With vintage arcade games as dinner tables, quirky comic strips on the walls and a diverse stream of music playing, Galaxy Hut is a no-frills chill spot for anyone looking for delicious, eclectic food and a variety of draft beers. This cozy, if not divey, Clarendon restaurant and bar is a funky charm nestled in an otherwise increasingly bourgeoisie, yuppie-oriented neighborhood.
Galaxy Hut has live music most Sunday and Monday nights and karaoke on the first Sunday of each month; it can get crowded and raucous in there around midnight, as most good bars do. But an early dinner – the restaurant opens at 5 p.m. with shows starting at 9 p.m. – could be a delight for even a family of four.
Galaxy Hut, which opened in 1990 and is owned and operated by Lary and Erica Hoffman, is the older, more experienced sibling of Spacebar, a grilled-cheese and craft beer spot opened here in the Little City in 2012 by the Hoffmans.
Galaxy Hut’s menu has something for everyone, meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, and the entire menu can be customized for vegans. Their sides are uncommon compared to other restaurants and can function as appetizers.
Two standouts from that selection are the eggplant fries ($5), which are smoky, earthy and crispy, and the totchos ($5.50), which are their tater tots smothered with melted cheese and can be topped with vegan chili, pulled pork or avocado, among other things. But if you order the totchos, come to dinner with an extra stomach, or a pal, to help you clean the plate.
The grilled cheese sandwiches, like the turcado, portobello and reuben, are the highlight of the menu and range between $6.50 – $9.50. Diners can customize their grilled cheese sandwiches starting at $6.50 and top it with unique toppings like apple ($1), pastrami ($2) and vegan meatloaf ($2.75).
The vegan reuben is a well-executed version of the classic deli sandwich with tempeh substituting for beef. Add daiya cheese to the sandwich to balance the sour kick of the kraut and Russian dressing. The bread on any of the grilled cheese sandwiches is savory and crisp, but not burnt.
The cheese steaks are another well-executed standard that can be made unique at Galaxy Hut. In particular, the vegan cheese steak, made with vegan seitan, taste more like chicken cheese steak, but is as consistently comforting as the beef version of the sandwich made at your favorite hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop.
Galaxy Hut also has a selection of BBQ sandwiches ($8) – pulled pork, over roasted turkey breast or vegan seitan – that are savory and hearty. All three options come with a side of vegan cole slaw, which is just right, not dry and not too wet.
And then there’s the rotating draft menu, featuring 28 taps of craft beer with a focus on seasonal and small-batch offerings. For all the non-alcohol drinkers, there’s Abita Root Beer so you can pose while the rest of your friends get tipsy.
If you’re looking for a relaxed place to meet your friends for drinks and live music, or even a spot to have a civilized meal at a place that’s not only not stuck up, but has a quirky charm of its own, Galaxy Hut is the answer.
Addition: In the second paragraph of this article, the author said that Galaxy Hut “could be a delight for even a family of four”. Galaxy Hut and Spacebar are 21 and over establishments.
Galaxy Hut • 2711 Wilson Blvd., Arlington • 703-525-8646 • galaxyhut.com