Arlington, VA

Ballston games-and-drinks destination Punch Bowl Social is planning to reopen next Wednesday.

The “eatertainment” chain, which is emerging from bankruptcy, announced the news yesterday. ARLnow previously reported that the venue was in the midst of hiring for numerous positions.

“I’m excited to let you know that [on] Wednesday, April 21 Punch Bowl Social will be reopening its Arlington location,” a PR rep wrote. “Back and better than ever, Punch Bowl Social looks forward to welcoming guests again for food, drinks and entertainment!”

With vaccinations continuing at a record pace, Punch Bowl Social will be reopening its various games and activities, to let patrons “blow off steam.”

“Guests will be welcomed back to dine, drink and participate in available activities, including bowling, arcade games, ping pong, Bocce Ball and more,” the rep said. “Punch Bowl Social will host Happy Hour on Sunday and Wednesday-Friday from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. with drinks and bites for $3-$7 and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.”

According to Punch Bowl’s website, masks will be required except when seated at tables, and patrons are discouraged from congregating at bars or in open spaces.

Punch Bowl Social is located at 4238 Wilson Blvd, along the outside of Ballston Quarter mall.

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Some Crystal City residents say a new bowling alley has created a persistent late-night ruckus, and they want police to strike at the heart of the problem with extra enforcement.

The issue is causing a split between apartment dwellers who want peace and quiet at night, and a seemingly benign business — Bowlero, at 320 23rd Street S. — that has allegedly attracted a rowdy clientele.

With reports of fights, screaming, littering and the stench of marijuana, the relationship between the bowling alley and its neighbors is in the gutter, so much so that the Arlington County Police Department saw fit to organize a virtual community meeting on the topic Wednesday night.

During the Zoom meeting, police acknowledged dozens of calls to Bowlero over the past few months, a pattern that has led the business to beef up security, including using metal detectors at the entrance.

Police connected the rowdiness to the pandemic, as Virginia opened up before Maryland and D.C. and thus has been drawing a more regional crowd seeking out nightlife opportunities.

“We’ve seen an increase in patronage in Arlington County because Arlington and Virginia seem to be opening at a faster rate than D.C. and Maryland,” ACPD’s Restaurant and Nightlife Liaison Samantha Brien said. “We’ve seen a lot of patronage to Crystal City and Clarendon because they could stay out later and have more fun. As we start to open up, I’m sure we’ll open up faster than D.C.”

Since Bowlero opened in July, there have been 52 calls for service, and 42 of those calls happened inside the business or right outside, Brien said. The bowling alley’s management made 28 of those calls, which is “a good thing,” she said.

“You have to look at when they’re calling and how frequently they’re calling,” Brien said. “If they’re calling before something really bad happens that means they’re intervening at a higher level and that’s what we want to see.”

In response, Brien said Bowlero has implemented bag checks and “wanding” with handheld metal detectors. Signage warns patrons not to bring weapons inside. Arlington police on a nightlife detail conduct hourly walk-throughs of bars and restaurants along 23rd Street S. from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

ACPD officials encouraged perturbed residents to call the non-emergency line, (703) 558-2222, any time there is a complaint. These calls are logged and could ultimately be used to reallocate resources to Crystal City, said ACPD Captain Michael Rowling.

Rowling said the police have occasionally placed signboards and set up mobile surveillance cameras outside Bowlero. Extra police details and plainclothes officers have been dispatched to the bowling alley, resulting in several arrests inside and outside, he added.

Brien and Rowling compared the situation in Crystal City to Clarendon in 2016, which Brien said was “the Wild West.” She pointed to Clarendon as an example of how ACPD can work with bars and restaurants to improve nightlife activity and safety.

“As we have been working so much in Clarendon, and establishments work with us, the patrons know how to correctly act in the Clarendon area,” Brien said. “Since Bowlero has enacted wanding and bag checks, and put up signage, patrons will soon realize how to act.”

Both credited Bowlero for being cooperative with the police department.

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A 39-year-old man from Hyattsville is facing charges after police say he threw a beer bottle, brandished a knife and harassed a group of people in Clarendon.

Police were called to the 3100 block of Wilson Blvd, in the heart of Clarendon’s bar district, just after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday for a report of a man threatening people with a knife.

