Call all your friends with access to a rooftop deck—we have a three-day weekend to kick off!
Memorial Day in Washington is best spent outside: catch a glimpse of the parade, snag a spot on the Capitol lawn for the concert, and (try) to reserve outdoor seating for bottomless brunch. Or avoid the crowds and try your hand at your own Memorial Day masterpiece. Round up your friends, and make that balcony BBQ memorable by following these tips:
Don’t wait until Monday morning to stock up
This is not amateur hour. Walking into Whole Foods the morning of Memorial Day is like driving through Dupont Circle at rush hour. You just don’t do it, people.
- Repeat after me: Drinks. Matter
After all, you’re not one to go halfway on something, now are you? Even if you’re not a master mixologist, your guests will not go thirsty with a selection of local brews and spirits.
- Don’t skimp on ingredients.
Some people are wine snobs, beer snobs, or even olive oil snobs. I am a self-proclaimed grocery store snob. I’d choose a boutique grocer over a boutique on M street, and I believe the best ingredients require little alteration. Your Memorial Day spread is only as good as the meat and produce you begin with.
To that note, here are my favorite spots for finding the best cuts, the best cocktails, and the best beer around D.C. Pair with produce found from one of the many local farmer’s markets, and do this Memorial Day weekend right.
Give me all the ribs: D.C. area butchers
- Harvey’s: I love Red Apron just as much as the next person; you’ll get no argument for me there. Before things get out of hand, understand Union Market is big enough for the both of them. This butcher pulls on my heart strings, sourcing from nine pasture raised farms—8 of which are within 150 miles of D.C.
- Meats & Foods: If brats are on the menu, this should be your first stop. They make their own sausages in-house, plus you can do all your ordering online. [Heads up: get your Memorial Day order in today by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org].
- Straw, Stick and Brick: Formerly Three Little Pigs, this Petworth butcher offers cured meats, sausages, and cuts sourced from local farms. If you’re not fully confident in your grilling skills, no worries—they also do catering.
- Union Meat Company: They’ve been around for nearly 70 years; I’ll go ahead and make the assumption that they know what they’re doing. Choose from their selection of pork, lamb, and bison; then shop the other vendors at Eastern Market.
DC Mixology: Distillers vs. brewers
- One Eight Distilling and Green Hat Gin: They both offer tastings on Saturdays and are right next to each other. So do your due diligence and visit both.
- Flying Dog Brewery: Yes, heading out to Frederick is a bit of a hike, but this brewery was around long before local brewers starting popping up in the District and Virginia. Known for their, um, interesting choice of beer names (can I offer you a Lucky SOB? Anyone?) they have more than enough options for your cookout.
- Port City Brewing Company: This Old Town brewery has been ruthless in the number of awards they’ve racked up in recent years. You can’t go wrong with many of their beers, but their Optimal Wit or Ways & Means IPA are at the top of my list.
What’s on your Memorial Day menu this year? What’s your go-to choice for local brewers and distillers? Tell us your favorite spots in the comments!