Arlington, VA

(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) If you’re a regular at the ABC store in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center just off Lee Highway, you might want to stop by to stock up this weekend because the store is temporarily closing.

Virginia ABC announced yesterday (Thursday) that several liquor stores in Northern Virginia would be consolidated starting this coming Monday, April 13.

“ABC supports its employees’ decisions to self-quarantine when necessary, which has impacted staffing levels in this region,” Virginia ABC said in a press release. “In order to maintain appropriate staffing and allow time to train additional personnel, ABC made the decision to temporarily close select stores in this area.”

The store is one of a dozen closing throughout the region. Virginia ABC said employees of the temporarily closed stores will have the option to work at other nearby locations to sustain operations.

The next closest ABC store is further east along Lee Highway at 4709 Lee Highway.

“ABC plans to reopen these stores on April 30, however the final decision will depend on the authority’s ability to properly and safely staff the stores,” Virginia ABC said. “All ABC stores currently operating across the commonwealth are open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The reduced operating hours allow staffing flexibility as well as more time for employees to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and stock shelves.”

Virginia ABC also said some store operations have changed, including limiting the number of customers in the store at one time to no more than 10. Stores have also installed social distancing markers to ensure customers stand at least six feet apart from one another. The stores are also offering online ordering.

In addition to the temporary store closures, all Virginia ABC stores will be closed this Sunday in observance of Easter.

Photo via Google Maps

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Resources to Assist Those in Need — Arlington County has created a list of food, financial and medical assistance that is available for neighbors in need during the coronavirus outbreak. [Arlington County]

Vihstadt Stands Up for Farmers Markets — “At Saturday’s County Board meeting, former board member John Vihstadt rapped the state government for lumping in farmers’ markets – of which Arlington has nearly a dozen operating throughout the week – with restaurants (which for the most part are now closed to dine-in service and in many cases are shuttered completely) rather than treating them as supermarkets (which remain open and running at full strength).” [InsideNova]

Giant Adjusting Store Hours — “Effective Friday, March 27, most Giant Food stores will adjust hours of operations to be open from 6:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m… The first hour of operations, 6:00-7:00 a.m. is reserved for senior citizens and immunocompromised individuals, including pregnant women and caregivers shopping for the immunocompromised, so that they may shop and practice safe social distancing.” [Press Release]

Va. Liquor Stores Limit Hours — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) will reduce operating hours at all of its stores statewide beginning Friday, March 27, due to the expanding nature of the COVID-19 outbreak… stores across the commonwealth will be open from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week, starting Friday, March 27.” [Virginia ABC]

County to Help Hospital with Bond Sale — “Continuing a 42-year tradition of collaboration, the Arlington County government will assist Virginia Hospital Center in issuing bonds to support new construction. County Board members on March 21 authorized the government’s Industrial Development Authority, or IDA, to issue up to $300 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to support the effort.” [InsideNova]

Local Catholic Schools Embrace Distance Learning — “The Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Catholic Schools announced the successful stand-up of distance learning in all 41 parish schools and high schools in the Diocese. Distance learning is now in place, offering interactive, personalized instruction to students through the remainder of the academic year.” [Press Release]

Local Leaders Urge Rent Leniency — “There are new calls for landlords to freeze [rent] payments to help mitigate the economic fallout of the pandemic… ‘We need them to show compassion on the front end, and we’ll work to make sure they’re made whole on the back end,’ said Arlington County Board member Christian Dorsey.” [Washington Business Journal]

Tomb Sentinels Are Still Guarding — “There is a sacred duty not even a pandemic can stop: a rite of continuity still carried out in Arlington National Cemetery even as much of the country shuts down. The sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier recently marked more than 30,000 days of constant watch over the remains of unidentified U.S. service members — a streak persisting through the pandemic.” [WUSA 9]

0 Comments

Mike Bloomberg’s former Arlington campaign office at Pentagon Row might soon become a liquor store.

A notice posted in the window says Virginia ABC is “considering establishing a retail store at this location,” on the 1300 block of S. Joyce Street. The sign first went up last month, before Bloomberg dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.

