The Brig: A large German-style beer garden with shaded communal tables and one-liter mugs of beer, the Brig became a popular pregame Nats bar, thanks to its location at the bottom of Barracks Row. There’s a row of TVs behind the bar, but during the playoffs, the Brig has also been projecting the action on a 25-foot screen on a neighboring building. If the weather cooperates, this is a fine outdoor option, especially with groups.
The Bullpen: Many Nats fans have visited the Bullpen on game days, thanks to the beer garden’s prime location between the Navy Yard Metro exit and the ballpark’s center field gate. But during the postseason, the Bullpen has opened when the Nats are out of town, with the action shown on multiple screens. Other draws include live music and $6 drink specials that run the gamut from White Claw to craft beer to Red Bull and vodka. Doors open at 7 p.m. Friday night and 3 p.m. Saturday, and then two hours before games at Nationals Park.
Duffy’s Irish Pub: The original destination for die-hard Nats fans, Duffy’s has changed a bit since its move from U Street to H Street. While it’s no longer a convenient place to meet for a pregame drink, the pub continues to show games with sound, and displays a large collection of Nationals bobbleheads around the room. Bring your favorite bobblehead to Duffys to watch Game 1 and the bar will give you a $1 tallboy of Devils Backbone’s Nationals-themed Earned Run Ale. (You don’t have to donate or loan your bobblehead to Duffy’s, though you can.) The award-winning wings remain excellent.
Penn Social: In terms of size, it’s hard to match Penn Social’s projection screens: One is 22-feet in diameter, and nine are just 10 feet. During all Nationals games, the bar pours $5 drafts from D.C. breweries 3 Stars, Atlas, DC Brau, Hellbender and Right Proper.
The Pug: The divey H Street NE neighborhood bar has become a go-to Nationals viewing spot, with loud and enthusiastic crowds drinking cans of cheap, old-school lager. Also, for some games, the owners have provided free Ledo pizza for fans, but it’s not guaranteed.
The Salt Line: This might seem like an obvious inclusion, as the highly regarded seafood restaurant is (a) located directly across the street from Nationals Park and (b) co-owned by “Mr. National” Ryan Zimmerman. But the dog-friendly dock bar is a fun place to watch the Nats home or away. Large TVs behind the bar face four directions, offering views to all guests. The drink menu appeals to a wide audience, with cool craft beers and cocktails on tap. And when the Nats are at home, you can hear the roar of the crowd before you can see what happened on TV, which is a surefire way to ratchet up the excitement.
Walters Sports Bar: Murals of D.C. baseball legends Walter Johnson, Frank Howard and Mamie “Peanut” Johnson decorate one wall of this popular sports bar, next to the 220-inch projection screen. Located across N Street SE from Nationals Park, it’s become a popular destination with baseball fans, and not just because of the wall of self-service beer taps. Walters will show Games 1 and 2 inside with full sound and specials on buckets of Bud Light and Truly. (Since Walters is an official Florida State alumni bar, Seminoles fans will take over the patio and outdoor TVs for Saturday’s football game.) For those in search of a bargain, it’s worth pointing out that sister bar D.C. Reynolds, located a short ride up the Green Line in Park View, will show the game on fewer TVs, but offers buy-one, get-one-free drinks specials from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.