First Look: Pamplona
clarissa | kaylee | Jan 10, 2017 | 12:00PM |

Photos by Clarissa Villondo, Words by Kaylee Dugan

Best if: you love tiny food and big groups. Lunch hours and a solid happy hour would make this place even better.

If you find yourself stranded in Virginia with a handful of your closest friends, I can’t imagine a better place go then Pamplona. Tucked away in a boring little strip mall right by the Clarendon Metro station, Pamplona’s stark and minimal outside hides a beautiful little jewel of a restaurant.


Named after the town in Spain where the running of the bulls is held, Pamplona takes the old school Spanish style and runs wild. Like Social Restaurant Group’s other restaurants (Bonfire, Provision No. 14, and The Prospect) Pamplona is meticulously designed. Primary colors are in full force, as are a variety of textures like sumptuous velvet, rough wood, and smooth ceramic. David Anthony Chenault Interior Design haven’t skimped on a single detail, from the collages of bullfighters to the little bull heads that serve as purse hooks, the theme is in full force.

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Saturday 04/22
Paul Rodriguez LIVE from Original Latin Kings of Comedy @ Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
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Longtime comedian Paul Rodriguez has been making audiences laugh all over the world (in Spanish and English) for nearly three decades with his unique brand of humor that is a perfect blend of his Latin heritage, the American dream and his undeniable universal appeal. As an actor and comedian, Paul Rodriguez’s multi-faceted career includes starring roles and featured appearances in over 45 films and countless television series and comedy specials. Voted one of the most influential Hispanics in America and awarded the Ruben Salazar Award by The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, Rodriguez has remained a constant force in his community and the world of comedy throughout his career. Rodriguez's film credits include "Without Men" with Eva Longoria and Christian Slater; "Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore;" "The Deported," "I’m Not Like That No More"with comedian Felipe Esparza (2010 "Last Comic Standing" winner), Disney’s blockbuster hit "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," "The World’s Fastest Indian," "A Cinderella Story," "How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass," "Ali," "Tortilla Soup," "Crocodile Dundee in LA," "Rat Race," "Bloodwork," "Chasing Papi"and "D.C. Cab," among others. The multifaceted entertainer recently wrote and performed his first-ever one-man show "Just for the Record," which is now available on DVD. In this tell-all theatrical piece, Rodriguez takes audiences on a journey through his remarkable life, including his childhood in Mexico, to his family's move to Compton, California (where he grew up), his illustrious career and the significant relationships and moments that helped shape his life along the way. Rodriguez has hosted several hit series, including the entertainment talk show "El Show de Paul Rodriguez," an entertainment talk show for Univision which reached over 50 markets throughout the United States and an international audience in over 17 countries in Central and South America. His additional hosting credits include the The NCLR ALMA Awards, The Tejano Music Awards, Showtime’s Latino Laugh Festival and his own television specials "Back to School" and "Behind Bars." He recently hosted "Mis Videos Locos with Paul Rodriguez” on Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más. As an accomplished writer, director and producer for television, motion pictures and feature shows, Rodriguez has several hit projects to his credit including the comedy concert film "The Original Latin Kings of Comedy," which he executive produced and starred in along with Cheech Marin, George Lopez and Carlos Mencia; the feature film "A Million to Juan,"which he also wrote, directed and starred in; six comedy specials for HBO including "Loco Slam, " "Live in San Quentin" and "Idiots and Armadillos." As executive producer, he recently struck comedy again with his Comedy Central stand-up concert DVD, “Comedy Rehab.” In addition to his many hit comedy specials in English, Rodriguez has the distinguished credit of performing the first-ever one-hour standup comedy special in Spanish, "Dime Con Quien Andas,"for Telemundo. Among his many credits, Rodriguez has also made guest appearances on several Late Night shows including "The Wanda Sykes Show,""The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Last Call with Carson Daly,"and "Politically Incorrect." Additionally, he has guest starred in several television series including "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List," "Shaken Not Stirred," DIRECTV’s"S upreme Court of Comedy,"Showtime's original series "Resurrection Boulevard"and"American Family." He has also lent his voice to popular animated series including "King of the Hill,""Dora the Explorer" and "The Proud Family." Rodriguez’s first big break came while doing comedy warm-ups for Norman Lear's show "Gloria."Lear ultimately wrote and developed a weekly series for Rodriguez entitled "a.k.a. Pablo," which is enshrined at the Smithsonian and holds the distinct honor for being the first television show about a Mexican American family on mainstream American television.
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And it makes for a beautifully chaotic place to have a meal. The menu, which focuses on pintxos and sangria, means it’s a fantastic spot to come with a variety friends, and the restaurant is more than suited to deal with groups. There are two full bars, a number of smaller tables, booths that could easily fit six plus and a communal sized table that could comfortably accommodate 19.

I don’t find myself in Virginia very often, but I can easily see myself spending a couple hours here drinking frozen sangria and eating serrano ham. And that’s the point. The folks at Pamplona aren’t interested in pushing people out the door. It really does seem like they want you to linger and get comfortable. They’re even plan on bringing in some DJ’s during the weekend just in case you’ve had enough frosé (yes they will have frosé) to forget how bad you are at dancing.


What I’m saying is, if someone put a gun to my head and made me hangout in Virginia, I’d choose Pamplona.

Pamplona is located at 3100 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA and opens tomorrow, January 11. The dining room is open from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday – Wednesday, and stays open until 10:30 p.m. Thursday – Friday. The bars are open 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Sunday – Wednesday and stay open until 1:30 a.m. Thursday – Saturday. The restaurant is closed Mondays.