An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Breath of Fresh Air in Ballston

The list of nightspots in Clarendon that are smoke-free (or have a dedicated smoke-free bar) keeps growing: Clarendon Grill, Eleventh, Liberty Tavern, Tallula's EatBar.

By contrast, until recently, the list in Ballston has been short. In fact ... nonexistent.

While Ballston has some smoke-free restaurants like Pinzimini, Sangam, Ted's Montana Grill and Willow, there's been nowhere I'd go for a drink on a Saturday night. (As always, if I'm missing a place, feel free to correct me in comments.)

As someone who lives near Ballston, it's especially frustrating for two reasons:
  • Bailey's, Front Page and Rock Bottom are all already set up with two separate bars. Why not make one smoke-free? Front Page and Rock Bottom even have outdoor patios they could reserve for smokers. Pretty ridiculous that they refuse to make any accomodation whatsoever for the 75 percent of us who are non-smokers.

  • An unusually cold autumn. Do I bundle up and walk an extra 20 minutes in the bitter cold to Clarendon? Or put up with the smoke in Ballston?
Fortunately, I have a new option with the opening of Union Jack's in the Ballston Common Mall in the space formerly occupied by Romano's Macaroni Grill. I stopped by for the first time this week not knowing it was smoke-free and noticed it still had that new restaurant smell.

Sure enough, I got an email the very next morning from Union Jack's responding to an email I'd sent a few weeks back saying that yes, they are totally smoke-free!

To find more smoke-free establishments near you, check out FitArlington's Smoke-Free Restaurants Guide. (One warning -- some restaurants are listed in the guide even if they allow smoking at the bar.)

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Blogger Lisa said...

Sounds like it would be perfect for a CRM happy hour! That is very exciting!

11:56 PM

Blogger ArlingtonNewcomer said...

When I was at Front Page the other night I was told that the back bar (one closest to the stafford place) is smoke free. There were lightly enforcing this rule. There was a man who lit up his cigarette right next to me at the back bar and proceeded to stand directly behind me and smoke even though the bartender told him nicely that that section was smoke free.
Other than that incident I found the back bar to be pretty clear of smoke. I am allergic to smoke and found it manageable by sitting there.

I would still prefer smoke free places or smoking only on a divided area such as a patio.

2:43 PM

Blogger The Green Miles said...

With the notable exception of Clarendon Grill (posted sign "ATTENTION EVERYONE: NO SMOKING INSIDE"), I've found some bars with non-smoking areas very reluctant to tell their customers. I have to figure out what's going on with Whitlow's -- they claim to be 95% smoke-free, yet I went a couple of weekends ago, there were ashtrays on every available level surface.

2:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Union Jack's website (in the Establishment Facts section under "About Us") says that the "Smoking: Yes, in the bar areas." So, they may have designated smoking areas, but it doesn't sound to me like they're completely smoke free.

4:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Union Jack's website is being corrected. There is no smoking permitted at all. Thanks for the "head's up".

6:05 PM

Blogger Neil said...

too bad that the food is AWFUL at union jacks.

they literally (confirmed by the waiter) served me KRAFT macaroni and cheese as a side dish.

i believe there is a 9-year old working in the kitchen, playing make-believe chef.

3:22 PM

OpenID briankainec said...

Just keep those "no smoking" rules away from my favorite bars in Ballston and I'll be happy. Meanwhile, enjoy your granola and organic beers at Union Jacks. LOL

6:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most disappointing is the inconsistency of smoking policy at the various Cosi cafes in Arlington. The Virginia Square location (also the cleanest) is completely smoke free, while the Ballston and Courthouse locations are continually stocked with chain-smokers. I have protested to the managers, to no avail, so now I just boycott everyone except Virginia Square.

9:06 PM


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