DC Restaurants – Who’s Requiring Masks for Now and Where are Masks Optional

If you see this sign or similar signage, you are legally required to mask up

In DC, masks, as of Friday (although Mayor said on Monday it was effective immediately the mayor’s order doesn’t actually go into effect until Friday and the ABRA mask regulations are still in effect til then) are only required (regardless of vaccination status) at homeless shelters, the DC Jail, schools, childcare facilities, in healthcare settings, when required by a workplace or establishment/business, DC government buildings, public transportation, Ride-share, and taxicabs. Those who are not fully vaccinated (full series + 2 weeks) still should wear masks in public, including office buildings, gyms, apartment/condo building common areas, and businesses/other establishments (OK not to wear masks when biking/running/walking/etc. with members of own household; attending small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated friends/family; and visiting indoors with fully vaccinated people from 1 household), though there is no longer any legal mandate aside from the list above.

In the meantime, many people want to patronize restaurants/bars that continue to require masks at least for now (albeit with caveat that you aren’t required to mask when eating or drinking, or just when seated), while others want to eat/drink at places where masks are optional. Note that DC legally requires people to wear a mask when the business requires it, which is a wrinkle most states have not added.

Here’s a running list that I’ll update until it gets too unwieldy. If it’s clear that there’s one list that is shorter than the other list, I’ll only update that list. DM @barredindc or email barredindc@gmail.com if you have something to add or change. Feel free to support the Barred in DC Patreon if you find this useful

Masks Still Required For Patrons (sometimes only indoors)

  • Cotton & Reed
  • McClellan’s Retreat
  • The Royal
  • Lulu’s Wine Garden
  • Anxo
  • Zaytinya (next 5 are José Andrés spots)
  • Jaleo
  • Oyamel
  • barmini
  • China Chilcano
  • Taqueria del Barrio

Masks Optional For Fully Vaccinated Patrons (honor system generally, so don’t take advantage)

  • Walters
  • Flight Wine Bar
  • Pitchers / ALOHO
  • Central
  • Exile’s
  • Trade
  • Number Nine
  • The Dirty Goose
  • Nationals Park
  • Morris
  • Bardo

Where to Sit at the Bar Outdoors in DC

Published: May 16, 2021

Starting Friday May 21st, people will be able to sit and order from bartenders at staffed bars legally for the first time in DC since March 15th of last year. For months, this has been the number one thing people miss about bars during COVID times. However, many people of all statuses will still want to continue (either to enjoy the weather or for COVID-safe reasons) doing outdoor drinking and dining. Inspired by a Twitter request, here’s a list of spots in the District that have outdoor bars where you can sit (and possibly stand) and be served by a bartender. (Places where you can only order but not sit at the bar not included). [See also outdoor bars/beer gardens, and rooftop bars guides-to be updated]

Note: Many of these spots have not yet re-opened fully or will not have open their outdoor bar seating as of May 21st. Places in bold have confirmed outdoor bar seating available. Many others keep their outdoor seating enclosed for much of the year.

