Clarendon has been known for its nights-and-weekends bar scene and drinking culture, and there is perhaps no more pure an example of the drinking culture than the bar crawls that come to the neighborhood a few times a year.
There’s the Halloween crawl, the “All American” crawl and — this past weekend — the St. Patrick’s Day-themed Shamrock Crawl, which returned to Clarendon after a one-year hiatus. Like Dan Zak before me, I went to check it out.
The final list of bars included Bar Bao, Pamplona, Whitlow’s, Mister Days, Hunan One, Oz and Clarendon Grill. An earlier list featured Courthaus Social, but it was later removed.
Starting at 1 p.m. my friend and I were among the first people to show up at Bar Bao, where you had to register. We were given free plastic mugs and a map.
Nothing was ready when we first got there. No bartender, no music. Just my friend and I and two other guys awkwardly sitting around. After 5 to 10 minutes of standing around waiting for something to happen, we got up, left and headed to Courthaus Social, not knowing that it was no longer on the list.
We killed an hour at Courthaus Social and decided to finally start heading back. On the way over, we passed Oz and my friend insisted on checking it out.
Inside, I saw a $4 “shamrock shooter” was being offered. The bartender told me it was a watermelon flavored liquor of sorts, and it was so good I had another, clumsily spilling some on my green shirt. But the revelry was rather subdued — as far as we can tell, no other bar crawlers were there.
Fast forward to 3 p.m. and we decided to head back to Bar Bao. On the way over we found a grocery cart that I pushed my friend in for 10 seconds. She then jumped out and we went into Bar Bao. Finally things are poppin’. A DJ is performing, the bar was open for those inside and outside on the patio. People were actually there. The weather was between 40 and 50 degrees, but it was sunny so it wasn’t too bad to stand outside while having a beer.
While at Bar Bao I also met a guy who said he was friends with the man who was famously tased by police while wearing a Pikachu onesie, about one year ago. The man is still in prison after fighting with both police and the bouncers of A-Town Bar & Grill, his friend said, adding that they were wrongly discriminated against when they were kicked out of A-Town.
After Bar Bao, it was time to cross the courtyard to Pamplona, which serves Spanish cuisine but today was also offering $7 Irish car bomb shots.
Before our final stop at Mister Days, my friend and I were tempted by yet another grocery cart. Except this time, when I pushed it, the cart fell over, with my friend rolling out (she was fine). A police officer then came out of nowhere and initially told us to return the cart, seemingly less interested in my friend’s tumble. I offered to take the cart back to Trader Joe’s, but the officer had seen enough shenanigans.
“Just leave,” he said, which we promptly did.
Four and a half hours of drinking later we couldn’t make it to the four remaining bars. But I like to think we still had a great, boozy adventure. And for the record, neither us nor anyone we saw vomited in any front yards.
A trio of new restaurants are coming to the western edge of Clarendon, just across Washington Blvd from Northside Social.
Demolition permits have been issued for “Le Kon,” which is coming to the large restaurant space at 3227 Washington Blvd vacated by the short-lived Park Lane Tavern. It’s unclear what exactly Le Kon will be, though it is listed vaguely as a “Casual Dining, Fine Dining, Bar / Lounge” establishment on the restaurant hiring website Culinary Agents.
Adjacent to the future Le Kon, the awnings and building permits for a “cajun seafood and sushi lounge” called Asiatique are still up, though there’s little sign of additional information on it or an opening date to be found online.
Next door, building permits were issued a year ago for a new Stone Hot Pizza location, though the space’s windows have been frosted, blocking any view of possible construction progress inside.
All three restaurants are located on the ground floor of the Beacon at Clarendon apartment building, which is technically located within the boundaries of the Lyon Village Civic Association, according to a county map.
A new Clarendon art gallery run by the Arlington Artists Alliance will temporarily occupy the space that formerly housed Fuego Cocina y Taquileria, and they won’t be paying rent.
Gallery Clarendon put up signs last Friday (March 9) and intends to open to the public by April 1. That’s so long as the alliance receives its occupancy permit in time, according to Jane Coonce, Gallery Clarendon’s executive director.
Until a permanent commercial tenant is found, the gallery, built and developed by volunteers, will stay and only pay utilities. Crystal City’s Gallery Art Underground is run in a similar way as Gallery Clarendon by Arlington Artists Alliance.
While the first floor will be a gallery, the second will be artist studios with art classes, including oil painting and pastels lessons, for children and adults. Coonce intends to offer a painting class with wine.
The first installation, according to Coonce, will likely feature the work of those who volunteered or donated toward building the space. Later installations will feature primarily Arlington artists and occasionally artists from nearby Northern Virginia locales.
Coonce added that there’s been excitement by both volunteers and the public for the new space to open.
“All the artists are excited. Even the people that walk by, when they stuck their head in before we put our little signs on the window, they said ‘what’s going in here?’ said Coonce.
“And [when] we say ‘gallery,’ they go ‘Oh, that’s what we need.'”
The long-time Red Top Cab maintenance facility in Clarendon is now idle.
