In such close quarters, a bar battle may be brewing — or perhaps, distilling — as the up-and-coming beverage in this case is whiskey.
Last week, Twisted Vines at 2803 Columbia Pike introduced 31 bottles of the brown liquor to its menu of wines and craft beer and is calling itself the first whiskey bar in the area.
(Copperwood Tavern, in Shirlington, may disagree.)
A short walk down the road from Twisted Vines is 2501 Columbia Pike, the home of the forthcoming Marble and Rye, a self-proclaimed wood fire kitchen and whiskey bar that’s planning a soft opening by the end of next week. Its current whiskey list includes 160 bottles and has plans to cap its selection at 200.
So, why whiskey, and why in Arlington?
“For us it’s actually a natural brand extension because we want to be a destination for fine wines, and now fine whiskey,” Tony Wagner, owner of Twisted Vines said. “People were asking for it. It’s a lot like with craft beer and wine in the sense that consumers are more knowledgable and interested in learning more about it.”
Wagner said when the restaurant first introduced its “extensive whiskey program” they started with the 31 bottles but hope to add 15 or 20 by the end of the year.
“We’re really proud of it,” he said of his whiskey plans. “Customers are becoming more sophisticated in their taste, so they want to go to a place where they can expand on that taste.”
Marble and Rye also hopes to teach locals the ways of whiskey, with a designated tasting room and cocktails that are “appealing to new whiskey drinkers and the whiskey fanatics.”
Restaurant spokeswoman Sarah Lakey described the restaurant’s menu as contemporary and locally-inspired while taking a sophisticated twist by pairing whiskeys with menu items. This is in the hopes that more customers will be encouraged to give the dark liquor a try.
“Whiskey is being enjoyed more and more as people realize there’s something for everyone,” she said.
The challenge of having a new whiskey bar as a next door neighbor, however, is welcomed.
“We are pleased that other restaurants on the Pike are expanding their whiskey offerings,” Lakey added. “Our hope is that the Columbia Pike corridor will become a destination for strong whiskey programs.”
The question of exactly how much room is on the Pike for whiskey bars, then, remains unclear. It seems that’ll be left for the drinkers to decide.
With three weeks to go until St. Patrick’s Day, ARLnow.com has compiled a list of Irish bars in Arlington, Va. to help you decide where to celebrate the holiday.
We sent a questionnaire to each of the following bars, asking everything from the cost of a pint to the hours of operation.
The Celtic House
2500 Columbia Pike
♣ Open: Daily from 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
♣ Happy hour: Weekdays from 3-7 p.m.
♣ Established: Dec. 2014
♣ Pour of Guinness: $7
♣ Shot of Jameson: $7
♣ Describe the establishment: “We are a cozy, Irish-owned-and-run pub with a gorgeous bar, a flair for true & traditional Irish food, and the perfect spot to slide into a booth with your kids, friends, or date for beer and bite — root beer for the kids, of course. We love soccer, so the games are always on. And if you ask nicely, we might just show March Madness as well.”
♣ St. Patrick’s Day plans: “Join us on Paddy’s day for an experience that could only compare to spending the day in Ireland itself. Hot pub food, cold beer — and none of that green, American beer! We’ve got the real stuff! Be on the lookout for guest appearances from local dance troupes, sounds of Ireland, and all for no cover charge!”
Ireland’s Four Courts
2051 Wilson Blvd (Courthouse)
♣ Open: Weekdays from 11 a.m.-2 a.m., weekends from 9 a.m.-2 a.m.
♣ Happy hour: Weekdays from 4-8 p.m., weekends from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
♣ Established: March 1996
♣ Pour of Guinness: $7.50
♣ Shot of Jameson: $7
♣ Describe the establishment: “We are a friendly Neighborhood Pub that serves Irish/American Traditional food and drinks. Our decor is authentic dark
wood, fireplaces and the memorabilia and decor all came from Ireland. Many of our regulars drink from our Pewter Mugs from also Ireland (we have sold almost 2500 since we opened). We have entertainment 7 nights a week, including open mic, Solo Musicians, Bands, karaoke and Pub Quiz. It can also be a very romantic place! We have had three engagements in since Thanksgiving! ”
♣ St. Patrick’s Day plans: “Not a day for the faint hearted. Doors open at 9 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. We will be serving traditional Irish breakfast and lunch and the party will be in full swing with music starting at 10 a.m. Join in this all-day celebration with, satellite bars, a heated outdoor tent, Irish dancers performing, and six bands playing live music from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.”