From an Arlington County Police Department crime report:

Upon arrival, it was determined that the suspect was inside a restaurant when he became involved in a verbal altercation with a group of individuals. The suspect then allegedly followed the group to different restaurants while making verbally harassing statements. The verbal altercation continued to escalate, during which a member of the group grabbed the suspect’s cell phone and smashed it on the ground. The suspect then produced a knife.

The alleged drunken fracas continued inside a restaurant, where an innocent bystander was struck and injured by a flying beer bottle.

As bystanders attempted to separate the parties and escort the suspect out of the restaurant, he grabbed a beer bottle and threw it in the direction of the group. The bottle struck a bystander causing a laceration to the head. The bystander was transported to an area hospital for treatment. The suspect then left the scene and entered a separate restaurant where officers located him and took him into custody without incident.

Police say they found ID cards with someone else’s information while searching the suspect. The 39-year-old from Hyattsville, Maryland is now facing charges of Assault and Battery, Simple Assault, Drunk in Public, Identity Theft and Possession of Fictitious ID.

Separately, a 36-year-old Arlington man was charged with Destruction of Property for smashing the suspect’s phone. He was released on a summons.

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Morning Notes

Blown Transformer Knocks Out Power — A power transformer blew Friday night near the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive, knocking out power to the surrounding neighborhood and parts of Ballston and Virginia Square, and prompting a road closure due to the fire department response. [Twitter, Twitter]

Catholic Schools Walk COVID Tightrope — “No one — not students, parents or staff, public or private, liberal or conservative — prefers learning while locked down during a pandemic. But area Catholics are using the crisis forced on us all to innovate boldly. They feel blessed.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Crowds May Flock to Arlington for St. Paddy’s — “Bar owner Mike Bramson, who operates the Clarendon PopUp Bar… says he’s expecting a full house in VA — something he might not see in DC. ‘I do believe people are traveling to Virginia spaces. It’s frustrating to have one location being overbooked [Clarendon Pop-Up] and another location losing business [Rebel Taco DC],’ says Bramson. He says the main deterrent in DC right now is the six-person table limit and 10 PM alcohol curfew.” [Washingtonian]

Beyer Supports Moon Mission — “There is support in Congress. ‘I clearly want to keep building on what we’ve done already,’ Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), the new chair of the House Science subcommittee on space and aeronautics, said in an interview. ‘The 2024 goal may have been a reach, so let’s see what we can do to get our moon landing back on track.'” [Washington Post]

Arlington Police K-9 Retires — “Please join ACPD in wishing a happy retirement to K9 Jax as he finishes his final tour of duty today! We are grateful for his years of dedicated service to the Arlington Community through patrol and narcotics detection.” [Twitter]

Senior Sees Son For First Time in a Year — “97-year-old Mary Cavanaugh has finally seen her son Mike Cavanaugh and daughter-in-law Marie Cavanaugh after more than a year. They’re all fully vaccinated, and with strong hugs and kisses, they were able to reunite as a family at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads.” [NBC 4]

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(Updated 4:30 p.m. 3/11/21) Although it might not be a normal St. Patrick’s Day, local restaurants and bars are finding a way to celebrate.

The pandemic was not kind to Arlington restaurants. At least 26 places have closed since last March, including the Pentagon City Irish pub Siné (though a replacement is trying to open soon).

The lockdown started right before St. Patrick’s Day last year, canceling the festivities at Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse and other popular mid-March gathering spots.

This year, local restaurants are finding ways to safely celebrate. Rather than packing in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, as might happen during the before times, most places are requiring or highly recommending reservations due to limited capacity. Some have expanded their outdoor seating and some are spreading out their celebration over a few days to avoid crowding.

Below is a list of some local restaurants that are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Arlington this year.

Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike) The Celtic House will be celebrating its Irish roots with an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The festivities will kick off on Friday, March 12 and conclude on Wednesday, March 17. A full Irish menu and specials will be available. Reservations are highly advised due to limited capacity. For information call (703) 746-9644.

Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) Celebrating its 26th St. Patrick’s Day, Four Courts is ready to pick up where it left off last year. The pub will be celebrating March 13-15 and on March 17. There will be Irish dancers on the patio in the afternoon. Due to the pandemic, bar seating will be closed and there will be no live music inside. Making reservations is highly encouraged due to limited seating. For information call (703) 525-3600.

