The Not-so Murkey Low-down on Northside Social

For many, the shuttered building at the corner of N. Fairfax Dr. and Wilson Blvd. in Clarendon was a sad state of affairs. An Arlington area mainstay, Murkey Coffee was a great blend of quality and careless comfort. The quintessential un-Starbucks, the coffees were clean and pure, and the spaces were functional and unpolished. High step your way over extension chords and power strips to an array of miss-matched tables and chairs, or make your way upstairs to the couches they may have pulled off the front porch of a frat house.

It was great! And it was popular.

Well, 3211 Wilson has gone though what I believe is a brilliant transformation. Northside Social Coffee & Wine took over the space that had suddenly been vacated by Murkey Coffee and have added their own touch inside and out.

The Spaces

With the transformation beginning in the front, the folks at Northside Social reworked the somewhat dilapidated corner formerly occupied by a  crumbled patio area and a handful of dare-devil parking spaces. The parking spaces have been filled and turned into additional patio area and much more usable sidewalk for passers by. As far as curb appeal, this change is a good one. Sure those few spaces of free parking are gone, but your auto insurance provider is happy about that.

Inside, the main level has been polished up and now has a more consistent feel. However, the brilliance here is that they seem to have stayed just true enough the the Murkey “carelessness” to not alienate the former Murkey crowd, yet they have made things more inviting to others as well. A downside is the lack of power sources out at the floating tables. The upside is it somehow feels bigger in there now, with more seating. I don’t know if that is actually true, but it feels that way. This is true of the back room beyond the coffee bar as well. The amount of space is the same, but somehow it feels less cramped than before, yet with more seating.

Upstairs is where you will find the biggest transformation. Under Murkey management the upstairs felt neglected and hap-hazard. Not anymore. The folks at Northside Social have completely re-worked the flow beginning with a relocated stair case. The space is now clean and well laid out, and includes a wine bar for the evenings.

The Offerings

I always appreciated that Murkey Coffee seemed more thoughtful about their coffee’s than most. It appears that Northside Social has upped the ante. Not only are they offering coffee service that is being overseen by their uber-passionate head barista. They have a somilier to handle their wine offerings and a head chef to manage the culinary side. Altogether Northside Social is bringing the Clarendon area of Arlington a triple play of experience, each of which is unique in its domain.

On top of the services Northside Social is hosting events ranging from wine tasting to Yoga classes.

The Hours

Now here is where the Orange Line corridor crowd can really benefit from at Northside Social. If you are wanting to get out of the condo or apartment to work on that project of yours, yet don’t want to be kicked out at 10pm, Northside Social is your place. Open until Midnight on Wednesdays, and until 2am on Thursday through Saturday you can work your week away over a late night espresso, a fine argentinian red, or a Belgian hefeweizen.

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  • Java Shack and Bocato Gelato and now Iota are all great coffee shops as well!!! Just found your blog…glad I did because I live right around the corner from Northside and I love where I live!!!

    • ColinStorm

      Danielle – Thanks for reading. Great suggestions, thanks! I love finding new places to try out for coffee. I also love your blog, we are big time Craigslist junkies!