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The Bullpen is back, Aslin and pizza arrive: A look at what’s new around Nats Park for 2018

The Bullpen in 2017. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

The Washington Nationals’ home opener is Thursday, and while there’s no shortage of new food and beverage options inside Nationals Park — alcoholic juice pouches, anyone? — there are also a few fresh places to pregame outside the stadium. For craft beer lovers, the most anticipated arrival might be the Aslin Beer Garden, which will be located at the northwest corner of First and N Streets SE, next to the Hampton Inn & Suites.

The beer garden will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Aslin posted its opening and closing times (5 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively, for most night games) for the remainder of the Nationals’ first homestand on Instagram, and said the space could be open on non-game days during the summer starting in May.

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In 2016, The Washington Post named Aslin the “Best Local Brewery You Probably Haven’t Heard Of,” because it rarely distributed outside of its Herndon-based brewery. Aslin told The Post’s Fritz Hahn that they’re planning to have five beers at Thursday’s game: Anthemic (pilsner), Power Move (IPA), Sorbet (fruited sour IPA), Awkwardly Sweet (fruited sour IPA) and Double Orange Starfish (double IPA). Beers will cost $8-$11 per 16-ounce can, and there will be a food truck on site.

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Fans of The Bullpen, the original go-to spot outside of Nationals Park, will be happy to know that the construction-sitechic site on Half Street will open Thursday at 10 a.m. There was some question whether The Bullpen would return for another season after its footprint was cut in half to make way for development of a residential building on the south side of the block last year.

“We are back,” owner Bo Blair said recently. “We’ll be there for the whole season.”

Last summer, Blair said he wasn’t sure about the The Bullpen’s future and hinted that he was close to announcing a permanent space for the venue nearby.

“We are still in negotiations,” said Blair, who added that beer prices at The Bullpen are unchanged this season. “We’re still trying to work out design details and financial details. It’s getting there, but it’s just taking a long time.”

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Bardo Beer, which opened a beer garden on the other side of Nationals Park along the Anacostia River last year, is also back for 2018.

There are a few new places to eat near Nationals Park, including All-Purpose Pizzeria, which opened its second D.C. location across from the First Base Gate on Tuesday. Declaration, which already had a pizza-centric restaurant in Shaw, will open its Navy Yard location along First Street on Thursday at 11 a.m. Due South Dockside, located behind its flagship restaurant along the Yards boardwalk, will host its grand opening on Thursday at 11 a.m. The Opening Day menu will feature items such as pulled pork nachos, BBQ sliders and chili dogs.

A number of established restaurants in the area have announced various specials for the home opener. Among them:

— Bluejacket will open at 9 a.m. and debut a new pilsner called Love Cats. The brewery will also introduce an outdoor grilling menu featuring sticky ribs, wings, sausage, pulled pork, burgers and more.

— Guests who show their Opening Day tickets at Ice Cream Jubilee will receive a free mini scoop of Nats Red Velvet ice cream with any ice cream purchase. Minnie, a collaboration between Ice Cream Jubilee and Mason Biscuit Dixie Co., will offer hot fried chicken and breakfast egg biscuits every day between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. through June 1.

— Nando’s will offer an all-day happy hour.

— Osteria Morini will offer food and beverages on the boardwalk at their waterfront satellite food and drink stand, Morini Piccolo.

— TaKorean will serve $3 craft beers all day.

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