Arlington, VA

(Updated on 9/29/20) It’s not quite the full Bourbon Street experience, since you can’t drink them on the sidewalk, but you can now get frozen Hurricane cocktails to go in Courthouse.

Bayou Bakery (1515 N. Courthouse Road) is now serving carry-out Hurricanes in 16-oz pouches, the restaurant said in a press release. Also newly available frozen: The Dude, “a White Russian meets a Mudslide.”

The New Orleans-centric restaurant is also offering other cocktails “to geaux” in 16-ounce mason jars, including:

  • NOLA Swinger — “Grapefruit Juice, Honey, Rosemary, Jalapeño, and Bourbon”
  • Gator-Aid — “Sweet Tea, Lemonade, Mint Syrup, and Bourbon”
  • Milk Punch — “the quintessential brunch drink of Bourbon, Brandy, Cream, and Nutmeg”
  • Bayou Bloody Mary
  • Mimosa

Bayou Bakery closed to customers during the first few months of the pandemic, but chef and owner David Guas stayed busy preparing free grab-and-go meals for kids. The restaurant reopened in August after a COVID-conscious reconfiguration.

More on the new frozen drinks, from a press release:

Its as if the fabled corner of Bourbon & St. Peter was picked up from the French Quarter in New Orleans and plunked down at the intersection of N. Courthouse Road & 15th Street in Arlington, Virginia, the boozy libations are flowing freely and ready to roll. No, you’re not at Pat O’Briens, home of the Hurricane: this is Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery, where proprietor David Guas channels the spirit [and spirits!] of his hometown through every morsel and sip he serves. These days, he’s loaded the larder with his signature savories and sweets, and inundated the icebox with a new slew of alcoholic beverages that make his cheery establishment a one-stop depot for the complete “Big Easy” experience.

Stay chill with ice-cold Abita, PBR, Miller High Life, and White Claw — the popular spiked seltzer with lots of flavors. 16-oz Mason Jar cocktails, from the Bayou Bloody Mary to the NOLA Swinger [Grapefruit Juice, Honey, Rosemary, Jalapeño, and Bourbon] to the ‘Gator-Aid’ [Sweet Tea, Lemonade, Mint Syrup, and Bourbon], will all transport you southward sooner than you can say “Cheers, Y’all!” A given is the Mimosa with a dose of daily squeezed Orange Juice and the Milk Punch, the quintessential brunch drink of Bourbon, Brandy, Cream, and Nutmeg that gets shaken and frothy to the final pour. A ‘select’ selection of wines pairs just to the right tasty notes for the New Orleans nibbles.

Two new frozen pours right out the slushy machine are now available… The Hurricane, the classic Bourbon Street concoction of fresh juices, simple syrup, and rum will blow your cares away. The Dude, a White Russian meets a Mudslide, is a nod to The Big Lebowski, a creamy blend of Half & Half, Vanilla Bean Syrup, Kahlua, and Espresso. The bigger, the better and the more, the merrier, now that Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery is pouring in bulk! You may not be able to drink on the street around here, but get that go-cup New Orleans experience with double to triple sized portions that are the best get yet!

Whether you linger on the patio for a front-porch ambiance, step it inside, or take your drinks ‘to-geaux’ Bayou Bakery has got the NOLA vibe that no other has ’round here!

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In two days, Montgomery County will start allowing alcohol consumption in select parks as part of a pilot program.

More from Washingtonian:

Beginning Thursday, September 24, alcohol consumption will be allowed in nine designated parks as part of a pilot program approved by the Montgomery County Planning Board on Thursday. It will run at least through May.

The change is one facet of the county’s “Picnic in the Park” initiative, which aims to bolster takeout business for nearby restaurants while providing venues for safe social distancing. The MoCo Eats website shows picnic-goers which restaurants will deliver to them, and each park has drop-off spots for drivers.

In Arlington, alcohol consumption is banned in parks, with the exception of serving beer and wine during permitted events in two parks: Rosslyn Gateway Park and Clarendon Central Park. On top of the restrictions, Arlington has a program called Park Safe in which repeat offenders of rules like the alcohol ban — often homeless individuals with substance abuse problems — can be temporarily banned from all county parks.

