Lost History: The Old Whitlow’s Bar and Grille

Whitlow’s on Wilson wasn’t always in Arlington. For a really long time, starting around the end of World War II, it was down at 11th and E St. NW. Oliver Carr, a developer, had acquired much of the block in the mid-1980s, in the hopes or revitalizing it with new office and retail space. The same block also held the old M.E. Swing Coffee Company.

By 1989, Whitlow’s had closed down with a guaranteed spot in the new development by Carr. Unfortunately, the project stalled, the marked bottomed out and it never got off the ground.

Whitlow's Restaurant and retail stores at 11th and E Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., photographed before they were demolished to make way for new buildings
Whitlow’s Restaurant and retail stores at 11th and E Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., photographed before they were demolished to make way for new buildings

Tired of waiting around, Gregory D. Cahill moved his business out to Clarendon in 1995, using some of the old furniture, and opened the new Whitlow’s on Wilson.

So, the next time you’re there on a Thursday night, surrounded by hundreds of intoxicated recent college grads (seemingly dominated by UVA, JMU, Penn State and Michigan kids), make sure to share this bit of trivia … also, don’t forget to learn where Arlington County received its name.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Elliot Carlin

    No, Whitlow’s on Wilson was always in Arlington. That’s why “on Wilson” is there.

  • del2124

    That building wasn’t demolished to make way for new buildings. The building is still there: There’s a T-Mobile on the first floor.