Martinis will be shaken and stirred across the D.C. area in the week following Thanksgiving.
That’s when more than 85 restaurants and bars around the region will celebrate D.C. Cocktail Week, an annual promotion organized by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) that will begin on Nov. 28 and end on Dec. 5 — the 90th anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal.
“Enjoy cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages paired with food bites, cocktail classes, tasting dinners, happy hours, and other happenings at restaurants throughout the region,” RAMW said in a press release.
While the festivities are mostly focused on the District, the line-up of participants includes two based in Tysons: Jiwa Singapura in Tysons Galleria (1702u Galleria at Tysons II) and Wren in Watermark Hotel (1825 Capital One Drive) at Capital One Center.
Opened in September 2021 as part of the hotel, Wren serves Japanese cuisine and hosts a full bar with wine, beer and cocktails. For D.C. Cocktail Week, the restaurant will pair tuskune — a grilled chicken thigh meatball skewer with housemade tare and poached egg on the side for dipping — with “It’s been oolong time” — a roku gin cocktail mixed with smoked oolong tea, strawberry cocchi rosa and lemon oil, according to the campaign website.
Jiwa Singapura is participating in the seven-day promotion for the first time since it opened at Tysons Galleria on Feb. 15. The Singaporean restaurant from chef Pepe Moncayo hasn’t revealed its featured pairing yet.
To try other newcomers, Fairfax County residents can hop across the Arlington border for Clarendon eatery Bar Ivy and Sabores Tapas Bar in Penrose, or across the Potomac River for AIR Restaurant & Lounge, Casta’s Rum Bar, Code Red, DC Capitol Square Bar & Grill and more in D.C.
“Special events and in-house happenings will take place throughout the week including special happy hours and cocktail making classes being added daily,” RAMW says, though the calendar currently only lists D.C. events.
Instituted on Jan. 17, 1920 after the ratification of the 18th Amendment, Prohibition banned alcohol sales ostensibly in an attempt to reduce domestic violence, poverty and other social issues, though rampant anti-immigrant sentiments were also a driving force.
The move instead fueled more drinking and dragged down the hospitality and entertainment industries, giving rise to a black market of bootleggers and organized crime. Deemed a failure, Prohibition was repealed on Dec. 5, 1933, though its legacy as a period of expansion for U.S. policing continues to have consequences.
One U.S. Park Police officer fatally shot another in Tysons yesterday (Sunday), leading to an involuntary manslaughter charge.
Fairfax County police officers were called to an unintentional shooting in the 1700 block of Old Meadow Road — the Scotts Run area — at 12:20 a.m. When they arrived at the apartment, Jesse Brown Hernandez, a 22-year-old McLean resident, was found dead with “a gunshot wound to the upper body,” according to the Fairfax County Police Department.
Based on a preliminary investigation, police say an off-duty Park Police officer identified as 25-year-old Alexander Roy from McLean “was attempting to dry fire” his gun.
“Dry firing is when one simulates the discharge of a firearm by pulling the trigger of a firearm that is unloaded,” the FCPD said in a news release. “Roy unintentionally shot the firearm he believed to be unloaded, fatally striking Hernandez.”
Police believe alcohol played a role in the shooting.
There were a total of four people in the apartment at the time of the shooting, three of them off-duty Park Police officers, including Roy and Hernandez, according to the FCPD.
Roy has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and is currently in custody at the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center without bond.
The Park Police said it was aware of the shooting but directed questions to the FCPD, which is conducting the investigation.
“Our focus right now is on supporting the family, friends and coworkers of our employees involved in this tragic incident,” the agency’s press office said in a statement. “USPP has nothing further to share at this time.”
(Updated at 2 p.m. on 11/2/2023) The “sip and stroll” trend has arrived at Tysons Corner Center.
The D.C. region’s largest mall launched a “Shopping with a Twist” initiative today (Wednesday), letting visitors 21 and older drink alcoholic beverages from participating restaurants while in stores and common areas.
Public drinking is already permitted at some other local shopping centers, including Fairfax Corner, Reston Town Center and the Mosaic District in Merrifield, but Tysons Corner Center says it’s the first indoor mall in the D.C. area to allow public cocktail consumption.
