Bar Method Expands to Bethesda (Photos)

The popular Bar Method class takes over the Washington area.

Owner Kate Arnold recently opened a second Bar Method studio in Bethesda. Bar Method consists of fat-burning interval training using weights and principles of dance conditioning. Photograph by Melissa Romero.

At Bar Method, owner and instructor Kate Arnold likes when your legs shake like jelly. In fact, she encourages it.

“Great shaking!” she says to students from her microphone as she scans the room of 20-some women ranging from their early 20s to 60s. “If your body is shaking, it’s a sign that your muscles are working hard.”

With the amount of shaking my legs were doing in Wednesday’s morning class, they were working hard enough to power a small village. Though not unfamiliar to the bar craze that has taken over Washington, it was my first Bar Method class at its newest location in Bethesda on Woodmont Avenue.

Arnold opened the Bethesda studio this month after experiencing success with her Chinatown location, which she opened in June 2011. Arnold moved back to DC after living in Chicago, where she fell in love with Bar Method as a client. Seeing there wasn’t a Bar Method studio nearby, she decided to open one up herself. 

Almost three years later, with packed classes at the first studio and a goal to expand the studio’s demographics, she set her sights on another area in the Washington metro region. The recent opening makes Bar Method the first stand-alone bar studio in Bethesda. A third location in North Potomac is set to open this spring.

Think of the Bethesda studio as the sister to its Chinatown location—similar, but a tad funkier. While the Chinatown studio offers a spa-like experience with neutral colors, the Bethesda studio greets clients with its bright pink walls in the lobby and locker area—pink to represent DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, Arnold explains. “We wanted something that was more vibrant and more modern. It just feels more fresh.”

While students shouldn’t expect to be drenched with sweat after a class, that doesn’t mean the workout doesn’t, well, work. Bar Method, based on the technique of dancer Lotte Berk, incorporates light dumbbell exercises, leg work at the bar, and floor exercises, which over time give students that coveted long, lean, and firm dancer’s body. Arnold herself is a testament to the body-sculpting abilities that Bar Method touts—she lost three inches in her waist after just one month of classes.

“From the first bar method class I took, I was completely obsessed,” she said.

Lucky for us, now we have two locations to get hooked.

Bar Method Bethesda. 7710 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda. 301-652-1200. Drop-in classes are $24. New client special is $125 for 30 days of unlimited classes at both Chinatown and Bethesda locations.