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by Chris Teale — June 20, 2017 at 10:00 am 0

For the time being at least, A-Town Bar & Grill in Ballston appears to have turned over a new leaf after a troubled few months.

The bar had been ordered to have its permit for live entertainment and dancing reviewed by the Arlington County Board three months after its last review in March. That review took place days after a brawl nearby that ended with police officers tasing two suspects, including one dressed in a Pikachu onesie.

But a staff report on A-Town’s progress since then — presented to the Board on Saturday — noted no code, fire or ABC violations, and only eight calls to the police.

Of those eight calls, the report said, the only time an arrest was made was for an “intoxicated subject acting ‘confused,'” which was called in by a staff member on Friday, March 24 around 2:30 p.m. The other seven police calls, including one on Sunday, April 23 at 7:49 p.m. when someone asked where they could buy drugs, did not result in violations.

Since March’s brawl, part of what neighbors said was a litany of incidents in previous years and a strained relationship with the County Board and staff, A-Town and county officials have hosted a series of meetings with those nearby.

The police and Fire Marshal’s Office held a meeting with A-Town’s owners on March 28 to discuss training for preventing incidents like noise disturbances, over-serving customers and assaults. County staff also contacted the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association, as well as representatives of the Altavista and Berkeley Condominiums as part of this review.

“The president of the BVSCA noted that they have continued to have productive discussion with the A-Town owners, and reported no issues from other members of the BVSCA,” the report reads. “A representative of the Altavista credited the A-Town owners for a recent change in management that has resulted in patron behavior that was described as ‘much more restrained’ and ‘civil’ than in the ‘last many years.'”

The Board accepted the findings of the review as part of its consent agenda items, with no further comment from the public or members. A-Town’s next review will be before the Board in December.

by Chris Teale — June 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm 0

The long-delayed Dudley’s Sport & Ale in Shirlington is finally on the road to completion after its owner said the county approved the necessary permits.

Owner Reese Gardner said that with the approval, he will have more of an idea of an opening date for the sports bar at 2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive after a construction meeting next week.

The sports bar was dogged by permitting problems that delayed its construction and prevented its opening, which had been planned for last year.

Approval could mean that Gardner, who also owns Copperwood TavernQuinn’s on the Corner in Rosslyn and Irish Whiskey in the District, may have a chance of hitting his revised target of having Dudley’s open this summer.

A 28-seat bar, a 125-seat dining area, and a “stadium style” viewing area are planned, as well as a rooftop bar — Shirlington’s first — with a game area, a 15-seat bar, and patio seating for about 114 people.

by ARLnow.com — May 25, 2017 at 9:20 am 0

Kal Penn Spotted at A-Town — Eddie Lacy wasn’t the only famous person spotted at an Arlington bar over the past week. Actor and former Obama administration official Kal Penn was photographed hanging out at A-Town Bar and Grill in Ballston this past weekend.

NKD Pizza Closed in Ballston — The NKD Pizza restaurant on N. Quincy Street in Ballston is closed. The struggling chain’s Pentagon Row location closed a year ago. [Yelp, Twitter, Twitter]

Monday Properties Refinances Rosslyn Portfolio — “Monday Properties has completed an $888 million refinancing of its Rosslyn portfolio… resolving one of the largest chunks of expiring commercial real estate debts taken out before the recession.” Meanwhile, Monday says that Nestle moving its corporate headquarters to 1812 N. Moore Street “has prompted other prospects to consider Rosslyn that wouldn’t have in the past.”  [Washington Business Journal]

Arlington’s Bond Rating Affirmed — “For the 17th year in a row, all three credit ratings agencies have reaffirmed Arlington County’s debt ratings of Aaa/AAA/AAA — the highest rating. Arlington is one of just 45 Counties in the United States, and 9 in Virginia, to receive the highest rating from all three credit agencies for its bonds.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Video of Fire in Falls Church — Arlington County firefighters assisted on a shed and house fire in the Falls Church section of Fairfax County last week. The blaze was caught on video by a neighbor. [Statter 911]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com — May 23, 2017 at 2:15 pm 0

Newly-signed Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy spent part of his weekend in Clarendon.

