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The Wharf: 5-Year Anniversary & Completion Celebration
The Wharf celebrated its five-year anniversary last fall.
Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for The Wharf, Washington DC

Where to Eat and Drink on D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront

Find a jam-packed assortment of cuisines at the Wharf development and beyond

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The Wharf celebrated its five-year anniversary last fall.
| Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for The Wharf, Washington DC

Anchored by the oldest open-air fish market in the U.S. to the south and the International Spy Museum to the north, D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront has boomed in recent years with a wealth of drinking and dining options that swing from casual places for happy hour beers or ice cream cones to high-brow options for rooftop Champagne. The Anthem, a 6,000-seat live music venue, is booked almost nightly, which drives traffic to bars and restaurants peppered throughout the Wharf development.

Newer options on-site include a huge waterfront edition of Lucky Buns, Southern-leaning Milk & Honey, Mason’s Lobster, and Bartaco. Other area chains worth a stop include Colada Shop, which recently added a big turquoise-tinged side patio, Toastique, and Surfside. Takeout pizza from Union Pie’s kiosk is also a good weekend call.

Here are essential options for a fancy meal, quick drink, and everything in between.

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Southwest Soda Pop Shop

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This nostalgic, family-owned ice cream parlor commands a loyal following for whimsical waterfront treats like a $5 “chipwich” with a choice of ice cream flavors that include vanilla, chocolate, birthday cake, mint chocolate chip, and butter pecan. Soft serve flavors include vegan mango and raspberry — in addition to traditional vanilla and chocolate — with toppings like brownie chunks, various cereals, sprinkles, and gummy candy. For something else sweet on the Wharf, consider the new Kilwins.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: A line of patrons snakes outside Sout Timothy Nwachukwu for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Officina

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Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s tri-level Italian complex greets visitors with an airy, European-styled cafe and bar drenched in sunlight. That’s followed by a second-level restaurant serving casual Southern Italian fare and stellar Negronis. Its prized rooftop terrace, dressed with sleek furniture, fire pits, and greenery, woos diners with aperitivos, seasonal cocktails, small bites, and an expansive Champagne list.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

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Located in a restored oyster shed steps away from the Maine Avenue fish market, Rappahannock’s menu centers around its celebrated shellfish — right down to vodka and tequila oyster shooters. Other options include ceviche, a burger, seared Outer Banks scallops, and whole branzino.

The crab cake from Rappahannock Oyster Bar at the Wharf
The crab cake from Rappahannock Oyster Bar at the Wharf
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Fat Fish Rolls & Twists

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Acclaimed sushi chef Lucas Irwin, who’s worked for the likes of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Hawai’i legend Alan Wong, recently took the the reins of fast-casual Fat Fish on the Wharf. He rolls out its sushi program with playful combos like a “Spicy Tuna B.L.T.” with spicy tuna, bacon, lettuce, cucumber, yum-yum sauce, and sliced tomato topping. Some rolls get the torched treatment, and he’s also barrel-aging soy sauce with rosemary.

Tiki TNT & Potomac Distilling Company

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Nationally recognized mixologist Todd Thrasher’s massive rum distillery and tiki bar attracts tourists, locals, and service industry-types alike. The multi-level tiki bar and happy hour spot (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays) offers cheeky, frozen rum and Coke in a can, classics like a Zombie or Mai Tai, and an extremely potent T.N.T. Problem Forgetter (bourbon, Thrasher’s spiced rum, overproof rum, apricot liqueur, coconut cream rum, honey, lime). Potomac Distilling Company’s sixth rum release (Relaxed Rum) is aged in barrels for 24 months.

The upstairs bar at Tiki TNT
The upstairs bar at Tiki TNT
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The Grill

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This sophisticated surf-and-turf spot from Knead Hospitality + Design sports South Florida vibes. Chef Roberto Santibañez, the culinary lead behind sibling Mexican restaurant Mi Vida nearby, developed a menu of seafood, meat, and veggie plates that sizzle over charcoals and pecan wood on a Barcelona-made Josper Basque Grill. The glitzy venue, which landed on the Wharf right before the pandemic, also features a lengthy wine list housed behind a glass-encased wall and long list of gins and vodkas for customizable martinis. Knead’s worthy Wharf portfolio also includes French-themed Bistro du Jour.