No longer are taxicabs busy coming and going from the facility, which is located along N. Hudson Street, just back from Clarendon’s main strip of bars. The facility’s parking lot, meanwhile, is largely empty.
Red Top spokesman Von Pelot said the company has moved maintenance to Falls Church as a cost-cutting measure.
“Half of the offices at Hudson Street were unused and we had additional capacity for maintenance at our shop in Falls Church, where painting and body repairs have always been done,” Pelot tells ARLnow.com. “It was not economical to carry the operating expenses of occupying a building we don’t really need.”
As recently as 2012 Red Top was seeking new taxi licenses from the county in an effort to expand its fleet. Pelot acknowledged that app-based ride services like Uber and Lyft have significantly curtailed its business.
“With the unfettered competition from unregulated cab substitute companies, we decided to cost costs by relocating staff to other available space,” he said. Red Top’s headquarters, however, is remaining at 3251 Washington Blvd, a block away from the maintenance facility.
Hat tip to Mike K.
A new coffee shop is coming to Clarendon, according to a building permit application.
The coffee shop will be located at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Garfield Street and, according to the permit application, will be just over 1,000 square feet. Few other details were immediately available.
The cafe will occupy the long-vacant ground floor space that was formerly home to Spice and a procession of other short-lived food businesses. It will face some stiff competition for the wallets of local coffee drinkers; among other nearby options are Starbucks, Peet’s, Northside Social, Dunkin’ Donuts, Detour Coffee Co. and Blumen Cafe.
Hat tip to Chris Slatt
The incident happened early Saturday morning, around 1 a.m., at a business on the 3100 block of Wilson Blvd., which is home to a number of popular bars. The suspect left the scene and is being sought on a charge of sexual battery.
More from this week’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:
SEXUAL BATTERY, 2018-03030022, 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard. At approximately 1:08 a.m. on March 3, police were dispatched to the report of a sexual battery. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown male suspect inappropriately touched the female victim inside the bathroom of a business. The suspect is described as a black male, approximately 5’8″ tall, with tattoos on both arms. He was wearing a white t-shirt and denim pants at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.
The rest of this past week’s crime report highlights, including some that we’ve already reported, after the jump.
About a month ago, Girl Scouts began selling their famous — dieters might call them infamous — cookies in Arlington.
The net revenue raised from Girl Scout cookies funds the organization’s local council and troops, which in turn is used for trips or donated to community projects or causes.
This month Girl Scouts will again be posting up at Metro stations, grocery stores and other high-foot-traffic locales, offering a fix of their seemingly addictive mass-produced baked goods.
Below, after the jump, are some of the times and places places you can grab some Girl Scout cookies in March.
Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart spoke at an event in Clarendon Monday afternoon.
TAPS — the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which supports families of fallen service members — is based at 3033 Wilson Blvd in Clarendon.
Stewart offered “beautiful words” about TAPS, its mission and its new program, said one attendee.
— TAPS (@TAPSorg) March 5, 2018
Outside of the event, celebrity photographer Mark Wilkins snapped a photo of Stewart tying his shoe while walking around Clarendon.
— Marky Mark (@DCCelebrity) March 5, 2018
Earlier in the day Stewart spoke at a press conference on Capitol Hill, blasting a proposed policy change that would make it harder for 9/11 first responders to get medical treatment under the World Trade Center Health Program.
Clarendon’s new Barre3 studio was set to start its first classes today (March 5), but has postponed its opening day.
The hold up is due to “the unexpected surprises that come with construction, permits and inspections,” according to an email sent on Friday to those who had signed up for the first week of classes.
The email didn’t specify a revised opening date for the barre studio to open at Market Common, and emails to the location were not returned over the weekend. A later email from the chain to customers noted that at least one additional free class would be held before opening their doors “this month.”
Many of the first week’s classes were free for locals to try out the studio, but anyone who had signed up was removed from the class list and had an extra free class added to their accounts for any of the local locations.
The chain also has a nearby location in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, but this would be the first Arlington addition.
It was a pretty sweet wedding, if you ask Cristian Velasco.
An Arlington couple exchanged vows last week at Velasco’s Boccato Gelato shop in Clarendon.
“We had our first date there,” explained Catherine Bingham, née Morse, who married Terry Bingham last night at the impromptu ceremony.
“We’ve known each other since we were toddlers,” she added. “His grandparents were like my grandparents.”
The couple married Thursday night (March 1) after the quiet hours were over at the gelato shop’s coworking space. The only guests were the couple’s combined six young children — two girls and four boys — and Catherine’s boss at an Arlington-based consulting agency.
The children weren’t aware that their parents would be getting married that evening, but the couple says that the children have always rooted for the relationship.
Catherine called Velasco Thursday morning to ask if the couple could get married at the store that evening. The store owner wasn’t sure what to expect, but was excited as the couple exchanged vows by a fireplace and their children read some of the vows.
The children also had baskets with candy that they passed out to the applauding customers.
“It’s all surreal, she pretty much comes in dressed up in her veil, all radiant and so happy,” said Velasco. “People just see this and are like, what is happening?”
