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Clarendon Wine Club (staff photo by Madisson Weyrich)

The opening of a wine store and bar in Clarendon is approaching, after numerous delays and setbacks.

The aptly named “Clarendon Wine Club” at 1114 N. Irving Street originally hoped to open this past fall. According to one of the owners, who requested they not be named, there is no set timeline for opening but they are hopeful to begin operating “someday soon.”

The owners, a self-described “Lyon Village couple,” said the landlord of the space passed away and the estate changed hands several times, resulting in significant delays.

“Unfortunately, we have had a lot of setbacks, including several transfers of custodianship of the landlord estate that delayed signatures and paperwork,” the owner told ARLnow. “Arlington has our paperwork, and it is pending currently.”

The business is a couple of doors down from O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub and around the corner from Clarendon Ballroom, which was revamped in 2022 with a new interior, a renovated rooftop and a pizza take-out window.

Clarendon does have at least three other businesses that can reasonably be classified as wine bars. Screwtop Wine Bar on N. Fillmore Street recently underwent an ownership change but is still operating as a wine shop. Northside Social Coffee & Wine at 3211 Wilson Blvd. is a self-titled “neighborhood café, wine bar, bakery & coffeehouse,” per their website.

The Board Room at 925 N Garfield Street, meanwhile, has a Champagne lounge that serves wine of the bubbly variety.

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Screwtop Wine Bar at 1025 N. Fillmore Street (via Screwtop/Instagram)

Screwtop Wine Bar in Clarendon is under new ownership.

The wine bar, owned and operated by Wendy Buckley since 2009, was recently purchased by Linda Urbanski and Ryan Gesinski. The sale was finalized Jan. 2.

Located at 1025 N. Fillmore Street, Screwtop offers a full wine bar, brunch, lunch, dinner and a retail wine shop with hundreds of wines. It also carries a variety of artisan cheeses, meats and gourmet goodies.

Buckley, the original owner and operator, opened the wine bar after noticing few Clarendon spots geared toward wine lovers and women.

“I wanted to create a casual place where you could enjoy a really great glass of wine without having to go to a fancy restaurant downtown, and thus the idea for Screwtop was born,” Buckley said in a newsletter to customers. “With Screwtop, I wanted to take the intimidation out of wine and turn the enjoyment of wine into a lighthearted and approachable experience.”

That approach is in the bar’s name, which plays with the stereotype that finer wines only come corked while lower-tier options have screw caps.

“My goal was to create a place where no matter your knowledge of wine you felt at home here,” Buckley said. “And that our team treated everyone that came through our doors like a regular. A regular ‘Cheers’ of the wine bar scene.”

Urbanski, one of the new co-owners, said she doesn’t plan on making significant changes, only to “make enhancements of what is already currently in place.”

“I love that Screwtop strives to be an affordable wine bar, has an absolutely delicious menu, and hosts numerous wine tasting events,” Urbanski said in a separate emailed newsletter. “I am truly thrilled to have the opportunity to have Screwtop continue on as a go-to wine bar for the Arlington community.”

Urbanski grew up in Vienna and has lived in Clarendon with her husband for over a decade, per the email. She has a background in managing large business operations.

“We will continue to be committed to delivering an exceptional experience to every visitor, by providing unique wines and continuing the tradition of creating a warm and inviting atmosphere,” Urbanski said. “I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting so many lovely customers over the past couple of months, but I am genuinely looking forward to meeting even more of the wonderful people that Wendy has been telling me about that contribute to the vibrant Screwtop community.”

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This column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup or in-store shopping. Have a question? Email thenose@arrowine.com.

Are you looking for something fun to do on Sunday? How about tasting some phenomenal French Wines? Let’s meet at Arrowine.

On Sunday, August 6th, from 1-4 p.m., don’t miss a special Super Tasting with wines from the award-winning Vintage ’59 Imports portfolio! Specializing in wines from quality family-owned wineries in France’s top wine regions, they’ve now added truly exciting family wineries from Italy and California!

