It’s (Almost) Time to Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Posted April 18, 2007 at 4:29pm

When it finally warms up outside, the least enticing happy hour option is sitting in some stuffy bar, pining for those last rays of daylight.

Luckily there are more than a few options for al fresco cocktails on Capitol Hill. [IMGCAP(1)]

The large patios at The Dubliner (520 N. Capitol St. NW) and Kelly’s Irish Times (14 F St. NW) are the only places with outdoor seating in the area at the moment. The patio at Capital City Brewing Company (2 Massachusetts Ave. NE) is controlled by the Postal Museum and probably won’t be open until the end of April. Once the patio season begins at Cap City, the hours of outdoor operation end when the sun goes down.

As for neighbor Johnny’s Half Shell (400 North Capitol St. NW), their covered patio (perfect for watching springtime showers in dry comfort) is expected to open within the next month.

Union Pub (201 Massachusetts Ave. NW) is another outdoor place to stay dry during April showers. Their patio, equipped with heaters for the oft-occurring cold spells, can seat around 80 people — a perfect place to meet up with friends and co-workers to take advantage of Union Pub’s great happy hour specials. But don’t plan on making a late night of it. Out of respect for the neighbors, the patio shuts down at 11 p.m.

A few outdoor seating areas that close early, too, are just across the street. The White Tiger (301 Massachusetts Ave. NE) and Cafe Berlin (322 Massachusetts Ave. NE) don’t offer happy hour specials, but with all that German beer to choose from at Cafe Berlin, it’ll be easy to forgive.

If you’re in the Barracks Row area, a sure bet for outdoor fun is Marty’s (527 Eighth St. SE). They have a few tables on the sidewalk, but don’t stop there; the rooftop patio is a great place to watch the sun set and grab a margarita. New to the upstairs deck is a covering, so if the weather turns nasty mid-meal, you don’t have to lose your seat.

Another newly renovated outdoor libation locale is open for the season, and everyone on the Hill will rejoice.

Up until two weeks ago at Cantina Marina (400 Water St. SW), space was limited to soak up the sun and a few Coronas. Luckily construction is completed on a new covering for the big patio at Cantina, and it’s open again for the season. (An ice storm this past winter essentially demolished the big-top tent covering the outside bar area, so to prevent that from happening again, the owners opted for a corrugated steel roof — much more likely to withstand Mother Nature.)

The bar is now open Tuesday through Sunday, and come mid-May, it will be open on Mondays for the bar’s Doggie Happy Hour.

Also, make sure to stop by Cantina’s margarita bar the next time you head to a Nats game. Their booth is located in the Terrace Food Court and will be serving up frozen tequila treats all season long.