  • Navy Yard
    • The Salt Line
    • Bardo River Brewery
    • All Purpose Capitol Riverfront
    • Bluejacket
    • The Brig
    • Top of the Yard
    • Stadium Sports
  • Barracks Row
    • Betsy
    • Tortuga Caribbean Bar & Grill
    • Ophelia’s
  • The Wharf/Other SW
    • TikiTNT
    • Hank’s Oyster Bar at The Wharf
    • La Vie
    • Officina
    • Whiskey Charlie
    • CityBar
    • The Point
    • Island Time Bar & Grill
    • H Street/NoMa/Union Market/Brookland
    • Biergarten Haus
    • H Street Country Club
    • Dirty Water
    • Indigo
    • Laos in Town
    • Brookland’s Finest
  • Georgetown/Glover Park/Foggy Bottom
    • El Centro D.F.
    • Nick’s Riverside Grill
    • Sequoia
    • Tony & Joe’s
    • The Graham Georgetown Rooftop
    • HIve Rooftop
    • Top of the Gate (Watergate)
    • Tonic at Quigley’s
  • U Street/Logan Circle
    • El Rey
    • Lulu’s Wine Garden
    • Red Light
    • DC9
    • Cortez
    • Dirty Goose
    • Local 16
    • The Brixton
    • Lost Society
    • Hawthorne
    • Nellie’s
    • Wet Dog Tavern
    • Colada Shop (mobile bar sometimes upstairs, other times outdoor counter seating)
  • Shaw
    • Roy Boys
    • Calico
    • Dacha Beer Garden
    • El Techo
    • 801
    • Ivy & Coney
    • The Delegate
    • Flash
    • Uproar
    • Cambria Hotel Shaw
  • Adams Morgan/Cleveland Park
    • The Imperial
    • Jack Rose
    • Madam’s Organ
    • Roofers Union
    • Perry’s
    • Cleveland Park Bar & Grill
    • Dupont Circle
    • Lauriol Plaza
    • Sauf Haus
    • Ozio
    • Decades
    • Public Bar Live
  • Columbia Heights/Petworth/Park View/16th St Heights
    • Lou’s City Bar
    • Lyman’s Tavern
    • Homestead/Drift
    • Moreland’s Tavern
    • Red Derby
    • Little Coco’s
  • Penn Quarter/Chinatown/Downtown
    • Dirty Habit
    • Bar Deco
    • Summit the Rooftop at Conrad
    • Cloak Room
    • The Ellipse Rooftop Bar (Hyatt Place WH)
    • POV (W Washington)
    • Eden
    • Dauphine’s

Other Spots Open Air Due to Open Windows But Seated Bar is Not Outdoors: Pearl Dive, Dock FC, Midlands, Takoda

The DC Wedding Reception Dancing Ban – Explained

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

Here’s an explainer/timeline about DC’s dancing ban at weddings, which has gotten a ton of chatter lately, as I outline the legal rules for the various settings where weddings would be allowed. As you’ll see the dancing ban isn’t really a new ban, but there are still disparities between restaurants and event venues, particularly outdoors.

Weddings in Homes, Backyards, Home Patios, Apt/Condo Building Roof Decks, Etc.

  • Outdoors
    • 10 people max: March 24-June 19, 2020
    • 50 people max: June 19-November 25, 2020
    • 25 people max: November 25, 2020 – March 17, 2021
    • 50 people max: March 17, 2021 – present
  • Indoors
    • 10 people max: March 24-June 19, 2020
    • 50 people max: June 19, 2020 – November 25, 2020
    • 10 people max: November 25, 2020 – present

Dancing has never been banned, and still is not banned in homes, backyards, etc. Standing allowed.

Weddings in Restaurants, Wineries, Breweries

  • Outdoors
    • Not allowed: March 15-May 29, 2020
    • No apparent max: May 29, 2020- present
  • Indoors
    • Not allowed: March 15-June 19, 2020
    • 50% capacity: June 19-December 14, 2020
    • 25% capacity (250 person capacity started December 19, 2020): December 14, 2020 -December 23, 2020
    • Not allowed: December 23, 2020-January 22, 2020
    • 25% Capacity/250 person: January 22, 2020 – current

Dancing has been banned for weddings in restaurants, wineries, breweries etc the whole time during the pandemic. As of May 1, 10 person tables allowed. All required to be seated in socially distant tables. This is not a new rule. Standing not allowed though ABRA has indicated that people can switch tables so long as they don’t take food/drink from one table to the next and/or stand with the food/drink

Weddings in Hotel Ballrooms, Conference Centers, Wedding Venues, Event Centers and other Multipurpose Facilities

  • Outdoors
    • Apparently not allowed until May 1, 2021
    • 25% capacity/250 people max: May 1, 2021-present
  • Indoors
    • Apparently not allowed until May 1, 2021
    • 25% capacity/250 people max: May 1, 2021-present

The fact that weddings were going to be allowed on May 1st was announced on April 5, 2021; but there no mention about dancing/standing, so many assumed there would be no such restrictions. However, the April 26, 2021 order said dancing banned. All required to be seated in socially distant tables. Standing not allowed. Groups of only 6 to a table. All seats must be pre-assigned/reserved prior to an event. Seating assignment charts must be saved for 30 days and must be made available to DC Health within 24 hours upon request. Waiver can be sought for bigger events. See specific rules here

Why Has Dancing Been Banned?