By Reservation only. Attendance is limited to ensure a great experience. All attendees must be 21 and possess a valid picture ID.

Additional details:

Cost: There is no charge for this tasting event! 

Discounts: Tasting discounts are “on”! Every wine you taste will be ON SALE during the event, at least 10% off the regular price. We’ll have wine available for purchase, and if you want more than we have available, discounts will apply to tasting wines you order during the event, too!

This event will be popular. Please e-mail us at [email protected] and let us know you plan to attend. Please include the following information:

  • Name 
  • E-mail and phone contact information 
  • Number of people in your group 
  • When you expect to arrive: 
  • (a) 1–2 pm, (b) 2–3 pm, or (c) 3–4 pm. 

We will be sure to confirm all reservations by e-mail. If attending, we will add you to our e-mail list that announces special events and sales.

We look forward to seeing you!

Doug Rosen

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This column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup or in-store shopping. Have a question? Email thenose@arrowine.com.

Are you looking for something fun to do this Sunday? How about tasting some Virginia Wine? Let’s meet at Arrowine!

Join us at Arrowine (4508 Cherry Hill Road) this Sunday, July 23 from 1-4 p.m. for our Two Table Super Tasting! Featuring some of Virginia’s Best with Glen Manor, Early Mountain, Midland, Vino del Bosco, and Veritas Wineries all in one place — without driving to the wineries. They will all be here for you to sample at Arrowine!

By Reservation only. Attendance is limited to ensure a great experience. All attendees must be 21 and possess a valid picture ID.

Wine (Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash)

Additional details:

Cost: There is no charge for this tasting event!
Discounts: Tasting discounts are “on”! Every wine you taste will be on sale during the event, at least 10% off the regular price. We’ll have wine available for purchase, and if you want more than we have available, discounts will apply to tasting wines you order during the event, too!

This event will be popular. To attend, please fill out this form, or e-mail us at [email protected] and let us know you plan to attend. Include the following information in your email:

  • Name
  • E-mail and phone contact information
  • Number of people in your group
  • When you expect to arrive: (a) 1–2 p.m., (b) 2–3 p.m., or (c) 3–4 p.m.

We will confirm all reservations by e-mail. If attending, we will add you to our e-mail list that announces special events and sales.

We look forward to seeing you!

Doug Rosen

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An outdoor concert in Long Bridge Park (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Arlington County Board will be considering whether to allow alcohol sales during special events at Long Bridge Park and Penrose Square next month.

On Saturday, the Board approved public hearings on the change at these two public parks located, respectively, near Crystal City and along Columbia Pike.

“These sites were selected for this expansion because both are designed as event venues, which is referenced in their master plans, and both already host a variety of successful special events,” per a county report. “Additionally, it is anticipated that Penrose Square will be expanded in the near future, which will enhance its ability to host special events.”

The proposal has support from a majority of people who responded to a county survey this fall, although many respondents articulated public safety concerns.

“Many supported this change, and some felt the County should explore further expansion of the sale and consumption of alcohol and other concessions in County parks than what is currently proposed,” the report said. “Commenters opposed to the change cited concerns regarding the increased noise, potential damage to park property, unruly behavior, and a negative impact to the public’s safety and ability to enjoy parks.”

The county says much of the negative feedback had to do with issues that the process for hosting a special event is designed to mitigate.

If approved, alcohol will be limited to sales at special events only during designated dates and times. Special events already require a permit, and organizers would need a separate ABC permit that provides “a controlled and delineated area for the sale and consumption of alcohol.”

Some wanted to see alcohol sales in more parks, such as Virginia Highlands Park and Lubber Run Park, provided that the rules were properly enforced. Others wanted more non-alcoholic options at events where alcohol is allowed.

