The Box Bar & Grill is closed according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, which blames the owner of the failed Dry Fried Wing Bar and Grille for its unsuccessful attempt at a comeback.
Jason McCarther, who opened the original Box Bar & Grill (7525 Old Georgetown Rd.) in 2011, said in February that he had bought back the space from Dry Fried Wings.
McCarther said then that George Farrell, who opened Dry Fried Wings in the space in January, defaulted on payments and came to him to buy back the bar. McCarther had planned to reopen the bar as Roc Bar Live, featuring local live music, in March.
That never happened. Neither McCarther nor Farrell responded to requests for comment. McCarther’s downtown D.C. Roc Bar Nightclub, which opened in September, appears to have also closed.
“The box is closed, thanks to the negligence of George Farrell. i woulnt recomend doing business with him,” reads the Facebook post, which includes links to Farrell’s Facebook page and profile. “Jason and I apologize and thank all of our loyal customers that showed us so much love.”
The Bethesda Craft Beer Tasting Tour, set for 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., will include specials on beer prices and food at BlackFinn (4901 Fairmont Ave.), Brickside Food & Drink (4866 Cordell Ave.), Caddies on Cordell (4922 Cordell Ave.), Hard Times Cafe (4920 Del Ray Ave.), Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle (4844 Cordell Ave.), Maggie’s (4914 Cordell Ave.), Steamers (4820 Auburn Ave.), Tommy Joe’s (4714 Montgomery Lane) and Union Jack’s (4915 St Elmo Ave.).
Lindy Promotions, Miller Lite and Manna are partnering up for the event.
Tickets are $10 and tour-goers can get half-priced entry if they donate two canned goods that will go to Manna. Advanced tickets are available here. Day-of tickets will be available at Caddies from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Specials include $2 Miller Lites and $3 craft bottles that will include Batch 19, Redds Apple Ale, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Blue Moon Agave Nectar Ale, Third Shift, Killian’s and Henry Weinhard’s Woodsland Pass IPA.
Ana Lopez Van Balen, the director of the Mid-County Regional Services Center, is coordinating the Task Force out of the County Executive’s branch. She said the group will likely have its first meeting at the end of May, with members and scope of work being announced over the next few weeks.
Expect Councilmember Hans Riemer (D-At large) to be involved. Riemer has taken a lead role in discussions about Montgomery’s need to attract millenials.
Kathie Durbin, the chief of Licensure, Regulation & Education for the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control, will likely also be involved. Durbin is the chair of the Responsible Hospitality Institute, which is holding a summit on improving night-time economies in June in Silver Spring. Riemer has said looking at the county’s alcohol laws will be a focus of the group.
UPDATE Friday 9:35 a.m. Ri Ra Irish Pub in Bethesda is closing once its lease ends in September, according to an employee who confirmed an earlier report from Bethesda Magazine.
Regional manager Andrew Christie said “it did not make business sense to renew the lease in Bethesda.”
Manager Paul Corey said the Connecticut-based pub chain, which has locations in 11 other cities including Arlington, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, will leave town when its 10-year lease dries up.
Ri Ra will be opening a new location in Georgetown in the fall.
Ri Ra (a Gaelic phrase that translates to “uproar,” or “fun and merriment”) became a spot to watch European soccer matches and drew people in with its beer and whiskey samplers.
The bar and restaurant (4931 Elm St.) was named by On Tap Magazine as the best Irish pub in D.C. in 2012.
The property is part of the Shoppes of Bethesda, managed by Rockville-based The Draiman Companies.
The full text from the announcement Ri Ra will be sharing with customers over the next few weeks is after the jump.
The DLC does 400 compliance checks a year by sending out trained volunteers younger than 20 to area establishments with only their legitimate, state-issued vertical driver licenses.
People 21 and older have horizontal driver licenses, yet the DLC found the teens were able to purchase alcohol about a quarter of the time in recent checks.
The under-20 volunteers can’t have facial hair, wear excessive makeup or hats or talk on the phone while making the purchase.
In about a third of those underage sales, a server asked for and looked at the teen’s under-21 drivers license, then still sold alcohol to the teen, the DLC said.
To try to combat that, the DLC, Montgomery County Police and Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce are holding an educational program for staff at local bars and restaurants. The free ALERT (Alcohol Law Education and Regulatory Training) class is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).
“The compliance rate has remained fairly steady within the last few years,” said DLC Division Chief Kathie Durbin, herself a former Bethesda bartender, in a press release. “We are continually striving for increased compliance. The Department is measured on the program’s pass rate.”
