By David Thompson
The snow, wind, and deep cold have embraced The Little City once again, leaving restaurants unable to open up their beloved outdoor seating areas.
Early this week, the popular patio at Clare and Don’s Beach Shack was surrounded by snow. Ireland’s Four Provinces had to leave its outdoor bar locked up even during its celebrated St. Patrick’s Day festivities. And Dogwood Tavern will have to wait a little longer before it can fully utilize its new outdoor deck and patio.
But the first day of spring is upon us, and soon warmer weather will follow – the kind of weather that makes Falls Church diners eager to take a seat outside.
Clare and Don’s Beach Shack
Clare and Don’s is a little taste of Florida, with festive sea-themed decorations, fresh seafood, and outdoor dining bringing it all together.
After opening in Clarendon in 2005 (giving the restaurant its name), Clare and Don’s moved to Falls Church in 2007. Its outdoor dining area, replete with beachy décor and a bar, has become a favorite in the City.
“We have the best food served on any patio in the Northern Virginia area,” said co-owner Rebecca Tax.
Year after year, Clare and Don’s is the top vote-getter in the Outdoor Eating category of the News-Press’ Best of Falls Church contest.
Spring will welcome its customers to special outdoor festivities like live music, karaoke, DJs and trivia nights. However, those who wish to brave the cold can use the outdoor seating right now – the patio is open all year long, even if you need your snow boots to enjoy a meal there.
Ireland’s Four Provinces
If you can’t find a seat inside the popular pub and restaurant Ireland’s Four Provinces, then look outside and you will see an outdoor bar and plenty of seating for all, weather permitting.
Four P’s, as it is lovingly called by its loyal customers, typically uses its front patio for its annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Due to the winter storm this past week, however, it was too cold outside for the patio to be used on Monday. Still, the atmosphere indoors was festive, with revelers enjoying green décor aplenty and Irish tunes filling the air.
“We usually open [the patio] on St. Paddy’s Day, and keep it open after that,” said Four P’s manager Travis Barnes. “Weather permitting, it will be open in the next week or so. As soon as we open the patio, we’re busy the entire time.”
Barnes also spoke of plans to remodel the patio, double its size and make it a covered space with heaters and fans – and even add a cigar lounge.
In June of last year, Dogwood Tavern began constructing their new upper level outdoor deck, leaving the patio closed during construction. The project finished just in time for the cold weather. After a brief period of use during the fall, it has largely been unused since its completion.
The patio-deck, sure to become a defining feature for Dogwood Tavern, will soon see its first full season of warm-weather use. The space seats 50 outdoor diners on the deck and 80 on the patio. In the two-story outdoor dining space, guests can enjoy four big-screen TVs and a full bar.
Jeremiah Mahoney, general manager of Dogwood, said the deck should open this weekend, as the weather is expected to improve.
Once it opens, Dogwood plans to keep the sports bar theme going outside with their many TVs, but you can also expect live music, too. Mahoney says they will likely have acoustic music on the deck during happy hour.
The forecast for the coming weeks appears to be on a warming trend, allowing the people of Falls Church to enjoy the outdoors at Clare and Don’s Beach Shack, Dogwood Tavern, and Ireland’s Four Provinces.