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(Updated at 9 a.m.) Bill Ending School Mask Mandates Signed — Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed legislation yesterday (Wednesday) letting parents opt their children out of mask requirements, adding an emergency clause that sets a deadline of March 1. Fairfax County Public Schools said in a statement to Tysons Reporter that it’s reviewing what this means for the district, which sued to keep its mandate. [Patch]

Wind Advisory Takes Effect Tonight — The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, that will be in effect from 10 p.m. today (Thursday) to 10 a.m. tomorrow. The alert warns that winds could reach 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour, potentially blowing down tree limbs and creating power outages. [NWS]

Tysons Area Schools to Hold Graduations in D.C. — Langley, Madison, Marshall, and McLean high schools will have graduation ceremonies at DAR Constitution Hall on May 31 and June 1 after the events were previously moved due to D.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement, which ended Tuesday (Feb. 15). FCPS said the rule “would have prevented a number of students and families from attending.” [WTOP]

Seven Corners to Get New Fire Station — Fire Station 28 personnel moved to temporary quarters yesterday as Fairfax County prepares to tear the existing station down and build a new one in its place. The new building will have two levels and 13,500 square feet of space, and the current estimated occupancy is mid-2024. [FCFRD/Twitter]

Vienna Inn Named Top 10 “Lovable” Dive Bar — DC Eater ranked the longtime Town of Vienna staple as the 10th most lovable dive bar in the D.C. area: “Around since 1960, this Northern Virginia neighborhood institution is famous for its chili dogs and its convivial vibe. During the pandemic, the chill bar debuted curbside takeout, delivery, and heated outdoor seating.” [DC Eater]

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Falls Church Distillers’ storefront with outdoor seating (via Google Maps)

(Updated Dec. 29) A local distillery that started in Falls Church plans to move to a new location next year.

Falls Church Distillers closed Christmas Eve (Friday) and shared photos of its transition, taking apart the restaurant-bar, as it prepares to move to a shared space at the Manassas-based Tucked Away Brewing Co.

“We leave Falls Church having realized so many personal, business and community memorable achievements that our time here will always be remembered with a personal deep well of fondness,” the company said in a message also posted on its website.

Michael Paluzzi, who started the family-owned and family-operated business, said in an email today (Wednesday) that they’ll always remember the music they had there, creating hand sanitizer with their operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the fellowship with so many guests.

As part of the transition, Falls Church Distillers shipped a large U.S. flag that it displayed outdoors to the widow of a friend who previously placed it there. He was an active duty lieutenant colonel in the Air Force at the time, Paluzzi noted.

The distillery broke ground at its location at 442 S. Washington St. over five years ago, eventually making a range of whisky, brandy, rum, vodka and gin.

Despite the transition, customers can still get the company’s spirits at restaurants in the D.C. region as well as liquor stores.

The business expects to open at its new location this spring.

Photo via Google Maps

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The Sandlot is coming to Tysons.

The Boro announced on Thursday (June 24) that the space in front of its new mural will soon be occupied by the outdoor bar concept that currently has two locations in D.C.

Ian Callender, co-creator of The Sandlot and owner of Suite Nation, describes the pop-up amenity as “a cultural arts facility with intersecting industries of commerce derived from community engagement.”

“It’s the ideal environment to bridge the gap between culture and community authentically,” Callender told Tysons Reporter.

The focus of The Sandlot is to give a space for the community to interact. There are tables and chairs for guests to come have a drink and chat with neighbors.

“The retailers and restaurants at The Boro will be the highlighting culinary and cocktail component,” Callender said. “We’re just bringing the vibes.”

The Sandlot operates booths out of shipping containers, similar to the plans for ShipGarten, the restaurant/beer garden that’s supposed to open in Scotts Run any day now.

The offerings are tailored to the specific neighborhood where each site is located. For example, Sandlot Southeast has a designer shoe booth, and Sandlot Georgetown has cold-pressed juice cocktails.

