Barca Pier & Wine Bar
2 Pioneer Mill Way, Alexandria
One of the most atmospheric new places to hang is this Spanish wine bar and tapas spot, perched on a Navy shipping pier from the 1800s on the Alexandria waterfront. Classic bites like garlicky shrimp and patatas bravas can be washed down with Mediterranean wines and cocktails such as a rosé sangria or passionfruit “froijitos.” With 210 outdoor seats, there’s plenty of room on the water.
Bammy’s Breeze Bar
301 Water St., SE Suite 115
The riverside patio adjoining Caribbean restaurant Bammy’s just opened for jerk chicken, conch fritters, rum punches, and Red Stripes (frozen drinks are coming soon). Patrons can order from the full restaurant menu, or on Nationals game days, there’s a special lineup with more snack-y options and casual dirnks like rum n’ cokes.
935 Prose St., North Bethesda
You don’t have to choose between time with your pals and pups at this humongous beer garden/dog park/cafe in North Bethesda. The menu is just as wide-ranging as the space with Annapolis roaster Ceremony Coffee drinks, local beers, eats like empanadas and pizzas, and for your furry friend, chicken and beef “pupsicles” and “pupcakes.” Free wifi means you can mix work and dog play.
Columbia Room Spritz Garden
124 Blagden Alley NW
The Columbia Room built a reputation on complex cocktails and obscure spirits. But when it comes to warm weather outdoor drinking, they’re going all-in on simple, delicious spritzes for their new Italianate garden in Shaw’s Blagden Alley. Order a frozen Aperol spritz, some meatballs for nibbling, and don’t overthink it. Reservations are recommended as there’re only four tables in the “garden,” though you can get the spritz menu on the roomier second-floor terrace as well.
418 7th St., NW
José Andrés’s Peruvian restaurant full of Japanese and Chinese influence isn’t new to Penn Quarter. But! It’s been closed since the pandemic began and just added an outdoor space, the Pisco Patio, for the first time. The dining room reopens Thursday, April 29, under the guidance of chef Carlos Delgado with ceviches, dim sum, and plenty of pisco cocktails. Look for the outdoor space to open soon.
2011 Crystal Dr., Arlington
Nick Freshman’s all-day restaurant at National Landing takes patrons morning-to-night with a coffee bar that transforms into a bar-bar, and a food menu that offers breakfast all day plus oysters, burgers, flatbreads, “fancy toasts,” and more. An airy 50-seat patio is the place for cucumber-cava sangria on a nice day.
Las Gemelas Cocina Mexicana
1280 Fourth St., NE
The folks behind Shaw’s Espita Mezcaleria and Ghostburger are behind these all-day Mexican restaurants in La Cosecha marketplace, which both boast patios and dining spaces that open to the outdoors. The walk-up taqueria opens early for breakfast tacos and local coffee, and serves treats like mezcal margaritas and soft-serve mole sundaes. Neighboring full-service restaurant Cocina Mexicana channels a beach-y vibe with daily brunch and a seafood-centric menu from chef Robert Aikens.
2100 2nd St., SW
One of the largest additions to the outdoor eating and drinking scene—not to mention the dining scene in general—is this 500-seat waterfront seafood restaurant at Buzzard Point from the Fish & Fire Group (Tony & Joe’s, Nick’s Riverside Grill, Ivy City Smokehouse Tavern). The 150-seat patio overlooking the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers is equipped with a bar, fire pits, lounge furniture, televisions for catching games from nearby Nats Park, and dining tables for sampling chef Benjamin Lambert’s wood-fired seafood, steaks, and raw bar fare.
Mattie and Eddie’s
1301 Joyce St. S., Arlington
Dublin-born chef Cathal Armstrong (formerly Restaurant Eve, Eamonn’s Dublin Chipper) just opened this real-deal Irish pub in Pentagon City. A roomy patio is a nice place to sip expertly poured Guinness drafts, nosh on seasonal dishes like local oysters, and dig into all-day Irish breakfasts or lobster pot pie.
The Watering Hole
850 Wharf St., SW
If cheffy hot dogs, booze, and water views are your idea of fun, this outdoor Wharf bar is a good option. The space itself isn’t new, but it just reopened for the summer season in connection to Moon Rabbit, chef Kevin Tien’s modern Vietnamese restaurant at the same InterContinental hotel (which also has a lovely patio). Chili dogs come in three flavors: classic, ma po, and Szechuan lamb, which you can match with cold DC Brau Tuk Tuk beer, canned wine, and simple cocktails.
901 New York Ave., NW
Miami-based Yardbird Southern Table & Bar just opened in Mount Vernon Triangle on April 1, taking over the former Acadiana space. The restaurant, whose fried chicken has earned James Beard nods and lines out the door at the South Beach flagship, boasts patios on both sides with 170 seats. Comforting classics like brined fried chicken and whole lobster mac are joined by more waist-conscious plates like grilled fish and steaks.