Newsletter
McLean Central Park redesign concept plan (via Fairfax County)

A plan to overhaul McLean Central Park has won over the support of the McLean Community Center (MCC), but the organization recommends Fairfax County make a few changes to help alleviate safety concerns raised by some locals.

The MCC is a county-run and taxpayer-financed program that offers activities, classes, shows and more for McLean adults and children.

In a letter to the Fairfax County Park Authority, the 11-member MCC Governing Board highlighted three parts of the plan that will help improve programming at the park: an amphitheater, an accessible drop off point, and public art.

In its letter, the MCC says it currently utilizes the park for several activities, including a Sunday Summer Concert Series that brings music and performances to the park gazebo, but the gazebo is too small to fit the kind of programming that it wants to provide.

“While the MCC regularly provides programming at the current park gazebo, this facility is small and does not provide scalable space for current and future programming,” the MCC said. “The MCC Board supports the development of a sustainable amphitheater space furnished with technical equipment, public seating, and accessible and environmentally sustainable restroom facilities.”

The MCC says there are an average of 150-275 participants in the free Sunday Concert Sessions, though sometimes that has been as high at 450 people. The board requests that the amphitheater be designed with that capacity in mind.

The existing gazebo also has no technical infrastructure and inadequate electricity, the MCC says, which causes the organization to incur a $2,000 cost in labor per-event. The MCC also has a modular sound system valued at $87,000 that needs replacing every five to seven years.

The MCC says the overhaul proposed by the county would help the park better serve as a community gathering place.

“The lack of accessible outdoor performance and cultural space in the McLean area limits the nature of cultural exchange and dialogue,” the MCC said. “The countywide Strategic Plan prioritizes cultural and recreational opportunities. The improvements to the [McLean Central Park], including the Amphitheater, support these goals and the ability to bring all generations together.

The McLean Citizens Association (MCA) had shared earlier concerns that turning the park into an attraction could create problems for nearby residential neighborhoods. The MCA also expressed skepticism that there is a need for a large ampitheater.

In a June letter to the park authority, MCA President Rob Jackson cited possible pedestrian safety issues, suggesting the county should study traffic impact and mitigation alternatives and have a professional conduct a parking study.

In its letter, the MCC Board recommends “expedited” construction of a pedestrian bridge across Dolly Madison Boulevard “to provide safe and sustainable pedestrian access and reduce traffic and congestion.”

“A bridge would serve as a physical connector and embody the vision of the McLean Central Business District expressed by the version of the McLean Community Business Center Plan approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on June 22, 2021,” the MCC said.

The public comment period for the McLean Central Park plan has been extended to July 30.

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Fourth of July celebrations (via Sheri Hooley on Unsplash)

The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (June 29)

Thursday (July 1)

Friday (July 2)

  • Sweeney Todd at Wolf Trap — 8 p.m. at the Filene Center (1551 Trap Rd.) — Wolf Trap Opera’s second in-person show of the season is Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which also has a Saturday performance. Tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods of 2 to 8 tickets. No single tickets are available. Listen to the pre-show lecture or read the insider guide for more information.

Saturday (July 3)

  • 15th Amendment Concert & Festival — 6-8 p.m. at Vienna Town Green (144 Maple Ave.) — The Town of Vienna and the Vienna Presbyterian Church host a showcase of community musicians performing justice-themed songs. There will also be food, booths, voter registration and more for guests to enjoy!

Sunday (July 4)

  • July 4th Drive-Thru Ice Cream Celebration — 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Celebrate Independence Day with the McLean Community Center! In-district residents are invited to enjoy music, free ice cream, and patriotic giveaways with their neighbors. Residents are asked to sign up for a morning, midday or afternoon timeslot before they arrive.
  • Declaration Celebration Scavenger Hunt — 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m. — The City of Falls Church Recreation and Parks Department is hosting a city-wide scavenger hunt to celebrate Independence Day. Find 13 historical markers throughout the city and win a free “Declaration Celebration” t-shirt by turning in your Scavenger Hunt Form at Cherry Hill Park or the community center, or emailing [email protected] There will also be live music from Sudden M Pac Band from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Cherry Hill Park. Due to construction at Meridian High School, there are no fireworks this year.
  • Vienna July 4th Celebration — 7-9 p.m. at Yeonas Park (1319 Ross Dr. SW) — The Town of Vienna invites all residents to come out to celebrate July 4th! Music, food and drinks will be available, but guests are asked to leave their pets at home.

