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Tacos from Banditos Bar & Kitchen in Pentagon City (photo courtesy of Banditos & Kitchen)

In the past, big crowds have converged on Arlington’s Mexican restaurants on Cinco de Mayo and this year will likely be no exception with a number of events going on across the county.

Friday, May 5 marks the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over France in 1862’s Battle of Puebla. While considered a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo in the United States has become a day to celebrate Mexican culture.

Here in Arlington, that often includes eating tacos, drinking margaritas, and general revelry.

There is no shortage of local bars and restaurants hosting special Cinco de Mayo events this year, including the following.

  • Assembly in Rosslyn is hosting a week of events including trivia, salsa dance lessons, and food specials.
  • B Live in Clarendon is putting on a “nacho average Cinco De Mayo event” starting at 3 p.m. with food specials, live entertainment, drinks, and the “infamous Patron Tree.”
  • Banditos at Westpost in Pentagon City is celebrating by opening early at 11 a.m. with tequila, tacos, and kid-friendly activities. A live band, Maria and The Sacred Hearts, will be playing from 2-4:30 p.m. in the plaza.
  • Buena Vida Gastrolounge on Wilson Blvd in Clarendon will have a discount on margaritas and a special four-course “Cinco Fiesta Feast” available all weekend.
  • Clarendon Ballroom is hosting a free Cinco de Mayo rooftop party starting at 3 p.m. featuring a Mexican and taco buffet, music, giveaways, and tequila.
  • Don Tito’s in Clarendon is hosting its annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party on both Friday and Saturday.
  • Inca Social in Rosslyn is serving discounted margaritas and tacos all day on Friday.
  • The Lot, which is closing for good later this year, is putting on a Taco, Tequila, Taps outdoor festival starting at 3 p.m. in Clarendon with frozen margaritas, live entertainment, and a “taco toss.” Furry friends are also invited.
  • WHINO in Ballston is hosting a Latin house party at 9 p.m. on Cinco de Mayo with DJ Mike Rodriguez spinning.
  • Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill in Courthouse is holding a “margarita and mimosa fest” on Saturday, May 6 starting at 2 p.m. There will be drink specials, live DJ, and bar hopping.

There is also a Cinco de Mayo-themed bar crawl also planned for Saturday, beginning at 3 p.m., that will visit several Clarendon bars.

The Arlington County Police Department will be blocking off N. Hudson Street between Wilson Boulevard and the alleyway behind CVS starting Friday morning through 10 p.m. Saturday. The closure and police presence is intended to assist with crowd control and safety during the Don Tito’s Block Party.

Also for safety, the regional SoberRide program is offering free Lyft rides, up to $15, from Friday at 4 p.m. through Saturday morning at 4 a.m. A promo code is scheduled to be posted on the program’s website at 3 p.m. Friday.

Quincy Hall in Ballston (photo courtesy of Tin Shop)

An all-ages Easter egg hunt is coming to Ballston, giving hunters chances to win free pizza, wings, and beer.

Pizza and beer hall Quincy Hall at the corner of Fairfax Drive and N. Quincy Street is hosting its first-ever weekend Easter egg hunt starting Friday.

More than 40 eggs will be hidden “in the general blocks around Quincy Hall in trees, on sidewalks between buildings, parks, benches, and wherever else an Easter Egg may hide,” reads the press release.

The eggs will contain an assortment of prizes, including Quincy Hall gift cards valued from $10 to $50, a catered pizza party, free pizza slices, and free chicken wings.

“That same excitement that you had as a kid when you found an egg with a candy inside except this time it will be gift cards or food items,” the restaurant’s operations director Tony Radwan told ARLnow via email. “We want people to be walking around and say ‘hey what’s this? Oh cool, we just won a pizza party at Quincy Hall!’ “

The hunt will start Friday morning at 11 a.m. and continue through Sunday, but it’s unlikely all the eggs will be located by then, Radwan said. Many of the prizes will expire in about a month, but the gift cards won’t have any expiration date.

This is the restaurant’s first Easter after opening nearly a year ago. The hope is to make the Easter egg hunt an annual event, said Radwan.

Quincy Hall comes from Tin Shop, the same ownership group set to open Astro Beer Hall in Shirlington later in the spring. The plan is to still open that restaurant in May, Radwan noted.

Tin Shop launched a membership program last summer called “Tin Shop Social Club.” The service provides drinks and food deals plus events at a number of its local eateries for a set monthly price.

Radwan said the program is going well and the company expects to introduce some new events and promotions in the coming months.