“As the #1 shopping destination in the region, Tysons Corner Center is dedicated to providing an elevated shopping experience for our customers,” said Jesse Benites, director of property management for mall owner, Macerich. “This program adds a premier amenity which is unique to indoor centers in the area. We are very pleased with the high level of participation from our restaurants and retailers, and look forward to the positive results this program will have on their businesses.”
The “Shopping with a Twist” policy will be in effect during the mall’s regular hours of 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sunday, though each restaurant’s hours may vary.
Cocktails will be permitted on the Plaza and in common areas of the mall, but not in the parking garages or lots. They can also be taken into retail stores marked with “C’mon in with your drink” signs.
“Beverages must be in a logo’d disposable cup provided by the restaurant where the drink was purchased,” Tysons Corner Center said in a press release. “Only alcoholic beverages purchased from participating restaurants may be taken outside the restaurant and into the shopping center. No outside alcohol is permitted.”
The participating restaurants are:
- American Girl Bistro
- Barrel & Bushel
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Earls Kitchen + Bar
- Eddie V’s
- La Sandia
- Seasons 52
- Shake Shack
- TGI Fridays
The mall urges customers to “drink responsibly,” noting that Macerich and the restaurants “reserve the right to refuse service for any reason.”
There will be an official launch event for “Shopping with a Twist” next Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 5-8 p.m., starting with a reception from 5-5:30 p.m. on the Plaza.
“The first 100 shoppers to arrive will receive a gift bag and a $25 gift card from one of our participating restaurants,” the press release says. “Centerwide there will be special entertainment and all participating restaurants will be offering custom cocktails and drink specials created just for the evening.”
A Reston-based pub was voted as the best place to get a drink in the D.C. area.
A WTOP poll by readers and listeners ranked Makers Union, which is located at 1811 Library Street in Reston Town Center, as the best restaurant to get a drink. The pub beat out hundreds of other bars in the area.
Also named a runner-up for best brunch, Makers Union describes itself as a pub for the people. It has two new locations in the works at The Wharf in D.C. and at Metropolitan Park in Arlington, which are slated to open this summer.
According to its website, the pub uses local ingredients “whenever possible” and showcases destination drinks from local makers.
The poll also ranked restaurants and establishments across several other categories, including best bakery, brunch, burger, coffee shop, international cuisine, seafood and comfort food.
Other chains also ranked high on the lists. For example, Big Buns Damn Good Burger — which has locations in Reston, Herndon, Vienna and Fairfax — was voted as the best burger spot, and Ledo Pizza was named the best pizza spot.
Outside of Reston, Fairfax City’s High Side — an Asian street food restaurant and bar located at 4009 Chain Bridge Road — topped the list for best international cuisine. L’Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls and Our Mom Eugenia, which has restaurants in Great Falls and Merrifield, also made the top 10 for that list.
Photo via kazuend on Unsplash
Something new is brewing in Old Town Fairfax.
Expanding operations from Virginia Beach, Commonwealth Brewing Company is gearing up to join the neighborhood with an anticipated Labor Day weekend opening at 10426 Main Street.
In honor of its opening, which will ideally come on Sept. 1, the brewery will offer a “pie and a pint” special associated with its participation in Fairfax City’s upcoming Restaurant Week. Customers can choose from one of Commonwealth’s eight signature pizzas and a draft beer for $25.
Fairfax visitors can expect “an even bigger implementation” of Commonwealth’s offerings in Virginia Beach (2444 Pleasure House Road), where the brewery serves 25 to 28 styles of beer crafted in house, owner Jeramy Biggie says.
The new Fairfax location will boast a 4,800 square-foot tap room with 48 taps, five of which will be dedicated to draft cocktails that are currently exclusive to Fairfax. It will also eventually add the coffee brand that Commonwealth recently launched in Virginia Beach.
“It’s a great, great spot right on Main Street, and it has a pretty expansive patio with outdoor seating where dogs are welcome,” Biggie told FFXnow. “I’m just really excited to see how people can respond to the beer.”
Along with specialty alcoholic beverages, Fairfax’s Commonwealth Brewing will serve freshly made food, like its signature Neopolitan wood-fired pizza, and it will experiment with “eclectic concepts” and “interesting ingredients,” such as Korean short rib and kimchi, Biggie says.
He plans to maintain a rotating menu by introducing three to five new beer styles every week and new food items every month.
