Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Experience Upper King Street!

By the Gastronomes

Experience Upper King Street!

With the Christmas and Holiday shopping season upon us, we thought we would take a different approach to Dining Out. As we all know, there are many very fine restaurants and shops in Old Town Alexandria, so we thought we would recommend a few spots to grab a bite to eat as well as long standing go-to shops for just about anything.

When I talk about upper King Street I am referring to west of Washington Street. Here you will find unique shops as well as eateries for a quick lunch during your shopping break or a nice dinner afterward.

Our first restaurant is our friends at Mackie’s Bar and Grill. This restaurant is properly named. Out front is a neighborhood bar that is frequented by industry folks. The friendly vibe is a result of that Cheers axiom…Everybody knows your name! To new customers it may seem a bit rowdy, but in fact, it is everyone having a good time.

The bar food is very good ranging from my favorite, pot stickers, to onion soup to great steak dinners. Their burger is rated number one in Alexandria. Between the dining room and bar area they have 8 tv’s showing different sporting events on each one. The place is also a Green Bay Packers retreat so when the Packers play it is pretty crowded. A recent addition, and a very cool one, is a projector that projects sporting events on their large plate glass front window. The perfect spot to watch a football game al fresco and order a game day special. You will feel like you are in the box seats at the stadium. Time to breakout the heaters!

The dining room in the back is a different story – consisting mostly of four tops in a room bathed in warm rugged colors. This is a place you can get that uptown prime New York Strip steak in a relaxing environment. The steaks at Mackie’s are spot on as are the offerings on the balance of the menu. Once again it is a great place to catch a game over a very nice dinner.

I also have to mention their brunch. They have all the egg dishes and more but their hash browns are killer and the Eggs Benedict are perfect with one suggestion…if you like dark toast, you may want to ask them to toast your English muffin a bit longer. Don’t forget to order that $5 Bloody Mary or $3 Mimosa!

In the same block as Mackie’s you will find a very unique store…Ten Thousand Villages selling fair-trade crafts and housewares from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Shopping here is an eye-opening experience and the choices will amaze you. “They are more than just a store, they are a way for you to shop with intention, shop your values and connect with your global villages.”

At 1124 King Street you will find Imagine Artwear, a longtime business in Alexandria. When the Old Town Crier was first published in 1988, owner Carol Suplee was one of the first advertisers and continues to advertise to this day. Imagine Artwear means just what the name implies. They showcase the best in contemporary American crafts, selling sophisticated clothing, jewelry and accessories made exclusively by American artists. Imagine is a gallery dedicated to displaying the talents of weavers, painters, surface designers, jewelers, potters, glass artists and furniture makers. Here, you will find something that you like and want!

If this shopping has made you hungry or thirsty, head on back to the 700 block of King Street to the Village Brauhaus. The Brauhaus opened in 2018 and was greeted by the pandemic. Not a good time to open a business but Bill Gross and wife Chelsey made it happen. Since then, the skilled and experienced chefs and staff have proven to please with quality interpretations of classic German/Bavarian dishes and daring new ventures into the unchartered territories of food and drink. If you have a favorite German dish…they have it as well as a huge selection of German beers. Their brats are the best. You have to try their imported Giant Bavarian Pretzel. You may think you can’t eat it all, but you will. I couldn’t put mine down.

Directly across the street from Village Brauhaus is one of Old Town’s oldest and one of our longtime favorite restaurants/bar. Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub was opened by friends and family with a passion for their Irish heritage and a desire to bring traditional Irish food and entertainment to their community. Since 1978 (and I was there), people have been meeting at Murphy’s to enjoy hearty meals in an atmosphere that puts everyone who enters in a good mood.

In addition to great food (you have to try their Irish Stew on a cold day), they also provide entertainment every night. This place is old style. If you are out shopping on a very cold day, check out Murphy’s blazing fire in the middle of the room and enjoy a perfectly poured Guinness!

Discover upper King Street in Old Town Alexandria this Holiday season. There is much to do and many and varied eating establishments to be explored. If you are looking for something to do with the kids on New Year’s Eve, check out Alexandria First Night celebration. The entertainment starts at the King Street Metro with and is a family affair. See details in the calendar section of this issue.

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