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Roofers Union Roof
Roofers Union Roof
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D.C.'s Best Patios for Drinking Beer

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Roofers Union Roof
| Photo: Facebook

For years, D.C. drinkers have taken full advantage of the (usually, anyway) mild Mid-Atlantic climate to consume adult beverages outdoors. From the rooftops of Adams Morgan to the shores of Washington Harbour, there's no shortage of great places to eat and drink outside. The city's more recent hospitality history demonstrates the embrace of all things craft beer, whether the beers be homegrown or from certain cult breweries that have extended their distribution to the nation's capital.

Unfortunately, these movements exist on largely parallel tracks, and finding the point at which great outdoor spaces and equally great beer intersect can sometimes be a challenge. Some of the more popular craft beer temples — see Churchkey, Meridian Pint and Birerria Paradiso — are largely indoor affairs, while many of the area's dramatic outdoor gathering spots — think Perry's rooftop, P.O.V. at the W or Sequoia — have beer lists that just can't keep pace with the views. Here, Eater has done its best to draw the Outdoor/Good Beer Venn Diagram so you don't have to, and offer some of our favorites. Extra credit was awarded to those places with a good assortment of local beers on tap and a strong supporting bottle list. With a couple of notable exceptions, views of the sidewalk (or the car you just parked at a nearby meter) resulted in an automatic disqualification.

And stay tuned — as spring and summer progress, more promising beer drinking patios are on the horizon, such as Agua 301 (the patio for the Mexican restaurant, which has a solid Midwestern beer list, is open and finishing up construction).
—Scott Langerman


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bluejacket Brewery

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300 Tingey St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
Outdoor beer geek heaven, made so by 20 beers brewed on premise, a touch of beer-snob pretentiousness (Different beers get different glasses! 19 fermentation vessels!) and a 72-seat patio. While the unremarkable sidewalk setting and across-the-street construction site might preclude it from being the dominant outdoor destination on this list, the impressive brews and overall deification of our favorite beverage ensure its inclusion. The beer selection rotates, but be on the lookout for favorites Forbidden Planet kolsch, the Lost Planet IPA and Black Eye porter.

2. The Big Hunt

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1345 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 785-2333
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Although visitors have to navigate through the overly dark, sometimes funky-smelling main bar to get there, the back patio at the Big Hunt is a longtime Dupont Circle oasis. Sometimes forgotten among some of the shinier new arrivals to the DC craft beer scene, the Big Hunt’s well-curated and frequently rotating tap list always seems to include a few surprises and sought-afters from local and national breweries — Atlas Brewing’s Home Rule and Boulevard’s Grainstorm being just two of many recent examples.

3. Jack Rose Dining Saloon

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2007 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-7388
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Situated just south of the main Adams Morgan strip and with an elegant design scheme, Jack Rose delivers a more sophisticated outdoor beer experience than most. A teak and slate roof garden with retractable ceiling panels is one of the city’s more well-conceived outdoor spaces, and the beer menu holds up its end of the bargain with selections that recently included a variety of styles from St. Louis’ highly-regarded Perennial Brewing and the rarely-seen Saucony Creek out of Pennsylvania.

4. Roofers Union

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2446 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 232-7663
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One of the newest additions to the outdoor drinking scene takes over where its former occupant, The Reef, left off. From the owners of Cleveland Park’s Ripple, Roofers Union ‘s rooftop bar allows customers to take in the sights and sounds of Adams Morgan from three floors above. They’ll likely do so with a pint drawn from one its 20 taps and two casks, all of which are organized on the menu by flavor profile, Churchkey-style. Street-side drink rails and heaters are both plentiful and appreciated.

5. Farmers Fishers Bakers

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3000 K St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 298-8783
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While many Washington Harbour restaurants seem geared to tourists or DC’s version of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, Farmers Fishers Bakers' beer list belies that description. With an outdoor bar window and a vast patio boasting views of the Washington Harbour fountain and Potomac River, the restaurant offers one of the area’s best spots for people-watching, and an extensive and intelligent beer list that balances popular favorites with hard-to-find drafts. Recent highlights include Troeg’s tremendous Nugget Nectar and small-batch selections from several local breweries.

6. DC Reynolds

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3628 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
(202) 506-7178
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A bit more worn-in than many of the destinations on this list, the patio at DC Reynolds feels like it established itself well before the rest of its Petworth neighbors arrived. Framed by the back porches of several nearby rowhouses, this bare-bones backyard patio offers picnic tables and eight taps, six of which were recently devoted to area breweries.

7. Vinoteca Wine Bar & Bistro

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1940 11th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 332-9463
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The Bocce court and Tuscan courtyard décor found on this patio are worth the trip alone, and the small but well-curated beer list makes the visit that much tastier. Seasonals from Great Lakes and Bells were recent tap standouts, while cans and bottles from several local and regional favorites round out the selection.

