Back on April 13, in our preseason guide to food and drink to the Nationals Park neighborhood, we wrote:
“On the field, the Nationals are being tapped by more than a few pundits to qualify for the postseason for the first time, which would bring record crowds. And when those throngs ascend from the Navy Yard Metro, they’ll come upon a neighborhood in its later stages of (to borrow a term familiar to Nats fans) its own rebuild.”
The team sure lived up to its end of the bargain, and while the neighborhood continued to make progress, it wasn’t quite at the same 98-win pace.
We’ve now had 81 chances to drink pre- and post-game brews at the Fairgrounds, a low-frills, open-air beer garden along Half Street that doubles as a popular concert venue and festival space on weekends. During the playoffs, it promises to become a destination for fans who can’t get tickets but want to feel the excitement of the sold-out stadium.
Sadly, the other side of Half Street is still a canyon surrounded by construction fences for projects that have never begun. More promising neighborhood prospects for 2013: the debut of the Boilermaker Shops, anchored by a new brewery from the ChurchKey team a short walk from the stadium near the Yards Park, and Canal Park at Second and M streets SE, featuring restaurant space and a skating rink in winter.
But enough about the future, let’s focus on the here-and-now: the Nats are National League East champions, and Washington is about to get its first taste of playoff baseball since 1933. Here are some tips for enjoying the ride.
Read on for guides to food and drink inside and outside the stadium; pre- and post-game happy hour specials; and D.C.’s best Nats bars.