Since January, 2003
 (a random before-and-after moment)
April 2, 2006
March 29, 2015
South Capitol at P, Looking Northeast (see more)

The Bullpen, the outdoor bar and festivities spot that has operated just across the street from Nationals Park during stadium events since 2009, is making plans to open a "Beer Garden" at the northern end of their current block, at Half and M streets, SE, facing the western entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. (See my high-quality graphic at right.) With 79 picnic tables holding eight people each, it would have a seating capacity of 632 people, and would offer draft German beers (and perhaps other European beers) along with German sausages, kielbasa, and other light (ahem) fare.
"Das Bullpen" [copyright JD] is being envisioned as having a very different atmosphere from the current Bullpen, with the beer garden not having game areas with lots of kids running around. There would be no amplified music, and it would operate during the same hours as Bullpen 1.0 (which will be remaining open this year as well). It would have its own entrance, right across from the Metro station's entrance, and would be fenced in and partially covered/tented in the same way as the existing Bullpen.
At an ANC 6D ABC subcommittee meeting tonight, a Bullpen rep explained that Akridge, the owners of the entire block bounded by M, N, Half, and Van, has informed the Bullpen owners of plans to begin construction perhaps as early as October of this year on the southern end of the block, where Bullpen 1.0 is located. (There seems to have been some sort of "hint" that if the Bullpen wants to have a shot at a permanent home in the new ground-floor retail spaces that will be available when the block is completed, they need to expand to this additional area this year.) If Akridge's plans are unchanged from what went through the zoning process a few years ago, the southern end of the block would be a 300-unit residential building with ground-floor retail. You can see renderings on my Akridge Half Street page.
As you can see on my cruddy map, there will still be substantial parking available between the two locations. (For old-timers, this new site is where WMATA's old Southeastern Bus Garage entrance was located.)
The Bullpen's lawyers are trying to determine whether this constitutes an expansion of the current operation, to allow Das Bullpen to open under their existing liquor license, or whether a new license (and then a new voluntary agreement with the ANC) will be needed. More to come, I'm sure.
UPDATE: And it should be noted that this is a completely separate venture from the Bavarian Beer Garden plans at 8th and L, SE. Beer gardens to the left! Beer gardens to the right!
UPDATE II: To clear up any confusion, they are intending to have Das Bullpen open this spring, with Bullpen 1.0 open as well through the end of the 2011 baseball season.
UPDATE III: Another clarification: The new site has no official name yet. "Das Bullpen" is purely my invention, because I wanted something catchy to describe it.
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E. Carlin says: (2/2/11 10:25 PM)
I understand the German theme has the backing of the team's Internet fan club, the Nats E-Party.


Jay Roberts says: (2/3/11 9:21 AM)
From buses to buzzes, he, he...


Alan says: (2/3/11 1:32 PM)
Slightly confused; is the goal to open this secondary watering hole by opening day this year and have two places for the 2011 season and then just the Beer Garden for 2012 and beyond or will it be just the bullpen this year and then just the beer garden next year?


JD says: (2/3/11 1:34 PM)
The goal is to have both for this year and just the beer garden next year.


Tom says: (2/3/11 5:07 PM)
I'm slightly disappointed that the folks who operate the Bullpen and Das Bullpen don't seem to have any desire in opening a permanent facility in the neighborhood.

To me, they want our money, but only during baseball games. What about when the team is in Chicago and I still want a beer on a Saturday afternoon?

There's plenty of ground floor retail that would be perfect for a restaurant (even one above the Metro!).

Very disappointed.


JD says: (2/3/11 6:00 PM)
"Tom", I think in this case what they're doing is trying to (p)reserve a permanent spot in Akridge's Half Street project, which will be a prime place to be when it is ever finished. The Bullpen rep basically said last night that they were told that if they didn't add Das Bullpen this year, they would lose the chance at one of the permanent retail spaces when that side of Half Street is built out.

I'm guessing there will be at least one new sit-down restaurant option announced in the area before 2011 is out.


Tom says: (2/4/11 9:22 AM)
While I understand that, even if ground were broken tomorrow, it would still be at least two years before the structure is complete. The key words are "when it is ever finished".

Obviously they see a need for increased space during the baseball season, it's just a shame that they don't see the need for ANY space during the rest of the year, as it stands right now.


rj says: (2/6/11 2:37 PM)
Maybe the bullpen guys are opening up das bullpen to make money. its called business.

I want more permanent businesses in the neighborhood too, but to be disappointed by an entrepreneur who sees an opportunity to make a profit is pretty childish.

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