About Southwest Waterfront

By Damare Baker, Kayla Benjamin, and Jessica Ruf


March 2021 / Nara-Ya


This splashy Japanese spot has held onto its luxe feel while adding à la carte options for lunch, dinner, and takeout to its three separate tasting menus. Bright murals and floor-to-ceiling windows set the mood to enjoy creative maki rolls such as the Electric Eel, with unagi and lemon mascarpone, or the Garden Futomaki, with purple sweet potato and crispy quinoa.


October 2021 / Ilili


In the space once occupied by Mike Isabella’s Requin, a bubbling stone fountain, citrus trees, and light fixtures shaped like birdcages recall a lush Lebanese courtyard. The DC outpost of restaurateur/chef Philippe Massoud’s New York eatery of the same name took over the prime Wharf real estate last fall, with Mediterranean favorites such as beef kibbeh, mouhamara, and baba ghanoush, plus inventive options like hamachi in Aleppo oil and apple vinaigrette.


November 2021 / Bistro du Jour


This all-day Parisian spot from Knead Hospitality + Design­—the group behind another Wharf favorite, Mi Vida—hosts a pastry kitchen and counter from the bakery Mah-Ze-Dahr to complement a sit-down menu of French staples such as croque madame and coq au vin.


February 2022 / Boardwalk Bar & Arcade


This 10,000-square-foot, all-ages hangout houses more than 30 arcade games, made all the better by an extensive cocktail list. Brunch, lunch, and dinner menus feature such beachy classics as jumbo pretzels, corn dogs, and fish tacos.


March 2022 / Fat Fish


Eco-conscious eaters can enjoy sustainably sourced sushi rolls and poke bowls at this tropical-inspired eatery right next to Market Pier. The menu also includes a seasonal selection of dairy-free ice cream—a recent rotation featured cherry-blossom and coconut varieties.


August 2022 / Easy Company


Coming soon: Better Hospitality Group—the minds behind Boardwalk Bar & Arcade and the Shaw bars Takoda and Cortez—will open an easy-breezy wine bar for sharing carafes, sipping frosé, and noshing on casual fare such as burgers and charcuterie boards. The piazza-­style destination will boast one of the Wharf’s biggest patios.

*Photographs courtesy of Restaurants

Things to Do in Southwest Waterfront

Map illustration by Connie Zheng

What’s Coming to the Wharf’s Second Phase

A final half-mile stretch of shops, restaurants, offices, and housing is expected to complete the waterfront development by this fall. Here are some of the highlights.

Amaris DC

The 12-story condo building is outfitted with lavish amenities such as an indoor saltwater lap pool, a suite for spa treatments, and a car elevator.

Tides Apartments

The units at this upscale building, with a tiered, geometric facade, will have water views, private outdoor space, and easy access to 13,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

Bartaco

This will be the region’s fifth outpost of the upmarket taco chain, known for creative tacos and bowls, plus refreshing on-the-rocks margaritas.

Philippe Chow

The celeb-favorite Beijing-style New York restaurant will make its DC debut in a 270-seat space on the ground floor of the Amaris condos.

Hell’s Kitchen

Gordon Ramsay fans can find beef Wellington, sticky toffee pudding, and more of the British chef’s classic dishes at his forthcoming, nearly 15,000-square-foot restaurant right over the water.

Lucky Buns

The fourth and largest location of the beloved mini-chain promises the same delicious burgers, just in more space and with an expanded menu of frozen cocktails, crab-rangoon dip, nachos, and more.

Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls

The Annapolis-based seafood chain will import its Maine- and Connecticut-style lobster rolls to a fourth fast-casual location in the District.

Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream

The modern dessert shop—which made its local debut in nearby Navy Yard last summer—will serve up chocolate, homemade fudge, ice cream, and other treats.

Scissors & Scotch

The barbershop chain will give you a cut and a shave, plus complimentary drinks from its fully stocked bar.

