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Union Market’s New Rooftop Bar Is Like a Summer Cookout With Pouched Cocktails

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Hi-Lawn opens this week with brown butter mayo lobster rolls, picnic basket packages, and tropical drinks

A paper plate shows off brown butter lobster rolls with celery root and chives
Lobster rolls are the main course of a $150 picnic package for four to five people at Hi-Lawn
Hi-Lawn/official photo
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

An artificial turf-lined rooftop bar serving pouched painkillers, lobster rolls with brown butter mayo, cheeseburgers, and picnic baskets full of high-low combinations like caviar and Pringles opens above Union Market this week. Hi-Lawn will serve its first customers atop the food hall (1309 Fifth Street NE) on Friday, September 18, and will operate from Thursday through Sunday after that, according to an opening announcement.

The rooftop bar is a collaboration between a couple hospitality groups who own popular hangouts around Shaw and U Street NW. Blagden Hospitality Group’s Greg Algie and Nathan Beauchamp (Tiger Fork, Calico, Fainting Goat, Hei Hei Tiger in Tysons) are collaborating with with Paul Carlson (the Royal, Lulu’s Winegarden) on the project. A limited menu will be available for the first two weeks, with the full lineup rolling out Thursday, October 1.

BHG beverage director Ian Fletcher and Hi-Lawn bar manager Binh Ngo will send out rotating draft cocktails and adult juice boxes from a colorful shipping container bar.

A rendering of Hi-Lawn shows a yellow shipping container bar and picnic tables on a turf lawn atop Union Market
A rendering of Hi-Lawn.
Hi-Lawn [official]

A rotating cocktail menu includes a “Hungover Pharmacist” (rum, pineapple, orange, lemon and coconut cream); a “Lawn Hiland Iced Tea” with vodka, gin, triple sec, lemon, English breakfast tea, and allspice honey; and “I Miss Spa World,” with white rum, elderflower, cucumber, mint and lime. The boozy “Morning After Seacrets” is an reference to the popular Ocean City beach bar.

Hi-Lawn serves classic cocktails like a Negroni and Cosmopolitan stay on brand in a “hi-ball” over ice. Beer and spiked seltzer are available by the can and bucket. There will be wine and bubbly, too.

Beauchamp’s opening menu packs cute coolers branded with its retro logo with late summer snacks like cheese and charcuterie; crackers and baguettes; and spreads like a sake-cured salmon rillette or harissa-spiced eggplant dip. A “Hi-brow” picnic package comes with caviar and Pringles.

Cheese, charcuterie, jams, and crispy crackers at Hi-Lawn.
Cheese, charcuterie, jams, and crispy crackers at Hi-Lawn.
Hi-Lawn/official photo
A package of Pringles and caviar costs $75.
A package of Pringles and caviar costs $75.
Hi-Lawn/official photo

Hi-Lawn’s high-end picnic package ($150 for four to five people) also includes lobster rolls as a main course and homemade lemon curd tarts for dessert. A more accessible “snack pack” basket, fit for two to four people, costs $50.

Grills will turn out burgers made with local beef or Beyond patties, Italian sausages, and chicken chorizo topped with bell peppers and onions. Sides include elote and seasonal salads like watermelon with pistachios and caprese with heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, mint, balsamic and soy. Friday and Saturday nights will include lobster boils and steak specials.

A lobster boil special ($36) includes a 1 1/4-lb. lobster, Portuguese sausage, potatoes, and corn.
A lobster boil special ($36) includes a 1 1/4-lb. lobster, Portuguese sausage, potatoes, and corn.
Hi-Lawn/official photo
Jars filled with salmon rillettes and other dips come with a plate of crackers
Hi-Lawn dips appear on the a la carte snack and picnic basket menus.
Hi-Lawn/official photo

The name for the outdoor setup is a nod to the elevated High Line park and greenway that runs through Chelsea in New York City. The bar will also feel familiar to the backyard at Calico in Blagden Alley. Calico put out pouched cocktails long before they became a lifeline for bars offering to-go drinks during the COVID-19 crisis.

Hi-Lawn menus and themes will rotate with the season, like how the beer garden at Park View’s Hook Hall turns into a tented ski chalet in the winter. The space, which could fit over 1,000 people in pre-pandemic times, includes spread-out picnic tables under bright patio umbrellas. By mid-fall, a second shipping container will serve as a dedicated kitchen, which will help Hi-Lawn add to the menu. Union Market developer Edens has previously used the rooftop space to host professional tennis matches and pop-up fitness classes.

All ordering and payments will be contactless using QR codes from GoTab.

Opening hours to start are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Reservations for tables and picnic spots are encouraged via Resy, but walk-ins are welcome.

Guests can access Hi-Lawn through a rooftop staircase adjacent to the Suburbia trailer by the front-east entrance to Union Market,.

The Union Market district added another drinking destination earlier this month with reopening of dive bar Last Call.