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More than 200 people have signed a petition against ABC Virginia opening a new location on S. Washington Street in Old Town. At the same time, another Change.org petition has gotten about 75 signatures in support of the new liquor store.

A Change.org petition from “Southwest Quadrant Neighbors” has garnered more than 200 signatures, with petitioners complaining that the location at 825 S. Washington Street is “ill-suited as it is located in the middle of a tight-knit residential neighborhood, close to several schools and family and child-oriented establishments, and is without dedicated parking for ABC to secure.”

Virginia ABC is considering the 3,000-square-foot building for a new store, and posted a notification for public comments for two weeks.

“We have received comments both in favor and against the proposed location,” Valerie D. Hubbard, a senior public relations specialist with Virginia ABC, told ALXnow. “We do not have a lease agreement currently.”

Hubbard said that Virginia ABC weighs a number of factors when determining the location for new stores and expanding customer access.

“These include a location’s demographics, traffic patterns, rental rate and population density,” she said. “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. This process has led to the creation of 398 stores throughout the Commonwealth, with 92% of Virginians living only 10 minutes from a Virginia ABC store.”

Those petitioning against ABC moving into the 3,000-square-foot property say that there are four other ABC stores located within two miles of 825 S. Washington Street. There are, in fact, three ABC stores within two miles of the proposed location.

The nearest ABC stores are at 501 Montgomery Street in Old Town North (1.4 miles away), at 3161 Duke Street (about 2.6 miles away), at 5940 Richmond Highway (about 1.4 miles away) in the Huntington area of Fairfax County, and at 1524 Belle View Boulevard in Fairfax County (about 2 miles away).

Opponents say that the new store will result in a crime increase, are “not neighborly,” and will result in decreased parking and increased traffic, but proponents say that there are no ABC stores on the southern section of Old Town.

“It’s a long walk to the north side store that is inconvenient and puts one at risk to other crimes,” states the pro-ABC store petition.

The store is the former home to the Queen Bee Designs pop-up, and is on the same block as Faccia Luna (823 S. Washington Street) and Southside 815 (815 S. Washington Street).

Vienna-based Rosenthal Properties is managing the leasing for the space, which is owned by Writ Limited Partnership.

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A Lorton man was arrested on DWI charges after allegedly crashing into four cars at the intersection of S. Patrick Street and Gibbon Streets on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023 (via Google Maps)

A 23-year-old Lorton man was charged with driving while intoxicated after allegedly crashing into four cars in Old Town.

The crash occurred near the intersection of S. Patrick Street and Gibbon Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21. Three people suffered minor injuries and went to the hospital, and the driver was released later that day.

The driver failed a field sobriety test, refused medical attention and admitted to police that he drank four Modello beers before the crash, according to a recently released search warrant affidavit.

“I shouldn’t have driven tonight,” the suspect allegedly told police, according to the search warrant affidavit.

The suspect was charged with driving while intoxicated (first offense) and goes to court on Feb. 2.

Map via Google Maps

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BARtanical is opening at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue by the end of January 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

BARtanical, a botanical and herbal inspired bar, will open as the newest pop-up at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray by the end of the month, its owners tell ALXnow.

The new bar is the fifth pop-up for the space, and owners Bill Blackburn and his partner “Mango” Mike Anderson of the Homegrown Restaurant Group have decided to keep going with the pop-up themes instead of opening a permanent restaurant.

Blackburn and Anderson closed the Sushi Bar — located between their other restaurants Holy Cow Del Ray and Pork Barrel BBQ — in December 2021 after nine years in business. Shortly after closing, the restaurant was transformed into the Christmas-themed pop-up bar Joy On The Avenue, followed up by a Tiki Bar that lasted for eight months, a Halloween-themed  pop-up in October and then back to the Christmas-themed bar last month.

The windows of the pop-up are currently covered, and the interior of the space has been gutted.

Blackburn says that when it opens, the pop-up will be a “potted plant lover’s paradise,” featuring an “explosion of plants an greenery.”

“Sticking to the craft cocktail heavy formula, BARtanical’s beverage program will be botanic and herbal inspired, with a nibble and snacks menu that is on the crisper and lighter side,” Blackburn said. “It’s a limited time pop-up and perfect for girls night out, casual happy hour or late nightcap surrounded by rich green agricultural décor and Del Ray’s most entertaining bartenders.”