It appears that weddings and other events are now allowed but basically on the same terms that restaurants and bars are allowed to be open. Fox5 story gives DC’s explanation for dancing ban for restaurants as well as weddings/bigger events:

FOX 5 contacted the Mayor’s Office about the no dancing and standing ban at weddings. A spokeswoman said they have it in place as an extra layer of safety to reduce the spread of COVID-19 because when people stand and dance their behavior changes. For example, people are more likely to get close and touch each other. They did not respond to our request for an interview or further information about why the District feels the need to have that in place when neighboring states do not.


Will this Be Enforced?

To the extent that any of these venues have liquor licenses, I would expect the venues to have staff to enforce this. ABRA pre-pandemic fined spots for having dance floors when not authorized, and during pandemic places with dancing and entertainment have been fined repeatedly. Venues don’t want to lose the ability to host these large events going forward.

Other Places that Ban Dancing at Weddings.

Illinois and Michigan similarly ban dance floors at weddings, though there does not appear to be bans on standing.

New Jersey is lifting its ban on dancing at private events such as weddings this week.

Beginning in March, New York state allowed bigger weddings but required COVID-tests/vaccinations for all attendees, and created 36 square foot dance zones (6 feet away from others) which allowed people to dance at their own table with people at their table, but no others. Unlike in DC, ceremonial first dances were allowed with family members. However, NY removed these requirements this week.

Potential Alternatives

I expect this guidance to be adjusted throughout the month and summer; people with weddings scheduled in July/August should realize that the rules will look very different then. Given DC’s stance on standing/dancing in the restaurant realm, I doubt a full-on dance floor will be permitted this month. But I think they should consider soon allowing the dance pods that NY state had and loosening restrictions for private parties were full vaccination is confirmed for all eligible, and negatives tests for everyone else ineligible, particularly if the wedding is of a certain size. For example, smaller weddings have less risk; so a wedding of 50 or less that would be allowed to have dancing at someone’s home should still be allowed to have dancing at a facility.

In addition, it doesn’t make sense to treat event venues differently than restaurants, including restricting tables to 6 instead of 10, and most significantly, restricting outdoor events to 25%/250 people (though order was poorly worded on this front) when there’s no such outdoor capacity for restaurants. It’s as if DC didn’t realize it’s rules never prohibited restaurants from having socially distant weddings since last May.

After 24 Hours, DC Backtracks on Removing Indoor Mask Mandate for Fully Vaccinated

As first reported by Barred in DC (Patreon here), Mayor Bowser quietly issued a new mask mandate order on Friday (PDF was saved at 5:44pm and posted sometime later), removing nearly all mask mandates-including indoors-for fully vaccinated (2 weeks following final shot in series) DC residents, visitors, and workers. However, a backlash ensued due to the abrupt guidance following when I broke the news, and the order was revised to clarify issues, and reissued around 7p tonight (first reported by Washington City Paper). The new order essentially still eliminates the mask mandate for fully vaccinated persons outdoors, but no longer does the order lift the mask mandate for fully vaccinated indoors. Instead, the order just refers to DC Health guidance that exists and will be forthcoming.

The public link was taken down from the coronavirus.dc.gov (though the link above still works)

This new order significantly loosens mask requirements as compared to the DC Health mask guidance that was revised due to CDC’s new mask guidance of earlier this week. This mask order makes sense in some areas but there are more questions raised than answers, and many problematic (potentially disastrous) aspects with respect to indoor masking. (The order seems similar to the rule the Florida Surgeon General issued on Thursday)

Specifically, the new order issued Saturday contains the following mask rules:

Fully vaccinated people (unless exhibiting COVID symptoms or have COVID) are not required to wear a mask when

