Press Club

The two nightlife venues replacing Whitlow’s on Wilson are gearing up to open over the next few months.

Taking over the long-time local watering hole, which closed in June after more than 25 years in Clarendon, are B Live and Coco B’s.

The two concepts, both to be located at at 2854 Wilson Blvd, are the latest ventures from Michael Bramson, who’s behind The Lot beer garden and the Clarendon Pop-Up Bar.

“We are thrilled to open B Live early spring, and Coco B’s late summer,” Bramson tells ARLnow. “We do not have anticipated opening dates yet, but construction and design are well underway for both concepts.”

Additional details will come soon, he said.

Building permits indicate B Live will occupy the first floor and possibly the basement of the space and Coco B’s will be the name of the old rooftop tiki bar at Whitlow’s. (The name Coco B’s could be a nod to the tiki bar theme, or to the noted local TikTok personality whose spats with two Arlington bars attracted considerable attention last summer.)

Bramson’s updates come after last Tuesday’s County Board approval of use permits for live entertainment and dancing at the two spots, as well as for a 48-seat outdoor café at B Live. The approvals came despite opposition from some neighbors over noise concerns.

The County Board approved the following operating hours: 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight on Sundays, which a county report says are similar to those of neighboring bars.

Proposed hours for Coco B’s/B Live compared to neighboring businesses (via Arlington County)

The Lyon Village Civic Association proposed earlier cut-off times of 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, the report said.

Board members instead approved a recommendation from county staff to review these permits this November and evaluate how successful the bars are at mitigating sounds.

Bramson says the spots will have sound panels and dampening curtains and speakers will be strategically placed to lessen noise levels.

“We are a neighborhood spot and want the community to be comfortable whether they are within the spaces or living nearby,” he said. “We hope our proactive response and action have served to allay any residential apprehension and show that we are taking their concerns very seriously.”

Noise from Whitlow’s was a source of consternation for neighbors that resulted in operating hours being curtailed from 2 a.m. to midnight, plus a requirement to install sound dampening panels and curtains, county planner Cedric Southerland told the County Board last Tuesday.

“That came after years and years trying to work with them to remedy their sound impacts on the neighborhood,” Southerland said. “Additionally, that issue is what preceded the formation of the Clarendon Live Entertainment Group (CLEG), along with other bars and restaurants coming online at that time.”

Established in 2002, the CLEG brings together county staff, restaurant owners and neighbors to address concerns and coordinate code enforcement. Southerland says recently, the CLEG has been meeting fewer times per year, which he takes to be a sign that the group is addressing the concerns that led to its creation two decades ago.

But not all neighbors say mechanisms like the CLEG actually help residents enjoy their homes. Julissa Marenco told the County Board on Tuesday that staff are not sufficiently enforcing noise violations and these organizations do not actually go to bat for neighbors.

“We are all in support of music, we are all in support of living in an urban dwelling, we understand the considerations that come with living in these neighborhoods,” she said. “But it’s now at a point on Wilson Blvd, in Clarendon, that it’s having a tremendous impact on individuals.”

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Salsa, Sip & Mingle Flyer (courtesy of Ballston BID)

An event featuring food, drink and salsa dancing is scheduled to take place at Ballston Quarter’s outdoor plaza tomorrow for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

From 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, locally-based DJ Cyd will spin salsa tracks to accompany dance lessons with instructor Ricky Ricardo outside the Quarter Market food hall, at 4238 Wilson Blvd. Salsa, Sip & Mingle will also feature sangria and food tastings from Bartaco, COPA Kitchen and Bar, Ted’s Bulletin and Ice Cream Jubilee.

Tickets can be purchased online for $20 and come with a sangria drink, salsa lessons and food. Admission is free for employees who work in most Ballston office buildings and for members of the Arlington and NOVA Hispanic chambers of commerce. Those eligible can get their free ticket by including work information and the promo code SALSA2021 at checkout.

This is the Ballston Business Improvement District’s eighth year of holding Sip & Mingle events, but its first-ever salsa-themed event to honor National Hispanic Heritage Month, said a BID representative.

The celebratory month started as a week-long holiday in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, to honor the anniversary of independence from Spanish rule for several Central American countries.

President Ronald Reagan extended National Hispanic Heritage Month to be 30 days long in 1988. The celebration now runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15.

The BID has not hosted a Sip & Mingle event since January of 2020.

