The owners of the U Street tiki bar had to scale back their grand plans for an island-themed patio after running afoul of city regulations, but planters full of palm fronds make the six-table sidewalk cafe attractive, and with the bar's well-made mai tai or a rum-filled pineapple in hand, it's easy to imagine you're in the Caribbean.
H Street NE's best cocktail bar added a small overflow patio this winter, with picnic tables and its own bar. Owner Devin Gong expects the bar to be a place to grab beers and shots instead of the elaborate drinks served upstairs, and that's fine with us.
Crisp Kitchen + Bar
Crisp's upstairs back patio isn't all that big: Owner Jamie Hess describes the area, located off the bar, as "sort of overflow" with room for around a dozen people. No matter: It's still possible to hang out there while enjoying the Bloomingdale bar's great happy hour, where any drink behind the bar – beer, wine, or cocktails – is $5 from 5 to 8 p.m. every day.
The Columbia Room
Don't have a reservation for the Columbia Room's prix-fixe tasting room? Head out to the 30-seat "Punch Garden," a breezy rooftop where the outdoor-only menu offers cups of freshly made punch or bottled cocktails. Don't miss the $15 Rhum and Rhubarb Basil Tonic, with aged rhum agricole, lime and house-made rhubarb-basil tonic water.
The Hawthorne's retractable glass roof now opens at noon at Saturdays for weekend day-drinking, with happy hour specials offered. During the rest of the week, Hawthorne opens at 5 p.m., and offers impressive views of U Street and the city at sunset.
Ivy & Coney
The Midwest-themed bar's main room is dimly lit and divey. The same cannot be said about the rooftop deck, which opened in November. The retractable glass roof allows sunlight to fall on a pool table and rows of picnic tables, while a full bar provides drinks. Bonus: The expansion also allowed for a larger kitchen and expanded food menu. (Hello, chili fries and Italian beef sandwiches.)
Lena's Wood Fired Pizza
When the Del Ray pizzeria opened in October, the most attractive features on its large patio were fire pits and space heaters. Now you can sit outside and sip cocktails and Virginia craft beers without worrying about leaving your glass too close to the flames.
Expect the lines at Momofuku to get longer after David Chang's popular restaurant opened its first-come, first-seated patio in mid April. Food is served between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and 10 p.m., but you want to be there between 5 and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays for $5 buns, $5 beers and $6 wine. Feeling flush? The restaurant sells pitchers of large-format cocktails – that's 62 to 68 ounces – for $100 or $160.
The rooftop beer garden at Takoda, filled with greenery and topped with a skylight, offers 270-degree views of Shaw and Ledroit Park – plus 24 draft beers and more than 50 bourbons and rye whiskeys.
Hampton Inn's Top of the Yard Lounge
The most impressive new bar near Nationals Park this year is the rooftop that actually offers views into Nationals Park. Top of the Yard, located atop the Hampton Inn a block from the stadium, has views of monuments and the Anacostia River from all sides, making it a place to grab a drink even outside of gameday.