The Sandlot started as an idea of Kevin Hallums, Callender’s childhood friend of 30-plus years. The idea was to create a pop-up to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the movie “The Sandlot” down on Half Street near Nationals Park.

Hallums has said that the movie is about more than baseball, it’s about a space for friends to hang out, and that’s the space they were trying to create. The first location, Sandlot Southwest, opened in March 2019 but closed in June 2020.

All Sandlot locations are temporary and contingent on the weather. Once the development where The Sandlot is located decides they want that space back, the containers have to pack up and move on.

The Boro has said the development in front of the mural is years down the road, so Sandlot Tysons will occupy the space for the foreseeable future.

The Sandlot Tysons will open July 9 with a grand opening celebration on July 11 that will include a free concert from the D.C.-based band Black Alley.

Along with their kick-off event, The Sandlot has announced a lineup of weekly programs:

  • Car wash and cocktails with Xact Detail (Fridays)
  • Free outdoor fitness and workout sessions, courtesy of the gym Sweat DC (Saturday mornings)
  • Live regional DJs from Rock Creek Social Club, Joy Club, Adobo DMV, and more (Saturdays)
  • Sunset Sip & Paint sessions with renowned artist Lex Marie (Sundays)

“This Sandlot concept will be different from other existing locations with the specific programming for the community and its collaboration with existing Boro restaurants and retailers,” a spokesperson from The Boro said.

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Last time Tysons Reporter checked in on ShipGarten, the unique restaurant/biergarten venture was expected to launch in early spring, but spring arrived and is now heating up into summer, and the shipping container doors remain fastened.

ShipGarten will now open at the Scotts Run development in Tysons in June, Creative Bar Concepts LLC Managing Partner Matt Rofougaran confirms, though an exact opening date has not been set yet.

Rofougaran, who was CEO of the now-shuttered Tysons Biergarten, attributes the latest delay to several factors, including challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a delay in obtaining materials, a delay in getting Dominion Energy out to the site, and the overall size of the project.

“The project [is] bigger than expected by not just us but the contractor,” he said.

Developed by the same team behind Tysons Biergarten and the still-operating Hops N Shine in Alexandria, ShipGarten will be a pop-up biergarten with restaurants located inside four converted, 40-foot shipping containers.

In addition to the central biergarten, which will have 20 German taps as well as sausages and pretzels, the restaurants will include Chalkboard BBQ & Craft Beer, the Asian fusion fast-casual joint Rollbär, and the Persian fast-casual establishment Salamati Grille.

The delays that ShipGarten has encountered could ultimately turn out to be a boon, since starting on May 28, Virginia will lift the capacity and social distancing requirements that have limited operations at existing restaurants and bars for the past year.

Rofougaran says the current plan is to require masks for staff and encourage social distancing, but that could change depending on how the next month unfolds.

“We believe we are about a month until we open so we will reevaluate everything once we get closer to [the] opening date,” he said.

ShipGarten’s opening will be a key step forward for Scotts Run, a 40-acre mixed-use development focused around the McLean Metro station that currently consists of The Haden — an apartment complex — and the 14-story Mitre 4 office building.

The Archer Hotel is expected to open later this summer, and additional residential, retail, and office development is still on the way.

The ShipGarten team saw Scotts Run as an ideal location to expand on the ideas that they introduced with Tysons Biergarten, which closed in November 2019 to make way for planned redevelopment around the Greensboro Metro station.

“The amount of room available allowed us to utilize the space to put together something that everyone in not just the tysons region but all of the DMV could come and enjoy,” Rofougaran said by email. “Plus being on top of a hill overlooking the Tysons Skyline was a great added bonus!”

Cityline Partners, one of several developers working on Scotts Run, says it looks forward to ShipGarten opening next month. The biergarten is expected to stay on the site as a pop-up for about three years as more of the surrounding development falls into place.

“We are delighted to have such an active and fun interim use at our development directly adjacent to the Scotts Run Stream Valley Park,” Cityline Managing Partner Tasso Flocos said. “The Shipgarten is a wonderful outdoor addition overlooking the urban neighborhood in the making and is an important venue to fill a much needed void for Tysons.”

