Since January, 2003
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This weekend the Nationals are coming home to start their sixth season at Nationals Park (can it all really be five years ago?). They return to the ballpark on Friday at 2:05 pm for their final exhibition game, against the Yankees, then the 2013 season starts for real on Monday at 1:05 pm against the Marlins, followed by two more games against Miami on April 3 and 4.
Residents and office workers should be prepared for very large crowds on both days, and given that both are day games, be prepared for extra-heavy traffic on the roads and in the subway.
A few links and items for those coming to the game or just those nearby:
* I'm looking for crowdsourcing assistance to make sure my map of gameday parking lots is up-to-date for the new season. Tweet #parknats (or just mention @jdland) with lot locations and prices you see during these first four games. (Especially of interest is what the former lot HH will be charging.) Prices may be higher on Opening Day than for other less-showy games, so all intel from any game day is appreciated.
* The return of baseball also means the return of expanded hours for the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator route, which on April 1 will start running until 9 pm on weekdays and from 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays, with additional expanded service on game days (this includes Sundays).
* The new Gordon Biersch brewery/restaurant at 100 M St. SE is in its final preparations for its Opening Day opening. They are in the midst of soft opening/test service, and there will be a "VIP" reception on Saturday night, so be prepared to see people inside but then be turned away at the door if you don't have a golden ticket. UPDATE: Biersch will be opening at 10 am on Opening Day (compared to its normal 11 am).
* When will the Park Tavern at Canal Park have its own opening day? "Soon" is what the signs on the doors say, but there's been no official word of a date yet. (The latest newsletter from the BID says "mid-April," but the Going Out Guide says April 1.)
* The Fairgrounds at Half and M is back for the 2013 season beginning Friday at 11 am.
* Inside the park, Papa John's has replaced Flippin' Pizza, and there's also now the Schawafel stand, featuring Shawarma and Falafel sandwiches.
* Weatherbug has a Nationals Park station, if you want to know what the current conditions are right smack at the ballpark. The forecast for Opening Day looks good as of now (mostly sunny and 61), but it might be a bit chilly for those other two Marlins games.
Let the Natitude begin!
PARKING UPDATE: I've heard from Monument Realty that they are still planning to operate the old Nats lots J, M, and N as cash lots this season, but they aren't open today and won't be open next week. They are shooting for the week of April 8. These are the lots at Half and M, South Capitol and M (old Domino's site) and South Capitol and N (old BP Amoco), and are marked on my map as TBD.
PARKING UPDATE 2: A reader reports that the old lot HH operated as a cash lot for Friday's exhibition game, still charging $10.
PARKING UPDATE 3: Be prepared that the prices at the three Yards lots have gone up $5 from last season, so $25 at 3rd and Tingey and $30 at 1st and N. The lot behind the wrought-iron fence at 1st and M will be $35, but it will also be open for every game this season.
And, a question I had a few weeks ago has finally been answered: the new Nats Lot P is indeed the garage under 1015 Half Street, and not a surface lot as the Nats map shows. Their map will be updated; mine is already correct.
Comments (31)
 More About Nationals Park
 All posts: parking, Nationals Park Home


VelocityChris says: (3/28/13 11:34 PM)
Maybe worth mentioning, the Circulator runs on Sundays when its a game day if I remember correctly, but I don't remember the hours they run on Sunday game days???

JD says: (3/28/13 11:37 PM)
Yes, sorry, you're right, I just kind of added it in my mind. (Was hoping that the Circulator folks would put out a schedule like they did in years' past, but I haven't seen it.)

I also want to mention, since some people have asked--the folks at Cornercopia told me today that they plan to open on one weekend day once the weather gets warmer. It's been Sundays in the past, but it could be Saturdays this year; they haven't decided yet.

Packinblackandred says: (3/29/13 8:53 AM)
Hey JD, I'll ask the guys in former lot HH this afternoon what they'll be charging. The official "lot HH" sign is gone now (as you figured before), so they may not be the most reliable sources of info.

Either way, I'll at least ask.

BillP says: (3/29/13 10:11 AM)
So they've replaced another pseudo-local offering (Flippin Pizza) with a craptactular national brand like Papa Johns? Not to mention the Flippin Pizza was actually pretty decent. If the Papa Johns at Nats Park is the same as the Verizon Center offering, it will be an $8 piece of lukewarm, topping-sprinkled cardboard. Fabulous. But at least I'll be able to save 1/2 a second using my Nats Access card (theoretically) instead of a debit card. Whoopeee!

This fits right in with the "unique" pleasure of getting Breyer's ice cream at the ballpark instead of, you know, your own freezer. I think Gifford's went belly up but really, Breyers? Papa Johns? That's the best they can do? #eyeroll

JT says: (3/29/13 10:27 AM)
Any word of Presidential first pitches?

If not on opening day then perhaps during the White Sox series April 9-11?

JD says: (3/29/13 10:34 AM)
For April 1: "Ceremonial First Pitch thrown by former Staff Sergeant and Medal of Honor recipient Clint Romesha."

MJM says: (3/29/13 10:43 AM)
And the "Play Ball announcement made by Winthrop Roosevelt, great-great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt"

JD says: (3/29/13 10:44 AM)
They'd better get some descendant of William Howard Taft soon.

JES says: (3/29/13 11:34 AM)
Walked by Park Tavern today. They have liquor stocked above the bar now and tap handles installed. There were staff-looking people in there milling around too, so maybe April 1 is right

Eric says: (3/29/13 11:42 AM)
Given PT's history of delays and the fact you should definitely promote yourself before you open, I doubt PT is opening Monday for opening day.

