(Updated at 12:15 p.m.) Clarendon Popup Bar, located inside the former Clarendon Ballroom space, is about to shift to its second theme.
The concept bar opened at 3185 Wilson Blvd in time to ring in the New Year with its temporary theme, “Winter Wonderland.” That theme will still be in effect this weekend, but will then be changed over the course of the following week. (An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that it would be closed this weekend.)
“Winter Wonderland was a success and more popular than anticipated,” owner Mike Bramson tells ARLnow. “The next theme is ‘Fire & Ice.’ We don’t want to give anything anyway, so you’ll have to come see it.”
Weather permitting, the rooftop will open in March, he said.
The debut of the “Fire and Ice” theme is set for Thursday, March 4, according to the calendar. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, which falls on a Wednesday, Clarendon Popup Bar will also have “ShamRock N’ Roll” event on Saturday, March 13.
“For St. Patrick’s Day weekend we are still working out the details, but you can most definitely expect a band and DJ lineup, and of course some green beer,” he said.
The pop-up will be showing games in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, better known as March Madness, from March 18 to April 4.
“We will be opening early to show the March Madness games on our huge projector wall and TVs,” Bramson said. “Every seat in the house will be able to see a screen.”
Not everybody has been enamored with Clarendon Popup. An anonymous tipster sent ARLnow Instagram videos inside the venue, showing crowded dance areas and a number of people not wearing masks.
In response, Bramson said Clarendon Popup Bar has been working with the health department to “ensure we are following all necessary regulations and precautions.”
Since opening, he and staff have rearranged the layout “a few times” to adapt to demand. The large indoor space has allowed them to properly distance and section off tables, he said.
“We feel comfortable that we have taken the proper safety measures going into our next theme,” said Bramson. “Anyone not at their table is required to wear a mask and all staff is on top of enforcing that rule.”
The County Board approved Clarendon Popup’s request for a live entertainment and dancing permit in mid-December on the condition that the owners abide by all local, state and federal COVID-19 regulations.
Photos (2-3) via Instagram
The popup, temporarily themed as a “Winter Wonderland” bar, started serving customers exactly one year after the old event and nightlife spot at 3185 Wilson Blvd closed on New Year’s Eve in 2019. Fire department personnel could be seen conducting final inspections inside the space on Wednesday, before the opening.
“The opening weekend was a huge success,” owner Mike Bramson said in an email. “The turnout was better than we expected as all tables were booked [or] sold out. Our guests really enjoyed the decorations, themed cocktails, projection wall, DJs and bands.”
This coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the multi-level popup bar and event venue will celebrate its official opening. A more detailed lineup of events, featuring a mix of DJs and bands, will be on the website by the end of the week, Bramson said.
“We also have a large projection wall where we can show some playoff [football] games,” he said. “We are already working on a Super Bowl event.”
High-top tables are first-come, first-served, while the bar takes reservations via email for couches, Bramson said.
The County Board approved Clarendon Popup’s request for a live entertainment and dancing permit in mid-December on the condition that the owners abide by all local, state and federal COVID-19 regulations.
“The size of the space allows us to properly social distance and keep our patrons and staff safe while enjoying a fun atmosphere,” Bramson said.
“Typical internal delays” forced owners to postpone the popup’s opening from early December until the last weekend of the year, Bramson previously told ARLnow. As a result, the “Winter Wonderland” theme will stay through at least Jan. 30.
Bramson, a co-owner of The Lot — the popular outdoor beer garden a few blocks from the Ballroom — confirmed in October that Clarendon was getting a new, temporary nightlife spot in a familiar hangout.
The popup bar plans to operate 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday, including the eve of all federal holidays.
After some delays, Clarendon Popup could be hosting live entertainment and dancing in the former Clarendon Ballroom space by the end of December.
The new opening day would be almost exactly one year after the event and nightlife spot at 3185 Wilson Blvd closed after New Year’s Eve in 2019. Owners anticipated the first popup — with a “Winter Wonderland” theme — would open around this time in December, but the holidays have set them back.
“We are aiming to open by the end of the month pending no further delays,” owner Mike Bramson said in an email, adding that the popup has been set back by “typical internal delays, such as equipment arriving on time given the holidays.”
The wonderland theme was originally set to run from mid-December through New Years, with plans to extend it through the winter season “if it was a success,” Bramson said.
“Given the late start it makes sense to continue the theme and give everyone a chance to see all the decorations and experience the space,” he said. “Fortunately, our first popup, Winter Wonderland, is a theme that can be enjoyed throughout the winter.”