A new superhero will be hitting the streets and bars of Clarendon Saturday night.
“SoberWoman” is described as the “witty better half” of SoberMan (left), the anti-DUI superhero who tried to save Clarendon bargoers from poor post-drinking decision making last December.
“SoberWoman will engage with patrons at Arlington area restaurants and quiz them on how they plan to get home after partying,” according to a press release. “She will award prizes to those who have made advanced plans to get home safely by not drinking and driving. SoberWoman will pose for pictures and encourage bar-goers to share photos and her mission via social media, using hashtag #SoberWoman.”
SoberWoman is planning on stopping by Whitlow’s on Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd), Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) and Spider Kelly’s (3181 Wilson Blvd) between 10:00 p.m. and midnight on Saturday. She will be joined by Arlington County Police Department Captain Kamran Afzal and Kurt Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program.
The arrival of SoberWoman should attract some attention. She will “arrive in a police motorcade and use a P.A. system to announce her mission at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Filmore St., adjacent to Whitlow’s,” according to the press release. “She will repeat her police ‘sirens and lights’ arrival at the following bars before engaging bar-goers inside”
Organizers say SoberWoman’s superpowers — namely, “continued vigilance and heightened awareness about drinking and driving” — are needed because drunk driving fatalities have been on the rise in Virginia over the last two years.
Zimmerman Pushes Back Last Day — County Board member Chris Zimmerman’s last day in office will be Feb. 10, rather than late January as originally planned. As a result, the special election to replace him on the Board will likely have to be held in early April. [Sun Gazette]
Henry Elementary Wins Accolade — Arlington’s Patrick Henry Elementary School, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, has been recognized as a Title I Distinguished School. “Henry is one of 55 schools honored for raising the academic achievement of economically disadvantaged students,” Arlington Public Schools said in an email.
Arlingtonian Tapped as Solicitor General — Arlington resident Stuart Raphael has been named as Attorney General Mark Herring’s pick for Virginia Solicitor General. Raphael, a UVA law school graduate, is husband to Arlington School Board Chair Abby Raphael. [Sun Gazette]
Va. Bars Can Now Advertise Happy Hours — Starting Jan. 29, restaurants in Virginia will be allowed to advertise the fact that they offer happy hour specials. That’s the result of new Va. Dept. of Alcohol Beverage Control rules. However, restaurants are still not allowed to advertise the price of the drinks on special. Other alcohol-related “blue laws” that remain in effect in Virginia include a ban on open bars with unlimited drinks and a ban on serving mixed drinks by the pitcher. [Washington Post]
ART Bus Schedule Changes Now in Effect — Schedule changes went into effect today (Monday) for Arlington Transit bus routes 41, 42, 45 and 77. [Arlington Transit]
Howze Wins Straw Poll — On Saturday, Arlington County Board hopeful Alan Howze won an informal Democratic straw poll at a legislative session “send-off” for Del. Alfonso Lopez. Howze captured 59 percent of the vote, while fellow Democratic candidates Cord Thomas and Peter Fallon garnered 25 percent and 16 percent respectively. [Alfonso Lopez]
There are plans, however, for it to move to a new location.
According to a Bailey’s employee, the bar is planning to stay in the Ballston Common Mall, but move into the old Union Jack’s space. The employee was not able to provide any further details about reasons for the move, but confirmed that the Ballston Bailey’s will remain open and will be the only one in the D.C. area.
Right now, the plan is reportedly for Bailey’s to move into the new space this spring, possibly in April. A representative from parent company Fox and Hound could not be reached for comment.
It started on Thursday night with numerous police vehicles zooming into Clarendon with sirens blaring. Drivers pulled over and pedestrians stopped in their tracks. Suddenly, revelers were met with a most unusual sight — a superhero in a cape and leotard emerging from the Chooser Cruiser. Arlington, meet Soberman.
While his getup produced many laughs, Soberman’s message was serious: don’t drink and drive. Speaking through a police car loudspeaker, Soberman told everyone to have fun and enjoy their adult beverages, but to make a smart choice when trying to get home by using a designated driver, taxi, public transportation or by walking.
