A decade-old Crystal City bar scene stalwart has closed its doors.
Tortoise and Hare Bar and Grill, at 567 23rd Street S., served its last customers on Wednesday, Feb. 28. In a Facebook post, the bar said it had been trying to find a buyer but it was unable to come to an agreement before its lease expired at the end of February.
“It is with great pride and a lot of sadness that we announce that after over 10 and a half years, Tortoise & Hare will be serving its last drinks to the public tonight,” the business wrote. “We can’t express enough how much we appreciate all of our customers over the years making this such a great place to come to every day. And we sincerely thank all of our staff that have worked for us through thick and thin over all these years.”
Tortoise and Hare was a popular destination for sports fans. It was most well-known as a Pittsburgh Steelers bar, but also tuned its TVs to Pittsburgh Pirates and Penguins games, as well as Penn State, Ohio State and Florida State athletics.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — Reese Gardner, the owner of Dudley’s Sport & Ale and Copperwood Tavern, reached out to ARL now after deadline. The sports bar has a revised projected opening time frame of between May and June 1 this year.
“We’re putting in a steel rooftop with 300 some people on top of a structure never designed to have a rooftop,” said Gardner. “There’s a whole lot of things that go into it.”
An updated construction schedule will be posted soon on the Facebook page, and Gardner says that he believes that they have completed all of the special inspections that were holding them back from opening.
“We’re back in there working, and we think that that is the last hoop that we have to jump through,” said Gardner.
Earlier: Shirlington is still waiting for its sports bar.
Dudley’s Sport & Ale, a sports bar planned for Shirlington, originally had an opening date for set for early 2016. Fast forward to February 2018 and, following numerous delays, the bar — which bills itself as “Est. 2015” — is still under construction.
Replacing the former The Bungalow Sports Grill at 2766 S. Arlington Mills Drive, which closed in June 2015, Dudley’s is bringing a 3,000 square foot rooftop space to Shirlington, the neighborhood’s first such rooftop bar.
According to Dudley’s Facebook page, the owners received a permit to continue construction on the rooftop deck last year. Another post stated that the bar had passed two of six necessary county special inspections.
Calls and emails to Dudley’s and its sister restaurants were not returned.
Scott Parker had been dealing with someone posing as him on social media for some time, but he had no idea how far the imposter would go to try to wreck his reputation.
That’s what the A-Town, Don Tito, Barley Mac and G.O.A.T. co-owner told Fox 5’s morning show earlier this week.
Parker was discussing an incident in which an imposter Facebook account sent a well-known writer a hateful, profanity-laced rant that encouraged her to kill herself. The journalist, not realizing at the time that it was not the real Scott Parker, then posted a screenshot of the message she received.
“It happened very fast,” Parker said.
The backlash over the message sent by the “catfish” account led to death threats and angry calls to bars, before it was determined that the real-life Scott Parker was not responsible.
“It was not my first time dealing with trolls,” Parker told Fox 5, “but what woke me up to the dangers of the whole thing is that they’re going after other people now.”
Parker said he was considering working with the police to catch the owner of the troll account, but then decided against it.
A just-opened beer garden on Columbia Pike is applying to keep its patio in part of the sidewalk on S. Walter Reed Drive.
BrickHaus (2900 Columbia Pike) opened in September after months of delays. It is applying to keep its outdoor patio, which encroaches on the public right-of-way on S. Walter Reed Drive, near the intersection with Columbia Pike. The sidewalk is still approximately six feet wide in the area.
If the Arlington County Board approves the plan at its meeting Saturday (January 27), the encroachment would be permitted to continue “until the structures encroaching into the right-of-way are destroyed, removed, no longer in use, or not continuously and promptly maintained by the Applicant,” per a staff report.
The restaurant agreed to pay $429.54 to the county as compensation for the encroachment, and will be required to maintain its patio.
BrickHaus could also be forced to remove its fire pit from the same area. Under the terms of its Use Permit from the county, it must remove the fire pit and either remove or abandon the attached gas line before receiving a Certificate of Occupancy for safety reasons.
Staff recommended the Board allow the patio encroachment.
