BYT DC Outdoor Drinking Guide 2016
BYT Staff | Apr 29, 2016 | 9:00AM |

The weather is PERFECT for some outdoor day drinking (just as long as you don’t mind your G&T coming with a side of thunderstorms). This is why, every SPRING/SUMMER season, we publish a handy outdoor drinking (and eating) guide. A lot of last year’s selections are still very much applicable and partially used here, but we’ll focus on places we’re especially pumped for this season. Check it out:

IMPORTANT LINK TO PERUSE BEFORE DIGGING IN:

  • Check out our FOOD SECTION for the latest new restaurants, food news, drink diaries, weekly cocktail columns and how-tos with the pros and then some.

Categories we’re about to cover below are:

  • New Kids On The Block
  • Great Happy Hours
  • FOOD (because it tastes good)
  • Date/Intimate Spots
  • Lots of Action/People Watching
  • Forever Favorites

So, let’s dig in

(all photos: Clarissa Villondo, Sarah Gerrity, Priya Konings, Stephanie Breijo, Jeff Martin, Shauna Alexander, Dakota Fine, Franz Mahr, Oliver Bendorf, Britt Elyse Nelson, Cesar Olivares, Rachel Eisley, Kimberly Cadena, Shira Stoll, Morgan Hungerford West, Svetlana, Ben Droz & Steve Jeter for BYT – unless otherwise noted)

 

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  • Blackwall Hitch – A lovely addition to the Old Town Alexandria waterfront, it’s huge (plus 105 patio spots plus 315 seats), nautical, patio-ed, and has an impressive menu featuring lots of seafood. The entire restaurant, but particularly the Crow’s Nest (their hilariously named  upstairs bar / lounge), has killer near-360 views of the surrounding area, from the Washington Monument to National Harbor. Dining at Blackwall is like being on a ship without the seasickness or killer ankle-breaking dolphins. We’re not usually that impressed by Old Town establishments, but this is seriously a nice place. -Melissa Groth

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  • Whaleys – The Navy Yard’s newest bar and restaurant has opened their patio. Enjoy some beautiful seafood while checking out those sweet D.C. river views.
  • Walters Sports Bar – If you’re looking for a place to watch sports, have a beer and a shot, or hang out on a no frills patio decorated, then you have found your match. If you’re the kind of person who loves Looking Glass Lounge and DC Reynolds, then this will fit nicely in your rotating bar schedule. From 4 to 7 p.m. everyday is $2 off selected wine and $4 DC Brau and $3 Powers. From 8 to 10 p.m. is the West Coast Happy Hour, featuring $4 West Coast Drafts.

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  • Tupelo Honey Cafe – If you’re going to go all the way out to Virginia to visit the Tupelo Honey Cafe. Go during happy hour (4 – 7 p.m. Monday thru Friday), craft pints are $3 (which is insane) and select small plates are $6 (which is less crazy but still worth it).
  • The Royal – Even though it just opened this year The Royal already feels like a forever favorite because it’s right by the office, it has delicious arepas (and burgers), the drinks are oh so fine, and the staff is some of the nicest in the area. If you want a quality experience in a laid back environment, this is the perfect place. There isn’t a lot of outdoor seating, so be prepared to fight for that, but what is available is worth it, especially on a lovely day.

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  • Centrolina – Effortless simplicity seems to be the motto of Amy Brandwein’s Centrolina. Neither the drink or food menus feature anything too complicated or over the top. To get straight to the point, it’s simply quality. Here’s my recommendation, grab a seat out on the patio, watch tourists drop hundreds of dollars on designer clothing, order a Negroni (or the Italian Derby if you’re into bourbon, both are personal favorites), have the cheesemonger fix up a plate for you, and relax. You’re in good hands.
  • Bar Deco – First off, Bar Deco is huge so you should never really have a problem grabbing a seat (which is good news in a city filled with the tiniest baby patios). Second, they have a smoker and they are not afraid to use it. Third, there is a drink with a bacon garnish. Order that one have out of curiosity, half for a joke, and then move on to the gin fizz which is basically summer in a glass. After that, order another. Watch the sun set. Enjoy yourself.

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  • Takoda – There is a new patio in Shaw (they’re calling it a beer garden, but lets be realistic) and it’s kind of magical. Takoda is everything we want in an outdoor space. Some coverage (to protect you from the inevitable D.C. spring downpours). Lots of light and non covered seating so you can soak up the sun on a good day. Plus loads of beer (seriously, this place is stocked) and fun neighborhood specials like, half priced burgers and beer on Thursday or half price whiskey and wings on Wednesday. It does seem to get rowdy at night (when I went it was packed) but if you’re into people watching that might just be a plus.

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  • Dew Drop Inn – It’s an amazing neighborhood bar. If you like the Looking Glass Lounge and the Wonderland Ballroom, you’ll feel right at home here. There are always quality beers on tap, the staff is very friendly, and the patio is never too crowded. I spent last 4th of July watching neighborhood kids set off fireworks in the street at this spot and it was perfect.
  • Hawthorne – If you have an insatiable craving for mussels, then this is the rooftop bar you want to hit up. Not to mention cocktails like the Rosemary Gin Fizz and the Old Forester 86 practically scream summer. If you’re hangout out on U Street and you’re tired of the same old haunts, this is a good excuse to mix it up.

