Some Crystal City residents say a new bowling alley has created a persistent late-night ruckus, and they want police to strike at the heart of the problem with extra enforcement.
The issue is causing a split between apartment dwellers who want peace and quiet at night, and a seemingly benign business — Bowlero, at 320 23rd Street S. — that has allegedly attracted a rowdy clientele.
With reports of fights, screaming, littering and the stench of marijuana, the relationship between the bowling alley and its neighbors is in the gutter, so much so that the Arlington County Police Department saw fit to organize a virtual community meeting on the topic Wednesday night.
During the Zoom meeting, police acknowledged dozens of calls to Bowlero over the past few months, a pattern that has led the business to beef up security, including using metal detectors at the entrance.
Police connected the rowdiness to the pandemic, as Virginia opened up before Maryland and D.C. and thus has been drawing a more regional crowd seeking out nightlife opportunities.
“We’ve seen an increase in patronage in Arlington County because Arlington and Virginia seem to be opening at a faster rate than D.C. and Maryland,” ACPD’s Restaurant and Nightlife Liaison Samantha Brien said. “We’ve seen a lot of patronage to Crystal City and Clarendon because they could stay out later and have more fun. As we start to open up, I’m sure we’ll open up faster than D.C.”
Since Bowlero opened in July, there have been 52 calls for service, and 42 of those calls happened inside the business or right outside, Brien said. The bowling alley’s management made 28 of those calls, which is “a good thing,” she said.
“You have to look at when they’re calling and how frequently they’re calling,” Brien said. “If they’re calling before something really bad happens that means they’re intervening at a higher level and that’s what we want to see.”
In response, Brien said Bowlero has implemented bag checks and “wanding” with handheld metal detectors. Signage warns patrons not to bring weapons inside. Arlington police on a nightlife detail conduct hourly walk-throughs of bars and restaurants along 23rd Street S. from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
ACPD officials encouraged perturbed residents to call the non-emergency line, (703) 558-2222, any time there is a complaint. These calls are logged and could ultimately be used to reallocate resources to Crystal City, said ACPD Captain Michael Rowling.
Rowling said the police have occasionally placed signboards and set up mobile surveillance cameras outside Bowlero. Extra police details and plainclothes officers have been dispatched to the bowling alley, resulting in several arrests inside and outside, he added.
Brien and Rowling compared the situation in Crystal City to Clarendon in 2016, which Brien said was “the Wild West.” She pointed to Clarendon as an example of how ACPD can work with bars and restaurants to improve nightlife activity and safety.
“As we have been working so much in Clarendon, and establishments work with us, the patrons know how to correctly act in the Clarendon area,” Brien said. “Since Bowlero has enacted wanding and bag checks, and put up signage, patrons will soon realize how to act.”
Both credited Bowlero for being cooperative with the police department.
(Updated at 5 p.m.) A day after Gov. Ralph Northam issued an order allowing Virginia restaurants to offer mixed-beverages for takeout and delivery, a number of Arlington eateries are gearing up to serve cocktails to go.
Many restaurant in Arlington are still updating their menus before the order takes effect tonight at 11:59 p.m.
“We will be offering take out cocktails at Rhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd) as well as our sister restaurants, Ragtime (1345 N. Courthouse Road) and William Jeffrey’s Tavern (2301 Columbia Pike) in Arlington,” said Chris Lefbom, co-owner of Vintage Restaurants.
Renee Rojural, a brand and community manager for the Metropolitan Hospitality Group, said CIRCA at Clarendon (3010 Clarendon Blvd) and Open Road Rosslyn (1201 Wilson Blvd) will have cocktail menus to go sometime in the next few days.
Some, however, already have their new to-go cocktails planned and ready to sell.
“[We’ll have] curb-side and to-go custom cocktails,” a representative of Ms. Peacock’s Champagne Lounge (929 N. Garfield Street) said in a Facebook message. “32 oz jars filled with nothing but your favorites from our mixology team. Just add ice and enjoy!”
The Clarendon watering hole is also planning to offer 16 oz variants along with various bourbon mixes and a signature margarita.
An order by Northam last month allowed restaurants to offer beer and wine to go.