Alcohol sales during approved special events are allowed at Fort C. F. Smith Park in the Woodmont neighborhood, Clarendon Central Park and Gateway Park in Rosslyn.

The Board is expected to vote on adopting the changes during its meeting on Saturday, Jan. 21.

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Ballston’s newest wine bar and shop has started pouring.

Pirouette Café & Wine Shop, on the ground floor of J Sol apartments at 4000 Fairfax Drive, opened late last week, co-owner Philippe Loustaunau confirmed to ARLnow. Both the restaurant and wine bar’s interior and outdoor spaces are now open.

While the wine bar and retail shop are operating at regular hours, the kitchen currently is still only serving appetizers. The full menu will start being available next week, Loustaunau said.

The initial hope was to begin serving a little bit earlier in the summer — taking full advantage of the outdoor patio — but brief construction delays set it back a number of weeks. ARLnow first reported on Pirouette’s planned opening back in January.

The business comes from the wife and husband team of Jackie and Philippe Loustaunau. The couple only lives a few blocks away from the shop, in Virginia Square.

The two always dreamed of opening a restaurant near where they lived, Jackie Loustaunau told ARLnow earlier this year. They always hoped that at least one of the many mixed-use buildings going up in the neighborhood would include a local restaurant or bar. Instead of waiting for that to happen, they just did it themselves.

The restaurant, bar, and wine shop is aiming for a “causal feel” with a large assortment of wines by the glass. The menu is from executive chef Adam Hoffa, who previously worked at Fiola and St. Anselm in the District. It’s set to feature small plates like mac & cheese croquettes, entrees like pork chop Milanese, and dessert.

As Philippe Loustaunau told ARLnow in July, the hope is for Pirouette to become a neighborhood place that the two always dreamed about.

“I love the idea of meeting our customers in the street, going to the park and seeing them with their children, seeing folks at school,” Philippe said in February. “This is a neighborhood environment, which I think creates community and connects people.”

Photos via Pirouette/Instagram (as labeled)

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A new wine shop is getting ready to be uncorked in Clarendon this fall.

The aptly named “Clarendon Wine Club” is moving into 1114 N. Irving Street just off the main Wilson Blvd drag. It’s just a couple of doors down from O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub and around the corner from the recently revamped Clarendon Ballroom.

The owners of the shop are subleasing the space from Coco LaRue Beauty Studio, which is moving next door. The beauty studio temporarily closed earlier this year and is planning to reopen in its new space at 1112 N. Irving Street in January or February 2023, owner Coco La Rue told ARLnow.

Not much is known about Clarendon Wine Club at this point. The owners, a self-described “Lyon Village couple,” only shared that the shop “will focus on high end wines in an intimate space” and that they hope to open this fall.

Le Rue also told ARLnow that the shop will sell her champagne, the passion fruit-flavored “Butterflies Champagne.”

Clarendon does have at least two other businesses that can reasonably be classified as wine shops. Screwtop Wine Bar on N. Fillmore Street also has a retail wine shop. Oby Lee Winery on Washington Blvd sells a selection of bottles to take home as well. There used to be another wine shop right by the Whole Foods on Wilson Blvd, but “quirky” Grateful Red closed in 2016.

This western portion of Clarendon is in throes of change, including development projects both underway and planned.

The Silver Diner across the street is set to close in October after 26 years at that location as a new one in Ballston opens. A new development is coming to that corner featuring a hotel, rooftop bar, gym, residential building, and 16,000 square feet of retail space. It will still probably be a few years before it’s constructed and opened, though.

That development will likely lead to the Clarendon beer garden The Lot being closed, but the owners in June couldn’t elaborate on its future beyond noting it will be open for the rest of the 2022 season.

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Pirouette Cafe in Ballston (photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington’s newest wine bar is aiming for a September opening.

Pirouette Café & Wine Shop is in the midst of construction on the ground floor of J Sol apartments at 4000 Fairfax Drive, in the Ballston area.

