Even though Suzie technically lives in Courthouse, all of my favorite Arlington date spots are actually in Clarendon, which is where you’ll find her most of the time anyway. Here are my top five:
What you’re telling your date: “You’re coming back to my apartment after dinner.”
Attire: Dressy, not too casual.
Cost: It can get a tad-bit pricy.
What to order: The menus differ depending on which side you go, Tallula or Eat Bar. Whichever side you choose, get a charcuterie platter. Try the pork belly at Tallula or the lamb burger at Eat Bar.
When to go: Weekends. This place is a little farther from the Metro than the other restaurants (about 0.8 mile from Clarendon metro station). It’s a bit of a destination spot. It’s a great place to get away from people and the riff-raff altogether. The quiet and intimate atmosphere allows you to turn on the charm up to 11.
Where to go after: Your apartment.
Green Pig Bistro
What you’re telling your date: “I really like you. Let’s try something new together.”
Attire: The clientele there tend to be slightly older and dress a little classier than other Arlington establishments like Whitlow’s. I recommend jeans and button-up shirt for men. Women can look cute however they like.
Cost: It won’t break your bank. Most entrees range in the $20 to $25 range.
What to order: You need to be a fairly adventurous eater, if not, willing to try anything once. I recommend the pig tacos, sweetbreads, duck risotto, and the rabbit cake. Also, they’re burgers are half beef and half bacon. That never disappoints.
When to go: Any day except for Tuesday when they’re closed. Make a reservation. Always make a reservation.
Where to go after: Since you’ll probably be dressed on the nicer side, I’d recommend drinks at Lyon Hall or Circa.
What you’re telling your date: “Let’s be one of those couples that are perpetually doing fun things and never have any connection beyond the ephemeral. And I hope you like beer.”
Attire: Super casual. If you’re not wearing jeans, you’d feel overdressed.
Cost: Cheap with a great beer selection. No liquor.
What to order: Beer, chicken fingers and tater tots. Seriously, their chicken fingers are actually pretty good.
When to go: Weekdays. I don’t recommend Sundays or Mondays, I unless you’re looking for live music. It’s a small place and live music can get loud. Weekdays are also easier to snag the sweet seats with tabletop Ms. Pacman.
Where to go after: IOTA for more live music, or take a leisurely walk toward Courthouse for a good time at Ireland’s Four Courts. Or rent a Zipcar and drive it straight to Charlestown for some craps.
What you’re telling your date: “I’m not really sure where this is going; food and alcohol should help clear this up.”
Attire: Not super casual, you’ll feel under-dressed, especially when even the bartender is wearing a tie.
Cost: Entrees cost around $20 to $25. You definitely get your money’s worth here.
What to order: Pretzels. Mussels. Mini frankfurters. Veal schnitzel.
When to go: Middle of the week is best for this place. On weekends, it can suddenly get really crowded without warning. And often on weekends, you’ll find Suzie drunk at the bar, screaming “I LOVE LIFE! PUPPIES!” Or worse, yet, you might run into me, who’ll most likely try to hit on whichever of you are the female.
Where to go after: Stay there. Lyon Hall is quite a versatile joint. You can have a nice dinner or take shots. Neither feels wrong there. Unless the two you want to go somewhere to dance and/or get rowdy, then I’d say hit up RiRa or Clarendon Grille.
What you’re telling your date: “Let’s have a quiet dinner and get to know each other.”
Attire: This place tends to attract the late 20’s to early 30’s crowd. If that means anything. I wouldn’t go super casual here. Casual chic?
Cost: Little less than the other two above.
What to order: I recommend ordering bunch of small plates to share. Small plate dining encourages conversations and also lets you get to know your date’s taste in food.
When to go: This place is perfect for weekday after work date.
Where to go after: If you finish your dinner early, head over to Boccato for some gelato and/or coffee. If not, loosen your tie, put your hair up, go have a pint at O’Sullivans.
Note: the ultra classy “Come Undone in Clarendon” t-shirt can be purchased here. Oh, and Happy Halloween, everyone!
- Eric Wang