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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 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.

by Chris Teale — March 16, 2017 at 11:00 am 0

The campaign to save the IOTA Club and Cafe is gaining support, but organizers said there’s still much uncertainty about the redevelopment plan for IOTA’s building.

Organizers of the “Save IOTA” campaign — local residents and IOTA regulars Harry Blackwood and Melissa Mannon — said the lack of public, detailed plans from the developer is making them nervous.

Already, the pair launched a Facebook page for their efforts and have circulated paper petitions at the venue, in addition to an online petition.

“Right now, we’re in such early stages of the process that all we can really do is express concern about it and ask for more information,” Blackwood said.

A community meeting to discuss the redevelopment of a group of buildings on the 2800 block of Clarendon and Wilson Blvds by Regency Centers has been rescheduled from March 29 to May 10.

Eric Davidson, spokesman for Regency Centers, said the delay is because the firm has new renderings and video materials for the project, which includes IOTA’s current location.

“We just got some new visuals we want to get ready so we can tell the story of what we want to do here more clearly and get more community feedback on this project,” Davidson told ARLnow.com Wednesday morning.

The campaign brought more than 70 supporters to a meeting of the Clarendon/Courthouse Civic Association, where those present heard a presentation from Regency Centers vice president of investments Devin Corini.

And at that meeting, Mannon said, Corini emphasized that the company wants to keep IOTA in place. But organizers said those assurances are not enough to calm their fears.

“He [Corini] said some nice things about how they don’t want IOTA to go away, they want to work with the community and want them to stay,” Mannon said. “We like that sentiment, we just haven’t seen that proven in their actions yet. That’s very frustrating.”

Mannon and Blackwood said the petitions are just a first step, and they plan to continue to mobilize as the site plan moves through the county’s approvals process. The pair added they are seeking a private meeting with Regency Centers representatives to discuss the plans, but have been unsuccessful so far in scheduling one.

They said they have engaged not only local residents but those in the local music community, who all want to make sure the building and its mission are preserved.

“You have all these regulars and musicians and people who listen to music speaking from this very emotional place,” Blackwood said. “They have a lot of emotional attachment and affection for a building and a place and a location.”

by Chris Teale — March 10, 2017 at 1:15 pm 0

Police DUI event St Patricks DayArlington police will be out in force next weekend during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, reminding revelers not to drink and drive.

The interactive “Don’t Press Your Luck” event will highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills, and is free. It will be hosted at the intersection of N. Hudson Street and Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 18.

Police will close Hudson Street from Wilson Boulevard to 13th Street N. from noon until 9 p.m. to accommodate the event. Temporary “No Parking” signs will be up, and illegally parked motorists could be ticketed or towed.

The event is part of a push by local police to remind partygoers of the dangers of drink-driving. According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, between 2011 and 2015, 252 people died in car crashes during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday in the United States.

Earlier this week, ride-hailing app Lyft announced it will partner with SoberRide to provide free and safe transportation home during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the D.C. region.

In addition to next week’s event, tonight (Friday) Arlington County Police will be trying out another initiative aimed at Clarendon bar-goers: blocking off some of the parking spots on Clarendon Blvd to create a pickup zone for Uber and Lyft riders.

From ACPD:

On Friday, March 10, 2017 the Arlington County Police Department is conducting a pilot program in Clarendon providing a designated rideshare pickup location. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary no parking signs in the 3100 block of Wilson Boulevard beginning at approximately 11:00 p.m. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call 703-558-2222.

by Chris Teale — March 8, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

BFF Happy Hour

A happy hour event that combines networking with raising money to help combat breast cancer is coming to Clarendon next week.

The third annual “Breast Friends Forever” event, a young professionals’ happy hour that raises money for the Sharon McGowan Breast Health Fund, is taking place on Thursday, March 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at MakeOffices Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd, Ste. 200).

The event will feature cocktails, beer, wine and appetizers, plus a bra decorating contest and raffle.

All donations from the event will go towards funding SMBHF’s efforts to provide uninsured women and men in Arlington and Falls Church with life-saving and preventative breast cancer treatment and tests, giving free access to mammograms, sonograms, biopsies, medical devices and medications.

