At long last temperatures are climbing and Washingtonians are welcoming the return spring and water will soon be flowing to the city’s many fountains, as well as al fresco dining. Warm weather also calls for new cooling cocktails and outdoor vistas to accompany the return of summer.
Cuba Libre Restaurant Rum & Bar offers festive, Cuban-inspired dishes crafted by Chef and partner Guillermo Pernot and available on the 64-seat sidewalk café. This spring, the restaurant’s large French windows along its expansive storefront will open, bringing an airy vibrancy to its Cuban courtyard design. New menu additions will complement Cuba Libre's expansive rum menu, including more than 75 premium and flavored varieties that are used to make their signature mojitos and a variety of cocktails, including the new Catamaran Daiquiri, made from a combination of Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum, Licor Beirão, and fresh lime juice, garnished with dried coconut . Sunday through Friday, Cuba Libre also offers Caippy Hour with a small bites menu, and specially priced Caipirinhas from 5-7 p.m.
In Penn Quarter, 701 Restaurant has a 40-seat outdoor patio inviting patrons to linger over a lunch or dinner of modern American fare. Guests can admire the view of the Navy Memorial fountain and the National Archives along Pennsylvania Avenue, while enjoying newly appointed executive chef Benjamin Lambert’s seasonal menu. The restaurant also offers a variety of rose wines by the glass, specialty cocktails, and classic American snack plates during happy hour, Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. Featured libations on their artisanal cocktail list include Rickshaw Blossom, made with Cold River Gin, St Germain, pomegranate molasses, and Prosecco; Palisade, Leopold Bros., peach whiskey, rhubarb bitters, black tea, and lemon; and Tangerine Dream, made with orange granite, Stoli Vanilla, and Prosecco.
Ashok Bajaj’s acclaimed gem Bibiana offers a 20-seat seasonal patio where guests can enjoy chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s authentic Italian fare. Standout summer dishes include Yellowfin Tuna Tartar with a onion-lemon puree, lemon, trout roe, and agrumato; and Setaro Large Rigatoni with cauliflower, chili, pine nuts, golden raisins, anchovy, and pecorino. Cocktails include the Rabarbaro Zucca, made with rhubarb shrub, jasmine-infused gin, and two dashes of bitters; Sbagliato with Campari, sweet vermouth, and Prosecco, garnished with an orange twist; and the Amarognolo with muddled cucumber, Cold River gin, simple syrup, Fernet Branca, lemon juice, Prosecco, and coriander.
The contemporary bistro and wine bar Ardeo + Bardeo serves modern American cuisine prepared by executive chef Matt Kuhn for dinner and Sunday brunch on the 20-seat rooftop patio. New seasonal entrées include Hand Cut Pappardelle and Berkshire Pork Duo. This rooftop haven is the perfect spot for enjoying one of the restaurant’s many wines by the glass or a handcrafted cocktail such as the Bitter Truth with gin, chamomile syrup, Aperol, and splash of grapefruit juice topped with blood orange soda; 50 Shades of Grey, made with earl grey tea, vodka infused with earl grey and sage, earl grey infused simple syrup, orange bitters, rhubarb bitters, and a lemon zest ice cube; and the Carrot Ginger Margarita, made with carrot ginger shrub, agave lime syrup, tequila, and mezcal with a dried carrot sea salt rim
In the Dupont Circle neighborhood, Agora offers a 34-seat sidewalk café serving the lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch service. The restaurant showcases Turkish and Greek small plates that pair well the extensive international wine list, Mediterranean beers, Turkish Raki, and Ouzo. The patio is a sought-out gathering place for workday retreat as the restaurant features a fixed price, three-course lunch menu. Prepared by executive chef Ghassan Jarrouj, the offering invites guests to select from a variety of Turkish and Greek inspired dishes along with a choice of non-alcoholic beverage.
Legal Sea Foods has a 34-seat patio for enjoying fresh seafood and new seasonal cocktails from the Raising the Bar menu. New libations include the Pineapple Mole Margarita with El Jimador Blanco Tequila, Marie Brizard Crème de Cacao, fresh pineapple, lemon, and Xocolatl mole bitters; and the Guava Daiquiri, made with Plantation 3 Star Rum, Malibu, guava, fresh pineapple, and lime.