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ACPD Seeking Two Suspects Following Late Night Rumble at Clarendon Restaurant

Two people are wanted by Arlington County Police after a fracas at a Clarendon restaurant early Sunday morning.

Police say the incident started after 2 a.m. when a customer “became irate over the quality of service provided by the business,” then went behind a service counter and struck an employee in the head. A second suspect struck an employee who came to the aid of the first, according to police.

Officers on the Clarendon bar detail responded on foot to the scene after observing “a large crowd and loud noise inside a business.”

The police department generally does not release the name of the business in which a crime takes place, and a police spokeswoman would only describe the business as a restaurant located on the 3100 block of Clarendon Blvd. Restaurants on that block include Mister Days, Bronx Pizza, Bar Bao and Pamplona.

More from an ACPD crime report:

ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2018-05060044, 3100 block of Clarendon Boulevard. At approximately 2:21 a.m. on May 6, officers assigned to the Clarendon Detail observed a large crowd and loud noise inside a business. Upon investigation, it was determined that a customer became irate over the quality of service provided by the business and went behind the service counter. After being escorted back to the customer area, the suspect returned to the area behind the counter and struck one employee in the head. Additional employees came to the aid of the victim, resulting in a physical altercation and a second suspect then struck an aiding employee in the neck. Warrants for Assault and Battery and Disorderly Conduct were issued for the two suspects.

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Morning Notes

Pedestrian Hit, in Critical Condition — Police closed a ramp to Washington Blvd and southbound I-395 during a portion of the Monday morning rush after a vehicle hit a pedestrian in the area of Columbia Pike and Queen Street. The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition. [WJLA, WTOP]

Woman With Cerebral Palsy Finishes First Marathon — Arlington resident Jamie Watts has completed her first marathon, finishing the New Jersey Marathon in 14 hours and 33 minutes. Watts, 36, has cerebral palsy and started participating in races a few years ago to get in shape for a family trip. She has since worked her way up to half marathons and now a full 26.2 miles. [WUSA 9]

Homebuyers’ Cost Per Square Foot Increases — Arlington homebuyers’ cost per square foot increased by 3.6% during the first quarter of 2018, compared with the same time last year. Those buying homes within the county paid a median $462 per square foot, which is more than in any other Northern Virginia jurisdiction. [InsideNova]

Taekwondo Legend Dies in Arlington — “Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the man known as the ‘father of American Taekwondo,’ died Monday after a long illness. He was 86. His son, Chun Rhee, said his father died in hospice care in Arlington, Virginia.” [Associated Press]

Cinco De Mayo Options in Arlington — Ragtime, Pamplona and Bar Bao are a few of the Arlington options for celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby this weekend. [Eater]

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L.A. Bar & Grill Temporarily Closed During License Renewal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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L.A. Bar & Grill Temporarily Closed During License Renewal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Arlington Bar Owners Cheer Chef Geoff’s Happy Hour Advertising Lawsuit

A restaurant owner has filed a lawsuit over Virginia’s happy hour advertising laws that prohibit promoting specific discounts or prices.

Geoff Tracy of Chef Geoff’s, which has a location in Tysons, filed his lawsuit in federal court in Virginia, claiming that the law is unconstitutional as it violates his First Amendment right to free speech.

More from a press release from the Pacific Legal Foundation, which has an office in Clarendon and is representing Tracy:

The law prohibits placing prices on happy hour advertising, as well as using any terminology other than “happy hour” and “drink specials.” Nor can business owners promote “two-for-one” drinks-they must be referred to as “half-priced” drinks instead.

This means ads promoting specials such as “Wine down Wednesdays” and “$5 Margaritas” are perfectly legal at Tracy’s restaurants in Maryland and D.C. But at Chef Geoff’s Tysons Corner… the exact same ads violate state law and could lead to fines and suspension of his liquor license.

“Advertising is crucial to the restaurant business, especially in Metro D.C. where happy hours are popular and competition among eateries is fierce,” Tracy said. “But Virginia would rather punish me than encourage economic prosperity.”

Pacific Legal Foundation, which defends individual liberties nationwide, represents Tracy free of charge. PLF argues that Virginia’s happy hour law not only harms Chef Geoff’s bottom line, it’s also unconstitutional.

“The First Amendment clearly protects Americans’ ability to speak truthfully and freely about their business practices,” said PLF attorney Anastasia Boden. “This law reflects outdated notions about alcohol best left in the Prohibition days.”

Several Arlington bar owners, contacted by ARLnow, agree with Tracy’s position.

Mark Handwerger, who owns Clarendon’s The Board Room, “knew that Virginia has a whole mess of strange rules and laws” but said this specific law doesn’t make sense.

“My whole reaction to this is: why?” Handwerger said of the law. “What’s the point? Gas stations are allowed to put up their prices, so why can’t bars?”

The law isn’t just illogical for businesses, but for customers as well, according to some local bar owners.

“It’s always been the most confusing thing for customers,” said Tony Wagner, owner of Columbia Pike’s BrickHaus “Unless they call, or they’re on site, they have absolutely no idea what the specials are.”

Wagner, is in favor of amending the law, because even though “the law itself is clear but very restrictive… in such a competitive environment like Arlington, how do you stand out if you can’t stand out?”

Scott Parker, co-owner of multiple Arlington establishments like A-Town Bar & Grill and Don Tito’s, says the law puts Virginia bars, particularly those closer to competitors in D.C. and Maryland, at a disadvantage.

“Consumers these days are used to fast information,” he said. “So when they can’t get what they want from Arlington, but across the water in D.C. and they can see exactly what they are going to be getting, it’s hard to compete with that.”

Curt Large of Rosslyn’s Continental Beer Garden said he’s “100% behind Geoff Tracy’s lawsuit,” adding that “it’s absurd, confusing, and an embarrassment to Virginia that it has such a law and vigorously enforces it.”

“The restriction treats the citizens of Virginia like children,” he added.

A web page for the Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (Virginia ABC) notes that “it can seem confusing” and that “you’re not alone” if “you have questions about what you can and can’t do related to happy hour.”

At least one bar owner in Arlington, however, did not believe that a lawsuit is necessary.

“It’s an outdated law but you move on and find different things to focus on when advertising,” wrote Ramesh Chopra, owner of Ballston’s First Down Sports Bar & Grill.

“You can’t get hung up on this law or that law,” Chopra said. “Your sole concentration shouldn’t be happy hour to get people in the door.”

File photo

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Tortoise and Hare Has Closed in Crystal City

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.

As we posted back in August, we were beginning the process of selling Tortoise & Hare. We had extended our lease til…

Posted by Tortoise & Hare Bar & Grill on Wednesday, February 28, 2018

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UPDATE: Shirlington Sports Bar Dudley’s Sets New Opening Timeframe

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.


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Video: A-Town Co-Owner Speaks Out About Imposter

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.

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Beer Garden BrickHaus Applying to Keep Patio Partly in Sidewalk

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.

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Morning Notes

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

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Verre Wine Bar Open in Courthouse

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.

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Ms. Peacock’s Champagne Lounge Open at The Board Room

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.

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Morning Notes

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

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Morning Notes

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

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