While the July 4th fireworks are Saturday’s main event, you’ll want to eat and drink well before the 9:15 show. Any popular watch spot will be crowded—particularly heavily touristed areas. Here are a few ideas for tasty stops in several of the most popular destinations, including tips for avoiding the crush. For a list of brunches, barbecues, and organized events, check out our July 4th Dining and Drinking Guide.
The Georgetown Waterfront/Key Bridge
Combine a popular tourist neighborhood with July 4th fireworks and you guarantee one thing: crowds. Unless you have particularly sharp elbows—or snagged a reservation at Fiola Mare—we wouldn’t fight for table on the waterfront or main M Street drag.
- Grab a delicious Maine lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster, just off M Street, and plan on picnicking. The shop also has a few seats, plus wine and beer.
- Start at Bayou on Pennsylvania Avenue—slightly off the beaten path towards Foggy Bottom, but still easily walkable from G’Town—for tasty fried green tomatoes, po’ boys, and Abita beers.
- Rise above the fray by starting in upper Georgetown/Book Hill. We like the cozy Bistro Lepic for French fare and wine.
- Take refuge in one of the neighborhood’s swanky hotel bars, like Degrees in the Ritz-Carlton or the Capella’s Rye Bar. A cocktail will cost you, but you may find room to breathe.
The National Mall
The National Park Service always advises bringing food and water (alcohol is a no-no), and you’ll need it once you’ve found a prime watch spot. Otherwise fill up on food and drinks in neighborhoods close to the Mall like Foggy Bottom on the Lincoln Memorial side, or Penn Quarter and Capitol Hill on the opposite end.
- Order a pre-packed picnic from restaurants catering to fireworks-goers, like fried chicken buckets from Penn Commons or barbecue delivery to the Mall itself from Hill Country.
- Drop into Chef Geoff’s Downtown. It’s a one-stop Metro ride to the Mall, and a something-for-everyone kind of place that’s family (and wallet) friendly.
- For something fancier and foodie-er, try Central Michel Richard. Dishes like the lobster burger and fried chicken are Washington classics, and there’s a bar if tables are booked.
- Head to the Mitsitam Cafe located inside the Museum of the American Indian for an early meal (open until 5). The fare takes cafeteria-style dining to a new level—granted, at a higher price—with cedar-planked salmon, enchiladas mole, and alcoholic beverages.
The National Cathedral
3101 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Spectators can catch the fireworks from the Cathedral’s lawn and parking lot. The crowd gears more local than others downtown, but the restaurant/bar options are fewer—prepare to fight neighbors for tables.
- The little restaurant row on nearby Macomb Street includes great options like 2 Amys (Neapolitan pizza), La Piquette (cozy French), and Cactus Cantina (cheesy Mexican). Be warned these eateries are crowded on an average weekend, so there’s no telling what a July 4th Saturday will look like.
- For a quick-grab option, Jetties sandwich shop on Macomb Street is a great option for a picnic to bring over to the Cathedral. Grab a Thanksgiving-style Nobadeer sandwich and cheers America, and don’t forget a cupcake for dessert from sister bakeshop Something Sweet.
- Start in Glover Park, where you’ll find a number of decent restaurants. Try a wood-fired pizza and house-made limoncello at Arcuri, and Breadsoda for beers and games like shuffleboard and darts.
Cardozo High School and Meridian Hill Park
1200 Clifton St., NW; 2500 16th St., NW
This is one of the richest areas for dining and drinking options before and after the fireworks—U Street, 14th Street, and Columbia Heights are all in close proximity.
- For a quick-grab option, go for tacos. Tacos El Chilango whips up simple, tasty Mexican tacos, guacamole, and cervezas. A small back patio is the place to be if the weather is nice. Pica Taco is another option for no-frills tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.
- Start further away from the crowded areas at Thip Khao (about a 20 minute walk and eight minute cab from Cardozo). The mouth-searing Laotian fare creates fireworks before the real show starts.
- For something closer, check out the G sandwich/Kapnos duo. The latter has a fairly large bar area if all the tables are taken, while the adjoining shop packs sandwich picnic boxes until 5, and serves a la carte Italian after.
McKinley Technology High School
151 T St., NE
The vantage point from McKinley in DC’s Eckington neighborhood is as good as Cardozo, minus the raucous U Street crowds after—though you’e not far, so joining the revelry is an option. Nearby Bloomingdale and Shaw also offer good options for eating and drinking.
- Short on time? Drop into DCity Smokehouse for some of the city’s best barbecue. Pulled pork or brisket sandwiches make for tasty takeout, or you can grab a stool in the shop.
- The Pub & the People just a block away offers tasty gastropub fare and a casual-hip vibe.
