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Experience the spirited side of Arlington with exquisite cocktails at these favorite local haunts.
If you appreciate the nuanced creativity of today’s mixology, you’ll love sampling the unique tastes, twists and local flavor of cocktails in Arlington. At these neighborhood establishments, you can observe the fine art of craft cocktail-making, and even pick up tips on how to create your own perfect libation.
With more than 50 board games, The Board Room in Clarendon lets you brush up on old-school classics like Monopoly, Pictionary and Yahtzee that play nicely with boozy drinks. It’s game on with Mules Against Humanity, a vodka lime juice and ginger beer mix. A mixture of tequila, grapefruit, lime juice and grapefruit soda is called Park Place Paloma.
Amongst a sea of glass and steel, tucked away from the hum of traffic, you’ll find Salt. Escape the bustle and sink into the intoxicating beats while you enjoy bold flavors and timeless craft cocktails. The warm and intimate vibe is an inner-city oasis. Get lost in conversation and enjoy the moment.
This modern open-concept venue invites patrons to inhabit large-scale mural installations while enjoying craft cocktails, beer, wine and globally inspired social plates. WHINO sports exposed black steel high ceilings, creating a loft-like experience. The combination of design elements will provide a fun and refined destination for socializing and dining.
Clarendon's newest hot spot serves up elevated pub fare with a healthy flare and cocktails made from scratch. Brass Rabbit Pub is located just two blocks from the metro, offering healthy bar fare and inventive craft cocktails. Brass Rabbit is the perfect place to meet for brunch with friends, dinner, drinks with coworkers, or to watch your sports team on TV.
Made with a secret family recipe, the Sophisticated Margarita at Guapo’s is for those who love a cocktail with some zing. The recipe was perfected by the Rincon family, which founded its capital area Tex-Mex restaurants in 1988, and it quickly became the Shirlington neighborhood restaurant’s most popular cocktail. Guapo’s makes them by the gallon at the energetic bar that’s also known for mojitos and plates of fajitas, burritos and quesadillas.
Guapo’s appeal at cocktail hour is good drinks, the chance to mingle and inexpensive prices, said Sofinias Diaz, the restaurant’s manager and former bartender. The secret of Guapo’s margarita is its constancy, Diaz said. “Customers from other states come for margaritas because they know.”
Located inside Bun'd Up at Pentagon Row, this speakeasy-style mahjong parlor serves dim sum and cocktails in a chic and unique setting. Enjoy delicious shareable plates, full sized entrees, and of course, cocktails. Sparrow Room's drinks menu features a variety of fun and colorful cocktails including their Golden Flower Spritz, Mum's Daquiri and much more. Looking for a tasty alcohol-free drink, their menu also offers various mocktails. Stop by for a night of fun games of Mahjong and incredible food and drinks!
SER, in Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood, features a wide array of specialty cocktails that complement its popular menu of authentic Spanish comfort foods. Unique specialties include mint-infused brandy and house-made vermouths, said Dimitri Brinza, manager. You can try the vermouths on the rocks or in a cocktail.
Or, indulge in Pippi Longstocking’s Sippycup, with rum and a sherry vinegar-strawberry shrub – the kind of drinking vinegar that gives a drink a summery flavor. Another special cocktail, The Campos Rose, has gin, elderflower, lime juice and rose bitters. Or, you can spice things up with the Nerva Quickstep, made with Absolut Citron vodka, white grape juice, and lime-, cayenne pepper- and black pepper bitters.
A quintessential gathering place in Arlington’s Columbia Pike neighborhood, William Jeffrey’s Tavern elevates the cocktail experience with special touches like liquor pickled with fresh ingredients. From its Corpse Reviver #2 (with gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, absinthe rinse and lemon, served up) to the XXX Adult Hot Chocolate (brandy, aged rum, spiced cream, honey and house-made marshmallow), you can sample a diverse range of specialties. For a take on Bermuda’s unofficial drink, check out the tavern’s Dark & Stormy – Demerara Rum, house-made ginger beer and fresh lime.
A make-your-own Bloody Mary bar during brunch also means you can mix it up just the way you like, with house-infused vodkas (pickled garlic, horseradish or habanero) and choices of 30 ingredients. And if you’re more in the mood for a draft, William Jeffrey’s offers a 16-tap bar with a wide-ranging selection of local, national and international brewers.
In the heart of Arlington’s Clarendon neighborhood, Wilson Hardware pays homage to the old Virginia Hardware store that occupied the location from the 1960s through early 2000s. This three-story venue – with a warehouse vibe, exposed brick and a rooftop bar – is a perfect spot for sipping on an eclectic selection of signature and slushy cocktails. For fan feedback, see reviews on EaterDC.
Hardware-themed specialties include the Adjustable Wrench (bourbon, rum, vanilla and chocolate bitters), Nailed It (bourbon, peach, lemon) and Permit Denied (Draft), made with tequila, watermelon, lime, agave and mint. These are alongside favorites like the Moscow Mule, Dark and Stormy, and more.
Author: Kathleen Murphy