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Is Arlington Ready for Bars?

Let us know by posting a comment below, and we’ll recap your responses early next week.

There is no question that Arlington has become more “alcohol-friendly” in recent years.

Just this spring, to add two more liquor-store licenses in town and gave Selectmen the ability to grant beer-and-wine licenses to the town’s theaters for the first time ( ).

But one question does remain: Is Arlington ready for bars?

Now, yes, some restaurants in Arlington do have “bars,” , , and , for example. But we mean full, check-your-ID-at-the-door, open-past-11 bars.

Tell us what you think by posting a comment below, and we’ll recap your responses early next week.

ken August 21, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Jack, 1) The leaf blower ban is idiotic, and have the Arlington police enforce it is even more idiotic. 2) I walk the bike trail every day going to work and coming home, and I have yet to run into these "crackheads", so I'm not sure what the police are supposed to keep an eye out for. 3) Not every bar has fights, most are able to provide an enjoyable environment to have a few beer and listen to some live music. It really is about the type of crowed that the bar is trying to attract, and for a bar opening in Arlington, I don't see them going to a rowdy collage crowd. 4) As for the Arlington PD being stretched to thin, if this is true, then maybe it's time to increases there budget so that they are able to hire more officers.
Bill Williams August 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
It's right up there with leaf blower initiatives by Town Meeting members and their ilk. We already have enough drugs in town. No to bars!!
Drew August 21, 2012 at 05:48 PM
If the town hall rats want increased tax revenue, instead of appealing to alcoholics they should encourage the growth of the mainstream less expensive retail stores that people, including myself, have to constantly leave Arlington every day to shop in such as a nicely landscaped Market Basket, Walmart's or Targets instead of high priced small shops that the majority of people could care less about and are here today and gone tomorrow anyway.. Arlington, you see, talks out of both sides of it's mouth. On one hand they will say as they have for years, that stores like these will "cheapen" the town LOL...but tons of seedy bars, package stores and booze in the movie theaters won't???? It took an act of God to allow Duncan Donuts and then Starbucks to be allowed in here and so far it doesn't look like these chains have "corrupted" the town anymore than it already is or "cheapened" the look of drab and lackluster Mass Ave.
sebastiank August 21, 2012 at 05:59 PM
No thanks. Just read what residents of the North End experience on a weekend night. Better to maintain the value of the homes and keep crime rate low than have bars, which would add no value to the city relative to the costs for additional policing and impact on the community. The crime rate in Arlington is quite comparatively low in relation to Cambridge, Somerville, or Boston. As the biotech firms move into Cambridge, bringing working couples with small children into the area, Arlington is well-positioned to benefit as a town with low crime, moderate housing costs, and good schools in proximity to jobs. There is a lot of research that has demonstrated a strong correlation between bars and crime rates. If anyone tells you that having bars will enhance the value of Arlington, then they are selling you a bag of goods. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-9125.1991.tb01086.x/abstract http://www.popcenter.org/library/crimeprevention/volume_04/07-BlockBlock.pdf If Arlington needs to grow tax revenues, there are probably many more options that could also increase the quality of life in Arlington.
Calvin August 21, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Will some of the elected officials still have beer pong?
inthegloaming August 21, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Well, I was about to weigh in with a "yes" on allowing bars, if only because I generously (or naively?) think there are enough mature adults in Arlington to responsibly handle their liquor without becoming a menace to their neighbors. After all, drinking in a bar is far more expensive per glass than drinking at home: anyone who wants to get stupidly plastered probably does it at home already, so they don't have to get off the couch to drive home before they pass out. But reading these comments has put me on the fence, now, leaning toward NO, not ready and don't really need them here, there are plenty of other options. Sebastiank makes good points based on research, not prejudice. ("Welfare Office"? Sheesh.) But I'd say "YES, please!" to Target, BJ, Costco. And I'd still shop the higher end, individual merchants.
inthegloaming August 21, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Best argument, based on facts and common sense suggestions. I was about to say "yes" to bars, but you changed my mind. Thank you.
inthegloaming August 21, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Italians drink heavily too, not just Anglo Saxons. This article makes me think it's not bars that need to be banned, it's *young men in their 20s*! They're the one making all the ruckus. Still, point taken. But I hope you are wrong about Arlington's future. I've liked living here these past 30 years.
