Since I so greatly dislike Downtown Arlington’s new signature logo and felt the need to vent yesterday, today, I would like to say what I love about Downtown Arlington. Hopefully, the clown-like horror show of a logo won’t scare away people, because there’s a lot to enjoy and so much potential.
1. Potager: Local Organic Cafe — The best food in Arlington is located on 315 S. Mesquite Street. It’s a cool place, fresh food with a constantly changing menu. The people who work there are friendly and clearly love what they do.
2. J.R. Bentley’s — It’s a cozy pub with great hamburgers. And with their delicious corned beef, they’ve become a St. Patrick’s Day tradition for my family. They have free Wi-Fi, so it also makes for a nice working lunch break. It’s my favorite Arlington bar, and the first place where I take visitors.
3. George W. Hawkes Central Library — Yeah, I went from bar to library. That’s how I roll. It’s a great library, always busy and full of life. Beautiful layout. I could spend hours browsing the books or writing in a nice quiet corner. Plus, it was bike-friendly before bike-friendly was cool.
4. Levitt Pavilion — Right across from City Hall, Levitt is the official/unofficial heart of Downtown Arlington. The Levitt hosts free live music and other events throughout the year. It’s very well designed. Add two or three concrete chess tables (like what you have in New York’s Washington Square Park), and the place would be perfect.
5. J. Gilligan’s — This bar and J.R. Bentley’s seem to be direct competitors. But to me, they reflect two completely different bar/pub/restaurant philosophies. I love J.R. Bentley’s because it’s warm and relatively subdued. J. Gilligan’s is larger, louder, and more ready for a party. They make regular use of their parking lot, converting it to an outdoor music venue. Plus, they have the Irish nachos. To be an official Downtowner, you must try the Irish nachos.
6. Main Post Office on East South Street — It’s my post office, and I like it. So there.
7. Old School Pizza and Suds — It’s my favorite pizza in Arlington. Plus, they have a pretty good beer selection. The layout is still a little awkward, but I’m okay with it.
8. Arlington Museum of Art — The facility itself is great. The exhibits are hit or miss. When you just wander in and no one’s there, it can feel a little awkward. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by art museums in Dallas and Fort Worth? I am excited about the Rembrandt etchings show. With a concerted effort from the city of Arlington, this museum could be a real treasure.
9. Hooligan’s Pub — Ask me again in a year, but I think this pub could be a nice “second option” if I’m wanting to bar hop. They have a great draught selection, and the place looks nice. It’s still too new to tell if it’ll be a cool hangout.
10. Babe’s Chicken Dinner House — All the new restaurants are “a little unconventional, just slightly below the label of novelty restaurant.” (Yes, I’m quoting my own D Magazine story.) I like all of them, but Babe’s is still the establishment getting the most attention.
11. Arlington Music Hall — I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t attended a show here, but I’ve been inside the venue and it’s beautiful.