“We are proud to be sponsoring this event for its third year,” said MakeOffices CEO Raymond Rahbar. “The Sharon McGowan Breast Health fund works hard all year to support our community and this evening allows us to celebrate their efforts.”

The event is also sponsored by TTR Sotheby’s International Realtors. Those interested in attending can RSVP online.

by ARLnow.com — March 6, 2017 at 4:30 pm 0

A restaurant that can only rarely be seen serving customers is again closed for reported maintenance issues.

Pio Pio, located at 3300 Wilson Blvd between Clarendon and Virginia Square, has been closed “for at least a week,” according to a tipster. That’s despite a “help wanted” sign in the window.

A sign reading “today afternoon closed for maintenance” is posted on the door, as it was this past December when we first reported that Pio Pio was closed for an issue with the roof. It’s unclear if Pio Pio reopened at any point between then and now.

Reached at the restaurant’s phone number, a man who did not give his name said “I don’t know” when asked when Pio Pio would be reopening. “Someone will call you back,” the man said before hanging up.

Tipsters who’ve contacted ARLnow.com have expressed fascination with the “mysterious” business which, like the former Sam’s Corner before it, does not seem to keep regular hours.

Said one tipster:

The Pio Pio restaurant at the corner or Wilson and Jackson has been closed for at least a week. Interestingly, there’s a “help wanted”
sign in the window of the shuttered restaurant. The place rarely has had any customers, and often has a Hummer parked outside. And then there’s that man in a crazy chicken costume who used to stand outside scaring passers-by. Strange…

From another tipster:

… have you guys ever done any investigation as to the real story at Pio Pio? It would be funny if it weren’t so mysterious. There’s literally no one ever in there. They are closed during peak hours including Saturday afternoon and evening. Has to be some story there but I have never seen it told.

by ARLnow.com — March 3, 2017 at 4:05 pm 0

WJLA anchor Autria Godfrey (photo via Twitter)

Autria Godfrey, a morning news anchor on WJLA (ABC 7), was charged with trespassing and being drunk in public last month in Clarendon.

The incident happened early Saturday morning, on Feb. 18, at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street).

From Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage:

“At approximately 12:45 AM on February 18, officers working a detail in Clarendon responded to the 1100 block of N. Highland Street for the report of a disturbance at a restaurant. The restaurant manager advised arriving officers that a female subject had allegedly started an altercation inside the establishment and they no longer wanted her on the property. Restaurant employees escorted the female subject off the property where she was advised by police that she would be arrested for trespassing if she returned that evening. The female subject left the immediate area with friends.

At approximately 1:24 AM, officers were advised that the female subject had returned to the property. Responding officers arrived on scene and observed the female subject inside the restaurant. Autria Godfrey, 33, was arrested and charged with trespassing and drunk in public.”

As reported by FTVLive, a TV news trade publication, Godfrey was suspended and taken off the air last week by station owner Sinclair. She was back on the air this week.

Godfrey was arraigned Feb. 24 and is due back in court on May 19.

by Chris Teale — March 2, 2017 at 5:00 pm 0

A new Japanese ramen noodle restaurant opened its doors this week in Clarendon.

Hanabi Ramen celebrated its first day February 28 at the former Amsterdam Falafel space at 3024 Wilson Blvd, next to the future G.O.A.T. Sports Bar.

The restaurant has room for 35 people to eat, including on a long shared table in the middle of the dining area.

“You end up sitting with someone you have never met,” said the restaurant’s owner and chef Kenji. “We are hoping people can start conversations over ramen.”

There are plenty of other reminders of the owner’s Japanese heritage. Several norens — Japanese fabric dividers — hang to separate the back rooms from the dining area, while the kitchen is fully open for customers to see their food being made.

And above customers’ heads, a light fixture is made from several ramen boilers.

Kenji said the menu has many homemade ramen dishes, including tsukemen, a ramen dish with noodles that are dipped in a separate bowl of soup or broth. Kenji said he has heard from several people that Hanabi Ramen could be one of the first in the local area to serve the dish.

