Articles > Where & When
Best of Clarendon
1 Cool-Kid Refuge
Long before every bar and restaurant menu touted the words “local” and “craft,” 23-year-old Galaxy Hut (2711 Wilson Blvd.; 703-525-8646) was an unfussy go-to for good beer and Washington-bred bands. An all-vegetarian menu rounds out the West Coast coffee-shop vibe, while pint and pitcher discounts at happy hour—daily from 5 to 7—present an inexpensive chance to sample a new brew.
2 Endless Summer
A large outpost of the 17-store South Moon Under chain, this breezy, beachy shop (2700 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-807-4083) stocks trendy pieces from such cool-girl favorites as Sanctuary, BB Dakota, Aryn K, and Mink Pink. You’ll find lots of affordable, wearable pieces like floral sundresses, flowy boho-chic tops, and bright swimsuits alongside oversize costume baubles from House of Harlow, and a thoughtfully edited beauty selection. It’s like one-stop shopping for your upcoming vacation. A small but solid roster of men’s styles features graphic tees, blazers, and colored jeans from RVCA and Penguin.
Don’t belong to a pool? On hot days, the “sprayground” at Lyon Village Park (1800 N. Highland St.) is kid heaven. Sprinklers shoot cool water into the air, while a bucket dumps water every few seconds onto the kids below. There are also two tennis courts, a basketball court, picnic areas, and a playground.
4 Rock Out
Iota Club & Café (2832 Wilson Blvd.; 703-522-8340) might be pocket-size (it fits about 175), but the venue—which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year—is a favorite among music lovers for its intimate, brick-walled space. It’s often likened to a coffee shop rather than a concert venue (and during the day it is one), but everyone from John Mayer to Norah Jones has played here while starting out. Tickets, rarely more than $15, aren’t sold in advance.
5 Beauty Addict’s Paradise
Bluemercury (2855 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-248-0028) overflows with hard-to-find brands. The calming environment plays host to a trove of luxe goodies: huge (and great-smelling) LAFCO and culty Diptyque candles, Creed fragrances, and an enticing display of top-of-the-line makeup collections such as Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier.
Photograph by Andrew Propp.
6 All Things Kids
The 5,000-square-foot Kinder Haus Toys (1220 N. Fillmore St.; 703-527-5929) is Arlington’s toy mecca. Independently owned for three decades, Kinder Haus offers playthings to snare any child’s imagination, whether animals or art, trains or dinosaurs, dolls or puppets. A large selection of high-quality, traditional wooden toys and a well-chosen book corner add to the old-fashioned, small-store feel. Don’t miss the presidential edition of Uncle Goose’s wooden blocks—a great gift for any Washington baby.
7 Wine of the Times
With its avocado walls and smiley staff, Wendy Buckley’s Screwtop Wine Bar (1025 N. Fillmore St.; 703-888-0845) is the antidote for all the noisy chains on nearby Clarendon Boulevard. Regulars claim leather-backed stools for the weekday happy hour, when six wines are $6 until 6 pm, then pop over to the retail section to shop the carefully chosen wine, beer, and cheese selections.
8 Everything but the Lederhosen
Odds are that a place named Fat Shorty’s (3035 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-243-5660) is going to be fun. Picnic tables and white lights strung from the rafters make for a biergarten-like backdrop for the fine sausages and esoteric draft beers on tap. Combos such as rattlesnake with rabbit and jalapeño and a mash-up of beef, pork, and cheese known as käsekrainer are delicious, especially with dollops of mustard and secret sauce from industrial-size squirt bottles. Crave lighter fare? The menu keeps everyone happy with dishes like vegan sausages and plump curried mussels as well as a handful of drinkable wines.
9 Progressive Meal
Multitaskers like options, and Eventide (3165 Wilson Blvd.; 703-276-3165) has them in spades. Sip cocktails in the street-level bar, have dinner in the modern second-floor dining room, and call it a night with dessert or a digestif on the roof deck under the stars. Chef Adam Barnett, an alum of the Inn at Little Washington, has put together a far-reaching menu, which means you can nibble on flash-fried pretzels with cheddar-ale dip, assemble a charcuterie repast—say, house-made duck rillettes or spruce-cured salmon—or tuck into a meaty flatiron steak with caramelized sunchokes.
10 Cheap Eats—With StylePhotograph by Kyle Gustafson.
No need to sacrifice style for sustenance at EatBar (2761 Washington Blvd.; 703-778-9951), a casual-chic spot that won’t empty your wallet. Wine is available in three-, six-, and ten-ounce pours, and nothing on the menu of small plates tops $12. Bacon popcorn balls start things off right with a sweet-salty hit. Then it’s on to a juicy lamb burger with tzatziki and curried feta, the fabulous house pastrami-spiced hot dog with pimiento cheese, and crisp buttermilk-fried chicken thigh over polenta with blue cheese and mushrooms. Cocktails elevate the tab a bit, but the Shaddock Hound ($10), with vodka, St. Germain, and grapefruit, may just be worth raiding the piggy bank for.