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 first major event, the ShamRock n Roll Fest, is set for Saturday, March 25. Bramson is also throwing a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl on Saturday, March 11.
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 [email protected]
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!
The Arlington County Board will be considering whether to allow alcohol sales during special events at Long Bridge Park and Penrose Square next month.
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.
Alcohol sales during approved special events are allowed at Fort C. F. Smith Park in the Woodmont neighborhood, Clarendon Central Park and Gateway Park in Rosslyn.
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.
B Live, the live music venue and restaurant in the old Whitlow’s on Wilson space at 2854 Wilson Blvd, says it has created Arlington’s “most immersive holiday popup.”
“‘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.
The annual Shucktoberfest oyster and craft beer festival is returning to Shirlington this weekend, complete with a number of road closures.
The 5th annual event is taking place in Shirlington from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. It will feature local breweries, food and oyster tents and local vendors, and is being billed as family- and dog-friendly.
Tickets to the event, organized by Shirlington restaurant Copperwood Tavern, are $46 for those 21+ and include a beer tasting mug and tickets redeemable for beer and oysters.
Arlington County police will be shutting down some main streets in Shirlington to make way for the festival.
From an ACPD press release:
The 5th annual Shucktoberfest in the Shirlington Village will take place on Saturday, October 22, 2022 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Arlington County Police Department will conduct the following road closures from approximately 6:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. in order to accommodate the event:
- Campbell Avenue, from S. Quincy Street to S. Arlington Mill Drive
- S. Randolph Street, from S. Arlington Mill Drive to 2800 S. Randolph Street
The public should expect to see an increased police presence in the area, and motorists are urged to follow law enforcement direction, be mindful of closures, and remain alert for increased pedestrian traffic. Additionally, vehicles will not be allowed to enter or exit the covered Harris Teeter parking structure on Campbell Avenue. Harris Teeter customers can access the parking garage via the alternative entrance behind the store.
Attendees are encouraged to use multimodal transportation services, as parking in the area will be limited around the event. In addition, street parking in the area will be restricted and motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs. Illegally parked vehicles in violation of the posted signage may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.
Update on 9/28/22 — This event has been postponed until Saturday, Oct. 22.
Earlier: Pull out your lederhosen and dirndls for an Oktoberfest celebration returning to Crystal City next weekend.
German lagers and cider will flow freely at the outdoor festival on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 12-4 p.m. There will be games and live polka music from Alte Kumpel Band.
The festival, sponsored by the National Landing Business Improvement District, will be held at the patio and terrace space between 22nd and 23rd Streets S., near 556 22nd Street S. — formerly Athena Pallas restaurant, before it closed this summer.
Entry to the event, dubbed the National Landing Oktoberfest, is free and open to all ages and dogs (on leashes), but attendees must register and show their ticket to get in.
Food and drinks are available for purchase, and attendees’ first beer comes with a free stein — while supplies last.
That stein unlocks specials from participating restaurants on Crystal City’s “Restaurant Row“:
- Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.): $3.25 refills on select beers from 12-4 p.m.; marinated meatballs, pretzels, cheeseburger sliders and crab cake sandwiches
- Freddie’s Beach Bar (555 23rd Street S.): $3.25 refills on Bud Light, Miller Lite or Sam Adams Oktoberfest (drafts) from 12-7 p.m.
- Portofino Restaurant (526 23rd Street S.): sausage and peppers sandwiches; $3.25 wine pours from 5-9 p.m.
- Los Tios Arlington (513 23rd Street S.): $3.25 refills on select beers from 12-4 p.m.
- Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique (576 23rd Street S.): TBA
The Oktoberfest is being held rain or shine and drink tickets are non-refundable, according to the event website.
It will be hot again today but things should start cooling off by the weekend, providing an early preview of the season to come.
As the calendar marches inexorably towards September, there’s a certain feeling in the still-humid air: a sense that fall will be here sooner rather than later. And that’s only enforced by what we’re starting to see on store shelves around Arlington.
Too soon but points for funny names spotted at #penrose Giant #columbiapike pic.twitter.com/rDR7o97iMN
— SRtwofourfour (@SRtwofourfour) August 9, 2022
Yes, like it or not, those pumpkin and Oktoberfest beers are back. As Arrowine’s Beermonger column discussed last August, it seems that fall beers arrive earlier in the summer with each passing year. And while that outrages some summer stans, those whose vibe is more a hot coffee and a warm sweater seem to like it.
After all, the breweries wouldn’t be pushing their orange-clad cases out the door if people weren’t buying them.
So this morning we’re wondering — with apologies for asking a similar poll question on this exact day in 2016 — when do you typically make your first fall beer purchase?
Expansive pizzeria-slash-beer hall Quincy Hall is finally set to start serving slices and pints tomorrow (Friday) in Ballston.
First announced nearly three years ago, the “American Pizza Beer Hall” at 4001 Fairfax Drive is planning a soft opening for this weekend. There will be a more formal grand opening, with specials and festivities, set for late next week, a restaurant spokesperson tells ARLnow.
