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Wilson Tavern, Wilson Boulevard in Clarendon - Now Owned by the Wooden Nickel Bar Company - Closed on May 13, 2014

Clarendon American Tavern Wooden Nickel Bar Company Closed

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#1 dcs

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Posted 09 November 2011 - 05:11 PM

Liberty Tavern, Mad Rose Tavern, now Market Tavern. I'm glad for another place with lots of taps, but I'm puzzled as to why they chose that name.

According to ARLnow.com, the new place at the old Kitty O'Shea's location on Wilson Boulevard will be called Wilson Tavern. I guess "tavern" is just another word for "bar." smile.gif

It must be true, because they got themselves a nascent website. The internet wouldn't lie, would it?

The craigslist ad for servers uses the dreaded "gastropub" term. I thought that sort of pretentiousness was reserved for further up Wilson Boulevard.
 

Wilson Tavern is a new American Gastropub featuring farm fresh food, classic premium cocktails, and craft american and european beers presented in a classic, 'speakeasy' type environment.



#2 mickswagger

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 01:12 PM

wilson tavern looks to open by the second week of december. our menu is straight forward american fare executed using high quality ingredients from locally sourced purveyors and will involve a very technique driven kitchen. despite the "pretentious" craigslist ad, our concept is very casual and welcoming. the interior has been dramatically revamped to provide a more asthetically pleasing environment, however it's not going to be a nose in the air ambiance. we want the neighborhood to make this an extension of their living room, we want this to be a place you can stop by and grab a bite and a brew without breaking your wallet. the team here is excited and we are looking forward to serving the courthouse area. cheers.

#3 dcs

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 02:12 PM

wilson tavern looks to open by the second week of december. our menu is straight forward american fare executed using high quality ingredients from locally sourced purveyors and will involve a very technique driven kitchen. despite the "pretentious" craigslist ad, our concept is very casual and welcoming. the interior has been dramatically revamped to provide a more asthetically pleasing environment, however it's not going to be a nose in the air ambiance. we want the neighborhood to make this an extension of their living room, we want this to be a place you can stop by and grab a bite and a brew without breaking your wallet. the team here is excited and we are looking forward to serving the courthouse area. cheers.

Class response to my good-natured snarkiness. :) I look forward to stopping in.

#4 mickswagger

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Posted 09 December 2011 - 12:01 PM

hey arlingtonites and those with means of travel, we have officially opened our doors. we will be opening at 6 today, tommorow, and sunday. Will be open at five on monday and will start lunch service on tuesday. Brunch will follow in the next couple of weeks. we are featuring pride of the plains beef (the plains, Va), have a mac and cheese to die for, and really good craft cocktails. be the first of your friends to "discover" us....
chef chris

#5 SeanMike

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 11:55 PM

I hit the bar tonight - after twice swinging by Friday night and having it too packed - and now I'm all excited about a new joint in the neighborhood to include in my rotation.

The Gentlemen's Wing are actually buffalo wings, with a bit of meat clipped/moved so you can eat them with much less mess than normal buffalo wings. As wings, they're fine - better than most, not great - until you include the sauce with them.

Oh, the sauce. The bartender told me it was a "blue cheese/cheddar" type sauce, but chef chris said it was shropshire (apologies if I misspelled it) blue, which is one of my all time favorite cheeses period. Dip your wing in that and OMG it's delicious.

The Yukon Gold french fries were perfect, IMHO. I didn't need the dipping sauces, but that's just me. Crunchy, smooth on the inside...delicious.

I was comped a small version of their mac 'n' cheese, which includes gruyere as one of the cheeses, plus pork belly and artichoke. Let's put it this way: I am burned out on mac & cheese. Everyone has one, and yes it's delicious. This being said, this one was delicious, and as a side dish, it's a %*#*-ing meal, as I saw, and I recommend it heartily as a delicious, tasty meal.

A free appetizer of corn nuts (house made) and pickled veggies was offered. I liked the cucumber the most, the okra was also quite great...the string beans were good, but very bitter. Better in big bites.