The new wine bar, restaurant, and shop is from the wife and husband team of Jackie and Philippe Loustaunau. ARLnow first reported its move into the ground floor of the 326-unit high-rise apartment building in January.

All is going well with construction, Jackie tells ARLnow, and the hope is to open the restaurant part of the business by mid to late September. The wine shop portion of the business could open sooner, she said, perhaps as soon as early September, depending on when the ABC license is approved.

“Our walls are up, some mudded, some covered in [fiber-reinforced plastic] and others tiled,” the co-owner said. “The construction company is doing excellent work carrying out our architect’s design… and troubleshooting challenges throughout the process.”

Construction was set back a few weeks, a common occurrence for Arlington restaurants, particularly recently.

The restaurant/bar/shop’s aim is to have a “casual feel” that takes the “intimidation” out of wine. Executive chef Adam Hoffa, who previously worked at Fiola and St. Anselm in the District, is planning to serve “global” cuisine with a menu featuring an assortment of small plates, desserts, and a few entrees like house-made focaccia, scallops, mac & cheese croquettes, and corn cake with summer fruit compote.

The couple said they’ve always wanted to open a restaurant in their hometown. They often hoped that when a new mixed-use building went up it would include a local restaurant or bar. But that never happened, Jackie said, until they decided to do it themselves.

The couple, along with their child, lives in Virginia Square, only a few blocks away from Pirouette, which was part of the appeal.

“I love the idea of meeting our customers in the street, going to the park and seeing them with their children, seeing folks at school,” Philippe said in February. “This is a neighborhood environment, which I think creates community and connects people.”

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A new champagne bar, market, and restaurant is finally set to serve bubbly early next month in Crystal City.

Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique is aiming for a Thursday, May 5 opening at the corner of 23rd Street S. and Fern Street in Crystal City, owners Zena Polin and Meshelle Armstrong announced via a press release.

The concept is an all-in-one champagne and wine bar, market, and “light bites” restaurant.

The new shop is from two well-known local restaurateurs, Zena Polin and Meshelle Armstrong. The two are also behind Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen in Old Town Alexandria as well as being associated with Eat Good Food Group. That restaurant group owns a number of local restaurants including Pentagon City’s Mattie and Eddie’s and is helmed by Meshelle’s husband, chef Cathal Armstrong.

Additionally, Beauty is somewhat of a revival of Alexandria’s Society Fair, Polin told us back in February. That’s the shop she owned that closed in 2019. A Columbia Pike offshoot shuttered in 2014.

The small-ish, 800-square foot space at 576 23rd Street S. will be divided into three rooms.

The front will be the retail shop and market, selling locally sourced cakes, cookies, treats, and other items. To the right, will be the wine room with champagne and wine being sold to drink on or off the premises. To the left, will be the 12-seat restaurant that will serve flatbreads, dips, charcuteries, sandwiches, and desserts including a “Big Ass Chocolate Cake” and the shop’s signature cookie “The Guilty Pleasure.”

The cookie is a Polin creation, according to the release, and made with “housemade marshmallow fluff, dark chocolate chunks and potato chips.”

The origin of “Beauty” goes back nearly two years, with a decision driven by a unique opportunity. In 2020, the partners happened upon the small residential-looking building in Crystal City that was once the home of consignment boutique Agents in Style.

“We jumped on it before [the concept] was quite ready, but that happens,” Polin said earlier this year. “We’ve been working on it for about a year.”

The location is a relatively short distance from Amazon’s new headquarters, as the press release points out. The partners had hoped to open the boutique in March, but permitting and licensing delays pushed the opening back by about two months.

Beauty Champagne & Sugar Boutique will be open Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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Pirouette Cafe, a new wine bar and restaurant, is set to open this summer on the ground floor of J Sol apartments in Ballston.

Pirouette is from the wife and husband team of Philippe and Jackie Loustaunau, residents of nearby Virginia Square who currently own a technology consulting business together.

