(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Get ready to hoist your steins and don your lederhosen, as Oktoberfest in Arlington is just around the corner.
Starting this Friday, Sept. 22, local bars and breweries across Arlington will celebrate a 200-year-old German tradition that began with the royal wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria — who later became King Louis I — and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.
Two centuries later, the wedding party has become a global, two-week party. Here is a roundup of places around Arlington celebrating Oktoberfest participating in the fun.
There will be a “yappy hour” from 3-6 p.m., featuring a dog costume contest at 5:30 p.m. A professional photographer will be present to take photos. The winner receives a $50 Courthaus Social gift card.
The celebration picks up again Saturday, running from noon to 9 p.m. Activities include stein-holding and lederhosen contests, along with live music scheduled from 2-5 p.m. For those looking to quench their thirst, a “massive plaza bar” will also be open for attendees.
The event concludes on Sunday with a brunch featuring a live polka band from noon to 3 p.m. Attendees can take home a stein as a keepsake.
Admission to the three-day event is free and dogs are welcome.
Nighthawk Brewery & Pizza
Tickets cost $30 and come with a 14-ounce plastic commemorative stein, three 14-ounce pours of any Nighthawk beer, one bratwurst with unlimited toppings and a 10% discount on additional food purchases.
The event will feature a variety of activities such as a stein-holding contest, a “Das Boot” chug race, a bratwurst-eating competition and a costume contest.
Green Pig Bistro
Green Pig Bistro also plans to host its own Oktoberfest starting at 4:30 p.m. There will be live music, raffles and corn hole, according to the restaurant’s website.
The Arlington County Police Department plans to close 11th Street N. between N. Fillmore Street and N. Edgewood Street from approximately 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for the event.
Tickets range from $16 to $35, offering different perks for attendees. A $16 ticket includes a complimentary bratwurst served with a potato salad and a beer. For those looking to sample more brews, the $35 ticket offers four beer tasters along with brats and potato salad.
Also next Saturday, Sept. 30, there will be a Bavarian beer festival from 1-5 p.m. at the corner of 22nd Street S. and S. Fern Street, behind what is dubbed “Restaurant Row” in Crystal City.
Activities include a stein-holding competition, a best-dressed contest, lawn games and crafting stations for kids featuring hat-making and clove decor. Attendees can register online ahead of time.
(Updated at 3:10 p.m. on 9/15/23) The long-anticipated Astro Beer Hall will open next week in Shirlington, serving decadent donuts by day and “astronomic” sandwiches and apps late into the night.
Ahead of the Tuesday opening, owners Elliot Spaisman and Peter Bayne are running around, making finishing touches on the 14,000-square-foot, galactic-themed space, while the team trains and awaits deliveries.
“We’ve got a lot going on over here,” Spaisman tells ARLnow.
The Village at Shirlington location is the second for the hall, which debuted in D.C. in 2019. The owners are bringing over some famed foods — including fried chicken sandwiches made with savory doughnuts — and debuting new bites. There will also be arcade games and, eventually, billiards.
The beer hall, with a sprawling 140-seat patio and adjacent coffee shop, took over the old Capitol City Brewing Co. space at 4001 Campbell Avenue, which closed five years ago. The Tuesday opening caps off two years of work in the midst of Covid and supply chain and permitting issues, the co-owners say.
The owners say they’re more than ready to open their doors.
“There’s a million pounds off my shoulders. It’s been such a whirlwind and a beast to get this thing open,” Bayne said. “It was so frustrating along the way, so to get to this moment where we can have a beautiful spot we can open up, feels so good.”
He and Spaisman opened the first Astro Beer Hall location all of four months before Covid lockdowns. While the location is faring well now, Bayne said the downtown D.C. scene is still stifled post-pandemic and he is excited to come to Arlington, which he says is “where it’s at.”
“This is nice because it’s a dense residential area in Shirlington with commercial and offices, a nightlife strip, and a ton of great options around us,” Bayne said. “It’s a hub people want to go to on a Friday or Saturday. It’s a little bit of something for everyone.”
That seems to be the plan with Astro Beer Hall, too.
There will be a coffee shop open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., serving baked goods, compliments of a doughnut-frying robot, and Compass Coffee beverages.
Over in the beer hall, patrons can watch sports from what Spaisman says is “a massive amount of TVs.” They can play classic arcade games such as skee ball and Ms. Pacman and, in the coming months, billiards in the basement.
