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by Chris Teale December 15, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

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.”

Construction Update:The steel columns & beams have been delivered and partially installed. We passed two of the six…

Posted by Dudley's Sport and Ale on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

by Chris Teale December 14, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

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.

by Chris Teale December 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

(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.

by Chris Teale November 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm 0

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.

by Chris Teale November 15, 2017 at 10:45 am 0

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.”

(more…)

by Chris Teale October 30, 2017 at 3:15 pm 0

Chester’s Billiards, Bar & Grill is no more after its landlord put its building in Nauck up for sale.

The billiards hall and neighborhood bar at 2620 Shirlington Road closed on Wednesday, October 25. Signs outside show the building, now abandoned, is up for sale. The Chester’s sign remains.

Chester’s had gone before the Arlington County Board on Tuesday, October 24 for a three-month review of its live entertainment permit. County staff had recommended before the meeting for a second time this year that the Board deny an extension of the permit.

But at the meeting, Rebecca Lewis, a managing member at Chester’s, said the building’s owner has decided to sell their property. Lewis said he did so because of the ongoing issues with the building’s elevator, which has led to criminal charges and will take more than $250,000 to fix.

Lewis also questioned staff’s data on calls to the Arlington County Police Department, as well as the violation of its ABC license. She said that several of the five police calls involved an employee who was caught embezzling funds and is now the subject of criminal proceedings, and said that there were people in the community who wanted to “sabotage the business.”

“It seems that there seems to have been, especially with the police department, a wanting to shut down this business,” Lewis said.

Adam Watson, a staffer at the county’s Department of Community, Planning, Housing and Development, also noted that Chester’s hosted two dance parties with 40-50 people despite not holding a permit to do so. In response, Lewis said that those events were music shows that did not qualify as dance events.

“It’s almost impossible to tell people when music is playing that they can’t move their bodies,” she said. “[We] never encouraged or had something that we called a dance event.”

In a brief statement to the Board, Chester’s manager David Breedlove stood by the bar’s arrest record, and said he was grateful to the police for their help.

“I want to thank the Arlington police department for setting me straight, but never, one time, was there an arrest at that bar,” he said. “Yes, there were problems down below.”

Board member Christian Dorsey said it is clearly “difficult” to run a business, but said he hoped the bar’s managers try again soon. In a unanimous vote, the Board denied an extension to the bar’s permit.

“Clearly this didn’t work out for you or the community, which is why we are where we are today,” Dorsey said. “But I certainly wish you luck in any future endeavors you are about to take.”

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm 0

In Clarendon, you get one more chance to celebrate the most thrilling and chilling time of year, The Clarendon Halloween Crawl. Rise of the Day Drinkers on Saturday, November 4 will be the largest Halloween bar event in Arlington.

A ticket includes a souvenir haunted mug, party favors, access to Clarendon’s best bars, exclusive drink and food specials, free pictures of the event and a raffle entry to win great prizes. There will be amazing door prizes for the best dressed, so participants are encouraged to go all out with their most creative, funny or terrifying costumes.

Participating bars include: Clarendon Grill, Pamplona, Bar Bao, Mister Days, Whitlow’s, Whitlow’s Rooftop, Hunan One, Oz. and more bars to be announced.

With today’s ARLnow Deal of the Day, tickets are 50 percent off. Tickets, normally $20 each online, are half off when you use promo code “ARLNOW50.” Day of event tickets will be sold for $30.

Purchase Today’s Deal Now

Discount Code: ARLNOW50

WHEN: Saturday, November 4 from 1-9 p.m.

WHERE: Clarendon Neighborhood Bars

WHAT: Clarendon’s largest Halloween bar event.  Cover-free access to Clarendon’s best bars, great food and drink specials, party favors, free pictures of the event, costume contest and free raffle entry with amazing prizes. For more information please visit the event’s website: www.clarendonhalloweencrawl.com

You must be 21 or older to participate. Please drink responsibly.

by Chris Teale October 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

After months of anticipation, new sports bar “The G.O.A.T” will open this afternoon in Clarendon.

The sports bar and lounge at 3028 Wilson Blvd, in the former Hard Times space, will begin serving customers at 4 p.m. today (Wednesday) in a soft opening that includes a limited food menu.

The G.O.A.T has three full bars and tables across two levels, with seating for around 350 people. Individual TV monitors line the walls, with a jumbo screen on each floor.

At the back, a champagne room will seat around 30 people and have its own screens, while nearby are several arcade games and a photo booth.

