ABRA Denies Liquor License for Bardo Big River by Nationals Park

[This post has been updated]

Barred in DC has learned that the ABRA Board has denied in full a liquor license for Bardo Big River, the riverfront beer garden across from Nationals Park. The Bardo folks already had started construction and hiring – hoping to start in April or May for the baseball season. Bardo can file a motion for the Board to reconsider (it decides very quickly) and a judicial appeal may follow, but there’s no chance this will be open anytime soon.

A copy of ABRA’s unanimous decision an be found here. In its decision, the Board relied on issues related to noise, parking, pedestrian safety, and egress from Nats games discussed in the February hearing Barred in DC wrote about earlier.Specifically, the board said it was “still not convinced” that

  • Bardo is capable of preventing noise disturbances to nearby residents (who don’t yet exist)
  • the neighborhood has a sufficient parking;
  • Bardo can coexist or be included in the neighborhood’s official traffic plan;
  • encouraging stadium attendees to across Potomac Ave. is safe; and
  • that Bardo can exist without delaying or interfering with people and cars leaving Nats Park after games.

The fact that Bullpen exists a few blocks away was not considered by the Board, since no one ever protested it and as a result it had no findings about it  (“the Bullpen’s appropriateness is deemed presumed as a matter of law”). The importance of not disrupting the Nationals logistics was clearly an important part of the decision, though the parking concerns are to me ridiculous as I wouldn’t expect many people to drive to Bardo specifically.

Where to Watch March Madness in DC – 2016

March Madness is upon us, and it does not get better than Thursday and Friday for the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I’ve highlighted some of the better spots or spots with specials; keep in mind that St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday. The schedule can be found here; if you have a good TV package at home but want to watch multiple games at once at a bar, here’s the approximate # of games going on at once during the afternoon on the weekday (on Saturday, there is only 1 game at a time during the afternoon on CBS, up to 3 games at a time during the evenings)

Thursday & Friday (First Round)

  • 12:15-40p: 1
  • 12:40p-1:30p: 2
  • 1:30p-2:00p: 3
  • 2:00-2:15p: 4
  • 2:15-3:10p: 3
  • 3:10-3:30p: 4
  • 3:30p-4:00p: 3
  • 4:00-4:45p: 4
  • 4:45p-5:10p: 3
  • 5:10p-6:00p:2
  • 6:00p-6:30p: 1

Dupont Circle

  • Public Bar
    • $3 PBR, $4 Yuengling, $4 Bud Light (16oz) and $5 Vodka/Redbull.
  • Buffalo Billiards
    • $4 Dos Equis 16 oz cans & $17 buckets of 5
  • Sign of the Whale
    • $3 Bud Light / $12 Bud Light pitchers / $4 Captain Morgan Bracket Busters
  • Rebellion
    • 50 cent wings / $3 bbq pork rinds
    • $2 Coors Light with certain burgers
  • Lucky Bar, Darlington House, Barcode

U Street / Shaw / Logan Circle

  • Ben’s Next Door
    • Jack Daniel’s drink specials
  • Nellie’s
    • open at 11
  • Prospect DC, Stoneys, Duffy’s

Chinatown / Penn Quarter

  • City Tap House
    • $5 Flying Dog S.O.B. & Numero Uno
  • Penn Social
    • doors open at 11a
    • $3 Bud Lights, $4 Blue Moons, and $5 New Belgium Citradelics
  • Bar Deco

Columbia Heights / Petworth

  • Lou’s City Bar
    • $3.50 Coors Light or Miller Lite bottles / $17 Miller Lite pitcher /$20 buckets of Coors

Capitol Hill/Navy Yard

  • Due South
    • $5 Rails / Due South IPA, Due South Lager, Bold Rock Hard Cider, Abita Amber / house wines / couple apps
  • Willie’s


  • Bottom Line
    • $4 Captain Morgan Cannon Blast shots
  • Blackfinn

Adams Morgan

  • Jack Rose
    • Rooftop Madness
    • $5 pints / $7 punch / $9 whiskey til 9p
    • 1/2 price food specials
  • Ventnor Sports Cafe
    • open early for games
  • Mellow Mushroom 

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in DC – 2016

Young lady doing push-ups randomly at Jack Rose's St. Patrick's Day Celebration in 2013
Young lady doing push-ups randomly at Jack Rose’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration in 2013

Although it’s one of the holidays for amateur drinkers that many loathe, it’s still good fun to go out on St. Paddy’s, particularly when it’s on a Thursday that coincides with the First Day of the NCAA Tournament (bookmark this page for tip times).  To facilitate your day/night out, I’ve compiled a round-up of where to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in DC in 2016, sorted by Irish & non-Irish bars, as well as by neighborhood. Events are on Thursday the 17th unless otherwise specified. 