Image via ShipGarten/Instagram

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The ShipGarten, a long-anticipated food and drink experience in shipping containers from the team behind Tysons Biergarten, is slated to open in “early spring.”

“As many can tell, the tent’s been put up, the shipping containers are being built as we speak, and everything is pretty much moving forward rapidly,” former Tysons Biergarten CEO and managing partner Matt Rofougaran said.

ShipGarten plans to be a pop-up for three years at the Scotts Run development in Tysons. It will be six times larger than Tysons Biergarten space, which closed in November 2019.

The pop-up will feature four specially-designed shipping containers where food and drinks will be prepared, along with three year-round tents where guests will sit at tables.

Originally, the new bar was slated to open in the spring of 2020, but it was pushed to the third quarter of 2020 due to the pandemic. Rofougaran also attributed the delays to the long processes involved in trying to do something this new.

“Our contractor has never cut up shipping containers before and converted them into bars,” Rofougaran said. “Fairfax County has never seen anything like this.”

Finding the right tent took a while too, and ultimately, they had to be ordered from Germany.

“Overall, everything about it is different than your normal restaurant-bar,” Rofougaran said.

The experience completely diverged from the process for Hops N Shine in Alexandria, which took six months from getting permits to opening, he said.

At ShipGarten, customers can choose from four mini-restaurants that will each operate in a shipping container: Salamati (which Rofougaran describes as “Persian-style Chipotle”), Tysons Biergarten (German fare like the old establishment served), Rollbär (Asian fusion) and Chalkboard (barbecue).

Customers will order from kiosks outside the containers and pick up their food from one of a half-dozen windows that are being cut into the containers. They will be able to sit at tables, spaced 10 feet apart, under the tent or in the field.

During non-COVID-19 times, Roufgaran says customers would be able to sit at the bar section of the shipping container.

“This will be the safest place for you to do social distancing because of how much land we have,” Rofougaran said. “We’re providing very good social distancing.”

For now, people can try offerings from Salamati and Rollbär at Hops N Shine. Kitchen staff will be preparing the Persian food for a pop-up on Feb. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m., and Asian fusion food will be served from noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 13.

“The pop-ups are the best,” Rofougaran said. “We get people from Tysons showing up to these all the time.”

Images via ShipGarten/Instagram

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(Updated 10/23) –Hawk & Griffin, a new British pub coming to Vienna will offer guests the chance to enjoy British culture.

Located at 435 Maple Avenue West, the restaurant and bar will offer a place for people to hang out with friends and family, according to co-owners Michael Burgess and Thomas Kyllo.

The space will feature amenities such as a stage for live music performances and viewing parties of sports like rugby and soccer, a regular dining area, a bar, an outdoor sitting area, an area for patrons to toss around some darts and two “snugs.”

Originally intended as a “proper” place for women to hang out in British history, Kyllo said that two snugs included in the space will be meant for small group gathering places where people can host book clubs, parties or even use as a space for musical jam sessions.

The exterior of the building itself is designed after the Edwardian Era, which ranged from 1900-1915, according to Kyllo.

Menu items will include traditional British fare, according to award-winning chief Burgess, who also owns Pure Pasty in Vienna.

Along with dinner and lunch, the pub will also offer brunch on weekends, the owners said.

The inspiration for the eatery came to the owners after they felt there was a gap in the market for a mid-range, mid-price place around town that emphasizes the comfort of its guests.

“We’ve got great restaurants in Vienna, there’s no shortage of that,” Burgess said, but added that there isn’t anywhere where people can feel like they’re walking into a small British village for a pint.

Tieing the eatery back to the community, the owners said they decided to name the pub after James Madison High School and Marshall High School, where Kyllo volunteers as a coach and whose mascots are the Warhawks and Griffen.

“We want everything down to the name to reflect the community we are in,” Kyllo said.

The anticipated opening date for the pub is March 1, 2021, according to Kyllo, who said that the COVID-19 pandemic threw a curveball into their plans.

