Whitlow’s Is Back With a Shaw Drink Garden and Fireplace Bar

The beloved Arlington pub has new digs and similar laid-back neighborhood vibes.

Beloved Arlington pub Whitlow's reopens in a new Shaw home. Photography by Fredde Lieberman

There were plenty of beer tears when Whitlow’s on Wilson closed in Clarendon last summer after more than a quarter-century in business. Now the beloved neighborhood bar is back—albeit in a different neighborhood. Co-owner Jon Williams just debuted “the new Whitlow’s” in Shaw near the 9:30 Club. 

A semi-covered outdoor drink garden.

This is the third incarnation of Whitlow’s, which got its start in downtown DC at the end of World War I as an American restaurant and pub. Williams’s stepfather purchased the business from the Whitlow family in 1971, and moved the operation to Arlington in the 1990’s when DC began redeveloping its original location. Williams remembers helping to build the Wilson Boulevard bar with his family. It played host to countless reunions—plus boozy brunches, rooftop tiki parties, and late-night shenanigans—until it closed last year when the owners were unable to reach a new agreement with their landlord. When the former Gaslight Tavern (and short-lived Echo Park) space became available in Shaw, Williams jumped—along with about 80 percent of the Whitlow’s on Wilson staff, who are serving the new bar. 

“The most important thing is the laid-back neighborhood vibe. It’s a pretty warm and welcoming space,” says Williams of the wood-paneled bar. “We’re trying to stick with our roots. Being a place for people to come and gather is what we’re good at.”

From left: Bar manager Ben Nelson; co-owner Jon Williams; and GM Mike Egan.

Williams kept the bones of the former tavern, including a rear patio—now a cozy beer garden—and a wood-burning fireplace for colder months. Two bars pour wallet-friendly cocktails (in the $10 to $12 range), with a mix of Whitlow’s standards—crushes, boozy sangria—plus a few more classics like Sazeracs and espresso martinis for the Shaw cocktail crowd. There’s no tiki rooftop, but a DJ booth and space for live entertainment will cater to weekend crowds. 

Wallet-friendly cocktails and beers are the house specialty.

To start, the bar will serve Andy’s Pizza by the slice from the adjoining pie shop, and Whitlow’s will soon launch a more robust menu with wings, burgers, and grilled cheese. Williams says they’re also planning specials and hot cocktails around the fall sports season. 

“When doors close, other doors open, and I can’t be happier to be down in Shaw,” he says. 

The front barroom.

Whitlow’s DC. 2014 Ninth St., NW.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.