inthegloaming August 21, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Granny: 1st, do you know that when you make personal comments like "Come back to earth, people!" the people will then tend to resist considering your countering opinion because you've just belittled them personally? We're not your grand kids that you can spank. Pointing out that theres no room in overbuilt Arlington is sufficient. Good point. Not sure it's true, though, will have to look into it and suggest some locations. Oh, and yes please on the woodland with ducks! Except then we'd have even more wildlife for people to get hysterical about. (Where there is water and shelter, like Spy Pond and Menotomy, there will be critters. Personally, as a city kid, I'm rather fond of the wildlife that travels through my yard looking for trash on their way to the restaurant dumpsters. I feel bad for them too: we've paved paradise, put up a parking lot. Not much for them to survive on in our overly groomed, pesticided lawns.) So yes to the woodland! I'll forego my Costco for that alternative! Great suggestion, not at all ridiculous. "Shoot for the moon: even if you fail, you'll still land among the stars."
Wind Dummy 25 August 21, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Of course it is ready...Jeesh this is the 21st century! We need sports bars, dive bars, classy bars, martini bars, biker bars, gay bars, multilevel bars, basement bars, roof bars, juice bars, bars connected to jail bars, seedy bars, and of course cigar bars! Of course their loud, that's where the fun is! Just play by the rules like everywhere else. Unless you can afford lawyers and do without a car for a spell. Hey Granny, nobody said anything about Walmarts etc...let some people have some fun, you want some ducks there is plenty off them fouling up the res water with trails at Busa farm....Take a walk there while its still there!
inthegloaming August 21, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Um, actually, more than one person DID mention those outlet stores. I'll let you have the fun of reading the comments to go find Waldo(mart). I'm 80% sure you're joking about biker bars, etc. (One never knows with the commenters here, especially those of us too cowardly (self protective!) to use our real names: we'll write all kinds of weird stuff!) there are plenty of places for people to have fun that doesn't mean disturbing others. I was leaning yes, thinking people could be trusted to monitor their own behavior while drinking! What was I thinking!? They can bare,y manage themselves sober! (No, I'm not referring to you! You're fine. A bit hyperbolic, maybe, but hy, what's a little hyperbole amongst Patch commenters? ;-p )
Ben August 21, 2012 at 08:36 PM
A rowdy collage bar would be really great for all the yuppies moving into town. They could do scrapbooking and quilting too.
inthegloaming August 21, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Sarah W.: your post showed up in my email, but not here so I guess you deleted it. (Afraid the suggestion of making Arlington attractive to "yuppies" would get you tarred/feathered/run out of town by the "I'm a 'Real'Townie" bunch? ;-) ) I'm sorry if you did, you made some really good points, and now I'm back on the fence, getting an ouchy wedgie in this position.
Aussie Lover August 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Absolutely! But good ones like Back Bar, The Hawthorne, Drink, etc.
SteveM August 21, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I think part of the problem is when people think of bars they think of the rowdy, dive bars that you find very close to the Arlington border. Nothing like that has to open in Arlington. Open up a classy, upscale bar with a dress code. Some nice decor, a lounge where people can talk, and maybe some live jazz bands or singers on Friday or Saturday nights. Keep it upscale and expensive enough to keep out the boozers, and enforce the dress code to keep out the riff-raff. The bars that cause problems are none of the above. And just as a note, I can appreciate peoples concerns about drunk driving and such - but I just want to point out that people who go into Boston to party: Well the MBTA shuts off early, cabs are expensive, how do you think they get back into Arlington? I would argue that people wouldn't be likely to make the trip to Arlington to go to a bar, but having a local place in walking distance of the residents might just cut down on drunk drivers returning home from other towns.
Tim August 22, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Beer Pong Is for private homes ..... heck its only Booze .. Whats the big deal officer? The last thing Arlington Needs IS BARS..... This Is comming from An ex bouncer who worked many years on Cape Cod at one of the toughest Bars ..... Many nights breaking up fights at 2am ..... On second thought maybe we should have bars in Arlington. I miss landing a good pop or two ......
Alan August 22, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Private homes owned by terrible politicians for underage drinkers
Zoltan August 22, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Subtle erosion of the quality of life people have come to expect in Arlington. What's next? "Is Arlington Ready for Strip Joints?" or "Is Arlington Ready for Slot Parlors?" If I wanted to live in Billerica I'd move there. I understand that restaurants in town would probably go out of business without the ability to serve alcohol and fraternal organizations actually contribute something to the community and are seldom problematic, but bars will inevitably cause problems for their neighbors, police and the community.