JD says: (3/29/13 12:43 PM)
Actually, the promoting-before-opening isn't always that common, especially for smaller venues. Gives them a chance to soft open. The Biersch onslaught is a little different, since it's a big-time chain.

JD says: (3/29/13 1:33 PM)
@Bill, I'm guessing the Flippin/Papa Johns change (and other times that a big-name vendor replaces a small more local one) was for a very simple reason: $$$.

VelocityChris says: (3/29/13 6:03 PM)
Great article in the Post...and by great, I mean great idea, since it was already done by JDLand!


JD says: (3/29/13 10:20 PM)
@Chris. :-)

Dr. Gridlock showed the right way to do it:


Eric says: (4/1/13 5:40 PM)
Went by Kruba after the game for a victory celebration curry. Decent crowd for 4PM, but was expecting it to have way more people considering it was the largest non-playoff Nats attendance game.

PJY03 says: (4/1/13 8:33 PM)
Re: Kruba... people don't even know it is there. I know lots of people who have come to games for years that don't even know that the Yards Park exists. Its just "Well, there's nothing in this neighborhood so lets hop on the metro." Even though Justin's is packed after night games, that is a fraction of the stadium crowd. Most people don't know its there either. The BID can probably do a better job of marketing to the baseball crowd, particularly for those spots that aren't going to be on M street or within eyesight of the metro.

Eric says: (4/1/13 9:52 PM)
"The BID can probably do a better job of marketing to the baseball crowd, particularly for those spots that aren't going to be on M street or within eyesight of the metro."

True. They've posted a billion ads around the Navy Yard metro station for the new places, but it doesn't differentiate between open and coming soon places, nor is the map particularly easy to read.

I can see Park Tavern and GB filling up all the time due to their great location on M Street. Justin's was pretty packed today, so they're not hurting for business. But I totally agree with you: Most people don't know the Yards/Boilermaker Shops area even exists. Lots of people won't venture a block from the metro station.

Maybe once the weather gets warmer and people come to the Yards concerts, that will change. It would be a shame to have Osteria, Nando's, and Agua with no one to patronize them during ball games.

conngs0 says: (4/2/13 9:35 AM)
I think it will definitely take some time for people to incorporate the neighborhood into their pre and post game plans. I also think that when the new places open in the coming months, the added choices will bring more people into the area. Certainly the BID can and should continue to market the area, but it's not like the individual establishments are banned from advertising themselves too. At some point they're going to just have to figure out how to get people in the door.

Also, I wonder what percentage of stadiumgoers the BID wants to get into the neighborhood establishments before and after games? I suspect we'd be surprised by how low the goal is. By the time the majority of people have bought their tickets, parked their car, and patronized a concession or two, they likely won't be in the mood to spend a lot more money that day anyway. That's why I'm excited that the neighborhood isn't trying to rely solely on Nats Park to bring in business. Additions like the ice rink at Canal Park, the events at Yards Park, the future movie theater, and perhaps even some retail some day will all hopefully help keep the neighborhood bustling.

NatsFan says: (4/2/13 12:11 PM)
Anyone know if Park Tavern was open yesterday?

JD says: (4/2/13 12:19 PM)
@NatsFan I doubt it, no one has said anything and I think that Park Tavern would have tweeted. I think their "sooner than soon" tweet yesterday was misread by The Hill is Home and others.

Eric says: (4/2/13 12:37 PM)
There were people inside drinking/eating, but the place wasn't open. It was staff I imagine.

Packinblackandred says: (4/2/13 1:06 PM)
@NatsFan The last thing I saw Park Tavern post on Twitter was that they hoped to be open the middle of this week. They keep missing their target dates, but at least the revised targets getting closer and closer might be progress?

JD says: (4/3/13 1:08 PM)
On the Park Tavern and Xavier Cervera in general, there's now an answer to the question that's been around for a while:

"Last night Xavier Cervera confirmed that he has closed a deal to sell all nine of his Capitol Hill area restaurants to a Boston equity firm experienced in the restaurant business and seeking to enter the Washington market. ...

"The equity group that bought out Cervera is reportedly headed by his brother and has other restaurant franchises. Xavier’s brother is currently in Washington and is actively managing the restaurant group. Part of the deal was Xavier’s continued involvement in the management as a consultant. According to regulars of some of the restaurants, the new owners have made some personnel changes involving long time employees which Xavier is not happy about. "


Smit says: (4/3/13 8:38 PM)
All - Coming home last night around 10p, I saw a few people hanging out outside of the Park Tavern (it was all staff). I talked to two of them, and found out they were chefs -they told me that their grand opening is scheduled for this Friday.

They seemed to be pretty proud of the food they were preparing (especially the rack of lamb) and promised that they were going to change the culinary fortunes of our neighborhood for good. So take a take down there on Friday and see how good they really are!

Eric says: (4/6/13 9:18 PM)
The Park Tavern delays are now getting about crying wolf.

JD says: (4/6/13 9:23 PM)
Yesterday (Friday) and earlier today they were telling people Monday is the day.

Eric says: (4/8/13 10:01 AM)
They also said Friday was the day on Wednesday. Some bold commenter should go out and look today...something tells me it won't be oppen.

JES says: (4/8/13 12:02 PM)
@Eric, I'll be walking the dog by there this evening so I'll check it out and report back, unless someone can get there before me

JES says: (4/8/13 4:43 PM)
From Twitter:

Finally the wait is over!! We are OPEN!!!! Stop by and enjoy!!!

JD says: (4/8/13 4:45 PM)
Refresh that JDLand home page, JES. ;-)

JES says: (4/8/13 4:47 PM)

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