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Going to a bar or a party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day during a pandemic might not be the best idea, but drinking and driving is an even worse idea.

To help prevent the latter, the D.C. area SoberRide program will be offering free Lyft rides from 4 p.m. today to 2 a.m. tomorrow.

The free rides will be available on the Lyft app via a promo code that will be revealed on the SoberRide website at 3 p.m.

If you have already been vaccinated and want to head out for a pint or two today, there are a number of options for celebrating at Arlington’s Irish pubs. Due to capacity restrictions, however, there may be long waits or reservations required at some venues.

More from a SoberRide press release, below.

While stating unequivocally that “we’re all safer at home” this St. Patrick’s Day during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, a local nonprofit organization today announced that – as a “necessary safety net” to this week’s high-risk, high-alcohol consumption period — free safe rides will be offered to would-be drunk drivers throughout the Washington-metropolitan area on St. Patrick’s Day.

Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2021 St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide® program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 pm this Wednesday, March 17, 2021 (St. Patrick’s Day) and operate until 2:00 am on Thursday, March 18, 2021 as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.

“While we’re all safer at home, we are also a public safety organization which regularly looks to mitigate risk,” said Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s President. “We therefore urge all Greater Washington area residents to respect public health restrictions this St. Patrick’s Day. However, if persons do venture out and alcohol is involved, we are all benefited from the safety net role which the region’s SoberRide program plays to remove drunk drivers from area roadways.”

During SoberRide’s hours of operation this St. Patrick’s Day, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download the Lyft app to their phones, then enter a SoberRide® code in the app’s “Promo” section to receive their no cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. The St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide® promo code will be posted at 3:00 pm on March 17th on www.SoberRide.com.

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Morning Notes

Blown Transformer Knocks Out Power — A power transformer blew Friday night near the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. George Mason Drive, knocking out power to the surrounding neighborhood and parts of Ballston and Virginia Square, and prompting a road closure due to the fire department response. [Twitter, Twitter]

Catholic Schools Walk COVID Tightrope — “No one — not students, parents or staff, public or private, liberal or conservative — prefers learning while locked down during a pandemic. But area Catholics are using the crisis forced on us all to innovate boldly. They feel blessed.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Crowds May Flock to Arlington for St. Paddy’s — “Bar owner Mike Bramson, who operates the Clarendon PopUp Bar… says he’s expecting a full house in VA — something he might not see in DC. ‘I do believe people are traveling to Virginia spaces. It’s frustrating to have one location being overbooked [Clarendon Pop-Up] and another location losing business [Rebel Taco DC],’ says Bramson. He says the main deterrent in DC right now is the six-person table limit and 10 PM alcohol curfew.” [Washingtonian]

Beyer Supports Moon Mission — “There is support in Congress. ‘I clearly want to keep building on what we’ve done already,’ Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), the new chair of the House Science subcommittee on space and aeronautics, said in an interview. ‘The 2024 goal may have been a reach, so let’s see what we can do to get our moon landing back on track.'” [Washington Post]

Arlington Police K-9 Retires — “Please join ACPD in wishing a happy retirement to K9 Jax as he finishes his final tour of duty today! We are grateful for his years of dedicated service to the Arlington Community through patrol and narcotics detection.” [Twitter]

Senior Sees Son For First Time in a Year — “97-year-old Mary Cavanaugh has finally seen her son Mike Cavanaugh and daughter-in-law Marie Cavanaugh after more than a year. They’re all fully vaccinated, and with strong hugs and kisses, they were able to reunite as a family at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads.” [NBC 4]

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(Updated 4:30 p.m. 3/11/21) Although it might not be a normal St. Patrick’s Day, local restaurants and bars are finding a way to celebrate.

The pandemic was not kind to Arlington restaurants. At least 26 places have closed since last March, including the Pentagon City Irish pub Siné (though a replacement is trying to open soon).

The lockdown started right before St. Patrick’s Day last year, canceling the festivities at Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse and other popular mid-March gathering spots.