8. Garden District

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1801 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Another place that violates the no-sidewalk-views rule, Garden District merits inclusion on its spare, "I-Exist-Only-to Give-the-Good-People-of-DC-a-Place-to-Drink-Good-Craft-Beer-Outside" vibe. A small-ish tap list but one that includes a few otherwise-unseen drafts, including such gems as Founder’s Red Rye and one of the most recent (and best) IPAs to enter the DC market from Atlanta’s beloved Sweetwater Brewing.

9. American Ice Company

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917 V St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 758-3562
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Slightly removed from the 14th Street/U Street nightlife axis, American Ice’s well-concealed patio is dressed in industrial chic and features a garage door that blurs the line between inside and out when open. The restaurant’s signature mason jars hold drafts representing a good range of styles from some of the best regional craft breweries — Bell’s Amber, Lagunitas IPA, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter — and its rotating tap recently poured a terrific kolsch from North Carolina’s Mother Earth.

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1. Bluejacket Brewery

300 Tingey St SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
Outdoor beer geek heaven, made so by 20 beers brewed on premise, a touch of beer-snob pretentiousness (Different beers get different glasses! 19 fermentation vessels!) and a 72-seat patio. While the unremarkable sidewalk setting and across-the-street construction site might preclude it from being the dominant outdoor destination on this list, the impressive brews and overall deification of our favorite beverage ensure its inclusion. The beer selection rotates, but be on the lookout for favorites Forbidden Planet kolsch, the Lost Planet IPA and Black Eye porter.
300 Tingey St SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

2. The Big Hunt

1345 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Although visitors have to navigate through the overly dark, sometimes funky-smelling main bar to get there, the back patio at the Big Hunt is a longtime Dupont Circle oasis. Sometimes forgotten among some of the shinier new arrivals to the DC craft beer scene, the Big Hunt’s well-curated and frequently rotating tap list always seems to include a few surprises and sought-afters from local and national breweries — Atlas Brewing’s Home Rule and Boulevard’s Grainstorm being just two of many recent examples.
1345 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

3. Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Situated just south of the main Adams Morgan strip and with an elegant design scheme, Jack Rose delivers a more sophisticated outdoor beer experience than most. A teak and slate roof garden with retractable ceiling panels is one of the city’s more well-conceived outdoor spaces, and the beer menu holds up its end of the bargain with selections that recently included a variety of styles from St. Louis’ highly-regarded Perennial Brewing and the rarely-seen Saucony Creek out of Pennsylvania.
2007 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

4. Roofers Union

2446 18th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
One of the newest additions to the outdoor drinking scene takes over where its former occupant, The Reef, left off. From the owners of Cleveland Park’s Ripple, Roofers Union ‘s rooftop bar allows customers to take in the sights and sounds of Adams Morgan from three floors above. They’ll likely do so with a pint drawn from one its 20 taps and two casks, all of which are organized on the menu by flavor profile, Churchkey-style. Street-side drink rails and heaters are both plentiful and appreciated.
2446 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

5. Farmers Fishers Bakers

3000 K St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
While many Washington Harbour restaurants seem geared to tourists or DC’s version of the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, Farmers Fishers Bakers' beer list belies that description. With an outdoor bar window and a vast patio boasting views of the Washington Harbour fountain and Potomac River, the restaurant offers one of the area’s best spots for people-watching, and an extensive and intelligent beer list that balances popular favorites with hard-to-find drafts. Recent highlights include Troeg’s tremendous Nugget Nectar and small-batch selections from several local breweries.
3000 K St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

6. DC Reynolds

3628 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20010
A bit more worn-in than many of the destinations on this list, the patio at DC Reynolds feels like it established itself well before the rest of its Petworth neighbors arrived. Framed by the back porches of several nearby rowhouses, this bare-bones backyard patio offers picnic tables and eight taps, six of which were recently devoted to area breweries.
3628 Georgia Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20010

7. Vinoteca Wine Bar & Bistro

1940 11th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
The Bocce court and Tuscan courtyard décor found on this patio are worth the trip alone, and the small but well-curated beer list makes the visit that much tastier. Seasonals from Great Lakes and Bells were recent tap standouts, while cans and bottles from several local and regional favorites round out the selection.
1940 11th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

8. Garden District

1801 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Another place that violates the no-sidewalk-views rule, Garden District merits inclusion on its spare, "I-Exist-Only-to Give-the-Good-People-of-DC-a-Place-to-Drink-Good-Craft-Beer-Outside" vibe. A small-ish tap list but one that includes a few otherwise-unseen drafts, including such gems as Founder’s Red Rye and one of the most recent (and best) IPAs to enter the DC market from Atlanta’s beloved Sweetwater Brewing.
1801 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

9. American Ice Company

917 V St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Slightly removed from the 14th Street/U Street nightlife axis, American Ice’s well-concealed patio is dressed in industrial chic and features a garage door that blurs the line between inside and out when open. The restaurant’s signature mason jars hold drafts representing a good range of styles from some of the best regional craft breweries — Bell’s Amber, Lagunitas IPA, Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter — and its rotating tap recently poured a terrific kolsch from North Carolina’s Mother Earth.
917 V St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

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