“I think our ethos is all about being creative and trying to really foster an environment where people can come together and have a really enjoyable, hopefully world class product,” Biggie said.
Also new with the Fairfax location is a dedicated beer production space for Belgian-style, long-term, barrel-aged sour beers — the very beer that Biggie says first sparked his passion for becoming a commercial brewer. This particular style of beer is aged on wild bacteria for a year to three years, so it’s “a labor of love,” Biggie says.
“They’re not profitable at all, but they’re delicious, so we like to make them,” Biggie laughed. “…It’s a really small percentage of our total volume, but it’s a really important part of it.”
Beers have long since been a labor of love for Biggie, who began home-brewing around 13 years ago as a hobby while working full-time as a structural engineer.
“When I met my wife, she was studying abroad in Germany, and I flew over to Europe to spend Christmas with her over 20 years ago now, and she took me to all the hot houses and European beer gardens, and I was blown away by the food and the quality of the beer,” Biggie said. “That’s where it all kind of started for me. I came back and started seeking out more interesting beers and then that turned into home brewing.”
After a decade of home-brewing, Biggie and his wife Natalie decided to liquidate their retirement savings and “make the huge jump” into their “first-ever entrepreneurial endeavor,” Biggie recalls.
“I found I had a pretty natural ability to make recipes and really loved doing it,” Biggie said. “I loved all the social inspiration that I got from it, being able to invite the neighborhood over to come try the beers and just really got into it and got super passionate about it — basically filled my entire house with fermenters. After making all different styles over a decade and passively researching, we made a decision to open a brewery.”
Formerly based in Alexandria’s Del Rey neighborhood, the couple found no better place to break ground on their brewery than where they first met: Virginia Beach.
Now, after experiencing success by the ocean for the past eight years, the Biggies are heading back to Northern Virginia, where they hope to “create a bigger and stronger nightlife scene” in Old Town Fairfax, Biggie says.
“We know the area, we know that people up there really appreciate high-quality products,” Biggie said. “We came across the Fairfax property, and it was just amazing, and we really liked the building owner, and we loved it being in a really cool main street.”
As Commonwealth prepares to open in Fairfax at the beginning of next month, Biggie says he’s focused on integrating the brewery into the Fairfax community and involving George Mason University students, who he hopes will become regulars.
His goal, he says, is to make Commonwealth a close-knit community hub that promotes interpersonal connection.
“We want to be a community center. We want to be a place where people can come every week and meet and see each other,” Biggie continued. “…We’re the antithesis of a sports bar. We have no screens anywhere, and we really want you to focus on the beer you’re enjoying, the food you’re eating and the people you’re with.”
Frequenters of Reston Town Center can expect more sip-and-stroll-style events this year.
At a Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday (May 9), the board approved Reston Town Center Association‘s request to increase the number of licenses it has per year for designated outdoor refreshment areas.
RTCA can now host up to 50 events — up from 16 — this year through additional Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) licenses.
The organization’s president, Robert Goudie, told the board that the request came after an overwhelmingly positive response to sip-and-stroll events at the town center last year.
RTCA patrons can expect at least 12 Darden and Friends jazz events in the spring and fall, sip-and-stroll events on the first Saturday of the month, and the return of Reston Concerts on the Town.
Goudie said RTCA pilot-tested the sip-and-stroll concept last year. Physical barricades will also be added to designate the area — a move that Goudie says goes above and beyond what is required by law.
“We don’t want to turn Reston Town Center into a constant pub for all,” Goudie said.
The board voted unanimously in favor of the proposal.
Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity lauded the effort as a major placemaking initiative.
“That’s all I could think when you were talking,” Herrity told Goudie.
But RTCA needs the approval of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to increase the number of licenses it has per year for designated outdoor refreshment areas. The matter heads to the board for a vote tomorrow (Tuesday).
If approved, RTCA would have permission to host up to 50 events — up from 16 — with Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) licenses.
The association will work with the Fairfax County Police Department for security purposes. It is also working with an on-site security team to maintain the perimeter where alcoholic beverages are allowed.
The request comes after the association hosted several sip-and-stroll events last year in the town center, allowing individuals to purchase alcoholic drinks at participating restaurants into the streets or park.
The association’s board has approved similar events for this year, including at least 12 Darden and Friends jazz events for the spring and fall. There will also be 14 Reston Concerts on the Town, a concert series that returns this year after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic and renovations at the pavilion and Mercury Fountain.