Montgomery County’s program is specifically aimed at boosting outdoor dining during the pandemic and does not legalize public intoxication. But it’s the latest example of how long-standing laws concerning where you can buy and consume alcohol have become malleable as a result of COVID-19, allowing restaurants to deliver cocktails and parking lots to turn into watering holes.

Arlington has thus far declined to close streets to give restaurants more room to seat diners outside, as D.C. is doing, but perhaps adopting Montgomery County’s new temporary park rules could be the thing to give local eateries a boost.

What do you think?

Courtesy photo

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Purple Lounge is resuming operations after reaching a settlement with Virginia ABC for the restoration of its liquor license.

Six people have been shot in violence linked to the business at 3111 Columbia Pike since last September, including a double shooting late last month and a triple shooting, in which one person was killed, in June. The continued violence, complaints from neighbors, and repeated code violations led Virginia ABC to suspend Purple Lounge’s license to serve alcohol earlier this month.

As a result of a settlement this week the business can resume serving alcohol — but with a number of restrictions.

The restrictions include “stopping all sales and consumption of alcohol at 12:45 a.m.,” “closure of the business no later than 1:00 a.m. and no reopening sooner than 8:00 a.m.,” and keeping four certified security guards on duty — including in the violence-prone parking lot — when the lounge is open at night.

In a press release Wednesday night, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said the county would have preferred the business been fully closed by Virginia ABC. She noted that further violations, however, could result in a permanent loss of Purple Lounge’s ABC license.

More from the county press release:

Today, Arlington County officials were informed of a settlement agreement reached between the management of the Purple Restaurant and Lounge and the Virginia ABC. Arlington County is not a party to this settlement.

“We are very disappointed that ABC did not fully close or revoke the liquor license for The Purple Lounge.  We view the result in this matter as only a partial step towards ensuring our community’s safety, which is our primary concern,” Libby Garvey, Chair of the Arlington County Board noted. “The restrictions now in place, if followed, at least offer a path forward. The penalties for failure to adhere to the restrictions include permanent loss of licensure. Our police and public health officials will work closely with Virginia ABC to ensure that this settlement is strictly followed. Our staff will be conducting regular visits and monitoring activity inside and outside of the Purple Lounge to ensure full compliance.” Community members who observe behaviors believed to be outside of the negotiated agreement are urged to contact Virginia ABC or the Arlington County Police Department.

On September 1, following a series of disturbing events at the Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge (Purple Lounge), the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (“ABC”) issued an Order of Summary Suspension, temporarily suspending its alcohol licenses.

After an investigation, Virginia ABC cited two violations against the Purple Lounge relating to its failure to take reasonable measures to prevent violence on the property, and the Purple Lounge’s adverse effects on neighboring properties.  A formal hearing was scheduled to occur on September 16-17th regarding the status of the Purple Lounge’s liquor license as a result of these charges. Possible outcomes ranged from full reinstatement of the Purple Lounge’s ABC licenses, partial reinstatement of the Purple Lounge’s ABC licenses with restricted hours, or full revocation of the Purple Lounge’s ABC licenses.

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Morning Notes

Labor Day Closures — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 for Labor Day.” Trash will be collected but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]

Library Buildings Remain Closed — “Even as neighboring Fairfax County is approaching the two-month mark for its reopened library system, Arlington officials appear in no rush to bring their library system more than marginally back to life. That means that while Arlington patrons will continue to have the chance to check out books online and pick them up at a central repository, they remain barred from visiting branches or wandering the stacks.” [InsideNova]

Bluemont BLM Protest Continues — “Father, in his red scooter, and son first rolled down the bike path to this corner in Arlington, Va., just after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. They’ve been back most weekdays since, more than 60 times so far, as demonstrators in Louisville and Atlanta marched for justice for Black Americans killed at the hands of police and protests surged following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month in Kenosha, Wis.” [Washington Post]

