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The ALX Dog Walk at Oronoco Bay Park is on Saturday, April 20, 2024 (via Facebook)

Here’s a roundup of all the events, live music, and entertainment happening around Alexandria this weekend.  Enjoy! 

Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow.

Friday, April 19

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Saturday, April 20

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Sunday, April 21

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Image via Facebook

Ryan Belmore is an award-winning news publisher, editor, and journalist. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he now resides in Alexandria with his wife and two rescue dogs. He was recently appointed to the City of Alexandria’s Board of Zoning Appeals and previously served on the City’s Commission For The Arts. Email listings and events to Ryan at [email protected]. Follow Ryan on Instagram at whatsupalexandria.

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Pride On The Avenue is opening at the pop-up space at 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue in May 2024 (courtesy image)

In recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month in June, Del Ray’s seasonal pop-up bar will open in early May as Pride on the Avenue, it’s owners tell ALXnow.

Bill Blackburn and his business partner “Mango” Mike Anderson of the Homegrown Restaurant Group and their staff gutted the space that was home the last few months to their ski lodge concept, Aspen on the Avenue. Just what they’re planning for the interior is still under wraps, as is the menu, but Blackburn said that renovations will be extensive.

“We’re expanding Pride Month into a two-to-three month period in celebration of openness and inclusiveness for the LGBTQ+ community,” Blackburn said. “I can tell you that we’re going to have a new, extensive craft cocktail program, and the interior of the pop-up is going to be completely different.”

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

Blackburn said that he got the blessing to open the bar from Freddie Lutz, the owner of Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant in Crystal City. He also said that HRG is planning on donating $500 a week to Equality NOVA, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

“I anticipate that Del Ray will rally behind us with this concept,” Blackburn said. “We want everyone to be welcome in all of our restaurants, and this is a way for us to showcase that.”

Pride on the Avenue will likely stay put until October, when the pop-up will be transformed into its Halloween concept Nightmare on the Avenue. After Thanksgiving, the bar will once again be turned into the Christmas-themed Joy on the Avenue.

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Hops N Shine (photo via Hops N Shine/Facebook)

A popular bar on the border of Del Ray and Arlandria is looking to expand with expanded hours and live entertainment.

Hops N Shine at 3410 Mount Vernon Avenue is asking the city to approve a plan to extend its outdoor patio hours, allow outdoor cooking, and have “amplified soft background” music with a live musician.

The restaurant is asking that outdoor live music be allowed Sunday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

According to their special use permit application:

  • Patio hours would be extended an hour, until 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and until midnight on Friday and Saturday
  • The outdoor cooking would include s’mores over propane fire pits, and date night cooking classes with 16-ounce butane cans with portables stoves tops
  • Opening the garage door in the front of the building, while continuing live indoor entertainment
  • The addition of an acoustic musician Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 9 p.m.
  • Introduce outdoor games like Jenga, cornhole and Connect Four

The matter goes before the Planning Commission on June 4.

A blueprint of the proposed expansion of Hops N Shine at 3410 Mount Vernon Avenue (via City of Alexandria)

Photo via Hops N Shine/Facebook

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If you have a friend who buys Powerball at this Safeway at 8646 Richmond Highway, the next round at the bar is on them (photo via Google Maps)

What a busy week in Alexandria.

This week’s top story was all about money, with a $1 million Powerball ticket getting sold in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County.

On Monday we reported that an Alexandria resident was charged after a loaded gun was allegedly found in his carry-on bag at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The incident marked the third time last month that a firearm was confiscated from luggage at the airport.

Also Monday, Mayor Justin Wilson said in his monthly newsletter that the March 27 death of the Potomac Yard arena deal would likely mean a period of stagnation for that area of the city. Landowner JBG Smith, however, softened its stance after initially releasing a scathing opinion on the situation, and told the Washington Business Journal on Wednesday that it now envisions Potomac Yard as a tech corridor anchored by the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus.

In a Thursday poll, ALXnow asked whether Alexandria is better off without the Potomac Yard arena. The poll got more than 1,300 responses, with 65% voting “Yes,” 26% voting “No” and nearly 10% voting “I don’t know.”

Got a good spot to see the eclipse on Monday? Our second-most-read story this week showcases an eclipse viewing party being hosted by the city in Old Town.

