If you walk down the streets of Old Town and close your eyes, you’ll hear the din of conversation, the clink of silverware on plates and the melody of laughter intertwined with the notes of music being piped from restaurants. You can smell the aroma of delicious food floating on the breeze and feel the convivial atmosphere of people gathered together to enjoy a meal or a drink together, basking in the unhurried pace that seems right at home along the cobblestones.
Al fresco dining is an important facet of Old Town. It creates a unique destination where people sit, stay and savor. “Old Town has so many great assets,” says Hossein Pishdad, owner of The Warehouse, a King Street fixture since 1969. “It has a great story to tell, and beautiful outdoor dining spots enhance and deepen that story as our guests enjoy a great meal in a truly scenic setting. Those historic streets, buildings and waterfront are what has made Old Town a top tourist destination, and outdoor dining allows both tourists and locals to make the most of that historic setting.
“At The Warehouse, we feel we have created a beautiful outdoor setting for our guests that truly enhances their experience in Old Town," he goes on. "Now, our guests have the option of a classic indoor setting or a charming outdoor environment. The Warehouse has always been a fine dining restaurant, and we have extend that experience outdoors with our lovely dining space. We were very thorough and deliberate in our design, making it comfortable and classy experience within an amazing historic setting.”
"There’s nothing better than walking around and seeing so many full restaurants and so many happy diners enjoying a true Old Town experience..."
- Hossein Pishdad, Owner of The Warehouse
Speaking to Old Town's initiative to create a designated outdoor dining area, Pishdad says, “We are thrilled to see the number of people drawn to the King Street area by the outdoor dining options. There’s nothing better than walking around and seeing so many full restaurants and so many happy diners enjoying a true Old Town experience thanks to all the recent improvements, including the environment created by outdoor dining. We are thrilled that the city has been so supportive of outdoor dining and the exciting experience of which it is a part. We also love seeing local, talented musicians that add to the atmosphere.”
Much like many other restaurant owners throughout Old Town, Pishdad feels that maintaining dedicated outdoor dining spaces is paramount in keeping the historic district vibrant. “We feel very strongly that outdoor dining should permanently enhance the experience of both visitors and locals in Old Town,” he notes. “The number of people enjoying time on lower King Street shows how successful the outdoor dining program has been. It provides a critical source of revenue for local restaurants and is a draw for the customers of other businesses, keeping them in Old Town for longer. We have been so happy with the results of the program so far and look forward to seeing how it contributes to Old Town’s success in the future.”
214 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Set in a historic building that was once a marine supply shop, The Warehouse may have an old story, but the menu is completely modern. The New Orleans-inspired menu features prime aged steaks, seafood and other classic American dishes, perfectly paired with an outdoor dining space that mirrors the comfort and sophistication of the interior dining room. Guests can enjoy the fresh air and breeze and views of historic buildings of the 200 block, all with The Warehouse’s trademark level of service.
121 South Union Street, Alexandria, VA 2231
Boasting one of Old Town’s largest whiskey selections, Union Street Public House offers an exceptional menu of American cuisine crafted with a Southern twist—with a quality and atmosphere that has attracted newcomers and regulars alike since 1986. Of course, the beautifully restored 1790s warehouse where it resides is a natural attraction, but dining al fresco is an experience not to be missed. Overlooking historic Union Street, the restaurant affords fresh air and generous views of everything that makes Old Town such a popular destination.
401 East Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22301
Since opening in 2015, Lena’s Wood Fired Pizza & Tap has become an Old Town favorite—so much so that the original concept was expanded to become a one-stop destination of unique atmospheres and menus—including an outdoor escape at Lena’s Beer Garden. Tucked away behind the hedges, the dog-friendly “garden” space features lights and umbrellas that make it enjoyable on a sunny day or at evenings, with a glass of wine, cocktail or local craft beer and wood-fired pizza. The casual atmosphere is one perfect for after-dinner drinks or a weekend break.
115 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Serving hand-crafted pasta and recipes that can be traced back generations to the Old Country, Landini Brothers prides itself on the authenticity of its menu and its dedication to quality and excellence. Set within the bustle of King Street, the outdoor dining serves up a taste of European flair, evoking the open-air setting of a metropolitan Italian corso. Curbside planters offer separation from the street and generous umbrellas afford shade on sunny days. Indulge in traditional Italian fare paired with premium wine from their extensive list, made even more flavorful by the fresh breeze that blows through.
301 John Carlyle Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
HomeGrown Restaurant Group has built its reputation on great food, great flavor and great atmosphere. Ostensibly oyster-focused, Whiskey & Oyster lacks pretention of any kind, serving a menu of oysters prepared a myriad of ways as well as fresh seafood dishes and sandwiches, along with a staggering list of whiskey and bourbon. Outdoors, you’ll find patio seating along John Carlyle Street perfectly suited to sucking down a chilled oyster and savoring a well-aged whiskey.
2312 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301
For barbecue lovers, Pork Barrel BBQ offers award-winning recipes that taste even better in the open air of their outdoor seating space. Perfectly smoked meat smothered in sauce is a great way to satisfy your hunger. Plus, you’ll be served with The HomeGrown Restaurant Group's famous hospitality, which is always just as hearty as the food.
207 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Known for their chef-inspired dishes and small plates as well as their highly curated menu of fine wines, Sonoma Cellar boasts an outdoor oasis tucked away from the passersby of King Street. Quiet and secluded, the outdoor dining space is ideal for intimate conversation and relaxed social gatherings. Strung lights add a gentle glow to the space. The casual vibe offsets the elegant flavors of the expertly crafted food and wine.
119 South Royal Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Offering a French bistro-vibe and delicious fare to match, Fontaine Caffé and Crêperie wouldn’t be complete without an outdoor seating space to savor coffee, crêpes, a French-inspired sandwich or a full-bodied glass of red. Set alongside the quietude of Royal Street, Fontaine is tucked just around the corner from the busier parts of Old Town, affording it a more relaxed pace. Come for a drink, stay for a meal and take in the historic architecture that surrounds you.
220 S. Union Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Located along the waterfront at Union Street, Hummingbird is a chef-owned jewel in Old Town’s crown. The airy, energetic restaurant is deeply inspired by the coastal traditions of clambakes, crab boils, fish fries and oyster roasts, using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Outdoor seating seems a continuation of the brightness of the indoor spaces, offering the welcome breezes of the waterfront and a view of the horizon that once held exploring ships.
105 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Situated on the lower end of historic King Street, The Fish Market Restaurant offers the best and freshest seafood in Northern Virginia. All of their seafood is wild caught and fair trade certified with a 100% commitment to protecting our oceans and environment. From raw Chesapeake oysters or their world famous Maryland Crab Cakes to traditional fish 'n chips or the grilled fresh catch of the day, you won't find a more scenic view with which to enjoy an intimate meal than from the patio or balcony at Fish Market. Enjoy live music every Wednesday and Saturday night and don't forget to bring the junior sea captains along! Fish Market offers an exciting Kid's Menu with all the classic favorites!
1001 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Built around the universal culture of coffee, Turkish Coffee Lady has become a mecca for coffee lovers on King Street, with a menu of specialty Turkish coffees and other beverages as well as freshly made delights that bring the flavor of Turkey to Old Town. Pair a baklava with an Istanbul or order something a little more exotic to expand your horizons, then head outside to sit in the fresh air of the café’s outdoor space. In the heart of King Street, Turkish Coffee Lady offers a perfect break from the busy pace of the day.