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B Live’s blinking bar is framed with a mural of music legends like Janis Joplin, Freddie Mercury, and Prince.
Albert Ting/B Live

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A Live Music Venue With a DIY Bloody Mary Bar Zooms Into Clarendon

A Clarendon nightlife group plunks a psychedelic party pad inside the old Whitlow’s on Wilson

Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Fast-growing B Social Hospitality is at it again, this time with an energetic music venue for Clarendon that invites guests to jam out and toast to a wall of rock greats with a customized bloody mary or cereal milk shooter.

B Live is the latest nightlife attraction from the owners of nearby Clarendon Pop-Up Bar, Pamplona, and The Lot, along with brand new D.C. club Alias on 14th under Dolce Vita.

B Live breathes fresh life into the front half of Whitlow’s On Wilson, the beloved watering hole that closed last summer after a 25-year run (2854 Wilson Boulevard). Come summer, a tropical rooftop bar called Coco B’s will fill out the balance of the iconic corner space.

B Social Hospitality owners and Arlington residents Mike and Christal Bramson say they opened B Live to fill a concert void in a neighborhood that’s said goodbye to mainstays like Clarendon Grill, Mister Days, Clarendon Ballroom, and The Bracket Room in recent years.

“Unfortunately, a lot of iconic bars in Clarendon have closed, and with that the live music scene went with it. We love live music and miss having that option. It’s more limited now with bigger venues,” says Mike Bramson.

Five Guys was the rumored replacement to Whitlow’s, but that deal fell through last year and the Bramsons called dibs on the whole two-part project.

A neon “bad decisions make better stories” sign sits on a slick black wall.
Albert Ting/B Live
B Live can seat around 100 guests at a time.
Albert Ting/B Live

Beverage director Josh Odmark’s B Live cocktail list calls for martinis, “man-mosas,” and spiked coffee drinks. A childhood classic gets a grown-up edge at B Live. Cereal milk from Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, and Cocoa Puffs is infused with vodka and liqueur to make mini “cereal bowl shooters,” sent out in four-ounce portions.

B Live’s stage will host live performances five nights a week, with a rotating lineup of acoustic solo performances, bands, and DJs. B Live balloons to a 300-person capacity for shows, with a patio for nearly 50 out front coming soon.

B Live is going for a retro diner feel, complete with a black-and-white checkered floor and stage, album cover collages, and big bulbs over the bar that change colors with the music for a game show-styled effect.

The rocker-chic look is a joint effort between the Bramsons, John Howard of A2Z Music Factory, and longtime friend and general contractor Mike Juliano. The forthcoming Coco B’s piece will take a more feminine approach with lots of pink and feathers.

A “Legends Live Forever” mural by local artists Michael Pacheco and Rodrigo Pradel lines up caricatures of Dave Grohl, Bob Marley, Prince, and Janis Joplin crossing the famed Penny Lane in a Beatles-styled fashion.
Albert Ting/B Live
Sound-enabled light archways over the bar change color based on the music playing.
Albert Ting/B Live
The blinking bar at B Live.
Albert Ting/B Live

The 4,100-square-foot spot to jam out doubles as an all-day brunch destination, complete with a build-your-own bloody mary corner stocked with a dizzying count of hot sauces, mixes, celery, and other fix-ins to assemble the daytime vodka cocktail oneself. The idea for the DIY weekend feature stems from Dewey Beach staple Starboard – and the Bramsons’ first date spot – that’s famously outfitted with a lengthy wall of bloody mary ingredients.

The graffiti-tagged bathrooms at B Live.
Albert Ting/B Live

B Live also plans to bring Delaware’s boozy beach town to Arlington by booking cult cover bands that regularly play there and in neighboring Ocean City, Maryland. Cover charges will fluctuate, depending on the act. Singer Bryen OBoyle of Mr. Greengenes kicks off a three-day weekend opener on Thursday, May 12.

Lahlou Restaurant Group corporate chef Juan Olivera (Dolce Vita, Lupo Verde, Lupo Pizzeria) consults on a comfort food menu set to go live over the next few weeks. Once running on all cylinders, B Live’s hours will kick off daily at 11 a.m. and until 11 p.m. on Sunday to Wednesday and Thursday to Saturday until 2 a.m.

Next up for B Social Hospitality: opening The Cove, an all-outdoor waterfront bar and brewery in Navy Yard by the Fourth of July.

Collages of rock, pop, and rap artists command attention in one corner.
Albert Ting/B Live
Vinyl record covers are showcased as artwork on the walls.
Albert Ting/B Live
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