“As is customary when a new store location is under consideration, we post a sign for two weeks indicating a potential new store to gather local input before moving forward to secure a lease,” said Dawn Eischen, Public Relations Manager for Virginia ABC.

“Virginia ABC strategically chooses store locations to meet market demands and to better serve its customers,” she added.

There are currently eight state-run liquor stores in Arlington, according to the Virginia ABC website. The closest to the proposed Pentagon Row location are at the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center (2955A S. Glebe Road) and in Crystal City (320 23rd Street S.)

Eischen told ARLnow this morning that Virginia ABC “is currently going through the leasing process” at Pentagon Row, though an opening date is uncertain given the coronavirus outbreak.

“We are still planning to place a store at that location,” she said. “Due to adjustments ABC and others are making to business processes as a result of the coronavirus, we’re uncertain when the leasing process will be completed or when the store will be open to the public.”

Photo courtesy anonymous

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Arlington Loves Tito’s — The top-grossing liquor brand at Virginia ABC stores in Arlington, and most of Northern Virginia, is Tito’s Handmade Vodka. [Virginia Mercury]

More on Lee Highway Planning Process — “In the new year, the professional team will begin guiding the community in laying out a plan for the [Lee Highway] corridor’s next 30 years. Arlington is known for extensive and very slow community engagement, and the planning process will probably take at least two more years. The push for a more progressive, inclusive, sustainable US Route 29 must be perseverant.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Local ‘Passport’ for Small Biz Saturday — “One Page Books is partnering with thirteen other local businesses for Small Business Saturday. Pick up a Small Business Saturday Shopping ‘Passport‘ at any of the participating businesses, including Covet, Two the Moon, Lemon Lane and Trade Roots.” [WAMU]

Reminder: Mall Hours and Promotions — Arlington’s two malls have special Black Friday hours and promotions today. [ARLnow]

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Now Might Be the Time to Sell Your Home — “‘Some sellers are thinking ‘gosh, why don’t I just wait until Amazon gets into full bloom before I sell my house, because maybe values will go up even higher,” Christine Richardson, president of the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, told WTOP. ‘But I’m not sure that is necessarily the right way to think about it, because often that initial exuberance is actually higher than reality turns out to be.'” [WTOP]

Local CVS Sold Millions of Opioids — “The largest recipient of pain pills in Arlington, according to the database, is a CVS Pharmacy located at 3133 Lee Highway. A total of 1,465,700 pills were shipped to this pharmacy between 2006 and 2012, which would be enough for one pill per year for each of the 106,612 people who live within five miles of the pharmacy.” [Patch]

Lots of Booze Sales in Arlington — “The eight Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores in Arlington accounted for 2.8 percent of total ABC purchases Virginia-wide during the state government’s last fiscal year, which saw a new statewide record set in total sales volume. A total of $29,052,507 in sales (excluding tax) were made at Arlington’s ABC stores from July 2018 to June 2019.” [InsideNova]

Cristol on Kojo — Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol went on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show on Friday. Among the topics she discussed: the federal government’s search for a new shelter for detained, unaccompanied immigrant children in Northern Virginia. [Kojo Nnamdi Show, Twitter]

Local Restaurants Coming to Memphis — A pair of local restaurants — Matchbox American Kitchen and Arlington-based Big Buns Best Damn Burger Co. — are opening new locations in Memphis, Tennessee. [Washington Business Journal]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

0 Comments

Virginia lawmakers are considering loosening some state alcohol regulations in the coming months — and that could be good news for Arlington’s bars and restaurants.

The General Assembly is weighing a bevy of changes to how the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control authority, commonly known as the ABC, hands out licenses and permits to better match the ever-evolving beverage business.

Changes could include a big reduction in the types of permits the ABC hands out, or perhaps even a change in regulations dictating how much food businesses need to sell if they’re also offering liquor. All that and more were tweaks offered up by ABC officials and state lawmakers to local business owners at a gathering hosted by the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Thursday (Aug. 16), as part of a bid to connect the business community to its regulators.

