Explore Fall flavors at D.C. Bars and Restaurants

Fall weather is finally ushering in a change of season in D.C. On the downside, days are getting shorter. But the silver lining is that we won’t have to bear the oppressive humidity of 90-degree days until late spring rolls around again. And the refreshing drinks and dishes of summer are making way for a new wave of tastes.

The cool fall weather serves as great inspiration for this city’s chefs and bartenders – and it goes way beyond apple or pumpkin-spiced recipes. Here’s a look at some of the best seasonal sips and bites around town, from specialty cocktails to October-appropriate snacks.

Fans of fall beers should stop in to Pizzeria Paradiso‘s Autumn Fest, which runs from October 9 through 15 at all three locations (Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria). The bar will feature seasonal brews from Brooklyn Brewery, The Bruery, DC Brau, Hardywood, Foothills, Ballast Point and many more. There will also be a special autumn fest pizza, topped with pumpkin pesto, roasted mushrooms and pumpkin seeds, butternut squash, speck, Parmesean cheese and other herbs. On October 20 there will a entire tap takeover from Urban Family Brewing in Seattle. Paradiso continues to be one of the best spots in D.C. for fresh beer with friendly service.


Fall doughnuts at Astro. (Photo: Rachel Lyn Photography)

There are several fall flavors in the rotation over at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (1308 G St. NW and 7511 Leesburg Pike in Falls Church). Among the recent menu additions are a coffee chai latte doughnut (chai spice glaze, chocolate drizzle, chopped coffee beans), candy apple (filled with apple compote and cider glaze) and, yes, — pumpkin spice with candied pumpkin seeds. Probably not a bad idea to grab a couple, especially with the cold weather rolling in. For another sweet treat, hit up Burger Tap & Shake (2200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW) for the limited-run apple cider milkshake.

If you’re looking for something a little classier, check out the fall cocktails at the Columbia Room (124 Blagden Alley, NW). The new menu launched on October 4 with drinks giving a nod to a theme of leaves. For example, the Dutch East India Company punch makes use of fig leaf milk, batavia arrack, and genever. Look to the bar’s inventive tasting menu — reservations can be made online — for The Sugaring Season, a cocktail with Canadian rye whisky, dry vermouth and fenugreek leaf, apple juice and maple syrup. Along with cocktails, there’s also a brand new and souped-up food menu from chef Johnny Spero, formerly of Komi and Minibar).


Columbia Room’s Dutch East India Company Punch (photo: Greg Powers)

In addition to these choices, October is definitely a great time to stop by your favorite bar or restaurant and see what the new offerings are – especially if you haven’t been in since summer wound down. D.C. is a great place to be for the fall months and the brisk air is ideal for a cool stroll around the city’s many neighborhoods. So venture out for a warming cocktail or a sweet treat – winter will be here before we know it. Sigh.

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