“This will be our first Sip & Mingle since COVID forced events to be canceled,” said BID CEO Tina Leone. “It’s exciting to have a wonderful reason to get the community back together, sing, dance and have some fun.”

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This column is written and sponsored by Arlington Arts/Arlington Cultural Affairs, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has all of us adapting to new ways of spending our free time. Arlington’s artistic community has stepped up to the plate to offer a broad range of activities to help you manage the stresses of social distancing.

Arlington Arts has showcased many of these on our ARLINGTON ARTS AT HOME webpage. Some are free, others offer you a way to support a local small-business while engaging in healthy and positive activities at-home! Here’s a small sampling:

Bowen McCauley Dance 

Arlington dancer Lucy Bowen-McCauley developed a unique stretching technique that was officially adopted by U.S. Olympians such as Dominique Dawes. You can avail yourself of her expertise in virtual stretch classes on Mondays and Saturdays. The Company also is offering a range of movement classes for those with Parkinson’s Disease on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. For details, email: [email protected] or visit www.bmdc.org

Encore Stage & Studio 

From stretching and storytelling, to structured classes in theater and dance, Encore has a wide range of Zoom-based offerings for everyone from toddlers to teens. (Some Free. Some Fees Apply). More Info.

Jane Franklin Dance

Keep it moving with free online dance classes occurring daily. Learn different approaches to movement from different instructors each day in genres ranging from ballet and jazz, to clogging and improv. Classes are live-streamed and are not recorded. More Info.

Signature Theatre

Stay connected to your favorite Signature performers every week with Signature Strong — Live! Join the weekly Facebook Live conversation with Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and celebrated guests as they chat about musicals, sing a few songs, answer your questions and more. Tuesdays at 8 p.m. More Info.

Synetic Theater

From fitness classes by their award-winning movement-based performers, to storytelling for children, the award-winning Synetic Theater has much to offer that you can now enjoy right at home. This includes live-streaming of past shows, such as Sleeping Beauty (thru May 25) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (extended thru May 10). More Info.

In addition to programs by the above organizations, Arlington Arts also has assembled a range of art activities you can partake of drawing upon past programs.

Everything from art-making projects to self-guided tours of our internationally acclaimed Public Art Collection. For more info, visit the Arlington Arts at Home webpage.

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Editor’s note: In lieu of Chris Slatt’s Modern Mobility column today, ARLnow is running an edited version of a press release issued today by the small, Arlington-based business he and his wife run.

Perfect Pointe Music & Dance Studios, with locations in the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center in North Arlington and the Saratoga Shopping Center in Springfield/Fort Belvoir has acted quickly to respond to the needs of its community amidst COVID-19 closures and concerns, moving all of its over 250 weekly classes, lessons and rehearsals to an online platform, plus offering bonus content to keep students and families active and engaged while social distancing, and offering full scholarships to those whose finances have been adversely affected by the crisis.

“Now more than ever, we know how important it is for us to offer our community the connections and positivity our studio is known for,” says founder and CEO, Kendra Slatt. “We all need some sense of normalcy and routine. The last thing we all want is for our children to play video games and watch YouTube all day, or to become depressed because of lack of social interactions, lack of goals, or lack of positive activities to look forward to. We need them to be active, use their mind and still interact socially with their peers. This is exactly what our online platform is providing during the closure of our physical location, and no students will be turned away due to inability to pay.”

  • The online platform uses private Zoom links to facilitate live classes with teachers and students on their normal weekly schedule.
  • In addition to weekly classes, students are encouraged to take advantage of bonus content, tailored to their specific age and level including coloring and activity sheets, dance history and nutrition lessons, recommended playlists, extra practice videos, and much more.
  • Community building activities and events like virtual dance parties, story times, social media challenges, photo sharing, parent meet-ups and more keep community relationships strong and morale up while maintaining safe social distancing

Parent Feedback:

  • “THANK YOU Mr. Philip and all of our amazing dance teachers at Perfect Pointe Dance Studio, Arlington, VA for bringing rays of sunshine and at least part of our ‘normal’ routine into our living room during this unprecedented time of physical distancing! Your enthusiasm is infectious and the Zoom sessions are producing a lot of laughter along with the conditioning. So grateful for all of you! #LiveLoveDance #PerfectPointePride”
  • “You all are great! I really appreciate you working hard to keep the students moving. Katy is enjoying tuning in to her classes. Great job on pulling this all together.”
  • “I just want to thank you (and Mr. Chris) for so quickly switching classes to Zoom. And all the teachers for using it so well. It is amazing!!!! It has made this crazy (and scary) time so much better. Both kids love being able to take their classes. So it’s trifold — exercise, regular routine and social.   Such a wonderful way to stay connected to our dance family. I can’t say enough positive things. Thank you!!!”