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SoberRide poster for St. Patrick’s Day 2023 (image courtesy WRAP)

If you’re hitting up one of Arlington’s many St. Patrick’s Day events, your ride home could come free courtesy of a local nonprofit combatting drunk driving.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is continuing its holiday SoberRide program this year for St. Patrick’s Day 2023.

The SoberRide program will kick off at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 17, and will be active until 4 a.m. on Saturday, March 18.

According to a press release from WRAP:

During this twelve-hour period, area residents ages 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download the Lyft app to their phones, then enter the SoberRide code in the app’s ‘Promo’ section to receive their no-cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. WRAP’s 2023 St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide promo code will be posted at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17th on

The program is offered around the region, including in Arlington and surrounding localities.

The release noted that last year, 482 people in the region took advantage of the SoberRide program. WRAP also offers the SoberRide program on Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, Halloween, and the winter holidays.

In addition to major sponsors like Amazon and the 395 Express Lanes, several Irish restaurants have helped to sponsor SoberRide this year, including Arlington’s own O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd).

Easter Bunny at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City (via Fashion Centre at Pentagon City/Facebook)

Santa’s lap is out and Easter lapins are in.

The Easter Bunny is making a few trips to Fashion Centre at Pentagon City this month and in early April.

The holiday hare will hold court in Nordstrom Court, located in the first level of the mall at 1100 S. Hayes Street.

“Reserve your visit now and make it an Easter tradition,” the mall said on its website.

Scheduled photo op hours for the rabbit are as follows:

  • Friday, March 24: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 25: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 26: 12-6 p.m.
  • Monday, March 27 through Thursday, March 30: 2-7 p.m.
  • Friday, March 31 through Sunday, April 2: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Monday, April 3 through Thursday, April 6: 2-7 p.m.
  • Friday, April 7 & Saturday, April 8: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

In addition to the main photo sessions, there will be a sensory-friendly “caring bunny” experience exclusively for children with special needs and their families on Sunday, March 26 from 9-11 a.m, per a mall webpage.

Photo via Fashion Centre at Pentagon City/Facebook

O’Sullivan’s in Clarendon (file photo)

(Updated at 10 p.m.) Next Friday, March 17, is a celebration of all things Irish: the release of a new Hozier EP.

But for some local bars and the Catholic Church, next Friday is more notably St. Patrick’s Day. The weekend is set to be marked with celebrations of Irish dancing, music, and drinking.

Some of the local happenings are listed below.

  • Clarendon Ballroom (3185 Wilson Blvd)
    A combined St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness celebration called Irish Madness Fest. The bar will be showing NCAA games and there will be bands, DJs, drink specials, a buffet and more. Doors open at noon and the event runs all day.
  • The Lot (3217 10th Street N.)
    The Lot is celebrating its last St. Patrick’s Day with Shamrock & Roll, featuring live entertainment, food trucks, and of course the quintessentially Irish tiki bar and “adult sandpit.”
  • Wilson Hardware (2915 Wilson Blvd)
    The Clarendon bar is celebrating with Guinness and Jameson specials from opening to 9 p.m., along with an all-night dance party.
  • The Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike)
    Staff said the St. Patrick’s Day event will start at 9 a.m. and include a full day of music and Irish dancing.
  • O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd)
    The Irish pub will have Irish dancers and live music on both Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18.
  • McNamara’s Pub and Restaurant (567 23rd Street S.)
    The bar will be open, but it won’t be a special event — St. Patrick’s Day will be just another day that ends in “y” — we’re told.
  • Mattie & Eddie’s (1301 S. Joyce Street)
    Staff said the restaurant will have live music for the holiday.
  • The Union (3811 Fairfax Drive)
    The Ballston bar is offering 50% off for all small plates until 8 p.m. for anyone wearing green and 50% off drinks after 8 p.m., also for anyone wearing green.
  • Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street)
    Doors will open at 10 a.m. and live Irish music will be performed all day, a manager tells us. There will also be live Irish dancing performances throughout the day.

B Social Hospitality, meanwhile, will be hosting its Leprechaun Lap Bar Crawl across multiple locations in Clarendon this coming Saturday, March 11. Tickets range from $10 to $20. The crawl includes giveaways and drink specials, including (distastefully named) $8 car bombs.

Locals can also show their support for Ireland by keeping their fingers crossed for The Banshees of Inisherin at the Oscars this weekend, as well.

One notable absence from the above list is the venerable Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse. Four Courts remains closed but is being rebuilt, after a rideshare vehicle plowed into it last summer, seriously injuring several patrons and sparking a devastating fire.