Once it is beer o’clock — as early as 11 a.m. on the weekends but 4 p.m. on Mondays — the hall will start serving snacks, sandwiches and salads for lunch, happy hour and dinner.
New District Brewing will be serving the last of its beer at next month’s Arlington County Fair.
When the Green Valley-based brewery officially closed its taproom in May, owner Mike Katrivanos told ARLnow then that the plan was to serve the last of its beer at June’s Columbia Pike Blues Festival and then at the fair. That remains the plan, we’re told.
“We stored away some New District Beer for the Arlington County Fair and will be serving our Last County Fair Beer Garden August 16-20,” Katrivanos wrote in an email to supporters.
This will be the fourth time New District Brewery will run the beer garden at the county fair. They will be serving three different types of beers and a hard seltzer, plus a rosé wine in collaboration with Bluemont Vineyard in Loudoun County.
The brewery is also selling commemorative pint glasses. Only 160 were made and, as of this writing, more than half have already been pre-sold. Katrivanos said in a follow-up conversation that he expects everything to sell out by the end of the fair.
“This will be it… The last [New District] beer for public consumption,” he said.
But that doesn’t mean New District beer will be gone forever. Beyond a few bottles for personal consumption, Katrivanos also saved and donated three wax-sealed kegs to the Arlington Historical Society.
When New District opened in 2016, it became the first production brewery in Arlington in nearly a century. The beer donation is intended to preserve its legacy in the county, Katrivanos said.
One of the kegs will be used for fundraising, the other for preservation, and the last one will be given to the next production brewery that opens in Arlington as a welcoming gift, Katrivanos told ARLnow.
“I mean, that could be me,” he laughed.
There remains a chance that New District will come back. Katrivanos said he’s constantly surveying the county for commercial properties for sale where he could reopen the brewery. Considering the county’s changes to zoning regulations along Columbia Pike in late 2021 explicitly allowing breweries, that’s the current focus.
Katrivanos, however, does not expect a purchase to happen in the near future.
“There are very, very few of those opportunities left. If it were lucky enough to come across the opportunity, I would jump at it again,” he said.
Several local mixed-use developments have approached New District Brewing about opening in their space, but Katrivanos reiterates there’s no interest in leasing again, considering previous negative experiences. Still, the door is not completely closing, even as he prepares to sell the last of New District’s beer in a few weeks.
“A huge thank you to the community for supporting us all of these years,” he said. “I still hope there’s an opportunity that brings the brewery back.”
The former home of New District Brewery is turning into an indoor dog park called Stouts & Snouts. It was initially scheduled to open in August, but construction remains ongoing, and it’s unclear if it will hit that deadline.
Astro Beer Hall is aiming to finally debut its donut robot next month.
The long-planned, two-level bar and coffee shop in Shirlington is hoping to open sometime in August, a spokesperson tells ARLnow. While no specific date is set as of yet, the 14,000 square-foot, space-themed Astro Beer Hall expects to open its doors in a matter of weeks.
Part of that space will be taken up by a take-out shop featuring a robot making “fresh fried to-order donuts right in front of our customers,” as co-owner Peter Bayne told ARLnow earlier this year.
The initial hope was to start serving in May, as a banner wrapped around the building noted in the spring before it was removed.
The spokesperson said construction and permitting delays — a common refrain for Arlington restaurants — pushed the debut back a few months.
Back in December 2021, it was announced that Astro Beer Hall was moving into the former home of Capitol City Brewing Co. The large space at the corner of Campbell Avenue and S. Quincy Street had been vacant since 2018.
Along with a donut robot, the establishment will feature a large rectangular bar with a moveable glass wall opening to a sidewalk patio, two pool tables, and a section filled with arcade games. The artwork, murals, and color scheme are expected to match the venue’s space theme.
On Saturday, the Arlington County Board is set to approve an agreement to buy the properties housing The Board Hound, at 3520 and 3522 S. Four Mile Run Drive in the Green Valley neighborhood, for $2 million.
The decision leaves New District Brewery to lick its wounds.
Co-owner Mike Katrivanos told ARLnow the brewery bid on the property as a “last shot” to staying open after its nearby 2709 S. Oakland Street location closes at the end of this month, due to a rent hike and lease disagreement. An indoor dog park and bar is set to take the brewery’s place.