Photo via Sheri Hooley on Unsplash

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Morning Notes

Fairfax County to Host COVID-19 Remembrance Ceremony — The Northern Virginia Regional Commission will hold a virtual ceremony next Wednesday (June 9) at the Fairfax County Government Center to honor the more than 2,350 people in the region who have died from COVID-19. Local officials will discuss the pandemic’s impact, and the event will conclude with a “last alarm” bell service courtesy of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. [Fairfax County Government]

Falls Church Man Drowns in North Carolina — 46-year-old Falls Church resident and U.S. Air Force veteran Sean Chung died on May 28 when he reportedly drowned while surf fishing in the Outer Banks. Friends launched a GoFundMe fundraiser on Tuesday (June 1) to help his family pay for funeral costs and other immediate expenses. [Patch]

County to Discuss Climate Resilience Initiative — The Fairfax County Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination will hold a virtual public meeting on June 15 to get input on its Resilient Fairfax initiative, which aims to reduce the impact of flooding, severe storms, and other climate change-related dangers on the county. The public will also be able to comment through an online survey that will launch on June 8. [Fairfax County OEEC]

Hilton Misses Fortune 500 List — The hotel company, which is headquartered in McLean, ranked 596th on Fortune’s annual list of the biggest companies in the U.S., more than 250 spots below where it was in 2020. The plunge came as Hilton reported a 54.4% decline in revenue, an indication of how hard the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hospitality industry. [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Community Center to Host Blood Drive — The blood drive on June 11 will support the American Red Cross and Sickle Cell Foundation of Northern Virginia, which are especially looking to recruit people of color as donors. “Blood given to patients with rare blood types or conditions such as sickle cell disease must be matched closely with someone from the same race to avoid complications,” the community center says. [MCC]

Photo by Joanne Liebig

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (June 1)

  • McLean Community Center LGBTQ+ Pride Month Exhibition — at the McLean Community Center Plaza (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — The McLean Community Center will display a Progress Pride flag and a rainbow light display throughout the month to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. Take photos with the exhibit and post them using the hashtag #McLeanCenterPRIDE.
  • Duck Harbor (Online) — 8-10 p.m. — A heartwarming web series about a bi-coastal love story written by E.M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett, this online, live theatrical performance from 1st Stage will air for free every Tuesday at 8 p.m. for 12 weeks. All aired episodes and bonus content will also be available through Duck Harbor ALL ACCESS for $15.

Wednesday (June 2)

  • Wine Down Wednesday — 4-9 p.m. at Tysons Social Tavern (1960 Chain Bridge Rd.) — Tysons Social Tavern kicks off its Wine Down Wednesdays series this month. Each week brings live music and special prices on wines and appetizers. Specials are available for dine-in only with no substitutions.

Thursday (June 3)

  • Local Poet Talk: Sandra Beasley (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — Local author Sandra Beasley, a Vienna native and current DC resident, will talk about her new book, “Made to Explode.” Registration is required to receive the Zoom link.
  • Live Music at The Boro — 5:30-8 p.m. at The Boro (8350 Broad St.) — The Boro will host a free outdoor music series every Thursday night this summer . This first event will feature the David Thong Band. RSVP on Eventbrite for updates.

Friday (June 4)

  • LGBTQ+ Pride Month Teen Open Mic — 7 p.m. at MCC Plaza (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — The McLean Community Center is hosting an open mic for LGBTQ+ teens, allies, and families. Sign-ups begin at 7 p.m., and the open mic starts at 7:30 p.m. Performances should be kept between four and six minutes. If there are specific performance or access needs, contact Jeff Virchow at [email protected]. Refreshments and dance music will be available.
  • Old Firehouse Luau Party — 4-7 p.m. at Old Firehouse Center (1440 Chain Bridge Rd.) — The Old Firehouse is combining its After 7 Dance Party with the 5th/6th Grader Luau Party. It will be a socially distanced start to summer with food, drinks, giveaways, prizes, and a DJ. Reservations are required, and tickets cost $10 for MCC District residents or $15 for non-district residents.

Saturday (June 5)

  • Puppuccinos and Pawpurrazzi — 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Boro Park (8350 Broad St.) — Enjoy a cup of Allegro Coffee and a Curiosity Doughnut while your dog chows down on a treat while getting their caricature done. Post a picture of your pup on social media with the hashtag #TheBoroTysons for a chance to win two ShowPlace ICON Theatre tickets. Register for doggie playdate passes and caricature sessions.