The Virginia ABC issued the following guidance on restaurants selling mixed drinks to go:
In order to maintain public safety, there will be restrictions placed on the service of mixed beverages in this fashion. Below are the highlights of the temporary regulation adjustment.
- Distillery licensees are limited to a maximum of two mixed drinks per delivery or takeout order that contain 1½ ounces or less of spirits per drink.
- Mixed beverage restaurants and limited mixed beverage restaurants are limited to four cocktails for each delivery or take out sale. Each order for delivery or takeout of cocktails must include a meal for every two cocktails purchased.
- Cocktails shall be packaged in a glass, paper or plastic container (or similar disposable container) or in a single original metal can with a secure lid or cap designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap (lids with sipping holes or openings for straws are prohibited).
- All recipients of delivery orders must be at least 21 years of age.
Photo via Dave B/Flickr
The Potomac Paddle Pub is a pedal-powered vessel, but come next week, its occupants will be three sheets to the wind.
The pub is the latest in a trend of mobile drinking platforms, like The Pedal Saloon in Clarendon, but this adventure in drinking takes the journey to the water.
A 15-customer crew will power the vessel from Georgetown’s waterfront to Columbia Island Marina in Arlington, taking turns working at 10 pedaling stations. In total, the ride is expected to be about 90 minutes long.
The pub owners told ARLnow the boat is currently only ferrying family and friends to work out the kinks, but cruises will be open for customers starting on Monday (Oct. 4).
Unlike the land-based drinking platforms in Arlington bound by state intoxication laws, occupants of the Potomac Paddle Pub will be able to drink while operating the vehicle. The passengers are required to bring and consume their own beers or wine — no liquor is allowed onboard, and no alcohol will be sold at the bar on the deck.
Individual seats are only available during weekday trips, and a minimum of two must be purchased per transaction. Tickets are $45 for adults during a weekday, or $25 for a child under twelve. Renting the whole board during a weekday is $500, or $625 to rent a boat on the weekend.
Tickets can be purchased at the Potomac Paddle Pub website.
Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like to see your event featured, fill out the event submission form.
Also, be sure to check out our event calendar.
Tuesday, March 13
Trivia Night: Are you smarter than a Catholic sister?*
Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 6:30-9 p.m.
Test your pop culture and general knowledge against a team of Catholic Sisters, with drink specials and free appetizers. Prizes for top trivia teams.
Wednesday, March 14
Shaping Arlington for a Smart & Secure Future*
County Board Room (2100 Clarendon Blvd)
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Listen to a panel discussion on how technology will shape Arlington, featuring government and cybersecurity experts. A reception with light refreshments will also be held.
Arlington Committee of 100 Virginia Hospital Center Expansion*
Marymount University (2807 N. Glebe Road)
Time: 7-9 p.m.
The Committee of 100 is hosting a panel discussion on Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion, the county’s population growth and evolving community healthcare needs. Optional dinner served.
Thursday, March 15
Parenting Lecture: Parenting an Anxious Child
The Sycamore School (4600 N. Fairfax Drive)
Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
Dr. Christine Golden will discuss the challenges of parenting a child with anxiety and offer some helpful strategies for managing behaviors. The lecture is free to attend.
Friday, March 16
St. Agnes Soup Supper*
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 5:30-7 p.m.
The church will offer meatless soups and a noodle dish, and more every Friday during the Lenten holiday. Guests are invited to stay for confession and the stations of the cross afterwards.
Saturday, March 17
Whitlow’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration
Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Boulevard)
Time: 9 a.m. – Close
Live Irish music and an open rooftop welcome you at Whitlow’s On Wilson’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Special Irish menu and March Madness games on the TVs all day.
WJAFC Open Day*
Virginia Highlands Park (1600 S. Hayes Street)
Time: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
A co-ed, free clinic to learn the Australian football game. Kids from 5-15 will learn starting at 9 a.m., with an adults clinic and co-ed non-contact game at 10:30 a.m.
Guinness and Gold*
Ten at Clarendon (3110 10th Street N.)
Time: 12-5 p.m.
Tour the Clarendon apartment building with a free Guinness and cash in on leasing deals. Leasing specials are subject to terms and conditions.