Deep Dive Into New Bridge — “The preferred alternative would add a new two-track rail bridge north of the Long Bridge while retaining the existing bridge without modifications. The plan would cost approximately $1.9 billion. The existing span would retain its CSX ownership, and the new span would be Virginia’s.” [Greater Greater Washington]

MU Extends President’s Contract — “Marymount University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend the contract of President Irma Becerra by an additional five years to 2026. This action comes one year earlier than expected, as Board members felt strongly that due to Dr. Becerra’s significant accomplishments during her tenure, it was important to ensure her continued association with Marymount on a more accelerated timeline.” [Press Release]

Trump Boat Parade Planned — “A boat parade is planned in support of President Trump on Sunday on the Potomac River. According to a Facebook post from an entity known as “Liberty Rally,” boaters will gather just before 1 PM in the Wilson Bridge no-wake zone and then proceed up the Potomac.” [Washingtonian]

Kanye Booted from Ballot — “A Richmond Circuit Court Judge has ruled that rapper Kanye West will be removed from the ballot as a presidential candidate in Virginia. The decision came after an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case and Attorney General Mark Herring accused the West camp of acting fraudulently to get on the ballot.” [NBC 12]

Va. Booze Biz is Booming — “The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority announced Wednesday retail sales of $1.2 billion in fiscal 2020 — a nearly $120 million increase from the previous year and the second year in a row the liquor monopoly surpassed $1 billion in sales.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

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(Updated at 4:05 p.m.) Purple Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge has had its permit to serve beer, wine and liquor suspended by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

The nightlife venue at 3111 Columbia Pike was the scene of a double shooting over the weekend. A 33-year-old Maryland man, who was wounded by armed security guards after allegedly firing into a crowd in the parking lot, has been charged in the case.

Purple Lounge was also the scene of a shooting last September, in which a man was shot in the abdomen outside the venue. That and a myriad of complaints and violations led the Arlington County Board to revoke its live entertainment permit in December.

After the latest shooting, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey told ARLnow that the county would “explore all the options” with respect to Purple Lounge. Today, the county announced the suspension of the ABC license in a brief statement.

Following a series of disturbing events associated with the Purple Ethiopian Restaurant and Lounge, LLC on Columbia Pike, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority issued an Order of Summary Suspension temporarily suspending its alcohol licenses effective September 1, 2020. Arlington County fully supports this action and will continue to work collaboratively with Virginia ABC throughout this process.

The incident on Sunday morning (Aug. 30) at the Purple Lounge is the latest in a series of disturbances associated with the establishment. The County Manager is working with the County Board to explore all the options available to us within and around the property.

Arlington County is a safe place to live, work and play, and we are committed to addressing problems that present potential threats to our public health and safety.

Virginia ABC’s summary of its decision to suspend the license contains additional details about the weekend shooting and another shooting earlier this summer.

The report says that a dispute between venue staff and a group of people who were denied entry into the lounge just before 5 a.m. on Sunday prompted one of the members of the group to pull out of a gun and start firing in the air. That, in turn, led to a security guard firing back, striking one person in the shoulder and grazing another’s neck.

The report also says that a previously-reported triple shooting in June along Columbia Pike was the result of a dispute that started at Purple Lounge.

“On June 28, 2020, there was an incident of gunfire where following an altercation inside the establishment the suspect drove away from the area and then fired a gun into the crowd in the parking lot of the business leaving two people injured,” Virginia ABC said.

Arlington County Police did not previously reveal that shooting’s connection with Purple Lounge. The ABC report does not reference the fact that a third person was shot and killed in a car during the incident, a crime for which two people were subsequently arrested.

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The owner of a pair of major commercial developments in Arlington is applying for permits that would allow on-the-go alcohol consumption within each shopping center.

Federal Realty Investment Trust is applying for a new “commercial lifestyle center” permit for the Village at Shirlington and Pentagon Row, on behalf of the merchant association for each shopping center.

If approved by Virginia ABC, it would allow shoppers and diners to take their alcoholic beverages to go, for consumption in the centers’ common areas. A change to the law allowing it, sponsored by local state Sen. Barbara Favola, took effect earlier this month.