“We’re trying to look for a concept that does free up the market a little bit, without getting to the point that we have bars on every corner,” said Tom Kirby, ABC’s acting chief of law enforcement.

A particularly popular option offered up by Kirby and his colleagues: somehow adjusting ABC’s current requirement that businesses maintain a 45 percent to 55 percent split between food and mixed drink sales. Beer and wine sales are exempted from that requirement, yet some bars and restaurants still find themselves challenged by that standard.

Freddie Lutz, owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City, recounted that he’s had several slow winters where he’s bumped up against those limits, largely thanks to competition from bars in D.C. and Maryland. Accordingly, he’d be quite happy indeed to see those limits change, particularly as he prepares to open another restaurant in Crystal City.

“I just want to see that ratio tweaked just enough to not get gray hair over it,” Lutz said.

To that end, Kirby said his agency could work with lawmakers to bump the food standard down to 35 percent of gross sales, or even offer exemptions at certain levels of sales.

State Sen. Jeremy McPike, D-29th District, currently sits on a subcommittee examining ABC issues, which he says is weighing even more targeted fixes. For instance, lawmakers could measure how much liquor bars sell by volume to determine a balance between food and drink, instead of looking at the dollar amount of sales.

The goal of the limit in the first place is, after all, to prevent bar patrons from being overserved.

“What if you have a higher-priced shot that costs like $150?” McPike said. “Think about how much you need to sell to make up for that.”

ABC officials stressed that such a change would in the agency’s interest as well — Chris Curtis, secretary to the ABC’s board, noted its employees spend roughly “10,400 man hours” each year monitoring whether restaurants are complying with the food-drink split.

“But I’m sure that pales in comparison to the amount of time you all have to spend sending us this information,” Curtis said.

Another possible change the ABC could consider is issuing a new type of permit to let bar patrons bring their beverages outside into a common area shared by multiple businesses. McPike suggested that local governments, or even business improvement districts, could manage the process, allowing for more events drawing in a variety of restaurants in a small area.

Kate Bates, the chamber’s president and CEO, noted that Rosslyn businesses have long hoped to offer events pulling in all the neighborhood’s different bars, but have run into challenges letting people easily move between different establishments if they’re too far away from each.

Similarly, Cassie Hurley, events manager for the Crystal City BID, suggested that her group “would love to do something similar to 6th Street in Austin, [Texas] on 23rd Street” to let people bring their drinks into stores along the small strip.

Kirby says ABC is receptive to the idea, though he did caution that inevitably there will be enforcement issues to consider, considering that revelers could easily get carried away and leave the permitted boundaries for such activities.

Complicating matters further are the political realities of Richmond — the needs of Northern Virginia businesses are quite different from those in Southwest Virginia, where, as McPike pointed out, there are still some dry counties left.

Progress could certainly be slow in some areas, as lawmakers will only meet for a short legislative session next year with more elections on the way. And, as Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-30th District, noted “it’s rare that we rewrite whole code sections all at the same time.”

But Kirby underscored that ABC is willing to work with lawmakers to ensure everyone is a bit more satisfied with the entire regulatory framework.

“There is a lot of agreement that we need to do something differently,” Kirby said.

0 Comments

Columbia Pike’s L.A. Bar & Grill has temporarily closed due to a state licensing issue.

The bar submitted its Virginia ABC license renewal application in the beginning of March, and the previous alcoholic beverage license expired at the end of March.

“We should have applied earlier, [but] hindsight is 20/20,” said Stephen Hubbard, the bar’s general manager.

The process is ongoing, and Hubbard anticipates that it will take “at least a couple of weeks,” though he isn’t sure.

In the meantime, the bar is taking advantage of the license renewal period and “doing some facelifting” in the form of painting and other tidying up efforts.

Back in 2016, L.A. Bar & Grill, at 2530 Columbia Pike, was ranked among UpOut’s top ten “ridiculously cool” D.C.-area dive bars.

0 Comments

Columbia Pike’s L.A. Bar & Grill has temporarily closed due to a state licensing issue.

The bar submitted its Virginia ABC license renewal application in the beginning of March, and the previous alcoholic beverage license expired at the end of March.