Soberman’s appearance was coordinated by the Arlington County Police Department and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP). Attendees were reminded of WRAP’s free holiday taxi service through SoberRide, which runs through New Year’s Day.
WRAP President Kurt Erickson said this is a bit of a different tactic for getting people not to drink and drive. The idea is all about engaging people in a fun way to get Soberman’s message to sink in.
“The message for the rest of the year is that police have stepped up to apprehend drunk drivers. But this message is not about that. This message is hey, celebrate responsibly,” said Erickson. “It’s extremely well received. It’s just a little bit of a different message.”
Soberman repeatedly said that people should enjoy the holiday cheer and they don’t necessarily need to stop drinking, they just should be responsible after drinking. He said his mission is “not to be a buzz kill, only to make sure the buzz doesn’t hit the road.”
Drinkers and non-drinkers alike gathered around Soberman to chat with him and to pose for photos. Passengers leaned out of passing cars to snap pictures and people who spotted the commotion came out of buildings to get a better glimpse. Soberman yelled across Wilson Blvd to a number of drinkers who had just stepped out of bars and began cheering. He waved them over to his spot in front of Whitlow’s.
“Partiers of Clarendon, come over here! Soberman wants to talk to you about how you’re getting home!” he said. “You can win prizes!”
The anti-drunk driving superhero approached one man emerging from a bar and said, “Hello, Arlington partier. I am Soberman.” The bar patron promptly replied, “I am Drunkman.” Soberman congratulated the man for having fun and asked the all-important question,”Drunkman, how are you getting home tonight?”
Like all those who were able to prove they had a safe and sober ride home, the man received a Starbucks gift card from Soberman for making a wise choice. The man flashed a Metro card and said he had no intention of getting behind the wheel.
Soberman especially encouraged folks in Clarendon to use social media to spread the word about staying sober while driving. Those who took the message to Twitter have a chance to win a John Wall or Alex Ovechkin bobblehead.
Part of the campaign is to get drinkers to plan ahead instead of trying to come up with a way to get home once they are already impaired.
“People just need to plan ahead, but they often don’t,” Erickson said. “Leaving the bar is not the time to make an exit strategy. If you’re able to plan an evening out, you should be able to plan a safe way home.”
Soberman first appeared at the end of August but has been particularly active during the holiday season.
“My mission is to prevent drunk driving before it starts,” said Soberman. “Any way you get home safe after having adult beverages — by designated driver or bus or Metro or cab — is the safe and sober choice.”
I’ve seen this question come up a lot in other online forums, and we also get it in person at the bar from time to time: You like a place, it seems to fit you, and you wonder how you get to be recognized.
The truth is, it’s pretty easy. Each place is different, and some are frankly not interested in you being a regular — they’re too busy or they just don’t care — but most bars and bartenders love their regulars.
To that end, I offer a few easy tips. If they seem like common sense, that’s because they are — there’s no secret password or handshake. Well, maybe at some of the speakeasies in the city, but you’re on your own there.
- Be nice. Yep, that’s it. Be friendly, patient if it is called for, and use basic courteous language. It’s a sad statement about our society that being nice often causes you to stand out, but it does. Customer service is a tough business, and bartenders have to endure a lot of people that forgot all the rules we learned in kindergarten.
- Come often. I know, you don’t feel like you’re learning anything here, right? Again, it’s basic. You have to show up to be recognized. Not every day, but once a week or so is good enough for a good bartender to easily remember what you like to drink and where you like to sit. Also, and this is important, you can’t only come when it’s packed. When there are 400 people in the place, all surging to the bar, the bartender doesn’t have any time to get to know you.
- Tip generously. Feel like you know all this already? Great, you’re perfectly qualified to be a regular, so come sidle up to the bar and get started. Honestly though, bartenders work for tips, so you’ve got to show some love when you pay your tab. I don’t mean 50%, but if you had a good experience, maybe even got a free cocktail, and you leave only 15%, the bartender probably won’t make space at the bar for you the next time you come in. (See “How to Tip,” below, after the jump.)
Five Ways To Never Be A Regular
This part could be even more helpful, and it comes to you by popular request. Popular request from bartenders across Arlington, that is. Remember that for the most part, bartenders love their job and love taking care of you, but as I said earlier, a lot of people forgot what they learned in Kindergarten.
