It’s easy to find a cozy, bright bar during the holidays. But the arrival of January doesn’t mean you can’t be outside and battle those seasonal blues. Our criteria for this outdoor winter bar roundup were:
- The bar is actually outside.
- There is something to keep you warm including warm drinks, blankets, or fire pits.
- The bar may be covered by a clear, heated tent to let light and outside views in.
- It may be Christmas themed in December but continues the cozy, warm environment until spring.
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. The party does stop for dropping temperatures when they close the windows without losing the view. Takoda rocks happy hour Tuesday-Friday from 5 pm all the way until 8 pm plus weekends from 12 pm to 3 pm. (Closed Mondays.) They are right next to 801 so visit them both during the same trip!
Hazel is an upscale, Michelin rated restaurant in Shaw. They have a small, cozy outdoor area where you can enjoy drinks and plates by heat lamps and fire pits. They offer dinner nightly (closed Sunday) and brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. Save a few dollars by checking out happy hour specials weeknights until 7 pm.
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 Wharf has no shortage of bars and hot spots to enjoy during the winter months. However, that’s not what I’m here to sell you on. The Wharf also has a popular fish market that can get very crowded in the summer and even special events during the holidays. Avoid all of these crowds with an afternoon visit to the fish market in your favorite oversized swearer and beanie. Grab your favorite cuddle buddy and try soups and hot fish sandwiches without the wait. 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.
Colada Shop is a beloved coffee shop on 14th and T which is a great place to work during the day. 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. Check for special events on Thursdays.
American Ice Company
You’ll almost miss American Ice Company on V Street near the 9:30 Club if you aren’t looking for it. The patio is heated (and dog-friendly) but still exposed to the elements so you feel like you’re getting a taste of the outside. Inside, you’ll find a bar and additional seating. Stay warm with a hot toddy or extensive beer and whiskey list. Plus, don’t miss their famous swachos. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook for news about special events (@americaniceco).