Catherine spent her childhood living in Alexandria, Va., across the street from her husband’s grandmother. They played together in the neighborhood and went swimming together, and later reconnected at Bingham’s grandmother’s 95th birthday about two years ago.
The couple had a civil ceremony on January 26 in the kitchen of their friend, Bob McDonald, the Washington Capitals’ anthem soloist who is in the U.S. Army Band with Terry. No one other than the McDonalds knew that the couple had the civil ceremony, and the Binghams wanted to surprise their combined six children.
“We didn’t really have a plan until the last minute because we kept wanting to make it special and surprise the kids,” said Catherine. “But everything else that we came up with just didn’t feel right.”
The couple planned to go to At Melissa’s Bed & Breakfast in Rehoboth Beach, Del., this past weekend, despite the wind storm sweeping across the region. At some point, Catherine added, the couple will probably go somewhere that involves an airplane without the children, but a beach trip with cake and sparkling cider sounded like a great way to cap off an already exciting week.
Photos courtesy Catherine Bingham and via Boccato Gelato/Twitter
An Arlington filmmaker is back on the film circuit, this time showcasing a film tackling end-of-life care issues.
The movie, “Nothing to Do,” centers on a radio D.J. who has take care of his dying father. Director Mike Kravinsky was inspired in part by taking care of his own father during his final weeks.
“It was frightening and challenging, but unbelievably rewarding, to be there for my dad at the end,” Kravinsky said. “Even though this very sad thing is happening, life goes on.”
To prepare for filming, Kravinsky interviewed doctors and funeral directors about a family’s experience at the end of a parent’s life, including the inevitable and emotional fighting that was a reoccurring scene in the movie.
Filmmaking was a career change for Kravinsky, a Lyon Village resident who worked for ABC News in D.C. as an editor for 30 years before accepting a buyout in 2010.
“In the back of my mind I always had this thing, like ‘film making is so cool,'” said Kravinsky. “I just gave this a shot and it’s been really gratifying, really rewarding for me.”
The film will be screened this Friday and Sunday (March 2 and March 4) at the Durango Independent Film Festival in Colo., and it was just screened at the Beaufort International Film Festival in Beaufort, S.C., where it was nominated for best actor/director.
Kravinsky said more film festivals have been interested in “Nothing to Do” than his previous film “Geographically Desirable” which came out in 2015.
“Nothing to Do” won the Special Jury Award at Virginia’s Alexandria Film Festival. It was also a finalist at the Cinequest Screenplay Competition in San Jose, Calif., and an honorable mention at the TrackingB Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles.
Kravinsky said he hopes he can bring the film back to the D.C. area and is currently applying for different screenings nearby.
Photos courtesy of Mike Kravinsky
Record Warm Temperatures — Yesterday’s high temperature of 82 degrees was the hottest it has ever been this early in the year. Records were set at all three D.C. area airports. [Twitter, Capital Weather Gang]
Fatal Fall in Clarendon — The man who fell from the roof of a building in Clarendon last week died, police confirmed Wednesday. “The subject was transported to the hospital by Arlington County Fire Department medics where he was later pronounced deceased,” said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “The police department is conducting an active death investigation and nothing in the investigation has lead us to categorize the death as suspicious.” [Twitter]
Vihstadt Expands Bipartisan Support — Former Arlington School Board member Sally Baird is the latest Democrat to endorse County Board member John Vihstadt in his reelection campaign. “We both know that maintaining top quality public schools is essential to Arlington’s future, and I’m honored to have her support,” Vihstadt said in a statement.
Photo courtesy James Mahony
Several signs are up at The Lot, Clarendon’s first outdoor beer garden, but not much else.
Work on The Lot was originally supposed to end last summer, but it is now expected to finish up at some point later this year.
It will replace the now-defunct Prime Auto Group car lot at 3217 10th Street N., which still had signs up earlier Wednesday.
According to a pending Virginia ABC license application, The Lot intends to sell wine and beer and have a seating capacity of over 150. An enclosed deck will be built, as well as a small kitchen.
JPMorgan Chase plans to open a consumer banking branch in the former Walgreen’s space in Clarendon.
S&P Global Market Intelligence is reporting today — and a filing with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency appears to confirm — that the Clarendon property is planned as one of six new JPMorgan Chase branches along the East Coast.
Four of the new branches are in the D.C. area, including two in the District and one in Bethesda.
— Brian Cheung (@bcheungz) February 14, 2018
Hat tip to @AndrewOnEnergy
Despite the cancellation of the Mardi Gras Ball and the Jester Jaunt, Clarendon let the good times roll and carried on with the annual Mardi Gras parade.
One resident told ARLnow.com that the parade seemed to have far fewer attendees than last year’s parade, despite last year’s rain storm.
Costumed revelers glittered down Wilson Boulevard, trumpets blaring. Few families and groups watching the parade seemed to mind the lack of fireworks and marketing that The Clarendon Alliance’s executive director Matt Hussman cited as the reason that many were flocking to Washington’s southwest wharf for that neighborhood’s Mardi Gras festivities.