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Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars to hit before Washington Nationals games

Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars to hit before Washington Nationals games

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that detailed the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and FIFA World Cup

With summer 2019 right around the corner and baseball in full swing, it's time to highlight the go-to spots to eat and drink around Nationals Park. 

In no particular order, consider these: 

District Winery, 385 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.4 miles to Nats Park 
  • Fully-functioning boutique commercial winery located along the Anacostia River 
  • Tasting bar features five carefully selected wines (bottles to go are available) 
  • Brunch deal through June 30: Enjoy two courses plus a bloody mary, mimosa, or glass of cava for just $29. Select one appetizer and one entree per person

The Salt Line, 79 Potomac Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.2 miles from Nats Park (across from first base entrance) 
  • New England inspired classics and Chesapeake dishes are enjoyed at this seafood house with an accompanying outdoor riverside patio 
  • First D.C. restaurant to particpate in the Dock to Dish program which works directly with local fishermen to highlight the freshest, most sustainable catches 
  • Dog-friendly (patio only)

Agua 301 Restaurant, 301 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.3 miles to Nats Park 
  • Every dish is a celebration of Mexico and all of its traditional cuisines 
  • Extensive margarita bar 

Due South, 301 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.4 miles to Nats Park (block and a half from Navy Yard Metro) 
  • Features ribs, shrimps, grits and other Southern staples 

Mission - Navy Yard, 1221 Van St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 111.5 ft to Nats Park 
  • Lively bar and restaurant, open since 2018, with daily happy hours, Tex-Mex food, weekend brunch and a central bar with weekend DJs 

Declaration Nats Park, 1237 First St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.1 miles to Nats Park (one-half block away) 
  • Primarily pizza-focused bistro that references American history with themed pies, cocktails, and a walk-up bar 
  • Gluten-free crust is available 
  • Menu features pasta, poultry, meat, fish, and vegetarian options 

Bluejacket, 300 Tingey St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.3 miles to Nats Park 
  • Microbrewery and restaurant serving craft beers and American eats inside the comforts of a century-old former factory 
  • Bar and dining room feature rotating selection of 20 Bluejacket beers and five Bluejacket cask ales

Walters Sports Bar, 12n N St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 59.1 ft to Nats Park 
  • Self-pour beer system that charges customers by the ounce 
  • Happy hour is offered weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

All-Purpose Riverfront, 79 Potomac Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.3 miles to Nats Park 
  • Relaxed riverfront restaurant featuring deck over-fired pizza, antipasti, and wine 
  • Local beer and seasonal dishes inspired by the Eastern U.S. and Italian coastlines 
  • Dog-friendly (patio only)

Dacha Navy Yard, 79 Potomac Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.2 miles to Nats Park 
  • Modern American comfort food with a French-leaning menu
  • Outdoor beer garden, overlooking the Anacostia, seats 700
  • Dog-friendly (patio only)

The Brig DC, 1007 8th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.8 miles to Nats Park (18-minute walk) 
  • Year-round tavern featuring liters of German brews and eats like bratwurst and pretzels 
  • Dog-friendly 

The Big Stick, 20 M St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.3 miles to Nats Park 
  • Weekday happy hour (3-7 p.m.): $4 draft beers and rail liquors + $2 off all wines by the glass and all appetizers 
  • Menu focuses on specialty sausages, sandwiches and an extensive craft beer selection 

The Bullpen, 1201 Half St SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.1 miles to Nats Park (one block from center field entrance) 
  • Opens two hours before and closes two hours after each Nationals home game 
  • Gameday happy hour: All drinks $5 from 3rd-7th inning 

Postgame Dessert Options:

Ice Cream Jubilee, 301 Water St SE #105, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.4 miles to Nats Park 
  • Features flavors like Cookies & Cookie Dough, Thai Iced Tea, Banana Bourbon Caramel, Fresh Minty Chip, and Bold Vanilla 

Altani Gelato & Coffee, 2nd Pl SE, Washington, DC 20003

  • 0.4 miles to Nats Park 
  • Shares a space with Wiseguys Pizza 
  • Dairy-free options available 

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Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

Sleep-deprived Nationals win one they probably shouldn’t have in Chicago behind Aníbal Sánchez

The clubhouse wears have never been packed so quickly. Washington was sprinting as a group to get out of Pittsburgh on Thursday night following another three-hour-plus game with a 1:20 p.m. local start looming in Wrigley Field on Friday.

Max Scherzer finished his postgame comments in less than four minutes, then quickly moved to get cleaned up and join the others. Most lockers were vacant by the time media members reached the clubhouse, which wasn’t long after the game ended. 

Despite the scramble for minutes saved, Friday was supposed to be a loss. Las Vegas knew. The players and management knew. It was a bad spot. Night game, onto a plane, then a day game against a team which played at home the previous afternoon, and was 44-19 there -- the second-best home record in the National League. 