Easy Company

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The Southwest Waterfront’s first-ever wine bar debuted in late January with European pours of red, white, prosecco, and rosé by the glass and carafe. The 49-seat brasserie, with room for nearly twice as many under a glass-enclosed patio out front, features a versatile food menu full of dips, burgers, flatbreads, egg yolk tagliatelle, roasted chicken with Parmesan potatoes, and charcuterie. Better Hospitality Group (BHG) also runs Takoda Restaurant & Beer Garden and Boardwalk Bar & Arcade at the Wharf.

The Brighton

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The Hilton brothers’ Southwest Waterfront bar is home to the biggest wall projection screen at the Wharf. The soaring, two-level space offers excellent game-day grub like wings and burgers, along with lobster rolls, BLTs, and sleeper hits like chicken (or veggie) curry.

Cantina Bambina

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The two-story successor to dearly missed dock bar Cantina Marina is perched right on the water. Head upstairs to the open-air bar slinging Mexican beers, margaritas, a handful of packaged snacks, and $6 Truly seltzers on game day. Its Pearl Street Warehouse partner does live shows a few nights a week. And

ilili Restaurant DC

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Resembling an upscale wonderland, guests are treated to opulent decor flown in directly from the Middle East while dining on Lebanese, Levantine and Mediterranean cuisine. Whether in attendance for weekend brunch or dinner, there are plenty of cold and warm meze to satisfy various appetites.

Grazie Grazie

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Taylor Gourmet founder Casey Patten launched a second act with this Philadelphia-style sandwich shop in 2019. The tiny store has quickly amassed a devoted following for fried chicken cutlets, cheesesteaks built with grass-fed beef and Cooper sharp provolone, and sporadic pan pizza pop-ups with help from local restaurants.

A Philly Special cheesesteak from Grazie Grazie shows off layers of grass-fed beef, Cooper sharp provolone, lettuce, red onion, and tomato on a golden roll
A Philly Special cheesesteak from Grazie Grazie
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Del Mar

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Fabio Trabocchi’s celebration of Spanish seafood fare takes up two stories along the Potomac. Its lavish dinner menu includes a seafood tower for up to four ($255), a selection of cured meats, tapas and grilled protein from branzino to veal.

Chef Cathal Armstrong and Meshelle Armstrong pay homage to Southeast and East Asian cuisines with a mix of Korean, Thai, and the Philippine dishes at this upscale restaurant. Find staples like lumpia and more creative options like adobo brisket sandwiches. Grilled delights include marinated short ribs with Korean ssamjang and a section of rice and noodle dishes like khao pat (Thai fried rice with chicken, fried egg, and holy basil).

Kirwan’s on the Wharf

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This relatively new addition to the D.C. Irish pub scene is one of the more laid-back, casual options in the Wharf development. It’s known for potent Irish whiskey cocktails, $8 Guinness pours, and beer-battered fish and chips. The owners also run Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub In Arlington.

Kirwan’s owner Mark Kirwan
Mark Kirwan/Kirwan’s

Whiskey Charlie

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The Canopy hotel’s 10th-floor rooftop bar is a scenic spot to sip margaritas, mules, frozen orange crushes, and local draft beers to go along with finger foods like tuna poke, wings, and baked pimento dip. The sprawling setup overlooks bobbing boats below. An outdoor rooftop deck dotted with soft seating complements an indoor lounge dubbed the Cabin.

Hank's Oyster Bar (Multiple locations)

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Chef Jamie Leeds’s local group of timeless seafood restaurants added a fitting location right on the water in 2017. Hank’s serves East and West coast oysters and local favorites like Eastern Shore crab dip and seasonal soft shell crabs. The brand’s beloved lobster rolls are a go-to order here.

Pendry Washington DC - The Wharf

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The luxury 131-room hotel on the Wharf opened last fall with a collection of three dining establishments led by executive chef and W alum Barry Koslow. That includes Latin-leaning Flora Flora, a dreamy indoor-outdoor restaurant overlooking a pool deck; Moonraker, a luxe rooftop lounge serving sushi and Japanese spirits; and Bar Pendry, a lobby-level cocktail den decked out in gold and navy decor.

Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen

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Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant modeled after hit Fox cooking competition opened its doors along the Wharf’s Phase 2 in January. Signature dishes featured on the show like beef Wellington and lobster risotto adorn the menu, but there are alternatives like braised short rib and crispy skin salmon to choose from. Just a few steps from Hell’s Kitchen is his fast-casual ode to fish and chips. Plates of the English staple start at $15 with combo plates of both cod and chicken and surf-and-turf sandwiches wrapped in naan.

The Point D.C.

