An upcoming bar and restaurant hopes to turn the Dunn Loring Metro station into a hopping place.
On track to open in late October next to Quickway, The Casual Pint (2676 Avenir Place, Unit F) is envisioned as a family-friendly gathering spot, where community members of all ages can relax even as adults 21 and older savor a range of craft beers and wine — and yes, the brews will come in pints.
“It’s not a sports bar, but we will have sports. It’s not a music venue, but we’ll have music,” said Derek Adams, co-owner of Casual Pint’s new Dunn Loring franchise. “It’s in the name. It’s a casual place to just come in and hang out and just keep it easy.”
Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, The Casual Pint describes itself as a “craft beerstro” that serves up local, regional and national craft brews in a laidback environment more evocative of a coffee shop than a nightclub.
The company began in 2011 as a family-owned beer market that focused on selling take-home and packaged beer before evolving into more of a restaurant/bar. It has expanded to eight states through independently owned franchises, including one near Seven Corners where Adams and fellow Dunn Loring owner Jenn Longmeyer-Wood worked before deciding to open their own location.
For Longmeyer-Wood, who knows Adams as a longtime friend of her husband, The Casual Pint’s appeal stems in part from nostalgia for a now-shuttered gastropub called Pig & Fiddle that her family frequented when they lived in Minnesota.
“It had local craft beers, small menu, totally family-friendly, and it was the place to just go and hang out, have a good beer or hang out with friends, bring your family,” Longmeyer-Wood said. “When my husband and I moved back here with our kids, we were like, there’s nothing like that here. So, when Derek…started talking to my husband about [The Casual Pint], we were like, yes, this is the thing that we want to invest in and bring here.”
When looking for a site for their franchise, Adams and Longmeyer-Wood were drawn to the Shops at Avenir Place for its proximity to the Metro station, the new I-66 parallel trail and plenty of residences.
They also landed a space previously occupied by the kabob chain Moby Dick that faces directly out onto a courtyard with outdoor seating. The property owner is planning to refresh the space at the end of October with new furniture that will be available to all retail and restaurant patrons, Adams says, though he doesn’t know yet exactly how many seats there will be.
Inside, the 1,753-square-foot pub will have seating for 42 people, including 10 seats at the bar. According to its owners, the Dunn Loring franchise is pioneering a more modern look for The Casual Pint, eschewing the wood paneling that dominates in other locations for painted concrete walls and tiles.
As for what will be on tap, the team plans to bring in craft beers made by small or up-and-coming breweries from Virginia, particularly the central and southern regions, and across the country. When encountering breweries while on the road with her son, who plays travel hockey, Longmeyer-Wood says she would text Adams to see if they distribute in Virginia.
“Being able to bring that in here is really great, that we can expand beyond just the breweries in Northern Virginia,” she said.
In addition to beer, The Casual Pint will serve wine, cider, non-alcoholic beer and soft drinks. For food, the menu will be similar to the one in Seven Corners, featuring burgers, flatbread pizzas, wings, bratwurst, salads and wraps.
Anticipated highlights will include 12-inch, handmade German pretzels from the baker Prop & Preller and regional specialties, such as a crab dip that Longmeyer-Wood is eager to bring over from the Seven Corners franchise.
The bar will also be decked out with four television screens to broadcast sports and movies. As the establishment gets more settled in, Adams says they plan to bring in musicians and work with the landlord to host events in the courtyard.
“The landlord and the property managers have been great working with us,” Longmeyer-Wood said. “They like the concept and the ideas we’re bringing to get people over here, get foot traffic going. It’s a great courtyard, and you want to maximize the use and bring people in here.”
While The Casual Pint doesn’t have any other Northern Virginia franchises in the works at the moment, Adams and Longmeyer-Wood hope to open a second location if the Dunn Loring one is successful — possibly even in their home of McLean.
“Hopefully [there will be] a full bar of people having fun,” Adams said when asked what he’s most looking forward to about the pub’s impending opening. “…I’m actually just looking forward to meeting new people, honestly, and having good beer.”
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