Perfect Pointe Dance Studio was founded in Arlington in 2007 and expanded to Springfield, adding music to its offerings in 2016. Throughout that time, they have become known as a leader in high-quality arts education with a strong focus on community and customer service, as well as health and positivity for their students, families and staff.

For more information, see Perfect Pointe’s website or its Facebook and Instagram pages.

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A Virginia Square lounge and restaurant may have a permit renewed at tomorrow’s Arlington County Board meeting despite outstanding code violations.

Darna Lounge was closed in February due to “numerous violations of the Building, Fire, Zoning and Environmental Health codes, affecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.” The structure was deemed unfit for habitation but has since reopened.

According to a county report, most of the violations have been corrected and the applicant is “diligently pursuing resolution of the outstanding issues.” But some still remain, per a county staff report.

The establishment was allowed to reopen after correcting the major violations that were identified during the coordinated inspection. The applicant was granted an extension to April 1, 2018 to come into full compliance. A building permit to correct the outstanding violations was submitted on March 12, 2018, for the purpose of addressing unapproved alterations to the building. However, the applicant was not able to meet the April 1, 2018 deadline. The Inspection Services Division (ISD) has provided comments to the applicant that require revisions to the drawings associated with the building permit. The applicant is in the process of addressing the comments and resubmitting the revised drawings.

Despite the building concerns, the County Manager’s office is recommending that the Board approve a renewal of Darna’s live entertainment and dancing permit, with an administrative review in three months.

“Staff finds that at this time the applicant is reasonably working to resolve the outstanding violations, which are not deemed to be of a life, health or safety concern,” the report said, “Therefore, staff recommends renewal of the subject use permit with a three (3) month County Board review (July 2018).”

Staff also notes that police reported no recent issues with the business and that Darna reps “attended the Arlington Restaurant Initiative training on April 7, 2018 conducted by ACPD officers.”

The lounge recently gained some national notoriety as the location where Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson was caught on camera cheating on his pregnant, reality TV star girlfriend, Khloe Kardashian.

Darna, at 946 N. Jackson Street, opened back in 2012.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Planning for Transportation Changes in Rosslyn — “Local officials are now partnering with developers to make more improvements to help convince the next big corporate tenant to pick Rosslyn.” [Bisnow]

Teavana to Remain Open — Set to close next year, the Teavana store at Pentagon City mall is now expected to remain open thanks to a judge’s ruling against parent company Starbucks. [Washington Business Journal]

Lopez’s Detention Center Work Criticized — “Del. Alfonso H. Lopez, a Democrat who has represented a Hispanic­-heavy South Arlington district since 2012, was paid more than $5,000 a year in 2014 and more than $10,000 a year in 2015 and 2016 by Immigration Centers of America (ICA), which operates a detention center in Farmville, Va. , according to his state financial disclosure reports.” [Washington Post]

Holiday Events for Incarcerated Parents — Today and tomorrow, the Arlington County jail will be hosting a pair of “special events to allow incarcerated mothers and fathers to visit with their children during the winter holidays.” [Arlington County]

ACPD Show Goes On Despite Snow — The Arlington County Police Department’s “Operation Santa” performance, featuring cops donning costumes and dancing for children in the community, went on Saturday despite the snowy weather. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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An Afghan restaurant in Crystal City is applying for a major revamp, including a name-change and the ability to host live entertainment.

Planning documents filed with the county indicate that Grill Kabob at 507 23rd Street S. hopes to be renamed Sin & Saint. It also would like to add a dance floor on the second level for use on Friday and Saturday nights, in addition to live entertainment from a DJ.

In the application, the owners said the DJ will use speakers and subwoofers, most likely the Electro-Voice brand. The live entertainment would be provided from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The restaurant is located among other bars and eateries along the 23rd Street corridor.

The applicant and county staff discussed the project last night at the Aurora Highlands Civic Association’s monthly meeting.