Lacy, who was earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Honors in 2013 while on the Green Bay Packers, was photographed hanging out with Arlington County police officers who were patrolling the bar district. The department posted some of the photos on Twitter Monday, including one with Lacy sitting on a police motorcycle and another in which he is smiling while holding a pair of handcuffs.

Lacy also was spotted at Don Tito, where he posed with co-owner Nick Cordero.

Other professional athletes have been spotted at Don Tito over the past couple of years, including former Washington Capitals player Brooks Laich (with fiancée Julianne Hough) and United States women’s national soccer team defender Ali Krieger.

by Chris Teale — May 17, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

The long-awaited and long-delayed Dudley’s Sport & Ale in Shirlington appears to still be far from ready to open.

Owner Reese Gardner had hoped the sports bar would be open in either June or July, but in a brief email he said the planned sports bar at 2766 S. Arlington Mill Drive is still plagued by the same permitting problems “as before, unfortunately.”

Gardner said the county has still not approved all of its necessary permits. A 28-seat bar, a 125-seat dining area, and a “stadium style” viewing area are planned, as well as a rooftop bar — Shirlington’s first — with a game area, a 15-seat bar, and patio seating for about 114 people.

The original plan was to open Dudley’s last March, but work associated with the planned rooftop deck greatly delayed that timeline.

A spokeswoman for the county’s department of community, planning, housing and development confirmed the project has been going through the administrative change process. The spokeswoman referred further questions to the county’s lead planner on the project, who did not respond to requests for more information.

Gardner, who also owns the nearby Copperwood TavernQuinn’s on the Corner in Rosslyn and Irish Whiskey in the District, said he would have further information on an opening date once permits are approved.

by Chris Teale — May 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Just months after Sehkraft Brewing closed in Clarendon, its successor is preparing to make its mark.

According to license applications filed with Virginia ABC, The Board Room will look to continue Sehkraft’s in-house brewing in its former space at 925 N. Garfield Street. The old restaurant had a 10-barrel system for making its own beer. A permit application indicates that The Board Room hopes to brew up to 500 barrels per year.

Mark Handwerger, owner of The Board Room’s parent company Bedrock Bars, confirmed in an email that the bar will look to continue the in-house brewing program, but there is “nothing concrete” regarding operations or if they will partner with anyone.

The Board Room, which has another location currently open in Dupont Circle, combines an extensive drinks menu with board games, available for rent for a flat fee of $2.

The bar has applied for a liquor license and intends to seat more than 150 people. Sehkraft had seating for 210, including 66 on two outdoor patios. Handwerger said the adjoining butcher shop will be transformed into “Ms. Peacock’s Champagne Lounge.”

Demolition on the inside should begin soon based on building permits filed with the county. Handwerger said he hopes to open before Labor Day.

by Chris Teale — May 10, 2017 at 2:55 pm 0

The Social Restaurant Group‘s newest addition to the local dining scene is just days away from its official opening in Clarendon.

Bar Bao at 3100 Clarendon Blvd will throw open its doors for the first time Thursday after several soft openings, including one tonight with 20 percent off all food.

The new restaurant, the successor to the Mad Rose Tavern, will serve steamed buns, dumplings and other small bites inspired by Chinese and Taiwanese street food.

There will be space for 197 seats inside, including the bars, with room for approximately 70 outdoors on the back patio and a soon-to-open front patio facing Clarendon Blvd next to the State Department Federal Credit Union.

Inside, murals designed by local graffiti artists Mike Pacheco and Rodrigo Pradel are inspired by Tang Sai’er, a female rebel leader who protested the Ming Dynasty’s unfair treatment of the people in China in the 15th century and led a peasant uprising.