- Check out Bloomingdale’s concentrated restaurant/bar area about a 10 minute walk away, with the Red Hen (destination-worthy Italian), Boundary Stone (neighborhood gastropub), El Camino (low-key Mexican), and more.
Because nothing says “freedom” like bottomless mimosas on a Friday…or 7 pm on Saturday.
All-you-can-eat-and-drink Sandoval spectacular
Richard Sandoval’s restaurants offer bottomless brunches throughout the weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Indulge in all-you-can-eat-and-drink meals at both the Georgetown and 14th Street locations of Mexican-themed El Centro D.F., or Latin-Asian eats at Masa 14 and Zengo. Expect endless small plates, free-flowing drinks, and a party vibe at all.
Day-to-evening brunch at Bar Pilar and Cafe Saint-Ex
1833 14th St., NW
Sister 14th Street restaurants have your Saturday brunching covered, serving eggs and bloodies until 8 pm. Pilar dishes up satisfying plates like butter-poached lobster salad and fried chicken biscuits, while Saint-Ex leans French. After 8 look for bar snacks off the late-night menu at both places.
Tico’s bottomless brunch
1926 14th St., NW
Weekend brunching at Tico starts at 11 on Friday and continues beginning at 10 on Saturday and Sunday. Bottomless brunch cocktails go for $19, alongside an a la carte menu of American/Latin dishes like duck confit and green chili hash, and fried chicken.
Bottomless brunch at Station 4
1101 Fourth St., SW
Head in for a set menu on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday: $30 for an entree (crawfish and sausage omelets, corned beef hash) with bottomless mimosas or bloodies for $30.
Barbecues, roof deck parties, all the fried chicken…
Where to find the best summery fare and food-fueled parties.
Fried chicken buckets (and Friday brunch) at Boundary Road
414 H St., NE
This Atlas District spot has a lot going on over the holiday weekend, starting with lunch/brunch on Friday from 11 to 3. Drinkers can opt for $4 DC Brau beers and $4 rickey cocktails on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, when the kitchen dishes up buckets of fried chicken alongside a special Independence Day menu. Crispy bird buckets include eight pieces and sides ($40); only 50 orders are available for dine-in or carryout from 11:15 am to midnight on Saturday, and can be reserved by calling 202-450-3265.
AmeriCan DrinkDependence Weekend at Jack Rose
2007 18th St., NW
With a name like that, you know it’s going to be a party. The Adams Morgan whiskey spot hosts a Saturday and Sunday rooftop bash from 4 to 7:30 with $4 Flying Dog brews and half-prices snacks like smoked whiskey wings, fried chicken skins, and jalapeño hushpuppies. Admission is free.
Grilling with DC Brau at DC9
1940 Ninth St., NW
DC Brau head brewer Jeff Hancock spins tunes on the rooftop of DC9 during their 5th annual grilling party. Platters of brats, burgers, and sides go for $11, while DC Brau beers are $4. Doors open at 2; admission is free.
Brewery battle at City Tap House
901 Ninth St., NW
The beer-centric restaurant joins local breweries 3 Stars Brewing Company, Evolution Craft Brewing Company, and Adroit Theory Brewing Company for a cook-off on Saturday from noon to 5. Expect plenty of ‘cue, traditional sides, a corn hole tournament, and $5 draft beers.
Roof deck grill-out at 1905
1905 Ninth St., NW
1905 fires up the grill on its rooftop on Saturday with a selection of dishes like local sausages, pulled pork, portobello sandwiches, and green bean salad. Wash it down with Atlas Brew Works beer (a full bar is available). The $20 cover charge includes three tickets for food or beer.
Restaurant picnic at Fainting Goat
1330 U St., NW
The 14th Street gastropub serves a celebratory picnic from 2 to 9 on Saturday. An a la carte menu includes snacks ($3.50 to $12) like a peach and burrata salad or sliders, and entrees with seasonal sides ($14 to $19) such as fried chicken thighs with slaw.
Independence Day party at Lincoln Restaurant
1110 Vermont Ave., NW
Celebrate on Saturday at this Abe-themed restaurant, which dishes up a bottomless barbecue buffet ($35 adults; $17 kids 12 and under), and drink specials including $3 PBR and Miller Light, and $30 punch bowls. DJ Freddie spins tunes. The party runs from 2 to 11.
‘Cue and crabs at Teddy & The Bully Bar
1200 19th St., NW
Lincoln’s sister restaurant, themed after Teddy Roosevelt, lays out a farm-to-table barbecue buffet on Saturday from 2 to 11 ($35 per person; $16 for kids 12 and under). Fried chicken, pulled pork, salads, and pies are all on offer, alongside $5 Heavy Seas IPA and $8 house cocktails. Guests can also opt for cracked, garlic-spiced Maryland blue crabs ($12 for three; $24 for six; $48 per dozen).