Osteria da Nino (2900 S. Quincy Street)
Time: 6:30-10:30 p.m.
Join Tre Monti winery over a four course meal with five wines, including theThea Passito 2012 Romagna Albana DOCG raisin wine. Tickets are $75 per person.
Yorktown High School Presents “Almost, Maine”*
Yorktown High School (5200 Yorktown Boulevard)
Time: 7-9:30 p.m.
Students will be performing John Cariani’s “Almost Maine,” about a remote, mythical town and the effect of the northern lights on the lovestruck residents. Tickets are $10.
Sunday, March 18
St. Joseph’s Table Celebration
St. Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street)
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Join the church following the noon mass for a procession to celebrate this feast day with a potluck lunch, live music, and a kids woodworking shop.
*Denotes featured (sponsored) event
“Room 19,” as the speakeasy is called, will take place weekly in the back of Boulevard Woodgrill restaurant (2901 Wilson Blvd), starting next Monday night, July 11. It will feature classic cocktails in an intimate setting.
“The goal of Room 19 is to give the DC and NOVA crowd something they have not experienced before,” wrote Minh Tran, a spokesman for the venture.
“We want patrons to feel as if they have stepped away from 2016 and entered a hidden world,” Tran said in an email. “Room 19 will feel intimate, dark, and secretive. This is about having an immersive experience of the Prohibition era. Jazz music from the 1920’s and 1930’s will add to the ambience. This is a place you want to have a great time with your date or to share a new experience with friends. It is an escape.”
Behind Room 19, Tran said, are Boulevard Woodgrill owner Joe Corey and mixologist Chris Bassett, whose resume includes Ping Pong Dim Sum and Old Town Alexandria speakeasy PX. The cocktail menu includes classics like a Negroni, a Sazerac, and a “cedar smoked” Old Fashioned, plus cocktails with names like “Sherry’s got me by the stones,” with tequila, apricot liqueur and sherry; and “That smokey sweetness,” with single malt whiskey, raspberry syrup and lemon juice.
Room 19 will initially take place Mondays from 6 to 11 p.m., but may stay open later if the crowd doesn’t thin out. Additional days of the week are expected to be added.
There’s a dress code: casual attire is allowed, but flip flops, tank tops and “regular,” non-trendy sneakers are all verboten. Those wishing to make table reservations are asked to email [email protected].
ACPD says it recently started “a high-visibility underage drinking enforcement and education campaign designed to curb the use of fake IDs by underage individuals.” The campaign is targeting the busy Clarendon bar district on weekends.
“Over the last month or so, a number of fake IDs — originating from overseas online shops — have been turned into police by Clarendon businesses,” explained ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. “This initiative was developed to address this issue.”
“This is a newer initiative but it’s been going on for about a month,” Savage continued. “We have a great working relationship with the business owners in Clarendon and this is just one more step we can take to continue to make Clarendon a safe area at night. The initiative will be going on this weekend… [and] will be part of the regular duties of the officers working our Clarendon detail on Friday and Saturday nights.”
Savage said the campaign includes enforcement, signboards placed around Clarendon and social media outreach. (The department will be live tweeting from Clarendon on Friday night.)
“We encourage people to enjoy the nightlife Arlington has to offer but do so responsibly – and that includes waiting until you reach the legal drinking age of 21,” said Savage.
The full press release issued by ACPD this afternoon is below.
The Arlington County Police Department will conduct a high-visibility underage drinking enforcement and education campaign designed to curb the use of fake IDs by underage individuals. These efforts aim to deter those underage individuals from abusing alcohol and driving while impaired.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, those under the legal drinking age are at a far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population, despite the fact that they cannot legally purchase or publicly possess alcohol in any state. That’s why the Arlington County Police Department is reminding underage individuals to think before they drink; underage drinking comes with adult consequences.
Throughout the summer, officers will work with our Clarendon business partners to authenticate identification documents and identify fake IDs used by underage individuals to purchase alcohol and gain access to bars. Individuals using another person’s driver’s license, altering their own driver’s license or reproducing a fake ID may be charged with violation of Virginia Code §18.2-204.2 Possession of a false identification, a Class 2 Misdemeanor and punishable up to 6 months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine and/or Virginia Code §18.2-186.3 Identity Theft, a Class 1 Misdemeanor punishable up to 12 months in jail and up to a $2,550 fine.