The cocktails: the old fashioned is of the "new" variety (i.e., it has orange and cherry in it) so keep that in mind. The sazerac and negroni were quite tasty. The Pickled Martini - holy crap that was good! (with gin).

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#6 CajunJason

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 04:46 PM

Congratulations on your opening, and welcome to the neighborhood! I came by for dinner on your inaugural Friday night.

The service is essentially on-point. Aside from reading this board, there's no way I could tell the doors just opened for the first time. Your staff is very welcoming & efficient without being fake or overbearing.

I'm going to hold my comments on the food until a few weeks have past, but I'm looking forward to returning.
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#7 SeanMike

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 11:47 PM

Saw Chef Chris while in there tonight! How's it going, chef?

Wow. When the gym next door is going - it's a constant earthquake. Once I knew what it was, it didn't bother me, but I could see why the folks who spend more time there were annoyed with it. Seriously, it was insane!

Got the wings again. Man, without fries next to 'em the heat got to me - but then Chris hooked me up with some of his habanero sauce he's experimenting with and I was fine with it. Obviously, my heat taste buds are all screwed up.

Other than that: it had the neighborhood-ly camaraderie that I'd never seen out of Kitty's. Just a friendly, sit down and have too many beers kind of place. I need to get past the wings and try the other food, but for a neighborhood bar, I have to highly recommend it.

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#8 SeanMike

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:11 PM

Did get past the wings - had the beef stew special, and it was pretty darn great. Just the thing for a cold, rainy night. Large hunks of beef, which I was told were braised in Old Chub beer, with a couple long thin slices of carrot, topped with mashed potato and something green on top of that. (Look, I was hungry.)

And Matty made me a damn good hot toddy with Bulleit bourbon. It's such a simple drink, but when it's on, it was just delicious.

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#9 adjen

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:35 PM

We dropped in late afternoon Sunday and left a couple of hours later sated and happy. Service was relaxed (which is good, in my book) but attentive. I took the earlier poster's advice and got the Mac and cheese (veggie) for my meal. It was my ideal Mac and cheese. Creamy in the middle, crusty cheese hugging the dish on the side, not at all gooey, nice tang from the artichokes. I also really enjoyed the pickled okra. (my only suggestion for that appetizer would be to toast the bread.). I also shared some fish and chips, which had nice firm fish (didn't pay attention to what kind because hadn't intended to share the dish) and a scrumptious pickle-y tartar sauce. Dining companions enjoyed the burger and their version of BLT. Very neighborhood-y vibe. Saw couples at the bar; single diners chatting with the bartenders; and a family with young kids. Will definitely return.

#10 goodeats

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 11:30 PM

Oh that mac and cheese was quite divine! I think this is my new watering hole, after meeting SeanMike here for drinks last Wednesday. They had a nice selection of beers on tap, so I thought I would nurse a pint of Cabin Fever (New Holland), which actually paired nicely with both the lamb tacos and the mac.

Hats off to chef for letting us try the shrimp gumbo. I enjoyed it but I am no expert on gumbo, unfortunately.

I do appreciate that they use a local ice cream maker, because it really made the evening wonderful. Nothing like a root beer float to drift off as a nightcap...

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#11 mickswagger

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 07:14 PM

Hey guys,
Just letting donrockewell folks in on our monday and tuesday promotions.....mondays are our oyster night, $1.50 oysters and other specials from the sea. Tuesday nights we have whole 1# lobsters for $12. Mention you're from donrockwell and ill send you a complimentary pickle sampler. Cheers!

#12 SeanMike

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 06:34 PM

So my brother and I hit Wilson Tavern last night, to be joined by two more friends...then even more friends, so we could watch the final four and hoist a few beers. Had a good time.

Matt and I started with the pickle sampler (which I ate most of and enjoyed quite heartily, especially the new pickled eggs and onions - the onions packed a punch). We also got the mac and cheese, which Matt almost destroyed on his own before our friends could show up. He absolutely loved it.

