Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are

10 Best D.C. Bars for Summer

10 Best D.C. Bars for Summer

While D.C.’s summer heat might make for bad hair days and professional wardrobe malfunctions, the long days and temperate temps present some excellent drinking opportunities. From beer gardens and bocce courts to rooftop getaways and water-based watering holes, here are 10 summer-worthy drinking destinations in the District.

New York Avenue Beach Bar: There is perhaps no better summer spot in D.C. than the New York Avenue Beach Bar, which combines sand (70 tons, to be exact), frozen bevvies and beers by the can to transport you to the shore. Check your shoes at the door, grab a daiquiri from the tiki hut and nab a shady spot under an umbrella — you’ll (almost) forget that you’re spending summer in the swamp (645 New York Ave.; 202-656-9229).

Meridian Pint: With a sizable sidewalk seating area and roll-up aluminum garage doors, this Columbia Heights bar and restaurant makes it easy to catch the breeze while enjoying a craft brew on draft. If the scorching rays become unrelenting, have no fear: the joint’s basement level offers reprieve from the heat and tap-equipped booths where you can pour your own pint (3400 11th St. NW; 202-588-1075).

Biergarten Haus: Take a mini vacay to Germany without leaving Washington at this Atlas District spot, which offers an expansive beer garden and occasional polka player clad in lederhosen. With German brews available by the pint as well as communal-style wooden tables (that, collectively, seat as many as 300 people in the courtyard) you’ll easily meet new friends...or spark a vacation-style romance (1355 H St. NE; 301-775-4710).

Surfside: There’s something about fresh Mexican food that feels like summer; find it in bounds (along with tasty margaritas, natch) at this casual Glover Park eatery, where you can kick back with a bucket of craft beers or one of the “island drinks” on the rooftop. Channel the tropics with Millie’s Madaket Mystery (a punch made with four varieites of rum) or go on a Wednesday night to enjoy half-priced margarita pitchers (2444 Wisconsin Ave.; 202-337-0004).

Standard: This 14th Street BBQ joint and beer garden is always buzzing with patrons in search of Memphis-style ribs and sizable glasses of draft brew. Standard pulls inspiration from the South in more ways than one: prepare to loiter for a table and then enjoy a leisurely few rounds once you have one — this is one D.C. spot lacking the go-go-go city hustle (1801 14th St. NW).

Masa 14: With a recently unveiled rooftop and a new cocktail list to match, you can imbibe every variety of summer cocktail, including sangria, margaritas, mojitos and four versions of the caipirinha, from a sunny locale above 14th Street. Trying to beat the heat? A sizable covered bar area means shade is never far away, and the strawberry lemonade makes for a deliciously spiked summer refresher (1825 14th St. NW; 202-328-1414).

Donovan House Rooftop Bar: Thomas Circle’s Donovan House recently changed ownership to become a Kimpton Hotel, and that means good things for the rooftop bar. No longer marked with a “clubby” vibe, this equal-access urban escape features a pool around which you can sip serious cocktails, including several versions of D.C.’s famous rickey (1155 14th St. NW; 202-379-4366).

Vinoteca: There aren’t many wine bars that boast as much outdoor real estate as U Street’s Vinoteca, which also offers happy hour every day of the week. Sip a glass of Pinot Grigio and engage in some people-watching on the sidewalk patio, or gather a few friends for a game of bocce out back (1940 11th St. NW; 202-332-9463).

Cantina Marina: You can’t get much closer to the water than this Mexican restaurant and bar on the Southwest waterfront; the two-story spot, bedecked in string lights and kitschy palm trees, is located on a pier surrounded by the Potomac. The drinks aren’t fancy here — find standard margaritas and cheap beer — but the atmosphere is unbeatable (600 Water St. SW; 202-554-8396).

Reef: A tropical getaway may not be in the forecast this summer, but a jaunt to Adams Morgan can get you there in spirit. While it’s the beer list you’ll find most interesting on the beverage front — there are 14 on tap and a more unusual variety than you might expect — the collection of glowing tropical fish tanks creates an exotic, relaxed vibe. Need some fresh air? The three-story bar offers a rooftop, too (2446 18th St. NW; 202-518-3800).

Photos via Donovan House Rooftop Bar; Standard; Masa 14

Recent Articles
spacer

Feedback

How are we doing? Tell us what you like or don't like and how we can improve. We would love to hear your thoughts!

*Name:
*E-mail:
*Suggestions:
 
Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Drink a Classic Cocktail for a Good Cause During Negroni Week, June 24-30

Negroni Week 2019 is June 24-30, so drink this classic cocktail for a good cause....read more ›

by The Drink Nation Jun 19, 2019
What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

What to Do if Your Uber, Lyft, or Cab Driver Ever Strays From Your Destination or Makes You Feel in Danger

If you're taking an Uber, Lyft, or cab and feel unsafe, there are steps you can take to protect yourself....read more ›

by Nina Starner Jun 19, 2019
D.C.'s Best Wine Bars

D.C.'s Best Wine Bars

Whether you're a wino or a wine novice, DC is home to a number of wine bars perfect for casual sipping or for expanding your palate. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen May 29, 2019
SPONSORED
Find happy hours and drink specials anywhere you are
Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

Behind the Bar: Kat Corbo of The Study & Winner of Speed Rack 2019

This time on Behind the Bar, we spoke to Kat Corbo of The Study, who recently won Speed Rack 2019....read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 15, 2019
Where to Drink Outside in D.C. During Summer 2019

Where to Drink Outside in D.C. During Summer 2019

Patio weather has arrived! Grab your friends, stake a spot at the bar and take advantage of these outdoor spots for drinking and dining. ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen May 14, 2019
Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

Boston Beer & Dogfish Head Have Merged in a $300 Million Deal

In a huge move for the American craft beer community, Boston Beer and Dogfish Head have agreed to a merger valued at $300 million dollars. ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation May 10, 2019
Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Adams Morgan

Neighborhood Bar Crawl: Adams Morgan

Here are some of our top picks featuring awesome beverage choices in addition to serving up delicious eats - burgers, Korean, Japanese and more - all ...read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Apr 17, 2019
A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A New, High-End Blend of Jack Daniel's Whiskey is Now Available in the United States

A new, high-end blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, known as Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold, which was previously only ...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 15, 2019
Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Bourbon Is Now Available in 12 States With a New Barrel Reserve Expression

Coopers' Craft Kentucky Straight Bourbon has debuted an entirely new label design, has expanded to more states...read more ›

by The Drink Nation Apr 3, 2019
Where to Drink Bourbon in D.C.

Where to Drink Bourbon in D.C.

Where to drink bourbon? Check out our top picks below for places to sip the barrel aged spirit....read more ›

by Lanna Nguyen Apr 2, 2019
SPONSORED
View all Articles

Sign up to get weekly drinking news, bar reviews, events and more sent directly to your inbox!

Close