Bayou Bakery in Courthouse is once again going all out for Mardi Gras.

The New Orleans-themed eatery at 1515 N. Courthouse Road is hosting a Fat Tuesday “Bayou-Gras Mardi Pardi” starting at 6 p.m. tonight (Feb. 21)

The celebration will feature food, beverages, and live jazz from Louisiana native Nick Adde. There, of course, will be King Cake too.

Bayou Bakery opened in 2010 by David Gaus, a nationally-known chef who has appeared on a number of Food Network cooking competition shows over the years.

He’s also made a name for himself locally for his community work including the “Chefs Feeding Families” program, delivering meals to the National Guard after Jan. 6, and cooking for Ukrainian refugees.

Even during tough times, Bayou Bakery always makes a point to celebrate Mardi Gras. In 2021, the restaurant put together a take-home “Mardi Gras in a Box” so that folks could enjoy the holiday safely at home. (It proved popular and was still being offered for this year’s Mardi Gras.)

For close to two decades, there was an annual Clarendon Mardi Gras parade that always traveled past Bayou Bakery. But winter weather and other larger events led to it being changed or canceled a number of times. Finally, after another cancellation in 2019, it was confirmed that the parade was likely permanently on hold.

ARLnow has reached out to the Clarendon Alliance, the organization that had put on the parade, to confirm that the parade remains a no-go this year but has yet to hear back as of publication.

More details about tonight’s Bayou-Gras Mardi Pardi, below.

Revelry explodes on Fat Tuesday, hosted by Chef David Guas, born and bred in New Orleans, with a BAYOU-GRAS MARDI PARDI at Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery [Arlington, VA] – featuring authentic dishes, famous drinks, and live, Jazzy music.

Fat Tuesday – February 21, 2023 – the day is festive with a Pardi at the DMV’s only Mardi Gras Headquarters, indulging in New Orleans signature eats and beverages. Open ALL DAY from 7AM to 5PM. Staff Break! Bayou Gras begins 6PM – 9PM for the annual celebration. A menu of Parade specials and LIVE MUSIC. Purchase Tickets upon entry, and with each Ticket you get Three Items within the corresponding category:

BOOZE [$22]

  • Hurricane
  • NOLA Swinger
  • Hurricane Daiquiri
  • King Cake Daiquiri

GRUB [$16]

  • Gumbo
  • Muffuletta
  • Veg-a-lotta [veggie muffuletta]
  • Shrimp Jambalaya
  • Red Beans & Rice [veggie will also be available]

BREW [$18]

  • Abita [Amber, Purple Haze, IPA]

SWEETS [ A la carte desserts]

  • Slice of King Cake
  • Traditional Pralines
  • Beignets

You’ll be able to save some Washingtons on Presidents Day thanks to parking meter enforcement taking a holiday.

Arlington County offices, schools, courts, libraries and community centers will be closed Monday. Trash and recycling collection will continue as normal and permit parking will continue to be enforced, but parking meter monitors are getting the day off.

Metrorail will run regular weekday service, while Metrobus and ART are expected to operate transit services on a modified schedule.

The holiday most commonly known as Presidents Day is officially called George Washington Day in Virginia.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Photo via Arlington County)

(Updated on 1/13/23) Several community service events are taking place in the coming days across Arlington in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.

County offices may be closed on Monday (Jan. 16), but the county and local organizations are holding events on and around the federal holiday recognizing the civil rights icon’s birthday.

On Sunday, the county is set to hold its annual MLK Tribute event from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Washington-Liberty High. School auditorium at 1301 N. Stafford Street. This is a change from Wakefield High School due to a maintenance issue. The event will also be live-streamed.

The tribute will feature live music, spoken word, and dance while being produced by Encore Stage & Studio in Cherrydale. The program will highlight MLK’s visit to Arlington prior to the 1963 March on Washington.

Arlington’s annual MLK Tribute has been going on for more than five decades and “was first organized by Arlington County staff and community members in 1969, the year after Dr. King was assassinated,” per the county’s website.

Then, on Monday, Volunteer Arlington is working with a number of different local organizations to host its sixth annual day of service.

For the first time in a few years the event will be held in-person, though there will be virtual options as well.

It will begin at Washington-Liberty High School with opening ceremonies and t-shirt distribution for the first 500 volunteers at 9 a.m.

At 9:30 a.m., volunteers will disperse to participate in one of more than the 20 projects being hosted county-wide. These opportunities include making snack bags for students, cleaning up Barcroft Park, and learning how to help Arlington’s older residents. It’s recommended to sign up for the preferred project in advance since a number are already filled.

