Heights Pub logo
'Closing at 11 p.m. is what we’ve traditionally done in Arlington ....'
-- Diane Mahon

After 14 months of potentially mind-numbing isolation, vaccines now make it possible for us to dine out again. Safely.

Fortunately, Arlington has three great ways to do this: 

Great news, gastronomes! The long-awaited Arlington Heights pub seeks to open next month, as unanimously approved by the Select Board on Monday, May 10.

At 1314 Mass Ave, site of the former Balich 5 & 10, the pub can seat 73 patrons, and serve a wide variety of fare, including steaks, seafood, pasta, tacos, burgers, sandwiches/paninis, salads, soups/chowders and pizza.

James O'Rourke, the pub owner, told YourArlington on May 12: "We will have a full liquor license. Until Covid-related restrictions are relaxed, no sitting directly at the bar. We intend to work with the [Board of Health] on whether we will put tables against the bar."

Hours of operation 

The Heights Pub will be open daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

The pub originally planned to stay open to midnight on Wednesdays through Saturdays, but the board voted to have it close nightly at 11.

“Closing at 11 p.m. is what we’ve traditionally done in Arlington, except for special circumstances, such as New Year’s Eve. No other establishment has done that, and I’d like to keep it uniform with the rest of the town,” said board member Diane Mahon. 

Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019

Furthermore, other establishments, such as Town Tavern and Menotomy Grill & Tavern, don’t have residents living above and across the street, added Mahon. 

Board member Len Diggins said, “Since this is the first business of its kind in the Heights, it may be good to ease into it. If all goes smoothly, we can explore the possibility of extending hours throughout the town.”

Board Chair Steve DeCourcey concurred. “I lean toward 11 p.m. for now, with an invitation to come back in a few months for Fridays and Saturdays for after 11 p.m.”

“The uniformity arguments make sense. We need to be forward thinking, but cautious. I’m OK with starting at 11 p.m., but invite the applicant to keep this conversation going with us, so the board can contemplate later hours done in responsible way,” said board member Eric Helmuth.

Board member John Hurd said, “I’m excited about this, as are my fellow neighbors in the Heights. I’m fine approving closing at 11 p.m. every night for uniformity, but we need a discussion of the 11 p.m. cut-off for all our businesses. Other towns have businesses open to 12 a.m. or 1 a.m., competing with our establishments.” 

Michael Bettencourt, attorney for pub owner James O’Rourke, stated that closing at 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays would have an impact on sales. “If we’re open 'til midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, it would help us out, especially in this economic climate.” 

However, Bettencourt agreed to the closing-time adjustment. “I’m amenable to anything requested by the Select Board. What works best for Arlington works best for us.”

Farmers’ market returns June 9

Mark your calendars: The 24th Arlington Farmers’ Market opens Wednesday, June 9, as unanimously approved by the board.

Located again in the Russell Common Parking Lot, Arlington Center, produce and other vendors will offer their wares every Wednesday, 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., through Oct. 29. 

“We had a successful year in 2020, despite the pandemic. We received many compliments and thanks from customers, and many people said they felt safe shopping at an outdoor market during the pandemic,” said Market Manager Patsy Kraemer. 

People will still be required to wear masks at the market, and to socially distance. However, this year, customers can pick out their own produce―unlike last year, when customers had to point to, and vendors pick up, the items, added Kraemer.

“I look forward to the farmers’ market, and recommend an action plan if the mask issue comes into play with community policing, and how to deescalate if necessary,” said Mahon.

“There was only one mask-related incident last year, and the person eventually complied. If someone became belligerent, I wouldn’t hesitate to call police,” responded Kraemer.

Hurd also eagerly anticipates the farmers’ market. “It’s a real asset in town,” he said. 

D’Agostino’s food store under new management

The board unanimously approved Samuel Peter D’Agostino as the store’s new owner.

In the Heights at 1297 Mass. Ave., D’Agostino’s continues to be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and offer the same range of excellent food products. 

See the ACMi video of the May 10 meeting:

May 5, 2021: Select Board eyes returning to limited in-person meetings by July

This news summary, by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert, was published Wednesday, May 12, 2021, and updated May 24, to add ACMi video window.