The most-read stories this week were:

  1. Powerball ticket worth $1 million sold in Mount Vernon (7387 views)
  2. City of Alexandria hosting eclipse viewing party in Old Town (7375 views)
  3. Notes: Pizza and cocktail bar opening this week in Old Town (5997 views)
  4. Sign ordinance update tackling longstanding sign complaints from Alexandria businesses (5400 views)
  5. In wake of Potomac Yard arena implosion, Alexandria mayor says area will stay the same for ‘quite some time’ (5398 views)
  6. Alexandria gets federal grant for Duke Street transitway (4171 views)
  7. No arrest after woman stabbed in neck in Alexandria’s West End (3522 views)
  8. CIM Group sells apartment complex next to old Landmark Mall property for $225 million (3149 views)

Have a safe weekend!

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ALX275 logo (image courtesy City of Alexandria)

The City of Alexandria will kick off its 275th Anniversary celebration on Saturday at noon at Waterfront Park. Festivities will include an official proclamation by Mayor Justin Wilson and performances by the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums and Community Little Big Band.  Visitors can also explore historical exhibits and attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the “Buried Ships of Robinson Landing” exhibit at Robinson Landing. 

At Windmill Hill Park at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Mayor Wilson and the City Council will dedicate the first of 275 trees to be planted across the city.

Here’s a roundup of all the events, live music, and entertainment happening around Alexandria this weekend; enjoy! 

Are you organizing an event? Submit events to ALXnow.

Friday, April 5

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Saturday, April 6

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

Sunday, April 7

Things To Do

Live Music & Entertainment

City of Alexandria

  • There are no events or public meetings scheduled.

Ryan Belmore is an award-winning news publisher, editor, and journalist. Born and raised in Rhode Island, he resides in Alexandria with his wife and two rescue dogs. He was recently appointed to the City of Alexandria’s Board of Zoning Appeals and previously served on the City’s Commission For The Arts. Follow Ryan on Instagram at whatsupalexandria.

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Del Ray’s ski lodge is closing after this Saturday night, and its owner says he’ll be throwing a party like snowbody’s business.

Aspen on the Avenue popup bar owner Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group says that Saturday night will be the last chance for customers to enjoy delicacies like the ski lemon meringuetini.

“We’re going to spend the next three weeks transforming the popup into its next model,” Blackburn said. “We’re planning to open on May 1.”

The popup is located between HRG’s other Del Ray restaurants, Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow. It was previously The Sushi Bar for eight years before closing at the end of 2021. Since then, the space has changed concepts as a popup every few months.

Blackburn and his partner “Mango” Mike Anderson went to extreme lengths with Aspen on the Avenue, lining the interior walls of the popup with used skis, installing a fake fireplace and two giant backlit photos of idyllic snowy scenes. Anderson also bought a two-seat gondola and parked it outside the restaurant.

Blackburn and Anderson are selling the skis for $25 to $200 per pair.

Blackburn said that the concept for the next popup is tightly under wraps and will be announced in the coming weeks.

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After nearly a year of extensive renovation and expansion, Piece Out Del Ray is reopening next month, it’s owner tells ALXnow.

The expansion from 2,700 to 4,600 square feet includes a large, center-focused bar area, a brand new dining room in what was previously a neighboring yoga studio, booths, dart boards and 21-and-up-only shuffleboard. A small area for outdoor seating is still being leveled and rails need to be put in place, but otherwise the restaurant was ready enough to open for a March Madness pop-up event on Wednesday night.

Owner Larry Ponzi wouldn’t disclose how much he spent renovating the space, except to say that it was more than he’d expected.

“We’re just going to work next week on our staffing, post-construction organization, cleaning and finishing our menu development,” Ponzi said. “The following week we should be open.”

Ponzi and his wife Christine opened the pizzeria for delivery and takeout only during the pandemic in 2020. The restaurant became popular, and after distancing and dining restrictions were lifted, Ponzi said that the 2,700-square-foot space got overwhelmed with customers and the delivery option had to be scrapped.

After studio Body Logic moved across the street, Ponzi and the property owner agreed on absorbing the additional space into the restaurant.