Pricing is on the lower end for a sit-down restaurant in Clarendon — around $14 for an entree, both for lunch and dinner, according to a menu posted on Facebook.

So far, Kenji said he has looked to make customers happy from “when they have the first sip of soup,” and he wishes to create a culture of teamwork among his staff.

Hanabi Ramen is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., then for dinner from 4:30 to 10 p.m. daily.

by ARLnow.com — March 1, 2017 at 5:20 pm 0

Pete's New Haven Apizza in Clarendon

Pete’s New Haven Apizza is preparing to downsize its space in Clarendon, and Dunkin’ Donuts is considering filling it.

Multiple sources tell ARLnow.com that Dunkin’ reps have taken a close look at the space at the corner of Clarendon Blvd and N. Garfield Street. A leasing chart for the building, however, still lists the space as unfilled.

There are existing Dunkin’ Donuts locations in Ballston and Courthouse but not in Clarendon.

Permits have been issued to alter the existing Pete’s dining room and kitchen, reducing the overall size of the restaurant. Co-owner Joel Mehr says the pizzeria remain open during the process.

“We plan to stay open during construction,” he said. “We may have to close for a lunch here and there.”

by ARLnow.com — March 1, 2017 at 8:25 am 0

(Updated at 9 a.m.) As feared, it was pouring rain during last night’s Clarendon Mardi Gras parade.

But the raindrops did not dampen the spirits of those in the parade, who made their way up Wilson Blvd to the delight of thin but enthusiastic crowds.

From a dancing monkey to a guy on a penny-farthing to a bunch of people pedaling on the Trolley Pub, the parade hearkened back to a bygone era when “Keep Clarendon Weird” was the neighborhood’s motto.

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

Hourly forecast for 2017 Clarendon Mardi Gras parade (via Weather.com)

(Updated at 5:45 p.m.) Organizers are hoping for a Mardi Gras miracle, but it looks like tonight’s parade in Clarendon will be a soggy one.

The 18th annual Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade is slated to kick off at 7 p.m., making its way up Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton Street to N. Irving Street.

2013 Clarendon Mardi Gras paradeAn hourly forecast suggests rain may begin shortly before the parade begins, but Matt Hussmann, executive director of the Clarendon Alliance, says it will go on rain or shine — unless there is lightning in the area.

“We’re going forward and hoping the weather holds off,” said Hussmann. “The Mardi Gras Ball will go on irrespective.”

The annual parade has not had the best luck with weather. It was postponed in 2010, postponed and then cancelled in 2014, and postponed again in 2015 — all due to snow. It rained during the rescheduled 2015 parade.

Screen capture (top) via Weather.com. Photo (bottom) courtesy Jason Dixson Photography.

by ARLnow.com — February 28, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

Metro train (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Gutshall Running for County Board — As predicted, business owner Erik Gutshall is running for County Board this year, seeking the seat being vacated by Jay Fisette. Gutshall says on his website that his candidacy will be announced at the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting on Wednesday. Gutshall unsuccessfully challenged County Board member Libby Garvey in last year’s Democratic primary. [Erik Gutshall for County Board]

Oscars Flub Involved W-L Grad — Warren Beatty is back atop the national consciousness, after an envelope mix-up led to perhaps the worst mistake in Oscars history, with Beatty and Best Picture co-presenter Faye Dunaway at the center of the fiasco. As many long-time Arlingtonians remember, Beatty spent his teenage years in Arlington, reportedly living on N. Huntington Street. He graduated from Washington-Lee High School and, as noted in a yearbook photo, was a star football player and the senior class president. [InsideNova]

Arlington Elementary Schools Top Rankings — In new rankings of D.C. area public elementary schools, Arlington elementary schools tallied a sweep of all the top 10 spots. [NicheWashington Business Journal]

ACPD Trying Out Uber Lane — This past weekend in Clarendon, the Arlington County Police Department set up a designated rideshare pickup lane to improve safety for those using Uber and Lyft to get a ride home from the bars. The police department described the action as a “pilot program” that was the result of “creative problem solving.” [Twitter]