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  • Bar Charley  – Great cocktail classics for $5 or $6, food specials starting as low as $1.5 and that perfect 18th street location (With the bonus that the patio is tucked in the back).
  • Ghibellina – 4:00-6:30pm, sit in the Ghibellina’s window seats, enjoy $4 beer, $5 wine (including a currently very seasonally appropriate Rose), $6 cocktails (including one of the best white wine sangrias around) and a plethora of delightful, Neapolitan pizzas for under $10.
  • Ambar – Get some INSANE house infused vodka and delicious Balkan tapas while you’re expertly people-watch at Eastern Market spot right on 8th Street. The best part? You’ve got outdoor drinking options. Choose between the sidewalk patio (which only seats 10 so get there fast) or the rooftop patio. Oh, and did we mention there’s happy hour? $4 drinks, $4 small plates. All the best things. Check out more of Ambar here…
  • Biergarten HausVenture down H Street NE and step into one of the city’s most fun and bizarrely authentic outdoor drinking experiences available–Biergarten Haus is home to multiple delicious draft beers, be it Pilsner, Hefe-Weizen, or Lager. Happy hour is Monday-Friday, 4-7 p.m., $5 Franziskaner Hefe-Weizen, Paulaner Pils, Becks Maibock, $5 House Wine (White, Red), plus $5 Loaded Fries, Hamburger Sliders, Garden Currywurst.
  • BOURBON – Tuesday-Friday happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $5 bourbon, $4 off craft cocktails, and $2 off draft pints.
  • Arcuri –  Get cozy on Arcuri’s 16- seat patio. Try some of the new additions to the menu like Spanish Octopus, Crispy Fried Artichokes and Spaghetti Primavera. Just want to get drinks after work? Come for happy hour at 4pm – 7pm on Monday through Friday. Happy Hour deals include $2 off draft beer, house wine or draft Prosecco, $4 rail drinks and $3 house-made “cello” shots. -Mykalee Mcgowan
  • DC Reynolds – There’s a great patio bar, and the happy hour deal is pretty amazing: 5-9pm, it’s a BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE situation and a perfect start to a swell outdoor drinking season.
  • El Chucho –  Happy hour. Every day. 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. All tacos half price, PLUS anything on tap is $4. This place is responsible for all bad decisions made when I’ve left work at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday. Usually ending up passing out in Meridian Hill Park. Memories. – Brandon Weight

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  • Del Campo – Read our full report on Victor Albisu’s eatery here. Del Campo not only houses a 40-seat patio, but an entire grilled cocktail selection (boozy lemonades with grilled pineapple syrups galore) AND one of the best happy hour menus in town. On Weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. all specialty cocktails, beer and house punches are $6 and the food is incredible with options like Pan Con Chicharon Sliders with fried yuca ($7), Wagyu skirt steak Empanadas ($8) and Scallop Sushi with smoked salmon roe, radish and soy butter ($8).
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  • Drafting Table – I was warned repeatedly not to go to Drafting Table. The 14th St. bar had only been open a few months, and as is often the case with new bars, I relied on cooler friends who do cooler things to counsel me on whether I should visit. The answer, emphatically, was no. Stay away, I was told. And so I did, for over a year-and-a-half, until a blind date informed me that Drafting Table was her go-to bar. I assumed that this made her some sort of cat lady/Applebees aficionado/serial killer hybrid, but I acquiesced to her suggestion that we get a drink there. The twist? Drafting Table is kind of wonderful.

    I could see why friends had been underwhelmed. Bars just don’t open anymore: There are behind-the-scenes previews and first looks and reviews, and it all feels like a hype drum circle befitting the Beijing Olympics. Expectations can be unreasonable. Some bars have bacon-infused ice and on-tap margaritas. That’s great. I like those things. But some bars are just bars. Drafting Table is just a bar. It has a great beer list. It has a lot of huge TVs without feeling like a sports bar. It has some outdoor seating. It has a logo that’s a little cheesy. It’s not cool. But that’s also it’s strength. Surrounded by overstuffed WASP nests like Barcelona and Le Diplomate and Pearl Dive, Drafting Table is a bar where you can actually get a drink. Hell, even if I’m going to those other places for dinner, I’ll put my name in and then go wait it out at Drafting Table. Huey was on to something: Sometimes it is hip to be square. -Phil Runco

  • El Centro D.F.What goes better than margaritas and guacamole on a hot summer day? Absolutely nothing, we tell you. Enjoy some of the city’s best guac, tequila and tacos in the sunshine. Featuring a taqueria in the front with a taco and burrito ordering station and a sit down dining area (“tequileria”) in the back and downstairs, El Centro D.F. is here to serve up all your Mexican inspired cravings, delivered right to your patio table. Happy hour is daily 4-7 pm, $5 Margaritas, rocks & frozen, Sangrias Mexican Beers, Red & White Wine. 5-9pm, $6 Guacamole, Tacos & more
  • Chaplin – This 1920’s themed Japanese restaurant has a patio seating up to 80 guests. The cocktail menu, created by the Wilder brothers, is great, and the ramen does a great job of soaking up the booze you are consuming (bonus: there are some lighter, summerier versions available now too). Want to go the extra mile, pick out something from their Adult Only menu called “Drunken Masters” with dishes such as the “28 day Dry Aged NY Strip” that was soaked in Yamizake 12 year old scotch for 7 days! On a budget? They also have happy hour at 5-7pm Monday through Friday with half off draft cocktails, beer and wine by the glass. -Mykalee Mcgowan