Lobster bake at Graffiato
707 Sixth St., NW
Tired of beer and barbecue over the holiday weekend? Head to Mike Isabella’s Italian restaurant on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a lobster bake of one-pound crustaceans, corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes, and cornbread ($39). Reservations are recommended.
Live music, good eats
Feast and listen to live tunes at these restaurants and concerts.
The Hollies hit Bethesda via Villain & Saint
7141 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda
Steve Lauri of The Hollies makes a rare performance at Robert Wiedmaier’s restaurant/music house on Friday (musical trivia: his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010). Sip a drink special, dubbed The Holli-Day, with rum and fresh-squeezed orange and pineapple juices. Doors open at 8 and the concert begins at 9. Tickets ($18) are available online.
Freedom fest at Republic
6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park
Head to Jeff Black’s Takoma Park restaurant on Saturday from 11 to 7 for a beer-filled party. Guests can listen to live tunes from Yamonamen and Human Country Jukebox, try limited-release beers, and dig into a barbecue feast from chef Danny Wells. Local breweries like Denizens Brewing Company, The Brewer’s Art, and Atlas Brewing Company join the festivities. Tickets ($40 to $70) are available online.
Biker bash starting at DC Brau
3178 Bladensburg Rd., NE
Anyone with a motorcycle can head to DC Brau on Saturday at 9 for a Chef Geoff’s breakfast and Vigilante coffees before riding the hogs to RFK Stadium for the Foo Fighters 20th anniversary concert. Each ticket ($50 to $125; two ticket limit) includes preferred seating at the show.
St. Patrick's Day is a time to celebrate all things Irish, and the neighborhood pub is front and center. The best Irish bars aren't the places that pour green beer or cater to crawls, but that serve as year-round gathering places for good drinks, homey fare, and live music. Here are 12 great watering holes around Washington, whether you plan to celebrate March 17 (see St. Patty's specials below) or just need a good spot for a pint.
2003 18th St., NW
This Adams Morgan watering hole isn’t over-the-top Irish—the owners are local guys—but it embodies everything a good neighborhood pub should: plenty of beer, a loyal crowd of regulars, and tater tot “totchos” smothered in cheddar and bacon for padding the stomach before several rounds of Guinness.
Specials: $6 Irish beers and $6 Jameson shots all day long.
Four F St., NW
On any given afternoon you can sip an Irish whiskey undisturbed at this family-owned Capitol Hill institution, but St. Patty's Day is quite the multi-day affair--you might even catch President Obama dropping in for a pint.
Specials: Doors open at 10 AM with live Irish music all day and night.
4844 Cordell Ave., Bethesda
You can nibble mini meat pies or go in for a whole platter of bacon and cabbage (more traditionally Irish than corned beef) at this warmly-hued watering hole.
Specials: The all-day lineup of live music begins at 11 and runs until close, and includes Irish dancers and bag pipers.
6119 Tulane Ave., Glen Echo
The atmospheric inn is a great place to avoid green beer-chugging crowds and celebrate with holiday with family or friends. Guests can sip a Guinness at the bar, or try special St. Patrick’s Day prix-fixe menus ($25 at lunch; $40 dinner) with classics like bangers and mash or beef stew.
Specials: Set menus for lunch and dinner (see above).
4624 Wisconsin Ave., NW
This unassuming upper Northwest pub doesn’t put on an Emerald Isle act just for the holiday. It’s one of the few places that serves a traditional Irish breakfast all day, every day: a “fry” with two eggs, rashers, sausage, black and white puddings, beans, tomato, and toast.
Specials: Head in for green jello shots and a number of other specials.
11301 Elkin St., Wheaton
Regulars can relax by the fire or go in for a game of darts at this suburban pub. While there are plenty of traditional Irish dishes on the menu, the place also caters to the meatless crowd with vegan "bangers" and chips.
Specials: Doors open at 8 AM for live music all day.
1264 Wisconsin Ave., NW
Georgetown’s historic pub marks their 82nd anniversary this year, and is still run by the Martin family who originated in Galway. Though the bar/restaurant has played host to several Presidents—the Kennedy “proposal booth” remains a fixture—the place is far from fussy, and serves solid (not necessarily Irish) throwbacks like creamed chipped beef, monte cristo sandwiches, and weekday brunch.
Specials: Food and drink specials abound, which you can enjoy on the outdoor sidewalk "patty'o".
911 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring
This gathering place in downtown Silver Spring comes from Irish-born owners, and the menu boasts a few less-common finds like an Irish boxty (potato and cheddar cake), Wexford lamb stew, and colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage). Though St. Patty's is a music-filled day, every Tuesday brings traditional Irish players to the pub.