Anderson said that the next iteration of the pop-up is a secret.

“You’ll have to wait and find out,” Anderson said. “New concepts are like first dates. First dates are new and exciting, and every three months we’re going to provide the residents of Alexandria with a fresh experience.”

Mari Luffey, a former bar manager at HRG’s Whiskey & Oyster in Carlyle, is the manager for the pop-up and is creating a cocktail menu.

“The spring-feel of the bar will translate nicely during the winter months,” Luffey said. “It’s going to be beautiful and cozy in here.”

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2018 Candy Cane Bar Crawl (via Del Ray Candy Cane Bar Crawl/Facebook)

An annual holiday bar crawl will work its way through Del Ray on Saturday.

The seventh annual Candy Cane Bar Crawl will be held from 12:30 to 6 p.m., and the event includes trolley transportation between bars, raffles, trivia, costume contests and swag bags.

The event is hosted by the Del Ray Business Association and will raise funds for the nonprofit Blessings in a Backpack.

Tickets range from $15 per person for those who register in advance and $25 on the day of the event. The first 250 registrants will get receive a swag bag, which includes a 16-ounce souvenir cup.

Participating restaurants include:

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Halloween pop-up bar ‘Nightmare On The Avenue’ is back in Del Ray.

The pop-up bar at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue is decorated for the occasion, and offers spooky cocktails and snacks in the space previously home to the Tiki Bar Del Ray pop-up.

Customers can snack on light fare, like nightmare nachos, while drinking Harry Potter-themed butter beer, a Vampire’s Kiss (Tito’s vodka, pumpkin pie syrup, pumpkin puree, heavy cream and sugar) and the Insane Clown Painkiller (Pusser’s Rum, Coco Lopez, pineapple juice, orange juice and nutmeg).

Owner Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group told ALXnow that customers are in for a spirited time.

“It’s a great spot to get into the Halloween spirit,” Blackburn said. “We wanted to create a fun place with a Halloween theme, and I think we succeeded with that.”

The pop-up is located between HRG’s other Del Ray restaurants Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow Del Ray on Mount Vernon Avenue.

After Halloween, the bar will be transformed into the Christmas-themed “Joy On The Avenue.”

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Celebrations, seminars and themed events are on the menu for Old Town Cocktail Week.

More than a dozen restaurants and retailers are celebrating all things cocktail starting on Friday, September 9, and lasting until Sunday, September 18.

Participating businesses include:

  • 1799 Prime Steak & Seafood
  • Ada’s on the River
  • Boxwood Boutique
  • Brabo
  • Chadwicks
  • Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar
  • Fontaine Cafe and Creperie
  • Hard Times Cafe
  • Lighthorse Restaurant and Bar
  • Lost Boy Cider
  • Majestic Cafe
  • Mystique Jewelers
  • Red Barn Mercantile
  • Umbrella Dry Drink
  • Vermilion
  • Village Brauhaus
  • Warehouse Bar & Grill
  • Whiskey & Oyster

The schedule is below:

Friday, September 9

  • Art On the Rocks 2022 — The fundraiser challenges local bartenders and chefs to create artistic cocktail and appetizer pairings inspired by a piece of art. The event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets cost $65.
  • The Late Shift: Heritage drinks at the Torpedo Factory Art Center — Enjoy specialty-themed “Heritage” cocktails at the bar in the spirit of the event – choose from Ethiopian Tej (honey wine) and Salvadoran Horchata with or without coffee (non-alcoholic). The event is from 7 to 10 p.m.

Saturday, September 10

  • Free mother shrub tasting at Red Barn Mercantile (1117 King Street) — Heard of shrubs (not the leafy kind) but have never tried it? If you’re curious and want to give these delicious drinking vinegars a try then stop by Red Barn Mercantile on September 10 from 1 to 4 when Meredyth Archer, creator of Richmond based Mother Shrubs, is crafting cocktails and mocktails for you to try.

Monday, September 12

  • Makers Mark tasting at Chadwicks (203 Strand Street) — The tasting will feature Flight of Makers, Makers 46, Makers Cask Strength, and a Makers Mark Cocktail. Take home a souvenir glass.