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  • LARRY’S LOUNGE $3 rails, $3.50 draft special, $4.50 Absolut drinks. And the wine is cheap, too. Basically living the dream.
  • LincolnLincoln’s prime downtown location makes for excellent people-watching, while its focus on small plates makes for the perfect bite to share with friends while you lounge outdoors sipping a glass of wine and taking in the scenery (read: characters). The happy hour specials are solid, and the hours are long (4-7 p.m. every day). Expect $5 PBRs, $5 DC Brau, $6 Lincoln Spirits, and a $35 Emancipation punch which serves 8.
  • 701 Restaurant – A Penn Quarter favorite, 701 offers views of the the Navy Memorial Fountain and National Archives with its new 40-seat outdoor patio. Enjoy classic American snack plates while drinking from 701’s extensive drink menu, which features signature cocktails like the Apple Blossom with applejack liquor. Happy hour is available daily from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the patio, so stop by for $7 menu deals and wine by the glass. -Ruby Rose Lee
  • Nellie’sNellie’s is a whirlpool for intersecting currents of the city, which also happens to have a badass Beat the Clock Happy Hour: beer and cocktails 5-6 pm $2, 6-7 pm $3, and 7-8pm $4. On the rooftop you can see all the way to the National Shrine, there’s a big screen projector that is usually playing something embarrassing, and their bartenders all call you “babe.” The food is quite bomb, and if you get there at dusk, there is sometimes a man at the corner of 9th and U, in front of an office building lobby, shadow boxing his reflection in the glass door.

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  • Bastille – Bastille beverage director Michael Williams is great. He’s nice and knowledgeable and clearly loves his job. Due to his niceness and knowledge and love customers will benefit from ordering wines and liqueurs they never would have considered. This may be the only place we’re recommending due to the beverage director. -Brandon Wetherbee
  • Johnny PistolasMostly a nightmare but Adams Morgan is full of nightmares when it comes to outdoor drinking so it fits right in. It’s the cheapest of the nightmares, so that’s nice. -Brandon Wetherbee
  • Pearl Dive – Monday-Friday 4-7pm, the little indoor-outdoor bar/patio is a veritable raw bar oasis. Food and drink specials occur on a rotating basis. But also: Oyster Mania Mondays in both the bar and dining room starting at 4pm to close. All of Pearl Dive’s signature hot oyster appetizers are $7.00. Raw bar oysters on the half shell are 1/2 price.

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  • Café & Bar Dupont – You’re going to get a drink with your in-laws or co-workers in from out of town or friends in from out of town and people that live out of town at this expansive hotel bar/restaurant. It’s not bad. Getting outdoor seating on nice days is difficult. It’s because it’s not bad. -Brandon Wetherbee
  • RED DERBY – Get a prime seat on the rooftop with $1 Natty Bohs and other classy specials during happy hour.
  • Roofers Union – What was once Adam’s Morgan’s The Reef is now Roofers Union, a restaurant and bar committed to the finer things in life, namely gourmet sausages and award-winning punches. It’s helmed by Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley, so fans of Ripple know exactly how delicious this cuisine really is. For those who don’t, just trust us on this one. The rooftop bar has one of the best views of 18th Street you’ll find in the city, plus a rotating punch list and full cocktail menu, as well as daily happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Get a better look here.
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  • Mussel Bar & Grille – With locations in Bethesda and Arlington, Mussel Bar & Grille offers the best of seafood and American cuisine with its mussels, oysters, brick oven pizza and crab cakes. Enjoy the outdoors at either location, with patios and expansive outdoor seating. The wine menu is impressive and, pro tip, swing by on Monday nights for ½ price bottles. But the beer selection really takes the cake at Mussel, with 140+ bottled options at the Bethesda location and 99 bottled options at the Arlington location, as well as tap and canned selections. What more do you need? -Ruby Rose Lee
  • Teddy & The Bully Bar – Celebrate patriotism and freedom with Teddy Roosevelt (or at least in the spirit of) at Teddy and the Bully Bar’s lovely patio with weekday happy hour from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., which features $9 cocktails, $5 beers, $6 spirits and $8 wine by the glass. Full first look/gorgeous cocktailporn here.
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  • Etto – Neapolitan pizzas by the folks behind 2Amys, great charcuterie game and a prime 14th and Q corner people watching location, without the Le Diplomate lines (at least at press time).
  • Alba Osteria – When it comes to fun and flavorful cocktails with a hint of Italian flare, we suggest Alba Osteria. When it comes to drinking said cocktails, we recommend visiting Alba Osteria’s 63-seat patio. The gorgeous outdoor tables wrap around a restaurant housing an impressive and authentic Piedmont menu, not to mention a stellar brick oven for pizza so go on and indulge this season. Need a better peek at the restaurant? We’ve got you covered.
  • Summer House Santa Monica  – So you find yourself stuck in the Maryland suburbs, hungry and bored and wondering if it will be possible to find a decent meal and a stuff drink. Fear not my friend, because the new shopping center at Pike & Rose has everything you need. In addition to a gym, several shops, and an iPic theater, the shopping center is also home to Summer House Santa Monica, a Los Angeles-themed restaurant with a clean, white décor, plenty of outdoor seating, and a range of delicious American and international fare. Basically a vacation in the shape of a restaurant. Read our whole taste test here.
  • Art and Soul – The restaurant got a revamp last year (read the full story on that here), but fingers crossed the crab boils of last summer make a return. BONUS: the Liaison Hotel’s pool is upstairs.
  • Rasika West End – Try the Mango Shrimp and the Tuna Chutneywala created by Group Executive Chef Vikram Sunderam. Try one of over 150 international wine selections to complement your meal. Want a cocktail instead? Check out some seasonal favorites like Padma, the Divya or Beefeater, priced at $12 each. -Mykalee Mcgowan
  • Brasserie Beck – Channel your inner-European at this belgian-themed hotspot, which boasts a huge patio that seats over 130, and sip on one of the many drink options. The biggest draw is hands-down the extensive beer menu, which includes over a 100 different bottled selections from around the globe, and wine offerings. And with ½ price wine bottles on Tuesday nights, you can enjoy some of the best labels without hurting your wallet. Main dishes such as Steak & Frites and Crispy Skate Wing are also worth checking out, because nothing is better together than a great drink and delicious food. Also, the Gaithersburg location features live music on its patio, so you should check that out too. -Ruby Rose Lee
  • Orange Anchor – Georgetown Waterfront is yet another outdoor seating bar richer. Orange Anchor did open in 18 degree weather last winter, but everything about this latest venture from the team behind Copperwood Tavern spells a blockbuster success in the summer months. Read our full first look here.

