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23 Great Bars With Outdoor Happy Hours
Plein-air places for discount drinks and snacks. By Douglas Bair
The Brixton’s roof bar seats 120 and looks out over U Street. Photograph by Jeff Martin.
Comments () | Published May 29, 2013

With scorchers on the horizon, it’s time for the great sip and sweat session that is summer in Washington. We mined the watering holes on our Great Bars list for places offerings outdoor happy hours, and came up with this list of 23. Don’t forget the sunglasses—you’re going to need them.

Acadiana

The setting: On the $5 happy hour menu you’ll find everything from sweet tea vodka (a.k.a. River Tea) to an order of sweet potato goat cheese spread. Umbrellas provide some shade along the Mount Vernon Square side patio, which seats about 80 patrons.

Specials: $5 house wine, cocktails, beer, and bar appetizers

Hours: Monday through Friday 4 to 6

Ambar

The setting: If you are near Barracks Row for happy hour, head to this covered rooftop that seats about 30 to expand your palate with cocktails made with rakia, a fruit brandy commonly found in Balkan watering holes and liquor cabinets.

Specials: $4 wine, cocktails, and beers

Hours: Monday through Friday 4 to 7

Argo-Mutts Happy Hour at the Argonaut

The setting: Bring the dog along to this H Street patio happy hour. Plenty of greenery provides some natural shade, so both you and the pup can stay cool.

Specials: $1 off rail beverages and draft beer and half-price hushpuppies. Local pet store Metro Mutts provides doggie treats and water bowls for four-legged patrons.

Hours: Saturday noon to 5

Biergarten Haus

The setting: A rustic rooftop with stools pulled up to barrel tables looks down onto the patio lined with long wooden tables, giving you that Oktoberfest aesthetic all summer long. The only thing better? A cold Hefeweizen and a warm pretzel.

Specials: $5 for a half liter, $10 for a full liter, $6 liqueurs

Hours: Monday through Friday 4 to 7

Black’s Bar & Kitchen

The setting: An open patio outside this Bethesda bar and lounge seats 50 and is a great place to score small bites such as steamed, spiced shrimp for 50 cents each and Chesapeake Bay oysters.

Specials: $6 martinis, $3.75 to $4.25 draft beers, and $5 wines

Hours: Monday through Friday 4 to 7

5@5 at BLT Steak

The setting: Talk about a power patio. Its 30 seats attract many DC influencers, but its prices are affordable to everyone—$5 gets you everything from Parmesan baked scallops to a glass of Syrah from Rhone, France. If only happy hour ran a little longer.

Specials: $5 blood orange martini, $5 wines, $5 beers, and $5 snacks

Hours: Monday through Friday 5 to 6:30

Boundary Stone

The setting: The uncovered patio seats just 16, so we would suggest leaving the office early to make it to this DC staple.

Specials: $5 wine, $5 wells, $4 Yuengling, and half-price wings

Hours: Monday through Thursday 4 to 7

The Brixton

The setting: This partially covered rooftop offers sweeping views of the city and the U Street corridor. You know a bar means business when it offers a late-night happy hour on Sunday evenings. What better way to end the weekend?

Specials: $6 wine, $6 rail, $4 to $8 draft drinks, and small plates under $8

Hours: Monday through Friday 5 to 7, Sunday 10 PM to 2 AM

Clarendon Ballroom

The setting: Art Deco beams are the gateway to this rooftop pavilion in Arlington, which can entertain a crowd of about 80. On Fridays, don’t be surprised if you end up staying to dance the night away when the downstairs club opens for the weekend. (Check your local listings beforehand, because this uncovered spot is closed during those summer rainstorms.)

Specials: Wednesday $1.50 domestic bottles, $4 mojitos, and $5 small plates; Thursday $3 draft beer, $3 Corona, and $5 small plates; Friday half-price draft beer, $4 margaritas, and $5 small plates

Hours: Wednesday through Thursday 5 to midnight (rooftop only), Friday 5 to 2

H Street Country Club

The setting: Take a break from your mini-golf and skeeball games and head up to the rooftop for sweeping views of the city. If late meetings and projects constantly put a damper on your happy hour outings, go on Tuesday, when discounts last until last call.