Specials: Irish dancers perform from 3:30 to 5:30, while live music plays on two floors from 6 to midnight.
713 King St., Alexandria
Old Town is home to a large Irish-American community and several top-notch pubs, and this stalwart is among the best. Live music plays nightly, or you can sip a stout alongside bangers and mash with peas and gravy.
Specials: The musical lineup begins at 9 AM and goes through the day and night, as well as traditional Irish dancing.
3319 Connecticut Ave., NW
Nannys, as its known to regulars, is a no-frills Cleveland Park fixture. The Harp lager is cold, the wings hot, and there's Irish beef stew served with a slice of soda bread for more traditional tastes.
Specials: Doors open at 10 with live music all day from Conor Malone and Johnny Grave, as well as St. Patty's swag.
760 Walker Rd., Great Falls
St. Patty's marks the 34th anniversary of this traditional Irish spot for all seasons, equipped with a large patio for sipping Smithwick's in summer, and a live fireplace warming the room in winter. Comfort fare goes year-round, with plenty of sausages, savory pies, and stews.
Specials: Doors open at 10 for a day of Irish beers at three bars and live music all day (a $10 cover charge applies).
1341 H St., NE
Washington’s only Judeo-Irish bar is far from your generic pub. Half Jewish deli (and home of Bullfrog Bagels), half Irish bar, it’s the kind of place you can get your pastrami and Powers fix. They also do it up for the holidays—Mac’Griddle breakfast shooter, anyone?
Specials: Open at 8 AM with all-day specials, a house-cured corned beef and cabbage platter, and live music by Klezcentricity.
Holiday drinking: It’s not excessive, it’s festive! Here are five great recipes to try, whether you want to impress friends with a few cocktails or are whipping up punch for a party.
Mazel Tov cocktail from DGS Delicatessen
Toast Hanukkah dinner with this sparkling sip, which gets floral notes from sloe gin (or Averell Damson plum gin liqueur, if you can find it) and lavender syrup.
Spiced Swedish punch from Todd Thrasher
The Swedes know their booze, as does Todd “Liquid Savant” Thrasher. Put the two together and you have an impressive, party-worth punch.
Sparkling pomegranate cocktail
This is my holiday go-to: easy to make, fairly potent, but not so strong that wine-drinking friends will shy away. The pomegranate seeds bob up and down with the bubbles, which is like a little fruit party in a glass.
Cape cobbler from Micah Wilder
If there’s any leftover cranberry sauce kicking around from a holiday dinner, this is your cocktail. The bourbon-based sip is also delicious, so it’s worth splurging on a fresh container of the red stuff.
Ben Franklin’s Milk Punch
The America Eats Tavern bar team helped rediscover this brandy-based punch. It’s much lighter than eggnog—no heavy cream, less sugar—and can be stored for long lengths at room temperature.
And for a little nibble…
Bacon-roasted pecans from Ripple
Party guests will eat this savory snack like peanuts. Or pecans roasted with Benton’s bacon, which are far superior.
Jewish holidays have a wonderful culinary reputation, and rightly so. But drinking? Not so much—unless you like Manischewitz. To remedy that, we asked DGS Delicatessen beverage director Brian Zipin for a festive Rosh Hashanah sip.
This rum-based refresher uses two fruits traditionally found in Jewish New Year festivities: apples and pomegranates. Don't worry about deseeding the latter, which can be tricky; Pom juice serves as the base for a tasty pomegranate syrup. Zipin likes rum for holiday cocktails, as many varieties are already kosher. L'Chayim!
Makes 1 cocktail
1¾ ounces Appleton Estate V/X Rum
1½ ounces organic apple juice
1½ ounces pomegranate syrup (see recipe below)
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 drops Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters
Optional: lemon wheel to garnish
Shake all ingredients and serve over ice in a wine glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Makes 2 cups
2 cups pomegranate juice, such as Pom brand
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon pomegranate molasses, found in Middle Eastern groceries and some Whole Foods
½ teaspoon orange flower water, found in Middle Eastern groceries and specialty shops like Dean & Deluca
Heat juice slightly over medium, just enough to allow other ingredients to dissolve easily. Stir in remaining ingredients, allow to cool, bottle, and refrigerate. The syrup keeps for two weeks.
Find Anna Spiegel on Twitter at @annaspiegs.
City Tap House beer director Andy Farrell isn’t a snob when it comes brews.
“The way I feel about summertime beer is that it’s hot outside, so drink what makes you happy and cools you down,” he says. “Ice-cold Miller High Life is a hell of a thing on a hot summer day.”