Scott Parker, a local nightlife titan behind the likes of A-Town Bar and Grill, Don Tito and Barley Mac in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, estimated there are more than 60 television screens throughout.

On the menu, guests can expect American comfort food with what executive chef Mike Cordero described as an “electrifying twist.” Some Tacos will come with Korean steak, while the sliders will come with smoked pork belly and duck among others.

And for dessert, Cordero said The G.O.A.T’s Baked Alaska will “take the cake,” and be flambéed at the table while customers look on.

Among the cocktails on the menu is the signature “G.O.A.T.,” made up of Hennessy Black, orgeat syrup, homemade margarita mix, lemons and Peychraud’s Bitters. Customers can also experience “The Cavalier” and “The Twenty-Three,” smoked with apple wood chips and hickory, respectively.

The G.O.A.T. will open at 4 p.m. on weekdays, and at noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

The GOAT is opening today (Wednesday) at 4 p.m. in Clarendon. Here's a 360 view inside.

Posted by ARLnow.com on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

by Chris Teale October 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

After being given three months to remedy its violations, county staff is recommending the Arlington County Board not extend the live entertainment permit for Chester’s Billiards, Bar & Grill.

In a report to the Board ahead of Saturday’s monthly meeting, staff said issues continue to plague the billiards hall and neighborhood bar at 2620 S. Shirlington Road in Nauck.

Since the Board’s last review in June, staff said the Arlington County Police Department visited to help Chester’s staff correct outstanding violations, train security staff and conduct ABC compliance checks.

But during that period, police found three ABC violations and saw Chester’s hosting a dance party for between 40 and 50 people in August, despite being warned it was not allowed under its permit with the county.

Staff also said police were called five times, with four of those calls involving co-owner David Breedlove. No arrests were made.

The building’s unsafe elevator also remains an ongoing problem, with the property’s owner having been served a court summons and set for arraignment next month for violating the Virginia Maintenance Code. Staff said the elevator is, in the opinion of Code Enforcement, “dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of the building’s occupants.”

A property owner nearby also complained that Chester’s patrons used a parking lot on his property without permission.

In their report, staff noted that the Nauck Civic Association “had not come to a consensus” on whether the permit should be renewed. Staff added that the president of the Bowman’s Hill Homeowners Association, speaking for himself, said there had “not been much of an improvement” from Chester’s.

Staff were critical of Chester’s management, who they said had not worked hard enough to remedy the problems.

“Given the continued non-compliance with the use permit conditions, and a general lack of good-faith effort on behalf of both the applicant and the property owner to voluntarily comply with these conditions, staff recommends that the County Board not renew the subject use permit,” staff wrote.

Photo via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com October 13, 2017 at 9:50 am 0

Delays on Blue, Orange Lines Due to Person Struck — A person was struck by a train at the L’Enfant Metro station around 9:30 this morning. The incident is causing delays on the Blue and Orange lines, as service has been suspended between L’Enfant and Federal Center. Silver Line trains are operating between Wiehle and Ballston. [Twitter, Twitter, Washington Post]

Reminder: E-CARE Event This Weekend — Arlington County is holding its biannual Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. This time around the venue has changed; the recycling and hazardous household materials collection event is now being held at Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Blvd). [Arlington County]

Scott Disick Comes to Arlington, Disses ARLnowUpdated at 12:10 p.m. — Reality TV personality Scott Disick lorded over the grand opening ceremony for Sugar Factory in Pentagon City last night. About 100 people, mostly young women, showed up for the event, according to an ARLnow employee on the scene. Disick did interviews with local news outlets, but PR reps cut off the interviews and ushered Disick away just as our employee was next in line. [Twitter, Facebook, Daily Mail]

Kirwan’s Opens to Big Crowds — Mark Kirwan, owner of Samuel Beckett’s in Shirlington, may have another hit on his hands. His new bar, Kirwan’s on the Wharf in Southwest D.C., was packed last night before the Foo Fighters concert at the Anthem. [Facebook]

Courthouse Plaza Parking Lot Closed Sunday — The county’s Courthouse Plaza parking lot will be closed most of the day Sunday for the 2017 Animal Welfare League of Arlington Pints 4 Paws event. [Arlington County]

Marymount Makes USNWR Top Tier — “Marymount University is once again in the top tier among Regional Universities in the South in several categories, ranking 52nd overall in the 2018 edition of ‘Best Colleges’ by U.S. News & World Report.” [Marymount University]

AIRE Wins Regional Award — The Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy was among this year’s recipients of the Climate and Energy Leadership Awards from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. AIRE’s Energy Lending Library “makes it easy to check out a thermal camera, a box of 10 different LED bulbs, energy meter, and Do-It-Yourself energy retrofit books through the library system free of charge,” notes COG. [Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by Katie Pyzyk October 6, 2017 at 10:30 am 0

Central Coffee Bar (1901 N. Moore Street) in Rosslyn is officially open. Owner Mehmet Osman Coskun was thrilled that as of 8:30 a.m. on its opening day, staff already had served 200 customers.