  • Gathering indoors with a small group of fully vaccinated people in a private setting as specified in DC Health guidance
  • Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from one household (unless those people are or live with high-risk people)
  • Gathering or conducting activities outdoors (walking, running, biking) with members of their household except in crowded settings or venues
  • Attending small, outdoor gatherings of friends and family except in crowded settings or venues
  • Visiting outdoors with small gathering of vaccinated & unvaccinated persons that are not people you usually socialize with
  • Passing through a common area of apartments/condos/co-ops for a fleeting time
  • Inside a business, office building or other establishment open to members of the public unless establishment has more stringent rules

Fully vaccinated people must wear a mask when

  • Gathering or conducting activities outdoors in crowded settings or venues
  • Driving or riding taxi/rideshare/public transit
  • DC Health Guidance says so indoors

People who are not fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask when

  • Leaving residence when not likely to come into contact with another person, such as not being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time including when visiting outdoors with small gathering of vaccinated persons

People who are not fully vaccinated must wear a mask when

  • Leaving residence when likely to come into contact with another person-such as being within six feet of another person
  • Driving or riding taxi/rideshare/public transit
  • DC Health Guidance says so indoors

All people are not required to wear a mask when

  • A resident or guest in private home/apartment
  • Actually eating, drinking, or legally smoking
  • Engaging in vigorous outdoor exercise and maintaining social distance of at least 6 feet from others
  • In water in swimming pool
  • In enclosed private office
  • Unable to do to medical condition/disability
  • 0-2 years old
  • giving a speech if no ones is within 6 feet
  • deaf/hard of hearing person needs to read lips of speaker
  • equipment required for job precludes mask
  • Asked for legal facial recognition
  • Services that require access to face, mouth, or head, including without limitation, dental care, shaving, and facial treatment

The order also explicitly acknowledges that establishments can decide to admit, register, or employ only fully vaccinated people only (i.e., vaccine passport). It says that (which is based on Federal law) must provide exceptions for those medically unable to be vaccinated…and religious accommodations to those who forbid them from being vaccinated. But those people still have to be masked. The order mentions that businesses can donate or provide incentives to fully vaccinated people.

My thoughts on Friday’s Order

This is not about Saturday’s order.

Good

  • DC essentially adopted the CDC’s mask guidance for fully vaccinated persons outdoors by removing most restrictions for outdoor activities.
  • Providing some guidance on rules for requiring vaccinations for entry to a business or employment
  • Possibly creating some incentives for vaccinations, in theory

Bad

  • Going completely against CDC guidance which says “Take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask(because the vaccination status of others is unknown) by lifting requirements for masking indoors for fully vaccinated
    • Putting onus, without any proper guidance or development regarding vaccine passports/verification, on businesses to verify vaccination status. THis will be be a nightmare. Businesses will likely keep the status quo to avoid doing this, but then will no longer have the government default rule which will undoubtedly cause issues with customers
  • People who are not fully vaccinated will be able to not mask up and spread the virus to others vulnerable because there’s no way to tell who’s vaccinated or not
  • Not explicitly allowing unvaccinated persons in one household to not mask up when gathering with vaccinated people as explicit in CDC guidance
  • No relation to boosting economy if that was intention-Instead of increasing capacity, hours, providing bar seating, appearing to eliminate indoor mask mandates seems to skip a lot of steps that are less risky and cause less potential for bad encounters with staff and employees.
  • Given DC’s very cautious nature during reopening particularly since November 2020, this is a total 180 which will cause immediate anxiety to people and businesses without any warning.
  • This was quietly released on the DC website without any fanfare, press release, or tweet, without any explanation, just 2 days after DC Health published guidance (which was referred to by the Mayor in a press release) which was significantly more narrow. Businesses and people don’t know what to do. ABRA regulations and other DC Health guidance on masks are still on the website. Are there mask rules at outdoor restaurants? What about indoor restaurants?