“We’re doing our best to keep the feel and vibe of the old Piece Out,” Ponzi said. “We’re just in a space that we really feel is our own. We want to keep all the good things about Piece Out that people love and just make it a little better.”

Chef Johnny Mohl is working on an expanded menu with seasonal specials.

“I’m really excited to be here,” Mohl said. “With this modern layout, the whole restaurant just has this feeling of old and new coming together, which is something that I really love.”

The Ponzi’s PCG Restaurant Group owns St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in Del Ray and Old Town NorthCafe Pizzaiolo (1623 Fern Street), Market 2 Market (116 E. Del Ray Avenue) and Red Drum Grill and Tap House in Nags Head, North Carolina.

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Nothing punctuates your feelings like throwing an ax, and now there’s a new place to do it while drinking a beer in Alexandria’s West End.

Bad Axe Throwing opened at 617 S. Pickett Street in October, offering walk-in and appointments for customers to hone their axe and knife-throwing skills. After signing a waiver, it costs between $30 and $40 per-person to hurl the sharp objects at the wooden targets.

Staff joke that the experience is cheaper than getting therapy, but just as rejuvenating. The business also serves alcohol and some food.

“We’re all about getting people out of the house, the office, and having fun together,” said Skylar Mills, Bad Axe’s operations manager. “We’ve got team games, mini tournaments, and even a reoccurring league to get those competitive juices flowing. More chill and laid back? Our trained staff will always show you the ropes, make sure everyone’s throwing safely, and will gladly serve you some drinks and food on-site.”

Manager Alissa Henkel and her staff teach customers one and two-handed throwing techniques.

“It’s all about finding your throw, your technique,” she said. “Once you get it’s a lot of fun, and you’re like, ‘Oh, this is awesome.'”

The Canadian-based company has more than 40 locations, with 21 locations in the U.S. The nearest to Alexandria is the Fairfax location, which opened in 2019.

Alexandria’s location has seven lanes and 14 wooden targets.

Bad Axe Throwing is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m., on Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. It is closed Monday.

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SoberRide program for St. Patrick’s Day (image via WRAP)

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is bringing back its St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide program this weekend.

From noon on Sunday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) until midnight, residents 21 and older who have been drinking can input a SoberRide code into their Lyft app and receive a no-cost (up to $15) trip home.

The promo code will be posted at 11 a.m. on March 17 on the SoberRide website.

Last year, 904 people used the SoberRide program during St. Patrick’s Day, WRAP reported. The program has been active in the region since 1991.

“Nearly half of U.S. traffic fatalities during St. Patrick’s Day involve drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said Kurt Erickson, WRAP’s President, in a release.

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There’s nothing like numbing your aching body with a hot toddy after a long day on the slopes.

That’s the vibe that the owners of the Aspen on the Avenue popup (2312 Mount Vernon Avenue) have in mind. There’s a two-seat gondola parked outside the restaurant and bar greeting customers as they walk into a warm environment with a fake fireplace, a fake brick wall, lots of skis and two giant backlit photos of idyllic snowy scenes.

“Our gondola doesn’t go to Arlington,” joked popup owner Bill Blackburn of the Homegrown Restaurant Group. “It doesn’t go anywhere, but it’s great for selfies.”

“Mango” Mike Anderson, who owns the popup with Blackburn, found the gondola for sale at HomeGoods in Potomac Yard.

The popup is located between HRG’s other Del Ray restaurants, Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow. It was previously The Sushi Bar for eight years before closing at the end of 2021. Since then, the space has changed concepts as a popup every few months.

“We get to create new concepts and decorate new restaurants and brands without having to deal with the back-of-the-house regulatory, mundane stuff that comes with opening a new restaurant,” Blackburn said. “I think it keeps us fresh.”

The bar menu includes craft cocktails, like the ski lemon meringuetini, a concoction made from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Meyer lemon, Grand Marnier, lemon curd, Simple and brulee meringue, which is toasted at the bar with a torch. There are 11 appetizers on food menu, the most filling of which is the chicken chili bread bowl — Pork Barrel BBQ’s white chicken chili served in a bread bowl.

The seasonal popup will be open until late March and will reopen as a new concept in early April, Blackburn said.

Aspen on the Avenue is open Sunday to Wednesday from 4 to 10 p.m. and Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight.

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