This is his team’s first business in Arlington and they credit the county and the Rosslyn BID for helping them get through first-time business owner snags during the process of opening. “When you have a new business, you don’t know a lot of stuff… and you need support,” Coskun said. “You made your investment and you’re hoping people will help you out.”

The venue isn’t just going to be for coffee and pastries. Owners have applied for a liquor license so they can transition Central Coffee Bar into a bar in the evening. Coskun believes that the establishment’s later service hours will set it apart from others in the neighborhood.

“A lot of places in Rosslyn close by 8 p.m., so people feel like they don’t want to go somewhere at night because it’s going to close soon,” Coskun said. “But we extended our hours to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday because we do feel like people want to hang out after work and socialize and get something to drink. And we really want to appeal to the locals.”

This morning Coskun reiterated what he previously told ARLnow, that he’s interested in expanding in the county and eventually opening a coffee shop/bar in Clarendon.

Central Coffee Bar will hold a grand opening next Thursday, October 12. From 2-4 p.m. all guests will get a free coffee.

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A cigarette reportedly sparked a fire that has closed the patio at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City.

The fire was reported last night around 10:30 p.m. The fire department quickly arrived on scene and extinguished the flames, which scorched parts of the patio and its awning, owner Freddie Lutz told ARLnow.com.

Patrons were evacuated during the fire and no injuries were reported.

The bar, located at 555 23rd Street S., expects to open as usual at 4 p.m. today, though the patio will remain closed indefinitely, pending repairs, Lutz said.

by Katie Pyzyk October 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

The owners of the The Board Room in D.C. had hoped to unveil their Arlington location in the old Sehkraft Brewing spot last month, but construction delays are pushing back the opening of the Clarendon bar and entertainment venue.

Mark Handwerger, the owner of The Board Room’s parent company, Bedrock Bars, wrote in an email, “We are not exactly pleased by the delays.” But he said that The Board Room’s team is “holding everyone’s feet to the fire.”

Part of the issue has been a hold-up on the millwork, delivery and installation of two additional bars. The owners ultimately had to resort to out-of-town fabricators because “everyone within a couple hundred miles of D.C. is buried with other projects, most notably The Wharf,” Handwerger said.

Today an ARLnow reporter visited 925 N. Garfield Street and observed a couple workers inside the demolished bar space, although not a lot of heavy duty construction was taking place. Some of the wall murals have been painted over and new drywall is piled nearby. There’s also a lot of debris and building material staged to be hauled away.

The new goal is for The Board Room to open mid-November if everything goes smoothly.

by ARLnow.com October 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

A 24-year-old Arlington man is in jail after allegedly pulling a knife on a woman and demanding a cigarette.

The incident happened early Friday morning outside a bar in the Buckingham neighborhood, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The man was detained by a security guard and charged with attempted robbery and drunk in public.

More from ACPD:

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY, 2017-09300030, 200 block of N. Glebe Road. At approximately 2:13 a.m. on September 30, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male suspect approached a female victim outside a restaurant, brandished a knife and demanded she give him a cigarette. A security guard at the restaurant intervened and detained the suspect until police arrived. Yordli Cabrera Lopez, 24, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Attempted Robbery and Drunk in Public. He was held on no bond.

by Katie Pyzyk September 29, 2017 at 2:00 pm 0

The annual Clarendon Halloween Crawl is back for another year, sporting the familiar theme “The Rise of the Day Drinkers.”

The costumed event takes participants to numerous Clarendon bars from 1-9 p.m. on Saturday, November 4. Advance tickets are $15 and the price increases to $30 the day of the event.

Participants get “a souvenir haunted mug, access to Clarendon’s best bars, exclusive drink & food specials, free pictures of the event and a raffle entry to win great prizes,” according to the website.

Nearly a dozen Clarendon establishments will be stops on the crawl route, including Clarendon Grill, Hunan One, Whitlow’s and Pamplona.

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