We will soon be adding additional businesses in the 23rd street area. Until then, check out: Freddie’s Beach Bar.
Freddie Lutz has lived and worked in the same neighborhood for most of his life. His family moved to the area when his father was stationed at the Pentagon, and he has spent his entire career working in and running restaurants on 23rd Street.
After attending college at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, Lutz returned to Arlington and began working for Mr. Sergio Micheli at The Portofino Restaurant. The Micheli family then asked Freddie to manage Café Italia, which was also on 23rd Street. Freddie managed Café Italia for 25 years, but eventually decided he wanted to open his own restaurant. With his brother as a silent partner, Freddie bought a sports bar on 23rd Street in 2001 and turned it into Freddie’s Beach Bar, the only gay bar in Northern Virginia. Because Lutz advertised Freddie’s as a “straight-friendly gay bar”, it became a safe haven for LGBTQIA+ military personnel working in the nearby Pentagon in the years before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed.
With its Saturday night drag shows, nightly bar and restaurant, family-friendly brunches, and even tea parties for kids, Freddie’s has become a rare neighborhood restaurant that has something for all people. Despite Freddie’s success, Lutz always dreamed about buying the former Café Italia restaurant. The timing wasn’t right until the fall of 2018, when he opened Federico’s in the same space. Some of the employees he managed at Café Italia 20 years ago now work for him there.
With Federico’s and Freddie’s, Lutz has managed to bring together his own past and present, and he has big plans for making sure 23rd Street continues to be a vibrant and beloved part of the neighborhood’s future. He is excited to see the changes and new development Amazon will bring to Crystal City and hopes the new business will help 23rd Street transition into a village-type commercial space.
Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
555 23rd St. S
Arlington, Virginia 22202
“A lot of people met here, which is really great. I get that all the time: ‘thank you so much for opening this place.’ It’s pretty awesome.”Freddie Lutz, owner
“Tammy Smith, first ever ‘out’ Brigadier General, she presented me with that certificate and that flag which she had framed in Afghanistan. It’s got little rainbow stars on it and says Freddie’s Beach Bar. She flew that flag over the Bagram Airfield on the occasion of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in my honor for providing a safe place for the gay folks from the Pentagon to hang out at. And she said to me ‘you don’t realize what you did here.’ I said ‘what are you talking about?’ She said ‘before the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, you opened this gay bar on 23rd street, but you advertised it as straight-friendly, which gave us all cover to come in.’”Freddie Lutz, owner
“Honestly, taking back Café Italia and opening Federico’s was a dream come true…. To be able to finally get it back and have some of the original employees there is just awesome. Feels like old times.”Freddie Lutz, owner
“I am excited. I am thrilled Amazon’s main campus is on [the other] side of Route 1.”Freddie Lutz, owner