In addition to the “Champagne of beers,” we asked Farrell to recommend some of his favorite all-American suds for Fourth of July grill-outs. You can find most at Whole Foods or a liquor store with a better-than-average selection.
You want: A brew that goes well with barbecue.
Try: An American IPA, like Terrapin Beer Company RecreationAle (Athens, Georgia)
“You have all kinds of rich sauces, big flavors,” says Farrell. “I’m usually a fan of using your beer as a palate cleanser in this case.” Hoppy IPAs also pair well with tangy sides such as slaw and potato salad, and are typically lower in alcohol, so you can drink a few over the course of a ’cue.
You want: An easy-drinking beer with seafood.
Try: Port City Brewing Company Optimal Wit (Alexandria, Virginia)
“This is a great wheat if you’re not into hoppy beers, and you want something easy, clean, and bright,” says Farrell. He recommends the citrusy brew with seafood dishes, such as crabcakes and lobster. Want a little more hop? Try Port City’s Downright Pils. “Pils are hoppy on the front with a crisp, clean finish,” says Farrell. “They’re made for eating, the ultimate palate cleanser.”
You want: A robust, unusual brew.
Try: A German-style rauchbier, like Mad Fox Rauchbier (Falls Church, Virginia)
“If you really want to get crazy outside the box for your barbecue, try a German-style smoked lager,” says Farrell. “It’s like drinking bacon-beer.” If you can’t find the local version—it’s a seasonal item on Mad Fox’s list—make an exception to the American rule and try German Aecht Schlenkerla. The brewery specializes in smoked lagers, which Farrell says pair best with fatty, rich dishes like smoked pork butt and ribs.
You want: A crisp, fruity sip.
Try: A European-style radler, like Sixpoint Brewery Rad (Brooklyn, New York)
This style of beer, which literally means “cyclist” in German, originated in Europe as a biker’s drink: golden ale mixed with fresh fruit juice for a refreshing, low-alcohol thirst quencher. “They’re really bright, citrusy, and fresh,” says Farrell. If you’re not sticking within US borders, he also likes Stiegl Grapefruit Radler from Austria.
You want: A classy keg.
Try: Atlas Brew Works Rowdy Rye (Washington, DC)
Kegs don’t necessarily mean sticking to collegiate quantities of Bud. “If you’re going to invest in a keg, go local. That way you can ensure freshness,” says Farrell, who recommends calling nearby breweries or wholesalers (you can browse producers in our local beer guide). Even if you don’t know what exact beer you want, brewers can be helpful in recommending a variety that meets your style. Fitting for the Fourth, Farrell likes Atlas’s Rowdy Rye. “It’s an awesome food beer in general, and really complements barbecue. It has a nice spice, but it’s not bitter.”
You don’t have to hit the beach to have fun this Fourth of July weekend. Restaurants and bars throughout Washington are celebrating with outdoor barbecues, pool parties, special brunches, all-day happy hours, and more. And if you’re planning on heading down to the Mall or the Georgetown waterfront to watch the fireworks, make sure you pack a picnic.
BARBECUES AND PARTIES
Poolside barbecue at Art and Soul
415 New Jersey Ave., NW
Fancy a dip? The Liaison Capitol Hill throws a rooftop pool party with all-American eats from Art and Soul—think burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob. Tickets ($35) get you all-day access to the hotel pool and a limited view of the fireworks (food and drinks are priced individually).
Patio barbecue at Cafe du Parc
1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Celebrate America’s birthday with a block party-style feast before hitting the fireworks at this French bistro in the Willard InterContinental. The kitchen grills up hamburgers, hot dogs, and vegetarian wraps from noon to 8 on the patio, while you can also purchase $15 picnic lunches to go to from the à-la-carte menu.
All-you-can-eat cookout at Cashion’s Eat Place
1819 Columbia Rd., NW
Enjoy homestyle favorites such as slow-roasted pork shoulder, corn dogs, and coleslaw at Cashion’s all-you-can-eat cookout on July 4. Service runs from 2 to 6 or whenever food runs out, so come early and hungry—the restaurant will not be open for regular dinner service. Tickets ($40) are required for the party and include a cocktail.
No-cover party and boozy pops on the DNV Rooftop
1155 14th St., NW
One of the best roof top pool bars in DC revisits its “freedom from cover charges” bash on July Fourth. Look for the regular, individually priced menu of Asian-inspired eats from Zentan like pork belly bao buns, tamarind-beef tacos, and Jon Harris’s cocktails. Another plus: boozy red, white, and blue popsicles. There’s no direct view of the fireworks, but you can catch them on an outdoor screen. The doors open at noon, and it’s best to get there early for a space.
