How to Eat and Drink Your Way Through July 4th in DC

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Ciel Social Club. Photograph by Dan Swartz.

Summery food is as vital to the Fourth of July as fireworks. Don’t have the patience to fire up the grill, bake a pie, or lug home a watermelon? Here’s where to find all-day happy hours, takeout feasts, and more.

Food events over the holiday weekend:

Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The National Mall

Food is always a draw at the Smithsonian’s annual cultural heritage festival, and this year, Stevensville, Maryland’s Bark Barbecue Cafe will serve Ozarks-inspired smoked meat and sides from Thursday, June 29 through Tuesday, July 4 (11 AM to 5:30 PM), and again after the holiday. There will also be music, craft demonstrations, and a wide variety of cultural entertainment.

Hank’s Oyster Bar

1624 Q St., NW

The beloved seafood bar’s original Dupont location hosts its monthly Ladies Tea Party event, created as a space for lesbian and queer women, on Sunday from 4 to 6 PM. A $15 ticket buys a drink plus entry into a raffle for gift cards and other goodies. Plus, Hank’s—which also has locations at the Wharf and in Old Town—offers a takeout kit ideal for the holiday: DIY lobster rolls, including enough Maine lobster salad, split-top buns, and coleslaw to assemble two ($60) to four ($120) rolls at home.

Bollywood Freedom at Union District Oyster Bar & Lounge

501 Morse St., NE

High-energy Bollywood hits provide the soundtrack during this DJ set at the Union Market area oyster bar and lounge on Monday, July 3. The party will carry on until the early hours of July 4th. Tickets are $20.

Events, takeout specials, and happy hours on Tuesday, July 4:

Boundary Stone

116 Rhode Island Ave., NW

The Bloomingdale pub will be open for an all-day happy hour from noon to 6 PM. You can ring in the Fourth with $5 draft beers, including DC Brau Corruption IPA, $6 glasses of wine and cocktails, and $1.50 oysters.

Fairmont Washington DC

2401 M St., NW

The West End hotel’s courtyard will host a barbecue in the hours leading up to the fireworks display, from 5 to 8 PM. Expect ribs, burgers, smoked pork shoulder, smoked chicken, and hot dogs, accompanied by sides and followed by apple and cherry pie. Admission $42 for adults and $19 for kids.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

750 15th St., NW

The luxe Miami-born surf-and-turf house will offer its full menu plus an all-day happy hour from 11:30 AM until 6 PM. Oysters on the half shell, classic cocktails, wine by the glass, and draft beer all are offered at half price.

Glover Park Grill

2505 Wisconsin Ave., NW

Independence Day falls in the heart of blue-crab season, and this Glover Park Hotel restaurant is throwing a classic Maryland crab feast at 2:30 PM. The crustaceans will be accompanied with corn, coleslaw, potato salad, beer, and cocktails. Tickets are sold out.

Pizzeria Paradiso

2003 P St., NW; 3282 M St., NW; and Massachusetts Ave., NW

Pick up a take-home pizza kit for two from any of the Neapolitan pizzeria’s three locations between noon and 9 PM. The kits include two small pizzas and two appetizers, and go for $40.

Red Derby

3718 14th St., NW

The Columbia Heights bar with a covered roof deck opens early. Starting at 3 PM, you’ll be able to glimpse neighborhood fireworks and order $3 beers, half-price burgers, and watermelon.

Salamander Hotel

1330 Maryland Ave., SW

The river-facing hotel—formerly the Mandarin Oriental—is hosting a “Backyard Barbecue” from 5 until 8 PM, before the fireworks start. The family-friendly event will include a DJ, grilled steaks and chicken, and an optional open bar. Tickets start at $135 for adults and $65 for kids.

2Fifty Texas BBQ

4700 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park

Grab some of the area’s best barbecue with holiday combos of beef ribs, brisket, pulled pork, and sausages aplusd trays of distinctive Salvadoran-inspired sides like fried plantains and Tajin green beans. The catch: preorders end today, June 29, and pick up is only on the afternoon of July 3.

VFW 3150 July 4th Celebration

2116 19th St., N, Arlington

For an old-school barbecue experience on the 4th, visit this VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) post in Arlington for a pulled-pork-and-sides feast starting at 2 PM. Tickets come with a pay-what-you-wish donation.

Rooftop parties for watching the fireworks:

Buena Vida

2900 Wilson Blvd., Arlington

If you’re looking to watch the fireworks from Virginia, try the rooftop party at this lounge-y Clarendon Mexican restaurant. The festivities, which start at 5 PM, will feature a DJ, $6 margaritas, and $5 Mexican beers.

Ciel Social Club

601 K St., NW

The upscale rooftop lounge at the AC Hotel, near Mount Vernon Square, will host a three-hour party starting at 7 PM. Tickets start at $180, and include hors d’oeuvres, live music, and an open bar.


1309 Fifth St., NE

One of DC’s biggest rooftop venues, the huge astroturfed expanse atop Union Market is celebrating Independence Day with a five-day bash from Friday, June 30th through Tuesday, July 4th. There will be snacks like lobster rolls and hot dogs, plus DJs and lawn games. Reservations for the Fourth—from noon to 11 PM—are available on Resy, but not required.


200 Massachusetts Ave., NW

The glitzy Italian hit—number three on Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list—hosts a rooftop fireworks viewing party in a glass-enclosed space atop its building. Grilled scallops and Mediterranean turbot anchor the three-course dinner menu, which can be booked with wine pairings for $225. Tickets for the party alone, which will feature drinks and dessert, go for $100. Dinner begins at 6, while the party starts at 8:30 PM.

La Vie Penthouse

88 District Sq., SW

A glam Wharf viewing party is planned at this 12th-floor space. General admission tickets start at $49, and the event features cocktails, a DJ, and coastal Mediterranean food for purchase.

Lady Bird

1315 16th St., NW

This rooftop lounge atop the Kimpton Banneker Hotel in Dupont has a clear view of the Washington Monument, and will host a viewing party from 7 to 9 PM. Expect an open bar featuring drinks like sangria and Prosecco and small bites like lobster “corndogs” and blue-crab sliders. Tickets run from $175 for general admission to $750 for a fire pit spot.


1120 Maine Ave., SW

Stop by the fun-loving Wharf Italian spot for an all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet from 6 to 8 PM, then watch the fireworks from its waterfront terrace. Buffet passes go for $125, and you can reserve seating on the terrace for $200, or stand for free.

Top of the Gate

2650 Virginia Ave., NW

The rooftop at the Watergate Hotel, as you’d imagine, commands clear views of the Mall and the Potomac. Its Fourth of July party runs from 7:30 to 10 PM. General admission, which starts at $195, includes access to an open bar. VIP add-ons include reserved seating, food, and magnums of Veuve.

Ike Allen

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