I hope the Mayor and DC Health modify this order ASAP. [They did]

I asked Neil Sehgal, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at University of Maryland his thoughts. This is what he had to say via Twitter:

This feels counterproductive for two reasons: 1) the burden for enforcement (or verification of vaccination) falls on businesses, creating an adversarial relationship with customers at a time when they them most, and 20 today only 1 in 3 DC residents is fully vaccinated. I understand the want to return to a sense of normalcy, certainly. And, I am sympathetic to arguments that the CDC guidance is too restrictive for vaccinated persons. But, some of the 2/3 of DC residents who get vaccinated today won’t reach full immunity until the middle of June. Exposing unvaccinated residents to additional risk, especially given the inequities in vaccine distribution we’ve seen in DC, seems unnecessary. Even if relaxing indoor-mandates for the vaccinated is consistent with science, it isn’t consistent with where we are right now in DC.

Zeynep Tufekci also weighed in saying, “I agree. I think indoor mandates should be more blanket because selective enforcement is difficult and unwise, but that should be made clearer so that it’s understood why that’s not about vaccine efficacy.” She linked to her The Atlantic piece where this is discussed.

Here’s CDC’s guidance to show where this succeeds and fails

DC Revises Mask Rules Following CDC Guidance. What’s Required Now?

Image by Mr.TinDC licensed under Creative Commons.

THIS POST HAS BEEN REVISED.-Mayor Bowser’s office issued a mask order which it then revised. Read more here.

DC updated its mask rules (essentially amending the mayor’s order which is contemplated by the order itself) this week following CDC’s new guidance. The most significant change from the previous guidance was eliminating the requirement that residents, workers, and visitors “must wear a cloth face covering or mask when outdoors and coming into contact with another person outside of your household, such as being within six (6) feet.” Although some states like Maryland (though not Montgomery County) responded to the CDC guidance to remove outdoor mask mandates except for large events, including on outdoor dining, because it’s difficult to know vaccination status of everyone, it appears DC used the same rationale (it’s difficult to know vaccination status of everyone – less than 1/3 are fully vaccinated) to keep the rest of the outdoor mandate.

Still, because the rules that now exist are a patchwork of the original mayor’s order, the new DC Health guidance (sometimes couched as a requirement, sometimes couched more as guidance/recommendation) on masks and fully vaccinated people; and the other DC Health guidance, I thought it would be helpful to put this in a bulleted list. Italics refer to something not explicit in guidance but I feel is a logical extension.

Not Required to Wear a Mask

  • Actively eating, drinking or legally smoking
  • Vigorous outside exercise socially distant
    • Likely redundant
  • Walking (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • Running (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • Biking (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • Roller-skating/rollerblading (solo or w/ household) if fully vaccinated
  • If not fully vaccinated, when leaving residence when not likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within 6 feet of another person
  • In the water at a pool
  • In a work shower or any authorized locker room
  • In enclosed private office
  • Giving speech (no one within 6 feet)
  • Speaking/translation for deaf/hard of hearing
  • If equipment for a job precludes wearing of mask
  • Performers at restaurants/entertainment venues if mask hinders performance (e.g., singer or instrument played through mouth
  • Visiting an uncrowded park or playground with members of household

If you’re Not fully Vaccinated (NOTE: not recommended if you’re high risk)

  • Small, casual outdoor gathering w/ family/friends if everyone who is not fully vaccinated is from your household

If you’re fully vaccinated

  • Small casual outdoor gathering w/ family/friends (including people you don’t normally socalize with)
  • Small casual indoor gathering in private setting (unless higher risk unvaccinated people present or unvaccinated people from multiple households

Required to Wear Mask

  • Inside establishments open to members of public such as
    • Businesses (restaurants, stores, grocery stores, farmers markets, hotels, barbershops, salons, spas)
    • Office buildings
    • Places of worship
    • Gyms
    • Museums, libraries
    • Movie theaters, including during the movie
      • Except for limited purpose and time of period necessary to consume food and beverages
  • In common areas of apartments/condos/co-op
  • Riding in
    • Taxi
    • Ride-share
    • Public transportation
  • Schools, school busses, and in any school-related activities
  • Construction site workers and visitors
  • Performers at restaurants/entertainment venues unless mask hinders performance (singer or instrument played through mouth)
  • Restaurant staff while working (indoor or outdoor)
  • Restaurant patrons while not eating or drinking (indoor or outdoor)
    • While ordering food
    • Prior to being served
    • After completion of meal (New in ABRA regulation: when tables have been cleared but before leaving)
    • When waiting in line outside of establishment
    • When traveling to use restroom              
  • Common area of pools, including pool decks
  • If not excepted above (unclear what this encompasses)
    • When attending a small, outdoor gathering with people outside your household when you’re not the only non-fully vaccinated person
    • Visits to a crowded park or playground
    • Mass gatherings
      • Organized Public events
      • Neighborhood gatherings
      • Festivals
      • Weddings
      • Sporting events as fans