Boozy popsicles and deejays at the Gibson
2009 14th St., NW
Hit this 14th Street cocktail bar’s back patio for alcoholic popsicles and tunes from DJ Jazmine and DJ Eskimo from noon to 8 (no-reservation admission is free, pops are $6). You can pad the stomach with $1 veggie burgers and hot dogs.
’Cue and tunes from Hill Country
401 F St., NW; 410 Seventh St., NW
Hill Country’s Backyard Barbecue at the National Building Museum opens from 2 to 9 on July 4 with the regular menu of barbecue eats and live music by Jeremy Steding and the Slim Kings (free admission; food and drink priced individually). Should you decide to head inside, the Penn Quarter restaurant serves special cocktails like a watermelon-vodka “watermelon crawl,” and throws a free post-fireworks show by Jonny Grave and the Tombstones at 9:30.
AmeriCan Drink Dependence Day at Jack Rose
2007 18th St., NW
Nothing says freedom like inexpensive canned beer, and you’ll find plenty of it during Jack Rose’s rooftop party. Flying Dog supplies $4 Snake Dog IPA and Easy IPA from noon to 5 ($5 from 5 until close) as well as $5 to $6 drafts alongside food specials. Another party July 3 features a Sam Adams tap takeover, more inexpensive pours, and $4 beer snow cones.
Unlimited punch and half-smokes at Lincoln
1110 Vermont Ave., NW
Starting early on Monday, June 30, you’ll find specials on American beers including $3 PBR, $5 Jack’s Hard Cider, and $6 Port City Pilsner. On July 4 the party includes unlimited drinks from the “emancipation punch bowl” and a barbecue menu ($30 adults; $15 kids under 12).
Roof-deck barbecue at 1905
1905 Ninth St., NW
Hit the deck at this Shaw bistro and bar for an outdoor bash from 3 to 10 featuring 3 Stars beer, and grilled fare such as burgers and ribs. Tickets ($15; $20 at the door while available) include either two gratis beers or a choice of protein and two sides. Extra beers and food are $5.
First Annual Freedom Fest at Republic
6939 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park
Republic hosts an al fresco beer and barbecue festival from 11 to 7 featuring live music from Yamomanem and Human Country Jukebox. More than 25 local brews will be on tap, along with cookout classics like slow-smoked pork, deviled eggs, and corn on the cob. Tickets include free-flowing beer and food, and run $35 for a four-hour pass (11 to 3 or 3 to 7), or $50 for the whole day. Those looking to just swing by can grab $1 oysters in the tent outside the restaurant.
Patio party at 701
701 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
The Penn Quarter restaurant opens its outdoor patio for an Independence Day cookout. An à-la-carte menu features starters and sides such as green eggs and ham and Mexican grilled corn for $4 to $8, and heartier barbecue fare like pulled-pork sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs for $8 to $15. The 701 dining room is also open for regular business from 4 to 10.
Dinner and dancing cruise aboard Spirit and Odyssey Cruises
600 Water St., SW
Skip the crowds on the Mall and catch the fireworks from the water aboard these sister vessels, which host dinner cruises on July 4. The Odyssey trip starts at 6 and includes a three-course meal, open bar, and dancing ($275). The Spirit ride involves a dinner buffet, open bar, and deejays ($200). Both offer full views of the light show and end at 11:30.
All-you-can-eat and $1 oysters at Teddy & the Bully Bar
1200 19th St., NW
Just a couple of blocks from Dupont Circle, this presidential-themed eatery has a whole lineup of specials for the holiday. Stop in between 2 PM and 1 AM for $1 oysters, happy hour specials, $8 cocktails, and an all-you-can-eat menu of grilled fare, salads, sides and desserts for $32 per person ($16 for kids 12 and under).
1308 G St., NW
Show your stripes with Astro’s picnic basket ($36), which includes eight pieces of fried chicken, three USA doughnuts (vanilla with raspberry drizzle and blueberries), three chocolate birthday cake doughnuts, and one pint of potato salad. The picnic feeds four and is available for pickup on July 4 from 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Place your order online, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 202-809-5565.
414 H St., NE
Take your Fourth of July feast to go with a fried-chicken bucket ($40) from Boundary Road. The picnic-ready package includes eight pieces of fried chicken, watermelon salad, potato salad, and cookies for four, and must be reserved by Thursday, July 3. Call 202-450-3265 to place your order, then pick up at the restaurant on the Fourth.
277 S. Washington St., Alexandria
Society’s Fair BBQ bag for four ($75) comes with cookout essentials like pulled pork, barbecue chicken, coleslaw, honey cornbread, and potato salad. Reserve online or call for availability. Bags can be picked up at the Alexandria store from Thursday at 11 until Friday at 2.
