Best Rooftop Bars and Lounges in Washington DC
There’s something missing from the D.C. skyline: skyscrapers. A height limit has kept most of the District’s buildings shorter than the Capitol dome, creating a town-like atmosphere while offering unobstructed views. It’s the perfect recipe for rooftop bars—and this summer, the city’s nightlife mavens have taken note. D.C.’s in a rooftop boom, with nearly a dozen new drinking perches open this year. From cozy cornertops where you can people-watch the street below, to Instagram-ready sunset and stadium views, here are some of Washington’s best new rooftop bars.
Top of The Gate
Take it from your rooftop bar experts, the pinnacle of the Washington D.C. Rooftop Bar industry begins with Top of the Gate. Nestled atop of the infamous, stunning, and ever-so-popular, Watergate Hotel – this rooftop bar has built a reputation, offering some of the most breath-taking views in the entire city. Of course, that’s just the beginning of what makes this bar such a popular tourist and local desired destination.
For one, the ambience and environment of this rooftop bar are on par to win awards across the country. The moment you walk on top of the Watergate Hotel, you will feel the Top of the Gate difference. Additionally, the drinks and food that this bar offers are evident why many people keep coming back. Our favourite is their delicious pizza – take that from your NYC Rooftop Bar Crawl experts.
Sauf Haus Bier Hall
Do you want fun? Take all of your closest friends to the Sauf Haus Bier Hall. Let’s start off by talking about the fact that this rooftop bar currently has over 16 different beers on draft and a wealth of different speciality cocktails that can take any night to a brand-new level. Additionally, this bar has some of the most unique and special foods, including a 2 lbs. pretzel. That’s right, 2 pounds!
On top of the impressive drinks and small plate options, the rooftop bar, of course, offers stellar, breathtaking views of Washington D.C. If you are visiting during the summer – you can watch the sunset fall across the Dupont area – making it a memorable and photographic moment. We highly suggest checking in with the rooftop bar to see what specials are happening before visiting. \
When visiting Washington D.C. – what is one of the primary reason for your visits? To see the National Monuments! Well, after spending a long day trekking around this touristy, political capital – it may prove beneficial to get a new view of the many different monuments. In all of D.C., the best location to catch an aerial view of not only your favourite monuments but also the stunning sunsets – is POV. Now, we would like to say, this is not your average rooftop bar.
In fact, in all of Washington D.C., this might just be the most extravagant and expensive rooftop bar experience. With some of the best-handcrafted cocktails, professionally cooked plates, and VIP experiences, POV can provide locals and tourists with the experience they dream about. Now, if you are planning a visit, plan your trip in advance. This place can get busy.
Only the heartiest of margarita lovers have ventured up to the rooftop deck at Cortez, which replaced 1905 in Shaw last month. But the warming weather should increase the number of people hunting for the colorful bar stools, especially with a new happy hour offering $8 margaritas and $5 beers between 5 and 7 p.m. on weekdays. The deck offers views of U Street, neighborhood rowhouses and, in the distance, the Washington Monument. 1905 Ninth St. NW.
When it comes to a rooftop bar, there is no better experience than when a company offers their guests 360-degree views. With that being said, Radiator is making a big step in the rooftop bar industry by taking their regular restaurant and bar experiences, which can be found at the bottom of the Kempton Mason and Rook Hotel, and enhancing them with their city-wide views atop the hotel. Now, what makes this such a popular choice among locals is that each month, the rooftop bar follows a specific theme.
As your Rooftop Bar expert – we can say that this place is probably one of the best places to bring your friends for a get-together, or a fun, intimate date experience. We highly advise trying some of the different delicacies on their menu and, of course, their speciality cocktails. Be sure to always check back with the rooftop bar to figure out what the new theme for the month may be before visiting.
If you are a sports fan, then you are well aware that one of the biggest stadiums in the country is located in Washington D.C. Of course, we are talking about the Verizon Center. With that being said, Bar Deco could be seen as the un-intentional rooftop bar compliment for the popular sports entertainment arena. Today, this location has established an impressive reputation from locals and tourists catching glimpses of some of the events held at the centre.
With that being said, atop of the Chinatown’s Sixth Street, visitors can snag some of the coolest views of the streets below, the Verizon Center, and so much more. Now, this is a traditional rooftop bar, meaning they do not offer any major small plate items. With that being said, you should also show up to this location early, especially on the night of a sporting event. It can get busy and packed quickly!
The view from the outdoor seats at the Wharf’s first rooftop bar is breathtaking: cherry blossoms blooming in East Potomac Park, boats sailing in the Washington Channel, planes taking off and landing at Reagan National Airport. Turn around and spot the scoreboard at Nationals Park, the Capitol Dome and the Library of Congress.
Whiskey Charlie has been offering these stellar vistas since mid-November, but winter wasn’t the ideal time to visit a waterfront rooftop with frequent crosswinds. The bar, perched on the 10th floor of the hotel Canopy by Hilton, at the development’s southern tip, kept drinks flowing indoors through the cold months, offering fire pits and heat lamps for those brave enough to imbibe on the deck. The views compensated for the chilly fingers holding glasses.
Whiskey Charlie’s full outdoor bar is set to open April 15 — a spokesperson said management was waiting until there was no longer a chance that the pipes could freeze — but in the meantime, you’re welcome to grab a $13 cocktail inside, such as the spicy Warm Spell, made with mezcal, tequila, pineapple and a chile pepper tincture, or a Dark and Stormy punched up by house-made ginger beer, and then carry it out to the deck, where there are a mix of couches, garden furniture and high communal tables. (Plenty of customers, though, seemed happy to settle at the railing and take selfies with the water and docks in the background.)
Beginning Friday, Colada Shop — and its vibrant, Technicolor vision of Miami’s Little Havana at 14th and T streets NW — is expanding to the building’s Instagrammable rooftop, where flowerpots hang on seafoam-green walls and tables are surrounded by low, cushioned couches and bright blue and yellow chairs.
A satellite bar sells $10 pouched cocktails — think adult Capri-Suns, the latest trend for adults who can’t let go of childhood — and $35 pitchers of mojitos and pineapple sparkling sangria after 4 p.m. on Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays. (Customers can still order classic Cuban cocktails, including one of the area’s best daiquiris and the rum-and-apricot Hotel Nacional, which will be brought up from downstairs.) Snacks, such as empanadas and croquetas, are also available.
Even better, you don’t have to rush out of work to snag a happy-hour deal: On Thursdays, the Havana Nights party offers $6 house cocktails and $2 empanadas from 4 to 11 p.m. 1405 T St. NW.
The Embassy Row Hotel
This rooftop wins the superlative for “Most Attractive.” A sparkling pool, brightly colored couches, and cabanas give you the feeling that you’re no longer in the city, with refreshing drinks and bar bites enhancing the experience. Day passes are available starting at 3pm for $30, but if you’re ordering food, you don’t need to buy one. This summer, there’s plenty to do up there — spin classes in the pool, live music, a silent disco, sunrise yoga on weekends, and bottomless Bloodys and mimosas for $35 from 11am-1pm on Sundays.
The Ellipse Rooftop Bar
Opened in summer 2016, this stylish, minimalist spot has plush seating, fire pits, and a retractable canopy. Settle in with a cocktail like the Spicy Mexican Mule, local craft brews, the charcuterie board, and bar staples like nachos, wings, and tots.