The wine bar at 4000 Fairfax Drive will aim to have a “casual feel” that will focus on a variety of wines that takes the “intimidation” out of wine, Philippe and Jackie tell ARLnow.

The menu will be an assortment of small plates, desserts, and a few entrees that will focus on global cuisine. Vegan and vegetarian dishes will be offered. The head chef is Autumn Cline, who previously was at Rappahannock Oyster Bar and Rose’s Luxury in D.C.

A few dishes expected to be on the menu include bluefish rillettes with housemade pickles, duck confit with Japanese fermented fruit, and a vegan meaty red beet entree. While the wines and menu may be global, the focus is local.

“I love the idea of meeting our customers in the street, going to the park and seeing them with their children, seeing folks at school,” says Philippe. “This is a neighborhood environment, which I think creates community and connects people.”

Philippe is originally from France, so the idea of a neighborhood wine bar is familiar to him. Prior to having children, Jackie worked in the local restaurant industry. She has also volunteered at the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) and worked at Fresh Impact Farms.

They have long dreamed of opening a restaurant and wine bar together.

“Every time a new mixed-use building would go up [in our neighborhood] and the first floor is open, we’d be like ‘Maybe, maybe there’ll be some wine bar… or a good place to get a bite to eat,'” says Jackie. “And that never happened.”

So, they went for it, signing the lease in November. They are starting the interior build-out now and expect Pirouette to open in the summer, barring no further supply chain delays.

With a child in school, it was important to Philippe and Jackie to own a restaurant that was close by, within walking distance of their home together.

“With having a sixth grader, we wanted to do it in a way that [Pirouette] fits our life,” says Jackie. “We don’t need to build in time for a commute. We’re two blocks away and that makes a big, big difference.”

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Beauty by Society Fair, a “champagne boutique,” is hoping to start serving bubbly in Crystal City within the next month, co-owner Zena Polin tells ARLnow.

The store at 576 23rd Street S., which we first reported about in October, is set to be a combination of retail store, bistro and wine shop. The small, 800-square-foot space will include a front room offering items for sale and a side room with 10 seats. The business’s focus will be selling locally produced gifts, serving fresh cakes and treats, and providing space for a glass of wine or, yes, champagne.

“We want this to be a place where you come at the end of the day for wine and a piece of cake,” Polin says.

Beauty by Society Fair is owned by notable local restaurateurs Zena Polin and Meshelle Armstrong, who are also behind Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen in Old Town Alexandria. Both are associated with Eat Good Food Group, which owns a number of local restaurants including Mattie and Eddie’s in Pentagon City and is helmed by Meshelle’s husband, chef Cathal Armstrong.

This new shop is somewhat of a revival of Alexandria’s Society Fair, a gourmet food market that closed in 2019, and its offshoot location on Columbia Pike, which shuttered in 2014.

“The front [of the shop] will be most reflective of what Society Fair used to look like,” says Polin. “With fresh baked cakes, candy, and treats… and gifts, with a large focus on local and women-owned companies.”

Polin also credits Cheesetique, with locations in Del Ray and Shirlington, as an inspiration.

The residential-looking building is the former home of Agents of Style, a consignment boutique. The look fits the shop’s motif well, notes Polin. The aim is to appeal to the local neighborhood and community, while also being less than a mile from Amazon’s new headquarters in Pentagon City.

The location was scouted out by Armstrong prior to the concept being fully formed.

“We jumped on it before [the concept] was quite ready, but that happens,” says Polin. “We’ve been working on it for about a year.”

The shop is essentially ready to go, with the owners just waiting on inspections. They believe that Beauty by Society Fair could be open by the end of February.

While the store may not be as big as some of its predecessors, Polin thinks this is the perfect size and fit for the moment.

“With the way the world is working now, something smaller and more manageable is the way to go,” she says. “It’s a function of the times.”

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