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Summer Bonus: Outdoor Drinking Spots, Happy Hours, New Restaurants, and More

The heatwave keeps summer going a little while longer.

Hit a rooftop weekend happy hour or try a cooling cocktail recipe during these bonus summery days. Photograph by Erik Uecke.

A mid-September heatwave isn’t ideal, but why not turn lemons into vodka-spiked lemonade? The forecast looks warm and sunny this weekend, so enjoy these final balmy days with a drink in hand. We’ve rounded up a summer’s worth of the best outdoor drinking spots, weekend happy hour specials, new openings, cocktail recipes, and more.

New Haunts

The latest summer opening: our preview of Nantucket Reef, a beachy seafood restaurant with outdoor space in Rockville.

As of just last week: seven new outdoor drinking spots to try now (plus two on the way).

Also as of last week: five hot new summer openings you should know about (but may have missed while on vacation, lucky you).

If you haven’t already tried a cupcake-gelato cone or cooling sorbet from the newish Dolci Gelati truck, now’s the time.

A fried chicken picnic on the Mall says summer. A BonChon fried chicken picnic on the Mall from the recently opened Arlington location says awesome.


Don’t save happy hour for a trying Wednesday. Here are 20 weekend happy hours, with plenty of al fresco options.

Even more outdoor happy hours to check out.

It’s a little tougher to sneak out of the office early (say, 3 PM) in September, but it’s worth a shot for these 11 early-bird happy hours. Think $3 brews waterside at Cantina Marina from 11:30 to close.

Our roundup of 24 inexpensive tasting menus to try around Washington was geared toward the pre-summer Restaurant Week crowd. Still, nothing says you can’t treat yourself to a six-course menu for under $50 at Pabu anytime.

Summer All-Stars

Online dining editor Jessica Voelker rounds up recommendations for ten eating and drinking experiences to have in August. Since it still feels like August, many of these still apply.

Try these five cooling dishes at hotspots such as Le Diplomate on muggy evenings.

I’m still addicted to Growl’s cold-brew iced coffee, and plan to be well into the winter.

Planning Ahead

Let’s hope the hot days hold on for a little while longer, as Taylor Charles Steak & Ice hosts a water-ice-eating contest on September 21. The stakes (or should we say, steak) are high with a large rib eye and $150 on the table.


Channel your beach vacation and try this fresh piña coladas from Bourbon Steak.

Firing up the grill? Aguas frescas (boozy or non) from Taqueria Nacional should do the trick.

We love the summer brunch punch from GBD, and chances are you and your guests will too.

This simple gin cooler from Donovan House proved the party drink of summer, and you can easily take it into the fall.

Get thee to the farmers market this weekend for still-abundant peaches. And then use them in NoPa Kitchen + Bar’s peach hand pies.

Ditto with fresh chilies. Here’s a recipe for Evening Star Cafe’s Throne hot sauce.

*If you’re set on a deal, make sure to inquire ahead—certain promotions may have changed with the season.

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