- No touching. Keep your hands to yourself, even if you’re just trying to get their attention.
- No yelling. That also includes whistling, slapping the bar and — the most condescending of all moves — snapping your fingers. The bartenders will get to you, they are not ignoring you. Please be patient.
- No fighting. Crazy that I have to write this, right? Just relax. If someone bumps you or says hello to your girlfriend, take a deep breath and chill out. Fighting is the best way to not be welcome at the bar. In fact, it will get you instantly banned from Spider Kelly’s.
- Put your phone down. When it’s your turn, just put your phone down. The call or the text can wait, but the bartender won’t. It’s just basic courtesy. I see this at coffee shops all the time, and it makes me nuts.
The Sports Junkies — the four hosts of 106.7 The Fan’s morning sports talk show — will host the event at the Clarendon bar, 3185 Wilson Blvd, Friday night, starting at 7:00 p.m. There will be no cover charge at the door until 10:00 p.m.
The party is being held on the rooftop, and women, encouraged to dress in “summer’s finest,” will be eligible to win prizes from retailers like Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom’s and MAC Cosmetics.
This is the sixth year of the Summer Dress Party, and the second time Clarendon Ballroom has hosted.
Photo via CBS Local
Owner Lary Hoffman raised alarm on social media Tuesday morning when he posted on Facebook and Twitter: “Galaxy Hut for sale.” In fact, Hoffman is selling the bar’s old tap system. It’s listed for $1,500 in a Craigslist ad.
Customers panicked that the sale was the precursor to the entire bar being sold, but Hoffman told ARLnow.com that’s not the case. He’s upgrading from a 20-tap system (currently down to 14 due to a broken “kegerator”) to a 28-tap system.
“Just upgrading the beer system, not selling the Hut,” Hoffman wrote in an email. “I tripled the size of our walk in cooler last year, this is the second phase of upgrading to 28 taps all pouring from the keg room.”
Hoffman couldn’t say specifically when the new tap system would be installed and ready for use, but estimated it would be a few weeks. He said no other major improvements to Galaxy Hut are in store.
The open-air, pedal-powered trolley lets riders mix drinking and exercising while taking in the Arlington sights. Up to 14 people can ride along on a tour, along with one certified Trolley Pub conductor in the captain’s seat.
The trolley already exists in cities like Raleigh, NC. Pricing is not yet listed for the Arlington trolley, but Raleigh’s charges $30 per person for up to six people on a two hour tour, or $350 to rent the entire 14 person pub for two hours.
Riders who want to drink on the ride have to bring their own alcoholic beverages, but are able to use the on-board ice chest. No hard alcohol or glass is allowed, and alcoholic beverages must remain on board at all times.
The tentative launch date is April 13, according to the Trolley Pub Arlington Facebook page.
According to police, on Friday, Feb. 8, the two groups were involved in a verbal altercation inside the bar which escalated throughout the night. Both parties left and while one group of four was trying to walk away, the other group allegedly followed and started a physical altercation.
One of the victims was knocked down and had his head kicked, resulting in a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain. He spent four days in the hospital and was released to the care of his mother, who lives out of state. At the time he was released, the victim had not yet regained hearing in one of his ears.
Another victim was knocked out when she was punched in the face. She has made a full recovery and police anticipate she’ll participate in any upcoming trial or legal proceedings against the suspects.
Two people from the attacking group were arrested. Kevin Gutierrez, 21, was charged with malicious wounding and two counts of assault and battery. He spent four days in jail and has been released on bond. Ebony Hunter, 22, was charged with one count of assault and battery. She was released after being booked.
Police were able to catch up with the suspects quickly due to several witnesses reporting the fight. However, there are varying reports of exactly how many people took part in brawl, and some of the details reported by those involved are fuzzy.
“Everybody’s recollection of the night was a little bit impaired due to the amount of alcohol that was consumed,” said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Reality TV star Chris Bukowski is opening a “female-friendly” sports bar called “Bracket Room” in Clarendon.
The “sports lounge and eatery,” as described in a press release, is expected to open this summer. It will be opening in the former Burapa Thai space at 1210 N. Garfield Street, though as of this morning no building permits have been issued.
