Mug Shots: No Need to Drink Indoors
Spring Weather Means Time to Imbibe Outside
Now that the weather is finally warming up, there’s nothing quite as good as sitting outside and enjoying a cocktail after a crazy day at the office. D.C. is awash with bars that feature rooftops, patios and sidewalk drinking — the trick is knowing where to go. Mug Shots, therefore, is serving up a list of bars and restaurants where fresh air and booze go hand in hand.
If dive bars that you can stumble to after a long day on the Hill are your style, then Kelly’s Irish Times (14 F St. NW) is the spot for you. The doors in the bathroom don’t lock and the specials aren’t anything to write home about, but the wait staff is friendly and there is ample outdoor seating. While the beers run a bit pricey — you can’t get any for less than $4 — the martinis are where the real deals lie. Served as dirty as you like, this cocktail is always a mere $5 no matter the time of day. Currently there is some major construction going on next to the bar, but luckily the work crew quits around 5 p.m. If IT fills up, check out the Dubliner (520 North Capitol St. NW) next door, where more than a dozen tables pepper the corner of F and North Capitol streets.
Lola’s Barracks Bar & Grille (711 Eighth St. SE) offers a small outdoor seating area that often becomes a smokers’ haven. This tiny patio out back features a few high-top tables and a fireplace. While the patio can’t fit much more than a dozen customers, it is a nice change of pace from the loud, mobbed bar inside. Customers can catch up over happy hour specials that include $3 draft beers, $4 rail drinks and Lola’s delicious sloppy joe sliders.
Poste (555 Eighth St. NW), nestled in the courtyard of the historic Hotel Monaco, offers a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. This French brasserie offers an expansive back patio featuring tables, couches and jazz playing through speakers. While drinks don’t normally come cheap here — cocktails with names like “Death by Moonlight— go for $11 — happy hour is the exception. For $4, customers can sip on red and white wine as well as a selection of beers that includes Yuengling.
Morton’s the Steakhouse
Perched above the Farragut North Metro stop, Morton’s (1050 Connecticut Ave. NW) offers a large outdoor patio that is open year-round. During the winter a plastic liner and outdoor heaters make it toasty, and in the summer the patio is a breezy place to watch the bustle of downtown D.C. During happy hour — or Power Hour, as Morton’s calls it — customers can munch on filet mignon sandwiches and sliders, priced at $5, while savoring “Mortinis.—
Brasserie Beck (1101 K St. NW) has been charming Washingtonians with arguably the best mussels in the city for more than a year now. The lively bar has also been an attraction, luring patrons in with a bound beer menu featuring dozens of offerings. The bar at the restaurant fills up quickly, but the staff has been known to let those interested in downing a few spirits occupy an outdoor table. Tables seat up to 10 people; the only catch is that you have to take the drinks inside at 11:30 p.m.
18th Street Lounge
Two of the city’s hidden bars — 18th Street Lounge (1212 18th St. NW) and the Gibson (2009 14th St. NW) — offer outdoor seating. At the Lounge, the rooftop deck offers a bar and more than a dozen tables. The space is decorated with hanging chandeliers and green wallpaper, making it feel very shabby chic. 18th Street Lounge charges a cover of up to $20 to get in after 9:30 p.m., making it a pricey night out. Happy hour, which runs until 8 p.m., is the exception. Rail drinks and beers such as Dos Equis and Yuengling go for $4, while wine by the glass is $5.
Over at the Gibson, the dark, spacious patio is perfect for smokers or anyone who likes to work the room and drink at the same time. The bar has a no-standing policy indoors, but outdoors customers can stand, mix and mingle. The Gibson is not for those on a budget. The cocktails, while inventive and delicious, are a bit expensive, starting at $8 and running up to $16. The average drink falls in the $10 to $12 range. But for those with the cash to spend, the drinks, with fun names like Satin Sheets and the Expat, are well worth the cost.
U Street hot spot Marvin (2007 14th St. NW) offers a massive outdoor area that doubles as a beer garden. The deck, open year-round thanks to a few strategically placed space heaters, is a smokers’ paradise and offers more than 30 Belgian beers. Patrons can also snack on select items from the bistro menu. Beware: Marvin is not recession-friendly. At the low end of the menu, a Stella goes for $6. Cocktails cost upward of $10, though they are worth every penny with master mixologist Jake Worth behind the bar.