest businesses.

Photo courtesy of Bearded Goat Barber 

0 Comments

The pandemic has dealt a blow to Arlington’s economy, but the county may be well-positioned for a rebound rather quickly.

In a virtual panel discussion hosted by the Arlington Committee of 100 — the second of a two part series — local experts said that unlike past downturns that resulted in a lengthy recovery, this one is driven not by structural economic factors but by a virus.

As people are vaccinated and the pandemic recedes — whenever that may happen — expect a strong recovery.

“The economy right now is reacting to the health crisis and [that] is driving the recession,” said Jeanette Chapman, economist and director of the Stephen Fuller Institute at George Mason University. “This is not a normal recession.”

Due to the pandemic, consumer spending dropped significantly. Compared to this time last year, credit and debit card spending is down nearly a quarter in Arlington (less than D.C. comparably, which is down nearly 30%).

However, that is an improvement from early spring when spending overall was down about 50%.

As expected, the drop in spending was mostly concentrated in the transportation, apparel, hotel, and food service sectors. Grocery and food spending rose in 2020.

While job losses continues to be a concern, the Northern Virginia region is above the national average. Chapman says this is due to “mostly being a knowledge services economy and can send a bulk of workers home [to telework].” A big chunk of the job losses, as expected, are in the leisure and hospitality sector, accounting for nearly a third from November 2019 to November 2020.

“Leisure and hospitality jobs tend to have lower wage scales,” says Chapman. “Those jobs are hardest hit.”

In general, says Chapman, the losses regionally are skewed toward lower wage jobs. However, because this recession is due to a health crisis, Chapman says we can expect a near full recovery by 2022 due to the widespread availability of a vaccine.

Arlington’s small businesses, particularly those dependent on in-person interaction, are also being significantly impacted.

Telly Tucker, director of Arlington Economic Development, said that any business with fewer than 50 employees is defined as a “small business.” This encompasses about 90%, or 6,000, of the county’s businesses.

Over the last ten months, the county and the Commonwealth have implemented a variety of programs and grants. And it does seem to be helping, said Tucker.

Arlington’s small business emergency grant provided nearly 400 businesses with a combined $2.7 million. More than half of those businesses were woman and/or minority-owned.

As for bigger businesses, Tucker also spoke about how office building vacancy rates actually were decreasing going into 2020 from a high of over 20% in 2015.

While the vacancy rate has since risen and now sits at 16.3%, that remains below the office vacancy rates of the mid-2010s. Commercial real estate like office buildings are a major source of tax revenue for the county, Tucker noted.

What’s more, a number of large, multinational companies have made a home in Arlington over the last five years. This includes Microsoft, which made the announcement just last week that it would have a significant presence in Rosslyn.

The presence of Amazon and other major companies is likely to spur more job growth in Arlington, as is an expected rise in federal spending under the Biden administration.

The Arlington housing market, meanwhile, is doing well. Homes are typically selling for between 3% to 5% over listing price, noted Tucker, which is a positive sign.

Read More

0 Comments

The G.O.A.T, a sports bar and lounge at 3028 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon, in the former Hard Times space, has closed permanently.

The bar remained closed for months during the pandemic, but its owners recently decided to make what was initially a temporary closure permanent. Retail leasing signs are now up in the windows, equipment was removed from the space, and the bar’s former website is defunct.

“We are moving on to other projects,” G.O.A.T partner Scott Parker confirmed to ARLnow this morning. “[Coronavirus] made it too difficult to sustain.”

G.O.A.T had the backing of Parker and Mike Cordero, the local nightlife titans behind Don Tito, Bronson Bierhall, and Barley Mac. But with a 350-person capacity, plus three full bars and tables across two levels, it proved difficult to fill on a regular basis, even with a location across from the Clarendon Metro station.

The bar opened to fanfare in the fall of 2017. It closed last year amid pandemic lockdowns and never reopened. By early fall, the TVs that adorned the walls, along with other furnishings, had been removed.

Parker, who’s working to open a new pizza and hangout spot at Pentagon Row called Nighthawk Pizza, said no other closures of existing bars are planned, though the pandemic has dealt the formerly high-flying venues a big blow.