“Following the implementation of a new state law on July 1, 2020, FRIT submitted commercial lifestyle center ABC license applications for the Village at Shirlington and Pentagon Row on Friday, July 10,” Dan Corwin, Director, Asset Management — Mixed Use for Federal Realty Investment Trust, told ARLnow this morning.

“The applications would allow people of legal drinking age visiting the Village at Shirlington and Pentagon Row to consume alcohol purchased from Shirlington’s and Pentagon Row’s ABC licensees in common areas managed and maintained by Federal Realty,” he said.

Property owner JBG Smith applied for the the same permit for its shopping centers in the Crystal City area, near Amazon’s HQ2, last year.

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This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

As NoVA enters the next phases of re-opening, residents are getting excited about returning to the best restaurants, bars and entertainment options in the area. That means that now is the perfect time to discover a new favorite spot or return to an old haunt — and we want to share one of our top choices with you!

So, with that in mind, join Caitlyn Kammerman as she gives you the low-down on The Spirits of ’76, one of the best places to get food and drinks in Arlington!

A Revolutionary New Experience

Walking through the doors of The Spirit of ’76 is like stepping through a particularly patriotic time machine. This locally owned eatery, sitting in the heart of the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, is decorated with all sorts of Americana and references to the colonial and revolutionary periods of the country’s history.

One of the most striking artistic features is the large Bennington Flag that adorns the wall. This variant of the American stars and stripes, which bears the number ’76’ on its canton, is a popular collector’s item with the history buffs who are interested in the early days of the republic. In the cozy atmosphere of The Spirits of ’76, it makes for a fine centerpiece.

John Rodas, one of the founding fathers of the eatery, tells us that not all of the decorations were brought in by the restaurant’s owners. “With the name Spirits of ’76,” he recounts, “we obviously wanted to give it a twist of some Americana — and some of our customers have actually donated some of the items.”

The name isn’t simply a reference to the American-themed decorations, however. In addition to an incredible ambience and great food, this beacon of independent restaurant culture carries 76 different varieties of bourbon.

Keeping the Spirits Alive

As you can probably tell from the name, libations are a staple of The Spirit of ’76. Patrons can choose from nearly 80 different types of bourbon for smooth sipping — in addition to a vast menu of unique mixed drinks!

In addition to classic favorites like a smooth Old Fashioned or refreshing Texas Mule, you’re sure to enjoy sipping on one of the house creations at The Spirit of ’76. Put a twist on a gin-based favorite with their ’76 Fizz — or pay homage to the ‘freedom fries’ movement with the cheekily named American ’76, a play on the popular French 75 drink.

And if you’re looking to beat the hot Arlington summer, then you’re in luck! The Spirits of ’76 offers pitchers of frozen cocktails, so you can get a cool treat with friends and family.

Liberate Your Appetite

Not all of the delicacies at The Spirit of ’76 are liquid, of course. There is also a robust menu of classic American fare and a variety of dishes to sate your appetite!

Start off with a plate of their signature wings, tossed in your choice of sauce, then move on to a scrumptious sandwich or set of tacos — everything on the menu is a savory treat. Personally, we recommend the fish tacos or one of the many options for burgers.

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Like a lot of local restaurants, it’s been a rough spring for Bun’d Up — which opened at Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street) in December — but its owner hopes warmer weather and the forthcoming delivery of speciality Asian alcoholic drinks can help turn things around.

Bun’d Up’s Scott Chung said the business is being inspected later this week for a new ABC permit that, if approved, would allow it to offer in-restaurant serving or home delivery of beer and wine.

“We’re trying to jump on board with the take-home drink trend,” Chung said. “This area allows people to drink in the courtyard and we’re hoping to do take-home delivery of alcohol as well. We’ll see how it goes, and try to expand to do more Asian-inspired drinks.”

Chung said from what he’s heard, frozen drinks have been selling really well at other local restaurants. Bun’d Up just got new ice machines and Chung said he’s hoping to start with frozen drinks to test the waters.