Arlington’s ‘Segregation Wall’ — A new historic marker notes the significance of a 1930s-era wall in north Arlington. The wall was built by white residents of the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood to provide a physical barrier between them and the historically black Hall’s Hill (High View Park) neighborhood. [InsideNova]

Loan for Affordable Apartments Approved — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $7.4 million loan to help build 125 new affordable apartments at the Berkeley on S. Glebe Road. Nonprofit developer AHC is expected to seek another loan for the redevelopment, from the county’s affordable housing fund, next fiscal year. [Arlington County]

Per-Student Spending to Rise — Under a new budget proposed by Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Patrick Murphy, per-student spending would rise 2.9 percent to $19,521. APS has been straining to keep up with rising enrollment, issuing bonds to build new schools and renovate others. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 5:45 pm 0

Hundreds of people will march through Clarendon to the tune of a live band this weekend as part of a massive wedding parade.

Alexandria couple Sarah Matheson and her fiance, Mike Mihalecz, are planning to hold a New Orleans-style parade after their wedding at the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3:15 p.m. A procession of about 125 people, some wearing masks and carrying handkerchiefs, will travel from the church at 3304 North Washington Blvd to the nearby Clarendon Ballroom, where the couple’s reception is being held.

The parade is modeled after the “second line,” a jubilant and musical New Orleans tradition usually held after weddings or funerals. Matheson describes the idea as “a walking party that goes on forever.”

“We have a four-piece band that will be playing,” she added. “We’ll have a pedicab for some of the older folks who can’t walk so well.”

The parade also will have a motorcycle police escort to safely guide revelers through the streets.

Though Matheson said she’s a fan of New Orleans culture, the idea to plan such a big parade actually came from a desire to keep people from driving to the wedding.

“We were joking around, like, how can we get people not to drive to the wedding?” Matheson said. “This just kind of blossomed from something practical.”

The parade won’t be limited to wedding guests, either. In true second line tradition, people from off the street can join in if they’d like. They’ll have to part ways when they get to the Clarendon Ballroom, however, as the reception is only open to guests of the bride and groom.

Above all else, Matheson hopes the parade will inspire lots of warm memories that last for years to come.

“They’ll all enjoy the process,” Matheson said. “I think it will be definitely unique.”

Photos courtesy of Sarah Matheson

by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 3:30 pm 0

(Updated at 3:44 p.m.) The Clarendon area has a new spot for haircuts.

The barbershop, Willy and Habib’s, opened at 3107 10th Street N about three weeks ago, said co-owner Habib Zaki. The shop is a short walk from the Clarendon Metro station.

Customers at the newly opened shop can get haircuts, shaves and stylings. A cut costs just $20, and the shop has flatscreen televisions, leather barber chairs and lots of nearby parking as perks for clients.

Zaki is a veteran of Pete’s Barbershop, the beloved Westover business that attracts customers from across Arlington. So far, business at Willy and Habib’s has been “pretty good,” Zaki said, a claim matched by a recent flurry of positive Yelp reviews.

by Tim Regan — February 23, 2017 at 11:15 am 0

Shamrock Crawl logo(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) Revelers searching for some St. Patrick’s Day-themed pub crawl fun will have to look outside Arlington this year.

The Shamrock Crawl, once dubbed Arlington’s biggest bar-hopping event, won’t happen this year, its organizers said. When one person asked on Facebook whether this year’s crawl would come to Clarendon, a representative for Project D.C. Events, the company that puts on the annual event, responded, “not this year.”

The event still will take place in D.C., however. Tickets for the District’s Shamrock Crawl have been on sale for at least a week.

A representative for Project D.C. Events didn’t respond to requests for comment, and although it’s not clear why the Clarendon portion of the event isn’t moving forward, the cancellation could have something to do with declining attendance.

In 2015, nearly 3,700 people participated in the big green party, which was down from 5,000 revelers in 2014. Crime also declined that year, as a new bar crawl policy provided funds from organizers for a stepped-up police presence.

Despite the drop in crime, the event has in the past peeved certain local business owners as well as residents of surrounding neighborhoods, who have complained of parking issues and drunken partiers.

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