Tuesday, September 13

  • Spirit-free cocktail workshop (128 S. Royal Street) — Join us for an interactive workshop featuring fabulous spirit-free cocktails. Umbrella Dry Drinks is a concept to provide sophisticated non-alcoholic options for those who wish to stay dry. The workshop will highlight different zero proof spirits, & cocktails; learn more about the process behind making these products and how to use them in various cocktails, plus how to choose the perfect glassware, garnish, & more! Tickets: $50

Wednesday, September 14

  • Bo & Ivy Tap Takeover at Captain Gregory’s (804 N. Henry Street) — Join DCs newest distillery, Bo & Ivy, for a special takeover event with Captain Gregory’s.  They’ll have their full lineup, a special curated cocktail list and an opportunity to meet their master distiller and team.
  • Fizzy Fall Cocktail Class at Shop Made in VA — Together we will celebrate the sparkly goodness of Storied Goods Sugar Cubes and learn how to use them to create delicious fall cocktails and mocktails. Tickets: $75

Thursday, September 15

  • Art Night in Old Town — Enjoy Open Houses at over 15 art galleries, boutiques, and coffee shops. Two wine shops will be open featuring wine tastings:
    Le Vintage Wine Shop (1218 King Street) and Wine Gallery 108 (108 N. St. Asaph Street)

Friday, September 16

  • Cider Cocktail Party at Lost Boy Cider (317 Hoofs Run Drive) — We’re taking you back to the time of Prohibition and Speak Easy’s with vintage decor and jazz tunes. Locate the lantern on our secret entrance and knock 3 times. Cocktail attire/ 20’s inspired dress is highly encouraged! Tickets include exclusive cocktail flight with garnish and light fare/sweet treats. Get entered to win your very own Lost Boy cocktail glass (10 available). Tickets: $45.
  • An Evening with Clonakilty at Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant and Bar (112 King Street) — Spend an evening at O’Connell’s featuring Clonakilty Distillery. Join us for from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. for a Welcome Cocktail featuring O’Connell’s Clonakilty Vodka, a Clonakilty Whiskey Flight, and a Master Class from Clonakilty Distillery’s Christian Richardson. Tickets: $50
  • Oktoberfest at Village Brauhaus (710 King Street) — Join us for the opening day of Oktoberfest, with a real German band! Enjoy a variety of German Oktoberfest Beers on draft.

Saturday, September 17

Sunday, September 18

  • Tiki Cruise aboard the Tall Ship Providence — Join the team of Captain Gregory’s aboard the Tall Ship Providence as we set sail tropical expedition.  Tropical cocktails will be aplenty for this 90 min sailing along the Potomac Ricer. Tickets: $68.
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It’s not the wine talking. Wine Gallery 108 — located at 108 N. Patrick Street — will move  to its new location a few blocks away at 108 N. St. Asaph Street within the next couple of weeks.

Wine shop owner Lisa Katic bought the 2,688 square-foot building at 106-108 N. St. Asaph Street for $1.45 million in June, and says that the address is a coincidence.

“It’s the same address, which is insane,” Katic told ALXnow. “Some people are saying, ‘How did she do that?’ I don’t have that kind of power. Somebody else has that kind of power. It just happened that way. The divine universe wanted us to be there.”

The N. St. Asaph Street location has two floors, and is the former home of the TSALT women’s clothing store. The bottom floor will be the retail operation, and the second floor will be an event space where Katic will host wine tastings and art shows. Katic is an abstract painter and wants more room to showcase her creative work, as well as the work of local artists.

Katic opened Wine Gallery 108 five years ago, but was limited by the 1,000 square-foot space. She says sales increased exponentially during the pandemic, and that the last two-and-a-half years have been a period of grueling growth. She laid off some staff and worked the entire time behind the counter, she said.

“It was a pretty nutty time,” Katic said. “I had cases of wine everywhere. It was a blur, like you blinked and two years was gone.”

Katic wants to reopen in the new space by the end of August, or early September.

“I think it’s an opportunity to bring really great well-made wine to more people,” she said. “The goal is to really make it very much a part of the Old Town community.”

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Mars Rodeo plays at First Thursday in Del Ray, July 7, 2022. (staff photo by James Cullum)

The Del Ray Music Festival isn’s happening for the third year in a row, but an upcoming bar crawl next Saturday (August 20) hopes to make up for it.

The second annual Bands & Brews: Del Ray Summer Bar Crawl is back, and will feature more than 20 local acts at Del Ray restaurants.