Our friends showed up and agreed on the mac and cheese. They also ordered the lamb tacos, and thought they were great - enough that they ordered another round of them. Matt got the beef sliders and I the pork. Both were good - I enjoyed both a lot more than I expected, as I'm usually disappointed with sliders these days. I could nit pick if I'd like on them but but it'd be the exact same complaint I've had about almost every other slider around the area (I'm not a bun fan).

A couple of picklebacks and a number of beers, and we had a great time. It was fairly quiet when we came in but filled up rapidly. We all had a great time and had more than enough food and drinks.

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#13 Genevieve

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:31 AM

Hey guys,
Just letting donrockewell folks in on our monday and tuesday promotions.....mondays are our oyster night, $1.50 oysters and other specials from the sea. Tuesday nights we have whole 1# lobsters for $12. Mention you're from donrockwell and ill send you a complimentary pickle sampler. Cheers!


Oh, thanks! I'm nearby and will definitely be in some Tuesday soon for the lobster special.

#14 mickswagger

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:01 PM

hey donrockwellers,
its tuesday, which means ill be commiting lobster genocide. at $12 apop, you cant go wrong. also have our oyster special tonight, soft ahells, fresh alaskan halibut and much more. let me know youre in thw house and ill let you try my ceviche free of charge. cheers!



#15 Genevieve

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:08 PM

We ate there Tuesday night so I could have the lobster special. Delicious, sweet, tender little lobster. I appreciated that they had cracked the tail and claws (tendonitis makes it hard for me to do it). We shared the fritto misto to start with -- the calamari was good but the shrimp was the star, plump and juicy and bigger than I expected, with only a light coating of crisp batter. I was sorry there were only three of them (but husband and son weren't since they were just having the calamari). There was supposed to be fish in the dish and that was missing, but we didn't bring it to anyone's attention because my husband realized that since he'd ordered fish and chips, it was silly to have an app with fried fish in it. We were just as happy to have more calamari. My son enjoyed his sliders very much, and my husband liked the fish and chips -- I had a few of the chips and they were tasty and lightly browned, with bits of skin (as I prefer), not overly greasy.

For dessert, they had apple pie, made by the owner - I didn't order it as it's about the only kind of pie I'm not particularly fond of, and I asked the waiter if they ever had other kinds - he said to name it, the owner might make it sometime. I said cherry and especially peach. Meanwhile, my son devoured the large serving of chocolate bread pudding -- my husband said we might take some home, and he said "No, dad, I got this." My husband got the cheesecake with strawberries, and I planned to take a bite or two for the sweet finish, though I'm not usually a fan of cheesecake. Well, I ate about half of it -- it was super-light and silky and not at all like the overly dense cheesecakes I've usually had. Yum.

#16 Nervous Eater

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:13 AM

I heard a rumor (on the arlington blog, arlnow) that Wilson Tavern has just changed ownership and completely put an end to all the great food (oysters on Monday, lobsters on Tuesday, shrimp po'boys, etc.) and instituted a standard mr. days-esque crappy bar food menu. I'm hoping that these rumors are unfounded (and just that...rumors) but has anyone been in to see the changes, or can anyone confirm? Just early last week I was in and had a fantastic soft shell crab sandwich, so if this is true it is a very recent development. I love what Wilson Tavern has been doing lately, so I hope this isn't true.

#17 goodeats

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:28 AM

I heard a rumor (on the arlington blog, arlnow) that Wilson Tavern has just changed ownership and completely put an end to all the great food...I love what Wilson Tavern has been doing lately, so I hope this isn't true.


Here's the forum post (Arlnow has a forum).

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#18 DonRocks

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:42 AM

Here's the forum post (Arlnow has a forum).


Wilson Tavern lost their chef Chris Kenworthy and beverage manager Matt Culbertson right when the ownership changed the first week in May (but, the demise was written on the wall (at least on my wall) before the ownership change) - it's now owned by the same people who own Irish Whiskey Public House and Mighty Pint. Prepare yourselves for a full-blown sports bar with Sysco quesadillas and jalapeño poppers.

