Visitors to Nationals Park won't notice too many new places to eat or drink around the ballpark on Opening Day, though a handful are planning to open later in the season. Some longtime fixtures have added extra outdoor taps and seats, while one of the most popular game-day options has shrunk.
The major addition to the area along the Anacostia is Bardo, a brewpub that swapped its Trinidad location for an expansive lot right on the water, which can hold up to 750 people. A full brewing system was installed, as were a kid-friendly sandbox and rough-hewed picnic tables fashioned from trees. Construction on an enclosed dog park finished over the weekend. The beers have been hit or miss; a malty ESB was enjoyable on one visit and turbid on the next; the Chinook Pale Ale was bright and fresh. (Bartenders are good about offering samples of the dozen beers on tap.) Gates open two hours before every Nationals game. There's no kitchen on site, but Bardo is trying to get food trucks to come on game days, and customers can bring their own takeout. 25 Potomac Ave. SE.
Construction of a new residential-and-retail at Half and N streets SE has closed the southern half of the huge beer garden known as the Fairgrounds, which has reverted to its original name of The Bullpen. “We lost half of our space from last year,” owner Bo Blair said in an email, along with half of its capacity. The monthly Truckeroo food truck carnival will continue “on a smaller scale,” as will live music before games. Otherwise, it's business as normal, with stands selling beer and frozen daiquiris; food from various food trucks; and $5 drinks from the third to seventh innings. Gates are open two hours before and after every home game. 1201 Half St. SE.
The brewery has expanded its front patio with more seating and outdoor TVs, as well as a new outdoor grill menu with burgers and sausages. Six al fresco taps pour a rotating selection of beers, including some revamped hoppy pilsners and lagers. (The dry-hopped Rude Mechanical lager has great tropical fruit and citrus notes.) The bar opens daily at 11 a.m. 300 Tingey St. SE.
The Southern restaurant has added a beer bar to its patio, which overlooks Water Street and Yards Park. 301 Water St. SE.
The extremely popular burger chain can already be found inside Nationals Park, but a new location opened on M Street on March 23, so you can get Shack Burgers and crinkle-cut fries before and after games, too. 54 M St. SE.