Long-time beer bar Dr. Dremos closed its doors in the Clarendon district of Arlington, Virginia, in January of 2008.
Originally opened in the early 1990s as a brewpub, called Bardo Rodeo, Dremo's became a victim of the neighborhood's gentrification. The landlord, deciding to redevelop the land, razed the building and replaced it with ... an empty field. Poor timing: business conditions would soon go south.
Owner Andrew Stewart auctioned most (but not all) of the paraphernalia and went south as well, literally. South to Columbia, South Carolina, where he opened a bar —Elbow Room— in October of this year.
Dremo's was known for its adventuresome beer list but also for its funky devil-may-care 'tude and decor (and, when it was Bardo Rodeo, its home-brewed beers and a brawl involving a Kennedy family member). When it closed, Dremo's took a lot of local beer history from that now vacant field.
Now, Andrew has plans to come back, and to bring back Dr. Dremo's. He would like to open in spring of 2010 in a new location in Clarendon. I talked with him about his plans.
What will you call the new place?
Where will it be?
In Clarendon, near the Metro station. The building exists already, but it's essentially a shell that will need a kitchen, bathrooms, HVAC, etc. The building is 2,400 square ft but has the ability to be expanded to roughly 4,500 sq ft. There will also be another 3-4000 square feet for outdoor seating.
Will you be brewing on-site? (as did Bardo Rodeo —Dr. Dremo's predecessor, opened in the early 1990s by Andrew's
No, there won't be a brewery, but we will be a multi-tap with 25-40 taps (depending on how big of a walk in I can get in there). I would like to have some house brews contracted for me (I still have the Bardo recipes) —if I can find someone who brews in small enough batches. I can't take 100 kegs at a time.
No plans for a cask ale system.
What's your idea of the look of the place? And the food?
It'll be a Dr. Dremo's clone, recreating many facets of the previous location, including some of the old decor. The main attractions will be an extensive lineup of draft beer and an unpretentious atmosphere. The state of Virginia requires restaurants with a beer and liquor license to sell fifty per cent food, but an establishment with a beer-and-wine-only license needs to to sell five percent food. So, no liquor and 'quick' food such as burritos, sandwiches, nachos, hummus, chips and salsa, and the like.
UPDATE 2010.03.05: DCist.com reports that negotiations for this location have proved unfruitful, and that a different, larger, again undisclosed, location is planned.
- Per Andrew Stewart's request, you can get more information here.
- History of Dr. Dremo's and Bardo Rodeo here
- YFGF covered Dremo's closing here.
- More photos of the original location here.
- A reader pointed out my typo. It was Andrew's older brother Bill who opened the original Bardo Rodeo. Their father, Bill, did however help out, and was still often seen at Dremo's before it closed.