The class is open to all county liquor licensees and their staff. Bartenders and other alcohol sellers are taught to ID anyone who looks younger than 35. Pre-registration is required. To register or to get more information, contact the DLC Outreach office at 240-777-1989 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Owner Stefan Lalos bought the former Gaffney’s restaurant in December 2011, gave the place a new look and opened for business in February 2012.
His PR rep told Bethesda Magazine last year the bar hoped to attract the 30-plus demographic, but that business apparently never materialized.
Executive chef Damon Hersh posted the following message on the restaurant’s Facebook page yesterday:
As of this morning the majestic bar and grille in Bethesda is closed. Thank you to all our great guests, friends, customers, and staff. Good luck in all future endeavors. We wish great success on the next establishment that fills this space.
Thank you all
Chef Damon Hersh
Connie Griffith and friend Debbie Kaufmann are marketing their brand of sauces and mixes to honor Griffith’s husband Ron, who before his death from ALS in 2011 envisioned making his barbecue sauces and other recipes into a business. A percentage of profits from the business go to the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. The two have started a website where people affected by ALS can find resources.
On Sunday, April 14, Gator Ron’s will launch a partnership with BlackFinn Bethesda (4901 Fairmont Ave.). Gator Ron’s Bloody Marys will be available at the Woodmont Triangle bar and during the event guests can try out its sauces on wings and other appetizers.
Bloody Mary’s, either Chesapeake or Original, will be available for $5. The event runs from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on April 14.
Lofty expectations for this year’s Washington Nationals mean more fans, and more fans mean a business opportunity for a pair of North Bethesda residents who started a late night shuttle service from Bethesda last year.
Brandon Yu and Alex Middel, founders of The DC Hopper, are partnering with Caddies On Cordell (4922 Cordell Ave.) to provide direct pregame and postgame transportation to Nationals Park for select weekend home games starting with the Nats’ first weekend home game against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, April 13.
The cost to skip transferring lines and waiting for weekend service on the Metro is $24.
The shuttle will leave Caddies at 11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. depending on first pitch and depart Nationals Park 30 minutes after the last out.
“Unlike our Nightlife Shuttle service, we are gearing this transportation for fans of all ages,” Yu said. “We want this to be a family friendly ride to Nats Park for the games.”
Check the website for more information and tickets.
Two of Bethesda’s high profile new gathering spots made a Washington Post list of new and notable restaurants from around the region, a sign of a growing nightlife according to the list.
Punches are served in Mason jars and exposed brick boasts a “Vote Against Prohibition” sign painted on it, hitting all the faux-Prohibition notes. For a sports bar, Brickside’s bar fare is elevated. The menu includes roasted cauliflower with tahini sauce and phyllo-wrapped shrimp, as well as Chicken ‘pops’ that “bring together three fried drumsticks glazed with barbecue sauce and accompanied by yogurt-cucumber sauce,” writes [Post food critic] Tom Sietsema. “The snack is hot, cool and tidy.”
The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave.) also made the list and is an opening that according to the Post means as much to Bethesda’s nightlife scene as it does to the restaurant scene.
Bethesda’s nightlife continues to grow, notably with the arrival in March of the elegant Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club, a 500-seat, art deco jazz club that’s brought in major talent in its opening weeks. Situated on Wisconsin Avenue in a building that’s houses a few misguided projects before, this project seems more promising, what with a director of Operations who spend decades managing and booking Blues Alley and the Cellar Door.
“Roc Bar Live” In Doubt — The future of the former Box Bar and Grill space (7525 Old Georgetown Rd.) is unknown after the owner of the Box said his new Roc Bar Live music venue is on hold “indefinitely.” Jason McCarther, who said he would open the bar on March 2, also has closed his Roc Bar nightclub in D.C. [Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row]
Marriott To Cut Hundreds of Bethesda Jobs — The hotel company will reportedly layoff hundreds of IT workers at its Bethesda headquarters starting next month. [Washington Business Journal]
State Lawmakers Vote To Repeal Death Penalty — Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) argues why he sought a death penalty repeal, a measure that lawmakers in Annapolis passed on Friday. [Politico]
Flickr photo by im_apatel
Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations are no longer reserved for March 17. Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle (4844 Cordell Ave.) began marking the cultural Irish holiday last weekend and will continue up until the actual Saint Patrick’s Day arrives Sunday.