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  • Local 16 – the 16th and U classic now serves a very enticing looking Afghani menu.
  • Farmers Fishers and Bakers – The Georgetown waterfront can get a little competitive during the summer months but Farmers Fishers and Bakers are well worth it. Go simple and get a beer, one of their pretzels and hang out, or opt for one of the more sophisticated menu options and pair it with a craft cocktail – the quality of the experience is consistently top notch. Plus, it’s where you should eat ALL OF THIS.

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  • Bibiana Osteria Enoteca – Indulge in signature Italian dishes and drinks while soaking up some sun on Bibiana Osteria Enoteca’s 20-seat seasonal patio. The spring dishes are sure to please. For drinks make sure to check out the cocktail-heavy bar menu that includes specials like the Amaro Punch with montenegro, tagliatella, cardamaro and brandy. Happy hour is also offered Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with $6 wines and cocktails. -Ruby Rose Lee
  • Blue Duck Tavern – We will just point you towards this patio food porn post because these photos TRULY DO speak more than a 100,000,000,000 words.8651136716_b883f6381d_z
  • Boqueria A perfect Dupont spot for outdoor small plates and sangria. The small plates trend has been reigning supreme in our city for as far as our food team can remember but the newest addition to this young professional outing staple is refreshingly back-to-basics and focuses on good, simple food and drink done well in a setting where everyone can feel comfortable.
  • Oval Room – The Oval Room completed its $1 million renovation a few summers ago, and now you can try out the new Executive Chef John Melfi’s cuisine on the Oval Room’s 40 seated patio. Spring dishes include the Stone Bass “Suzuki” Crudo and the Rack of Lamb with charred eggplant. Guests can wash down their  food with cocktails such as the Oval Room Manhattan and The Lady Michelle priced between $12 and $14. -Mykalee Mcgowan
  • BovedaCaucus Room – If ever you weren’t sure of the Latin speakeasy style eatery and its killer menu, let us reassure you. You’ll find great meals while you spend your afternoons and evenings outdoors surrounded by an herb garden and a serene fountain. How could it get better? the menu extends for all three meals AND cocktail hour. Working in West End suddenly got all sorts of better.
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  • The Carolina Kitchen – For a hint of southern hospitality this outdoor drinking season, head to The Carolina Kitchen where you’ll sip on mixologist JP Caceres’s creations on a 28-seat outdoor patio. This spring you’ll find concoctions like the Punch of the Day (with Absolut Wild Tea, fresh lemon, strawberry syrup, maraschino liqueur and Prosseco) and the Sangria, made from a combination of merlot, lemon syrup, vodka, orange juice, strawberry syrup, apples and seasonal fruits. Get a better glimpse here.
  • Masa 14 – When Masa 14 opened their rooftop four years ago, we were very excited. This spring, we’re still just as excited to see Chef de Cuisine Stephen Hartzell’s new bar menu of Latin-Asian small plates. With dishes like the Hoisin & Chipotle Glazed Salmon with cilantro-mint rice, red Thai curry-coconut sauce and bean sprouts, the food is the star of this show. Pair it with some drinks during their happy hour, Monday and Wednesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Tuesdays, from 4 p.m. to close. Oh, and on Tuesday evenings you can get a sampling of $4 to $7 small plates is between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. You know where we’ll be. -Anagha Srikanth
  • Cava Mezze Restaurant – This Eastern Market spot offers not only an outdoor patio but a rooftop, as well. It makes for great people watching and an especially great spot to enjoy their Mediterranean cuisine outdoors. (Trust us, always order the pork belly.)
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  • Villain & Saint – All the way out in Bethesda, this rock ‘n’ roll music hall offers the best of shows, food and drinks. Hearty dishes such as buttermilk fried chicken, burgers and chili will satisfy all food cravings, and vegetable dishes like salt roasted beets will keep your nutritional period in check. The patio has TVs and Sunday brunch jazz, so you can enjoy the open air while staying entertained. And of course, what would be rock ‘n’ roll without some alcohol? Check out the drink menu for a selection of whiskeys, draft beers and cocktails that will make you ready to let loose and rock out. -Ruby Rose Lee
  • Duke’s Grocery – Bringing the “Taste of East London to DC,” this is the 17th street gem that you MAYBE haven’t been to yet. D.C. needs more casual, delicious, centrally located restaurants like this. Also, DC’S BEST BURGER. FOR REALLY REAL.

