JUST IN: Whitlow’s Says It Will Close in June, But May Reopen Elsewhere – Arlington Now
Long-time alumni happy hour spot, Whitlows on Wilson, is closing June 26, 2021. The venerable Clarendon spot was unable to come to terms with their landlord. COVID-19 did not help matters, but apparently is not the primary factor.
Every generation, a new gentrification
There doesn’t seem to be much left in Clarendon that isn’t a chain or high-end apartment building now. Clarendon Ballroom, Dr. Dremo’s and Iota are along with Boulevard Woodgrill and some others I am probably forgetting.
A generation ago, Clarendon was a fun place, quirky enough to rise above the blandness of a lot of Northern Virginia. You didn’t have to go all the way to the District to have nightlife.
Of course, back then it was probably higher rents that drove out the Vietnamese establishments that were there before Whitlows too.
Party like its 1999
When I was a young alumnus, I was in Whitlows monthly with the Metro Washington, D.C. Penn State Alumni chapter. Ah memories.
I have only been to Whitlows twice in the last ten years. When I went for a company holiday party in 2013, I said “wow, it’s like visiting my 20s again.”
In winter 2020, before everything changed, I was out and about with my youngest son and we stopped by for lunch. Same old same old — solid pub food and draft menu with decent prices and music no newer than 2002!
Whitlows has been through this before. The original location was Washington, D.C. at 11th and E Street, NW. It closed in 1989 after 43 years because of redevelopment. The new construction wasn’t coming along, so the owner Greg Cahill moved it to Wilson Blvd. and Filmore St.
The Cahill/Williams family wants to find a new location. I wish them luck and hope it’s Metro accessible and wouldn’t mind if it’s in Alexandria. Perhaps the downturn in restaurants will work to their advantage in finding a new location.
I saw at least five area news stories on Whitlow’s and not a single one of them used “WHITLOWS OFF WILSON” as the headline. I know SEO is important, blah blah blah, but it’s just sitting there. This just forced me to fire up the blog.