Monday, June 8, 2009

Transitioning to a New Watering Hole

A few weeks ago, Andrew and I moved to Tysons Corner following my graduation from William and Mary in Williamsburg.  I grew up in Clifton and thought I knew the surrounding suburbs well.  Andrew lived in Fairfax Station for 4 years, and is familiar with DC, but has spent very little time exploring the 'burbs.  Together, we should have been a fantastic team to move in together in Northern Virginia.  Alas, I do not know the area as well as I thought I did.  The truth of the matter is that whenever my mission took me as far as Tysons from Clifton, I was going shopping at the mall.  Tysons Corner shopping is fantastic, but it is such a small part of the place where we now live and work.  

Coming from Williamsburg, we were both very expectant.  We had high hopes for what this area could offer us.  Williamsburg is a beautiful town, with a lot of history, but for a young couple with unending energy, Williamsburg moves very slowly.  Still, we have our favorite places there to eat, to get drinks, to see a movie or to buy a pair of jeans.  Tysons presents us with many new and exciting things.  I told Andrew yesterday as he expressed his feelings of detachment from everything we knew and were used to, "I'm glad for that.  This is our home now, and that gives us a million new and urgent reasons to make new friends and to explore our surroundings."  

Tysons has a lot to offer us.  However, the one thing we have been unable to replicate from Williamsburg, that we wish we could, is our favorite "town watering hole" - The Green Leafe.  There aren't exactly 'bars' in Williamsburg, per se.  The college students refer to the trio of pubs on the corner of Richmond Rd. and Scotland St. as "the delis".  This trio is comprised of The Green Leafe, Paul's Deli, and The College Delly.  During the day, these places are normal small, quaint restaurants.  The Green Leafe is a traditional pub, Paul's is a sports bar, and College Delly is...well, it's a bit of a dive.  At night, the delis come alive with activity.  The flow of students and townies into the delis is slowed only by the bouncers, checking IDs as people enter.  

What made the Green Leafe so special for us, and different from other bars that we have tried out in Northern Virginia?  
The Green Leafe was so close to us.  For the majority of the time we lived in Williamsburg, we could walk there from our residences.  Inside, the place was filled with friendly people, who were open to meeting people, and not afraid to act silly.  The bartenders knew our names and we knew theirs.  They took care of us, and we took care of them.  If we had a moment of introspection, they would draw us out of it and back to the public scene, where we were surrounded by friends and laughing.  Every 21st birthday celebration was held there, and for that matter, 22nd, 23rd and 24th birthdays as well.  The food was good, the prices were good, and the beer selection was incredible.  30 beers on tap, and tons more in the bottle.  Drink specials every night of the week.  We're not alcoholics, but we enjoy to go out occasionally for a drink or two, and if we have the urge to do that on a Tuesday night, we know that the Green Leafe is having "pint night".  Or, if we've been buried under a pile of work and need to get out for some air and some stress-free laughs, we can build ourselves up to attend "mug night" on Sunday.  Some might say the Green Leafe became the center of our social lives in Williamsburg.  

Now, nothing seems good enough in Northern Virginia for Andrew.  I've found places around us that seem comparable, and we would get used to them as we were to the Green Leafe if we spent some more time there.  We'd get to know the bartenders, and find "our table" and learn the weekly specials.  But the one thing that these local Northern Virginia pubs will never have that the Green Leafe does is the memories of our college days.    

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