And yet, Nationals 9, Cubs 3, and it wasn’t that close.

Some bloops fell, some situations turned out lucky. Though, Aníbal Sánchez dominated. No voodoo or charms were involved.

He went through 8 ⅓ innings before being removed after 112 pitches. He was provided a shot to finish the game -- just 15 National League pitchers have a complete game this season -- but couldn’t. A rare Anthony Rendon throwing error cost him an out, then his opportunity for a solo close to the afternoon in Chicago.

Sánchez threw 31 four-seam fastballs, 31 cutters and 28 “splitters” among his 112 pitches. He worked as a marionettist, pulling strings to change positions and outcomes throughout the day. Matt Grace finished the game. No high-end reliever was used, resetting a bullpen which had to cover five innings in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

The offense beat up Jon Lester. He didn’t make it out of the fifth inning. Everyone in the lineup -- including Sánchez -- picked up a hit. Trea Turner’s single extended his on-base streak to 30 games.

Sánchez’s work piggybacked on what the other starters did against woeful Pittsburgh. Nationals starters have allowed two earned runs in the first five games of this seven-game road trip. The offense has averaged 8.2 runs in that span. It’s hard to fathom they lost once with both sides operating in such fashion.

All of this is just a continuation of a massive turnaround. Washington is 52-26 since its nadir May 24. Only the Dodgers -- who host the Yankees on Friday night -- have a better record in that span, and by just a half-game. They have won 10 of 12 and 13 of 17. Fivethirtyeight.com now gives the Nationals a 90 percent chance to make the postseason (this includes the wild-card game).

Wins like Friday emphatically move that needle. The Cubs are trying to wind their way into the postseason. They were also set up for a clear advantage thanks to the schedule. Instead, Sánchez, throwing as slow as 68 mph and as fast as 91, controlled the day, the offense rolled through the afternoon and everyone was ready for bed after a surprise win.

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Nationals players on the stressful process of choosing a nickname for Players' Weekend

Nationals players on the stressful process of choosing a nickname for Players' Weekend

Zimm, Brown Eye and T3 will all take the field against the Cubs in the annual Players' Weekend series August 23-25.

Some Nationals players got creative when choosing nicknames, and others (yes you, Javy Guerra aka Javy) could use some inspiration. 

Other nicknames just made sense.

Fernando Rodney's nickname, "La Flecha", translates from Spanish to "the arrow". If you had the opportunity to watch the Fernando Rodney experience, you know that he celebrates a save by shooting an imaginary bow and arrow to the sky. 

He described the routine just like pitching: "you know where it is going exactly, you got a good shot."

When asked if he had any other nickname ideas he joked that he thought about using "Plátano Power". A joke dating back to 2017. 

Patrick Corbin is using his Players' Weekend jersey to honor his late friend and Angels pitcher, Tyler Skaggs. His nickname will say "Forty Five", Skaggs' number which Corbin wore days after his death. 

Other nicknames were no brainers, almost decided for the players. 

Wander Suero will go by "The Animal", the nickname given to him in the minor leagues that stuck with him. One of his coaches, Donald Ray "Spin" Williams, would tell him all the time, "you're an animal" because of the way he hustled. It caught on with his teammates and Spin still calls him that. 

Sean Doolittle's nickname was teased for a long time, Obi Sean. His Star Wars-themed bobblehead was a giveaway earlier in the season, featured the relief pitcher as Obi-Wan Kenobi from the popular franchise. The nickname is also his Twitter name though no one calls him that.

Doolittle has changed his nickname for the past three years. "It gives you an opportunity to show a little personality and have some fun with it." He said he can show that he is "a Star Wars nerd." 

These nicknames are chosen in Spring Training, and Doolittle remembers this happening early in the morning. "It's 6 or 7 am and they are walking around the clubhouse with a clipboard asking what you want your players weekend nickname to be at the end of August." He joked, "it's not the most creative time, you're not really awake yet." 

Tanner Rainey was one of those players who may not have been awake yet. When asked if he would answer a few questions about his nickname he laughed and said, "I don't even know my nickname." (For those wondering, it's Rainman).

He said he never really had a nickname but a few guys started calling him Rainman.

"If there's not one I would have went with Rainey on the back of the jersey," he said.

This choice is not because he doesn't like the idea. Rather, he is just focused on baseball during Spring Training.

"Alright that's in late August, this is February," said Rainey. "Let's worry about tomorrow first." 

Doolittle had the perfect way to describe making such an important decision.  "You know-how like the month leading up to Halloween you are like 'I have no idea what I want to dress up as.' You scramble for a costume and you're like 'yeah this works, whatever, at least I dressed up'. That day and the week after it feels like you have all these great ideas and you are like 'aw I should write these down'." 

"So maybe I will do that this year," Doolittle joked. "Maybe I need to start a notes app on my phone."

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