The murals flow throughout the restaurant, showing her as the self-styled Godmother of the White Lotus Cult until her death.

“We just wanted a cool mural that told a story,” said SRG co-founder Mike Bramson.

The eatery’s menu includes a number of Asian-inspired cocktails, like the Hiddel Leaf Swizzle, referred to as the “Ninja Cocktail” and drunk out of a cup that looks like a ninja. Executive chef Donn Souliyadeth is behind the menu offerings.

“We told him, ‘Here’s some parameters, create some stuff on your own,’ and together with the chef we were able to create some stuff,” Bramson said. “We had a lot of tastings and tried to get as creative as we possibly could, but with food that was still approachable.”

Bar Bao joins Pamplona next door, another SRG property open since mid-January. Bramson said it was always the group’s intention to have both restaurant spaces, but to have differences between the two in terms of design.

“Everyone loves the design of Pamplona, but we wanted it to feel completely different,” Bramson said. “We wanted it to feel different from anywhere in Clarendon. Our initial walk-through, we knew we needed to go with concrete floors, graffiti artists and do that real edgy vibe.”

by Chris Teale — May 2, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

More details are filtering out about Clarendon’s first dedicated outdoor beer garden, which hopes to open this summer.

“The Lot” beer garden, at 3217 10th Street N., will replace the used car lot once operated by the Prime Auto Group. Signs remain up for the car seller, but its telephone number and website have been deactivated.

Inside, work appears to be in the early stages on The Lot, which, according to a permit application filed with the county, intends to add a small kitchen and enclosed deck to an existing building, in addition to the outdoor seating. A license application filed with Virginia ABC indicates it wishes to have over 150 seats.

The site is currently zoned for a general commercial district and is close to other beverage-serving establishments like Northside Social and cold-pressed juice bar JRINK.

Owned by the Social Restaurant Group, The Lot is listed as one of six upcoming ventures for the group, alongside Bar Bao in the former Mad Rose Tavern space in Clarendon, which appears close to opening. SRG already operates Pamplona, also in Clarendon.

Staff with the Social Restaurant Group referred all requests for additional information to their media relations representatives. Those representatives did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

by Chris Teale — April 28, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Five Arlington restaurants are partnering with local nonprofit Doorways for Women and Families to raise awareness of sexual assault and help available for victims.

Starting tonight, Liberty Tavern, Lyon Hall, Northside Social and O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub in Clarendon and the Crystal City Sports Pub in Crystal City will provide customers with coasters that feature Doorways’ 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline (703-237-0881) and the message, “Sexual assault impacts everyone.”

The weekend campaign coincides with the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Our goal with this outreach is twofold,” said Doorways president and CEO Caroline Jones in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to show survivors that they’re not alone. Secondly, we want to ensure that everyone is aware of the resources here in Arlington, namely our 24-Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Hotline — help is available in our community.”

Last year, 187 adults and 40 children were served by Doorways’ hotline response as a direct result of sexual assault.

According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, and 54 percent of sexual assault victims are between the ages of 18 and 34.

Other services offered by Doorways include hospital accompaniment, counseling and court advocacy, which provides education about the legal system, companionship during the petition and court hearing processes and extensive safety planning for anyone impacted by family violence.

by ARLnow.com — April 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

CarPool Now Closed — A line out the door marked CarPool’s last day in business on Monday. The Ballston bar hosted a large crowd of patrons there to watch the Nationals opening day and the NCAA men’s basketball championship, and to say goodbye to the long-time watering hole. [Twitter]

Clement Opposes Tax Rate Hike — Independent Arlington County Board candidate Audrey Clement says she does not support the proposed property tax hike, which Arlington’s county manager says is necessary to fund Metro and Arlington Public Schools. [InsideNova]