“We should have applied earlier, [but] hindsight is 20/20,” said Stephen Hubbard, the bar’s general manager.

The process is ongoing, and Hubbard anticipates that it will take “at least a couple of weeks,” though he isn’t sure.

In the meantime, the bar is taking advantage of the license renewal period and “doing some facelifting” in the form of painting and other tidying up efforts.

Back in 2016, L.A. Bar & Grill, at 2530 Columbia Pike, was ranked among UpOut’s top ten “ridiculously cool” D.C.-area dive bars.

0 Comments

ABC sign in Courthouse (photo courtesy Andy Bailey)An ABC liquor store is under construction at 1919 Clarendon Blvd, in the ground floor of a new apartment building on the block.

ARLnow.com reported in July that the state Alcoholic Beverage Control department was in lease negotiations for one of the new retail spaces in the building, just a few blocks from the site of its former location in the Colonial Village Shopping Center.

Signs are already up in the windows of the new space, on Clarendon Blvd between N. Rhodes and Troy Streets, for construction. When contacted, an ABC spokesperson could only confirm the store will be opening in the future, but said there is no available information about when the store might be open.

The site of a possible new ABC store in CourthouseWhile the ABC store is undergoing their interior buildout, so, too, is Shawafel, a “quick served” Lebanese restaurant, next door. The location of Shawafel will be the H Street NE business’ second brick-and-mortar shop.

Before the ABC store opens, the closest spot to pick up bottles of liquor for Rosslyn and Courthouse residents is the store at 1001 N. Fillmore Street, at the intersection with Washington Blvd.

Photo, top, courtesy Andy Bailey. Photo (bottom) is a file photo.

0 Comments

Morning Notes

Autumn in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Eric)

LWV to Address Pike Changes — Scheduled well before yesterday’s news that the county’s streetcar project is being canceled, the League of Women Voters tonight will hold a forum entitled “Columbia Pike in Transition.” The forum will explore the future of the Columbia Pike corridor. [InsideNova]

Board Approves Affordable Housing Loan — The Arlington County Board has approved a $8.5 million loan for developer AHC Inc. to purchase the Spectrum Apartments at 5055 S. Chesterfield Road and convert 80 market-rate apartments to committed affordable units. [Arlington County]

Va. Liquor Price Hike — The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has approved a price hike for liquor that’s expected to raise an extra $5.4 million for the state coffers. [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Stabbing Victims Recovering — Arlington law firm Bean, Kinney & Korman says its managing shareholder, Leo Fisher, and his wife are recovering from a brutal stabbing in their McLean home. “There has been universal concern for the welfare of Leo and Sue, and we are thankful to be able to assure everyone that they are recovering steadily,” the firm said in a statement yesterday. Meanwhile, new details have been revealed about the hours-long “torture session” former Bean Kinney attorney Alecia Schmuhl and her husband Andrew allegedly put Fischer and his wife through on Nov. 9. [Washington Post]

Rip Sullivan Joins Bean KinneyRecently-elected House of Delegates member Rip Sullivan has joined the Courthouse-based law firm of Bean, Kinney & Korman, the firm announced yesterday. [Bean, Kinney & Korman]

Flickr pool photo by Eric

0 Comments

The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse The site of a possible new ABC store in Courthouse

A Virginia ABC store may be coming to the Courthouse area.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is negotiating a lease for a liquor store in the new 1919 Clarendon Blvd building, an ABC official confirmed. That’s a block away from the Colonial Village Shopping Center, where another ABC store closed last year.

ABC has applied for a construction permit for the space, but it has yet to be approved.

The store, if it does finalize its lease, would move into the new building alongside Lucky Pot Asian restaurant, Oasis Nail salon — both under construction — and European Wax Center, which is already open. Also moving into the building, according to Elevation DC, is a location of H Street NE Lebanese eatery Shawafel, which also has a booth at Nationals Park.

Shawafel, owner Alberto Sissi told Elevation, plans to have two counters — one for its savory food items and one for sweets — along with a fresh juice station.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list