This happening little bar and live music venue in Clarendon is definitely scarier looking — what with a few ominously grinning clowns and boozing aliens painted on the walls — than it feels when you actually venture inside and sit down. It may be a little overwhelming at first, but you’ll certainly be much better off if you let that misunderstood, indie music-loving teenager you buried after your second year in college rear its dyed-black, disheveled head of hair again.
At least it will be in good company. The staff here is tight-knit and dedicated — and on nights where there’s no band or DJ, you’ll find their own personal iPods pumping music throughout. They’ll be glad to tell you all about it.
Galaxy Hut is known to locals as a great place to come and see the area’s best-known but not-yet-signed indie bands — but only 48 at a time are allowed in this miniscule venue per the Arlington Fire Marshall, so come early on live music nights. But those lucky 48 will also get to enjoy what really makes this bar so popular — the low-priced 15 beers on tap, including favorites such as Fuller’s London Pride, Ace Pear Cider and Allagash White Ale, as well as the better than average and eclectic bar fare.
Sit at one of the tables that double as old-school arcade games like Pac-Man and Asteroid and skip the French Fries or chips and salsa and try a cup of the house Cosmic Chili (beef or vegetarian friendly) for $3. Get two spoons and share with a friend. The chili is thick and flavorful, topped with cheese and large chunks of fresh onion. And if you and the rest of your party can stop playing one of the tables, try a batch of the delicious beer battered and deep-fried mushrooms and zucchini for $8 — an almost gourmet dish that tempts even the healthiest among us.
If you’re there on a night without a band and you’ve got a chance to sit down for an entrée, definitely take advantage. The Andromeda Veggie Plate, for $10, is comprised of sautéed veggies, steamed spinach and mashed potatoes or pasta served with garlic bread. The platter is huge and fit for the famished vegetarian or even the most dedicated omnivore.
And while you’re enjoying your rehashed indie experience well into your 20s or 30s, you’ll be able to appreciate the fact that you’ve grown up when you realize you can purchase a NY Strip (known as the “Ginga Steak”) for $15 without batting an eye. This tender cut of meat is served with an Asian flare; marinated in the house soy marinade and served with wasabi mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables.
Once you’re done with your meal and you’ve exhausted your stash of quarters, take your beer and wander out to the alley-way patio for some fresh air on a nice night. You will still have to pass by a frightening painting of a grinning face, but by now you can grin back at the hideous likeness and move on.
The rest of the small but unique menu is as eclectic as the décor — Italian, Asian, American — but it’s all well-made and fresh. There’s certainly an effort being made to emphasize quality over quantity at Galaxy Hut. The establishment recognizes what its patrons are looking for, and strives to be true to their needs.
Galaxy Hut refuses to be pigeonholed as just another late night scene with their brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. This time, the restaurant is strictly non-smoking and is a unique alternative to the stuffiness of brunch elsewhere in the city.
A few reminders, just so you don’t get a few looks when you visit for the first time: sit anywhere you like that is open; don’t wait to be seated. When you’re ready to order, food or drinks or both, do it at the bar. And be patient. Galaxy Hut is run by just a select few employees trying to do just about every task in the place, so warm up to the interesting music, challenge your date to a game of Galaga and enjoy the people-watching opportunity this unique little bar affords.
2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Nearest subway: Clarendon (Orange Line) at Wilson Blvd. and N. Highland St.
Mon.-Fri. 5p.m – 2 a.m.
Sat.-Sun. 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Sun. Brunch 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.