“Early next year hopefully we’ll have a better path out of this and people will be used to going back into restaurants and indoors,” said Kyllo.

Images courtesy Hawk & Griffin Pub

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Grab the shakers, mixers and some ice because today (May 13) is World Cocktail Day.

The holiday was popularized by Drinkaware, a United Kingdom-based charity that raises awareness of alcohol abuse and encourages responsible drinking practices.

Though there is no “official” way to celebrate the holiday, people around Tysons can get creative in a variety of ways. Options include picking up a to-go cocktail from dozens of different eateries and bars, supporting Virginia distilleries or even crafting their own cocktails from ingredients at home.

The term “cocktail” originated in the early 1800s and was defined as “stimulating liquor with a wide variety of sweets, waters, and bitters,” according to The Balance, and Columbian Repository. The drink type only reached peak popularity after prohibition when people didn’t have easy access to high-quality alcohol and wanted to make drinks more palatable, the Days of the Year website said.

“The ‘Bee’s Knees’ cocktail was actually created to mask and sweeten the taste of illegally brewed bathtub gin,” Days of the Year said. “The roaring twenties took the cocktail and shook it up into some of our most popular modern-day cocktails.”

Tysons Reporter previously did a roundup of local places offering to-go cocktails.

Falls Church Distillers sells bottles of whiskey, rum, vodka and brandy.

Peruvian restaurant Inca Social regularly posts bartending and cooking classes on Facebook. In past weeks, the staff taught viewers how to make things like “Passion Chilcano,” which contains pisco Peruvian liquor, limes, passionfruit syrup and ginger ale.

For anyone who doesn’t drink or is underage, there are also a myriad of mocktail options online too.

Photo via Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

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Nightlife is zilch in Tysons at the moment due to the pandemic. After a brief hiatus, the “Tysons After Dark” series is back to highlight different online activities from local organizations and offerings from eateries that keep people busy once the sun goes down. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants, bars and eateries in the Tysons area are shifting their business models to offer patrons to-go cocktails and mixed alcoholic drinks.

Tysons Reporter compiled a list of spots where adults can pick up drinks to enjoy at home. Though this is not an exhaustive list, people can feel free to add other spots in the comments as well.

Falls Church

Thompson Italian offers six take-home drink kits, according to its website. Each kit ranges in price from $25-$40 and can serve up to five people.

Glory Days Grill announced the location is selling to-go bloody marys, mojitos, margaritas, various flavored crushes and sangria. Each option can be purchased in various serving sizes up to four drinks. Prices range from $4-$16 depending on the size.

Taco Bamba now delivers cocktails and cocktail mix. Single serving cocktails sell for $7 each, while non-alcoholic mixes start at $10 and serve up to five people.

Mosaic

Open Road Merrifield sells four different options for premixed cocktails and three different flavored fruity sangrias, according to its website. For example, its 16-ounce Blackberry Sangria contains Cabernet Sauvignon, blackberry, grapefruit, Aperol, and orange liqueur for $15.

Vienna

Caboose Commons now offers bagged cocktails options including rum punch and “Lady in Red,” which contains Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and champagne. The brewery also offers various drink mixes and, of course, beer, its website said.

“Our Tropical Rum Punch is just the thing to get you through the rest of…whatever day it is. Stick it in the freezer to make it slushy,” Caboose’s Facebook page said.

Pazzo Pomodoro is also selling cocktail pouches, some of which include unconventional flavors. For example, the Jameson Green Tea is one of the five options and contains Jameson Irish Whiskey, peach schnapps and sour mix. The bags contain two drinks for $12.

El Sol Virginia offers a variety of margaritas, mojitos and other drinks for delivery and pickup, according to its website. They range in price from $11-$14.

Bear Branch Tavern sells brunch cocktails, traditional classic cocktails and other types of booze to-go. Each batch of the traditional cocktails costs $40 and includes four servings, ice and garnishes for the drinks, according to the website. Brunch cocktails vary in price depending on serving size.