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  • Mango Tree – Their small and intimate patio will take you on a journey through the four culinary regions of Thailand, and is the perfect place impress your date with your cultural awareness. The drinks are just as exotic as the food, with cocktails like the Lychee Mojito, Spicy Siam and the Apri-Rac. And in the vein of their pet-friendly country of origin, the restaurant allows dogs on the patio as well. Great food, exciting drinks and adorable pets – how could you possibly mess up a date here? -Anagha Srikanth
  • El Rey – We did a First Look & Taste Test for the 14th street restaurant, which you can read about here, when it opened. Go enjoy tacos and margaritas in the bar patio–flanked by shipping containers–which has a retractable roof they open for the spring and summer. It’s still packed.
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  • Et Voila! – A true neighborhood gathering place in D.C.’s Palisades neighborhood, Et Voila’s charming six-seat patio offers a wonderful outdoor dining experience under the sun and stars. This popular Belgian bistro serves authentic Belgian fare with French influence in a charismatic atmosphere. A great place to enjoy a fresh pot of mussels and refreshing small-batch Belgian beer, Et Voila’s patio is a favorite of neighborhood locals and foodies alike looking to dine at this hidden gem.
  • Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar -They have a 64-seat sidewalk cafe. OK. This is technically an option. -Brandon Wetherbee
  • FiolaWe here at BYT are just over-the-moon in love with this restaurant, and it’s clear to see why; it’s also clear why they routinely get voted as one of the top dining spots in the city. Fabio Trabocchi’s modern upscale Italian cuisine is divine, using the freshest of ingredients with an impressive cocktail and wine list to boot. Luckily for us, they doubled their gorgeous patio’s seating capacity (look at those flowers!!), making room for 70 prime outdoor wining and dining spots.
  • Lupo Verde – Looking to get day drunk on 14th Street? Lupo Verde’s 40-seat gated outdoor patio should do just the trick while you’re nibbling on Burrata and sipping on the A’ Malademmina Cocktail, a mix of mezcal, Don Ciccio & Figli Prickly Pear, aperol and a splash of grapefruit juice. Hellooooo, warm weather. Check out our first look here.
  • Acadiana – Enjoy some of the best that Louisiana cuisine has to offer at Acadiana, with gumbo, steamed gulf shrimp, spice-boiled crawfish and more. The patio features an awning and removable sides, meaning that you can enjoy some outdoor views regardless of whether it’s raining or not, and cajun music keeps the vibe festive. Whiskey and Bourbon offerings are plentiful, as well as the cocktail and wine menus. Keep an eye out for summer crawfish boils with all-you-can eat seafood platters and live music. And for everyday specials, check out the extended happy hour for great drinks at even greater prices, Monday-Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. -Ruby Rose Lee
  • Mintwood Place – DELICIOUS. Show up early and snag an al fresco brunch spot on a weekend and never leave.
  • Osteria Morini – Capitol Riverfront’s working all sorts of magic this spring/summer and much of it is thanks to Osteria Morini and its outdoor seating with picturesque views, to boot. The only thing that could rival the view? THE FOOD.
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  • Ardeo + Bardeo – We can’t wait to see what this season will bring. New seasonal entrées include Sun Dried Tomato Orecchiette with forest mushrooms, arugula and burrata, Pan Roasted Rockfish with roasted spring vegetables and a Thai red curry brotha and the Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop with Japanese sweet potato-parsnip puree and molasses barbecue. Sit up on the rooftop and enjoy any of these dishes with a glass of wine or a cocktail for $10 to $13. -Anagha Srikanth
  • Poste – Poste Brasserie, tucked inside–and sort of behind–the expansive Hotel Monaco, has long been a BYT favorite; we love their roasts, the extensive menu (especially the seafood), and the fact that it always seemed to maintain a certain non-hotel-like integrity and identity of its own. But their biggest upside? The gorgeous, spacious patio in the summer is a terrific date spot, place to sit and read or catch up with friends be it at a garden side table or on their couch-like outdoor seating.
  • Proof – Proof also has a great patio and the forever delicious menu by chef Haidar Karoum. BONUS: every summer guests can enjoy a War of the Roses, where the restaurant offers a selection of their bar’s roses on the patio and lounge.
  • Republic – Head on up to Chef Jeff Black’s Takoma Park spot for A++ patio wining and dining, an awesome late night menu, and great (AND FREE) live shows. Order some oysters while you’re at it. You can thank us later. Bonus: for all the dog-lovers out there, Republic now offers Yappy Hour, which features $5 salty dog cocktails and complimentary treats for your pup. Bonus to the bonus:

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  • Sushiko – You know what Japanese food is, but how often do you get to try Japanese drinks? At Sushiko, not only can you enjoy traditional Japanese dishes, but also Japanese beer, wine and sake (a rice wine of sorts). Even their cocktails take inspiration from the island country, with drinks like a Thai chili infused vodka with ginger infused lemonade and the Ozaki’s Blossom, which is garnished with a cherry blossom. Oh, and the patio is dog-friendly, so bring your pooch and get your drink on. -Anagha Srikanth
  • Compass Rose  – Compass Rose is one of those places you wish there were a 1000 more of in DC. Great, innovative menu, a fun and sophisticated cocktail list, and both a front AND back patio perfect for whether you want to watch the 14th and T action or, you know, hide from it. No judging. BONUS: NOW ALSO SERVING BRUNCH (including the all important catchaturri (aka “the cheese kayak”).

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  • Station 4 – Executive Chef Orlando Amaro’s modern American cooking shines at this restaurant, with dishes like Smoked Oysters and  Crackers, Artichoke Salad and the Salmon en Papillote. The best time to dine here? Happy hour, when dishes like The Die Hard are offered for just $4 to $9 along with $4 draft beers, $5 house red and white wines by the glass, $5 house liquors and $5 Absolut Vodka, Pinnacle and Captain Morgan mixed drinks. Our drink recommendation is the jalapeno margarita, which will give you a little kick to start off your summer dining. -Anagha Srikanth
  • Toro Toro – Richard Sandoval’s new Pan Latin steakhouse not only serves up tangy and impressive food; it’s also a purveyor of handcrafted cocktails, which you can enjoy on a 40-seat outdoor patio. The drinks–made with premium Latin spirits–sounds just perfect for warm weather, like the Raspberry Collins with Bombay gin, fresh lime juice, fresh raspberry simple syrup, and Champagne, or the Tinta Roja made with red wine, brandy, Licor 43, fresh apple, fresh mango and orange liqueur.