This year, local restaurants are finding ways to safely celebrate. Rather than packing in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, as might happen during the before times, most places are requiring or highly recommending reservations due to limited capacity. Some have expanded their outdoor seating and some are spreading out their celebration over a few days to avoid crowding.

Below is a list of some local restaurants that are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Arlington this year.

Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike) The Celtic House will be celebrating its Irish roots with an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The festivities will kick off on Friday, March 12 and conclude on Wednesday, March 17. A full Irish menu and specials will be available. Reservations are highly advised due to limited capacity. For information call (703) 746-9644.

Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) Celebrating its 26th St. Patrick’s Day, Four Courts is ready to pick up where it left off last year. The pub will be celebrating March 13-15 and on March 17. There will be Irish dancers on the patio in the afternoon. Due to the pandemic, bar seating will be closed and there will be no live music inside. Making reservations is highly encouraged due to limited seating. For information call (703) 525-3600.

McNamara’s Pub & Restaurant (567 23rd Street S.) — The festivities start early at McNamara’s this year with doors opening at 9 a.m. on March 17. Because of the pandemic, there is a two-hour limit at tables, and reservations are highly recommended. The patio will be open, weather permitting. For information call (703) 302-3760.

O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) O’Sullivan’s has three days of live music and Irish celebrations lined up. On Friday, March 12, Britton James will be performing at 8 p.m. On Saturday, March 13, Uncle Jesse will be performing at 8 p.m. On March 17, Irish dancers will perform at 2 p.m, Pete Baker will perform at 3 p.m. and Willem Dicke will perform at 6 p.m. Their traditional Irish menu will feature dishes such as their homemade Irish bread topped with smoked salmon, corned beef, beef and Guinness stew, and fish & chips. First come, first serve. For information call (703) 812-0939.

Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street) – Samuel Beckett’s will open its doors from 10 a.m. to midnight on March 17. There will be Irish dancers at 5 p.m., as well as live music from Eddie Pasa at 5:30 p.m. If you are not comfortable eating in the pub, Samuel Beckett’s is offering “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Home” kits. Family-style meals (serving six people) will be offered as well as a limited supply of Jameson cocktail kits. Orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance. For information or to order the at-home St. Patrick’s Day kit call (703) 379-0122.

Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) — Whitlow’s will kick off the St. Patrick’s Day festivities with a live music performance from DjKillabeats24 on Saturday, March 13. On March 17, Irish food will be available along with live music from Timmie Metz featuring Tambo starting at 6 p.m. The rooftop will also be open for patrons, weather permitting. For information call (703) 276-9693.

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Morning Notes

More on Arlington’s Drive-Through Testing — “Arlington County and the Virginia Hospital Center launched a coronavirus sampling site Wednesday, but a short supply of test kits and limited lab processing ability are forcing them to be selective with who they see.” [WAMU]

Grocery Stores With Senior-Only Shopping Hours — “Some DC-area grocery stores are offering or plan to offer special shopping hours for senior citizens, and in some cases other vulnerable people, during the coronavirus crisis. [Washingtonian, Twitter]

County Asks Landlords for Leniency — “We ask that you consider now what you can do to ease burdens for tenants who may have difficulty paying their rent in the coming months because of illness or financial hardship related to ongoing business disruptions and closures.” [Arlington County]

Cristol to Commercial Landlords: Don’t Fire Cleaners — “These men and women are the unsung heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic and they can least afford to lose wages and benefits during this crisis. At the same time that cleaners and security officers have stepped forward to do their jobs during this outbreak, they are now being threatened with layoffs and reductions.” [Press Release]

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration Questioned — The Celtic House on Columbia Pike is closed now, but it was one of the only local bars to stay fully open on St. Patrick’s Day. Some are questioning that decision as governments and medical professionals urge people to stay at home and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. [Facebook, Twitter]

Some Restaurants Decide to Close Completely — Galaxy Hut in Clarendon, which initially stayed open for takeout meals, is instead “shutting this puppy down.” [Twitter]

Arlington Musician Takes Shows Online — “Singer and songwriter Justin Trawick’s livelihood as a stage performer who did more than a dozen shows a month ground to a halt recently as the coronavirus pandemic shut down his concert venues.” [Reuters]