1612 14th St., NW
Fried chicken lovers can pick up some of the best in town when preordering Pearl Dive’s crispy bird buckets. The $35 deal includes six pieces of dark-meat chicken, German-style potato salad, slaw, jalapeño corn muffins, and blueberry hand pies. Orders must be received 24 hours in advance.
3222 M St., NW
Stop by this Georgetown bocce and bowling restaurant for a game and some takeout before watching the fireworks from the waterfront. The Italian fare includes sandwiches and party platters like Italian grinders and a roast turkey cobb.
EatWell DC restaurants
All five of EatWell DC’s restaurants serve brunch on July 4, including the Heights, the Pig, Commissary, Logan Tavern, and Grillfish. Offers vary by location, from $1 oysters and $5 American drafts at Grillfish to a swine-centric barbecue menu at the Pig.
1238 H St., NE
Sip cocktails and munch on brisket hash, sourdough French toast, and eggs Benedict as part of this Belgian gastropub’s special Firecracker Brunch. At 4 PM, Granville turns into a day-drinking haven until the fireworks at 9.
2007 14th St., NW
A limited brunch menu runs from 11 to 6 for all your egg-and-mimosa needs. Hit the upstairs roof deck before or after for boozy snow cones, available starting at noon.
Each of Richard Sandoval’s six DC establishments offer unlimited brunch for patriotic patrons, including Masa 14, both El Centro D.F. 14th Street and Georgetown, Ambar, Toro Toro, and Zengo. The $35 feast includes all-you-can-drink cocktails, wine, and beer, and never-ending dishes. Flavors vary by eatery, from Latin-Asian-style drinks and eats at Masa to Balkan fare at Ambar.
SPECIAL HAPPY HOURS
613 Pennsylvania Ave., SE
The Capitol Hill bourbon bar is serving up an all-American menu featuring lobster rolls, Chicago-style hot dogs, and deep-fried apple pies. Happy hour starts at 4 PM, with $3 Bud and $5 American bourbons and whiskeys.
3115 14th St., NW
Boozy red, white, and blue floats are offered all day ($9), with cooling combinations such as gin, St. Germain, bubbly, and sorbet. The regular happy hour menu runs 3 to 7.
4001 Campbell Ave., Arlington
A tri-colored brew, $8 cocktails, and food specials for the entire holiday weekend will be available at Capitol City Brewery’s Arlington location. Grab a burger-and-beer combo or a wing-and-beer combo and get Capitol City Core Four beer included. Members of the military receive 10 percent off.
1904 14th St., NW
Policy starts the weekend on Thursday with an all-night happy hour, including a $5 food menu and other drink specials. On Friday and Saturday, pair a cocktail with items from the Patriotic menu: pulled-pork sliders or fried chicken drizzled in honey.
8226 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring
Kick-start your weekend with an early happy hour at Urban Butcher, starting at 3 on Thursday. The Silver Spring market/restaurant is also serving brunch on the Fourth from 11:30 AM to 5 PM, with happy hour running all day.
Trying to decide between feasting and partying on New Year’s Eve? Luckily you don’t have to. The following restaurants mix both, offering special eats, live music, bottomless bubbly, costumed soirees, and more. Just make sure to book reservations before it's too late.
Roberto Donna whips up a four-course meal (think Buffalo mozzarella with caviar and lobster gnocchi) starting at 9:30, while a DJ starts spinning at 10 for dancing until the early morning. [Event page]
Details: The dinner and party is $60 per person (otherwise a la carte until 8). Wine pairings are pretty affordable at $25 and $35.
Penn Quarter’s newest beer-heavy restaurant pairs a four-course menu with an open bar after-party from 10 to close. Dishes include the likes of kale-pomegranate salad and bucatini with rabbit bolognese. [Event page]
Details: Those who opt for the menu ($50 per person) from 5 to 11 can add the $50 open-bar option (regularly $75 without dinner).
Channel Bourbon Street on 14th Street with a New Orleans-inspired fete that includes three or four-course menus, a DJ, and a gratis glass of bubbly for the second seating. [Event page]
Details: The 6:30 seating with a three-course menu is $39 per person, while the second at 9:30 offers four courses for $59.
All three locations of José Andrés’s Spanish spot serve unlimited tapas from the New Year’s tasting menu after 8 (earlier seatings are a la carte). After 10 a DJ starts spinning in DC, while those in Bethesda and Crystal City can dance to a live band. [Event page]
Details: The tasting menu is $90 in DC, and $85 in Bethesda and Crystal City.
Go old-school with a Love Boat Cruise-themed party with live music from Yacht Rock Schooner, an international buffet, open bars, and more. [Event page]
Details: Tickets start at $125.
You'll find Russian Santa Claus, karaoke, a costume contest, caviar, and President Putin's official New Year's address all under one roof. [Event page]
Details: Three package options for bubbly and caviar start at $150, with a 9 o'clock New Year's dinner menu included in all.