Quincy Hall will feature pizza from “world pizza guru, Giulio Adriani” and “rare beers from local breweries.” The 8,000-square-foot space at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Quincy Street has a 245-person capacity indoors and an extra 80-person, dog-friendly patio outside. Wall art comes from D.C.-based artist Kelly Towles.
“We wanted to create the perfect gathering space in the Ballston neighborhood, a spot where fun meets delicious. The pizza’s are unmatched and we’ve selected unique local beers to pair perfectly,” co-owner Peter Bayne writes to ARLnow. “Three years later… we are excited to have this place open and be the neighborhood hangout.”
Quincy Hall comes from Tin Shop, the same ownership group that runs Highline RxR in Crystal City and is opening Astro Beer Hall in Shirlington. The Shirlington spot is set to open in the fall, a spokesperson tells to ARLnow.
Tin Shop also operates several well-known D.C. bars including Franklin Hall, Penn Social, and Church Hall in Georgetown, which just announced it was closing.
The pizza is the star of Quincy Hall’s show, according to the press release. Adriani is from Rome and was taught how to make pizza by his grandmother. He worked “under pizza-masters throughout Italy,” opened restaurants across the globe, and has won four world pizza championships, the release notes.
“Adriani’s passion is dough and constantly seeking illusive crust perfection,” it reads. “He created a challenging three-day fermented dough for Quincy Hall which Adriani insists is his ‘best ever!'”
Also on the menu, there will be smashburgers, wings, truffle fries, tenders, garlic bites, and caesar salad.
In what might be a sign of a popular emerging genre of restaurant, this is the second pizza and beer hall to open in Arlington over the last month. Nighthawk Pizza started serving in Pentagon City in March.
(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) The former Champps space at Pentagon Row is back in business as a beer-and-pizza spot.
Nighthawk Pizza will open to the public on Thursday (March 24) at 3 p.m., in the large space at 1201 S. Joyce Street, after a series of private “friends and family” nights this week.
The concept marries a 90s vibe with a pizza-centric menu and an on-site brewery operated by Aslin Beer Company. It’s helmed by Chef Johnny Spero, of Netflix’s Final Table fame plus other culinary cred, and backed by a group that includes local serial entrepreneur Scott Parker. (The group also recently opened Poppyseed Rye in Ballston.)
In addition to thin-crust pizza and beer, the menu includes a range of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and cocktails — both handmade and on tap. The red-and-blue neon lights, bench seating and retro arcade games help to give the restaurant its 90s feel, partially offset by the abundant flat screen TVs that surround the large bar and the cavernous dining area.
“The design inspiration for the space was The Max from ‘Saved By The Bell,'” Parker noted.
In all, the brew pub has 10,000 square feet of space, plenty for the crowds Parker and company are hoping to attract from the growing neighborhood, which includes Amazon’s HQ2, set for a 2023 opening a few blocks away.
Parker said his group of partners “is already looking for our next locations for Nighthawk, as well as developing other projects.” Additional locations in the D.C. area and other cities are expected to be announced “in the coming months,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nighthawk is not the only spring opening at Pentagon Row, which was renamed “Westpost” in 2020.
“Taco temple” Banditos Bar & Kitchen is set to open in April, one restaurant over and also overlooking Westpost’s central square and soon-to-be-dismantled-for-the-season ice skating rink. Also expected to open next month are a new, 34,000 square foot Target store, on April 3, as well as sushi restaurant Kusshi.
This sponsored column is written by Todd Himes, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup.
“Aroma of skunk, musty, can be similar to burned rubber or cat musk.”
That definition of the lightstruck off-flavors in beer comes directly out of the Cicerone study resources.
But what is lightstruck beer? When certain hop compounds react to UV light, they create 3-methyl-2-butene-1-thiol, or MBT, which you may know as the culprit behind that odorous character often found in some “top-shelf” imported lagers — or late nights on some dark country roads.
Brown glass bottles would filter out most of that UV light where green and clear bottles would let UV wavelengths pass through with greater ease and thus green and clear bottles received a reputation for “ruining” many a beer and changing the flavor of what its brewers would have intended.
For years I bought into that — it even became one of the tenets of my strong support for putting more beer into cans. If some light was bad why not eliminate all light? Somewhere along the way, though, I’ve been introduced to thinking those green bottles unfairly got a bad rap.
Many of my favorite Belgian breweries have been bottling their beers in green glass for longer than I’ve certainly been drinking them. Even after I’d learned the hardline “green is bad,” I longed to try the lambics of Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and Boon, all of which were shipped across the sea in verdant vessels.
The first Belgian in green that crossed my lips was Saison Dupont. Upon uncorking that bottle, I was struck by the aromas that were decidedly “farmy” before farmhouse ales were truly on my radar. But nowhere was I thinking about skunks or tire fires, just-cut hay, horse stalls and dank grasses. Saison and lambics became some of my favorite styles, and I even saw a noble art in what I saw as the unknown and unpredictable effects of wild yeasts, spontaneous fermentation and wood aging.