Developments in School Board Race — Former congressional candidate Mike Webb has gathered the petition signatures necessary to get on this year’s Arlington School Board ballot, although he still has a couple of paperwork hurdles before he officially qualifies. Meanwhile, incumbent James Lander has received the endorsement of the Arlington Education Association as he faces two challengers in the Democratic endorsement caucus. [InsideNova, InsideNova]

Arlington’s Trees By The Numbers — “The County is proud home to some 755,400 trees of at least 122 species. If you had to put a price on all that priceless foliage, it’d be worth more than $1.4 billion.” [Arlington County]

Tour of the Trades Center — The latest “Around Arlington” video from the county gives viewers a tour of the Arlington Trandes Center near Shirlington, where school buses are housed, police cars get repaired and salt trucks get refilled. [YouTube]

Police Chief: See Something, Say Something — Although the vast majority of calls about suspicious people or circumstances turn out to be nothing, Arlington’s police chief is still encouraging residents to call the police non-emergency line at 703-558-2222 if they see something out of the ordinary. Said Chief Jay Farr: “Do not hesitate to call us about something suspicious. Some say, ‘I didn’t want to bother you,’ but I say, `Bother us.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

by ARLnow.com — April 3, 2017 at 9:15 am 0

Baba Now Open — Baba, the comfy bar and cafe in the basement of Ambar in Clarendon, is now open after some unexpected delays. The “big draw” of Baba, according to the Post’s Maura Judkis, is its made-from-scratch cocktails. [Washington Post]

Ballston Wi-Fi to Launch Today — The “BLinked” gigabit wi-fi service in Ballston is expected to launch today. The free service will offer a high-speed and seamless internet connection throughout public spaces in Ballston. [Twitter]

Signature Theatre 2017-18 Season Announced — Shirlington’s Signature Theatre has announced the lineup for its 2017-18 season, with eight marquee shows and six short-run cabarets. [Signature Theatre]

Reminder: Storm Drains Empty to Waterways — “Our local waterways literally go with the flow. That means rain water heads into nearby storm drains and then quickly ends up in local streams like Four Mile Run. Those streams flow into the Potomac River, the source for much of the region’s drinking water.” [Arlington County]

Obit: William Coleman — William T. Coleman, Jr., a civil rights lawyer and cabinet member who broke racial barriers, has died. Coleman is noted in Arlington for his role, as U.S. Secretary of Transportation, in authorizing the controversial construction of I-66 inside the Beltway. [NBC News]

Arlington Players Rack Up WATCH Awards — The Arlington Players have received seven Washington Area Theatre Community Honors awards, tying an Alexandria theater company for the highest award total of 2017. [InsideNova]

Hat tip to Eric Dobson. Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by ARLnow.com — March 30, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

It’s the end of the road for P. Brennan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant at 2910 Columbia Pike.

The cavernous local pub will shutter after closing on Friday. Owner Brian Dolphin, who also owned the ill-fated McGinty’s near Potomac Yard, says P. Brennan’s “did pretty well” by staying in business for seven years, but never made much money.

“It never kicked off to the extent we thought it would,” Dolphin told ARLnow.com Thursday morning. He said P. Brennan’s liquor license expires after March 31 and he chose not to renew it.

Also contributing to the bar’s demise: its large size — “too big,” Dolphin said, in retrospect — and the cancellation of the Columbia Pike streetcar, which seemed to deflate some of the excitement and prospects for change along the Pike.

“Things went south on us a bit and never picked up,” said Dolphin regarding the aftermath of the cancellation.

Nothing out of the ordinary is planned for P. Brennan’s last day tomorrow, but Dolphin said he expects that many long-time patrons will be there enjoying a pint or two.

by Chris Teale — March 28, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

The former home of Sehkraft Brewery will not be vacant for long, as The Board Room looks set to move in.

Sehkraft closed its doors at 925 N. Garfield Street in the Garfield Park apartment complex in January.

