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Posted at 4:39 PM ET, 04/15/2009

Southeast D.C. Makes a Call to the Bullpen

By Fritz Hahn

An outdoor beer garden across from Nationals Park could be open by May 1 now that the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted 7-0 Monday night in favor of a developer's proposal. Plans for "the Bullpen," a 15,000-square-foot entertainment zone on the site of an old Metrobus garage, call for a large tent with a stage for live music, bars, plenty of tables and an area for childrens' activities.

Robert "Bo" Blair, who owns the popular Surfside and Jetties restaurants as well as the nightspots Smith Point and the Rookery, will be running the Bullpen. He says it will be open at least two hours before and after every home game, and it could stay open until 12:30 a.m. for special events. Expect "Dewey Beach bands" and music from local groups, as well as food from Surfside and Jetties.

"We want to make it really fan friendly and also family friendly," Blair says. The Bullpen will be open to all ages, and part of the site is going to be run by Headfirst Sports, a Georgetown-based organization that runs sports camps for 4-to-14-year-olds. This area will have some baseball-related activities, which could include batting cages, drills or instruction, as well as more carnival-style amusements like photo booths, games and temporary tattoo stations.

The appeal of the Bullpen will be its location on Half Street between M and N streets, right between the Metro station and the centerfield gates of Nationals Park. Now that the plans have full approval from both the Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, the major hurdles have been cleared, and because the project has been issued a provisional liquor license, it could be open immediately. However, Blair says he hopes the Bullpen will be ready for business on April 30, when the Nationals begin a home stand against the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros. A full entertainment schedule will be available soon at

If you're going to the game sometime before the Bullpen opens, check our picks for bars and restaurants near the ballpark.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | April 15, 2009; 4:39 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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A proper bar would have been nice but this will do fine. I just hope the beer is a tad bit cheaper then in the stadium.

Posted by: irishnat | April 16, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

I can't tell you how sick I am of the walk to the Ugly Mug.
I will gladly part with my hard earned money here to save the old legs.

Posted by: Section138 | April 16, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This is a great idea and the people who should have been most behind it -- but apparently aren't involved -- are the Lerners and the Nationals.

Posted by: Meridian1 | April 16, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The "family-friendly" aspect could be an issue. Kids events at a ballpark bar? No gracias

Posted by: saywhat3 | April 16, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I also won't be there if the only "beer" is Bud Light and Miller. I don't care about the price, but I won't detour from my normal route if there isn't something like Dogfish Head, Clipper City, Flying Dog, Harpoon, or Allagash on the menu.

Posted by: mspatterson | April 16, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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