No doubt about it, Downtown Arlington is booming right now, with new developments and destinations busting out all over—such as Urban Union, a highly-walkable, mixed-used district of converted industrial buildings that’s tucked between Abram and Division streets near the heart of downtown. If you haven’t yet checked it out, here’s a sneak peek:
Board & Brush Creative Studio
Ahh Pinterest…my dazzling mothership for beautiful photography, inspirational quotes and creative project ideas. Well, the first two for sure. My creative projects? That’s a bit more “complicated.” You heard it here folks: my Pinterest projects never end up like photos. There I said it. Perhaps it’s because I have been doing this unattended for song long. But Board & Brush to the rescue! This DIY studio, offering group events and classes, lets you make beautiful wooden signs that DON’T end up as a “Pinterest Fail” walk of shame to the trash can. In a couple of hours, under the guidance of patient instructors, even an arts-and-crafts rookie like me can finally shine! Board & Brush is a great option for group outings and girls’ nights (yes, you can drink wine while you paint!), but don’t be shy about signing up for a group class on your own. Either way, there’s no prep, no supply purchases and no clean-up required, as everything’s included in your studio fee. Watch a video about the Board & Brush experience.
4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge
I’m a beach girl at heart, so if I can’t have sand between my toes, I want the next best thing….a fruity cocktail that makes me feel oceanside. So now you’ll know why I love with 4 Kahunas Tiki Lounge so much. This stylish craft cocktail destination specializes in rum-based concoctions that feature freshly-squeezed juices, bright colors, umbrellas, and other whimsical garnishes. My favorite is the orange peel butterfly that flutters atop the rim of the Lady Angelica (I actually took said butterfly home to adorn my water glass later that night). All this yumminess is served in charming setting that is soundtracked with tropical music. Other menu items worth checking out include the Blackbeard’s Ghost (rum, orange juice, lemon juice, special spices, and apricot brandy), the Missionary’s Downfall (blended rum, peach, lime, and mint, served for two); or the Volcano Bowl (a tempting blend of four rums and fruit juices that’s big enough for the table). Wear a Hawaiian shirt, put a flower in your hair, and plan to stay a while.
Legal Draft Beer Company
Even a self-proclaimed “wine girl” enjoys a beer sometimes….especially when it’s the good stuff! One of the founding members of Arlington’s emerging craft beer scene is Legal Draft Beer Company, a family-and-dog friendly “production taproom” (which means they brew their own beer on site). Enjoy a satisfying, well-made brew (or two) in a laid-back atmosphere, indoors or outside. The menu is packed with cleverly-named offerings like Legal Blond Lager, Presumed Innocent IPA and Barley Legal, served on tap. Or ask for it in a very cool can that’s worth collecting, if that’s your thing. Under-21 types and designated drivers can chug-a-lug the Legal Draft Moot Beer (root beer) OR bring a non-alcoholic drink. The Legal Draft folks are cool like that. Here’s something else to know about Legal Draft: it’s a great destination for events and experiences, including beer flights and taproom tours; plus, the brewery regularly plays host to food truck events, sing-a-longs, painting parties, yoga sessions and more.
Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery
Gorgeous meets delicious at Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery, where you can spend a leisurely morning enjoying coffee and breakfast surrounded by the oh-so-heavenly aroma of freshly baked temptations—or, stop by anytime to pick up a dozen cookies, cupcakes, or cake pops, or place an order for a beautiful Sugar Bee signature or custom cake for your next special occasion. Fun fact: Sugar Bee was recently featured on “Dallas Cakes,” a Food Network show about over-the-top Dallas cake creations. Watch here.
The Tipsy Oak
One of the newest residents of Urban Union is The Tipsy Oak. This retro icehouse-styled restaurant and full bar offers craft food and beverages served with sides of live music and rustic chic vibes. The Tipsy Oak, which I’m told was a former Arlington residence, boasts a chef-driven menu that is loaded with gourmet comfort food, including fried pickle chips, hand-cut fries and a signature cheeseburger (The Tipsy Smash). There’s even a fish-and-chips option that features fish battered with the Smash and Grab IPA from Legal Draft. As someone that is lactose intolerant, I could only fantasize about their Smoked Gouda Queso and Brisket Grilled Cheese Sandwich, but if you see me there, order them for yourself and let me know what you think! I’ll live vicariously through you.
Brewing Arts Festival, September 13-15
This three-day block festival in Downtown Arlington’s Urban Union will brew up more than just delicious craft beer. On Friday and Saturday, enjoy FREE admission to Brewing Arts Festival to experience more than 100 visual artists selling and commissioning original art works. See a kids' maker/creator area, original music by local favorites, DJs, and other performing artists. Don’t miss Thursday night for an exclusive, VIP ticketed dedication of new works commissioned by the Downtown Arlington Mural Project.
Urban Union is just one chapter in the Downtown Arlington story—discover more things to do in Downtown Arlington here.