Where to Drink and Dine "Outside" For Winter Happy Hour

Well friends, I originally wrote this post in 2018 because it’s fun to try to keep that cozy, outdoor bar vibe in the winter after the holidays. But this year, outside bars are taken on a whole new meaning. I will try to keep this post updated as long it is cold and as new information becomes available.  At the time of press, Washington, DC has mandated all alcohol sales stop at 10 pm

So what does “outdoor bar” mean? 

  • The bar is actually outside.
  • There is something to keep you warm including warm drinks, blankets, or fire pits.
  • Indoor dining may be available but there is a patio or streetery. 
Rooftop at 801 (photo from 2018)

Shaw

Rooftop at 801: The Rooftop at 801 in Shaw spends the winter dressed in a clear tent and heat lamps. Guests can enjoy cocktails looking over the city while still staying warm and protected from the cold. Happy hour is weekdays from 4 to 7. They also have a great brunch so if you arrive early for your reservation, have a drink on the roof!

Takoda is known for its simple, high-quality brunch and tots with happy hour on their photogenic rooftop. Takoda features happy hour Wednesday-Friday from 5 – 7 pm plus bottomless brunch on weekends from 12 pm to 3 pm. (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.) The rooftop is mostly enclosed by they have a heated outdoor patio with an overhang. 

NOMA

Wunder Garten in NOMA is a beloved outdoor, German-themed beer garden. They have an extensive holiday celebration that runs until a few days before Christmas. But now that the holiday lights are gone, this beer garden turns into a cozy, outdoor bar with igloos, firepits, and happy hour specials. Their Annual Apres Ski Pop-Up runs each weekend in February with cozy ambiance, live music, whiskey tastings, and live music.

The Pub and the People offers 4 hot cocktails and a heated patio to keep you warm this winter. Stay for dinner 7 days a week or enjoy brunch (with hot brunch cocktails!) on the weekends from 11 am to 3 pm. 

The Wharf

The Fish Market has revamped their set up so that a limited number of people are allowed inside. Grab things like crab cake sandwiches, chowder, and shrimp to enjoy on a bench anywhere along the boardwalk. Plus, it’s cold on the water so embrace the thinner crowds with your favorite oversized sweater and beanie.  Plus, there’s a little smores truck next to an open fire farther up the boardwalk. Graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate are available for purchase.

Hanks Oyster Bar located near the entrance of The Wharf has a large, heated patio and indoor space with large windows open on nicer days. Catch them for dinner Wednesday to Sunday or brunch on weekends from 12 to 3 pm.

14th and U Street Area

Colada Shop is a beloved coffee shop on 14th and T which is a great place for a caffeine kick during the day but also offers winter happy hour at night. Their newly expanded rooftop is heated and has comfy sofas, chairs, and blankets to keep you warm. In the evenings, head over for cocktails and Cuban style bites like empanadas. Capacity is capped at 50% and visits are capped at 90 minutes. Their second location at The Wharf also features a large, heated outdoor patio. 

Lulu’s Winegarden on 11th and U Street has three outdoor spaces to enjoy a bottle of wine and a meal with contactless ordering. The cute back patio features heaters, a fountain, and lots of plants which feels like a city escape. Or check out their front patio and thoughtfully decorated streetery designed to keep you warm. Open Wednesday to Sunday with brunch on the weekends. 

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