Why I Don’t Want You To Go To Jay’s Saloon

Photo courtesy of Flickr user lifeinthedistrict

Photo courtesy of Flickr user lifeinthedistrict

When I first moved into my current place in Clarendon my roommates and I noticed a quaint little house around the corner next to the car dealership.

It was actually a bar called Jay’s Saloon and Grille.

At first the appearance was somewhat run down and somewhere between divey and dicey. We joked about going there and drinking with all the middle aged townies that probably frequent the place. It wasn’t until I organized a roommate happy hour at Jay’s that I found out what I was missing. I’ve already written that this place maybe our McLaren’s.

The Washington Post opens their review with the exact same thoughts I had when I spent that summer night at Jay’s:

I love Jay’s Saloon & Grille so much that I don’t want to tell you about it. I don’t want you to discover it. I don’t want it to be crowded and popular. I really love this bar. I would not write in the first person otherwise.

Now I know exactly what Shayla was thinking. As much as I want to tell everyone what a great place this is, I don’t want too many people to know. What gives Jay’s its charm is the fact that in location and environment, it is truly my neighborhood bar. I love how it always has the right amount of people, so it’s sociable but not too crowded. It’s the perfect place to relax after a tough day at work or a place to start before you head out into Clarendon or DC.

After that initial happy hour, we kept coming back again and again. My roommates were already recognized by the wait staff a week or two since discovery.

The cover of the menu looks like it’s circa 1985: the pages are typewritten with handwritten notes and former items blacked out with marker. But with the retro menu comes the retro prices- which looks like they haven’t been changed since the 90’s. The fare is standard- not bad but not great either, however the cheese fries are a favorite with my house. Jay’s Happy Hour is where the place truly shines $2 domestic bottles and deals on Budweiser and Coors Light drafts: $1.50 for a frosty mug of beer or $7 for a full pitcher. House wines — from the “Wine List” — are $2.95 per glass. It’s one of the best deals around town short of heading over to Recessions.

We typically enjoy drinks in the covered patio section in front of the bar. Astroturf covers the space that is full of plastic lawn furniture, Christmas lights, and if you look carefully- hung oil paintings that gives the place a more southern feel.

Inside there’s a pool table that’s been covered and unused every time I’ve been and a ramp takes you up to a bar and table area where you can find the townies I stereotyped earlier. However the crowd is actually a jovial mix of young professionals, and other people that make up streets around Jay’s- it truly is a neighborhood bar where the mood is low-key and relaxed.

On the weekends the place will get a bit more crowded that usual but I hope that during the week I’ll still be able to walk 100 ft out of my house and into the patio without having to hunt for a table.

Jay’s Saloon has so far been Arlington’s best kept secret.

Jay’s Saloon and Grille
3114 N. 10th St.
Arlington, VA 22201

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