More Renovations in Leesburg’s Black Olive Bar & Grill

As the New Year begins, Black Olive Bar & Grill, the most popular meeting spot at The National Conference Center in Leesburg, Virginia, announces more renovations, updates and modern furnishings.

The Black Olive is one of the many meeting places for groups and meetings that are held at The National Conference Center. With pool tables, darts, a lively selection of live and DJ music, pub food and local beer and wines, this place is an escape for the local and traveling business community.

New this year is the addition of two communal tables. Communal dining may seem like a contemporary gimmick, but it’s actually a return to tradition. According to Rebecca Spang, who wrote The Invention of the Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic Culture, “Communal tables were the norm in the early 1600s.” Communal dining is sharing a meal and conversation with a group of people in a public dining establishment. These tables can be an aesthetic statement or just help set the ambiance.

We purchased and helped design our tables with Destantis Designs, a hyper-local woodworker in Purcellville, Virginia. These high top tables are made of Mahogany wood and seats 10 people. Lights and hooks are under the table for easy storage of bags and coats.

On the far side, near the live music, are three group seating areas, made of black leather and can accommodate 10-12 people.  In addition to the new couches and group seating, new LED lighting has been added in the wine boxes, bar area and under the bar. Forty 55” HDTVs were added throughout the bar area for a quality sport watching experience. The total renovation is above $15,000 and will be completed by the end of January 2017.

New menu options will be introduced also at the end of the month. The entire Food and Beverage program is chef-driven. From the top down, John Walsh, Food and Beverage Director, Executive Chef Chris Ferrier, along with Executive Chef Simone Dundy and Chef Tournant Chip Otten, have graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and between them, have many years’ experience. Each are heavily involved with every aspect of menu planning, food preparation and presentation, on a 24/7 schedule. Watch for our new menu coming soon.

3 Loudoun County Side Trips to add to your Meeting Agenda

Sometimes you just need to get attendees moving and out of the classroom or meeting room. In beautiful Loudoun County, known for its historic, equestrian and agricultural landscapes, there are many attractions that can be added to your meeting agenda.

The National is part of a vibrant community in Loudoun County , with its award-winning, revitalized downtown, entertainment, sports, arts, shopping, dining and agriculture including wineries, breweries and distilleries. The surrounding Loudoun area offers everything from fishing, hiking and boating to golf, antiquing and exploring historic sites.

 

We’ve put together three side trips that we think would add value to any meeting, training or conference. These trips can be used as teambuilding add-ons or just a fun way for attendees to spend time together, an important part of any meeting.

 

Challenge Your Team:

If teambuilding events are planned and executed well, people feel good about themselves and about their colleagues. This trip starts right here at The National’s Challenge Rope Course, available this fall. THE NATIONAL’S Challenge Course includes:

Low Elements – permanent weight bearing structures constructed outdoors of wood and cables and High Elements-outdoor challenges constructed of wood and cable that allow participants to be as high as 40’.  All participants are in climbing gear and are protected by belayers.

The Rope Course could take place in the morning; then break for lunch with a Southern-style BBQ in the courtyard; then off to Pev’s Paintball or Top Golf.  Paintball is fast paced, high-tension game that brings people together with a little pressure and competition. In order to win a game of paintball, your team must work together, communicate, and be willing to take risks. Our team can create a customized team-building program or your group can simply learn to play the game and have a recreational event.

 

Top Golf Dulles , now open in Loudoun County, features 102 bays over 3 floors, an amazing rooftop terrace, lively bars and a golf game concept that is sure to blow you away! Anyone can play Topgolf, from aspiring pros to those who’ve never walked 18 holes. All you have to do is swing a club and try to hit your microchipped balls into dartboard-like targets. It’s competitive. It’s fun. And it’s always better with a big group! There are many different packages available with food and beverage included.

 

 

 

Meet and Eat:

Start the day off with a bus tour to Leesburg Farmer’s markets. Loudoun County is filled with rolling hills and farmland studded with orchards, vineyards, Christmas tree farms, and more make up our countryside. From the ecoganic vegetables at Potomac Vegetable Farm and the certified-humane heritage breed meats and organic produce at Ayrshire Farm to the county’s hand crafted beer, wine, and spirits, Loudoun brings the farm to your table. Visit the local farmers market with Executive Chef Chris Ferrier as you plan for the custom Chef’s Table that night. That’s right, you’ll pick the produce, cook the dinner with chef in the kitchen and then visit a winery or brewery the next day. We know the value of food to meetings. Much research has been done showing that food plays in ensuring that meetings are more efficient and more productive when attendees are eating food that effectively fuels their minds.

Our Chief Wine Officer Mary Watson will host a winery or brewery tour with you to learn how to taste wine, what to look for when pairing wine with food and explain the Loudoun County terroir. See the full list of wineries and breweries just a few miles from the National.

 

Backyard History:

In the National’s backyard lies the history of America. Loudoun County is in the center of The Journey through Hallowed Ground, a 180-mile scenic and historic corridor stretching from Jefferson’s Monticello to Gettysburg.

Start the day with a visit to the regional park, which was the site of the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. This October 21, 1861 clash was the second largest to take place in the county during the Civil War. It took place along the banks of the Potomac River, where the Union fell backward into the river in a defeat that merited a congressional investigation. The national cemetery here is one of the smallest in the country. A one mile hiking trail offers interpretive signs.

A visit and tour of Morven Park will not disappoint. The movie, “Fighting & Frolicking”, brings to life Confederate soldiers in camp early in the Civil War. The living history program features historical interpreters portraying Civil War soldiers who lived at Morven Park in the winter of 1861-62, as well as civilians.

If time permits, a driver could take your group through the Mosby Heritage Area or you could do a Middleburg Walking Tour. https://youtu.be/p18nU9LY89g

End the day with a historically researched dinner prepared by the culinary team, along with a teambuilding exercise: Civil War Trivia Night in the Black Olive Lounge.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these Side Trips that we feel compliment a teambuilding activity or could be used as networking opportunities. Ask your conference planner for a private tour of our rope course or to help set up the culinary or historic tours. We look forward to working with you.