9 Great Outdoor Winter Bars in Washington

Blankets, fire pits, and hot cocktails aplenty.

Grab a beer, snuggle under a blanket, and embrace the wintry weather. Photograph via Photograph via Shutterstock.

Sure it’s cold, but not too cold to sit at an outdoor bar—bundled up under a blanket, of course—and sip spiked cider. A few bars and restaurants embrace the notion, equipping their al fresco spaces with heat lamps, faux furs, fire pits, hot cocktails, and other elements to keep you warm and drinking outdoors through the winter.

Historic sipping at the Iron Gate

1734 N St., NW

Starting Monday, December 8, guests at the historic Dupont restaurant can try out new patio furniture under the century-old wisteria vines, warmed by fire pits, heaters, and creative hot cocktails such as the absinthe-spiked Bourbon Diversion, or the Hot Doctrine with chamomile tea, St. Germain, and honey liqueur. Drop in for a party on opening day from 5 to 7 with canapés and two cocktails ($35 per person). There’s also a lovely fireplace inside the dining room.

DIY cider bar at A Bar + Kitchen

2500 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

The Avenue Suites’ outdoor bar is outfitted with two fire pits, four area heaters, and blankets. The menu features $5 s’mores kits, a customizable hot cocoa bar, and a DIY cider station where barkeeps can add bourbon or rum ($6).

Winter terrace at the Capella/Rye Bar

1050 31st St., NW

The canal-side terrace of this elegant Georgetown hotel readies for winter with heat lamps, blankets, and a new hot beverage and food menu. Guests can order s’mores, mini soup servings like quail consommé served in a French press, and a rye-ginger toddy fashioned with Darjeeling tea.

Atmospheric toddies at Old Angler’s Inn

10801 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac

Get away from the city at this historic stone restaurant, with an outdoor beer garden warmed by a fire pit and heat lamps Friday through Sunday. Steamy drinks include a ginger toddies and citrus ciders.

Mulled wine at Dacha

1600 Seventh St., NW

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean this popular Shaw beer garden is packing it in. Drinkers and their dogs can hang under gas heaters (fun fact: they’re imported from Australia), grab blankets, and drink spiced mulled wine to stay cozy. Note that hours are shortened to Friday through Sunday.

Reservations by the fire at Bourbon Steak

2800 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

While you may need to get to other bars early to stake out a space at the fire pit, anyone can call ahead to this Four Seasons Hotel restaurant and reserve a spot by the flames. Faux-fur blankets, lamps, and hot cocktails can turn up the heat for anyone who doesn’t score a rez.

Prost! at Biergarten Haus

1355 H St., NE

Few beer gardens are open year round, but you can clink steins anytime at this H Street spot. In addition to giant beers and Fireball hot cider, heaters and live flames keep things toasty.

Warming fire pits at Westover Beer Garden & Haus

5863 Washington Blvd., Arlington

It’s b.y.o. blanket at this Arlington market’s beer garden, but snagging a spot by the fire should do the heating trick. Another way to warm the limbs: plenty of beer, and you’ll find it here with six draft lines and more by the bottle.

Lounging at Poste

555 Eighth St., NW

The Kimpton Hotel restaurant rolls out the blankets, heaters, and fire pits as long as temperatures stay above 42 degrees, Thursday through Saturday. Look for fun steamy drinks such as bourbon-caramel cider.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.