Note: The Biden administration’s executive order for masking on Federal property is still in effect. As a result, on National Park Service land (National Mall, all the Circles, and many of DC’s parks), masks are required outdoors when “physical distancing cannot be maintained, including narrow or busy trails, overlooks, and historic homes.”

arguably not Required to Wear Mask

These areas seem like could be argued a mask not required, but not 100% clear

  • Walking, running, biking, rollerblading, visiting an uncrowded park/playground with a small group of friends/family when fully vaccinated
  • Walking, running, biking, roller-skating, visiting an uncrowded park/playground with a small group of friends/family when the only non-fully vaccinated people are from your household

Crowdsourced Best Outdoor DC Brunch Spots

DC Harvest Brunch (courtes

A follower wanted to know where to brunch outdoors now that she’s been fully vaccinated. I crowd-sourced via Twitter, the following list:

Mentioned Multiple Times

  • Primrose (Brookland)
    • 11a-2p Sat-Sun
    • reserve on Resy
    • Entrees $15-19 mostly
  • Bar Charley (Dupont)
    • 10a-3p Sat-Sun
    • reserve on Resy
    • Entrees $12-16 mostly
    • Bottomless option: Entrée + bottomless drinks: $31.95 (mimosas & Gansett tallboys), $40.95 (flavored mimosas, bloody mary’s, and draft beer)
  • Little Coco’s (Columbia Heights/16th Street Heights)
    • 11:30a-3p Sat-Sun
    • reserve on Resy
    • Entrees $13-18 mostly
    • Bottomless option: $25.95 Entrée + bottomless mimosas and Gansett lager. Or $15 add-on to pizza/pasta.
    • 2 hr limit
  • Ambar (Barracks Row)
    • 9:30a-3:30p Sat-Sun
    • reserve on OpenTable
    • Bottomless Ambar Experience: $39 anything on brunch menu + bottomless drinks (mimosas including flavored ones & bloody marys)
    • 2 hr limit for brunch
  • Mercy Me (West End)
    • 11a-2:30p Sat-Sun
    • reserve on Resy
    • Entrees mostly $14-18
  • DC Harvest (H Street)
    • 11a-5p Fri-Sun
    • reserve on Tock
    • Entrees $16-21 mostly
    • $25 bottomless mimosas or $28 bottomless bloody mary’s available at all times
    • 2 hour limit for brunch

Mentioned At Least Once

  • Zaytinya, Salt Line, Mintwood Place, Barrel, Jackie, Belga Cae, Shaw’s Tavern, Duke’s Grocery, Mission Dupont, Lulu’s Winegarden, Compass Rose, Beuchert’s/Fight Club, Stable, Le Diplomate, Unconventional Diner, Slash Run

Granville Moore’s Reopens as a Belgian Tavern Thursday April 29th

Granville Moore’s was one of the last spots I went before the pandemic. This is from March 4, 2020

Granville Moore’s, the great Belgian H Street tavern, reopens for dine-in service on Thursday April 29th for the first time since mid March 2020. Since last May, because of limited seating and most importantly the fact that its popular mussels aren’t suited for takeout, the spot has served Italian-American dishes to go as Granville Moore’s Pasta Place. In fact, the owners announced that it would likely have to permanently close in September. Instead, a slimmed-down Belgian menu (with all the favorites) will return by the end of the month, starting Thurs-Sun 5-9p; you can reserve via Resy.

