Food

11 Cozy Fall Patios and Drink Gardens Around DC

Where to roast s'mores, drink by an outdoor fire, and sip hot cocktails.

Residents Cafe & Bar embraces fall near Dupont Circle. Photograph by Hawkeye Johnson

Residents Cafe & Bar
1306 18th St., NW
The trendy Dupont Circle hangout goes all-out with seasonal decor, whether it’s cherry blossoms in spring or a winter lodge.  Autumn brings a canopy of fall faux-liage, comfy blankets and pillows, and seasonal treats like crispy foie gras fritters and spiked Mexican coffees.

Hi-Lawn
1309 Fifth St., NE
Union Market’s massive rooftop bar/restaurant combines 360-degree views with fire pit seating and hot cocktails for chilly nights. They’re also rolling out a bunch of fall specials, including s’mores kits for roasting marshmallows over the open flames, warm panini sandwiches, and a variety of chilis. Patrons can also get in the seasonal mood with free pumpkin carving parties the last two Sundays in October (10/23 and 10/30) from noon to 8 PM (pumpkins are available for purchase).

Whitlow’s DC
2014 Ninth St., NW
Whitlow’s new location near the U Street corridor boasts a wood-burning fireplace bar that opens onto a cozy rear patio. Patrons can warm up on “whiskey Wednesdays” when the bar pours 25 percent-off drams.

Beer tents at Lone Oak Farm Brewing. Photograph courtesy of Lone Oak Farm Brewing

Lone Oak Farm Brewing Co.
5000 Olney Laytonsville Rd., Olney
This farm and brewery in Olney is a great destination for a group. In addition to small and large glamping tents, heat-seekers can book fire pits with seating for up to six around a wood-burning blaze (note: there’s a fee of $80 per fire pit reservation). Expect seasonal brews and beer-friendly fare like pretzels and pizza.

Sip a historic brew at the 1921 Biergarten at Heurich House. Photograph courtesy of Heurich House

1921 Beer Garden at Heurich House
1307 New Hampshire Ave., NW
The historic Dupont Circle estate and museum rolled out a bar in its Castle Garden, Thursday through Saturday. Guests can warm themselves by fire pits and heaters in comfy Adirondack chairs.  Wines and batched cocktails are available alongside interesting brews like Senate Beer, the museum’s revival of a historic DC beer with Right Proper Brewing Company.

Sip a pumpkin spice martini on Wilson Hardware’s new garden terrace. Photograph courtesy of Wilson Hardware

Wilson Hardware
2915 Wilson Blvd., Arlington
Following a million dollar renovation, the Arlington hangout just reopened with a huge, heated rooftop bar and lush garden terrace set with glowing lanterns. Drinkers can get in the seasonal spirit with a pumpkin spice martini. Happy hour deals are good, too—including all-you-can-eat share plates like short rib sliders, wings, and dips for $29 per person (offered weekdays, 3 to 7 PM).

Iron Gate
1734 N St., NW
One of DC’s prettiest patios is ready for fall with fire pits and seasonal libations under the century-old wisteria vines. Chef Tony Chittum’s locally sourced, Mediterranean menus boast warming dishes like mushroom arancini, oak-roasted meats and fish, or focaccia pizzas during lunch.

Zinnia in Silver Spring. Photograph courtesy of Zinnia

Zinnia
9201 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring
Silver Spring’s sprawling restaurant and garden—which takes over the historic Mr. K’s Tollhouse space—is an all-seasons destination. Patrons can make reservations for Oktoberfest-style patio seating, or space in the garden (fire pit reservations are available later in the year). New head chef Danny Wells dishes up comforting al fresco eats like short rib sliders and steamed mussels.

Reserve a gazebo for brunch at L’Auberge Chez Francois. Photograph courtesy of L’Auberge

L’Auberge Chez Francois
332 Springvale Rd., Great Falls
Chef/owner Jacques Haeringer’s elegant Great Falls restaurant feels more like a French country escape than ever. A lovely garden and koi pond is ringed with patio tables as well as private gazebos that can seat up to seven guests. Produce from the garden makes its way onto the lunch and dinner menus, filled with French classics. Late October brings a variety of Oktoberfest dinners and Alsatian wine tastings. 

Cozy up next to a wood-burning chiminea at Lulu’s for ancho-spiked tomato soup and grilled cheese. Photograph courtesy of Lulu’s

Lulu’s Wine Garden
1940 11th St., NW
If your fall vibe is more desert rose than pumpkin patch, this Southwestern-inspired wine garden is your place. Diners can warm up with specials like grilled cheese and ancho-spiked tomato soup in the streatery and front patio, or tuck into a pillowy nook in the rear courtyard. Both are lined with heaters and retractable roofing to beat the chill, plus wood-burning chimineas that’ll fire up when the temps drop.

Wunder Garten
1101 First St., NE
NoMa’s huge outdoor beer garden has big stein energy—and the fire pits to match. Over 20 drafts are joined by hot cocktails when temperatures drop. Groups can also reserve cozy outdoor cabanas, which generally fit 12 to 15 guests, with no minimums (booking fees vary by date and time, but are generally $75-plus).

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.