On Saturday, the County Board approved Clarendon Popup’s request for a live entertainment and dancing permit. The green light came after county staff voiced their support, albeit with a few conditions.
The County is requiring the owners must abide by all local, state and federal regulations related to COVID-19 and pushing the venue to change the hours of operation, based on input from the Lyon Village and Lyon Park civic associations.
“With adherence to the proposed conditions, staff does not believe that the proposed use permit will cause any undue adverse impacts to the public health, safety or welfare, nor be in conflict with the County’s master plans,” staff said in the report.
Bramson said the popup will indeed follow all federal and state guidelines and recommendations related to the coronavirus.
“One of the biggest appeals of the venue is its size, providing for ample space to social distance,” he said.
The owners requested to operate between 11 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday and Monday. Clarendon Ballroom operated with similar hours.
The Lyon Village Civic Association expressed concerns about the applicant’s proposed hours of live entertainment, especially during weekdays. In response, the County proposed alternative hours of live entertainment and dancing that are similar to neighboring nightlife spots, including Liberty Tavern and Don Tito’s, according to the report.
The new hours, which the owners agreed to, are 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday, including the eve of all federal holidays.
“We agreed with the hours of operation as they were on par with some of the other businesses around us,” Bramson said. “I’m glad we were able to come to an agreement.”
ANC and Addison Alternatives Announced — “Metro will offer free shuttle bus service and other travel alternatives during the spring closure of Addison Road and Arlington Cemetery stations on the Blue and Silver lines, the transit agency announced today. Addison Road and Arlington Cemetery will be closed from Saturday, Feb. 13 through Sunday, May 23, 2021, to allow for construction.” [WMATA]
Business Buys Ballroom Building, Before Bar by Beer Boss Brings Big Bucks — “Monument Realty has acquired the former Clarendon Ballroom as the owners of popular beer garden The Lot plan to open a temporary event venue inside the building on Arlington County’s Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. MR 3185 Wilson Retail LLC, an affiliate of the District-based commercial real estate developer, acquired the building at 3185 Wilson Blvd. Dec. 11 for about $6.7 million, according to Arlington County land records.” [Washington Business Journal]
COVID Concerns Cause County Crew Changes — “You can now add snow removal to the long list of things that have had to change because of COVID-19. ‘This year, what makes it different than many other years, is the threat of COVID and really the concern of just keeping the employees safe, keeping them distanced enough to where they can do their work but also go home safely,’ said Jeremy Hassan, the chief operating engineer for Arlington County’s Water, Sewer, and Streets Bureau.” [Fox 5]
“[We] are converting the iconic Clarendon Ballroom into a rotating, multilevel pop-up and event venue,” The Lot co-owner Mike Bramson confirmed this afternoon, after an inquiry from ARLnow.
Bramson said the temporary venue at 3185 Wilson Blvd — which has applied for permits to serve beer, wine and cocktails — will initially be dubbed “Winter Wonderland on Wilson.” The holiday-themed pop-up is expected to open in December and run through New Years.
So far there’s no word on what concept will follow.
“More details to be announced soon,” said Bramson, who is also a co-owner of Pamplona in Clarendon.
Seasonal pop-up bars have proved popular in D.C., though that popularity has waned recently.
Clarendon Ballroom closed after last New Year’s Eve. The long-time local nightlife spot and event venue, which had both indoor and outdoor spaces, was business for 20 years.
The Lot opened in July 2019 and has attracted long lines during the pandemic, as bar-goers flock to outdoor venues as a safer alternative to indoor spaces.
