Since January, 2003
            
 (a random before-and-after moment)
February 16, 2006
June 20, 2016
1st at L, Looking North-Northeast (see more)

It seems like it's been forever since baseball was at Nationals Park (except for that Game 5, which feels like yesterday), and now we're in the final homestretch before the team returns to town, first for an exhibition game against the Yankees Friday, March 29, at 2 pm, followed by the season opener at 1 pm on Monday, April 1.
So, once again I highlight my Visting Nationals Park page, which I built last year to bring together links and information both about the ballpark itself and what's available and interesting outside the stadium.
For those wanting to know what's happened in the Near Capitol Ballpark River Yards (#NeCaBaRY) neighborhood since last season, my What's New and Notable list fills in the headlines, while the Google Map of Food and Drink options shows both the currently opened eateries and the ones coming soon.
There's also links to information on the Riverwalk, the Yards Park and new-to-you Canal Park, and the Navy Yard, for people looking for other ways to pass the time before and after games.
As for the ballpark itself, there's my map of official and "cash" parking lots, a "Getting There" guide, and of course all of my photos of the stadium's construction and milestones.
But, for people who can't even bear to click a link, I'll give the headlines that I know are most of interest:
* Brewery/Restaurant Gordon Biersch should open on Opening Day at 1st and M.
* The Park Tavern at 2nd and M could be opening Any Minute Now.
* Kruba Thai and Sushi at 3rd and Water in the Foundry Lofts has been open since November.
* Highly anticipated brewery Bluejacket is expected to open at 4th and Tingey in the Boilermaker Shops in late spring or early summer, as will Nando's Peri-Peri, Buzz Bakery, and (maybe) Willie's Brew and 'Que.
* Later in the summer should see the opening of the first two restaurants in the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park: Agua 301 (which has just begun its buildout), and Osteria Morini.
There's also still Justin's Cafe, Five Guys, Subway, Potbelly, Lot 38 Espresso, McDonald's, and the Fairgrounds.
And, alas, there's also still the hole in the ground at Half and N.
On the bright side, there are two new holes in the ground where work is actually underway, for new apartment buildings the Park Chelsea at New Jersey and I and Twelve12 at 4th and M, both expected to open next year.
And the Camden South Capitol apartments directly across South Capitol from the stadium are opening in just a few weeks.
In other words, believe it or not, good things are actually happening outside the ballpark. And it seems like good things should be happening inside the ballpark this year, too.
So bookmark the guide and use it whenever you come down to Near Southeast/Capitol Riverfront/Navy Yard/Nats Town/#NaYa/#NeCaBaRY.
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Maelstrom says: (3/21/13 11:01 AM)
I like #pipetown and #bloodfield more than #NeCaBaRY :p


MJM says: (3/21/13 11:22 AM)
And don't forget first come, no zoned, free parking (4hr limit though) around Canal Park for everyone driving in from other parts of DC, Maryland, and Virginia.


Eric says: (3/21/13 11:54 AM)
Doesn't the parking say "except on game days" around Canal Park?


Eric says: (3/21/13 12:40 PM)
Also should have included Lot 38 with existing establishment list =)


JD says: (3/21/13 12:42 PM)
Whoops, you're right. Added. Thanks!


MJM says: (3/21/13 2:12 PM)
Except on game days till 10:30pm (normal time is 6/6:30?) or maybe its just one of those confusing signs.


Jaybird says: (3/21/13 3:20 PM)
One would think that having these options will help with the Metro crush, in that some folks will now arrive earlier, so they can eat and drink before the game - any maybe also on the other end of the game.


Eric says: (3/21/13 4:21 PM)
But how do we get you average Nats fans from outside DC to know about these places? I met so many fans last season who had NO IDEA there was Justin's, Lot 38, or even the YARDS PARK.

I guess if they just wanna get in and out that's their perogative, but you'd think the BID would try to launch some sort of advertising campaign.

Announcing all the places during the ball game would be cool, but I have a feel the stadium, directly competing for food and drink, would not allow that.


JD says: (3/21/13 6:58 PM)
I think the word will get around pretty quickly about Biersch, especially since it's at such a central location. People may then actually see Justin's when they are trying to get into GB. Bluejacket will first draw the hipsters and the beer fanatics, then you assume at some point when more shops are open at Boilermaker the sight of crowds along Tingey may draw others. Plus there's all the people on foot coming down from the Hill or the distant lots, who will see Park Tavern or Boilermaker if they cut down behind DOT.

But for the people who park right by the ballpark and tend to just come in and get out, it might take some guys wearing sandwich boards at Half and N to get to them. :)


Gamble Rogers says: (3/21/13 8:44 PM)
"Bluejacket will first draw the hipsters and the beer fanatics..."

What about hipster beer fanatics? Do they count twice?

I only hope that the Bluejacket crew doesn't get carried away with soured, fungal, Trippel-inspired peppermint-and-thai-peanut-toast beer. For the love of Jabu -- let's hope they brew at least one mildly approachable brew.

Once the Boilermaker Shops and Lumber Shed get built out, the Yards Park area will crawl with hipsters/beer fanatics/cornhole lovers. The skinny jeans and neck tats are coming!