County Permit Office Closed — “The Arlington County Permit Office is now CLOSED for in-person customer service. Many services remain available online.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Mass Cancelled at Catholic Churches — “On Monday, March 16, 2020, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington… announced that the public celebration of all Masses in the Diocese is suspended until further notice.” [Press Release]

Food Donations Needed — “We have already seen a sharp decrease in food donations from our local grocery stores. AFAC has begun to purchase more food to offset the drop of food available on our shelves. Please think about making a donation to AFAC to help us keep our warehouse full for our families in need.” [Arlington Food Assistance Center]

Regional Park Facilities Closed — “While park and facilities are open for individual use, programs organized by NOVA Parks are canceled. All NOVA Parks facilities and buildings will be closed beginning at the close of business on March 16 and remaining closed for at least two weeks. Many parks will remain open for passive use – trails, general visitation, etc.” [NOVA Parks]

Community Centers Closed — The following Arlington rec centers are closed: Aurora Hills Community Center, Barcroft Sports & Fitness Center, Carver Community Center, Charles Drew Community Center, Gulf Branch Nature Center, Gunston Community Center, Hendry House, Lee Community Center, Long Branch Nature Center and Madison Community Center. The Fairlington, Walter Reed, Arlington Mill, Thomas Jefferson and Langston-Brown community centers remain open with modified hours. [Arlington County]

Pentagon City Mall: Before and After — Photos of the Pentagon City mall food court before and after the coronavirus outbreak shows a stark difference: bustling before vs. nearly deserted after. [Twitter]

White House: Avoid Gatherings of 10+ — “The White House’s coronavirus task force announced tougher guidelines on Monday to help slow the spread of the disease, including limiting social gatherings of more than 10 people.” [Axios]

It’s St. Patrick’s Day — Enjoy a Guinness at home because most places to celebrate are closed, or at least should be. [Old Farmer’s Almanac]

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How seriously are people in Arlington taking the coronavirus outbreak?

Probably not seriously enough, in some cases, but at least enough so that Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse is cancelling St. Patrick’s Day.

The venerable local Irish pub announced tonight (Sunday) that it would be closing indefinitely after the close of business, just two days before St. Patrick’s Day.

Despite a presumably massive loss of business as a result, Four Courts said in a message to customers that it’s the right thing to do, given the need for social distancing to stop the spread of the disease, known as COVID-19.

“The safety and well-being of our customers and staff is our greatest concern,” the restaurant said. “We will reopen again when the time is right.”

Four Courts did, at least, hold a “St. Practice Day” event on Saturday. Amid the crowds at bars across the D.C. area this weekend, there were calls to put an end to such gatherings.

Several states — including California, Illinois, Ohio and Massachusetts — have ordered restaurants and bars closed, though with allowances for take-out and delivery. On Sunday night the Centers for Disease Control recommended that all gatherings of 50 or more people be cancelled for the next 8 weeks.

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This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for Nick’s email newsletter and also receive exclusive discounts and offers.

I’m a good percentage of Irish descent — Cork, to be specific — so I enjoy St. Patrick’s Day but since the more wayward days of my youth I avoid going out for St. Paddy’s as religiously as I avoid being out for New Year’s.

Now, I like Guinness Draught enough that I’ve always listed it as my desert island beer, but as it appears most of us will be celebrating St. Patrick’s inside this year I figured I should offer up some interesting alternatives to stock up on for your celebration, wherever that may be.

Evil Twin Even More 8 lb 6oz Newborn Infant Jesus (Queens, NY; contract brewed at Two Roads Brewing Co., Stratford, CT):

A heads up for those sensitive, this Milk Stout does contain lactose so your mileage may vary. While it’s worth it for the name alone, this newly arrived Stout from Evil Twin makes for a fine change of pace from Guinness Draught. Slightly sweet from the lactose, more complex in malt than you might think, and at 5% ABV only a touch stronger than Draught, this is one to try while it’s available.

