Drinking and eating outside can be a gamble during the fickle weather of early spring, but these bars and restaurants have readied their outdoor spaces for warm weather fun (even if it only lasts a few hours in the daylight). Even better: many offer happy hour. Grab your best spring jacket and head outside today.
1940 11th St., NW
One of the best outdoor eateries in the U Street corridor has officially opened its front patio and bocce plaza for the season—including the backyard grill, with a new menu of dishes like duck sausages with spicy slaw, Colombian-style hot dogs topped with crumbled potato chips, and a chicken-avocado sandwich. The cocktail list also includes fresh options such as an Amaro spritzer and sparkling gin rickey, plus a separate vermouth/aperitif menu.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 5 to 7; 20 glasses of wine priced at $5, discount small plates, and $1 off grill dishes on the plaza.
1155 14th St., NW
The poolside rooftop bar of the Donovan Hotel is currently open for Asian-inspired cocktails and great views starting at 4. Al fresco weekend brunch just launched as well, so head up on warm Saturdays and Sundays from 11 to 4 for dishes like fried chicken and waffles with an Asian twist. An official opening party is planned for later this month.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 4 to 7.
1401 T St., NW
The 40-seat sidewalk patio of this 14th Street Italian is ready for guests, with an expanded menu offering 100 types of cured meats and cheeses. Pick a place in the sunshine and order a new cocktail to sip alongside your salumi y formaggi, like the Peppino with gin, limoncello, and Prosecco. Dogs are also welcome.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 3 to 7; $2 off wine and draft beers, and special pricing on appetizers.
11800 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda
The new North Bethesda branch of Del Frisco’s just debuted their patio, complete with built-in heaters for cooler evenings and umbrellas when the temperatures climb. The restaurant opens at 11:30 on weekdays, and 11 on weekdends, so to take advantage of afternoon sunshine.
1600 Seventh St., NW
Beer drinkers (and their adorable dogs) flock to this Shaw beer garden, which made its seasonal debut in mid-March. Look for more outdoor space to sip steins, a few additional brews, and the best part—real bathrooms. There’ll be more improvements to come when the construction is complete on Dacha’s adjoining brick-and-mortar space.
Happy hour: Monday through Thursday, 3 to 7; $5 single beers and $10 draft boots.
700 Sixth St., NW
Chef Jeff Tunks adds an outdoor beer garden to his Penn Quarter American tavern next to the Verizon Center. The al fresco space keeps in line with the restaurant hours, meaning you can drink lunchtime beers in the sun. A list of 40-plus brews represents nearly every beer-producing state in the US, though wines and spirits are also available.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 4 to 7; $5 select beers, cocktails, and wines.
901 Ninth St., NW
Beer fans can post up on this 40-seat patio for a rotating lineup of 60 brews, and pub fare such as an open-faced crab melt. Four-legged friends are welcome, and water bowls are ready.
Happy hour: Offered at the bar, not outside.
815 Connecticut Ave., NW
Ashok Bajaj’s stately Indian by the White House is popular place to dine, but a new happy hour deal and 30-seat patio can also attract the after-work crowd looking to unwind. A free daily appetizer such as spiced lentil dumplings or herbed chicken tikka accompany $7 cocktails such as a chili-spiked gin and tonic or Champagne with elderflower liqueur.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 4 to 6:30 (see deals above).
1811 Columbia Rd., NW
A favorite rooftop classic is revived for spring, equipped with new flower boxes and the same glowing string lights for ambiance. Dining can be weather dependent, but tables fill up fast for sushi and Japanese fare when the weather is warm.
Happy hour: Monday through Friday, 5:30 to 7:30; $4 beers, wines, sparkling, and sake, discount sushi and rolls, $2 small bites.
600 Water St., SW
This riverside bar on the Southwest Waterfront opened for the season in mid-March with the same great daily specials. The big new draw: complimentary van shuttle service for patrons to and from Nationals Park during home games, starting on Monday for the home opener.*
* This post has been updated from an earlier version.