Arlington County says it has been eyeing the Board Hound property since it adopted a master plan for Green Valley and Shirlington, dubbed Four Mile Run Valley, in 2018. The plan “identified for inclusion in the full buildout of Jennie Dean Park,” per a county report.
So when a real estate agent for The Board Hound, which operated in the area for some 10 years, asked the county if it was interested, the county pounced on the opportunity.
“The current owner has… has decided to close this location to consolidate its business at the main location in Alexandria on South Peyton Street,” the county says.
Arlington County says buying these properties helps to meet the goals of the 2019 Public Spaces Master Plan.
The plan calls for the addition of at least 30 acres of new public space over the next 10 years “to help address the challenge of meeting public spaces needs for a growing community.”
For park users, it may have a side benefit of reducing dog barking, which some have found to be a nuisance.
One Planning Commissioner at the start of this year referenced his experience at Jennie Dean Park in a conversation about how Arlington County should use zoning to regulate nuisances, such as dog barking, rather than entire businesses.
“I thought of Jennie Dean Park as I enjoyed it the other day with my children and the incessant barking that was continual and constant, and thought, those poor general neighbors across the street are enduring the constant barking of dogs but it’s next to an industrial zone,” said Stephen Hughes.
Industry is part of the area’s identity, as evidenced by several auto body shops, warehouses and Inner Ear Studios, which moved out of the neighborhood last year after the county bought the building it called home for decades.
Industrial use is also central to planning documents envisioning Green Valley as an “arts and industry district.”
Exactly what that will look like, however, depends on who is asked. The Green Valley Civic Association has previously said it takes a broader view of arts and industry than the county.
“From furniture-making to metal-working, from technological innovation to maker-spaces, from recording studios to culinary arts, in Green Valley we view the arts broadly,” civic association Vice-Chair Robin Stombler previously said.
As those uses materialize, the county continues its work to expand Jennie Dean Park.
In 2018, the County purchased the warehouse property located at 3514 S. Four Mile Run Drive and later demolished the building. WETA uses the property for parking.
On January 13, 2021, the County purchased 3620 27th St. S., which WETA is leasing for up to five years, or until January 2026. The public radio station will be able to move out of the building once new studios open at its renovated headquarters in Shirlington.
The county says it “could later vacate a significant portion of South 27th Street between the warehouse properties and the WETA property for incorporation into Jennie Dean Park.”
In Ballston’s battle of the beer bars, Crafthouse has emerged as the survivor.
World of Beer, in the Ballston Point building at 4300 Wilson Blvd, closed up shop earlier this week.
“We’re ceasing our business operations in Arlington, Virginia starting April 17,” a sign on the door says. “Thank you, Arlington, for allowing us to be a part of this community for the last 3 years.”
The watering hole opened in October 2020 in the former Ted’s Montana Grill space. It was a return to the neighborhood for the suds-centric national chain, after a World of Beer franchise up the road rebranded as Crafthouse.
From our article on the opening:
The restaurant is not far from Crafthouse (901 N. Glebe Road), which was Virginia’s first World of Beer location from 2012 until 2017, when the owner parted ways and rebranded locations in Ballston, Reston and Fairfax. […]
The split between then-owner Evan Matz and World of Beer took a bitter turn later in 2017, when the chain sued Matz for violating the terms of the franchise agreement. In October 2018, Matz sued back.
All three Crafthouse locations, including in Ballston, remain open. World of Beer has D.C. area locations in Bethesda and Rockville.
While you’ll no longer be able to get an obscure beer from halfway around the world at World of Beer, a new beverage option recently opened in the same building: D.C.-based coffee shop Slipstream opened within the past month or so.
The Lot is here for a good time, not a long time — and now it’s time to begin saying farewell to the beer garden in Clarendon.
The last season for the outdoor space at 3217 10th Street N. is set to begin next Friday, March 10, weather pending. Before the drinking establishment’s namesake vacant lot is redeveloped in the near future, The Lot will be going out with a bang, with lower prices, more games and events all season long.
“The Lot will always hold a special place in our hearts,” owner Mike Bramson tells ARLnow. “We’ve met a lot of great staff and guests, some of whom have become our closest friends.”
The Lot’s long goodbye will continue with the return of other events Bramson said were favorites over the years. This includes the Memorial Weekend Jam Session, The Lot Luau and “Lotoberfest,” to name a few, all without cover charges.
“We only expected The Lot to be open for two years, but we ended up with four fun years,” said Bramson, who operates a number of nightlife ventures in Arlington.