Dupont Circle
James Hoban’s

  • Irish lunch from 11-3p
  • live music at 3p & 8p
  • specials throughout on booze & food
  • Live music on 16th too

Irish Whiskey

  • Beat The Clock Party Specials: 11a-1p: $2 green beer & $3 Guinness; 1-3p: $3 green beer & $4 Guinness; 3-5p: $5 green beer/Guinness
  • patio party / giveaways / Irish Food / music


  • $5 Guinness til 7p


RiRa Georgetown

  • Kegs & Eggs – 10a-noon
  • Bagpipers / Irish Dancers all day
  • 99.5 Live remote from 2-7p
  • live music
  • Jameson ice luge
  • $5 Guinness imperial pints from 10a-noon
  • events all week, including $5 Guinness on Wednesday

Chinatown/Penn Quarter
Fado Irish Pub

  • 18th annual celebration
  • doors open at 8a
  • $10 cover starts at noon
  • Irish dancers & bagpipers all day
  • live music starts at 2p; again at 8p
  • events all week

Irish Channel

  • Open at 9a
  • Live music starts at 2p
  • live music all day

Capitol Hill/Eastern Market
The Dubliner 

  • Doors open at 8:30a
  • 42 cent Guinness from 8:30a-9a (celebrate 42 years in business)
  • live music starts at 10a
  • Irish food all day
  • house special Dubliner Irish whiskey
  • Events all week

Kelly’s Irish Times

  • no cover
  • live music starts at 11a
  • $5 Miller Lite / $6 Warsteiner

Molly Malone’s

  • Doors open at 9
  • $3 shooters, specials on Guinness and Irish beer

H Street
Star & Shamrock

  • doors open @ 8a
  • HH from 3-7p ($1 off Irish drafts, $5 Jameson, $5 wine)
  • $5 Irish Mules all day
  • live band at 7p
  • Events for March Madness all week from 14th-20th

Kitty O’Shea’s

  • Doors open at 11a
  • new Irish whiskeys, specials on Guinness, Harp, and  $3 Bud Lights

Cleveland Park
Nanny O’Brien’s

  • doors open at 10a
  • live music at 7p

Adams Morgan
The Blaguard

  • open at 10a

Shenanigan’s DC

  • Doors open at 11a
  • Irish beer, whiskey, and food specials
  • fiddlers, jigs, & giveaways
  • 9 day celebration from March 11th-19th

U Street

Duffy’s Irish Pub

    • doors open at 11a
    • $5 cover (1st 300 ppl get shirt)
    • $5 green beer / $2 green jello shots / $6 corned beef sandwiches
    • Irish Dancers early afternoon / Irish pipe and drum corps at 5p / Irish tunes on jukebox
    • $30 VIP tickets available in advance: open beer bar (inc. Guinness) from 11a-2:30p + 1 corned beef sandwich + 1 Duffy’s T-shirt



Sauf Haus

  • Glucklichen St. Patricks Tag party
  • doors open at 4p
  • $2 off all drinks util 7p
  • free Irish Nacho & Potato Cake buffet by Sloppy Mama’s
  • green beer
  • Irish dancers / live music at 8p / green bier stein hoisting contests at 7p/9p
  • contests & free giveaways

Black Rooster Pub

  • 46th annual celebration
  • green beer & Irish whiskey
  • DJ starts at 5p

Sign of the Whale

  • Beat the Clock Specials
  • 11a – noon – $.17 beer
  • noon-1p – $1.17 beer
  • 1p-2p – $2.17 beer
  • 2p-3p – $3.17 beer
  • $5 Guinness / Car Bombs / Irish Whiskey shots all day

Duke’s Grocery

  • Food specials
  • Sly Fox Seamus Irish Red Ale / Jameson Caskmates edition


  • $6 Crown Royale drinks all day

Front Page

  • 4 day party (17th-20th)
  • tent and DJ
  • $3 green beer / $5 Baileys & Jameson / $8 car bombs