Sunday (June 6)

Photo via David Thong Music/Facebook

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (May 25)

  • Fit4Mom Stroller Strides — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave) — Fit4Mom Stroller Strides is a 60-minute workout that includes strength training, cardio, and core restoration, along with entertainment for the little ones in your stroller. Classes meet in Strawberry Park in front of Mom & Pop. Register online. Your first session is free. A second class will be held on Thursday (May 27) at the same time.
  • Introduction to Corporate Giving (Online) — 2-3:30 p.m. — The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library will provide this workshop for nonprofits looking for corporate support. The class will teach participants how to find potential corporate donors and how to successfully win their support. Registration is required.

Wednesday (May 26)

  • Partial Lunar Eclipse — 4-6 a.m. at Burke Lake Park (7315 Ox Rd.) — Join some astronomical naturalists to view the partial lunar eclipse. Stars and constellations will be viewable too. There will be some telescopes available, but participants are encouraged to bring binoculars. There is a registration fee of $1o.
  • (the) Unruly Theatre Project’s Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center’s teen improv group is putting on its latest virtual performance. Registration is open up to two hours before the show. The Zoom link and password will be emailed to those who register. For more information, contact [email protected].

Thursday (May 27)

Friday (May 28)

  • Parent & Me Snack and Paint — 7-9 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) — Join the Old Firehouse Center for a Snack and Paint event. A parent and their child (ages 10-18) can join for $30 total, which includes all painting materials and snacks. Register and make a spring-themed masterpiece.

Saturday (May 29)

  • In-Person Early Voting for Democratic Primary — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Falls Church City Hall (300 Park Ave.) — City Hall will open this Saturday for registered Falls Church voters to vote early in the Democratic Party’s June 8 primary election to decide the party’s candidates for Virginia’s governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general in the November election.
  • ViVa! Vienna! — 10 a.m.-10 p.m. — After having to cancel last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ViVa! Vienna! is back. Rides and entertainment start Saturday for the Town of Vienna’s Memorial Day weekend festival, with vendors setting up on Sunday (May 30) and Monday (May 31). A full schedule as well as information about buying tickets and the vendors that will be in attendance can be found on the ViVa! Vienna! website.
  • Ride of the Patriots — 10 a.m. at 9739 Fairfax Blvd. — Patriot Harley-Davidson‘s annual Memorial Day tribute to military service members and first responders will begin in Fairfax City and travel on Route 50 East to I-495 North into D.C. over Memorial Bridge. There will be a second ride on Sunday, but each ride will be limited to 225 people. Registration costs $25.

Monday (May 31)

  • Memorial Day Ceremony & Parade — 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Falls Church Community Center (223 Little Falls St.) — The City of Falls Church is bringing back many of its Memorial Day traditions, albeit in a slightly scaled-down form. Pre-registration and masks are required to attend the ceremony at the Veterans’ Memorial, while the parade will travel throughout the city instead of sticking to Park Avenue.

Photo via ViVa! Vienna!/Facebook

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The winners of the McLean Community Center’s 2021 governing board election are Ivy Chen (top left), Shivani Saboo (center), Max Blacksten (top right), Lisa Mariam (bottom left), and Rasheq Rahman (bottom right). (Photos courtesy MCC)

The preliminary results are in for the 2021 McLean Community Center Governing Board election, which concluded voting this past Saturday (May 15).

Shared yesterday (Wednesday) in a newsletter, the newly elected board members are Shivani Saboo (329 votes), Lisa Mariam (302 votes), and Rasheq Rahman (288 votes) for the three open adult seats.

“I’m thrilled to be elected to the Governing Board of McLean Community Center and excited to begin working with Shivani Saboo, Rasheq Rahman, and the leadership and staff to reach our goals to serve all our residents,” Mariam said in a Facebook post celebrating the results. “Thank you to everyone who encouraged me and voted!”

For the two youth positions, Ivy Chen will represent the Langley High School boundary area, edging out fellow contenders Rowan Johns and Charlotte Loving with 45 votes. Max Blacksten sailed to victory for the McLean High School boundary area with 48 votes — almost three times as many as the runner-up in the five-candidate race.

According to full preliminary results provided by MCC, 606 voters — including 501 adults and 105 teenagers — cast ballots in the election, which held open voting for Dranesville District 1A residents from March 17 through May 15.

A total of 1,158 votes were cast for the five adult candidates, 87 votes in the Langley High School race, and 96 votes in the McLean High School contest. The votes were tabulated on May 15 by the League of Women Voters of the Fairfax Area.

Background and personal statements from each of the candidates can still be found on the MCC website.

The election results are considered preliminary for now, because they need to be verified by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, which will formally appoint the new governing board members at its next meeting on June 8.

