Editors' pick

Clarendon Ballroom

Dance Club, Lounge, Patio/Rooftop, Bar, Nonsmoking

Editorial Review

The Scene: Arlington's largest dance club and live music venue draws hundreds of fun-seeking young professionals Thursday through Saturday for Dewey-friendly cover bands and DJs spinning hip-hop, house, '80s and Top-40 hits. Its sweeping art-deco design, extra-high ceilings, couch-filled lounge areas and a 60-foot bar would be enough to make the Ballroom a destination, but the real draw is the enormous rooftop deck: With more than 2,000 square feet of prime hangout space, including seating and its own bar, the roof is bigger than the interiors of some nearby nightspots. Lindy hoppers take over on Tuesdays, swinging out to rockabilly and jazz.

In Your Glass: Bartenders manning that extra-long bar dispense pints of draft beer, the usual bottles and your basic mixed drinks. Speed is of the essence, especially when 1,000 people are packed in on a Friday night.

On Your Plate: There's a limited sandwich menu if you get hungry, but it's a better idea to eat elsewhere.

Need to Know: No smoking is allowed inside the main ballroom or the downstairs lounge, so if you need a cigarette, you'll have to ascend to the roof. Since lines for rooftop access can be extremely long -- up to a 45-minute wait at peak times -- you might want to pack some Nicorette for the evening.

Nice to Know: Check the calendar on clarendonballroom.com before making plans, as the Ballroom is a popular venue for wedding receptions and private events, which displace regularly-scheduled parties. (For some reason, the Tuesday-night swing dances seem hardest hit.)

Price Points: During the summer, Wednesday and Thursday happy hours on the roof include beers for $2 or less. Cover charge is usually $5 for DJs and $7 to $10 for bands. Arrive before 8 p.m. for free admission.

-- Fritz Hahn (Updated November 2007)