Also on Monday, Walk Arlington is planning a clean-up of the W&OD Trail.

Organizers are asking volunteers to meet on the trail where it intersects with Columbia Pike. A WalkArlington tent is expected to be set up near that intersection with the goal of walking the trail about half a mile toward S. George Mason Drive. The plan is to pick up litter and debris on “a beautiful trail that’s enjoyed by cyclists and walkers alike.”

In 1984, Virginia started officially commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. on the third Monday in January. But MLK Day was paired with the uniquely-Virginian Lee-Jackson Day, creating a peculiar and controversial holiday that recognized two Confederate generals and a civil rights icon on one day.

The two days were separated in 2000, though Lee-Jackson Day remained on the books as a state-wide holiday for another two decades. In 2020, a bill was signed into law that officially removed it as an official holiday in Virginia.

Northside Social New Year’s (file photo)

There are plenty of places to celebrate locally as the calendar flips to 2023.

After two years of subdued New Year’s Eve parties due to the pandemic, a number of Arlington restaurants are roaring back with events.

Below are some of the Arlington restaurants, bars and spaces where you can ring in the new year.

The decked halls of B Live (courtesy Albert Ting)

B Live’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve
2854 Wilson Blvd
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $25

Mike and Christal Bramson opened B Live, one of Clarendon’s newest entertainment venues, opened in May. A ticket to the party gets you a drink ticket, a champagne toast, an hors d’oeuvres station and access to a photo booth. Live entertainment is provided by Klepto Radio.

Interior dining space at Wilson Hardware in Clarendon (photo courtesy of Wilson Hardware)

Sixth Annual Wilson Wonderland New Year’s Eve
2915 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $60

Taking place in the Wilson Hardware’s newly revamped million-dollar space, admission to the party includes “party favors” and two drink tickets. There will be a DJ, a light show and a ball drop as well.

Pamplona Prohibition New Year’s Eve
3100 Clarendon Blvd
Time: 8 p.m.
Cost: $45

Pamplona, another Bramson nightlife venture in Clarendon, is hosting its sixth annual “prohibition party.” A ticket gets you three drink tickets, appetizers, party favors, a champagne toast and dancing.

Exterior view of Renegade in Clarendon (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Year’s Eve with Tunnels End at the Renegade
3100 Clarendon Blvd
Time: 10 p.m.
Cost: TBA

This Clarendon hangout at the forefront of Arlington’s live music revival will host a local pop/punk cover band Tunnel’s End that will have you remembering the early aughts.

Lyon Hall’s New Year’s Eve 2022
3100 Washington Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: No cover.

Clarendon mainstay Lyon Hall hosts local jazz band Vanessa Ralls and the Berries for a New Year’s Eve concert. There will also be a holiday menu and drink specials.

Punch Bowl Social in Ballston in October 2020

Punch Bowl Social New Year’s Eve Celebration
4238 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $10

General admission to the Ballston bar and entertainment venue on New Year’s Eve gets you live music from DJ and access to a photo booth. A VIP ticket at $50 gets light bites, a sectioned-off space, a midnight toast and “free activities” as well.

Clarendon Ballroom entrance on a Saturday night (staff photo)

New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Clarendon Ballroom
3185 Wilson Blvd
Time: 9 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $45

Clarendon Ballroom was also recently revamped and reopened over the summer. All three floors, including outdoors, will be open during the party. There will also be an ice luge, party favors, a photo booth, a champagne toast and live entertainment from several DJs.

Interior of WHINO in Ballston (Photo courtesy of Timothy Yantz/WHINO)

New Year’s Blowout at WHINO
4238 Wilson Blvd
Time: 10 p.m.
Cost: $25

WHINO, a restaurant and art gallery that opened at Ballston Quarter in June 2021, is hosting a party with two DJs as well as a countdown to and champagne toast at midnight.

Smokecraft’s Fire & Ice New Year’s Eve 2023
1051 N. Highland Street
Time: 8 p.m.
Cost: Starting at $125

This two-year-old barbeque joint in Clarendon will have a buffet for New Year’s. A ticket grants access to the buffet plus an open bar and a $25 gift card to be used in 2023.

Snow falls in Rosslyn in 2020 (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Christmas and Hanukkah are nearly here, which is undoubtedly provoking panic among last-minute shoppers.

Luckily, ARLnow has an Arlington-centric holiday gift guide for all those who looking for the perfect present for the the gondola fans and local literature enthusiasts in you life.

