Food

6 New Outdoor Bars to Try Now That It’s FINALLY Warm 

Drink in the sunshine.
Colada Shop's new rooftop patio offers a sunny oasis off 14th Street. Photograph by Rey Lopez, courtesy of Colada Shop

It finally feels like spring (at least for a few days). And you know what they say: new season, new bar.

New outdoor bars rooftop bars gin garden The Betsy.
The Betsy gin garden can make 40 different kinds of G&Ts. Photograph courtesy of The Betsy.

The Betsy
514 Eighth St., SE
Gin-lovers can escape to chef Bart Vandaele’s rooftop “gin garden,” tucked away behind Belga Café on Capitol Hill. The seasonal bar, which just reopened, stocks 50 different types of gin and can mix 40 different G&Ts—plus cocktails using other spirits and fresh herbs from surrounding planter boxes. Guests can snack on dishes inspired by backyard barbecues (like sliders) as well as pots of steamed mussels.* 

Best rooftop bars new rooftop bars 14th Street Logan Circle Colada Shop.
Sip mojitos in the sunshine at Colada Shop’s new rooftop bar. Photograph by Rey Lopez courtesy of Colada Shop.

Colada Shop
1405 T St., NW
We already love relaxing on this Cuban cafe’s patio with a mojito, so we’re psyched for the new roof garden that opens on April 12. An added perk: all-night happy hour every Thursday with $6 cocktails and $2 empanadas from 4 PM to close (also available at the Sterling location). The colorful, 55-seat oasis off 14th Street serves specials on Friday and through the weekend, including $10 “pouched” cocktails like rum mules, $35 pitchers of sparkling pineapple sangria or mojitos, and snacks like pastilitos and croquetas from 11 AM to 11 PM. 

Same pizzas, new home for All-Purpose. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

All-Purpose Riverfront
79 Potomac Ave., SE
A second location of chef Michael Friedman’s uber-popular pizzeria promises to be a great addition to the Navy Yard/Nationals Park dining and drinking scene. Grab a table on the roomy patio for Italian-American pizzas like the Rockaway with clams and smoky bacon. There’s also more seafood antipasti to fit the riverfront location, as well as water ice-inspired cocktails. Saturday and Sunday brunch launches this weekend (hello, afternoons full of draft rosé). A spacious roof deck will open in June. 

Best rooftop bars new rooftop bars Shaw Mexican Cortez.
Channel the coastal Mexican vibes at Cortez. Photograph courtesy of Cortez

Cortez
1905 Ninth St., NW
Sip margaritas in the sunshine at this new Mexican cantina in Shaw. The team transformed the former 1905 space and roof deck into a beach-y spot, and the outdoor space is filled with colorful umbrellas and stools. The bar pours frozen and rocks margaritas, beers, and rum drinks, and guests can order tasty fish tacos from the entry-level dining room bar.

Best outdoor bars new bars Navy Yard Nationals Park Morini Piccolo.
Morini Piccolo serves fried gnocchi, gelato, and other dishes inspired by Italian boardwalks. Photograph by Evy Mages

Morini Piccolo
Anacostia River Walk Trail (near 301 Water St., SE)
Frozen negronis, gelato ice cream sandwiches, fried gnocchi, and melty paninis are just a few things you’ll find at the new Italian boardwalk-inspired bar by Osteria Morini. The counter-order stand, located on a dock near the Italian restaurant, is surrounded by tables and Campari-colored umbrellas for relaxing. The pop-up is open Friday through Sunday, weather permitting, and home game days for the Nationals. 

Try Maryland craft beers alongside tacos and arepas at Frida Beer Garden. Photograph via Frida Beer Garden Facebook.

Frida Beer Garden
4905 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda
We’re all for steins and pretzels, but this Caribbean and South American riff on a beer garden sounds enticing. A menu of tacos, arepas, and tostadas come from fast-casual sister TacoArepa next door, while a separate outdoor bar has coastal cocktails and a selection of crafty Maryland beers like Oliver, Manor Hill, and RAR. Keep yourself entertained with corn hole or dominoes.

*This post has been updated from an earlier version.

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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.