Skip to main content

Washington DC Bleg

It's less than a week before my move to Arlington, VA and I don't want to waste any time getting to know the Arlington or DC once I arrive. So I am reaching out to you, my readers, for help with finding some of my favorite types of places. For what it's worth, I will be living in Ballston and working in Courthouse. Please leave a comment or email me if you can help out!

(from Wikipedia)

Coffee Shops
This can really be broken down into two categories - where to get the highest quality cup of coffee? And the best cafe to go to hang out, write blog posts, or meet up with a friend.

Wing Night
Who has got the best wing nights in town? I've been tipped to a few places with all-you-can-eat specials, but I am more a fan of the 35-cent per wing deals, as I typically am not gluttonous enough to make the all-you-can-eat worthwhile.

Games and Trivia
Are there any good trivia nights? Game nights? Or leagues of any sort?

Solo Happy Hour
For those evenings when you don't want to sit around the house, but you can't find anyone who wants to join you for a beer, where can you go and not feel totally isolated?

Indy Movies
I know about the Landmark E Street Cinema. Are there any other indy theaters? Or even just worthwhile mainstream movie theaters?

Everything Else
Is there anything worthwhile in DC that I may have simply overlooked because it doesn't exist in smaller cities?


Shanif said…
Hi Rob,

I recently saw your post about Arlington up on and had to respond.

I'm currently living in Arlington (right across the street from the VA Square metro, which will be a few blocks from your new place in Ballston).

I love it here, it's a great area to live, and there are a lot of young 20-somethings around.

As far as indie coffee shops, you should try Busboys and Poets in Shirlington. Otherwise, Starbucks will be your friend.

As for happy hours, there are a couple of places in Ballston mall, right by where you'll be living. There is also Clarendon, a neighborhood that's right near by, that has a lot of places: Clarendon Ballroom, Spider Kellys, Gua Rapos, etc.

You're gonna love it here.
Peter said…
place called 'Summers' at Court House is restaurant/sports-ish bar that plays a lot of soccer games -- if you're going to be into DC United and/or the World Cup, good place to hang. i've never been crazy about it -- it lacks style/charm/character/etc. -- but it has soccer soccer soccer.

and Mister Days at Clarendon is pretty much the best sports bar in existence.

if they still have the criterium-type bike race around the Clarendon stop, _that_ thing is totally awesome. think it used to be sponsored by CSC or something.
Dan Miller said…
Wonderland Ballroom in Columbia Heights (DC proper) has a great trivia night every Monday. It's by the metro stop of the same name, on the green line. And you should try out Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, it's the best burger I've ever eaten. It's by the Courthouse Metro.
Lis said…
Hi Rob! Here are a few of my favorite places that meet some of what you're looking for.

The Continental ( in Rosslyn has a skeeball league on Tuesdays. I have a couple of good friends I can introduce you to who go. Continental also has shuffle board, pool, wii, etc.

Shirlington has an excellent indy movie theater though you have to bike (definitely bike-able) bus, or drive.

Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse ( is closer and definitely bikeable. They have $1 movies on Mondays, $2 movies on Tuesdays...etc. And you can drink beer and eat while you watch.

Uptown Theater in DC isn't really an indy place, but it's a cool old theater and worth checking out if they are showing something you're interested in.

Open City ( is one of my most favorite places EVER. It's right next to the Woodley Park metro (so you can go to the zoo afterward). They coffee is wonderful and they serve breakfast all day.

Solo Happy Hour
You should definitely check out Galaxy Hut (small and cozy with a chill vibe - and Iota (live music - in Clarendon.

This is a pretty good start, don't worry your new roomies have suggestions for everything you're looking for.
rg said…
For coffee, I love Peregrine Espresso at
7th & C Streets SE, right near Eastern Market and Eastern Market Metro( It's almost impossible for me to walk by without stopping in for some coffee.

I rarely get there because it is not on my beaten path, but I also really like Qualia Coffee in Petworth just north of the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro Station ( Full disclosure: a friend of a friend owns Qualia.

I know both of those are way off what will be your beaten path, but I also know from past posts that you are real coffee fan and will probably be willing to make those treks at some point. I'm not sure either place is ideal for hanging out, particularly Peregrine on the weekends, when it is packed because of the crowds at the Market.

Otherwise, I'm afraid I'm not too much help -- I don't know Arlington too well. But I am certain that you will not really lack for anything living and working in the Ballston-Rosslyn Corridor. You will be able to find pretty much anything you need/want within walking distance of either work or home.

If I think of other stuff, I will post it in a comment later.

Also, I am sure you have seen the Arlington Rap by now, but I am posting the link just in case you have not -- you MUST see it before moving to Arlington! (
Rob Pitingolo said…
Thanks to everyone for the tips thusfar. rg, you are certainly correct that I am willing to venture out to find a good coffee shop.
Will said…
Northside Social at Washington Blvd and Wilson Blvd for coffee or Java Shack at Wilson and maybe Filmore in Clarendon

Summers and Mister Days, I think there's a sports bar in Ballston Mall.

AFI Silver in Silver Spring for movies. There's always something showing.

Lis has good suggestions. Galaxy Hut is excellent, Rustico Ballston is opening soon, and I like Jays for a dive bar and Eleventh for an East Village NYC lounge. Quarterdeck for crabs, Rocklands for passable BBQ. Good gelato in Clarendon, can't remember the name, however.

Welcome to Arlington, where things just work.

Lots of biking in the area. Big criterium in late June around Clarendon and the AF memorial.
Minger said…

I stumbled on your blog via the where the smart people live post. I'm located not too far from the Wiki picture. Commenters have covered most of your questions. You'll discover everything in due time. DC is a most accessible village with lots of open smart fun people doing all manner of activities. Start with your interests and you'll build up a network in no time.

Of the places not mentioned, I'll plug Whitlow's for the half priced burgers on Monday and Teaism in Dupont Circle as a quiet place to read and comtemplate. Welcome to DC!
Anonymous said…
Working near Courthouse? Don't miss Boccatto Gelato, at 2719 Wilson Blvd ( across from Whole Foods and same block as the previously mentioned Galaxy Hut ).

Gelato is their specialty, but they also have some of the best coffee in the area. Pour-over or french press, last I was there.

Only draw back? There's no place to hang out - pretty much cash and carry.
Dave said…
It's a little bit out of the way, but Sidamo (H st and 5 st NE in DC) has awesome coffee (the roaster sits in the bay window at the front of the store) and is a great place to hang out, although it's sort of small and can get crazy on the weekend.

There's also Qualia in Petworth (on the Green Line, a block or two north of the metro on Georgia Ave), with a similar in-house roasting operation and lots of great single-origin beans from a wide variety of regions.

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Commuting Meets Technology

I'm finally out of the dark ages. I got an Android smartphone over the weekend and have since been in the process of exploring the Android apps market.  One thing I've immediately noticed is the really wide range of usefulness in the apps. For example, the WeatherBug app is fantastic. It automatically determines your location and gives you exact conditions for that location. On the other end of the spectrum, Google's Goggles app is supposed to be a type of 'visual search' where you snap of photo of something and Google searches for it. In each of my attempts to use it, the app hasn't returned any search results. I even took a photo of a bottle of Pepsi (figuring it as a common houseful item) and got nothing.

Somewhere in the middle is this app called Waze. Have a look at their 'guided tour':

Some people might look at it and comment on the amazing evolution of technology or on the incredible value of social networks. To me, Waze says something important ab…