McNamara’s Pub & Restaurant (567 23rd Street S.) — The festivities start early at McNamara’s this year with doors opening at 9 a.m. on March 17. Because of the pandemic, there is a two-hour limit at tables, and reservations are highly recommended. The patio will be open, weather permitting. For information call (703) 302-3760.

O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) O’Sullivan’s has three days of live music and Irish celebrations lined up. On Friday, March 12, Britton James will be performing at 8 p.m. On Saturday, March 13, Uncle Jesse will be performing at 8 p.m. On March 17, Irish dancers will perform at 2 p.m, Pete Baker will perform at 3 p.m. and Willem Dicke will perform at 6 p.m. Their traditional Irish menu will feature dishes such as their homemade Irish bread topped with smoked salmon, corned beef, beef and Guinness stew, and fish & chips. First come, first serve. For information call (703) 812-0939.

Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street) – Samuel Beckett’s will open its doors from 10 a.m. to midnight on March 17. There will be Irish dancers at 5 p.m., as well as live music from Eddie Pasa at 5:30 p.m. If you are not comfortable eating in the pub, Samuel Beckett’s is offering “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Home” kits. Family-style meals (serving six people) will be offered as well as a limited supply of Jameson cocktail kits. Orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance. For information or to order the at-home St. Patrick’s Day kit call (703) 379-0122.

Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) — Whitlow’s will kick off the St. Patrick’s Day festivities with a live music performance from DjKillabeats24 on Saturday, March 13. On March 17, Irish food will be available along with live music from Timmie Metz featuring Tambo starting at 6 p.m. The rooftop will also be open for patrons, weather permitting. For information call (703) 276-9693.

File photo

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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]

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(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) Clarendon Popup Bar, located inside the former Clarendon Ballroom space, is about to shift to its second theme.

The concept bar opened at 3185 Wilson Blvd in time to ring in the New Year with its temporary theme, “Winter Wonderland.” That theme will still be in effect this weekend, but will then be changed over the course of the following week. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that it would be closed this weekend.)

“Winter Wonderland was a success and more popular than anticipated,” owner Mike Bramson tells ARLnow. “The next theme is ‘Fire & Ice.’ We don’t want to give anything anyway, so you’ll have to come see it.”

Weather permitting, the rooftop will open in March, he said.

The debut of the “Fire and Ice” theme is set for Thursday, March 4, according to the calendar. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on a Wednesday, Clarendon Popup Bar will also have “ShamRock N’ Roll” event on Saturday, March 13.

“For St. Patrick’s Day weekend we are still working out the details, but you can most definitely expect a band and DJ lineup, and of course some green beer,” he said.

The pop-up will be showing games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, better known as March Madness, from March 18 to April 4.

“We will be opening early to show the March Madness games on our huge projector wall and TVs,” Bramson said. “Every seat in the house will be able to see a screen.”

The next round of events will end on April 3 with the Final Four games and a “Fire and Ice”-themed night.

Not everybody has been enamored with Clarendon Popup. An anonymous tipster sent ARLnow Instagram videos inside the venue, showing crowded dance areas and a number of people not wearing masks.

In response, Bramson said Clarendon Popup Bar has been working with the health department to “ensure we are following all necessary regulations and precautions.”

Since opening, he and staff have rearranged the layout “a few times” to adapt to demand. The large indoor space has allowed them to properly distance and section off tables, he said.

“We feel comfortable that we have taken the proper safety measures going into our next theme,” said Bramson. “Anyone not at their table is required to wear a mask and all staff is on top of enforcing that rule.”

The County Board approved Clarendon Popup’s request for a live entertainment and dancing permit in mid-December on the condition that the owners abide by all local, state and federal COVID-19 regulations.

Photos (2-3) via Instagram

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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.

