Summer in the District: Where to go for outdoor dining

Summertime in the district welcomes not only the migration of summer interns and swamp-like humidity but the season also coincides with amazing outdoor eating venues that have been previously shuttered or unused because of the winter chills.


Tabaq, located at the U Street Corridor, is a unique Mediterranean restaurant specializing in small plates, a weekday happy hour and a bottomless bloody mary or mimosa brunch special for $12.

The restaurant is equipped with a halfway retractable, fully-enclosed glass rooftop. Opening the rooftop offers guests the opportunity to enjoy a warm summer breeze while taking in a view of the city that stretches from U Street to the Capitol Building.

“It’s very different from most outdoor patios. Since [the roof] is made of glass you still have the view year round, and the feeling of being outside,” Tabaq’s manager Allison Jabaly said.

Dinner is served until 11 p.m., when the terrace is turned into a dance club.

Grand Central

Grand Central in Adams Morgan is a mecca for summer nightlife. Three levels of bars, booze and bocce ball attract a diverse crowd. Entry is free and guests can enjoy an outdoor patio with an awning, a weekend DJ, a dance floor and even an old-time photo booth.

The Monday to Friday happy hour features later drink specials from 6 to 9 p.m. with $3 draft beers, well drinks and house wine. Sundays from 6 p.m. to close, the bar offers two enticing specials: either any beer and a call shot of your choice for $8, or any beer and any premium shot for $10.

Specials are offered Monday through Wednesday from 9 p.m. to close.

Catering to the sports crowd, there are also drink specials during every major league baseball game, all Buffalo Bills and Sabres events and every Capitols game.

Front Page

Front Page, located in Dupont Circle, has become a perennial favorite for both interns and the downtown after-work crowd. With plenty of dining space, including a patio equipped to seat up to 80 people under bright blue umbrellas, Front Page also offers to host a wide range of summer events.

Weekday happy hour specials are offered Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday happy hour turns the gathering into a fiesta with free tacos, $2 Corona beverages and Miller Lite.

“Sunday Funday” is another once-a-week special, tempting guests with $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon beers and $5 Red Bull vodkas from 4 p.m. to close.

During the week, once the business crowd leaves, music is piped in from the restaurant’s interior or spun by a DJ.

Fusion Grill

Fusion Grill on Capitol Hill welcomes guests through double doors that lead to an intimate curbside patio during the summer, with both traditional and innovative Chinese cuisine.

The restaurant’s every day happy hour is promoted as “the best on 8th Street” and lasts from 4 to 8 p.m. Drink specials include $5 margaritas, mojitos and wine by the glass, as well as $3 beer specials.

For the summer, Fusion Grill is offering a Dim Sum fusion brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dishes featured during brunch include sticky rice cakes, chicken shumai and shrimp ha gao.

With outdoor seating located in the heart of the Eastern Market neighborhood, Fusion Grill’s unique food fits in well with the eclectic mix of restaurants nearby.

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