Tag Archives: Northern Virginia

Uncle Julio’s

My coworkers and I decided to try a little variation from our normal Friday Happy Hour spot last week.  We ventured to Uncle Julio’s in Ballston for a taste of their margaritas.  Arriving just after 5pm, the bar was fairly filled, at least to the point where the five of us couldn’t find a seat there.  Luckily, we were able to sit in the relatively vacant restaurant area (that would later fill up) and still get the happy hour specials.

Mango MargaritaStrawberry Margarita

While we debated on drink orders, it was nice to be able to chow down on tortilla chips and salsa.  This was refilled throughout the visit.  For the first round, everyone ordered a margarita of some variation.  These were priced at a $2.25 discount from the regular price.  My frozen strawberry margaritas rang up as $6 a piece.  I will say this did come as quite the surprise when the check came because the server initially stated that all margaritas were $2.25 (rather than the $2.25 discount).  The drinks around the table were almost all good…with one exception.  The swirl drink was unanimously decided that it tasted like chemicals (more specifically how dog shampoo smells).  Luckily, my friend spoke up to the server and the manager was very nice about coming to speak with us.  He exchanged the drink at no extra charge. Do NOT go to Uncle Julio’s and order the swirl….trust me.  As previously mentioned, the restaurant area quickly filled up with patrons looking for dinner and different intentions than our group’s intention of drinking.  If you do go to Uncle Julio’s just be aware that Friday nights can be rather family-oriented in the restaurant area and you should probably just stay in the bar area if looking for a strictly young crowd.

Dog Shampoo Swirl Margarita

Prior to coming to Uncle Julio’s I was warned of food that was on the expensive side, but that they had cheap drinks.  After visiting, my impression was so-so.  While the staff was friendly and well-intentioned, the terrible drink and miscommunication of happy hour prices left Uncle Julio’s with a warning strike.  If you’re in Ballston, I’d recommend Chevys over Uncle Julio’s for drinks at least.

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The Greene Turtle

The Greene Turtle Exterior

The Greene Turtle may not be flashy, but it certainly is consistent…so far.  I will start this with a caveat that I have only been to the Greene Turtle location in Ballston.  Yes, it may be a trek for you DCers, but I’d certainly hope the other locations could provide a similar experience.  The Ballston location is fairly new, yet it is quickly becoming a favorite work happy hour location of mine.  The happy hour offers $2 rail drinks and $2 domestic beers on tap (select kinds – it’s nothing fancy, but certainly incredibly cheap). The happy food specials are fairly decent.  A gigantic basket of pub fried (with tons of bacon!) is $5.  Well worth it, if you ask me. I have personally not been disappointed with any of the other food I’ve sampled from my coworkers’ plates.

A coworker's standard drink - an Irish Trashcan

The layout of the restaurant is slightly strange and almost everyone I’ve been there with has commented that they could use more bar space.  There is a fair amount of restaurant seating, but the bar gets packed and loud fairly quickly on Friday evenings.  I can’t imagine how this sports bar handles the crowds during big games.  Luckily, our office is less than a 5-minute walk away and someone can generally get there early enough on a Friday to get a table in the bar area.  There are TVs all around the place so as to ensure that you will not miss your favorite sporting event.  I overheard someone saying that it has about 50 TVs throughout the establishment.  If you can’t see the sporting event you are looking to watch, I’m assuming that only reason would be because it’s some obscure sport.

The overall atmosphere at Greene Turtle is jovial and laidback. The wait staff certainly adds to this experience.  They are attentive and more than willing to engage in conversation…that or maybe I just have a very chatty group of coworkers, haha.  I will specifically call out our waitress this past Friday, Kathryn, who memorized everyone’s name just when checking our IDs.  She made our extended happy hour an even better one.  The Greene Turtle is a great experience for big or small groups of people.  The only caveat with larger groups is that you might want to go earlier rather than later to ensure bar seating.  I have never been there that late, but I’ve been told that a DJ starts spinning around 10pm.  There isn’t actual dancing space so I’m not completely certain the purpose of this, but if it’s good music, I will stop sipping the hater-ade.  The Greene Turtle can boast it’s friendly and attentive service, affordable happy hour drinks, and awesome appetizers. I will definitely continue to come here with coworkers.

Vodka Tonic

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