McClellan’s Retreat

  • special cocktails

Bar Dupont

  • event 17th-19th
  • Irish flights of whiskey, Irish coffee & specialty drinks (e.g. the St. Kevin, crafted with Glendalough Poitin, OCG Hard Apple Cider and lemon juice.
  • Irish food including Guinness Brownies

The Gryphon

  • HH from 5-7p: 1/2 off raw bar / 1/2 off all drinks
  • all night drink specials: $3 Bud Light / $5 drinks / $7 Guinness & Jameson / $16 Bud Light bucket of 6 / $150 Moet Rose

Salty Dog Tavern

  • 2 for 1 Jameson / $5 Guinness
  • food & drink specials
  • DJ


  • $4 Jameson

U Street/Shaw

Shaw’s Tavern

  • doors open at 3p
  • $3 Jello shots / $4 Miller Lite / $5 Jameson / $6 Guinness / $7 Car Bombs
  • live music 3p-close
  • Irish dancers

The Prospect DC

  • $4 Bud Light / $5 Guinness & Jameson / $7 Car Bombs


  • $5 drink specials (Irish Mules, Jameson, Irish coffee)
  • $5 green chicken wraps


  • doors open at 5p
  • $4 Guinness Tallboys / Jamesons/ Bushmills / Powers
  • $12 special Irish burger

Logan Tavern

  • Irish fare and special cocktails

Compass Rose

  • Hip Hop HH from 6-9p


  • green beer, etc.
  • doors open at 3p

Adams Morgan

Jack Rose

  • March Madness specials on Terrace (1/2 of food, $5 pints / $7 Irish whiskey) till 9p
  • $35 /$45 Irish whiskey flights in 1st floor saloon
  • specialty cocktails in Dram and Grain basement which opens at 7p ($10 Irish-inspired cocktails & $9 Guinness-and-Irish whiskey combos

Town Tavern

  • March Madness HH til 10p ($5 Guinness / $7 carbombs / $12 green pitchers / $6 Burger baskets
  • 10-11p: $10 open bar
  • 10p-close: $5 green beer / $7 Irish whiskey / $8 carbombs

Mintwood Place

  • fiddler starts at 6:30;

Smoke & Barrel

  • small distillery $5 Irish whiskeys from 5-8p
  • Irish menu

The Black Squirrel

  • doors open at 2p
  • food & drink specials

Capitol Hill/Eastern Market/Navy Yard


  • 11:30a-7p – $4 22 oz. drafts of Troeg’s Hopback & Fordham Gypsy

The Bullpen at the Fairgrounds

  • live music (The Pietasters headline) starts at 5p

The Ugly Mug

  • $4 green beer / $5 Smithwicks, Harp & Guinness / $8 boilermakers / $9 Irish car bombs
  • $11 Reubens / $13 Corned Beef and cabbage

Boxcar Tavern

  • $5 Guinness / Jameson
  • $12 Fish & Chips

Union Pub

Columbia Heights/Petworth

The Red Derby

  • $2 Irish whiskey / $4 Guinness special can

Acre 121

  • doors open at 5p
  • live music starts at 9p
  • $5 Irish drafts / specials on Jameson, Caskmates, & Redbreast / $12 Irish whiskey flights
  • Irish food

Petworth Citizen

  • Dan Searing’s Punch and Barrel series in Reading Room from 7p-midnight
  • whiskey flights & classic cocktails

Lou’s City Bar

  • doors open at 11:30a for March Madness
  • $5 Irish drafts / $6 Jameson / $17 green pitchers
  • Irish food

H Street/NoMA

Big Board

  • $9 Straight Outta Dublin Burger
  • $6 Guinness Thurs-Sun


  • $5 Stouts/Irish whiskeys (all weekend long)

Union Social

  • HH from 4-9p
  • $5 green beer / $6 Jameson / $8 Irish Car Bombs / $15 green beer pitcher
  • food specials

Driftwood Kitchen

  • HH 5-8p
  • $5 Guinness & Jameson / $8 Irish car bombs / $3 off Irish whiskey

Chinatown / Penn Quarter

City Tap House

  • $5 Tullamore Dew shots / $5 Sly Fox O’Reilly Irish Stout / $10 Irish beer flights
  • Irish food

Hill Country

  • $4 Murphy tallboys / $5 Red Breast / $7 Boilermakers

Bar Deco

  • $4 Bud Light & Jameson shots / $5 Guinness / $8 Car Bombs
  • Irish lunch & dinner specials

