The Metropolist

Metropolist: Growing Up With a Dive Bar; Cruises That Got Ladies 'All Shook Up'

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By The Metropolist
Friday, August 28, 2009

We're nearing the end of the alphabet after two years of sharing Washington area memories.

Whitey's

My brother John and I grew up in Falls Church and would often spend weekends with our grandparents in Arlington in the 1960s. After church on Sunday, our grandfather would take us to Whitey's on Washington Boulevard. While John and I sat in a booth sharing an order of fries and drinking Cokes in "short bottles," our grandfather would have a beer at the bar and chat with Whitey. Yes, there really was a Whitey -- Whitey Joy. I remember him as short and balding with white hair around the sides -- he looked kind of like a leprechaun!

Years later, after graduation from college, I lived in my late grandparents' house, which was two blocks from Whitey's. Whitey's hadn't changed at all -- the same deer head on the wall with Christmas lights strung on its antlers, a picture of JFK, the same dining booths. It was a hangout for both bikers and businessmen. Still serving "broasted chicken" and live music from local artists. In the '80s, my friends from college would say: "We found the greatest dive bar! You need to check it out!" The line to get in would wrap around the corner. Friends were surprised to hear that I first went to Whitey's when I was 4.

Sadly, Whitey's was sold in the '90s and turned into an upscale martini bar. What a loss -- one of the last true taverns in Northern Virginia.

-- Roxane Brocato,

Fenwick Island

Wilbur-Rogers

I applied for a sales clerk job at Wilbur-Rogers on F Street in early 1959 and was hired. It was an exciting experience selling clothing to Washington's young women and government employees. I couldn't wait to get to work on those days to see what new and beautiful clothing arrived from their New York headquarters. My salary was 75 cents an hour with an eventual raise to $1 an hour. I worked there until July 1961, when I married.


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