Food

It’s Insanely Gorgeous—Where to Eat and Drink Outside Right Now

Our favorite waterfront spots, rooftops, pup-friendly patios, and more.

Officina at the Wharf. Photograph by Scott Suchman

It’s 70-ish, sunny, and freakishly gorgeous weather in DC. And you know it won’t last long. Here’s where to make the most of the outdoors while you sip a delicious drink and/or dig into something tasty this week.

Try one of these picturesque places by the water

Barca, a new Spanish-inspired bar in Old Town. Photograph courtesy of Barca Pier & Wine Bar

We recently mapped all the waterfront bars and restaurants (that we know of) within a two-and-a-half drive of DC—whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or a great riverfront cocktail that’s accessible via Metro.

In the mood for happy hour with a view, a fancy date night dinner, or a new hotspot? Try one of our 25 favorite waterfront spots.

The weather is also looking balmy this weekend—a perfect time to fit in a pretty brunch by the water before the temps cool.

Get cracking on some crabs

Photograph by Jay Fleming.
Photograph by Jay Fleming.

This wasn’t the best year for Chesapeake crabs—but early fall is the best time of year for a crab feast. Prices are often lower, the crabs are plumper, and it’s actually pleasant to spend hours picking outside. Here are our favorite Chesapeake crab houses, plus some classic DC-area crab houses within city limits if you don’t want to drive.

Take your best pal to a pup-friendly patio

Dogs and humans both love drinking outdoors at Dacha. Photograph by Scott Suchman

These restaurants, bars, and beer gardens go above and beyond when welcoming pets. Forget bowls of water—we’re talking puppucinos, booze-free dog beers (yes, that’s a thing), and even built-in play areas where they can run off-leash.

Check out one of these pretty patios and rooftops

The new Quattro Osteria in Shaw. Photograph by Kimberly Kong

A number of new restaurants have opened lately with atmospheric outdoor space. Quattro Osteria (pictured above) recently debuted in Shaw with an impressive-looking menu from a team of Italian natives, including Tosca alums and brothers Giovanni and Salvio Ippolito. An airy terrazza lounge is reminiscent of Italian country homes with an indoor/outdoor setup, plus cafe-style sidewalk seating.

Looking for something more casual? Popular DC “farm-to-taco” shop Chaia just opened in Bethesda with a walk-up taco window and small front patio (part of a much bigger fast-casual expansion trend happening now).

More in the mood for a lofty view? Try one of these eye-catching rooftop bars and restaurants.

And even when temperatures start to drop, it doesn’t mean you have to head inside–here are some of our favorite cozy Autumn patios that feel like urban escapes.

Spend time at a new beer garden

Pen Druid brewery’s new location overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. Photograph by Brian Oh.

There are a bunch of new (and soon-to-open) beer destinations around DC, many with great outdoor space. Plus: it’s Oktoberfest season, and a bunch of beer gardens are hosting events, pouring special brews, and dishing out brats through September and early October.

Tiki TNT offers tropical rum drinks and snacks. Photograph by Rey Lopez.

Live up warm weather (while you can)

While the first pumpkin spice lattes may be trickling onto the scene, there are still good options to make the most of the mild season. Here are some top picks for summery treats like frozen drinks—and even more frozen drinks—plus ice cream, beer gardens, and more.

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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.