Freddie's Beach Bar and Restaurant is an Arlington institution. Freddie's is not only an integral part of National Landing, but also the only LGBTQ+, straight-friendly bar and restaurant in Northern Virginia. We spoke with Freddie Lutz, owner of Freddie's Beach Bar and Restaurant, and asked a few questions on life, leading a business, and lessons learned along the way. Get inspired and read the full conversation below.
What does Pride mean to you? How do you celebrate Pride?
This is an opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity and come together as a community. I love to celebrate with the parades, special events, dance parties, and displaying lots of color.
What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness?
I think that more than ever, folks should do anything they can to shout out our pride of who we are and proudly display rainbows everywhere. We need to hold on to our visibility and acceptance, and not shy away from it; we can’t take it for granted.
How can art inspire business?
As a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, I have always put my artistic talents to use in creating Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant and the decor at Federico Italiano Ristorante. My artistic training and abilities always come through in everything I do. Art reflects personality and flair, not only of a single person, but it creates an atmosphere of culture and who people are.
What’s one of your most cherished moments in life or business?
Meeting my partner, Johnny; we’ve built a great life together. It’s so important to have our relationship to ground each other, and to know that there is always someone there to support you through the good and tough times.
Tell us about someone in your life who has inspired you.
Both my parents were always so supportive in whatever I wanted to pursue. They always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and stay focused on my goals. Artistically, I was greatly influenced by Louise Nevelson, the artist Gene Davis, the Washington Color School, Robert Newman (artist), Nicole Miller Dale Chihuly, and my high school art teachers. And of course, Johnny.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own company?
Always live your dream! Don’t give up. If you don't try it, you'll never know. Importantly, know that you’re working with the best people to build a team, and let them know you appreciate them.
What’s something you love about National Landing?
National Landing has supported our area’s evolution and transformation. Having grown up here through the '50's and ‘60's, it's amazing to see the changes. It’s been my home throughout my entire life. Though there have been so many changes over the years, we’re still a community of many organizations and diverse people, and National Landing provides additional support in building this community.
What's up next for Freddie? Anything exciting planned on the horizon?
I’ve always said that I wanted a Freddie’s in Arlington, Rehoboth Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. We’re still getting our Rehoboth place established. It may be a bit beyond the horizon, but ultimately, we’d love to expand to Fort Lauderdale. Like I said, hold on to your dreams and make them happen!