“Everything else is staying open,” he said. “We’re doing the best we can like everyone else.”

G.O.A.T is the 24th restaurant to close in Arlington since the start of the pandemic, according to ARLnow’s count.

0 Comments

After some delays, Clarendon Popup could be hosting live entertainment and dancing in the former Clarendon Ballroom space by the end of December.

The new opening day would be almost exactly one year after the event and nightlife spot at 3185 Wilson Blvd closed after New Year’s Eve in 2019. Owners anticipated the first popup — with a “Winter Wonderland” theme — would open around this time in December, but the holidays have set them back.

“We are aiming to open by the end of the month pending no further delays,” owner Mike Bramson said in an email, adding that the popup has been set back by “typical internal delays, such as equipment arriving on time given the holidays.”

The wonderland theme was originally set to run from mid-December through New Years, with plans to extend it through the winter season “if it was a success,” Bramson said.

“Given the late start it makes sense to continue the theme and give everyone a chance to see all the decorations and experience the space,” he said. “Fortunately, our first popup, Winter Wonderland, is a theme that can be enjoyed throughout the winter.”

Bramson, one of the owners of The Lot, the popular outdoor beer garden a few blocks from the Ballroom, first confirmed the rotating, multilevel popup bar and event venue was coming in October.

On Saturday, the County Board approved Clarendon Popup’s request for a live entertainment and dancing permit. The green light came after county staff voiced their support, albeit with a few conditions.

The County is requiring the owners must abide by all local, state and federal regulations related to COVID-19 and pushing the venue to change the hours of operation, based on input from the Lyon Village and Lyon Park civic associations.

“With adherence to the proposed conditions, staff does not believe that the proposed use permit will cause any undue adverse impacts to the public health, safety or welfare, nor be in conflict with the County’s master plans,” staff said in the report.

Bramson said the popup will indeed follow all federal and state guidelines and recommendations related to the coronavirus.

“One of the biggest appeals of the venue is its size, providing for ample space to social distance,” he said.

The owners requested to operate between 11 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday and Monday. Clarendon Ballroom operated with similar hours.

The Lyon Village Civic Association expressed concerns about the applicant’s proposed hours of live entertainment, especially during weekdays. In response, the County proposed alternative hours of live entertainment and dancing that are similar to neighboring nightlife spots, including Liberty Tavern and Don Tito’s, according to the report.

The new hours, which the owners agreed to, are 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday, including the eve of all federal holidays.

“We agreed with the hours of operation as they were on par with some of the other businesses around us,” Bramson said. “I’m glad we were able to come to an agreement.”

0 Comments

This week, in our Neighborhood Spotlight, we are taking a look at the Clarendon area of Arlington. This is one of Arlington’s most popular neighborhoods, with outstanding options for housing, employment and recreation — but does it live up to its reputation? Let’s find out!

What do you love about your community? Let us know down in the comments below — we’d love to highlight them in future Neighborhood Spotlights!

And, as always, if you have any questions about Arlington real estate, please click here to contact the Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top-selling real estate team.

An Overview of Clarendon

Thanks to its prime location on the Orange Line, Clarendon sees lots of traffic from local and national businesses. Over the years, it has grown into a thriving center for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Clarendon is a highly desirable neighborhood for many people. Not only does this area offer urban conveniences and top-notch dining, but also high walkability and great transit options make it a dream for those living in Arlington. Even better, Clarendon is a bustling business district in its own right, making it a great place to live if you work in Arlington.

Clarendon Real Estate Market

Clarendon has a famously hot real estate market. Homes move quickly, and it’s not uncommon for bidding wars to break out on houses. This is great news for people looking to sell their house now in Clarendon — with the right agent on their side, homeowners can sell their home fast and get a great price due to competing offers.

For people who want to buy a home in Clarendon, the hot market can be somewhat daunting. That’s why, if you are considering moving to Clarendon, it’s a good idea to work with a real estate team who can help you find off market homes and walk you through negotiating the best deal for your new home.

Read More

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list