Ri Ra Irish Pub (4931 Elm St.) is putting on a week-long celebration and Union Jack’s (4915 St Elmo Ave.) is having a St. Patrick’s Weekend, which includes its free buffet breakfast on Sunday morning:
Ri Ra — Monday, March 11: Half-price oysters and $4 Guinness all day; Wednesday, March 13: Half-price burgers and $4 Smithwicks and Harp pints all day. Kevin James, Irish folk musician plays at 9 p.m; Thursday, March 14: Ladies’ Night, $5 cosmos and appletinis. Lenny Burridge, blues and folk musician, plays at 9 p.m; Sunday, March 17: Live music all day and Guinness and Jameson specials.
Union Jack’s — Thursday, March 14: St. Practice Day featuring $1 Killian’s from 4 p.m. to close and $1 drinks during power hour from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday, March 15: $1 Killian’s; Saturday, March 16: $1 Killian’s from, half-priced car bombs, $4 Jameson, $3 lucky charm shooters and $1 power hour; Sunday March 17: Free buffet breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. with $1 Killian’s from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bethesda Patch reports a Dunkin’ Donuts will join a new restaurant from Tommy Joe’s owner Alan Poho at the building under construction at the corner of Norfolk and Cordell Avenues in Woodmont Triangle.
Also included is the above animated rendering of what the second-floor and rooftop restaurant and bar will look like.
Designs from Rockville-based architect Steven Karr include a 1,700-square-foot outdoor patio area on the third floor with 156 seats to go along with a second-floor full-service restaurant area with a main bar, seats and a private dining room. The rooftop bar will include 19 bar stools and standing room for 70.
The expected completion date is August 2013.
Video via Steven J. Karr AIA, Inc.
Maggie’s (4914 Cordell Ave.), Caddies on Cordell (4922 Cordell Ave.), Union Jack’s (4915 St Elmo Ave.), BlackFinn (4901 Fairmont Ave.) and Flanagans Harp & Fiddle (4844 Cordell Ave.) will offer food and drink specials to crawl-goers from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The price is $30, which includes access to the specials and a free snuggie, and $15 if you bring your own snuggie.
The crawl also includes a scavenger hunt with prizes. For more information, email email@example.com.
Not even a month after it opened, the Dry Fried Wing Bar and Grille in the old Box Bar space downtown is closed and the owner of the Box is coming back with a new concept.
McCarther said Dry Fried Wing owner George Farrell, who together with the Dry Fried Wing company put on a January grand opening celebration touting the wings and the importance of minority-owned businesses, defaulted on payments and came to him to buy back the bar.
“I love Bethesda, have for 20 years,” McCarther said.
McCarther, whose Hooters-themed Box Bar and Grill gained quite the reputation after it opened in 2011, said Rockville native Mike Westcott will perform when Roc Bar Live (7525 Old Georgetown Rd.) opens next weekend.
A message for James Boyd, the new CEO of Dry Fried Wings, was not immediately returned. But a publicist for Dry Fried Wings at the time of the bar’s opening said the company never did own a controlling interest in the bar, as the company announced immediately before the grand opening ceremony.
The grand opening ceremony included civil rights leader and former CEO of Dry Fried Wings Dr. Ben Chavis and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. They spoke about empowering minorities through business ownership.
Kathie Durbin is the chief of Licensure, Regulation & Education for the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control. She also tended bar for 12 years at Bethesda’s Durty Nelly’s, the popular bar on Montgomery Lane that preceded Tommy Joe’s.
Durbin (who is also chair of the Responsible Hospitality Institute) checked in with some thoughts on our story about Bethesda’s nightlife scene and how alcohol regulation could play into an upcoming “night-time economy initiative” from County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Silver Spring.
Durbin said that while there are outdated alcohol regulations that will be examined, maximizing the area’s night-time economy is primarily about providing safe places to go while balancing the concerns of businesses and the community.
“I really feel like we’ve come a long way in Montgomery County for nightlife,” Durbin said. “It’s a culture change, a culture shift.”
On the perception that Montgomery County hampers bars and restaurants that make up its nightlife economy, Durbin said the county does need to “have something more structured,” to support those places.
“It’s a question to ask the businesses. If you’re looking at Bethesda and all these town centers that have been developed, there are lots of things to do. It’s really about what the businesses and the community wants in an area,” Durbin said. “I see a lot of action happening in Bethesda. The big thing that drives people is a clean area and a safe area. We just have to be mindful, this isn’t something new.”
Durbin, who recently wrote legislation to allow craft beer growlers at Bradley Food and Beverage on Arlington Road, remembered working and living in a Bethesda with a number of popular night-time hangouts. She also pointed out that affordable housing, not easy to come by in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, is key.
“It’s funny when I hear people say they want to get out of Montgomery County,” Durbin said. “It’s a great community, a place where I lived in my 20s and where I brought my children up.”