JD says: (3/21/13 9:04 PM)
Awesome! (official hipster exclamation)



JD says: (3/21/13 10:27 PM)
And I should mention that I'll probably always forget the coffee places, because I don't drink the stuff. Don't drink tea, either. And can't fathom the whole sitting-in-a-shop-using-the-wifi, since I prefer my hermit-like existence at home.


JES says: (3/21/13 11:06 PM)
@JD, for the record, I don't think more people need to learn about Justin's... the place is packed before and after games, almost unbearably so. If anything, GB might siphon off some of the crowd, instead of the other way around


NatsFan says: (3/22/13 2:00 PM)
FYI. not a place to eat...but running by the Boilermaker shops yesterday, I saw signs posted in the windows with "Elite Fitness Pro" on it. I guess it was once going to be the Diner. Not sure.



JD says: (3/22/13 2:03 PM)
I would find it really hard to believe that any sort of fitness center would be going into Boilermaker with Vida going into Twelve12. Clothes? Equipment? Just someone posting their signs there for the heck of it?



JES says: (3/22/13 3:12 PM)
Vida is incredibly expensive for a gym... maybe another company's trying to target a more middle income market? I dunno...


Maelstrom says: (3/22/13 4:16 PM)
Could someone really fit a decent gym in that space? With changing rooms and showers, it seems like they could fit little more than a workout room.


JD says: (3/22/13 5:09 PM)
I checked with Forest City, and this is a temporary ("pop up") use, not a long-term tenant. Elite Fitness has been doing early morning boot camps in the neighborhood for a few years, first on the Canal Park site and then I guess in the space where Desi is going in. Their web site:

link





JD says: (3/23/13 11:03 AM)
And, with tables and chairs now starting to be placed outside of the Park Tavern on the patio, and with a certain high-attendance event just about a week away, it would not surprise me if Xavier's unstated plan all along was to not open until right around Opening Day.



Eric says: (3/23/13 12:52 PM)
PT vs GB for opening day crowds? GB has been doing a better job promoting themselves, that's for sure.

Although I'll probably always default into supporting locally owned establishments over chains...plus I've always wanted to try Allagash curieux, which is apparently a world class beer.


VelocityChris says: (3/23/13 4:40 PM)
Staff was in GB today (Sat.) training!


Eric says: (3/23/13 5:23 PM)
I talked to the general manager of Park Tavern today. Very cool guy. I'm excited with what they're doing.


JD says: (3/23/13 9:21 PM)
Biersch is having test seatings at lunch and dinner on Thursday and Friday, and then the VIP reception on Saturday. So don't be surprised to see people in there, but then they turn you away if you try to come in, too. :-)



Eric says: (3/24/13 3:09 AM)
GB only chose boring "uhh I've been to all your breweries" responses as winners. I wanted to ironically joke about the race card considering they only chose white people for invites, but I didn't think they would appreciate it. We'll see if I luck out and get in the last round of drawings.

PT is already miles ahead in my book since I've basically already got an invite. Greater appreciation for the neighbors.


Shogungts says: (3/24/13 5:56 PM)
@Eric - I am all for local and GB would not usually be very high on my list of places to go, but considering how mediocre the rest of Xavier's places are, I don't have my hopes very high for PT.


JD says: (3/25/13 9:21 AM)
Updated concessions list at #Nats Park: link Papa John's in, Flippin' Pizza out. Also new, Shawafel.


ZoolanderANDtheBoYz says: (3/25/13 12:32 PM)
Not all Xavier places are mediocre. There are some places that are great and there are some of his restaurants that are horrendous. I always liked Lola but I can't stand Pacifico.


Eric says: (3/25/13 1:06 PM)
Park Tavern has so much potential with the great location, rink, outdoor seating, and the roof space.

I hope the food is good. Doesn't have to be amazing, just good. A few of the draft list beers I really liked, so they've got that going. A happy hour, too, maybe? Kruba has no happy hour (bad decision), and GB's only goes until 630.

Gonna take a lot to beat Justin's great HH.


JD says: (3/25/13 3:45 PM)
I'm hearing from a third-party source that Park Tavern got their liquor license this morning.


JD says: (3/26/13 9:57 AM)
And, the Fairgrounds has officially announced they are reopening for the 2013 season on Friday (March 29) at 11 am.


Kitty Loyd says: (3/27/13 11:06 AM)
Eric, the BID has some new and bright signage in the Metro station inviting people to come before and stay after the games, and they list the new establishments. I haven't noticed them before this morning, so maybe they're just starting their advertising push and we'll see more displays elsewhere.


MJM says: (3/27/13 3:20 PM)
They started to appear on the platform at least on Monday am but its tough to stay late when 90% of those places aren't open. Just hope people don't go looking for them next week. Maybe they mean 'late' summer.


58Model says: (3/28/13 3:43 PM)
If you're going to list 'hood eateries, don't forget the original: Sizzlin' Express!


JD says: (3/28/13 3:45 PM)
I'm pretty sure you're the first person to ever mention it. (It is on my food map, at least!)


Mere says: (3/31/13 10:06 AM)
From the rumor mill: We were walking around Canal Park yesterday and from the top of Park Tavern overheard a worker say that they are opening on Wednesday!

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