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This anticipated seafood spot and wood-burning grill on the Buzzard Point waterfront opened in spring 2021 with seafood dishes that swing from simple (peel-and-eat shrimp) to novel; order the buttery, savory doughnuts that have been lightened up with potato starch, piped full of crab dip, and dusted in Old Bay seasoning. Diners can also enjoy salmon, tuna, and hamachi at a newly added sushi bar. The picturesque venture outfitted with fire pits comes from family-owned Fish & Fire Food Group (Nick’s Riverside Grill, Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place, The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse).

The point’s savory doughnuts are stuffed with crab dip and coated in Old Bay
The point’s savory doughnuts are stuffed with crab dip and coated in Old Bay
John Rorapaugh/Leading DC

Southwest Soda Pop Shop

This nostalgic, family-owned ice cream parlor commands a loyal following for whimsical waterfront treats like a $5 “chipwich” with a choice of ice cream flavors that include vanilla, chocolate, birthday cake, mint chocolate chip, and butter pecan. Soft serve flavors include vegan mango and raspberry — in addition to traditional vanilla and chocolate — with toppings like brownie chunks, various cereals, sprinkles, and gummy candy. For something else sweet on the Wharf, consider the new Kilwins.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: A line of patrons snakes outside Sout Timothy Nwachukwu for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Officina

Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s tri-level Italian complex greets visitors with an airy, European-styled cafe and bar drenched in sunlight. That’s followed by a second-level restaurant serving casual Southern Italian fare and stellar Negronis. Its prized rooftop terrace, dressed with sleek furniture, fire pits, and greenery, woos diners with aperitivos, seasonal cocktails, small bites, and an expansive Champagne list.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar

Located in a restored oyster shed steps away from the Maine Avenue fish market, Rappahannock’s menu centers around its celebrated shellfish — right down to vodka and tequila oyster shooters. Other options include ceviche, a burger, seared Outer Banks scallops, and whole branzino.

The crab cake from Rappahannock Oyster Bar at the Wharf
The crab cake from Rappahannock Oyster Bar at the Wharf
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Fat Fish Rolls & Twists

Acclaimed sushi chef Lucas Irwin, who’s worked for the likes of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Hawai’i legend Alan Wong, recently took the the reins of fast-casual Fat Fish on the Wharf. He rolls out its sushi program with playful combos like a “Spicy Tuna B.L.T.” with spicy tuna, bacon, lettuce, cucumber, yum-yum sauce, and sliced tomato topping. Some rolls get the torched treatment, and he’s also barrel-aging soy sauce with rosemary.

Tiki TNT & Potomac Distilling Company

Nationally recognized mixologist Todd Thrasher’s massive rum distillery and tiki bar attracts tourists, locals, and service industry-types alike. The multi-level tiki bar and happy hour spot (3 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays) offers cheeky, frozen rum and Coke in a can, classics like a Zombie or Mai Tai, and an extremely potent T.N.T. Problem Forgetter (bourbon, Thrasher’s spiced rum, overproof rum, apricot liqueur, coconut cream rum, honey, lime). Potomac Distilling Company’s sixth rum release (Relaxed Rum) is aged in barrels for 24 months.

The upstairs bar at Tiki TNT
The upstairs bar at Tiki TNT
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

The Grill

This sophisticated surf-and-turf spot from Knead Hospitality + Design sports South Florida vibes. Chef Roberto Santibañez, the culinary lead behind sibling Mexican restaurant Mi Vida nearby, developed a menu of seafood, meat, and veggie plates that sizzle over charcoals and pecan wood on a Barcelona-made Josper Basque Grill. The glitzy venue, which landed on the Wharf right before the pandemic, also features a lengthy wine list housed behind a glass-encased wall and long list of gins and vodkas for customizable martinis. Knead’s worthy Wharf portfolio also includes French-themed Bistro du Jour.

Easy Company

The Southwest Waterfront’s first-ever wine bar debuted in late January with European pours of red, white, prosecco, and rosé by the glass and carafe. The 49-seat brasserie, with room for nearly twice as many under a glass-enclosed patio out front, features a versatile food menu full of dips, burgers, flatbreads, egg yolk tagliatelle, roasted chicken with Parmesan potatoes, and charcuterie. Better Hospitality Group (BHG) also runs Takoda Restaurant & Beer Garden and Boardwalk Bar & Arcade at the Wharf.

The Brighton

The Hilton brothers’ Southwest Waterfront bar is home to the biggest wall projection screen at the Wharf. The soaring, two-level space offers excellent game-day grub like wings and burgers, along with lobster rolls, BLTs, and sleeper hits like chicken (or veggie) curry.

