The Betsy: This Summer’s Best Rooftop Secret

All Washingtonians know what warm weather means – summer cocktails on patios and rooftops. From beer gardens to elegant tables overlooking the C&O Canal in Georgetown, everyone flocks to outdoor dining to bask in the sunshine. And yet, that’s precisely why they’re often miserable. Loud, overly crowded and sometimes impossible to get a reservation, the most popular spots are hard to come by in the summertime.

Lucky for you, dear readers, Hungry Lobbyist has the details on DC’s hidden dining gem – The Betsy, Belga Café’s adorable summer rooftop garden.

Named for Chef Bart Vandaele’s favorite pet chicken, Betsy, this Barracks Row oasis will be your best summer secret. To even find it, take the graffiti-covered alley beside Belga and look for Betsy’s colorful graffiti’ed chicken tracks to lead your way. Once there, take the stairs to enter an open-air rooftop inspired by the chef’s beautiful home backyard.

While Belga Café is known for its Belgian cuisine, the dishes at Betsy are inspired by an American backyard barbecue. The beverage program does have a more upscale flair, however, as it focuses on gin and boasts 25 types of the spirit. From craft cocktails, to scrumptious dishes and an utterly charming atmosphere, we were in pure Betsy bliss.

The Hendrick’s (a mojito-esque gin and tonic) on Betsy’s jam-packed gin shelf.
Backyard Gazpacho with garlic and cherries. Photo Credit: The Betsy
Crispy potato skins with cheese cream and bacon bites. Photo Credit: The Betsy
Oysters on the half shell with cucumber, green apple and cider. Photo Credit: The Betsy
Betsy’s Big Ass Bacon Cheeseburger. Photo Credit: The Betsy
Betsy banana split with bourbon caramel. Photo Credit: The Betsy

Weather permitting, Betsy is open at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with happy hour from 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily, and dinner service beginning at 5:30 p.m. Brunch goers will get the best of both worlds on the weekends, as Betsy will serve Belga’s brunch menu from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

As if it isn’t perfect enough, Betsy will also host Summer Sundays on the last Sunday of each month. The series begins this Sunday, June 26, with the #BetsyBoil crawfish boil from 5 to 8 p.m. A $40 tickets includes food, two drinks, tax and gratuity. Purchase them here:

If you can’t make it this Sunday, then definitely mark these Summer Sundays in your calendar:

  • July 24 – Backyard BBQ
  • August 28 – Crab Fest
  • September 2 – Pig Roast

Given just how adorable Betsy is, you can bet that’s where you’ll spot the Hungry Lobbyist team all summer long.

To learn more about The Betsy, visit their website, like them on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and purchase tickets this Sunday’s #BetsyBoil.  

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