Whitlow's Bar & Grill, a DC staple, closing its doors after 5 decades

It’s the end of an era in Arlington. After five decades ‘Whitlow’s Bar & Grill’ is having its own ‘last call’. It was a staple for years in downtown DC, then for the last past 30 years in Clarendon. Now, thanks in part to the pandemic, it’s closing up.

Over the past year, several bars and restaurants like Whitlow’s have fought to stay alive as shutdowns and restrictions choked off their business. That, and a landlord dispute, played a role in Whitlow’s decision to close its doors. 

"The pandemic has affected everything, especially the restaurant business," Whitlow’s owner said Greg Griffin said. "I mean, there were times we couldn’t even open, they closed us. At first, they said it was going to be two weeks and we were upset about that. We don’t close except for Christmas!" 

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Whitlow’s is a DC-area institution. It opened in the early ’70s and the original E Street location in DC was in the movie "Broadcast News." 

Before they leave, they are holding an online auction of some of the things that made Whitlow unique. On the block are wood bars, neon signs, signed sports jerseys, barware, and memorabilia. Customers say it’s going to take time getting used to not having whitlows in their neighborhood and their lives. 

"The neighbors all love it. You see your friends here, you see your neighbors here you can come for a good meal, you’ll mention you can see a great band do some dancing," one patron told FOX 5. 

Their last night open is this Saturday, June 26, but, Griffin says while they are closing this location down after 30 years, Whitlow’s may one day rise again. They are looking at possible locations in Arlington and DC, so the good times might roll again.