Friday night, I had a chance to finally get to a game at Nationals Stadium. The fact the Nats were playing the Braves made next-to-no difference to me (sorry Nationals!). What I was most interested in, actually the two things I was the most interested in, were: (1) the 70 degree, nearly humidity-free, July weather and (2) the ballpark's food and drinks. In fact judging from the empty seats in this nearly sold-out game, as compared to the throngs of folks waiting in line at the concession stand, I would surmise many were there for the same reasons.
Over the years, The Nationals have made leaps in their food program. Part of their progression reflects the progression in the entire D.C. dining program, with several restauranteurs choosing to expand into the stadium rather than onto a storefront. As a result, the choices in 2018 are not just hot dogs and popcorn but unique items such as bar-b-que and high-end coffee: my friends over at Washingtonian have an excellent article here on the 2018 newest offerings: https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/03/27/new-food-and-drink-vendors-at-nationals-park-2018-season/.
Before entering the game, a popular options for pre-gaming is the Bullpen. Located just steps from the main ballpark entrance, the Bullpen typically is full of revelers enjoying beer and live music and some even stay there through the game since, during the 3rd - 7th innings, they also have a special $5 happy hour. Personally, I like to go inside the stadium for happy hour where the beer before 6:30 pm is $8 as is the wine. Notice the disparity in size ... I highly recommend getting beer.
This past Friday night was also #margaritaville so plenty of tasty margaritas were on-hand. I ordered a Strawberry Margarita for $14 and it was powerfully strong! I barely managed to drink half of it, plus I had an empty stomach, so I had to race to get some food. Thankfully Ben's Chili Bowl is still the most fun ballpark food at Nats stadium.
The Half-Smoke with onions is my hot dog of choice, as are the Chili Cheese Fries. I absolutely destroyed them and woke up hungry wanting more! Everything came out hot even though the size of the Half-Smoke has gone down considerable since the last time I went to a ballgame (2015). Nationals Stadium and Ben's Chili Bowl have tried to lessen the concession lines by having four different stations but the original one in Section 109 is still my favorite.
My friend took a series of photos of me eating the food. He thought it was amazing -- I believe the exact phrase was "sexy as hell" -- that I was able to eat all of the food, in record time, without getting anything on my pristine white shorts. Good times, good times! Enjoy the progression!