“We’re going to focus on Asian-inspired Korean beers and soju, and specialize in Japanese whiskeys,” Chung said.

The restaurant is still trying to figure out which distributor to use and the prices for the drinks haven’t been set in stone, but Chung said it will be comparable to other restaurants in the area.

In general, Chung said he’s hopeful alcohol sales can help boost a business that’s been hurting over the last few months of the pandemic.

“In the beginning, it was pretty rough, but we’re doing better,” Chung said. “It’s still not comparable to before all this started, but we do see some weekends better than others. I think alcohol and getting an outside presence will help.”

There are other ideas in the pipeline, but Chung said the immediate focus will be putting together food that pairs well with alcohol and drawing more attention to the outside space — assuming the good weather holds up.

“The weather has still been pretty funny,” Chung said. “We had a cold rush last week, but right now it’s hot and there’s a ton of people outside.”

Chung said he’s eagerly looking forward to the third phase of reopening.

“Once Phase 3 [of reopening] happens, the business should get a lot better,” Chung said. “Once Phase 2 hit, even before that started — when they announced Phase 2, we were busier. It took some weight off people’s shoulders that it’s getting better.”

Chung is wary of a second coronavirus wave, however, and he said that’s curbed his enthusiasm for rehiring a full staff.

“We get complaints about how long it takes sometimes to get food ready,” Chung said. “That’s probably the number one complaint we hear, but we can’t staff at earlier levels. With a potential second wave, don’t want to staff more people and then turn around and lay them off again.”

Chung said if the recovery continues, he’ll hire more staff to help speed food preparation and delivery, but for now he’s waiting out the summer to see how the virus continues to impact the community.

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The cat’s out of the bag for to-go drinks with Virginians — and Arlingtonians in particular — expressing widespread support for keeping the practice around after the pandemic is over.

In a joint poll with the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association and the National Restaurant Association found that 78 percent of Virginians support making permanent current, temporary practices that allow restaurant customers to purchase alcoholic beverages with their takeout and delivery food orders.

“According to the recent data, customers are taking advantage of the order with approximately one in three Virginia adults who recently purchased takeout or delivery including alcohol with their order,” the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association said in a press release. “Additionally, 39 percent of restaurant patrons said the option of including alcoholic beverages with their order made them more likely to choose one restaurant over a competitor that does not offer alcohol sales.”

ARLnow’s own less scientific polling found that 91% of those who responded (2,839 people) were in favor of making delivery of alcohol permanent.

“The popularity of ordering mixed beverages to-go or for delivery shows that people want it,” said Sarah White, Operating Partner at Cowboy Café (4792 Lee Hwy) said in the press release. “We keep hearing from customers that it’s nice to order and enjoy a cocktail without getting dressed up and going to a bar. We keep hearing how happy they are to be able to relax in their own home and still feel like they’re receiving the full dining experience.”

Virginia allowed beer and wine to be delivered in March — relatively early in the pandemic — and eventually extended that to cocktails in April. Oklahoma has already made alcohol delivery by restaurants permanent, while many of the three-dozen states and territories that have allowed it temporarily during the pandemic are also considering making it permanent.

Staff photo by Vernon Miles

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(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) The person behind the wheel of a car that careened down a hill and onto N. Glebe Road is now facing a criminal charge.

The crash happened this past Wednesday night near the Old Glebe Road overpass. It left the vehicle’s two passengers trapped and seriously injured, including one with life-threatening injuries. Firefighters used hydraulic tools to remove them from the heavily-damaged vehicle.

As of today both were still in the hospital, with one listed in stable condition and the other in critical condition, according to Arlington County Police.

Police say the driver — who walked away from the crash and suffered only minor injuries — has been charged with driving under the age of 21 after illegally consuming alcohol, a misdemeanor. The driver’s identity “is not releasable… in accordance to Virginia law,” according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, implying that he or she is under the age of 18.

“This remains an active criminal investigation,” Savage said. “Anyone with information related to this incident and/or personal surveillance that may assist the investigation is asked to contact Detective J. Cox of the Critical Accident Team at 703-228-0491 or [email protected]

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(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

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