Ragav Khosla August 22, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I'm totally baffled by some of the responses. Looking at some of the bars in Cambridge such as Christophers, Temple Bar, West Side Lounge and the likes and then in Somerville, with PJ Ryans, The Burren etc I fail to see how those places attract the type of clientele that is going to be rowdy and those bars are close to the Universities in the area. Living in Arlington, who other than Arlington residents would want to come to a bar here? What else does Arlington have to offer in terms of social activities? Ton's of eateries? I think not. I'm also surprised to see comments about DUI. People will DUI regardless of where they live and go to because they think that they will get away with it. As a resident I hear the negatives but cant help but feel people think a seedy bar would be opened that serves cheaper beer, serves wings and the likes and is basically similar to Hooters. I dont think that is what is being proposed, well at least I hope not. Someone mentioned a place perhaps like Ryles, which I personally think would be well suited to the town.
Tim August 23, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Zoltan you are correct . I feel the same way .... If i wanted to live In Swillerica I would have Bought in Swillerica,,,,,
ACMcG August 24, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I'm surprised and disappointed to see such sweeping generalizations as if opening a bar in Arlington would turn it into a low class town with drunks and bums everywhere. Is that who lives here...because I doubt Arlington is going to attract a raucous crowd. As much as I love our town, it's not exactly a destination for party-goers. There are, and will continue to be, plenty of alternatives for a younger or rowdier crowd. I think Sebastiank raised several good points... but if we're talking about a nice upscale-ish bar that attracts a different clientele than a place with dollar drafts, then I'm not so sure it would be a bad thing. Opening a bar in Arlington isn't going to put more drunk drivers on the streets. People are going to drink - and drive - and generally make bad decisions whether the bar is in Boston or Arlington. However, a nice bar in Arlington would be a better alternative for locals in terms of location and revenue for the town. Maybe it would be helpful to look at what Black Horse Tavern has done (both good and bad) for Winchester.
Tim August 24, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Revenue for the town ? Or do you mean revenue for some politician who will have some kind of involvement in it and will profit from it , or even better an ex politician who has realestate ties or even better is an agent . This Bar talk smells worse then stale beer after a beer pong game
ACMcG August 24, 2012 at 04:40 PM
What an interesting perspective. I wasn't even thinking about politicians but rather about the town and residents in it. Like it or not, young couples and families are making their way to Arlington. A bar appeals to me as well as my neighbors and friends - many new to the area and planning to raise families in Arlington - as a place to grab a glass of wine and socialize with friends.
Tim August 24, 2012 at 05:51 PM
ACMcG ... I agree with you in some ways. It would be nice to have a place like that . But with only mass ave as the business district parking is huge problem .. Well all forget so quickly the winter of 10 where you couldn't even get down some streets . . As for my politician connection . We have a selectmen who's father is the head of inspectional services ...a former selectmen who is now trying to make a living selling property . It's all to fishy for me ...
Zoltan August 24, 2012 at 09:41 PM
This illusion of nicely attired gentlemen sniffing wine corks at piano bars in Arlington seems unrealistic. The fact of the matter is that bar owners will do whatever it takes to make the most money. Young single men with a lot of testosterone and plenty of disposible income will win out over budget conscious forty-something foursomes who nurse a single bottle of wine for three hours over cordial conversation.
inthegloaming August 24, 2012 at 10:29 PM
So is your illusion. And so is slippery slope Armaggedon hysteria. I'm not sure why we're careening between extremes here. We will not have monocled highbrows in silk ascots any more than we'll have tester one-poisoned houligans. (Theyll prefer The Black Rose in Boston where the bouncers are ex- current IRA. More fun!) Arlington Bar owners don't want the extra trouble or the extra insurance (not to mention bouncer payroll). AND the town won't allow a place that attracts that anyway. It will be the middle demographic that makes up the majority of the town that these places would cater to. The other two profiles you mention are the exception, if they are even a factor at all. Maybe instead of subjective wild imaginings in either direction, some fact-based research, as referred to by Sebastiank early on, would be a more worthwhile use of time before any bar first/food optional establishments are approved.
inthegloaming August 24, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Testosterone- poisoned houligans! I really hate auto(never)correct!
Tim August 27, 2012 at 12:03 PM
inthegloaming and the rest of the liberal quacks..... See tonights selectmens meeting Menotomy Traven Owner William Lyons ... I think I have said enough when i said former politicians having a stake in the Booze Business in Town. This smells worse then bare feet and vomit...
ACMcG August 27, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Tim: calling names is immature, reflects ignorance, and diminishes your credibility.
Tim August 27, 2012 at 06:19 PM
ACMcG... What names have I called anyone ? Liberal Quacks ? Oh sorry ..

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