News & Politics

Neighborhood Guide: Crystal City

Jaleo photograph by Scott Suchman

New Takes on Classic Productions

An 11-year-old company established by husband and wife Paata and Irina Tsikurishvili, Synetic Theater (1800 S. Bell St.; 703-824-8060) has built a stellar reputation for its fusion of physical theater and classic texts. Its Silent Shakespeare series has garnered a fleet of Helen Hayes Awards for wordless interpretations of plays such as King Lear and Othello. Productions often incorporate music, dance, and multimedia elements. Synetic Family Theater (in Crystal City) stages performances by and for teens and younger audiences.

Obama-Approved Fast Food

The First Lady and daughters Malia and Sasha have long been fans of Spike Mendelsohn’s fun-loving burgers at the original Capitol Hill location of Good Stuff Eatery. You’ll find the same menu—and the same massive cowbell dangling from the ceiling—at this farmhouse-inspired spinoff (2110 Crystal Dr.; 703-415-4663). Favorites include the Vietnamese-accented Blazin’ Barn, the avocado-topped turkey burger, and the Prez Obama, a pile-up of bacon, Roquefort, onion marmalade, and horseradish mayo. To go with it, there are terrific milkshakes in flavors like strawberry-soursop and Vietnamese coffee.

Supporting Local Artists

Formerly the Northern Virginia Art Center, Gallery Underground (2100 Crystal Dr.; 571-483-0652) was launched earlier this year to promote artists from Arlington County. The airy, white-walled space includes galleries and classrooms and rotates monthly exhibits of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and more. There are also 20 studios on-site for artists in residence.

Cocktail Culture

The Crystal City outpost of José Andrés’s tapas chain, Jaleo (2250 Crystal Dr.; 703-413-8181), extends its hours in summer, so you can linger on the streetside patio or gaze at the mural of musicians above the bar until 10 Sunday through Thursday and 11 on Friday and Saturday. Befitting the owner’s Spanish roots, Andrés’s bars all make a mean gin and tonic—preferred cocktail of the Iberians—while the margarita with “salt air” shows off his flair for the modern.

Style on a Budget

At the tiny boutique Gossip on 23rd (566 23rd St. S.; 703-920-1498), Katherine Glorioso handpicks her wares from Los Angeles designers, lending the store a breezy, West Coast vibe. You’ll find Everly’s chic tweed toppers, on-trend cropped denim jackets, and vintage-esque patterned frocks alongside flirty accessories such as polka-dot wallets and colorful statement jewels. Best part? Everything in the shop rings up under $100.

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