Book after 9 for a prix fixe menu with dishes like duck confit steamed buns and drunken adobo pork. What makes this a party? The option of bottomless Champagne service for $40. [Event page]
Details: There’s more casual options early on, but the post-9 pm “premium” menu is $75, with the option of bottomless champagne.
Ashok Bajaj’s American brasserie celebrates 2014 with a three-course menu for the second seating, including dishes like butter-poached lobster and roasted duck, plus a DJ for dancing.
Details: The set menu is $100 (it’s a la carte before 8).
Details: Tickets start at $175 per person.
Head to Bethesda row for a Speakeasy Soiree, including a three-course dinner, poker, live entertainment, and more. [Event page]
Details: Packages vary, starting at $78 for a reservation after 6:30 (early-birds can get dinner for $45, but it doesn’t include the party).
This retro diner-bar tucked behind the 9:30 Club goes punk rock for New Year’s eve with a DJ, Champagne toast, and regular dinner menu (including boozy milkshakes!) until 2.
Details: That’s it! No cover here.
Get a taste of Venice on the Hill with this Venetian Masquerade, which includes a three-course menu with dishes like truffle-ricotta ravioli and foie gras-topped veal tenderloin. Head up to the lounge after for the masked party and roulette. [Event page]
Details: You can opt for just dinner or the party (which starts at 8:30), but the combination is $79.
Those looking to feast will find five and seven-course tasting menus at 6 and 8:30, plus "live action stations," a DJ, and Champagne toast. [Event page]
Details: The two menus are $125 and $150 per person, plus optional wine pairings.
1200 19th St., NW; 202-872-8700
Party presidentially with unlimited cocktails, dinner and dessert buffets, and DJ Huck Finn (Tom Sawyer is jealous). [Event page]
Details: Packages vary by ticket, but you’ll have to buy “gold” ($110 per person) for dinner.
La Fête Rouge (i.e. Red Party) brings options of three and six-course menus, red-hued everything, and surprise entertainment. [Event page]
Details: The first seating, 5:30 to 6:30, is for the three-course ($84 per person), while the second from 8:30 to 9:30 includes the more elaborate menu ($145 per person).
This U Street neighborhood bar does it up for New Year’s with an open-bar Champagne party on the (heated) outdoor plaza, and a five-course menu with optional wine pairings in the restaurant. [Event page]
Details: Seatings for the dinner are at 6 and 9 ($65 and $75, respectively). The party is regularly $75, but is $50 for dinner guests.
In case you haven’t heard, pomegranate seeds are good for you. Funny enough, so is sharing delicious drinks with friends. In the spirit of both: my go-to holiday cocktail from Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day. It looks festive (and kinda fancy), goes down smooth, and is potent enough to satisfy your booze tooth without tasting overtly alcoholic (so yes, drinker beware). The recipe is very similar to a classic French 75, with the gin-soaked pomegranate seeds as an extra treat.
Another perk of this recipe: It’s budget-adaptable. If you’re splurging for cocktails a deux, Hendrick’s gin and true Champagne are hard to beat. When I’ve whipped up a batch for a holiday party, moderately priced Citadelle and Prosecco make tasty substitutes. The key is to use a lightly flavored or floral gin versus a herbaceous one. Regardless of your alcohols, slightly sweet Meyer lemon juice is the ideal seasonal citrus.
The only thing daunting about this formula may be seeding the pomegranate. Fortunately, we have an instructive video for that.
Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail
2 ounces lightly flavored gin, such as Hendrick’s or Citadelle
½ ounce simple syrup*
½ ounce lemon juice, preferably Meyer lemon in season
About 6 ounces Prosecco or Champagne
1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds
Optional: a lemon twist for garnish
Pour the first three ingredients into an ice-filled shaker and strain into a Champagne flute or coupe.
Add the pomegranate seeds, and top off with the bubbly. Add the lemon twist, if using.
* Don’t let specialty stores lure you into buying $12 bottles of plain “bar syrup.” It’s called simple syrup for a reason: put equal parts sugar and water in a small pot (say ½ cup of each), and let it sit over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Chill it before mixing your cocktail, and keep it stored in the fridge.
Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken offers “decorate your own doughnut” boxes, and does most of the heavy lifting—or baking, in this case. The kit comes with three vanilla-glazed doughnuts, a piping bag of chocolate glaze, and Halloween-themed sprinkles ($10 each). Preorder through Thursday (recommended) by calling 202-809-5565 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Free meals for spirited kids
Dress your kids in their Halloween best and head to Mi Cocina in Chevy Chase for free kids’ meals for any costumed child under 12 through Thursday.