Below are eight great, last-minute Arlington-related gifts.

Silver Diner item up for auction (via Real Food for Kids)

After 26 years, the Silver Diner in Clarendon is now closed with the new Ballston location opening this past week. Now, a number of items from that restaurant are up for auction.

Money helps supports the local non-profit Real Food for Kids. The auction ends next week, on Dec. 22.

This summer, local elected officials again introduced joint legislation to remove Robert E. Lee’s name from the historic home at Arlington National Cemetery. While the bills stalled, it was actually George Washington Parke Custis who had the house built to honor George Washington.

This definitive biography by local author Charlie Clark provides the first-of-a-kind look into the life of George Washington Parke Custis and the history of Arlington’s first family.

Cans of New District beer (file photo)

With word coming that a new indoor dog park and bar may be replacing Green Valley’s New District Brewing, now is the time to stuff those stockings with beer.

Four packs of beer, including the National Landing IPA and Potomac Paddleboarder Blonde Ale, are available in the taproom whenever the brewery is open. All the beer is now packaged at their facility with its crowd-funded canning line.

Little Michael Visits Fire Station 8 book cover (via Amazon)

Help that little Arlingtonian in your life to learn local history with this book written by community leader Wilma Jones.

It tells the story of a third grader in 1955 who visits the Halls Hill fire station. For decades, Fire Station 8 was the only one in Arlington that was staffed by African-Americans.

The original station was demolished in June with a new station now in the midst of construction. It’s expected to be completed sometime late next year.

Pickleball being played outside at Walter Reed Community Center (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Pickleball has taken Arlington by storm, even as the pickleball pop has driven some locals mad.

The county is providing a chance to get in on the craze by offering pickleball classes for all ages. The classes begin in February and continue through April, but can be purchased now.

But be careful about where you play so the county doesn’t get sued.

Inner Ear Recording Studios t-shirt (screenshot via Amazon)

Demolition day may be looming for the building that once housed legendary Inner Ear Studios, but the recording studio still lives in Don Zientara’s Arlington basement. Some have called it “the Abbey Road of Arlington.”

A t-shirt with the original Inner Ear logo is available from ARLnow on Amazon.

Ballston resident Isa Seyran serves up dishy stories in his new book detailing working in the local restaurant scene.

The subject of a recent ARLnow Press Club feature, Seyran shares a number of anecdotes in the book about working for some of the most famous chefs in the D.C. area.

Arlington Gondoliers sweatshirt

Sure, it’s actually Arlington, Texas that’s getting an XFL team, and not Arlington, Virginia, but that didn’t dissuade us from asking readers on social media what they would have named the football team.

One answer stood out:

The Arlington Gondoliers

ARLnow designed a logo and put it on a bunch of swag so everyone can support the local team that never was.

  • Bonus: Items from a local holiday market

If you are still in need of more last-minute gifts, the Forever Grateful Market in Crystal City is happening this weekend.

Our Savior Lutheran Church on S. Taylor Street (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

(Updated at 4 p.m.) Two weeks before Christmas, someone has apparently stolen a nativity scene from a church in the Barcroft neighborhood.

But the pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church (825 S. Taylor Street), Wayne Fredericksen, is turning the other cheek.

“My focus is fresh hope and fresh encouragement,” he said. “This is where my head and heart are going, to remind us of the Bible story and see how it provided hope and encouragement before the birth and also still for us today.”

He was still processing the news when ARLnow spoke with him Monday morning. Fredericksen says he wished whoever stole the scene, if the intent was to resell, would instead connect with the resources that the church support, including Path Forward, Bridges to Independence and Arlington Food Assistance Center.

“Since we don’t know the circumstances or the situation, we wish the best for that person,” he said. “We’re sad they thought that was an action we thought was good for them. We wish them good in other ways and we move forward in forgiveness.”

Police were called but do not have much to go on at this point.

“Between December 11 at 12 a.m. and December 12 at 12 a.m., the unknown suspect(s) stole an outdoor nativity set,” Arlington County police spokeswoman Ashley Savage told ARLnow via email. “There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.”

Fredericksen called the loss of the scene, which was a gift to the church, “disappointing.” He says the decoration contributes to the communal celebration of Christmas and reminds people to support the ministerial work of houses of worship as well as local nonprofits that help people in need.

“It can feel overwhelming, but when you see how many people are at work trying to do good, it doesn’t take a lot to come alongside and support in some way, whether it’s with a gift, or a gift of time,” Fredericksen said.


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