It opened in 2019, a few years behind schedule due to permitting issues. The spot remained popular throughout the pandemic, with people flocking there to drink outside as trepidation over indoor gatherings persisted.
Now, in honor of the last season, there will be no cover charges, drink prices are being lowered, and there will be a new lineup of beer and frozen drinks. The Lot is adding more games, as well, and hosting what Bramson calls the “happiest of hours” during the week. Pets will be welcome at all times now.
Food truck Rebel Taco, meanwhile, will return to serve tacos, quesadillas and nachos to the gathered crowds.
“Our goal this year is simple: for our guests and friends to reminisce on the good times at the Lot and create new memories,” Bramson said.
The Lot is part of a property cluster comprised of two small office buildings, the now-closed Silver Diner restaurant, an auto repair facility and surface parking, bordered by 10th Street N., Wilson Blvd and N. Irving Street.
This whole site, dubbed the Bingham Center site, is set to be razed and redeveloped. Applicants The Donohoe Cos. and TCS Realty Associates propose constructing an 11-story, 290-unit apartment building with 16,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a 10-story, 229-room hotel.
Their proposal is winding through the county’s site plan process. The Site Plan Review Committee is set to review it for the second time on Thursday, March 16. Initial comments thus far include some concerns from neighbors about the height and setbacks for the buildings, as well as the amount of parking.
Arlington County anticipates the project will be reviewed by the Transportation and Planning Commissions, followed by a vote by the Arlington County Board, in the spring.
Astro Beer Hall and its “donut robot” are hoping to start serving by the late spring in Shirlington.
The long-planned Astro Beer Hall on Campbell Avenue is aiming to open its doors in May, co-owner Peter Bayne tells ARLnow. A banner is now wrapped around the side of the building announcing the May date.
It was back in December 2021 when ARLnow reported that the two-level bar and coffee shop was set to take over the vacant, 14,000 square feet space that was once home to Capitol City Brewing Co. That business closed almost exactly five years ago.
A few new details have emerged about the new Arlington venture from the owners of D.C.’s Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken, as well as several other local bars and restaurants including CarPool, Highline RxR, and Quincy Hall in Ballston.
Astro Beer Hall will feature a “huge rectangular bar” with a movable glass wall that will open to a sidewalk patio, per Bayne. There will be a wide selection of draft beers, cocktails from an acclaimed New York City bartender, food from Astro’s long-time chef Chris Kujala, two pool tables, and a “large arcade section with the latest arcade games”.
As its name eludes, Shirlington’s Astro Beer Hall will be space-themed, with artwork and murals to match.
There will also be a donut robot.
Part of the 14,000 square-foot indoor space will be transformed into a take-out shop with coffee, sandwiches, and a robot making “fresh fried to-order donuts right in front of our customers,” Bayne told ARLnow.
No word yet if the robot will declare its love for customers in the process.
Astro Beer Hall was initially thought to be opening late last year since it was included in the restaurant group’s membership service that was announced in August 2022.
Besides Astro Beer Hall, several new businesses are expected to open in Shrlington soon. Our Mom Eugenia remains on the docket for later this month. Jeni’s Ice Cream has already started scooping but will be holding a grand opening celebration in March.
Just watch out for the Shirlington neighborhood’s abundant bird poop.
This column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup or in-store shopping. Have a question? Email thenose@
Hello my friends,
Please excuse my absence during the holiday season. I’m back, well sort of, I’m in Paris concluding my annual “French Death March.” Well, it was annually up until three years ago. Now I can hear you all saying, “Oh that’s rough! Can I carry your bags?” It is usually the comment that follows.
I flew via Amsterdam to Montpellier, France. The Schipol airport is enormous. Luckily I had an eight-hour layover, so there was no need to rush. But, despite the enormity of the place, you can’t find a cup of coffee at 6 a.m. anywhere. So I had to settle for a Heineken, and I thought the Dutch were “coffee people.” So after cooling my heels for eight hours desperately trying not to fall asleep, at the shop-worn bar, in my “get the hell out of my Country Termial,” I was raring to go, albeit exhausted. No glamour here, folks.
Montpellier has been the home to Millésime Bio since 1991, and you guessed it is all about organic wine. It is the place to meet, taste and visit with winemakers who work organically, as most of mine do.
