Whitlow’s on Wilson is about to close after more than 25 years in Clarendon

Whitlow’s on Wilson is closing, but plans to relocate. (Courtesy Google Street View)

A bar and restaurant that has been a longtime fixture in the Clarendon area of Arlington, Virginia, is about to close, but it may be revived in a new space.

Whitlow’s on Wilson — with its rooftop Tiki bar and live music — has been a favorite hangout for many since 1995. But after weathering the COVID-19 crisis, the owners weren’t able to negotiate an extension to their lease that expires this month.

The announcement was made in March, and bar manager Mike Egan told WTOP that the feeling lately has been bittersweet.

“It’s been a lot of fun the last few weeks as everyone’s come back to reminisce and say goodbye, but the light at the end of the tunnel is creeping up on us,” Egan said.

The restaurant recently had a staff alumni reunion.

“People came from California, from Florida, from Texas … every corner of the country … to raise their mug one more time,” Egan said.

Saturday will be the bar’s big going away party.

“We have got a couple of bands booked, and the weather looks like it’s going to work out for us. It’s going to be an all-day affair,” Egan said.

Friday and Saturday’s events are first-come, first-serve, so he suggests coming early.

A whole bunch of memorabilia and supplies from the bar was just auctioned off. The parrot sign that’s been hanging outside sold for $4,100.

If you missed the auction and still want a souvenir, Whitlow’s is selling commemorative T-shirts and other merch in person and online.

The owners hope to eventually reopen, but where is still to be determined.

“Once we’re finished sending this location out the way we want to take a week or two off and spend some time with our families, and then we’re going to go full-court press and try to find the new place then,” Egan said.

As for Saturday’s show, there’s one more thing you should know.

“We’ve been saying nobody cuts the line unless you’re Dave Grohl. He was here in the 90s one time, and just being a rock star local to the DMV, we thought he might want to come say bye, too,” Egan said.

Although several people have tagged the Foo Fighter with the invite on social media, Egan said there’s so far been no response.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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