Bukowski, a Chicago native who is best known for his appearances as a cast member on the ABC reality shows “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor Pad,” is opening the restaurant with business partners Jeff Greenberg and Nicole Pettitt. Greenberg is also an investor in Clarendon’s Cava Mezze Grill, according to the Washington City Paper.
“The trio plans to change the face of the average sports bar,” said the press release. “By meshing a stylish environment with healthier small plates, and state of the art technology, ‘Bracket Room’ will surely please every palate.”
The press release continued:
“Bracket Room” will boldly redefine the upscale, state-of-the-art sports bar, with wit and irreverent charm. This exciting gathering spot in hip and Metro-accessible Arlington, will serve-up fresh food and drinks that will be unexpected, with a twist. “Bracket Room” will be the ‘go-to’ place for sporting entertainment, yet it will have a modern and female-friendly ambiance.
An avid sports fan, owning a sports lounge has been a dream of his since majoring in Hospitality/Food & Beverage at UNLV. Bukowski is involved with several charities, and he has plans to incorporate a charity with “Bracket Room.”
Last year we reported that co-owner Andrew Stewart had been raising money for a possible new Clarendon location for Dremo’s. That fell through, and almost exactly one year ago Stewart told Urban Turf that he was looking to open a “huge bar in DC with an in-house brewery.” Today, several news outlets are reporting that Stewart and his brother, Bill, will indeed be opening a Bardo Rodeo location at 1200 Bladensburg Road in Northeast D.C.
The Washington Post reports that Bardo will brew its own beer, using brewing equipment mothballed after the Arlington location ceased brewing operations.
“Everything’s going to be the same,” Bill Stewart, Jr. told the Post. “Same recipes, same equipment.”
Prince of Petworth has photos of the tire store and two adjacent buildings that Bardo will be replacing.
According to a liquor license application cited by Titan of Trinidad, the brewpub will have 98 seats inside and 251 seats at an outdoor “summer garden.”
The new Bardo is expected to open at some point early next year.
Photo by Patrick Kennerly via cizauskas/Flickr
Number of Households Growing — The number of households in Arlington grew by one percent over the past year — from 105,667 to 106,717 — a rate twice that of the 0.5 percent household growth in the Commonwealth of Virginia, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [Sun Gazette]
New Ballston Bars Reviewed — Ballston’s bar scene has “received a shot in the arm over the last two weeks” with the openings of World of Beer and A-Town Bar and Grill, according to a review by Fritz Hahn. [Washington Post]
Flickr pool photo by Ddimick
It may be only a matter of days before Columbia Pike’s most ambitious bar/restaurant effort to date opens to the public.
Eamonn’s A Dublin Chipper and T.N.T. Bar, at 2413 Columbia Pike in the Penrose Square development, were hoping to open this coming Monday, but the opening had been delayed due to permitting issues, according to a PR rep. Nonetheless, the interior of the restaurant appears to be nearly finished and T.N.T. is already being touted as the ” latest and greatest bar” yet for famed local mixologist Todd Thrasher.
This is the first Arlington eatery and watering hole for EatGoodFood Group, which operates Restaurant Eve, Eamonn’s, PX, The Majestic and Virtue Feed and Grail, all in Alexandria.
Eamonn’s serves fish, chips, appetizers and small desserts in Old Town Alexandria. An official menu for the Columbia Pike location has yet to be released, but a press release (below) says it will expand on the concept with new offerings like southern fried chicken wings, mini meat pies, house-made biscuits with corned beef, sausage rolls in pastry, “Eamonn’s Dream Burger” (with salami and chicken), sardines, soft-shell crabs (in season), and “Hangover Chips” with cheese, Texas chili and a fried egg. There will also be an expanded dessert selection featuring Cadbury candies.
T.N.T. Bar, a new concept, will serve specialty cocktails in a 30-seat space with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe.
“Todd Thrasher wowed and wooed the district when he introduced us to the craft of cocktails at side-street speakeasy, @PX,” according to a Facebook page. “Now, the city’s granddaddy of grown-up drinks and mixology magic explodes all over again with the new TNT. (Named after his son, Trystan Noah Thrasher) His latest and greatest bar will mix a rock ’n’ roll casual atmosphere with a fizzy fun, “homage to the greats” cocktail list.”
No word yet on an exact opening date. The press release for Eamonn’s and T.N.T., after the jump.
Rendering courtesy EatGoodFood Group