IntimateSpots

  • Agua 301 – Capitol Riverfront has instant cred when it comes to the outdoor drinking game this year; Agua 301’s massive waterside patio has not only spectacular views but also its own churro cart and (occasionally boozy) popsicles when the weather gets hotter. From our full first look piece: “Stephen Briggs, who also owns Zest Bistro, knew the Riverfront was the perfect spot for his new concept. ‘When you have an opportunity to be on the water, it’s ideal,’ he said. ‘When we’re next to the water we like to drink a margarita.'” We couldn’t agree more.
  • Barcelona – One of 14th Street’s many outdoor patio watering holes, this is everything you want and need and more–Barcelona’s gorgeous front patio feels part garden, part restaurant, part private home. Here you’ll find full table seating, reclaimed wood, flowers, an extensive wine menu, an outdoor fireplace for those chilly nights and even some blankets to go along with it. SOLD. Take a bigger, better look here.
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  • 100 Montaditos – This place, spefically its outdoor space, was packed after the Washington Capitals/Chicago Blackhawks Winter Classic. That was on January 1, 2015. That’s absurd. Anyways, its got a patio and now open so it’s most likely packed before and after every Nationals game. -Brandon Wetherbee
  • GIBSON Gibson has a perfect tiki patio where you’ll find a separate summer cocktail menu for the back and a bunch of fun food and drink events during the outdoor season. Nothing not to like.

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  • District Commons – Washington Circle stand-by District Commons recently opened its outdoor seating space, and with views of Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s just as great for drinking and eating as it is for looking at the street action. The menu offers delicious American cuisine, including the hot pretzel baguette that we swear by, and its drinks are equally impressive. Whether choosing a beer, spirit or cocktail, District Commons has enough options that you won’t have to order the same thing twice ever, unless you come here daily, in which case you probably know the drinks better than we do. The brunch drinks menu is especially promising, with eye openers such as God Save the Queen, and mimosas and bloody mary’s are bottomless for $16 with purchase of an entrée. -Ruby Rose Lee
  • POV Lounge – We’re including this here even though the POV has been around a while because they remodeled! It’s a perfectly fine/fancy remodel but who really cares about the interior when you have that view? -Brandon Wetherbee

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  • Iron Gate – Iron Gate is, in essence, a fairytale, and where we’d like to do all our outdoor drinking when we’re feeling whimsical or even plain old romantic. In day or night this patio is stunning with grape vines draping over tables and glass lanterns perching on steps. Since it’s been commandeered by Neighborhood Restaurant Group, you know you’ll enjoy cocktails and punches from D.C. mainstay Jeff Faile and a comprehensive wine program curated by NRG’s Brent Kroll. More photos and info right this way…
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  • QuillPerfect for spring and summer, Quill has an interior design and outdoor terrace steeped in Jeffersonian inspiration lending a historical bent to its cigars and cognacs. Enjoy house-made mixers and herbal-infused alcohols as well as a dynamic wine list in the open air.
  • Agora – The Turkish and Greek restaurant Agora in Dupont serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch at its sidewalk café. Order a few small plates and pair them with one of the many offerings from Agora’s extensive wine list. If wine doesn’t do it for you, opt for a Mediterrean beer, Turkish Raki or Ouzo instead. For a wallet-friendly option, swing by during the day for Agora’s fixed price, three-course lunch menu, all for only $14.99, which means you’ll have more money leftover for drinks. -Ruby Rose Lee
  • Chez Billy Sud – This Hilton Brothers owned Georgetown bistro opened in fall of 2014, and it’s a nice contrast with the original Chez Billy in Petworth, which is still a great go-to for happy hour specials. The Georgetown space is absolutely beautiful, and a perfect date destination if we ever saw one. French entrées such as Steak Frites and steamed mussels, accompanied by $12 signature cocktails, make for a perfect evening, and the courtyard seating is hard to resist. -Ruby Rose Lee

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  • Red Light – 14th Street’s dessert (although it has plenty of savory options now too) and cocktail bar should be a perfect spot for outdoor drinking needs this spring and summer. From our first look: “Come warmer weather you’ll find boozy Sno Cone concoctions on the 45-seat patio and a few other surprises along the way, making it a perfect date spot to grab a drink before or after dinner, or a bite of something sweet any time of the night.” Check out the full piece here.
  • Room 11That little patch of land that triples Room 11′s capacity in warmer months is both a godsend and a perfectly intimate, neighborhood hang out. Their cocktails are masterful or, in you’re in the mood for coffee with your sunshine, Room 11 serves via individual french press–a fresh, personal batch for your table’s enjoyment. (And have you tried their brunch? Might we suggest the shrimp and grits?)

