As the summer fast approaches, so does our thirst for sunlight and–let’s be honest–every type of cocktail in this fine city. And whether you’re looking to deviate from your regular neighborhood haunt or you’re just dying to try some of the District’s latest and greatest options in outdoor wining and dining, we’ve got you covered. Summer may as well be officially here….
(Now with 100% more GOOGLE MAPS telling you where to go!!!)
- Room 11
That 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.)
(Photo courtesy Jeff Martin)
- Cork Wine Bar
One of 14th Street’s most coveted tables, Cork Wine Bar’s charming 12-seat patio is the perfect spot to spend a warm spring evening over delicious food and interesting wines. Expanding the seating availability at this popular neighborhood wine bar, Cork’s patio provides a desirable space to enjoy an intimate meal under the stars or an after-work glass of wine with good friends. Guests can enjoy light, shareable plates from Executive Chef Rob Weland while sipping a refreshing glass of rosé or Cork’s signature Spiced Lemonade ($3), a creative and refreshing blend of fresh squeezed lemon juice, star anise, coriander, white pepper, bay leaves and cinnamon, which can also be spiked.
(courtesy of Cork)
- Wonderland Ballroom
Enjoy tapas-style Mediterranean cuisine at Cava on Barrack’s Row while sipping a glass of chardonnay on the outdoor, street-level, full-service dining area or on the rooftop patio. We highly suggest the spanakopita (Google wants to correct spanakopita to “spanking,” by the way) as well as the grilled asparagus with feta cheese. Plates are small but lend to sharing so it’s the perfect place to take close friends (or a first or second date). Prices are reasonable, servers are pleasant (and all shockingly good-looking) and bottles of wine are 50% off every Monday night. Enjoy a cocktail and/or dinner at this adorable and laid back Capitol Hill restaurant.
- Tabard Inn
The back patio is really quite charming and the staff is fantastic. 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)
- Red Rocks
What’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.
- Jack Rose
As you might have noticed, we here at BYT are a little obsessed with Jack Rose. Whether it’s their delicious menu (hello, lobster potpie), their enormous selection of whiskey, or their fun and ultra-summery new alcoholic sno-cones, 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.
- 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.
- Biergarten Haus
Venture 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. Enjoy happy hour outdoors at their large wooden tables, or try your hand at trivia. (The schnitzel isn’t bad either.)
(Photo courtesy Jeff Martin)
Nellie’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 $1, 6-7 pm $2, and 7-8pm $3. 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.
- 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.
- Art and Soul
Starting May 30, this Patio brings guests a weekly crab boil with beer specials to boot. Each Wednesday, enjoy $4/glass and $16 pitchers of Flying Dog seasonal brews from 4pm to 7pm and crab beginning at 5:30pm priced at 3 crabs for$21, 6 crabs for $40 and 12 crabs/$72, with assorted sides priced at $3 each.
(Photo courtesy of Robert Isacson)
Proof also has a great patio and 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.
- Bourbon Steak
An 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 firepits in front of us, cocktail in-hand.
(photo courtesy of Don Riddle)
- Et Voila!
A true neighborhood gathering place in DC’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.
- Lost Society – Lost Society’s rooftop overlooks the most people watching corner in DC: that of 14th and U. Add to that that it seems a (granted, minor) celebrity is CONSTANTLY being sighted there and perching yourself in one of the corner settees with a cold drink may just be the best show on the corridor.
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.
- Café Saint-Ex
A neighborhood mainstay on DC’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.
- La Fourchette
For a cute French spot to eat and drink (might we suggest their brunch?), La Forchette can’t be beaten. With a patio right on 18th Street, you can easily spend a lazy afternoon (or entire Saturday or Sunday) drinking bottles of inexpensive wine, munching on tarts and watching the foor traffic of Adams Morgan’s busiest stretch come and go–and as we’ve all learned by now, Adams Morgan can be fantastic for people-watching, day or night.
Lincoln’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).
(Photo Courtesy of Erika Paola Gutierrez)
- Rock and Roll Hotel
Home to not only some of the best shows and trivia in the District, Rock and Roll Hotel has now expanded toward the heavens with it new rooftop bar. Whether you’re grabbing a drink post-/pre-show or stopping by for a casual cocktail for no particular occasion, it’s a great spot to sit and chat with friends (we also dig the porthole windows).