Rocket Bar

  • doors open at 4p
  • $4 Irish Red Ale


The Hamilton

  • live Irish music
  • Jameson Old Fashioned cocktail

P.J. Clarke’s

  • doors open at 11a
  • 1/2 off drafts & oysters after 5p
  • $6 Jameson & Jameson Mules / $5 Flying Dog S.O.B. all day

Georgetown/Glover Park/Foggy Bottom

Mad Fox Taproom

  • St. Patrick’s Day Blarney Bash
  • doors open at 4p
  • HH all night
  • Top 40 DJ
  • two beer releases: St. James Irish Dry Stout & Tori’s Rockstar Irish Red Ale

Martin’s Tavern

  • Bagpipers every 2 hours beginning at noon
  • Irish food and drink specials

Bourbon Steak

  • St. Pappy Day celebration
  • $255 5 1-oz. pours of Pappy

Slate Wine Bar

  • HH all day

Mason Inn

  • doors open a 3p for UVa game


  • $5 Guinness cans

Mr. Smith’s of Georgetown

  • $3.50 Harp Irish Lager / $5 Jameson, Murphy’s Stout & Tullamore dew / $7 Irish Red Head combo (Murphy’s Stout & Fireball)
  • Irish Food

Cleveland Park

St. Arnolds

  • doors open at noon
  • live music in The Abbey starts at noon

Bardo’s Beer Garden Just South of Nationals Park Gets the ABRA Treatment

[This post has been edited since publication.] Bardo Big River (25 Potomac Ave. SE), the second beer garden/brewpub from longtime area brewer Bill Stewart, is planning to open its gates to up to 750 patrons sometime in April or early May. An advertisement for servers and other support staff was posted on Craigslist earlier this week. This open-air seasonal (March through November) spot will be located in a empty lot across Potomac Ave. SE south of Nationals Stadium.   Sporting an 80 foot long bar, no structures aside from stacked shipping containers to store beer and other equipment, a dog park open to the public (no booze allowed), the same “rustic” atmosphere/tables as the much smaller Bladensburg Rd./Trinidad location, Bardo Big River, however, still does not have a liquor license.

Barred in DC has exclusively obtained the transcript of the protest hearing held in front of the ABRA Board on February 10th (you can read the 315 pages here). After a fairly contentious and bumpy hearing (neither the local ANC nor Bill Stewart hired attorneys for the hearing, leading to lots of coaching from the Board), ABRA seems poised to grant the liquor license (it has said it will issue a decision either way by May 10th); a previous concept (Riverfront at the Ballpark) from a different operator that was rejected by ABRA in late 2013. Bardo and the ANC were apparently close at some point on the broad terms of a settlement agreement that would have resolved issues much sooner, but Stewart rejected it because it would limit hours to 11p; instead he wanted the full hours (2a/3a), repeatedly citing neighboring establishments such as Bluejacket and Justin’s Cafe and explaining that he thought it would spread out departures from Nationals games, relieving stress on the Metro system (never mind that Bardo would be the opposite way from the Metro for Nationals fans).

Testimony by witnesses expressing noise, parking, pedestrian safety, and crime concerns included an ABRA investigator, an ANC commissioner, the police, and notably, the VP for Community Engagement for the Nationals. Although the focus on burdening parking was a bit much (can’t expect that many drivers, though the Nats expect to lose 3000+ parking spaces in upcoming years as development eliminates temporary lots), witnesses seemed to express legitimate gripes about safety issues for patrons crossing the road from the ballpark to Bardo and the fact that the open riverfront bar could cause noise issues for neighboring residents.

Stewart repeatedly mentioned the operations of the Bullpen (which will no longer be an option for Nats fans, my “shoddy reporting” was apparently wrong ) to contrast his operation while arguing for longer hours that the Bullpen also had:


The first Bardo was also a topic of discussion, including an interesting statement (see pages 89-90 of transcript) that will surely endear Bardo to its Trinidad neighbors:



In the end, despite some fairly strong testimony against the bar by the ANC’s witnesses, ABRA will seems likely (in my unprofessional opinion) to grant Bardo a liquor license to serve beer and wine, but with significant conditions, including a detailed security plan, minimum staffing levels, and a 11p closing time. If it does open, expect it to be there for some time; the lot will not be developed until and when the South Capitol Bridge is demolished and replaced.