Where to Eat and Drink Near Nationals Park
From lauded Middle Eatern dishes to casual beer and bar snacks, these are the best spots to go before or after a game at the ballpark.
Baseball season is in full swing, and the home team Nationals will be making plenty of appearances in Navy Yard over the next several months. Hot dogs, Curly W pretzels, and ice cold brews are practically a requirement while watching a game at Nationals Park, but the neighborhood around the stadium also offers a tremendous variety of food and drink options, with new openings coming each season. There’s everything from locally brewed beer to acclaimed dining rooms and waterfront seafood waiting to greet hungry and thirsty fans. So when you get tired of the ritualistic ballpark concessions, here are a dozen spots to visit near Nationals Park before or after the first pitch.
Chef Michael Rafidi’s celebration of Middle Eastern flavors earned him a Michelin star earlier this year, cementing Albi’s status as one of the city’s best dining destinations. The selection of shareable dips, spreads, and mezze make it a nice stop for grazing before a game, while the inventive cocktails, using ingredients like za’atar, Lebanese gin, and pomegranate molasses, are worlds above ballpark drinks. For mid-day games, visit the companion Yellow the Cafe for sweet and savory pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and specialty coffees before heading into the ballpark.
Caribbean vibes are strong at Bammy’s, which recently welcomed chef Peter Prime into the fold. Acclaimed for his Trinidadian cooking, Prime now oversees an already beloved menu of jerk chicken and pork belly, goat curry, fried fish, conch fritters, and similar island-inspired favorites. Along with dinner and drinks, the restaurant hosts Saturday brunch parties from noon to 6 pm complete with a live DJ—the perfect way to gear up before the first pitch. Happy hour runs daily from 4 to 6 pm, where Red Stripes go for $5 and you can get an $8 rum and Coke along with food specials.
One of the original Navy Yard hangouts, Bluejacket continues to be a can’t-miss when it comes to pregame craft brews and bar snacks. It’s still a trailblazer among DC’s brewery scene too, churning out a wide variety of brews that span from juicy IPAs to delicate lagers and out-there creations. The food menu here is elevated a notch above typical bar fare, with picks like baked feta dip, a lamb shawarma roll, and spicy Thai mussels.
A reservation here is sure to start or end an evening in the bleachers on an upscale note. Spiced veal hummus, a crispy whole fish, and potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms are among the dishes at chef Haidar Karoum’s globetrotting restaurant. Chloe’s bar seating is also a good bet when available, as draft lines are stocked with selections from Maryland’s Manor Hill brewery.
Part of the Daikaya restaurant group, Hatoba has moved away from its ramen focus and introduced a menu leaning on Hawaiian favorites—think loco moco, kalua pork, and ahi tuna poke. If you’re looking for a quick snack and a drink before gametime, small plates like spam musubi and furikake chex mix are welcome menu additions alongside tropical drinks or a cold Sapporo.
Dacha Beer Garden is a favorite for sunny afternoon hangs, and its sister restaurant in Navy Yard is no exception. Past the sprawling beer garden is Jackie, an American bistro featuring modern takes on classic dishes, like a shishito pesto and Carolina gold rice risotto, brick-pressed chicken with allspice rub, hot fried chicken sandwich, and steak frites with truffle bearnaise. A $10 happy hour runs Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 8 pm with discounted pricing on beer pints, house wines, cocktails, and snacks, perfect for a bite before a Nats game.
Mission Navy Yard
It’s all about location at this local Mexican favorite. Located just across the street from Nationals Park, Mission gets packed during game time with fans sipping beers, sharing pitchers of margaritas (choose between classic or pineapple jalapeño), and grazing on tacos and nachos, and it's also the perfect spot to grab a bite before the game as happy hour runs from 4 to 6 pm daily.
This locally owned fast-casual concept serves up bowls of Indian food loaded with flavor and texture. You can choose from a menu of curated options or build a custom bowl from the many ingredients on hand like turmeric ginger shrimp, tamarind-glazed Brussels sprouts, and mango salsa. Despite being the source of quick and wallet-friendly meals, you can cap your lunch or dinner off with cocktails like the house masala gin and tonic or a mango lassi spiked with local rum from Cotton and Reed.
The Salt Line
While Ryan Zimmerman is no longer taking the field with our beloved Nationals, the restaurant he co-owns, The Salt Line, is still a destination for baseball lovers before or after the game. Crowds gather at this riverside restaurant for fried clam bellies, lobster rolls, and other New England-influenced seafood dishes, and the patio is especially packed with fans decked out in the Curly W come game day.
Northern Virginia’s Solace Brewing Company is a newcomer to the neighborhood, sharing its roster of hoppy ales and easy-drinking lagers with Navy Yard locals and game day patrons. While beer is the main attraction, a menu of burgers, tots, and brats provide another reason to swing by.
What started as a food truck known for its loaded spiral-sliced hot dogs now has a brick-and-mortar kitchen just steps from Nationals Park. These days, the shop is more focused on smash burgers and fried chicken sandwiches. Options like The Stack with house aioli, shallots, arugula, and crisp pickles on a griddled potato bun, and a signature double cheeseburger offer leveled-up takes on ballpark concessions.
The Navy Yard outpost of this local New York-style pizza counter bakes up a wide range of pies, from a traditional margarita to a slightly spicy Indian riff with chicken, paneer, and masala sauce. Whether you split a whole pie between friends or grab a couple of slices to eat on the go, you can’t go wrong. Plus, the Navy Yard location is open late on Friday and Saturday nights, so you can grab a slice before heading home after the game.