I reached out to Granville Moore’s owners (is this reporting?) who said that the success and positive feedback of the popular monthly mussels nights at the neighboring The Queen Vic (which they also own) coupled with the increasing numbers of fully vaccinated people being more open to indoor dining, convinced them that re-opening could be viable despite limited capacity. The beer list is being re-built right now and will have “some fun stuff” by re-opening. They were concerned about staffing but sounds like familiar faces will be returning to serve. There was no outdoor space pre-pandemic at GM’s but they are actively looking for an outdoor dining space nearby, but still TBD.

DC Denies Church’s Request for Fully Vaccinated Seating With No Social Distancing Because Not Consistent with CDC Guidance

Excerpt from DC HSEMA Waiver Decision

Capitol Hill Baptist Church (6th and A NE), which successfully sued DC government last fall to permit increased capacity for outdoor services, had its waiver request to allow a “COVID-19 Immune section” seating fully vaccinated people at 100% capacity with zero social distancing denied by DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA). DC denied the request on Wednesday, April 14th because CDC’s most updated recommendations for fully vaccinated people currently allows them to congregate with others fully vaccinated (and a household that contains unvaccinated people at low risk) without masks and social distancing indoors, but only in a home or in a private setting, not public settings. The Southern Baptist-affiliated church (incorrectly) appears to have interpreted CDC’s recommendations to allow to “gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask” in all settings (although the letter does not say whether masks would have been required in the COVID-19 Immune section). The section would have been in the church’s West Hall, allowing 328 churchgoers.

Barred in DC believes, if granted, this would have been the first use of the so-called “Vaccine Passport” in DC. Note that in NY proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test has been frequently used for admittance for fans to sporting events, but seating is still socially distant and masks are required.

DC did grant the church’s waiver request to allow 500 people indoors (110 outside) in 7 different sections for their “Non-Immune Seating” with social distancing (at least 35% capacity, but possibly 45%). This is higher than the Mayor’s order which limits capacity to 25% or 250 persons, whatever is lower.

In October 2020, the church was granted a preliminary injunction from a Federal judge to allow it hold outdoor socially distant services with no capacity limits; DC had limited outdoor gatherings to 100 people. In late November, DC lifted the cap on outdoor service.

Best DC Restaurants/Bars to Eat and Drink Outdoors Right Now

The Brig – February 2021 (picture by author)

Although bars and restaurants have been allowed to serve patrons onsite outdoors since May 29th of last year, many DC residents have shied away from going more than a handful of times (or at all), even outdoors. But now as people get vaccinated, expect the visits to increase. Still, given the pandemic is still not over, people will want to check out outdoor spots which are trying their best to keep people safe and/or have the space that make you feel more comfortable.

Based entirely on crowdsourcing and other research of PoPville comments/replies to other Twitter posts, here’s a partial list of spots people felt were worth visiting. Feel free to leave comments below of spots you feel are doing great personally (or @ on Twitter). If you appreciate content like this, please feel free to join the absolutely-zero-benefits Patreon.

**Contactless (QR code, GoTab) ordering and usually payment to reduce contact with servers for safety reasons

Mentioned Multiple Times

Capitol Hill/Eastern Market/Navy Yard/The Wharf

  • The Roost/Shelter (large wraparound patio)**
  • Trusty’s (small sidewalk cafe, 2nd floor deck is sheltered)
  • The Brig (large beer garden, new streatery)**
  • Atlas Brew Works Navy Yard (large beer garden along relatively slow traffic street, sometimes pedestrianized)
  • Cantina Bambina (outdoor open air waterfront bar)
  • The Salt Line (big outdoor space near water)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Pearl Street Warehouse, Lupo Marino, Walter’s, Bardo, Little Pearl, Rose’s Luxury, Albi, Dacha Navy Yard, Duffy’s, All Purpose Capitol Riverfront, Duck and Peach**, Fight Club**

Petworth/Park View/Columbia Heights/Mt Pleasant/Brightwood Park

  • The Midlands (large beer garden)
  • Saint Vincent (large wine backyard garden)**
  • Jackie Lee’s (sidewalk cafe)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Wonderland Ballroom, Queen’s English, Makan, Purple Patch, Hook Hall