Map Tracks Water Main Breaks — A new map created by Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services shows the location of the dozens of water main breaks in Arlington County since Nov. 1. “It has been a particularly brutal winter season in Arlington,” DES said via Twitter. [Google Maps]
Local History Archives Closing Temporarily — “Beginning February 1, the Center for Local History’s off-site Community Archives, located at the Woodmont Community Center, will temporarily close for a renovation project.” The archives are not open to the public but are available to researchers on a by-request basis. [Arlington County]
County to Release Amazon Bid Details — Win or lose, after Amazon’s HQ2 process concludes Arlington County plans to release details of its bid for the tech and online retail giant. Arlington is now among those in the Top 20 for the second corporate headquarters. [InsideNova]
Fake ID Stat from ACPD — Bouncers caught 703 fake IDs in Clarendon last year, according to stats from the Arlington County Police Department. Extra vigilance from establishments like Don Tito and Whitlow’s helps “maintain Clarendon has a safe place to enjoy nightlife and entertainment,” says ACPD. [Twitter]
Nearby: DCA Noise Case in Federal Court — “The three-year battle between residents in Northwest Washington and the Federal Aviation Administration over noise from flights at Reagan National Airport is now in the hands of a federal appeals court… A ruling, which could take several months, will be closely watched by communities across the country grappling with similar issues tied to the FAA’s efforts to modernize the nation’s air traffic system.” [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
A new wine bar and restaurant is open on the first floor of a Courthouse hotel.
Verre Wine Bar and Restaurant is located at 2415 Wilson Blvd, on the first floor of the Hyatt Place hotel, which opened ahead of schedule last year. Based on photos posted to the wine bar’s Yelp page, it opened in November.
Verre has an extensive wine and draft beer list, as well as small plates and cheese and charcuterie boards among other foods. It opens at 5 p.m. each day with happy hour.
The Board Room, which opened late last year in Clarendon, has a new addition: Ms. Peacock’s Champagne Lounge.
The extra space at 925 N. Garfield Street, which once was the butcher shop at the former Sehkraft Brewing, describes itself as “an update on the classic, elegant salons of a bygone era — a relaxing oasis amid the hustle of modern life.”
“People come in here and say they feel underdressed,” joked owner Mark Handwerger.
It offers 41 different varieties of champagne and sparkling wine, as well as specialty cocktails, including ones that rotate on a seasonal and monthly basis. Champagne is also available in tasting flights.
And along with the usual fare of small plates, cheeses and salads, it has caviar available accompanied by diced shallots, chives, grated eggs, creme fraiche and blinis, a Russian pancake.
Ms. Peacock’s will also host events, including talks with champagne and wine makers. It is adjacent to another small room, known as The Chairman’s Lounge, through a retractable bookcase.
It adjoins The Board Room, which offers board games for rent in addition to a large food and drinks menu. It is The Board Room’s second location — its first is in Dupont Circle.
Arlington Adding Winter Shelter Beds — In response to the frigid temperatures, Arlington County says it is expanding the number of hypothermia slots at the Courthouse area winter shelter for singles operated by A-SPAN, “adding 10 more to the current 25.” [Twitter]
Bicycle Beltway Proposal — “A new bicycle beltway is set to be endorsed by the region’s Transportation Planning Board in January. The full Outer Loop would be 45 miles long. The beltway would also have additional connections in the middle, through the heart of downtown D.C. along the National Mall.” [WTOP]
Father of Rep. Don Beyer Dies — “Donald S. Beyer, Sr., the patriarch of the storied Beyer family dynasty in Falls Church, died last Saturday two weeks before his 94th birthday.” [Falls Church News-Press]
Local NYE Bar Options — Looking for a place to ring in the new year in Arlington? Last month we published a sponsored list of five options along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor that are still applicable. [ARLnow]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Long-time Ballston watering hole CarPool closed earlier this year, and now it has been bulldozed to make way for a new development.
Photos show the bar flattened as construction crews prepare to build a new 22-story luxury residential building.
