6 Places Near Washington to Eat Crabs Outdoors During the Pandemic

Get cracking in the city, or by the water.

About Open-Air Dining

The height of a DC summer isn’t when we’d typically put together a guide to eating alfresco. Nowadays, though, a restaurant’s plant-filled rooftop or charming patio feels as important as its food. If you’re ready to get out, here are 77 favorite ways to dine under the sun, shade, and stars (and stay six feet apart!) right this very moment.

Part of our series of 77 favorite ways to dine under the sun, shade, and stars (and stay six feet apart!).

No car? Hit the deck at Ivy City Smokehouse (1356 Okie St., NE) for local steamed, fried, and house-smoked seafood. Lucky Buns owner Alex McCoy is throwing weekly all-you-can-eat crab feasts outside Union Market (1309 Fifth St., NE). A $50 ticket covers bottomless crabs, corn, and Maryland-style fried chicken. Grapefruit crushes and mudslides are extra.

On the water, go classic with crabs and cans of beer on the riverside terrace at Cantler’s (458 Forest Beach Rd., Annapolis). For delicious, cheffier food that goes beyond steamers, we like the Point (700 Mill Creek Rd., Arnold), an airy indoor/outdoor boathouse turned restaurant. Our move at both: We plan on weekday lunch or an early weekend meal to avoid big crowds.

Farther afield, there’s Mike’s (3030 Riva Rd., Riva), where you can feast dockside with South River locals. And just across the Bay Bridge is Stevensville Crab Shack (116 Pier 1 Rd., Stevensville). What the roadside carryout lacks in water views it makes up for with fantastic crabs, hushpuppies, and fried fare of all sorts—plus a small patio and plenty of picnic spots in Terrapin Nature Park nearby.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.

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.