Never mind the recent February-like temperatures and windy downpours. April is here and that means baseball is back in The District. The hometown Nationals have kicked off the 2016 season, and that means at least 82 days of baseball in D.C. between now and October.
Nine innings of baseball can get long, so it’s important to know where to get some quality food and drinks near the park and avoid having to shell out for $5 hot dogs or beers at $9 a pop. Look – ballpark junk food definitely has its novelty from time to time. But generally it’s an expensive and not spectacular way to enjoy a meal.
Luckily, the Navy Yard neighborhood around Nationals Park has grown significantly over the past several years. There’s a lot of tasty bar and restaurants within walking distance of the stadium, and they’re not just sports bars. From craft beer to spicy fried chicken. Here are five of the best places to put on your pre- and post-game list.
300 Tingey St., SE
It’s hard for beer lovers to do better than Bluejacket, which brews a healthy number of regularly rotating beers for all tastes and seasons. The Forbidden Planet kolsch is one of the regulars and an ideal refresher for when the temperatures rise. When the weather’s crisp, go with the sweet and slightly spicy Mexican Radio stout if available.
Bluejacket gets extremely busy during peak hours around gametime, so be prepared to wait in line or snag a reservation at the inside dining room.
1050 Half St., SE
BonChon specializes in Korean-style fried chicken and excels by keeping things simple. The Navy Yard location is the chain’s first and so far only D.C. location. Pick your choice of sauce (either soy garlic or spicy), type of meat and number of pieces are you’re on your way to crispy, juicy poultry perfection. There are a couple of other Korean entrees and sides to pick from as well, like fried rice or bulgogi sliders. No matter what you choose, BonChon is a great way to change up the normal game-time bar food routine.
1025 First St., SE
Justin’s Cafe was one of the first solid bars to open near Nationals Park. It offers a progressive happy hour Mondays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Beer prices start at $3, rail drinks at $4 and go up to $5 and $6 by eight. There are a food specials during happy hour as well.
Guests showing up outside these hours can still get take advantage of the varied draft beer list and a menu specializing in sandwiches and pizzas.
909 New Jersey Ave, SE
If you’re seeking more than bar food, consider heading down to Scarlet Oak, from the team behind Southern Hospitality in Adams Morgan. The menu has everything from small plates like wings, meatballs and tuna tartare to more substantial plates like house-made pastas, ribeye steak or seared local rockfish.
Happy hour runs from 3:30 to 7 on weekdays (and all day on Thursdays), so you can grab a discounted drink or two before heading to the ballpark.
301 Water St., SE
Due South doesn’t offer happy hour on Nationals game days. But baseball and southern food seem like a natural pair, so the food alone is a reason to check this place out. The menu includes shareable items of creative and comforting Southern fare like pimento cheese crab dip, squash puppies and bourbon chicken liver pate. After that, dig into a serving of shrimp and grits or the hickory-smoked barbecue platter.