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Restaurants and bars are refocusing on takeout as colder months approach, but fear not: You can still have a quick confessional with your favorite bartender. The move this fall is to head to a neighborhood spot and savor a cold one while you wait for your to-go order. New parents or guardians pull this off frequently, according to dad and bar owner Tony Tomelden. It gives them a brief reprieve from childcare duties and lets them clear their heads. There’s something in it for the establishments, too. When diners pick up in person, they don’t have to pay a commission fee to third-party delivery apps. Give it a whirl at these eight reliable places.
Shelter at The Roost
1401 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, theroostsedc.com/shelter
From your perch on a stool at Shelter, you can order takeout from at least six different restaurants housed within The Roost. One QR code gives you access to a master menu so you can mix and match a sushi roll from Ako with a pair of carnitas tacos from Hi/Fi Taco. The food comes out quick, so you’ll have to stop just short of guzzling your beer if you want your meal to still be hot when you return home. Fortunately, Shelter offers two drink sizes. Pace yourself with a 4 oz. taster pour or go for a full pour (13 to 20 oz.) of something special like Jester King’s Cherry Grisette, Commonwealth’s Puff, or Southern Grist’s Top Tier Trifle. While Shelter is mostly indoors, one side is wide open to allow for some airflow. The bar also sells close to 50 beers and ciders to-go by the bottle or can. You might even run into Barred in DC. Shelter is open Mondays through Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tsehay Ethiopian Restaurant And Bar
3630 Georgia Ave. NW, (202) 808-8952, tsehaydc.com
Park View’s woman-owned Ethiopian restaurant serves a standout vegan combination platter that can easily feed two for less than $20. While you wait for it or Chef Selam Gossa’s rosemary-scented tibs, grab a seat at the bar and order a crisp Habesha beer. Tsehay has one of the longest happy hours in the District stretching from 4 to 8 p.m. daily. That means your Habesha or any other beer on the menu will run you just $4. If you’re not in the mood for a beer, note that the restaurant carries Ethiopian honey wine that goes down real easy. Don’t skip over the newish bar bites menu featuring kitfo sandwiches and fried wings tossed in an Ethiopian interpretation of mumbo sauce. Tsehay is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 10 p.m.
Hank’s Oyster Bar
624 Q St. NW, (202) 462-4265, hanksoysterbar.com/dupont-circle
There are a few stools at the bar immediately inside the Dupont Circle location of Hank’s Oyster Bar. That’s where you’ll sit to drink a Narragansett to get you in the mood for New England-style seafood like lobster rolls or a fried oyster dinner. If you want something memorable, try one of the to-go family meals that will be available throughout the remainder of the year. The surf n turf feast that comes with crab cakes, braised beef short ribs, coleslaw, collard greens, and mac and cheese ($60 for two, $120 for four) is popular. Hank’s Oyster Bar is open for dinner Tuesdays through Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m. They also serve brunch Fridays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you wait for your takeout during oyster hour, held Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 to 6 p.m., you could pair your beer with a discounted half dozen.
3126 12th St. NE, (202) 636-0050, brooklandsfinest.com
No beer will cost you more than $8 while you wait for your takeout at Brookland’s Finest and almost all of them are from local breweries like Atlas, Denizens, and Hellbender. Chef Shannan Troncoso’s beloved pretzel bites with truffle oil come out fast, so you could snack on those while you wait for one of the most flavorful pulled pork sandwiches in the city, doused in spicy mumbo sauce, or a satisfying fried Maryland catfish sandwich served with mac and cheese. No one but the restaurant will know if you tack on Oreo cheesecake for dessert. Brookland’s Finest is open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for brunch and 4 to 8 p.m. for dinner.
5501 14th St. NW, (202) 248-0491, morelandstavern.com
One side of the bar at Moreland’s Tavern is open air and under a covered awning, so there’s no need to go inside to sip your suds while you wait. Managing partner Matt Croke says he’d put his double smash burger and buttermilk ranch-slathered fried chicken sandwich up against the best D.C. has to offer. Start there, or if you’re feeling fancy, swing for the pork schnitzel or steak niçoise. In addition to the strong beer list available on site, customers can also order four-packs or six-packs to-go and refill their growlers for $25. Moreland’s Tavern is open for dinner Sundays through Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 8:30 p.m. They serve lunch on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.
517 H St. NE, (202) 629-3296, dc-harvest.com
DC Harvest drew people in during the early months of the pandemic by offering epic to-go feasts. They’re bringing them back this month, starting with a “Steakhouse 3.0” menu on Oct. 21 for one or two people ($64 per person). It stars boneless ribeye from a local farm in a classic bordelaise sauce, snapper ceviche, sides, and a roasted pumpkin cheesecake. Order it and you’ll get a coupon for 35 percent off a to-go order in November. Co-owner Jared Ringel says the fall menu just launched. The grilled za’atar-crusted tofu travels well, as does the comforting smoked chicken breast with honey-aleppo chili-roasted acorn squash. The beers you’ll drink while you wait come in cans. Try Silver Branch Brewing’s Oktoberfest märzen. If you’re not drinking alcohol, DC Harvest stocks Cheerwine. DC Harvest is open Thursdays from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Quarry House Tavern
8401 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, (301) 844-5504, quarryhousetavern.com
Hopefully you didn’t forget about Quarry House Tavern’s burgers and bacon-and-cheese tots while it was closed for a long stretch. Place an order for one of the subterranean bar’s 10 decadently topped burgers or build your own, then peruse the biblically long beer list organized into categories like “your hoppy place,” “amber waves of grain,” and “hello darkness, my old friend.” There are well over 100 options, so it would behove you to study ahead of time. If you don’t like homework, ask bar manager Paul Hofford or general manager Baback Salimi for recommendations. Quarry House is currently open daily from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Ivy and Coney
1537 7th St NW, (202) 670-9489, ivyandconey.com
If you’re feeding a crowd at home, order one of Ivy and Coney’s Detroit-style pizzas. The pudgy pies come in three flavors—cheese, pepperoni, and Italian beef. The latter is the most intriguing with its tangy giardiniera topping. When you arrive to secure your food, catch a couple innings of baseball on the bar’s TVs while you sip something that keeps with the Midwest theme: Bell’s Two Hearted IPA or 3 Floyds’ Zombie Dust. If you need a little more to take the edge off, the District Combo will keep you company while you wait. It matches any local can with a shot of Old Grand-Dad bourbon. Ivy and Coney is open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, Fridays from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., Saturdays from noon to 3 a.m., and Sundays from noon to 2 a.m.