Bazins On Church is yet another local spot where people can take advantage of house-crafted drinks. They offer people to-go margaritas, mojitos and sangria for $7-$10.

Clarity offers different takes on Manhattans and “signature” cocktails, according to its website. Prices range from $20-$35.

Tysons

Earls, beyond wine and beer from its new grocery section, now offers cocktails including mojitos and margaritas, according to its website.

Barrel and Bushel is not only offering packaged cocktails but rail drinks and happy hour specials as well. A prepackaged cocktail costs $20 and contains two servings. The location also offers mixers to-go, according to the website.

Finally, Founding Farmers offers over nine different premixed cocktails for $25. Each batch includes six to eight servings.

People are encouraged to check with their favorite local restaurants not mentioned above to see if they are offering cocktails to go or drink kits.

The Virginia ABC issued the following guidance on restaurants selling mixed drinks to go:

In order to maintain public safety, there will be restrictions placed on the service of mixed beverages in this fashion. Below are the highlights of the temporary regulation adjustment.

  • Distillery licensees are limited to a maximum of two mixed drinks per delivery or takeout order that contain 1½ ounces or less of spirits per drink.
  • Mixed beverage restaurants and limited mixed beverage restaurants are limited to four cocktails for each delivery or take out sale. Each order for delivery or takeout of cocktails must include a meal for every two cocktails purchased.
  • Cocktails shall be packaged in a glass, paper or plastic container (or similar disposable container) or in a single original metal can with a secure lid or cap designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap (lids with sipping holes or openings for straws are prohibited).
  • All recipients of delivery orders must be at least 21 years of age.

Photo via Caboose Brewing Company/Facebook

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More and more states are ordering eateries and entertainment venues to close or switch to delivery and take-out only to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

When the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to declare a local emergency earlier this morning, several supervisors mentioned how the county has limited authority to plan restrictions on eating establishments.

“We don’t have as much authority as people think we do,” Vice-Chair Penny Gross said. “We’re also at the mercy of the governor.”

A few days ago, D.C.’s mayor imposed new restrictions on restaurants and bars, prohibiting table seating and allowing them to offer delivery or take-out options. The restrictions also force nightclubs, theaters and health clubs to close for at least two weeks.

Municipalities have limited authority to take action because Virginia is a Dillon Rule state, Arlington Magazine reported, adding that Gov. Ralph Northam could issue a statewide declaration similar to Maryland’s.

Northam said this morning that the state will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to prevent gatherings of 10 or more people, but that he does not plan to place restrictions on restaurants, WHSV reported.

“Northam is “asking them to abide by the ‘rule of 10’ and… encouraging them to focus on delivery and takeout options, instead of in-house dining,” according to WHSV.

“At least 20 states have ordered that their restaurants and bars close to in-person diners amid the coronavirus pandemic,” The Hill reported earlier today.

The limited authority didn’t stop neighboring Arlington County to plead with restaurants and bars to “take responsible action and switch from dine-in service to only offering carryout and delivery.”

While the statement noted that Arlington County does not have the legal authority to force the changes, it said that COVID-19 cases could overwhelm Arlington if restaurants don’t limit community contact.

As of Monday, the Virginia Department of Health says there are 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Fairfax County — a number that officials say is expected to grow.

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Updated 10:50 p.m. — Corrects proposed performance times.

British music enthusiasts may soon be able to enjoy food and drink at an upcoming restaurant in Vienna.

The Hawk & Griffin Pub wants to offer guests a place to listen to live music while grabbing something from the bar or kitchen at 405 W. Maple Ave, according to town documents.

Currently, a brick building built-in 1988 occupies the site.

The owners are hoping to include options for indoor and outdoor performance space on a patio for both solo and small group acoustic performances, the documents said.

“Musical performances will be a way to help create the authentic British public house atmosphere,” the application for zoning approval said.

Proposed performance times would be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m. or 9 p.m. to midnight, depending on the season.

The proposal is set to go before the Vienna Planning Commission tomorrow (Feb. 26).

Photo via Google Maps

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