Arlington County is one of the healthiest places in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but doesn’t quite top the list.
That’s according to new 2016 rankings from countyhealthrankings.org, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Arlington ranks No. 3 in Virginia, with Fairfax County at No. 2 and Loudoun County at No. 1. Loudoun County received higher marks for Quality of Life and Length of Life, while Fairfax edged Arlington on Quality of Life and Healthy Behaviors.
Two healthy behaviors in particular for which Arlington did not compare favorably? Excessive drinking and sexually transmitted diseases.
Arlington has the highest rate of excessive drinking in the Commonwealth, according to the rankings. Fairfax and Loudoun both come in a few percentage points lower.
Arlington ranks more favorably for the rate of sexually transmitted disease — Arlington’s rate of chlamydia infection is lower than about 60 percent of Virginia jurisdictions, but still above that reported by Fairfax and Loudoun counties.
One healthy behavior in which Arlington has a decisive advantage over Fairfax and Loudoun: the rate of alcohol-impaired driving deaths.
Hat tip to James Breiling
— Brian E (@bje22201) January 23, 2016
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) The conditions outside still are treacherous for travel, so staying indoors for a while is the best idea. But if you’re already suffering from cabin fever and have the ability to easily and safely walk somewhere for a bite or a drink, there are options. Some places are even running winter storm specials.
Here’s the list of Arlington restaurants and bars that told us they’re definitely open, at the very least with limited hours and menu selections:
- A-Town Bar & Grill (4100 Fairfax Drive)
- Bakeshop (1025 N. Fillmore Street)
- Big Buns (4401 Wilson Blvd.)
- Bistro 360 (1800 Wilson Blvd.)
- Bracket Room (1210 N. Garfield Street)
- Brooklyn Bagel (2055 Wilson Blvd.)
- Cafe Asia (1550 Wilson Blvd.)
- The Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike)
- Citizen Burger Bar (1051 N. Highland Street)
- Courthaus Social (2300 Clarendon Blvd.)
- Copperwood Tavern (4021 Campbell Ave.)
- Cowboy Cafe (4792 Lee Hwy)
- Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S)
- Don Tito (3165 Wilson Blvd.)
- Fireworks Pizza (2350 Clarendon Blvd.)
- First Down Sports Bar (4213 N. Fairfax Drive
- Front Page (4201 Wilson Blvd.)
- Hard Times Cafe (3028 Wilson Blvd.)
- Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd.)
- Kona Grill (1776 Wilson Blvd.)
- Liberty Tavern (3195 Wilson Blvd.)
- Lost Dog Cafe (2920 Columbia Pike)
- Mussel Bar (800 N. Glebe Road)
- O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3201 Wilson Blvd.)
- Oz (2950 Clarendon Blvd.)
- P. Brennan’s Irish Pub & Restaurant (2910 Columbia Pike)
- Pepita Cantina (4000 Wilson Blvd.)
- Ragtime (1345 N. Courthouse Rd.)
- Rhodeside Grill (1836 Wilson Blvd.)
- Rock Bottom Brewery (4238 Wilson Blvd.)
- Samuel Beckett’s (2800 S. Randolph Street)
- Screwtop Wine Bar (1025 N. Fillmore Street)
- Sehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street)
- Sushi Rock (1900 Clarendon Blvd.)
- Tortoise & Hare (567 23rd Street S)
- Westover Beer Garden (5863 Washington Blvd.)
- William Jeffrey’s Tavern (2301 Columbia Pike)
- World of Beer (901 N. Glebe Rd.)