It was great to see old friends and have the opportunity to ferret out some “new and interesting” players. The fair is only two days long, and there are also several “off” tastings (located in different venues) before and during the fair. Folks who can’t afford or choose not to participate in the fair seize the opportunity to steal attention while everyone is in town. I stick to my agenda to save precious time.
That was a wise move, and I found some fabulous new winemakers. On the first day, I potentially bagged five. But it’s more challenging than it sounds. You must taste a lot of uninspired, sometimes technically flawed crap to find a winner. But I am always on point and excel at sizing up a winner with just a glance.
I headed to Paris to embark on Phase 2 in Angers, the Salon des Vins de Loire. So why go back to Paris? Driving the 7-plus hours is the only “direct” way to Angers from Montpellier, and the trains take just as long, especially when you are schlepping 2 1/2 weeks’ worth of luggage.
The Loire Salon is my sentimental favorite. The Salon has shrunk over the years. What was once three large halls is now one. And that includes the Bio-Dynamic growers certified by the Federation Demeter International. Biodynamics viticulture goes back to ancient earth healing techniques, with all the processes performed in conjunction with the lunar calendar. So let’s say organic “on steroids.” That was the best I could come up with, but you get the idea.
Like Millésime Bio, there are also “off” tastings. The Salon St. Jean at the Greniers St. Jean is an excellent tasting, started over twenty years ago by winemaker Nicolas Joly, who wrote “the book” on Biodynamics. Based on the works of Rudolph Steiner in 1924, Joly is responsible for bringing Biodynamic practices to the forefront of viticulture, changing the course of winemaking and wine worldwide.
And there is the infamous Dive Boutteille Natural Wine held in Saumur at the Caves Ackermann, and I mean caves. I pass on that one. The caves are cold, dank, and dark. It is impossible to taste well under those conditions. There are good wines with many fine growers, but no thanks.
Wine Paris and Vinexpo start on Monday and run till Wednesday. So I’m here in Paris getting myself ready. Bring it on!
On Saturday, the Board approved public hearings on the change at these two public parks located, respectively, near Crystal City and along Columbia Pike.
“These sites were selected for this expansion because both are designed as event venues, which is referenced in their master plans, and both already host a variety of successful special events,” per a county report. “Additionally, it is anticipated that Penrose Square will be expanded in the near future, which will enhance its ability to host special events.”
The proposal has support from a majority of people who responded to a county survey this fall, although many respondents articulated public safety concerns.
“Many supported this change, and some felt the County should explore further expansion of the sale and consumption of alcohol and other concessions in County parks than what is currently proposed,” the report said. “Commenters opposed to the change cited concerns regarding the increased noise, potential damage to park property, unruly behavior, and a negative impact to the public’s safety and ability to enjoy parks.”
The county says much of the negative feedback had to do with issues that the process for hosting a special event is designed to mitigate.
If approved, alcohol will be limited to sales at special events only during designated dates and times. Special events already require a permit, and organizers would need a separate ABC permit that provides “a controlled and delineated area for the sale and consumption of alcohol.”
Some wanted to see alcohol sales in more parks, such as Virginia Highlands Park and Lubber Run Park, provided that the rules were properly enforced. Others wanted more non-alcoholic options at events where alcohol is allowed.
The Board is expected to vote on adopting the changes during its meeting on Saturday, Jan. 21.
‘Tis the season to get tipsy with cozy cocktails and two-buck beers.
“‘Jingle Bell Rock’ is the latest popup in B Live’s completely decked-out space, fit with sparkling light displays, festive garland and life-sized holiday fan favorites like the Grinch, Santa Claus and Nutcrackers,” a PR rep for B Live said. The venue is owned by local nightlife duo Mike and Christal Bramson.
Passersby can see the spot’s windows painted with beloved Christmas characters playing instruments — in a tribute to the music scene for which Whitlow’s was known.
Inside, B Live is offering weekly holiday-themed specials, including Christmas karaoke on Tuesdays, a “Santa Mug Night” every Thursday with $2.50 beers and live entertainment every weekend. The pop-up runs through mid-January, meaning guests can live by Buddy the Elf’s code to “treat every day like Christmas.”
The bar is making spirits bright with holiday-themed drinks, too. For an extra-cozy night out, guests can order the “Santa Baby,” a boozy hot chocolate topped with a torched marshmallow.
If your heart hasn’t shrunk three sizes, there is a “Patron Christmas Tree” cocktail tower that serves four.
Only Santa will know if you were naughty and kept all of the tequila for yourself.