9 Best Bars for Pre and Post-Game Drinks Around Nationals Park

Plus where to find home opener specials, regular season deals, and happy hours.
Bluejacket combines a brewery and bar for pre and post-game beers. Photograph by Andrew Propp.

The Washington Nationals 2015 season kicks off on Monday, and the bars and restaurants around the ballpark are ready with home opener specials, game-day deals, and regular happy hours. The neighborhood options have grown considerably in recent years, and there’s a little something for everyone—spirited spots for getting amped up with fellow fans, places to grab a quieter drink while the Metro crowds dissipate, bars to sip a freshly-made local brew, or grab a pitcher of margaritas.

Agua 301

301 Water St., SE

Drop into the roomy bar area of this colorful Mexican for frozen margaritas, sangrias, and Mexican cervesas. An outdoor patio overlooking the water is a pleasant place to linger in warm weather.

Home opener specials: The bar serves $5 margaritas, $3.50 Corona Lite drafts, and $3 Corona bottles all day long. The regular happy hour goes longer for those catching the game on television.

Regular season deals: Happy hour runs from 3:30 to 7 daily, and also from 9 to close—convenient for weekends and post-game night margs.

The Big Stick Brats & Brew

20 M St., SE

One of the newer Navy Yard drinking options just a block from the Park comes from the team behind Justin’s Cafe. The look is a little snazzier—think ski chalet meets sports bar—while the menu centers around brews that can be ordered in 20-ounce mugs, sausages, and “shotskis,” which are exactly what they sound like: four shots served on a ski.

Home opener specials: Specials are TBD.

Regular season deals: Happy hour runs Monday through Friday, 3 to 7, with $3 to $6 beers, $5 rail drinks, and $2 off wine. You’ll also find $3 Astra cans from 10 to close, Monday through Wednesday.

Bluejacket

300 Tingey St., SE

Beer nerds are no stranger to the brewery/bar from the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (ChurchKey, Partisan, etc.). If you prefer a snifter of local saison over a Bud Heavy, this is your place.

Home opener specials: Bluejacket is behind one of the biggest debut parties, Opening Day Fest. Head to Lot O (behind the Trapeze School) from 11 to 4 for beers, burgers, sausages, fried chicken, a batting cage, live music, and kid-friendly games. Admission is free, but there’s also an advance food/drink package available online ($30).

Regular season deals: The restaurant’s patio grill will be fired up (weather permitting) Friday through Sunday for weekend games, with an array of food and drink specials.

Bonchon

1015 Half St., SE

The newest face to the ballpark scene is this Korean fried chicken chain, which attracts a mass following for its double-fried birds. The owners equipped the space with sports fans in mind, namely a 90-seat bar area equipped with televisions and 16 Asian and American craft drafts.

Home opener specials: The restaurant will offer their happy hour drink specials up until game time.

Regular season deals: None yet, though look for possible game day to-go packs of fried chicken in the future.

The Bullpen at the Fairgrounds

1299 Half St., SE

If you’ve ever gone to a Nats game, chances are you’ve grabbed a drink at the Bullpen—essentially the stadium’s rowdy front yard. Domestic tallboys and Red Bull vodka slushies are the go-to drinks while playing corn hole or listening to the live band, alongside eats from the Surfside and Due South food trucks.

Home opener specials: Expect the regular fanfare, plus a new happy hour deal: all drinks are $5 from the first pitch of the third inning to the final out of the seventh.

Regular season deals: See above, the happy hour goes all season.

Justin’s Cafe

1025 First St., SE

This popular, no-frills neighborhood bar/restaurant is typically bustling with fans before or after games. Grab a drink and join the fun.

Home opener specials: Regular happy hour applies (see below).

Running Monday happy hour half0off bottles of wine, 4 to 8. Drinks start low, $4 wine a glass, beers $3 and go up

Regular season deals: A variety of happy hour deals run regularly, including half-price wine night on Mondays, and beer/wine/rail drink discounts from 4 to 8, Monday through Friday.

Osteria Morini

301 Water St., SE

Want to escape the pre and post-game fray? This waterfront Italian from New York restaurateur Michael White has a spacious bar for sipping wine and snacking on small plates (great for dates, games with parents). The outdoor patio is particularly pleasant in warm weather.

Home opener specials: Happy hour runs all night long at the bar beginning at 4, and includes $5 draft beers, $7 tap wine, $20 bottles of vino, and a menu of special bites.

Regular season deals: The bar television will be tuned to the games, and you’ll also find the return of the White Label burger and drink deal.

Park Tavern

202 M St., SE

This LEED-certified bar/restaurant IS from the group behind several Hill spots, including Hawk & Dove, Pacifico Cantina, and Molly Malone’s. An outdoor patio overlooks the water park.

Home opener specials: Sip $4 Shock Top beers all day.

Regular season deals: Look for happy hour as well as pre and post-game specials.

Willie’s Brew & Cue

300 Tingey St., SE

Willie’s debuted in October, mixing a barbecue joint and sports bar with smoked meats, pitchers of beer, and drinks like boozy punches and passion fruit margaritas.

Home opener specials: No drink deals per se besides the regular happy hour, but the kitchen serves baseball-themed barbecue combo platters that serve two to six ($35 to $90).

Regular season deals: Happy hour runs Monday through Friday, 3 to 7, with $5 drafts and $20 pitchers.

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Anna Spiegel
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.