Pendry Washington DC

The boutique hotel joins three other hotels at the Wharf. It’ll have a spa, a rooftop cocktail lounge, and a pool deck with an indoor/outdoor restaurant.

Photo by Evy Mages

What’s New Beyond the Wharf

The latest attractions all around the Southwest waterfront

Where to Find Brunch

Right on the shoreline, The Point (2100 Second St., SW)—a modern-nautical restaurant serving American and fusion seafood—was the first restaurant to roost at Buzzard Point when it opened last year. A block from Audi Field and a short walk from Nats Park, the 12,500-square-foot space boasts panoramic water views; a kitchen anchored by a 12-foot-wide wood-­burning grill; a 150-seat patio that includes a bar with TVs and fire pits; and a sushi/raw bar where locally sourced oysters are shucked to order. Don’t miss the warm, savory crab doughnuts.

Where to Find Drama

Arena Stage (1101 Sixth St., SW)­—since the 1960s, one of the biggest reasons to visit Southwest DC—has an inspiring spring and summer ahead. Onstage May 31 through June 26 is the latest production from Step Afrika!, Drumfolk, fusing percussive dance with contemporary art forms to tell the story of a little-known resistance movement in South Carolina that has profoundly shaped African American culture to this day. July 15 through August 28, American Prophet, a musical celebrating Frederick Douglass, will take over, intertwining the abolitionist’s own words with soaring melodies from Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon.

Where to Find Culture

A long-awaited second location of Miami’s prestigious Rubell Museum is slated to open in October at the former Randall Junior High School (820 Half St., SW). Private art collectors Don and Mera Rubell—who also own the nearby Capitol Skyline Hotel—bought the $6.5-million property in 2010 and are transforming it into a mixed-use site that will include a 12-story residential building in addition to the 32,000-square-foot museum with its glass pavilion, bookstore cafe, and outdoor dining terrace. Just which masterpieces will be included in the contemporary collection of paintings, sculptures, photography, and installation art? That’s under wraps, although the Rubells do own the likes of Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Kerry James Marshall, and Catherine Opie.

Photo by Evy Mages

Where to Find Beautiful Public Space

The Southwest Library (900 Wesley Pl., SW) got an $18-million facelift in 2021. Designed and built by Perkins+Will Architects and Turner Construction, it’s the DC Public Library system’s first LEED Platinum–certified branch, and it leans heavily into environmental themes. It’s built almost exclusively of mass timber and glass, and natural light bathes spacious seating areas and meeting rooms, while towering trees shade outdoor reading spots and a playground. Inside near the entrance, a wall-size photo of the Southwest waterfront in 1885 nods to the neighborhood’s history.

Where to Find A Whole New Neighborhood

Leaving behind its reputation as an industrial backwater for a more vibrant future as a bustling riverfront neighborhood, Buzzard Point, the peninsula at the convergence of the Anacostia and the Potomac, has several projects in the works.

The Stacks, which broke ground in May, encompasses more than 2 million square feet. Phase one of two involves 1,100 residential units, 40,000 square feet of retail, 12,000 square feet of coworking space, and a new public park on V Street. Nearby, Audi Field will get two new neighbors: The Verge, a 344-unit luxury apartment building, is already in progress. Meanwhile, a two-building complex slated to bring a new headquarters for Volunteers of America, a senior-housing tower, plus retail, entertainment, offices, and more residences should get underway soon.

Real Estate in Southwest Waterfront

$279,000

A 462-square-foot studio in a 1960s building, with a private terrace and garage parking

$640,000

A four-bedroom midcentury-modern townhouse in the highly sought “bar­rel roof” style designed by Charles Goodman

$834,000

A nearly 900-square-foot, one-bedroom condo at the new Peninsula 88 building on Buzzard Point, with river views

$3,150,000

An almost 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom unit at the Wharf’s Vio condos, right on the Washington Channel

Crime & Safety

Below, the number of crimes (violent, nonviolent and property) reported in 2017.

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