Three Notch’d Brewing Hydraulion Irish Red Ale (Charlottesville, VA; 5.3% ABV):

Part of the year-round Three Notch’d line since the beginning. Its name pays homage to a 19th century UVA fire company and its sole engine, a pump wagon called the Hydraulion. Its recipe pays homage to classic Irish Reds with Cara/Crystal malts and Goldings hops, set off with the modern touch of a Warrior hop bittering addition.

Commonwealth Brewing Scrumdiddilyumptious (Imperial Cream Ale, Virginia Beach, VA; 9.5% ABV):

I swear I’m not trying to pick out lactose-added beers, but it’s kinda working out that way. This fun experiment from Commonwealth is basically a Baileys-inspired Cream Ale using coffee and vanilla beans, cacao nibs and lactose. With its higher ABV it’ll knock you around a bit, but that might be what the moment calls for, no?

Greenbrier Valley Irish Dave’s Maple Bourbon Porter (Maxwelton, WV; 6% ABV):

My most blatant shill of the week, as this little treat is my featured draft this weekend at Arrowine. “Irish Dave” is Greenbrier’s head brewer who adds West Virginian maple syrup to this Porter before aging it in 13-year old bourbon barrels from Smooth Ambler. A little boozy, a little sweet and at 6% you can get more than a little in before it bites you — hard to ask for more.

Stay safe and have a great St. Patrick’s! Until next time.

Upcoming Arrowine Events:

Saturday, March 14, 1-4 p.m. — Virginia Tasting with Walsh Family, Early Mountain and Dr. Joy Ting
Sunday, March 15, 1-4 p.m. — Super Sunday Tasting! Three importer/distributors; 18 outstanding wines at standout prices
Tuesday, March 24, 6:30-9:30 p.m. — Spanish Wine Dinner at SER with winemaker Issac Fernanadez and importer Aurelio Cabestrero of Grapes of Spain. RSVP here.
Saturday, April 18, 1-4 p.m. — Port City Brewing feature tasting with Lager Series and other draft-only specialties

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Morning Notes

AWLA Announces COVID-19 Policies — “Out of an abundance of caution, and in line with CDC recommendations, AWLA is cancelling all public events, classes, tours, and clinics for the rest of March. We feel that this in the best interest of our staff, volunteers, animals, and the public.” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington]

Rep. Beyer Couldn’t Get Coronavirus Test — “People ask ‘did @RepDonBeyer get tested for COVID-19?’ No he did not. We tried to get a test for him… But there aren’t enough tests, he didn’t meet the risk threshold.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Pentagon Makes Coronavirus Changes — Tours at the Pentagon have been cancelled, while a Pentagon clinic is offering coronavirus tests to employees who meet certain criteria. [Twitter, Twitter]

Crosshairs Garage Races Cancelled — “Hey everyone, we’ve made the decision to cancel the remaining weeks of the @crystalcityva Garage Races. I will be issuing refunds for everyone who pre-registered. We will let you know if any plans to reschedule in the coming months materialize.” [Twitter]

Restaurants and Bars Stay Open — Local restaurants like Bakeshop in Clarendon are staying open, and many have been posting about stepped-up sanitation measures. Among the local venues taking extra sanitation steps is Four Courts in Courthouse, which is still planning to host St. Patrick’s Day festivities. [Twitter, Twitter]

SAT Testing Cancelled — SAT tests that had been scheduled on March 14 at Wakefield and Yorktown high schools have been cancelled. [Twitter, Twitter]

Police St. Patrick’s Day Event Cancelled — “To ensure the health and safety of our community… the Don’t Press Your Luck Anti-Drunk Driving Event has been canceled.” [Arlington County]

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Getting a DUI “could cost you a pot of gold.”

That’s one of the messages Arlington County Police are looking to send at an upcoming St. Patrick’s Day-themed anti-drunk driving event. Another: “don’t press your luck” by driving buzzed.

The event is scheduled to take place from 8-10 p.m. on Saturday, March 14 in Clarendon’s bar district. A portion of N. Hudson Street near Wilson Blvd will be closed for the free event, which will include activities “designed to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills.”