Pike Lane Closures Prompt Apology — “Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has apologized that residents, business owners, and commuters weren’t informed how their lives would be temporarily affected by a road construction project on Columbia Pike, near the Fairfax County border,” per WTOP. County officials will be holding a press briefing about the lane closures on the Pike this morning. [WTOP, Arlington County]
Park Near HQ2 May Have Security Features — “Amazon.com Inc. is weighing methods for securing its second headquarters and appears to be looking across the pond for ideas. The U.S. embassy in London… avoids fences in favor of a number of ‘defense strategies’ disguised as a ‘welcoming landscape that is experienced as a public park,’ an Amazon representative told Arlington County officials.” [Washington Business Journal]
Ballroom Closing Is a Changing of the Bro Guards — “The millennials who do end up in Arlington are being drawn to a new generation of bars and nightspots, many of which are run by chef Mike Cordero and partner Scott Parker, including the bustling three-level tequila/tacos restaurant Don Tito… Clarendon may always have a place for the venerable Whitlow’s on Wilson, where the combination of a roof deck and cover bands makes it the most likely refuge for those missing the Ballroom… But it’s clear that Clarendon — at least, its bro-centric archetype — will never be the same.” [Washington Post]
Alabama Man Busted With Loaded Gun at DCA — “An Alabama man started the new year on a sour note when he brought his loaded handgun to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) on the first day of the new year.” [Transportation Security Administration]
New Slate of County Board Meetings Set — “Arlington County Board members will hold 11 monthly meetings (Saturdays and the subsequent Tuesdays) in 2020, along with several hearings on the proposed fiscal 2021 budget and capital-improvement projects. Regular meetings will be held on Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 21, April 18, May 16, June 13, July 18, Sept. 12, Oct. 17, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12 and, in each case, the following Tuesdays.” [InsideNova]
‘National Gateway’ Building Sold — “An affiliate of The Meridian Group has sold part of its National Gateway campus in Arlington County, one of a handful of office properties poised to benefit from an expected surge in demand tied to Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters. The Bethesda developer sold National Gateway II, a roughly 238,031-square-foot building at 3550 S. Clark St., for nearly $60 million.” [Washington Business Journal]
2020 is almost here, and if you’re spending the holidays in Arlington, there are plenty of local options for ringing in the new year.
Ticket prices vary per event, with several opting for no cover and others starting at up to $50 per person.
For families looking to celebrate but also go to bed well before midnight, the Columbia Pike Branch Library (816 S. Walter Reed Drive) is hosting a “Ring in the Noon Year” countdown from 11 a.m.-noon. There will be games, light snacks, and a countdown to noon.
Later in the night, there are a bunch of parties big and small planned across Arlington. For those looking to pay their respects to Clarendon Ballroom, its last night in operation will be for its New Years Eve Gala — fitting, given the venue opened on the same day twenty years ago.
On Columbia Pike, The Celtic House Irish Pub & Restaurant will celebrate with the local band Down Wilson,
In Crystal City, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, an all-out casino night is planned until 3 a.m. Close by, Freddie’s Beach Bar has two parties planned — a drag show on New Year’s Eve, and then a New Year’s Day champagne brunch the following morning. For a more relaxed vibe, McNamara’s Pub & Restaurant is offering a three-course dinner to ring in the new year for $30.
In Clarendon, in addition to the Clarendon Ballroom bash, several bars will be hosting parties including Bar Bao, Pamplona, Whitlow’s, The Renegade, Liberty Tavern, and Wilson Hardware. For a more low-key evening, Northside Social is offering a three-course dinner and wine pairing, with a live TV view of the ball dropping at midnight
A New Year’s Eve dinner similar to that at Northside Social is being held at Cheesetique in Shirlington.
(Updated on 12/13/19) Clarendon Ballroom will be closing after one last New Year’s Eve Bash on Dec. 31.
The long-time Clarendon nightlife venue announced via social media Wednesday night that it will be shutting down for good after ringing in the new year (and the new decade).
“It has been our pleasure to be part of the Clarendon community for the last 20 years,” the business said on Instagram. “This area has changed a great deal since we first saw a furniture and fabric store built in the 1930’s as a Woolworth Department store and thought that it would make an excellent music and events venue.”
The Ballroom was perhaps best known as a live music venue and a nightclub with a popular rooftop, but it was also a private event venue that hosted everything from weddings to ceremonies to community events.
Peter Pflug, one of the owners of the Ballroom, declined to give a reason for its closure.
“For now we are not commenting further than the fact that we are closing,” Pflug told ARLnow. “Instead we are focusing on making the last weeks fun and memorable.”
The business appears to be preparing to auction off its gear in early January.
“Iconic night club is shutting its doors and making a complete liquidation,” says a page on a local auction company’s website. “Audio equipment, very large kitchen, catering equipment, several bars & much more. Arlington, VA local pickup only.”
More on the closure from the Instagram post:
To our Clients, Vendors, Patrons, and Friends:
After over 19 years in business, the Clarendon Ballroom will be closing in January. Our 20th New Year’s Eve Bash on December 31st, 2019 will be the last night that we are open for business.
It has been our pleasure to be part of the Clarendon community for the last 20 years. This area has changed a great deal since we first saw a furniture and fabric store built in the 1930’s as a Woolworth Department store and thought that it would make an excellent music and events venue.
A big thank you to all of the special event clients, nightclub patrons, vendors, and most of all, the staff (seems like a poor word – after you work with the same people for 20 years, you feel much more like family) that joined us and supported us in this adventure.