Shaw/U Street/Bloomingdale

  • All Souls (big side patio)
  • Lulu’s Winegarden (great streatery, front patio, and bucolic back patio)**
  • Calico (huge bi-level patio)**
  • Compass Rose (gorgeous streatery)
  • Le Diplomate (great single party stalls in streatery)
  • Ivy and Coney (outdoor roof deck. limited seating, walls)
  • Electric Cool-Aid (frozen drink and canned beer garden)
  • The Royal (streatery)**
  • Tiger Fork (streatery)**
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Pearl Dive,** Pub and the People, Bresca, Dacha Beer Garden, Rebel Taco**, Estadio**

Dupont/Adams Morgan/West End/Penn Quarter/Georgetown

  • Iron Gate (gorgeous interior courtyard patio)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Rasika West End, Annabelle, Lapis, Himalayan Heritage, The Green Zone, Tail Up Goat, Chez Billy Sud, Zaytinya, Jaleo, Oyamel, Penn Quarter Sports Tavern, Across the Pond

NoMa/Union Market area/Ivy City/Brookland

  • Other Half Brewing (lots of outdoor space)
  • Red Bear Brewing (multiple outdoor patios)
  • St. Anselm (single party stalls in streatery)
  • Dew Drop Inn (outdoor deck and lots of seating in lane set below street)
  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Right Proper Brookland, Primrose, Atlas Brew Works Ivy City, Brookland’s Finest, Wundergarten

Georgetown/Glover Park/Tenleytown/Cathedral Commons

  • Others Mentioned Once
    • Chez Billy Sud, La Piquette, Surfside, Guapo’s Tenleytown

Where to Watch March Madness in DC – 2021

Fake logo

March Madness 2021 (aka the NCAA Men’s Basketball Division 1 tournament) is upon us, after a sad cancellation last year, this time in a strange way befitting this time. All 67 games are in Indianapolis or nearby and the first wall-to-wall 32 game first round is Friday and Saturday (pushed back a day), with second round Sunday and Monday.  See TV schedule and bracket here.

To help you figure out where to watch, I’m focusing on DC-proper spots that will be open by noon on Friday (some 11a or 11:30a), plus have at least 3 outside TVs and/or have at least 4 TVs (otherwise what’s the point). Let me know if you have any additional suggestions. Unfortunately DC’s alcohol 10p curfew isn’t extended back to midnight Monday so many spots won’t be able to show all games for first round. My goto DC March Madness (basement feels Vegas-ish vaguely) spot Penn Social is sadly not open)

At Least 3 Outdoor TVs

  • The Brig (Barracks Row)
  • The Admiral (Dupont) (not confirmed open noon Friday)
  • The Midlands (Park VIew)
  • Lou’s City (Columbia Heights)
  • Ivy and Coney (Shaw; reservation only)
  • Cleveland Park Sports Bar & Grill
  • Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
  • Public Bar (Dupont)
  • Walter’s (Navy Yard)
  • Dirty Water (H Street)
    • $28 Bud Light Mega buckets (8 16 oz alum bottles), $24 Cisco Pitchers, $24 Bud light Seltzer Buckets (5 12 oz cans), $24 mixed drink pitchers. Mandatory bucket or pitcher purchase per table per hour

Other Spots (many have some outdoor space/TVs)

  • The Roost (Cap Hill-if you get a good outdoor space you can see several indoor TVs)
    • Roost Madness. order 16 specific dishes during tourney get $20 credit. 1 winner gets $100 credit
  • The Game (Adams Morgan)
  • Dock FC (Ivy City; open garage doors)
  • Across the Pond (Dupont)
    • $1 wings / $3 sliders / $5 apps / beer specials
  • The Bottom Line (Downtown)
  • Stadium Sports (Navy Yard)
  • Buffalo Wild Wings (Navy Yard)
  • The Big Stick (Navy Yard)
  • Proper 21 (downtown)
  • Proper 21 K Street (West End)
  • Stoney’s (Logan Circle)
  • Church Hall (Georgetown)
    • $8 Liters of Narragansett / $10 liters of Church Hall IPA / $6 ultimate nachos
  • Franklin Hall (U Street)
  • Trusty’s (Cap Hill)