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Morning Notes

Prosecutor Calls for End to Va. Death Penalty — “Top prosecutors from across Northern Virginia are calling on state lawmakers to take up several criminal justice reform measures at the upcoming General Assembly session.. An end to cash bail, the death penalty, mandatory minimum sentencing and the state’s ‘three strikes’ rule for felony offenses are among the reforms the coalition wants to see lawmakers address during the next General Assembly session, which begins Jan. 13.” [InsideNova]

Pouring One Out for Siné — “Another casualty of the pandemic, we are bummed to report, is the beloved Sine Irish Pub on Pentagon Row, where defense journalists and many of their sources have gathered for countless milestones over the years… We agree the watering hole’s central place in national security cannot be overstated. ‘There wouldn’t be a Space Force without the Pentagon’s Unofficial Officer’s Club, Sine Irish Pub!’ tweeted space policy consultant Ryan Faith.” [Politico]

New Home Near Yorktown HS Impresses — “Take a look at the jewel-toned hues in this pretty Arlington home. This couple built a colorful dream home that recognizes their rural roots but gives it a modern edge.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Murals Make Crystal City More Colorful — “Messages of positivity and inclusiveness in the form of fun and colorful artwork. You can see it with your own eyes on 18th and 20th Street S. in National Landing.” [Twitter]

Rosslyn Physical Therapy Office Bought — “OrthoVirginia is pleased to announce the acquisition of Optimal Physical Therapy in Arlington, VA. This merger allows more continuity of care for patients as well as improves access to physical therapy services.” [Press Release]

Beyer Unloads on Trump — From Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), in response to President Trump questioning the Georgia Senate election results: “Donald Trump is a pathetic, disgraceful liar and the day we are rid of him will be a great day for the United States of America.” [Twitter]

Amazon Eyes Retail Spot in Bailey’s Xroads — “Amazon.com Inc. appears to be taking a portion of a shuttered Safeway supermarket in Baileys Crossroads for another of its full-size grocery stores, at least the fifth in Greater Washington for the e-commerce and cloud computing giant.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Clarendon Popup Bar, located inside the former Clarendon Ballroom space, opened for New Year’s revelry and live music this past weekend.

The popup, temporarily themed as a “Winter Wonderland” bar, started serving customers exactly one year after the old event and nightlife spot at 3185 Wilson Blvd closed on New Year’s Eve in 2019. Fire department personnel could be seen conducting final inspections inside the space on Wednesday, before the opening.

“The opening weekend was a huge success,” owner Mike Bramson said in an email. “The turnout was better than we expected as all tables were booked [or] sold out. Our guests really enjoyed the decorations, themed cocktails, projection wall, DJs and bands.”

This coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the multi-level popup bar and event venue will celebrate its official opening. A more detailed lineup of events, featuring a mix of DJs and bands, will be on the website by the end of the week, Bramson said.

“We also have a large projection wall where we can show some playoff [football] games,” he said. “We are already working on a Super Bowl event.”

High-top tables are first-come, first-served, while the bar takes reservations via email for couches, Bramson said.

The County Board approved Clarendon Popup’s request for a live entertainment and dancing permit in mid-December on the condition that the owners abide by all local, state and federal COVID-19 regulations.

“The size of the space allows us to properly social distance and keep our patrons and staff safe while enjoying a fun atmosphere,” Bramson said.

“Typical internal delays” forced owners to postpone the popup’s opening from early December until the last weekend of the year, Bramson previously told ARLnow. As a result, the “Winter Wonderland” theme will stay through at least Jan. 30.

Bramson, a co-owner of The Lot — the popular outdoor beer garden a few blocks from the Ballroom — confirmed in October that Clarendon was getting a new, temporary nightlife spot in a familiar hangout.

The popup bar plans to operate 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.

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Siné Closes at Pentagon Row

Long-time Pentagon Row watering hole Siné has closed its doors.

The Irish pub, a popular gathering spot that was perpetually packed around St. Patrick’s Day, announced the closure on Saturday.

“It is with sadness that we have to say goodbye!” the bar said on Facebook. “We have closed our doors permanently. It has been a pleasure serving you and we hope that you all find a new home at one of the other fantastic restaurants here in Pentagon Row.”

Siné has a second location, in Richmond, that appears to still be open.

By ARLnow’s count, Siné is the 20th Arlington restaurant to close during the pandemic. Early during the public health emergency, in March, Champps sports bar — next to Siné — also closed its doors; it is now set to be replaced by Nighthawk Pizza, a beer-centric hangout, as Pentagon Row rebrands as “Westpost.”

Photo via Facebook

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