Made up of nine adults and two high school students, all of them volunteers, the MCC Governing Board is responsible for setting policies, overseeing programs and facilities, and reviewing and adopting the annual budget for the community center, which is supported by a 2.3-cent real estate tax surcharge on district residents.

The new board will be tasked with working with new MCC Executive Director Daniel Singh to guide the center’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced officials to cancel, downsize, or adapt all of its events and activities.

After holding a drive-thru version of its annual McLean Day festival on Saturday, MCC’s upcoming event slate is still mostly filled with virtual and drive-thru offerings, such as an online poetry reading on May 27 to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

There will be an in-person teen open mic night for LGBTQ+ Pride Month on June 4, but MCC has already announced that its July 4 celebration will be conducted as a drive-thru event with attendees required to register for a time slot.

“I look forward to working with new director Daniel Singh and the dedicated team at McLean Community Center to help the center continue to resliently [sic] and inclusively innovate as Mclean re-emerges from the panedmic [sic],” Rahman said on Facebook.

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Morning Notes

Revisit Original Tysons Corner Apple Store via AR — “On May 19, 2001, Apple opened its first two retail stores in Tysons Corner, Virginia and Glendale, California. Now you can revisit the world’s first Apple Store exactly as it appeared twenty years ago on grand opening day through an interactive augmented reality experience.” [9 to 5 Mac]

Apple Anniversary at Tysons Corner Center —  “Twenty years ago today, Steve Jobs opened the first ⁦@Apple store in Tysons Corner, VA, a suburb of D.C. Here I am talking to him during his press walkthrough of the store.” [Walt Mossberg/Twitter]

Falls Church School Vaccine Clinics Coming — In addition to bringing COVID-19 vaccine sites to Fairfax County high schools, the Fairfax County Health Department will provide school-based clinics to Falls Church City Public Schools students on Friday (May 21) and June 11. The deadline to register for the clinics is today (Thursday) at 8 p.m. [FCHD]

Civilian Review Panel to Hold Public Forum for Police Chief — The Fairfax County Police Civilian Review Panel will host a virtual public forum on WebEx at 7 p.m. on May 26 to discuss civilian oversight of law enforcement with new Police Chief Kevin Davis. This is the second opportunity that community members will get to question Davis, whose appointment was met with skepticism from local civil rights advocates. [Supervisor Dan Storck/Twitter]

Retired MCC Executive Director Gets Sendoff — “State and local officials, along with past and present members of the McLean Community Center Governing Board, gave a final send-off to the center’s departing executive director, George Sachs, during a May 2 gathering at McLean Central Park…Sachs retired May 7 after 11 years at the center. His successor, Daniel Phoenix Singh…assumed his new post April 12.” [Sun Gazette]

New Maintenance Facility Opens at Pimmit Run — “The Fairfax County Park Authority has opened a new Area 1 Maintenance Facility at Pimmit Run Stream Valley Park to better meet current and future maintenance needs. The project involved the demolition of three aging maintenance buildings, the relocation of two storage sheds on site, and construction of a new one-story 7,500-square-foot maintenance building.” [FCPA]

McLean Leads Virginia in Billionaires — “McLean has two billionaires with a collective net worth of $4.7 billion, making it the top locale in Virginia in terms of billionaire wealth, according to a new analysis from the financial news website 24/7 Wall St.” [The Center Square/Inside NoVA]

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve searched the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean, and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Tuesday (May 18)

  • Fit4Mom Stroller Strides — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Mosaic District (2910 District Ave) — Fit4Mom Stroller Strides is a 60-minute workout that includes strength training, cardio, and core restoration, along with entertainment for the little ones in your stroller. Classes meet in Strawberry Park in front of Mom & Pop. Register online. Your first session is free. A second class will be held on Thursday (May 20) at the same time.
  • Mainstreaming African American History in the Schools (Online) — 7 p.m. — Come join a discussion on integrating local African American history into Falls Church City Public Schools curriculum. Panelists include Falls Church Historical Commission Chair Ronald Anzalone, Vice Chair Edwin B. Henderson II, and FCCPS Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan. Topics of discussion will include the school renaming efforts. Email Pete Sullivan for the Zoom link.

Thursday (May 20)

  • Epidemics of the Past — 9:30-10:30 a.m. at Historic Huntley (6918 Harrison Lane) — Learn about epidemics of the past and how they’ve shaped the society we live in today. The program will be outdoors and costs $8 per person. Register online and call 703-768-2525 for more information.
  • A Conversation with Author Angie Kim (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — Angie Kim, author of the Edgar Award winner Miracle Creek, will have a public Q&A discussion on issues and experiences that have shaped her life and work as an Asian American. Registration is required. A Zoom link will be sent 24 hours in advance of the event.

