Baseball is back! More importantly for a team projected to be at the bottom of the league, baseball food and beer is back! Here’s what to drink, where to eat and a few suggestions on where to meet up before and after games at Nationals Park.
Before the game
Make sure your phone is charged. Nationals Park is cashless, and you’re going to use your phone for pretty much everything. It’ll be your ticket inside, and if you don’t want to wait in line, how you’ll order food.
Yep, the baseball stadiums will be selling hot dogs. Everywhere. If you want a kosher hot dog, go to the Char Bar in the right field plaza.
Peanuts and Cracker Jacks
Yep, they’ll be for sale.
If you’re not interested in breaking the baseball food mold, the park offers two concession combos. The classic option is a hot dog, chips and bottled water or soda. The other option is two slices of Enzo’s pizza and a bottled water or soda. There are also Grab-and-Go Marketplaces throughout the park. The wait time for standard baseball food has never been shorter at an MLB park. If you want the classics, order ahead on your phone and pick it up without a wait.
For the person who prefers a slightly elevated version of ballpark food, you’re going to want Swizzler (available in sections 106, 130 and 320). The home-grown take on fast food will be serving up 100 percent grass-fed beef burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches and their version of fresh-cut fries. It is slightly better than Shake Shack and definitely the best new addition to Nats Park in 2023. It’s so good it has the potential to dethrone Shake Shack as the best non-hot dog-related ballpark food.
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If you have a sweet tooth, find some South Mountain Creamery in sections 115, 136 and 310, and try their new-for-2023 cherry blossom flavor. It’ll be available all season, long after the cherry blossoms have floated away.
This year will be the best beer year at Nationals Park. In addition to the District Drafts stand, now in its 12th year, the Craft Corner Grab-and-Go Marketplace is copying the very successful program the Capitals and Wizards have been using all season. It’s essentially a liquor store cooler section with an airport-style scanless checkout. And it’s not just beer. This is where you’ll find canned margaritas, Moscow mules, hard seltzers and spiked ice tea in addition to local craft beer, high-ABV IPAs and stuff like Bud Light. The variety is unbelievable if you haven’t been to a game in a decade — long gone are the one- or two-beer beer options. It’s now possible to order multiple beers brewed within five miles of the park. Some current highlights include Red Bear Brewing Company’s Peak Bloom wheat beer, Old Ox Brewery’s Farmhouse Cherry Ale and Solace Brewing Company’s Partly Cloudy New England-style IPA. And Bud Light. It’s hard to beat Bud Light on a hot day at the park.
Related #1: The Nationals are attempting to gamify recycling with the Cycle Reverse Vending Machines. With locations on the Budweiser Terrace and near the Budweiser Brewhouse (want to guess the Nats’ beer sponsor?), fans will be able to recycle their empty bottles, cans and plastic cups for kozies, bottle openers and, for one lucky fan at each game, tickets to future Nats games. It’s a good idea, especially considering that the soccer and football stadium within view of Nationals Parks is garnering a reputation as the home of a beer snake.
Related #2: The Budweiser Brewhouse is open to all, so if you have 300- or 400-level tickets, you may want to find a spot at the Brewhouse and enjoy a much better view.
Outside the park
The Salt Line is ideal for meeting up on the home plate side, and Mission Navy Yard is good for the outfield entrance. Both restaurants/bars are large enough for giant groups to meet up and sufficiently well-staffed to get a beer within a few minutes of arrival.
If you missed lunch, the fast casual RASA is a must-try.
Finally, the oldest bar/meet-up-spot, The Bullpen, is always an option. There’s nothing wrong drinking tall boys surrounded by shipping containers.
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