To go out with a bang, we have planned a couple special closing events leading up to our New Year’s Eve Bash. Please come out and help us say goodbye:
On December 27th, one of the greatest bands to every play the room, Mr. Greengenes, is playing a final show for us. Please see Here for details and start resting up now!
On December 28th, our House DJ and the man responsible for way too many legendary nights, DJ Lil Fos is playing with some of his other DJs, so you can show off your dance moves on the floor one last time (No cover for this show). And if you really want to say goodbye the way it all began–our first night open to the public was New Year’s Eve in 2000–get your tickets now for our big gala. We will be featuring an awesome band–Liquid A–and DJ Lil Fos. This one has sold out every year for 19 years, and we hope you can join us, so get your tickets now.
Thank you again for helping us become a part of the community, and we hope you come see us before our “last call.”
Long-time DC 101 morning man Elliot Segal is bringing his Elliot in the Morning Halloween Bash back to Clarendon tomorrow (Friday).
The annual event is happening at Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd), with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the party starting at 8 p.m. There’s a $10 cover before 9 p.m.
With that and other notable events planned, and with Halloween revelry starting up, the Arlington County Police Department was going to hold a “Halloween Anti-Drunk Driving Community Outreach Event” in Clarendon Friday evening. That, however, has been postponed due to expected rainy weather.
ACPD is now planning to hold an Election Day-themed anti-DUI event next Friday, Nov. 2, from 9-11 p.m.
Update on 2/6/18: The Clarendon Alliance has issued an update to their plans. Citing “a large Mardi Gras ball with major sponsors” in Union Market and a Mardi Gras parade planned for the same time at Washington’s District Wharf development, the Mardi Gras Ball and the Jester Jaunt have been cancelled. The parade will still go on as scheduled.
“They’ve got marketing dollars and fireworks,” said Matt Hussman, The Clarendon Alliance’s executive director. “It’s a different market than it used to be. But I wish the Wharf and Union Market the best of luck [with their own Mardi Gras activities].”
According to Hussman, approximately 60% of previous years’ Mardi Gras Ball tickets were sold either the day before or day of the event. He cited the difficulty in prepaying for beer and food expenses without knowing the exact number of participants as a major consideration in the decision. Another factor was the quantity of ball attendees: Hussman noted that the vast majority of ball ticket holders were Batalá Washington performers or Louisiana State University alumni. Both groups, he said, would be parading at the Wharf instead of in Clarendon.
Currently there are approximately 20 registered parade floats or groups, and registration is still open for additional marchers.
Earlier: Clarendon’s annual Mardi Gras procession of dressed-up dogs, cyclists, floats, and revelers is quickly approaching, and registration for several events has opened.
The festivities will kick off on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. on Wilson Boulevard at N. Barton Street, following along Wilson Boulevard before ending at by The Liberty Tavern at N. Irving Street.
Parade registration fees range from $50 for a nonprofit or community organization to $250 for a business outside of the Clarendon-Courthouse corridor. Revelers can also preorder a box of 720 beaded necklaces for $75.
Though few want it to rain on their parade, last year’s Mardi Gras procession went on despite the downpour.
The following street closures have been reported for the parade and fun run:
- Wilson Boulevard, from Veitch Street to Barton Street, will be closed from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Adams Street and Wayne Street, between Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard, will be closed from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Wilson Boulevard, from Barton Street to Irving Street, will be closed from 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Photos (as marked) courtesy of Jason Dixson Photography
When Jessica Winesett became a mom 16 months ago, she quickly learned how hard it was for moms to have “the night off.” The experience led the Alexandria resident to organize Northern Virginia’s first-ever “Mom Prom.”
Winesett said she was inspired to launch the event after hearing about mom proms in Richmond, now in its seventh year, and Hampton Roads, now in its third year.
“Since becoming a mom, I have such passion for moms now. When we take care of our moms, we take care of our society,” she said, “In my eyes, the initiative has already been a success because I see the community coming together and giving together. This is a feel-good event where women who are and aren’t mothers are welcome for a fun night out.”
Only women 21 years and above are allowed because alcohol will be served at the event. Tickets are available online. The offer for $45 early bird tickets ends on Saturday. Prices increase to $50 afterward.
The first 100 women to arrive will receive a door prize and awards for the “most glamorous” and “most outrageous” outfit will be given. A prom queen or mom of the year will be crowned from submitted nominations.
An after-party open to the public is scheduled after the prom ends at 11 p.m.
Flyer via ProMOmenade