Police have held similar anti-DUI events in the recent past around St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween. Before that, earlier anti-drunk driving efforts have included appearances by a superhero named Soberman.

More from an ACPD press release:

Green beer, leprechauns, and elusive pots of gold are all hallmarks of St. Patrick’s Day. Make sure you and your friends celebrate responsibly by remembering one important piece of advice: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. This means that if you plan to drink any alcoholic beverage, even a watered-down green beer, it’s essential that you plan for a designated driver.

In 2018 alone, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration reports 73 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday period (6 p.m. March 16 to 5:59 a.m. March 18). For this reason, the Arlington County Police Department is hosting an interactive event highlighting the dangers of impaired driving. Because even one drink can be one too many.

Don’t Press Your Luck Event Information

On Saturday, March 14 from 8-10 p.m., join officers on N. Hudson Street at Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon for the Don’t Press Your Luck anti-drunk driving event. This free event is open to the public and designed to highlight the impact alcohol has on motor skills.

Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs in the event area. Illegally parked vehicles may be ticketed or towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.

A Safe Way Home

As you continue your celebrations, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s 2020 St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide® program, in partnership with Lyft, will be offered from 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 until 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For additional information on WRAP’s program to ensure area residents have a safe way home on high-risk holidays, visit their website.

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A Courthouse pub is again lending its name to an annual St. Patrick’s Day-themed race.

The Four Courts Four Miler will start and finish in front of Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd). It’s taking place on Saturday, March 14, starting at 9 a.m.

New this year, the race is now a part of the St. Pat’s Run Fest, a two-day event that offers three races, including a 5K and 10K in the District on Sunday, March 15.

“Join us for an entire weekend of celebration and running as we combine two of our favorite iconic events,” wrote organizer Pacers Running. “The Four Courts Four Miler (Arlington) and the St. Pat’s Run (DC) merge across our community into one Run Fest. A region-spanning, shamrock-shaking, running event with adult beverages, Double Challenge and Triple Challenge finisher custom medals for our multi-event competitors, post-race fun and the most beautiful views in Arlington and DC.”

The registration fee for the Four Courts Four Miler is $48. Those who register can pick up their bibs from Pacers Clarendon and Pacers 14th Street beginning March 2, up until the morning of the race.

The Four Courts Four Miler course will take runners down Wilson Blvd into Rosslyn, then down Route 110, and back. It famously includes a steep climb at the end and a leprechaun that passes and heckles runners — for a good cause.

Shreeya Aranake contributed to this report. Photo by Brian W. Knight/Swim Bike Run Photography.

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Police are encouraging people not to drink and drive during Arlington’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities this weekend with a free event about blood alcohol levels.

The annual event, called “Don’t Press Your Luck,” will be held Saturday from 5-7 p.m. on N. Hudson Street between Wilson Blvd and 13th Street N. by the James Hunter Dog Park and Don Tito restaurant.

Police will be using the “Virtual Bar” app by Responsibility.org to show how a person’s gender, weight, and food consumption affects their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and impairs their ability to drive.

Officers plan to close the two blocks of N. Hudson Street from 4-8 p.m. Saturday for the event, and are warning drivers to look out for temporary “No Parking” posted signs nearby.

Virtual Bar was touted as “way to help promote responsible drinking decisions, especially as people explore how foods they are likely to consume when out drinking.”

Arlington County Police are organizing the event together with Responsibility.org and the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), which advocates for ways to reduce drunk driving across the Greater Washington region.

WRAP’s annual St. Paddy’s Day $15 Lyft discount to discourage drunk driving also returns this year. The promo code will be posted on WRAP’s website at 3 p.m. Sunday and the code will work for the first $1,500 customers between the hours of 4 p.m. Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday.

From ACPD:

St. Patrick’s Day can be a celebratory time, often including alcohol. The green beer and merry-making of the holiday unfortunately lead to dangerous driving conditions as party-goers head home. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, 59 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes over St. Paddy’s Day holiday weekend across the nation. And, more than one-third (37% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities involved drunk drivers. The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD), the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and Responsbility.org are teaming up to remind that if your plans include drinking, plan ahead to take a sober ride home.

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