Specials: $3 Dos Equis and Miller Light; $5 classic margaritas

Hours: Monday through Thursday 5 to 8 (all night Tuesday), Friday through Sunday 4 to 7

The Irish Inn at Glen Echo

The setting: A covered patio seats around 50 people at this Irish pub in Bethesda, where you can down a Guinness with an order of beef, lamb, and corned beef Irish sliders.

Specials: $3 bottled beer, $5 draft beer and rail drinks, $6 martinis and house wine

Hours: Monday through Friday 4 to 6:30

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

The setting: The open-air rooftop seats 160 patrons and offers a solid beer list with plenty of drafts, cans, and bottles

Specials: $2 off all beer, $5 wine, and half off skewers

Hours: Monday through Friday 5 to 7:30

Johnny’s Half Shell

The setting: Whet your appetite for dinner with a small bite menu of oysters and clams to pair with a cocktail or Cosmo on the covered terrace, which seats about 80 people.

Specials: $5.50 beer, $8 cocktails, and $9 Cosmos

Hours: Monday through Friday 4:30 to 7:30

The Limerick Pub

The setting: A 30-seat open patio with umbrellas wraps around the pub and offers small bites and a solid beer list.

Specials: $1 off drafts, bottles, rail drinks, and wines, $3 hot dogs, $3 pretzels, and $6.50 crab dip with pita

Hours: Monday through Friday 3 to 7

Lyon Hall

The setting: The 116-seat patio of this Arlington spot is covered by an awning and equipped with umbrellas. You’ll find not only a stellar drink selection during happy hour but also small bites such as a house-ground burger for $10 and short-rib franks for $6.

Specials: $4 beers, $5 wines, and a $5 SJF signature cocktail

Hours: Daily 3 to 7

Meridian Pint

The setting: This Columbia Heights patio, under a removable awning, seats 30 and offers deals on its “environmental sustainability” drafts, so you can drink well knowing you are helping Mother Earth.

Specials: $1 off all drafts, wine, and rail drinks

Hours: Monday through Friday 5 to 7

Napoleon Bistro & Lounge

The setting: Pull up a chair early at one of this 36-seat patio’s marble tables for half off Champagne cocktails and prime people-watching along Adam Morgan’s Columbia Road.

Specials: Half-price Champagne cocktails, $5 house wine, and $2 off drafts and bottles

Hours: Daily 5:30 to 7

Beat the Clock at Nellie’s Sports Bar

The setting: Happy hour on the partially covered rooftop at this U Street sports bar features a “beat the clock” theme—drink prices increase one dollar each hour.

Specials: Miller Lite bottles, rail vodka, and “Nellie beer” are $2 from 5 to 6, $3 from 6 to 7, and $4 from 7 to 8

Hours: Monday through Friday 5 to 8

Pacifico Cantina

The setting: We meant it when we called this one of the “nicest roof terraces” in Eastern Market. It seats about 90 and is shaded by oversize umbrellas. Stop by for margaritas in flavors ranging from pomegranate to prickly pear.

Specials: $5 margaritas, $4 drafts, and $3 cans

Hours: Daily 3 to 6 and new late-night 10 to 2

Rock & Roll Hotel

The setting: This partially covered roof deck seats between 100 and 150 people (with potential overflow crowd if there is a live show that night) with booths, bar stools, and tables to relax. Saturday and Sunday you’ll find $13 bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys with brunch.

Specials: $3 PBR tallboys, $4 rails, $1 off all other drinks, and half-price wings

Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 6 to 8, Saturday and Sunday brunch 11 to 4

Rustico

The setting: This Arlington patio seats 30 with umbrellas providing shade for those humid afternoons. Beer options are among the best you’ll find in Washington.

Specials: $2 off drafts, $5 wine, and $3.50 craft cans

Hours: Daily 4 to 7

Screwtop Wine Bar

The setting: To avoid the shoulder-to-shoulder bar scene, head to this intimate wine bar patio, which seats just eight at four umbrella-topped tables.

Specials: $6 wines (rotating selection of reds, whites, and sparkling)

Hours: Monday 5 to 6, Tuesday through Friday 11 to 6

Sonoma

The setting: You could spend all week sampling the extensive California wine list on the awning-covered patio, which seats 18.

Specials: $3 beer, $5 wine and cocktails

Hours: Monday through Friday 4:30 to 7:30

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Posted at 11:25 AM/ET, 05/29/2013 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Blogs