(Photo courtesy Jeff Martin)
- Rasika West End
Known for its phenomenal food, Rasika West End is expanding your tantalizing options with its brand-new patio. In many years of eating and talking to people about eating in this town, we have never heard anything but praise for the food, the service and the wines–now all available to you in glorious sunshine.
- A BAR – West End is notoriously that no-man’s land when it comes to drinks: sure there is a plethora of GW friendly bars, and just a hop skip away there is plenty of quality imbibing to be done either in the Georgetown or Dupont areas but that 23rd-25th street on Penn has been long awaiting a gathering spot worthy of it’s “close to everything” location. Now it has one. With a gorgeous lounge patio to boot.
New York darling Boqueria also just opened a patio for its brand-new D.C. location, providing 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.
- Masa 14 – read our full story on it HERE.
- Chez Billy
The space occupies the location of the old Billy Simpson’s seafood and steak joint and does a great job of maintaining the fine balance between the joys of formal dining and casual hanging out with your friends–and the patio/outdoor seating is of course ideal for this type of scenario. The menu is pretty firmly planted in the french bistro territory with prices ranging from $8 for the vichysoisse (chilled potato leek soup with creme fraiche) to $27 for steak (with blenty in between with a few entrees under $20 or just hitting the mark), though for your outdoor drinking might we suggest the charcuterie plate and old-world cocktails (Sazeracs, Bijous and Kir Royales are all there) or something off their nice and affordable wine list, perfect for lingering late night over a dessert.
(Photo courtesy Jeff Martin)
- 3 Bar & Grill
One of Clarendon’s most popular springtime spots, 3’s lively patio is one of the hottest neighborhood gathering places during warmer months. The entertaining outdoor terrace is not only the perfect spot to enjoy soulful Southern cuisine and a selection of 80+ brews under the sun, but also serves as the neighborhood’s go-to spot on the third Thursday of every month when 3 roasts a whole hog for their loved community Pig Roasts, offering food and drink specials throughout the day.
(photo courtesy of 3)
Combined with an intimate bistro vibe, 1905 creates a one of a kind dining experience that works just perfectly on its brand new patio. Step right up to the outdoor bar for an absinthe cocktail or a glass of wine from their wide-ranging wine menu.
(Photo courtesy Jeff Martin)
We 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. Their modern upscale Italian cuisine is divine, using the freshest of ingredients with an impressive cocktail and wine list to boot. Luckily for us, they just doubled their gorgeous patio’s seating capacity (look at those flowers!!), making room for 70 prime outdoor wining and dining spots.
Perfect 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.
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 gardenside table or on their couch-like outdoor seating.
- BLT Steak
Located a block from the White House, the umbrella-covered patio at BLT Steak is the perfect place to spot DC’s power players. The intimate, more informal 24-seat patio is the perfect locale for an alfresco power lunch or dinner in the midst of Washington. Diners can enjoy refreshing fare from the restaurant’s signature Raw Bar or a glass from their diverse selection of New and Old World wines.
- 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)
- MARVIN-now with the expansion to the Blackbyrd adjacent rooftop patio-you ACTUALLY stand a chance to grab a seat even if you don’t arrive RIGHT at opening time.
- Tabaq-Right in the heart of U Street, Tabaq offers Mediterranean small plates, a full bar, delicious drink specials, the occasional DJ set and a fully-enclosed glass rooftop, perfect for enjoying all of the above. ALSO-NEVER TOO CROWDED (SOMEHOW)
When 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.
- Hank’s Oyster Bar
We absolutely love fresh seafood over ice on a hot day and at Hank’s patio–which, kudos to them, accommodates up to 40 guests–you can get your fresh fix at weekend brunch, dinner , and lunch on Fridays. Feast on Chef Leeds’s selection of fresh shucked oysters, clams and her famous Lobster Roll and mixologist Megan Coyle’s cocktails incorporating freshly squeezed juices and the highest quality spirits–which will be house-infused, along with cordials, bitters, seasonal tinctures, house-made grenadine and limoncello.
Gibson has a perfect tiki patio. The Gibson usually does a separate summer cocktail menu for the back and a bunch of fun food+drink events during the outdoor season. Nothing not to like.
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