Del Ray Business Association President Lauren Fisher hopes that the music festival can return next year. In the meantime, she says the day will be full of activity.

“People can look forward to a fun filled day of great cocktails and live music over 18 venues,” Fisher told ALXnow. “Pat Miller Square will feature an alcohol free zone where families can listen to music, take photos, and engage in kid activities -chalk art and an instrument petting zoo.”

The bar crawl will be held from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Participants will be transported on a trolley, and musicians will perform at the restaurants and Pat Miller Neighborhood Square.

The first 250 registrants will get a swag bag, and advance tickets cost $15 per person. Tickets at the door cost $20. Participants must be 21 years of age.

The schedule is below:

  • Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap — Tobago Boy Band, 12 to 3 p.m.
  • Matt & Tony’s Restaurant — John Shreiner and Maddie Assel, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Northside 10 — Jonathan Mitchum, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Bella Napoli — Ashleigh Chevalier, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • The Garden — Buskateers (Duo), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Barkhaus — Sally and the Mander, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Los Tios — Ocho De Bastros (Latin pop), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub — Madie Cantrell, 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Cheesetique — Kevin Pace Quartet (Jazz), 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Evening Star Cafe — Stereobouncers, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Hops N’ Shine — Erin McDonald, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Kaizen — The Summer of George, 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Del Ray Pizzeria — Squid Inc. (Reggae), 2 to 5 p.m.
  • Piece Out — LowBall, 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Elo’s Italian Restaurant — Janna Audey, 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Pat Miller Square — Mars Rodeo (Cover band), 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Lena’s Wood-fired Pizza & Tap — The Walkaways, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Cheesetique — The DC Radiohead Jazz Project, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub — Neal Learner, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • SpiceKraft — Lucas Mason, 4 to 6 p.m.

An after-party will be held at Pork Barrel BBQ from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and feature DJ BOB.

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A 34-year-old Maryland man faces multiple charges after driving toward police on the wrong side of the road in the West End.

At around 11:30 p.m. on July 27 (Wednesday), an Alexandria Police officer was driving his cruiser in the area of South Van Dorn Street and South Pickett Street when a black Audi sedan without lights on headed toward him on the wrong side of the road.

“While driving northeast on South Pickett Street, I witnessed a black sedan driving towards me with no headlights on,” police detailed in a search warrant affidavit. “The driver, a white male with a hat, leaned out the window and yelled something as I passed by and got got close enough to a divider that he appeared he was going to hit it.”

While transporting the driver to booking, the Maryland driver allegedly denied ever driving the car, which was registered in his name.

“When I initially entered my vehicle after (the driver) had been placed in the back, I could smell the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage,” police reported in a search warrant affidavit. “He additionally said, ‘It’s not my fault I had a terrible week.'”

The driver refused all field sobriety tests and was then arrested for resisting arrest, refusing a blood/breath test and driving while intoxicated (second offense). He was released on July 28 on a $1,500 unsecured bond.

The driver goes to court on August 31.

Map via Google Maps

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The countdown to Cinco de Mayo has begun, and a number of Alexandria’s watering holes are offering special deals for residents and guests to fiesta in style.

All week, Tequila & Taco (540 John Carlyle Street) is gearing up for the big day on Thursday (May 5). Customers can get free queso with every order on Monday, $4 bottled beer today (Tuesday) and $8 nachos on Wednesday. On Thursday, the party begins at 9 a.m. with margaritas on sale for 5 cents until 10 a.m., followed by an outdoor party until 8 p.m.

There are a number of other ways to commemorate the Mexican victory over the French in 1862.

The American Legion Post 24 (400 Cameron Street in Old Town) is also hosting its annual Cinco de Mayo bash on Thursday. The event is open to the public, and tickets cost $10.

“Enjoy a refreshing glass of cerveza or freshly made sangria, and bring your festive spirit,” notes the Legion’s event listing. “Live music, patio party, corn hole games, and grilled food… Beer, wine, sangria, and soda available for purchase at bar.”

For dog owners, Barkhaus (529 E. Howell Avenue) is hosting a bingo night, along with District Dogs and Chippin’. Tickets cost $10 for members and $15 for the public, and ticketholders will get Cinco de Mayo swag, bingo cards and photo ops with a themed backdrop.

Residents can also order cocktails to go from dozens of Alexandria restaurants and bars.

Via Facebook

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