Friday (May 21)

Sunday (May 23)

  • Virtual Afternoon Tea (Online) — 2 p.m. — Green Spring Gardens is hosting its weekly virtual tea. This week’s topic is personal grooming throughout history. Learn about how bathing was a public affair for years and how it turned into a private event. Register online for the Zoom link. For more information, call 703-941-7987.

Photo via Angie Kim/Twitter

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Daniel Phoenix Singh has officially taken over as the new executive director of the McLean Community Center.

The MCC Governing Board appointed Singh as the center’s new executive director on April 12 and publicly announced his hiring during a meeting on April 28.

Singh replaces George Sachs, who retired from the position after 11 years of service.

“I am incredibly lucky to be inheriting this strong staff that George has so carefully cultivated,” Singh said.

Singh comes from his previous position as the division chief of tourism and cultural arts for Baltimore County. He also founded a nationally acclaimed dance company in 2003.

He has master’s degrees in business administration from Georgetown University and in fine arts from the University of Maryland.

“On behalf of the Governing Board, we are thrilled that [Singh] will be leading the MCC,” MCC Board Chair Suzanne LeMenestrel said. “His expertise in the arts, technology and recreation and his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion will serve our community exceptionally well. We are looking forward to working with [him] as the MCC welcomes community members back to the center.”

MCC will take a step toward normalcy on Saturday (May 15) with a drive-thru version of the annual McLean Day celebration, its first major in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year.

“MCC is uniquely positioned to address the pressing issues and ramifications of re-entry into the world after COVID-19; the racial climate and equity needs surfacing in the U.S.; or considering how we can affect change locally for global problems such as climate justice,” said Singh. “We want to be ‘The Center of It All’ for both McLean community members and the issues that are of importance to them.”

MCC plans to launch several new programs within Singh’s first 180 days, including:

  • Seniors in Action: a series of classes for senior citizens centered around their wellness and forming a community
  • A series of arts events spearheaded by Singh and Performing Arts Director Sarah Schallern Treff, such as a poetry event celebrating Asian-American Pacific Islander month, community partnerships in honor of LGBTQ Pride, and an artist-in-residence series
  • Outdoor art installations and pop-up events in McLean
  • An expansion of the center’s social media presence and the launch of a community-focused blog
  • Task forces for projects that come from the community listening sessions
  • Block parties for teens, along with in-person summer programming at The Old Firehouse

“The staff and board are incredibly talented, and the community is very passionate about the mission and have already presented wonderful ideas for us to continue George Sach’s legacy,” said Singh.

For more information on Singh and the programs at MCC, visit their website or call 703-790-0123.

Photo via McLean Community Center

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Morning Notes

Wind Advisory in Effect — The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory for the D.C. area, including Fairfax County, starting at noon today (Friday). In effect until 2 a.m. Saturday, the alert says to expect northwest winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour with gusts up to 55 miles per hour. Gusts could blow around unsecured objects and bring down tree limbs, potentially leading to power outages. [NWS]

McLean Community Center Gets New Executive Director — The MCC Governing Board has chosen Daniel Phoenix Singh as the center’s next executive director was to succeed George Sachs, who is retiring on May 7. Singh’s selection to the position, which has an annual salary of $150,000, was effective April 12 but not publicly announced until the board’s meeting on Wednesday (April 28). [MCC]

Help Tysons Plan for COVID-19 Recovery — The Tysons Partnership is conducting a community survey until May 14 to gauge people’s interest in transit, dining, shopping, office work, and other activities affected by the pandemic. A follow-up to a similar survey from last summer, the results are expected to be released at the end of the month and “will be significant to recovery efforts,” President and CEO Sol Glasner told Tysons Reporter. [Tysons Partnership]

Police Body Cameras Coming to Falls Church — The City of Falls Church City will use grant funds and an anticipated $650,000 surplus in the current fiscal year to establish a body camera program for its police department. City Manager Wyatt Shields told the News-Press that the cameras should arrive in the next couple months. A Use of Force Committee recommended that the city evaluate the feasibility of body cameras in February. [Falls Church News-Press]

Tysons Social Tavern Reopens With Outdoor Patio — After a year-long closure, Tysons Social Tavern is back with operating hours from 4-10 p.m., seven days a week, and a new outdoor patio. The bar took over the O’Malley’s Pub spot at the DoubleTree Hilton in Tysons two years ago. [Tysons Social Tavern]

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