— Lauren Berl (@LaurBerl) December 22, 2017
Photos (top) courtesy Phil McGeehan
Beyer Blasts GOP Tax Bill — Rep. Don Beyer is, to say the least, not a fan of the Republican tax bill that is expected to pass the House and be sent to the president’s desk later today. “At its core, this bill is an immoral redistribution of wealth towards the richest among us at a cost of trillions of dollars, and I believe that those who voted for this monstrosity will be held accountable,” Beyer said in a statement. [Rep. Don Beyer, Twitter]
Single Vote Swings Va. House — Thanks to a Democratic candidate in Newport News winning her race by a single vote, as determined in a recount, the Virginia House of Delegates is now evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, ending a majority the GOP has maintained since 2000. [Washington Post]
‘Dominion Pint’ Coming to Arlington — The owner of Meridian Pint (also Brookland Pint and Smoke & Barrel) in D.C. is planning to open a new craft beer-centric outpost somewhere in North Arlington. The location has not yet been announced, but it will be called “Dominion Pint.” [PoPville]
DESIGNArlington Winners Announced — The Arlington County Board on Tuesday recognized the ten 2017 DESIGNArlington award winners for “outstanding architectural or landscape design in the County.” Among the winners are the new Marymount University building in Ballston, the Tellus apartment building in Courthouse, “The Quill” public art project in Rosslyn and two private North Arlington residences. [Arlington County, Arlington County]
Gutshall Sworn In — The newest Arlington County Board member, Erik Gutshall, was sworn in at yesterday’s Board meeting, while outgoing County Board Chair Jay Fisette received a standing ovation. [Twitter]
Changes to Historic Preservation Process — The Arlington County Board voted unanimously last night to revise and further codify the process for requesting historic preservation studies. Until now, any single individual could request a “historic preservation overlay district” study, which requires significant county staff time to complete. Before the vote, such a study could even be requested without consulting property owners in the proposed district. [Arlington County]
Arlington Man Dies in Plane Crash — Paul Schuda, a National Transportation Safety Board official and Arlington resident, was among three people killed in the crash of a small plane in Indiana. [NPR, Legacy]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
A Ballston-based burger restaurant hopes to open its second location in Shirlington early next year.
According to its website, Big Buns Damn Good Burgers & Bar will open at 4251 Campbell Ave in January. In the build-up to its opening, Big Buns is offering various gift cards to its new location, including a year-long membership for $150.
For $5,000, someone can buy free burgers for life and burger naming rights on an “epic new Designer Burger for Shirlington.”
“Oh it gets better, every time you visit Big Buns Shirlington to see your name and in the bright big burger lights, you eat for free, forever,” the website reads.
Big Buns — not to be confused with existing Shirlington bakery Best Buns — serves customizable burgers, “designer” burgers with pre-chosen ingredients and burger bowls, where the meat and toppings are served without buns.
Elsewhere in Shirlington, Dudley’s Sport and Ale (2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive) continues to move steadily towards an opening.
Yesterday (Wednesday), owner Reese Gardner posted on the sports bar’s Facebook page that the steel columns and beams have been installed, and that it passed two of six county inspections.
“Once the rest of the structure is assembled and inspected we will be able to have a very clear timeline,” Gardner wrote. “Thanks for hanging with us.”
A wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar on Columbia Pike will close at the end of the year, staff confirmed.
Marble and Rye at 2501 Columbia Pike will close on December 31. A staff member said it will shutter after Sunday brunch that day. Staff in the restaurant declined to comment on a reason for the closure.
It opened in late 2015 at the Penrose Square property, replacing RedRocks Neapolitan Bistro.
The menu features pasta, pizza and seafood dishes as well as sandwiches and burgers. It has more than 150 different whiskeys and whiskey-based cocktails, in addition to its wine and beer selection.
When it opened, Marble and Rye had been hailed as part of a growth of whiskey bars on Columbia Pike.
Events company Magnolia Open Mics will host its final open mic night at Marble and Rye this Sunday (December 17), in conjunction with the Songwriters Association of Washington. The event begins at 6 p.m., and includes a raffle.
NEWS: @MarbleandRyeVA is closing at end of Dec 2017. Our final @SAW_DC showcase event is Sunday 12/17 starts 6pm social, 7pm music. Free parking, raffles! Last chance!https://t.co/BRGwkCEQaT@penrosesquare @WTOPFreebies @ArlingtonCPRO @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/ant6lFbdEb
— Magnolia Open Mics (@MagnoliaOpenMic) December 14, 2017
(Updated at 4:25 p.m.) A mainstay Ballston bar and restaurant will close its doors at the end of the year.