Group Offers Cheap Drinks to Encourage Voting — A nonprofit group will outside a half dozen Arlington polling stations on Tuesday, handing out wristbands good for cheap drinks at Clarendon bars, to “encourage young voters to celebrate democracy” and “draw more apathetic young voters out on Election Day.” [Washington Post]
Arlington Asking for Aquatics Center Feedback — Should Arlington County build the stalled Long Bridge Park aquatics and fitness center? If so, what kind of features should it include? That’s what the county is asking in a new online survey. Arlington originally launched a public input process for the planned aquatics facility in March. [InsideNova]
Airport to Cease Being a Homeless Haven — Starting today, Reagan National Airport will be kicking out the homeless who have used it as a makeshift shelter. Because it was clean, safe and open 24/7, dozens of local homeless individuals would pretend to be waylaid travelers and sleep in the airport’s terminals overnight. Increased use as a homeless sanctuary prompted airport officials to decide to no longer tolerate what will now be treated as trespassing. [Washington Post]
Fuel Spill at DCA — On Friday hazmat crews and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to a reported spill of 7,500-9,000 gallons of jet fuel on the south side of Reagan National Airport. The spill has been largely contained and is not a threat to drinking water, officials say. [WTOP]
Flickr pool photo by Vandiik
Organizers say “thousands” of patriotic partiers are expected to flock to local watering holes like Clarendon Ballroom, Velocity Five, Bracket Room and Mad Rose Tavern, which are among the 14 participating bars announced so far for the event.
Participants — who are encouraged to dress in red, white and blue — receive specials at each bar, a “signature freedom mug,” “patriotic party beads,” $2 pizza slices at Bronx Pizza and raffle tickets.
This is not the first year for the All American Bar Crawl, which is being held in advance of the Fourth of July. The event was also held in Clarendon last year.
Arlington County policymakers are currently considering measures to impose additional restrictions or fees on bar crawls.
Don’t let the title mislead you. This is not a column to teach you how to win a drinking contest. Rather, I thought I would offer a few tips on how to stock your bar at home for entertaining. Hopefully, it will complement your amazing new cooking skills.
First off, you don’t need a bar. I mean, how many people actually have a bar in their house? You really need a cabinet, a fridge and some ice. The key is having the right stuff. I’ll break it down into categories — beer, wine and spirits. And since it seems we always know someone who is pregnant, nursing or on the wagon for one reason or another there is a fourth category — other.
A friend once apologized to me when I was at his house that he didn’t have any beer to offer. He was ashamed and said a man should always have beer on hand to offer another man. It was endearing, if perhaps dated, and I was just as happy with a glass of wine.
That said, beer is popular, cheap and easy to store. It’s the foundation for a good home bar. I love beer, and I really love craft beers. I have a vintage kegerator, and it always has something interesting tapped that walks the edge between mainstream crafty and esoteric (think Lagunitas IPA or a Bell’s Seasonal), but I like to make my guests happy, so I always have crowd pleasers on hand. Usually it’s Miller Lite or something similar. In the summer, Corona.
I find guests gravitate towards whatever the kegerator is pouring even if they aren’t into the fancy stuff. Then, if they’re not wild about it, they can find their comfort beer. Nobody likes a beer snob, and I want my guests to be happy, not suffer through a hop-bomb that pleases only me. Pick two beers and always keep plenty around.
What I Love Now: Founder’s All Day IPA leads the pack of “sessionable IPAs.” These beers have the best part of what makes IPAs great–bold, bright hops, intense aromas and flavors, but the alcohol is dialed down to less than 5%, so you can have a few without keeling over, and your guests who might not be accustomed to the style can enjoy them as well.
Every house should have a decent red and white around. Plenty of each. You never know when you’ll need it. The options are dizzying, so stick with what you like first off and think about what you usually cook. That way, you’re paired up all the time. Having multiple varietals on hand is ridiculous unless you are really into wine yourself. Most people will be happy drinking whatever you have as long as it tastes good, and if they aren’t, then they are wine snobs and they shouldn’t be at your house.
I find oaky Chardonnays and big Cabs to be isolating. A lot of people like them, and would drink them happily all night, but they are hard matches for food, and if you like lighter wines, you’re stuck. I prefer crisper whites and balanced reds. If the flavors are good, they’ll line up with almost anything you cook, and your hard core Chard/Cab friends might be pleasantly surprised. I love Sauvignon Blancs or dry Rieslings and Rhone Reds or earthy Pinot Noirs (especially from the Willamette Valley in Oregon). These wines have layers to them that make them fun to enjoy with or without food. And you can find good ones without breaking your bank.