Cantina Bambina

The two-story successor to dearly missed dock bar Cantina Marina is perched right on the water. Head upstairs to the open-air bar slinging Mexican beers, margaritas, a handful of packaged snacks, and $6 Truly seltzers on game day. Its Pearl Street Warehouse partner does live shows a few nights a week. And

ilili Restaurant DC

Resembling an upscale wonderland, guests are treated to opulent decor flown in directly from the Middle East while dining on Lebanese, Levantine and Mediterranean cuisine. Whether in attendance for weekend brunch or dinner, there are plenty of cold and warm meze to satisfy various appetites.

Grazie Grazie

Taylor Gourmet founder Casey Patten launched a second act with this Philadelphia-style sandwich shop in 2019. The tiny store has quickly amassed a devoted following for fried chicken cutlets, cheesesteaks built with grass-fed beef and Cooper sharp provolone, and sporadic pan pizza pop-ups with help from local restaurants.

A Philly Special cheesesteak from Grazie Grazie shows off layers of grass-fed beef, Cooper sharp provolone, lettuce, red onion, and tomato on a golden roll
A Philly Special cheesesteak from Grazie Grazie
Rey Lopez/Eater D.C.

Del Mar

Fabio Trabocchi’s celebration of Spanish seafood fare takes up two stories along the Potomac. Its lavish dinner menu includes a seafood tower for up to four ($255), a selection of cured meats, tapas and grilled protein from branzino to veal.

Kaliwa

Chef Cathal Armstrong and Meshelle Armstrong pay homage to Southeast and East Asian cuisines with a mix of Korean, Thai, and the Philippine dishes at this upscale restaurant. Find staples like lumpia and more creative options like adobo brisket sandwiches. Grilled delights include marinated short ribs with Korean ssamjang and a section of rice and noodle dishes like khao pat (Thai fried rice with chicken, fried egg, and holy basil).

Kirwan’s on the Wharf

This relatively new addition to the D.C. Irish pub scene is one of the more laid-back, casual options in the Wharf development. It’s known for potent Irish whiskey cocktails, $8 Guinness pours, and beer-battered fish and chips. The owners also run Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub In Arlington.

Kirwan’s owner Mark Kirwan
Mark Kirwan/Kirwan’s

Whiskey Charlie

The Canopy hotel’s 10th-floor rooftop bar is a scenic spot to sip margaritas, mules, frozen orange crushes, and local draft beers to go along with finger foods like tuna poke, wings, and baked pimento dip. The sprawling setup overlooks bobbing boats below. An outdoor rooftop deck dotted with soft seating complements an indoor lounge dubbed the Cabin.

Related Maps

Hank's Oyster Bar (Multiple locations)

Chef Jamie Leeds’s local group of timeless seafood restaurants added a fitting location right on the water in 2017. Hank’s serves East and West coast oysters and local favorites like Eastern Shore crab dip and seasonal soft shell crabs. The brand’s beloved lobster rolls are a go-to order here.

Pendry Washington DC - The Wharf

The luxury 131-room hotel on the Wharf opened last fall with a collection of three dining establishments led by executive chef and W alum Barry Koslow. That includes Latin-leaning Flora Flora, a dreamy indoor-outdoor restaurant overlooking a pool deck; Moonraker, a luxe rooftop lounge serving sushi and Japanese spirits; and Bar Pendry, a lobby-level cocktail den decked out in gold and navy decor.

Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant modeled after hit Fox cooking competition opened its doors along the Wharf’s Phase 2 in January. Signature dishes featured on the show like beef Wellington and lobster risotto adorn the menu, but there are alternatives like braised short rib and crispy skin salmon to choose from. Just a few steps from Hell’s Kitchen is his fast-casual ode to fish and chips. Plates of the English staple start at $15 with combo plates of both cod and chicken and surf-and-turf sandwiches wrapped in naan.

The Point D.C.

This anticipated seafood spot and wood-burning grill on the Buzzard Point waterfront opened in spring 2021 with seafood dishes that swing from simple (peel-and-eat shrimp) to novel; order the buttery, savory doughnuts that have been lightened up with potato starch, piped full of crab dip, and dusted in Old Bay seasoning. Diners can also enjoy salmon, tuna, and hamachi at a newly added sushi bar. The picturesque venture outfitted with fire pits comes from family-owned Fish & Fire Food Group (Nick’s Riverside Grill, Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place, The Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse).

The point’s savory doughnuts are stuffed with crab dip and coated in Old Bay
The point’s savory doughnuts are stuffed with crab dip and coated in Old Bay
John Rorapaugh/Leading DC

Related Maps