Front Page, in business at 4201 Wilson Blvd since the early-to-mid 2000s, will shutter at the end of the month, according to multiple tipsters. Reached by phone, employees confirmed the news to an ARLnow.com reporter.
Front Page has been a popular after-work watering hole for Ballston workers and residents. It serves lunch and dinner each day as well as weekend brunch and serves traditional American fare. The restaurant is on the ground floor of Stafford Place I, the now-former headquarters of the National Science Foundation that is set for a revamp.
We’re told that Front Page declined to renew its lease on the space, and so it will close.
The closure comes shortly after the National Science Foundation moved to Alexandria and shortly before the renovated Ballston Quarter mall reopens across the street with new entertainment and dining options.
“It’s more of a lease thing,” one employee told ARLnow.com. “They took our patio away, and business-wise, it’s the decision that was made. We feel bad for the guests and employees; it’s not something we wanted to happen.”
We’re told that Front Page will stay open as normal between now and midnight on either December 30 or 31. No word yet on whether a closing party of any kind will be held.
A bar that combines an extensive drinks menu with board games is now open in Clarendon.
The Board Room opened yesterday (Tuesday) at 925 N. Garfield Street, in the space formerly occupied by Sehkraft Brewing. This is The Board Room’s second location — it already has one in Dupont Circle.
It has space for around 140 people in the main bar area, as well as the adjoining “Ms. Peacock’s Champagne Lounge,” which was the butcher shop. Mark Handwerger, owner of The Board Room’s parent company Bedrock Bars, said this morning that he expects that section to be open on Friday, depending on construction.
The Board Room will look to continue Sehkraft’s in-house brewing, and Handwerger said it will start to have its own beer available for purchase on Monday, made initially at a commercial brewer. It also has an extensive cocktail and food menu.
Board games are available for rent, with various box tops from other board games added to the walls as art throughout. Even the entrances to the restrooms have references to board games on their doors.
Handwerger had planned to open The Board Room earlier, but construction issues caused delays.
A mainstay of the Clarendon bar and restaurant scene celebrates a significant milestone Friday, as Mister Days (3100 Clarendon Blvd) marks its 40th anniversary.
It first opened in an alleyway off Dupont Circle on November 21, 1977 serving prime rib, ham sandwiches, a soup and a salad. And in the years that followed, including a move to 18th Street NW between L and M Streets NW before opening in Arlington in 2000, it gained a strong following.
The bar has served famous guests like movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Washington Redskins greats like Sonny Jurgensen and John Riggins, and had live entertainment from singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter early in her career.
But owner Robert E. Lee said it is the relationships he has built that are most memorable.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Lee said of the anniversary. “You start losing friends, not customers, but friends that you met through business. After you get out of school, you have professional relationships. In the bar business and restaurant business, you meet hundreds of people that become friends.”
Lee said that initially, he was unsure about having televisions showing sports in Mister Days, figuring it would be a distraction from the dancing and food. But when he saw customers leaving to go home and watch “Roots,” a 1970s miniseries, he began to think differently.
Instead of relying on the major network broadcasts, Lee did something new for customers by, as he put it, putting on “all games all the time.”
“We figured out how to do back-channels through satellite dishes, so we got the satellite dishes,” he said. “We started doing all games all the time. Nobody else had it. We weren’t the first sports bar, but I believe we were the first where you could get all the games. You couldn’t buy them.”
Much of Mister Days’ popularity in D.C. came from its “Rally in the Alley,” an outdoor event held in conjunction with other nearby bars that included food, drink and live entertainment and at times hosted 15,000 people.
What began as a party one St. Patrick’s Day morphed into a charity event, just one of the bar’s charitable ventures that also included paying for kids to attend basketball camps and get basketball scholarships to DeMatha Catholic High School and donating food for free Christmas and Thanksgiving meals.
“[Rally in the Alley] became a major event,” Lee said. “That’s like the acorn that became an oak tree. That was just an idea, and that’s what I love to do. You have an idea, and all of a sudden it works.”