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New Arlington pub, located a mile from AT&T Stadium, taps into family-friendly district

That row of car dealerships in Arlington? Gone. Front Street is now part of Arlington's reimagined downtown, with small businesses budding. The newest to open on Front Street will be the Tipsy Oak Ice House, expected to open by the end of May at 301 E. Front St.

It'll be a pub and taproom owned by Kevin and Julia von Ehrenfried.

The Tipsy Oak is located in Urban Union, a master planned project spear-headed by Ryan Dodson, president of development with Arlington-based Dodson Companies. The area currently consists of four blocks in downtown Arlington and includes Legal Draft Beer Co. and Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery, both up and running.

"We are starting to get a good mix of office, retail and restaurants," Dodson says. Other than the Tipsy Oak, Urban Union will become home to a new restaurant called 4 Kahuna's Tiki Bar. Someday, they hope to offer shuttles from the stadiums to Urban Union, which are just over a mile away.

Kevin von Ehrenfried has a long history in Arlington, having managed Humperdink's Brewpub for nearly 30 years, starting in 1986. His background is not just behind the bar, though; he enjoys crafting menus with items that he infuses with beer. While the Tipsy Oak's menu is not finished, he says it will serve "chef-driven pub fare."

The von Ehrenfrieds opened Pouring Glory Growler Fill Station and Restaurant in Fort Worth's Southside in December 2015. When they parted ways with their partners last September, they found another focus, this one in Arlington. Kevin says Dodson's new development is "breathing new life into overlooked areas."

"When we saw the spot, we could immediately see the potential," he says.

While Dodson says about two-thirds of the Urban Union will be made up of revitalized structures, the Tipsy Oak is part of the one-third which will be new construction. He hopes the bar and restaurant "will be very comfortable when we're done," with a wrap-around porch and two patios.

The lot was already home to three huge oak trees, and with additional landscaping added, the Tipsy Oak has the potential to be one of the best patios in the area. It will feature 32 revolving taps, featuring local beers prominently, plus cocktails and wine on tap.

Arlington has been busy positioning itself as an entertainment hub. Urban Union is conveniently located near Levitt Pavilion, the new city hall and library (set for a June debut), and Texas Live, the soon-to-open $250 million dining, entertainment and lodging venue.

"Arlington is in need of a relaxed family-friendly area with plenty of patios and walkable streets. I think there is a lot of opportunity for us here," Kevin says.

For more ideas about what to do nearby, read 8 hidden gems in Arlington.

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