Those familiar with the area along Wilson Boulevard have surely noticed a change within the past few years. The once charming neighborhood of small shops and boutiques is slowly being overwhelmed by chain stores like Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Cheesecake Factory and Bertucci’s. There are, however, small pockets of familiarity located within the pre-fabricated “urban village.” Just down the road from the Courthouse, sandwiched between newly constructed condominium projects, you can find Dr Dremo’s Taphouse— one of the few remaining ties to the Arlington of a few years ago.
Before it was the Taphouse, the building housing Dremo’s was some sort of automotive garage or showroom. As such, the exterior does not adhere to the typical bar or restaurant décor found in the Clarendon neighborhood (beginning with the nondescript sign posted atop a large totem pole). The interior is also vastly different from those in the surrounding region. The seating area contains numerous tables and chairs, a few booths, and even some sofas and couches— all of which seem to have purchased at a second hand store (the term ‘vintage’ is generously applied). The back room contains a stage, several pool tables, dart boards and a beach-style bar located on the downstairs patio. Dremo’s feels like the type of bar you and your friends might set up in your parent’s garage or basement, and as such, it facilitates a casual “hanging out at a friend’s place” atmosphere.
The main draw at Dremo’s is the vast array of taps lining the back wall. Boasting a selection of over 30 beers, they truly offer up something for everyone (although, they do not serve liquor). The beers range from blue collar (Miller Lite & Pabst Blue Ribbon) to high class (Delirium Tremens & Stella Artois) and just about everything in between – including a half dozen “house beers” brewed exclusively for Dr Dremo’s by the Shenandoah Brewing Company. For those understandably overwhelmed by the impressive line-up of ales, stouts and lagers, the friendly bar staff is more than happy to help with your decision (and they do so without the “beer snob” attitude often found at larger taphouses). Dremo’s is constantly changing the tap selection, so be sure to check the website for the list of new beers on tap (during last year’s NFL playoffs, Dremo’s added Iron City beer – a favorite among Pittsburgh fans).
The clientele at Dremo’s is as eclectic and diverse as the tap selection. On any given night you might find a couple on a date, a small group of co-workers having a drink at the bar, a large crowd of friends catching up after a long day, people debating politics, or someone just sitting quietly reading a book. On Tuesdays, Dremo’s is inhabited by the Washington Psychotronic Film Society which shows various cult films on the 10 foot screen located in the back room. On Wednesdays, the same back room is home to live stand-up and open mic comedy and on Thursdays, open mic music.
The menu consists of standard bar fare, featuring appetizer fundamentals such as beer battered onion rings and bacon cheese fries, as well as crowd pleasing sandwiches and burgers. Those with a sense of adventure should try the “heart stopper” – a grilled chicken breast topped with bacon and cheddar cheese. Though the menu may be simple, the selections compliment Dremo’s casual atmosphere. After all, what better way to unwind after a long day than to share a towering plate of nachos with a group of friends?
Happy hour at Dremo’s runs every night until 7:30, when selected pints are $1 off. Fortunately this selection is not merely limited to the standard “light” beers, but instead contains an enjoyable variety including Yuengling, Brooklyn Ale, and Tupper’s Hop Pocket (just to name a few). Of course, the Dremo’s’ ales are also included in the happy hour special. In addition to the everyday happy hour, Dremo’s offers nightly specials on Monday though Wednesday.
Unfortunately, it seems as though Dr Dremo’s may too be falling beneath the mighty boot of progress. The property is currently involved in a deal proposing yet another mixed-use development. As of now, Dr Dremo’s seems to be safe for the next four to six months (the deal is currently under review by the Arlington County planning commission – see the Dremo’s website for the latest information), so there is still time to enjoy one of the few remaining haunts in Arlington that still has personality and charm. Cheers.
Dr. Dremo’s Taphouse
2001 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington VA 22201