  • Del Frisco’s – Sandwiches or Steak? Either way, Del Frisco’s has a location for you with outdoor seating. Their upscale Double Eagle Steakhouse in CityCenterDC has a courtyard patio as well, but those who choose to sit downstairs at the bar can still enjoy the view through glass walls. Pair your steak with a glass of wine for a luxurious self-indulgence, or an impressive first date. Feeling cheap? No worries, Del Frisco’s Grille in North Bethesda serves comfort food and American classics with fresh seafood and local produce. Either way, you’ve got an ideal menu of food and drinks for a night out, however you choose to have it. -Anagha Srikanth
  • Tabard InnThe back patio is really quite charming (that parachute!) and the staff is knowledgeable and non intrusive. From the back patio you can hear the soft occasional din of live jazz from inside the Inn’s restaurant without feeling too overwhelmed by it. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing drink with friends, a glass of wine and a book by yourself, or a bite to eat (again, brunch). (photo courtesy of Tabard Inn)
  • Table – Head straight through Frederik De Pue’s Shaw spot, Table, and up to the back patio for one of your new favorite spring/summer spots. From our full review: “A 35-seat, two level patio may be familiar to a certain portion of BYT readership as the deck once occupied by SPACE, the bar whole place TABLE now occupies. Still, don’t expect anything similar to that late night scene; the TABLE patio is airy and spacious, with white wood and exposed brick walls and light furniture, and you enjoy the full menu from the restaurant or just a couple of glasses of wine and a cheese and charcuterie board (there are no reservations you can make specifically for the space, but guests with reservations get the first pick of whether they’d like to sit there).”
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People Watching Spots

  • Sauf Haus – If 16 different German beers on tap doesn’t bring you here, then the 2-pound Bavarian pretzel will. Sauf Haus Biergarten’s  2000 sq. feet rooftop deck is the place to be  after work but come through early! The space can get packed really quick especially during happy hour with specials such as $8 half liters and$14 full liters. -Mykalee Mcgowan

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  • BEACON HOTEL Rooftop – Beacon is traditionally a super popular event space. Art Soiree started hosting their Sunset performance series there and for good reason–it is LOVELY.

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  • Bourbon SteakAn ideal patio for lounging the summer away, Bourbon Steak’s outdoor seating is the perfect for bourbon, cigars and the restaurant’s signature fine cuisine. On chillier nights, fire pits can lend a glow to your evening plans. The all-brick patio and the sette in the far right-hand corner provide a perfect place to catch the afternoon sun, while cooling off with a flute of something tantalizingly crisp and bubbly. Come nightfall, you can catch us still seated there or perhaps at one of the other lounge seats with one of those fab, glass-like fire pits in front of us, cocktail in-hand. (photo, courtesy of the restaurant)

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  • Brixton –  When Brixton opened, it was exactly the kind of packed madness you’d expect. Now, they have a solid stream of live and DJ music up there, a chiller but still busy crowd and brunch on weekends. PRO TIP: with a 9:30 Club stamp, it is ALWAYS happy hour up there.

  • Penn Commons – It has a patio but just drink indoors and look outside. One of the best beer happy hours in the city. Ideal pre-Verizon Center events. -Brandon Wetherbee
  • Bardo – If upscale dining isn’t your style, Bardo may be the place for you. The beer garden has a junkyard vibe including a beer can skull. Bardo has 5 craft options and house brewed beer like the Bardo Pale Ale, Buffalo Stout, and Zeus IPA. Drink to your heart’s content with their $20 for 5 pints deal. -Mykalee Mcgowan

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  • Dacha Beer Garden – We’re absolutely sold on this fun and flirty beer garden at the corner of 7th Street NW and Q. A giant mural of Elizabeth Taylor will look (but not judge) as you order a boot of beer (or two) from a great selection of German beer and, if you’re lucky enough to get there when the grill is out, maybe even a brat or some pretzels with cheese. Check out more photos right over thissaway…


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  • DNV Donovan House – Great views, beautiful people, plus a delectable spring menu from Zentan make for a scene-y vibe that may seem intimidating to some but we suggest you don’t worry yourself too much about it and just lounge away (photo courtesy of the hotel).Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.54.43 PM
  • Maketto – It’s finally open and you most likely already knew that and since it’s nice out and has outdoor space in the middle of the establishment it’ll be especially packed and you most likely already knew this. -Brandon Wetherbee

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  • The Graham Hotel’s Observatory – Georgetown’s first rooftop bar–check out our full report on it here–is always, always packed but with a view like that, how can you be surprised? Ask about the $500 cocktail.
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  • Piazza Beer Garden – Meeting new people and making new friends is a lot easier when you’re drunk, so if you’re feeling social, head over to the Piazza Beer Garden. With new beers each week from local breweries in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, you can bond with other beer lovers over bar food like sliders and pretzels. Plus, the garden often holds events like the International Beer Day Party (which we were at) that give you an opportunity to try a range of beers all in one place. -Anagha Srikanth

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  • Jack RoseAs you might have noticed, we here at BYT are a little obsessed with Jack Rose since it opened. Whether it’s their delicious men, their enormous selection of whiskey, or their constant stream of fun events and promotions (ESPECIALLY beer wise), we’re all about it. So of course we love the idea of enjoying any one (or two, or three) of these things on their spacious patio, enjoying the faint mesquite smell of their barbeque sandwiches occasionally drifting through the air.

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  • Marvin– Marvin will NEVER BE NOT PACKED. The sooner you realize that/embrace it, the sooner you’ll be ok. Pro tip: check out their Sunday daytime Sun Tea Parties.

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  • Satellite Room – This U Street bar’s outdoor bar area offers 9:30 Club concert-goers a brief respite from the chaos that is the dance floor on busy nights. Belly up to Satellite’s outdoor bar and grab yourself one of their 10 alcoholic milkshakes and maybe even venture inside for a round of pinball. Still not sold? Read all about it in our full story.
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Spring Dresses at Wonderland (25)