But in an email to residents on Sunday obtained by ARLnow, Garfield Park property manager Christin D’Amato said The Board Room will take over the first-floor retail space in Clarendon.

It currently has a location in Dupont Circle and, according to the email, shares some ownership with Carpool in Ballston, which is set to shutter next month after staying open for months on borrowed time.

The Board Room combines an extensive drinks menu with board games, available for rent for a flat fee of $2. The D.C. location does not have its own kitchen, but it encourages visitors to bring their own food if they wish.

The new location, The Board Room’s first in Virginia, also looks set to include a champagne lounge.

More from D’Amato’s email:

The Board Room D.C. location serves 21 draft lines and offers more than 50 different board games for customers to enjoy. Board Room VA will also feature a number of private party spaces and will offer a full menu and happy hour specials. Board Room VA will partner with a local brewer to keep the microbrewery operating and offer a number of in-house products. In addition, Ms. Peacock’s Champagne Lounge will offer a wide variety of champagnes and craft cocktails.

Representatives with The Board Room have thus far not responded to a request for comment.

by Chris Teale — March 22, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

After a brawl earlier this month outside A-Town Bar & Grill in which two men were tased by police, the bar will be subject to stricter county reviews.

The County Board approved a plan Tuesday for staff to review the bar’s permit for live entertainment and dancing in one month, then have the Board review it again in three months. Previously, the permit was up for Board review every six months.

Co-owner Mike Cordero said the two suspects — one of whom was dressed as Pikachu, according to police — were A-Town customers, but had been cut off and escorted out. Cordero said the incident took place two hours after they left, and not on their property.

Board members agreed A-Town must work with the county to fix the problems being caused by unruly patrons.

“I think what we have to come to grips with, regardless of whether you want to take responsibility or not, there’s a problem with this establishment in terms of what happens with the patrons when they leave, and what they do to the wider community,” Board member Christian Dorsey said.

A staff report found police responded to A-Town 38 times between September 20, 2016 and March 17, 2017. Board chairman Jay Fisette said the quantity of calls is less important than their content.

“The number doesn’t mean anything,” Fisette said. “It’s the nature of the call, and what can be prevented and what cannot be prevented.”

Cordero and fellow owner Scott Parker said things are improving at A-Town, after incidents in previous years and a strained relationship with the County Board and staff.

But neighbors of the bar in Ballston bemoaned the behavior of some of its patrons after they leave. Many incidents take place during A-Town’s popular “Sunday Funday” festivities.

“Enough is enough of this [neighborhood] degradation,” said Theodore Gebhard, a member of the Altavista/Berkeley Ad Hoc Committee of Concerned Homeowners. “It needs to be addressed by the county.”

Lee Austin, a resident at the Altavista condo building, decried an “irresponsible business model” where people who are already drunk are still served alcohol. He also read an email from a neighbor recounting who witnessed “egregious sexual behavior” on the patio, behavior he said is damaging to the neighborhood.

A meeting will be held tonight between A-Town management and Arlington police to discuss the brawl from earlier this month. Further discussions will be had with the fire marshal and Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control officers.

Photo (#3) via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — March 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Clarendon appears to be getting its first dedicated outdoor beer garden.

Alternately called “The Lot,” “The Beer Lot” or “Lot 10” in filings and online posts, the beer garden is coming to what’s currently a used car lot on the corner of Wilson Blvd and 10th Street N., at the western tip of Clarendon, according to sources and a Virginia ABC filing.

We’re told the beer garden will feature an expansive outdoor seating area, some indoor or tented space, food — perhaps provided by a rotating cohort of food trucks — and a focus on local beers. It’s expected to open by this summer.

Social Restaurant Group, which recently opened Pamplona and is opening Bar Bao, both in Clarendon, is the company behind The Lot. A company representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

Beer gardens, which have popped up all over the District in the past couple of years, are also coming soon to Rosslyn and Columbia Pike.

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