Another half-dozen events are proposed on Saturdays.
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) can increase the frequency and duration of events after Fairfax County adopts an ordinance formally requesting an increase, according to a county memo.
“I don’t think there is any controversy here,” Robert Goudie, RTCA’s president said. “ABC is aware that we would be seeking an increase to the cap. Last year’s events were well-received and well-managed.”
RTCA is expected to reach its 16-event limit by July. In 2021, the General Assembly amended state code to create the licenses. A licensee is currently only allowed up to 16 events — each of which can last up to three consecutive days.
RTCA’s board is expected to vote on the issue on May 9 at 4 p.m. following an introduction of the proposal at the board meeting tomorrow.
Great Falls will officially have a Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) retail store.
The business will open on Wednesday, April 12 at 10:30 a.m. at 9843 Georgetown Pike in the Great Falls Center.
“This new store means Great Falls residents no longer have to drive to Reston or the Tysons area to purchase their spirits,” Virginia ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill said. “We hope to continue to offer a high level of convenience to our customers, both here and elsewhere in the commonwealth.”
The public is invited to the grand opening ceremony for the roughly 2,000-square-foot store, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m on Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
This is the authority’s 399th location in Virginia. Store inventory includes 232 different brands and sizes of American whiskeys, 132 cordials, 174 vodkas and 124 tequilas.
A traveling exhibition looking at the ins and outs of Prohibition in Virginia is coming this month to Reston Museum.
The Library of Virginia’s Teetotalers & Moonshiners exhibit will be on view between tomorrow (March 21) and April 29. Reston Museum will also showcase artifacts from its own collection of Bowman Distillery items.
The exhibition tells the story of Virginia’s Prohibition, including its history as part of a social reform movement, the economic and social costs of Prohibition and the role of government in overseeing public health.
Here’s from Reston Museum on the exhibit:
Distilled from the Library’s 1,200 square foot exhibition (on view through December 5, 2017), Teetotalers & Moonshiners uses the Library’s deep and compelling collections on this era, from humorous sheet music mocking the absurdities of Prohibition to blazing headlines in anti- and pro-liquor newspapers and broadsides. At the core of the story are the records of the state’s Prohibition Commission, which record the daily activities of its agents. A digital interactive component documents statewide prohibition trends and tells the personal stories of commission agents, bootleggers, and moonshiners. The exhibition is supported in part by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the National Alcoholic Beverage Control Association. The Virginia Distillers Association provided support for the traveling exhibition.
Teetotalers & Moonshiners addresses the important and long-lasting effects of Prohibition on Virginia and America, including the prohibition movement as part of a social reform movement, the economic and social costs of Prohibition, including the closing of businesses and conflict within communities, and the rise of illegal alcohol production and sale as an underground culture and economy, the role of government in overseeing public health, and prohibition’s legacy–from NASCAR to the creation of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to the rise of the modern brewing and distilling industry.
The Library of Virginia was founded in 1823 to preserve the state’s printed and manuscript holdings. The exhibit is made possible in part with support from Virginia ABC and the Virginia Distillers Association.
Located at Lake Anne Plaza (1639 Washington Plaza North), Reston Museum is a nonprofit organization that aims to preserve Reston’s past, inform its present and influence the future of Reston.
(Updated at 2:25 p.m. on 2/21/2023) Great Falls will soon have its own Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) store.
The wine and liquor business plans to open at Great Falls Center (9843 Georgetown Pike).
Patrick Kane, a spokesperson for the ABC, told FFXnow now that a firm opening date has not yet been determined.
The store is a little over 2,000 square feet in size, Kane said.
Virginia ABC determines new locations of stores based on the location’s demographics, traffic patterns, rental rate and population density.
“It also considers the distance of a location to existing stores, sales at those stores, tenant mix at the shopping center, and the accessibility and deliverability to the location,” the authority says on its website.
The center includes tenants like Bollywood Bistro, Starbucks, Subway, Great Falls Barbershop and Long & Foster Realtors. An animal hospital and pho bar are also slated to open soon at the center.
Virginia ABC has more than 390 stores throughout the state, according to the website. This will be the only location in Great Falls, whose residents currently have to travel to Reston or the Tysons area to find a store.