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#19 Nervous Eater

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:55 AM

Wilson Tavern lost their chef Chris Kenworthy and beverage manager Matt Culbertson right when the ownership changed the first week in May (but, the demise was written on the wall (at least on my wall) before the ownership change) - it's now owned by the same people who own Irish Whiskey Public House and Mighty Pint. Prepare yourselves for a full-blown sports bar with Sysco quesadillas and jalapeño poppers.


What an incredible fucking disappointment.

#20 Genevieve

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Posted 19 May 2012 - 10:04 AM

Extremely disappointing!

#21 CajunJason

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 09:49 AM

I was never impressed with the original Wilson Tavern. Quite the opposite, actually. It was a good idea in theory, but the execution was missed on nearly all levels- at least on the two times that I came in.

The original fare seemed interesting on paper, but when delivered to the table, the plates were a sloppy mess. The self-proclaimed "macaroni-and-cheese to die for" I suppose is a true statement, because I wanted to choke on the ultra-bland noodles sogged down with overwhelming artichoke juices and undercooked pork belly. And the wretched mussels were bland, dry, over-cooked and tasted of yucky fish.

The "hand-crafted" cocktail list was super un-original and lacked inspiration.

On the other side of the coin, I sincerely hope the service staff remains happily & profitably employed during this transition without disruption- as they were very friendly and grateful for their guests.

So welcome, new Wilson Tavern to your peers in Sysco mediocrity. It's a proven business model in this orange-line "land of those who don't know better, or know to know better."
"vodka rhymes with lotsa, bourbon rhymes with hurtin'- these are things i'm gonna feel, this much i know is certain." -Butch Walker

#22 DaveO

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 10:50 PM

I'm so happy the former version of Wilson Tavern closed. I think the property owner screwed the former tenant, Kitty's and got away w/ murder on the deal: a somewhat unprecedented breaking of a lease on a very wierd technicality.

Never went to the former version of Wilson Tavern. I stopped by tonight, having heard from one of the crowd that used to hang at Kitty's that it has totally changed. Now I like wonderful crafted food, but I also like comfortable dives. Dives are for comfort, relaxation, and fun conversation...and having fit in w/ the older folks who hung at the old kitty's I'm glad one dive in Arlington continues to exist.

Here here for the $1 dollar millers, the $2 fish tacos, and similar inexpensive fare that does have a place. Cripes Clarendon and even Ballston is a plethora of ever fancier places, some of which do have exciting menus and sparkling tasty cocktails. Its exciting to find new different specialties....but I still love a dive.

Takes me back to watching a championship boxing match at Milly and Al's sometimes in the '80's. Some American gringo champ was fighting some Latin champ. The place was packed with Hispanics and gringos like myself. Cheap beer was flowing. Men and women rooting and cheering. My crowd broke the place up with a rousing rendition of the theme song from Rocky.

Damned if I can recall who was fighting let alone who won. but it was a helluva good time.

#23 cheezepowder

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:35 PM

Arlnow reports they're expanding a bit and plan to invest more in food.  They plan to reopen tomorrow by 4pm.



#24 DaveO

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:07 AM

That arlnow thread has very entertaining comments.   Was by there last week last tuesday, which is trivia night.  played trivia for the first time, and ate entirely mediocre food w/ a few beers.  My oh my...the bill got big.

 

and oh yeah...b/4 we quit our trivia team of old timer's that used to go to kitty's b/4 it became wilson tavern finished 2nd to last.  LOL.  bar trivia...its not my thing!!!   



#25 dcs

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 02:03 PM

Wilson Tavern To Be Replaced by Hotel



#26 DaveO

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Posted 12 May 2014 - 04:09 PM

Tomorrow is its last day.

 

That makes 5 in a row neighborhood eating and drinking choices all closed as development will replace the existing old buildings with a hotel and office building respectively.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Clarendon, American, Tavern, Wooden Nickel Bar Company, Closed

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