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A Super Bowl-winning former linebacker joined the BalletNova Center For Dance to kick off a new community engagement program today.

Former Washington Redskins linebacker Andre Collins joined BalletNova for its “M.O.V.E” residency session at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School in the Arlington View neighborhood Tuesday morning.

M.O.V.E stands for motivation, opportunity, vitality and empowerment. The school-based program uses accessible movements to teach elements of dance and develop sophisticated choreography, while challenging children physically and mentally. For most students participating in the M.O.V.E. program, it is their first experience with dance.

The school residencies are six to eight weeks in length, with classes meeting once a week for an hour. Each residency culminates in a performance at the school.

Collins joined the class earlier this morning. He studied dance in college and took classes while playing in the NFL. After graduating from Penn State, he was drafted by the Redskins in the second round of the 1990 NFL Draft.

After four years with Washington, including winning Super Bowl XXVI in 1992, he played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions before retiring in 1999.

He is now director of retired players for the NFL Players Association and executive director of the Professional Athletes Foundation.

Photo via Professional Athletes Foundation

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Police car (file photo)(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) An Arlington resident’s home was broken into and his car was vandalized, all because of some perceived transgressions on the dancefloor.

The incident happened early Sunday morning, according to Arlington County Police, at a residence on the 4500 block of N. Carlin Springs Road, near Ballston.

“At approximately 3:52 a.m. on October 2, officers responded to the report of a disorderly subject,” said an ACPD crime report. “Upon arrival it was determined that a female subject entered a residence and damaged a door and door [jamb]. The subject then moved outside to a vehicle and smashed the windshields and slashed the tires.”

The motive for the crime was dancing-related, said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

“The victim and the subject were at a nightclub earlier in the evening and a verbal altercation ensued over the subject dancing with other individuals,” she told ARLnow.com

Annapolis, Maryland resident Tiffany Mason, 28, was arrested and charged with destruction of property and breaking and entering, according to police. She was held without bond.

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Salsa dancing at Crystal City's Sip and Salsa event on SundayCrystal City’s annual outdoor food and wine festival, Sip and Salsa, will return on Sunday.

The event, held from 2-6 p.m. in the parking lot next to 220 20th Street S., features “delicious wines from Spain, Portugal, and Argentina together with food tastes from restaurants in Crystal City and the region.”

There’s also live Latin jazz, wine lessons from the Washington Wine Academy, and free salsa dancing lessons from Columbia Pike’s Salsa Room.

Crystal City says Sip and Salsa ” is the D.C. region’s only inside the Beltway, outdoor wine festival with the ease of safe and responsible transit access.”

Food and drink tickets are $20 online, while food-only tickets are $10.

The local professional football team, it should be noted, won’t be playing Sunday — the Redskins will face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

Disclosure: Crystal City BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser

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Morning Notes

Trees in bloom on Feb. 29, 2016

It’s March 1 — Not only is today the first day of March, with spring (March 20) and Daylight Saving Time (March 13) around the corner, but it’s also the Super Tuesday presidential primary day here in Virginia. Arlington’s 52 polling places opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. [Arlington County]

Committee of 100 to Discuss Racial Tensions — On Wednesday, March 9, the Arlington Committee of 100 will hold a discussion entitled “Are Arlington’s Police and Justice Systems Prepared to Respond to Community and Racial Tensions?” Among the speakers are Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos and Police Chief Jay Farr. [InsideNova]

Bowen McCauley Dance Performing at Kennedy Center — Arlington’s Bowen McCauley Dance company will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with performances at the Kennedy Center later this month. [WJLA]

It’s a Good Time to Lease an Office in Arlington — D.C.-based commercial real estate firm West, Lane & Schlager is advising companies to consider leasing office space in Arlington in the near future. The firm says the D.C. area is definitely a tenant’s market at the moment, but the tide will eventually turn. With vacancy rates stabilizing, companies can take advantage of lease concessions now, before the market turns in favor of landlords, the firm says. [Patch]

Four Courts Four Miler Coming Up — The popular annual Four Courts Four Miler race will take place Saturday morning, March 12. Registration is currently $40 and will, in part, benefit the Arlington County Police Benevolent Fund. As in previous years, those who beat the runner dressed up as a leprechaun — Ireland’s Four Courts manager Dave Cahill, a 3:10 marathon runner — will get a special gift from the pub. [Pacers Running]

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