As you may or may not have been aware of Fairgrounds has replaced the Bullpen and Das Bullpen as the pre-game spot to grab beer around Nationals Park. Fairgrounds has taken over the whole area along half street which makes this place humungous! With this added space the typical beer stands, stage for a band, and corn hole remain as in years past. This year there are also little shops inside the shipping containers surrounding the Fairgrounds selling various clothing and knickknacks. The food trucks made their way to the additional space as well for the opening day game, I hope this will be a recurring event because additional food is always welcome. Now onto the beer.
Boardwalk and I recently took a trip out to the Pacific Northwest with a stop in Seattle. Being a baseball fan, I convinced her to come to a Mariners game with me. So we bought tickets from StubHub, for cheap and we looked forward to trying the different food (garlic fries = heaven) and to see what kind of beers they would have. So how was the beer selection? (more…)
A new season brings new hope that this could be the season where the Nationals (or your favorite team, well, besides the Pirates) break through to the winning side. For the beer lovers out there, the new season brings hope that there will be added “good” beer at the stadium. I was able to find good beer last season, but would these beers still be there? (more…)
I’m really torn here. Part of me wants to behave like Bill Murray in Rushmore who deliberately talks down a woman to his friend so he can go for her himself. I want to write a horrible, scathing review of Justin’s in the hope that no one else ever goes there; I want to keep it all to myself. The other Part of me wants to pull a Jerry McGuire and storm into a room announcing that “you complete me.” I feel like the entire world needs to know how incredible this place is. Justin’s Cafe opened a year ago down in a very revitalized SE. And it’s incredible. I’ve tried over and over again to find one thing even slightly wrong with this bar, and I just can’t.
Justin’s only has 4 beers on draft, but they all meet Pyzocha’s dream of no macro-brews. Racer 5, Lagunitas, and Bell’s Oberon, and GL Eliot Ness are all available. The draft list is complemented with a solid bottle/can collection including two choices from Oskar Blues, Two Hearted, North Coast, Duck Rabbit and more. While it’s not necessarily the most extensive beer list, it’s unbelievably solid and there is something for everyone there.
But hey, there are plenty of bars in DC with a good beer list – what makes Justin’s so good? Staff and ambiance. The staff at Justin’s is unbelievable. Joe, Eric, Liz and the rest of the staff I’ve met have all been unbelievably friendly, helpful and nice. Despite a somewhat bustling bar, Eric took the time to introduce himself to me on only my second beer. Liz found a way for me to somehow order 7 drinks in about 50 minutes. Joe shared a bottle of GL Holy Moses just because he could, and remembers what people are drinking – when they leave the bar and come back 3 hours later.
Justin’s is just that neighborhood bar. It gets a ton of transient ballpark traffic, but also plenty of locals and other beer aficionados that aren’t just there to drink, but to enjoy people’s company. Sitting by yourself at the bar isn’t a lonely experience at all – I’ve talked hops, SE, Wrigley Field, and women with people I’ve sat down near at the bar. Between the staff, the beer, and the atmosphere, Justin has created a place that really feels great to spend time in.
The food is similarly solid. The brunch, wings, and buffalo burger Pyzocha and I have had there have all been really solid, and I haven’t even had their signature brick oven pizza.
The only possible issue is size and crowd. The cafe isn’t huge and before/after games can get pretty packed in, impacting the overall ambiance. Popularity unfortunately has it’s downsides, but I’ll live with them.
A few people have sent this link to me about this new beer dispensing system. It is unusual in that it fills a special cup from the bottom, then the hole is apparently covered and held in place by gravity. They can apparently fill 56 beers in a minute. This is impressive and as much as I am hopeful that this will end beer lines, I don’t believe this will totally end the lines because there’s the whole paying for the beers that takes almost as long as filling a beer. Any improvement is welcome though, so let’s get these into ballparks and arenas ASAP!
UPDATE: According to Ted Leonsis, owner of the Wizards and Capitals, the Verizon Center now has installed this dispenser!
This is the first of a series of posts about beers you can find at the ballpark. As you can see this post is starting with a common beer…Miller Lite. Yes, I shelled out $8 for a 16oz can of ML (well many more than one, but that’s besides the point) but it can hit the spot on a hot evening with its cool refreshing taste. Wait, check that…I am still waiting for any of the hops from the “triple hopped brewing process.” I expect no less from a Miller Lite, but I hope to find better from the ballpark in the future. Strasburg for the win.