Appetite: Carlyle Canteen Sets Up Shop at Courthouse Park

Appetite: Carlyle Canteen Sets Up Shop at Courthouse Park

It’s slow-going, but Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood is continuing to grow its residential roots. From movie nights to art events, Carlyle is becoming more than its traditional workaday stereotype, filled with 9-to-5ers who skip town as soon as they clock out. And the city is hoping that a weekly happy hour might help grease the wheels of progress even further.

The Carlyle Canteen, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. each Wednesday through Oct. 11, is taking up shop in the Courthouse Square Park at 400 Courthouse Square, nestled between the Westin hotel and the federal courthouse. The location makes it easy for neighbors — residential and business alike — to pop by on their way home for a cold beer, a sampling from one of the D.C. region’s food trucks, and some live music.

“We thought that it would be nice to have guest breweries to come in and have a platform for them to showcase some of their beers,” said Maurisa Potts of Spotted MP, who has partnered with the city to bring this series to life. Expect the likes of Port City Brewing, Mustang Sally Brewing, and Evolution Brewing to join in the fun, as well as food trucks such as the Big Cheese and Rocklands.

Summertime may have turned to autumn, but there’s still plenty of good weather left this year, Potts says — and plenty of reasons to get outdoors after work.

“Summer’s not done! People still want to have something to do before it starts getting cold,” she said. “… We’ve got at least four more good weeks of good weather.”

Here’s how it will work on-site: Guests will pick up a wristband when they enter the park, which allows them to partake of the beverages. And happy-hour pricing will be in full effect, Potts says, making the event an affordable way to kick back midweek after work.

And though the courthouse has been under construction for months, the show must go on. Pay it no mind and come into the park, which remains in good shape despite the overhaul taking place around it.

In fact, the current construction is part of the park’s charm, Potts says.

“It’s a reason why we picked it — it’s a quaint little courtyard, and one side of the courtyard is kind of fenced off,” she said. “People still sit in the park and enjoy the park, so why don’t we activate it with something fun?”

Along with the food and drink, the Free Flowing Musical Experience will be in residence to play a plethora of acoustical tunes each week.

“It’s just something fun, a fun initiative for the residents and tenants in Carlyle to break up the week and have a hump-day happy hour,” Potts said. “… It gives an opportunity for residents to meet their neighbors.”

Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at Email her any time at