Forever Favorites

  • American Ice Co.They’ve got the sweetest hidden patio in town and if you get there early enough, you can try out the lunch menu, drink for a while, then order dinner. They’ve got fantastic cocktails and make for the perfect pre/post-9:30 Club stop.
  • Big Bear Cafe – The Bloomingdale classic has a beautiful patio, great food, and a fantastic staff. This is always an A+ choice.
  • Café Saint-ExA neighborhood mainstay on D.C.’s popular 14th Street, Café Saint-Ex’s always-packed patio is often full of hungry brunch-goers, leisurely lunchers and those merely looking for a delicious meal under the sun. Drawing a diverse mix of neighborhood locals and visitors alike, Saint-Ex’s 54-seat umbrella-decorated terrace offers an expansive corner location right on trendy 14th Street. The pet-friendly patio also invites guests to bring their pups to enjoy the gorgeous weather as well. Diners can enjoy seasonal fare like their popular Roasted Beet Salad with watercress, feta and grapefruit two ways, or keep cool with their signature Poptails, icy booze-infused cocktail popsicles.
  • City Tap House – If you’re looking for a patio with an excellent beer menu, City Tap House is your guy. Its roster of 60 local, national and international beers rotates frequently and seats 40 outdoors. The Chinatown/Penn Quarter spot’s also been known to hold the occasional beer-menu collaboration (most recently a DC Brau brunch series) so keep an eye out for great events posted on their web site. Take a peek inside over here.
  • Cork – As we mentioned NUMEROUS times, the 14th street outdoor drinking scenario is spiraling slowly but surely out of control. So it is nice to be able to sit and watch the hustle and bustle of 14th street from the relative serenity viewpoint of Cork’s intimate patio. The avocado bruschetta and the mimosa flights at brunch definitely help, too.
  • DC9When we go out boozing with friends, conversation is often as important as a steady buzz. On a typical Saturday, most D.C. bars are too packed or too loud for such an opportunity. DC9′s roof deck, on the other hand, is an oasis of comfort. Anyone’s who has gone to a show there knows how friendly their bartenders are, and upstairs they’re even more relaxed and willing to chat. There’s plenty of space, the drinks are cheap, and the crowd is always chill. They even get the small details right – once you open a tab, the bartender returns your card promptly – we’re sure this will be a favorite spot as the summer continues.
  • DODGE CITY – Tucked behind one of BYT’s favorite bars in town, the DODGE CITY back yard is never too packed, never too loud, never too anything-just perfect for catching up with your friends over a nice cold one (+ the same could be said for Velvet Lounge too)
  • Fiola Mare – Those who know D.C. dining know Fabio Trabocchi doesn’t mess around, so for most it should come as no surprise that his newest addition to the Fiola family is, as they say, practically perfect in every way. Fiola Mare offers exquisite cuisine and cocktails, all enjoyable on a glassed-in patio on the Georgetown Waterfront (with its walls of windows open in perfect weather) and, soon enough, directly on the boardwalk with waterside patio seating. From our review: “The cocktail menu and selection is almost overwhelming in its comprehensiveness, and Fiola Mare’s wine menu features some of Chef Trabocchi’s favorites as well as anything you could ever want to complement his outstanding cuisine.” Check out our full piece over here and brace yourself for outdoor drinking bliss.
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  • Garden District – Everyone’s been to Standard on 14th and S NW, at least once by now right? The thing we love most about Standard is not the barbecue or the beer (though of course those don’t hurt); it’s the fried pickles. These things are heavenly. Instead of doing pickle chips like we’re used to, Standard does the whole spear in a batter that’s not too heavy, and not too light. This fried spear of Americana is a warm invitation to summer, and even if you don’t like it, at least you’ll be in the perfect place to eat it.
  • Hank’s Oyster Bar – Is there a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon than sipping white wine and eating oysters and peel and eat shrimp at the Hank’s in Dupont? We don’t think so.

  • Le Diplomate –  check out our full first look and taste test story here. But, to quote: “Le Diplomate is precisely where you’ll be all spring and summer long, whether you’re seated in their pristinely decorated bistro or their picturesque patios”. Place is GORGEOUS and while it is currently being MOBBED by the hungry 14th street masses at all times and meals, show up early or make a reservation and live like you’re in a movie for a few hours.
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  • Little Miss Whiskey’s – An oldie but a goodie, this H Street staple has a lovely second level to its back patio. How could this get even better? Both levels allow use of the bar’s large propane grill for the ultimate spring/summer experience. (Just remember to order The Awesomeness, LMW’s vodka iced tea slushie.)
  • Red RocksWhat’s not to love? Picnic tables on the patio, plentiful umbrellas, reasonable waits, they never forget the slice of orange, the spinach salad makes us want to actually eat salad and they serve some of the best pizza, calzones and bottomless brunch mimosas in the city.
  • Perry’s – Adams Morgan gets a ton of flack for the overall bridge-and-tunnel vibe it has these days, but the Perry’s rooftop is a local constant and the patio equivalent of a friend you can always rely on: peaceful, spacious, classy, always there for you. Plus, those twinkly lights are VERY flattering.
  • Rock and Roll HotelHome to not only some of the best shows and trivia in the District, Rock and Roll Hotel has one of our absolute favorite rooftop bars. Whether you’re grabbing a drink post-/pre-show or stopping by for a casual cocktail (or alcoholic slushie) for no particular occasion, it’s a great spot to sit and chat with friends; bonus points for porthole windows.
  • 1905Combined with an intimate bistro vibe, 1905 creates a one of a kind dining experience that works just perfectly on its patio. Step right up to the outdoor bar for an absinthe cocktail or  a glass of wine from their wide-ranging wine menu. Bonus: their new executive chef, Joel Hatton, is pumping up Tuesday nights at the restaurant with an ongoing Mussels Night special (starting at 5:30pm). For just $15, you’ll get a heaping bowl of steaming mussels accompanied by a mound of house-cut fries and a can or bottle of beer of your choice from 1905‘s stellar list. #WINNING

THOSE ARE OUR PICKS. TELL US YOUR FAVORITES IN THE COMMENTS.

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