Summer is upon us and if you haven’t already, you’re likely to get ambushed by people telling you about summer workouts and tips to getting that beach bod blah blah blah. That’s great and all, but we’re here to remind you that summer isn’t just about the bods – it’s about the bars. Here are 25 rooftop bars the District has to offer.
This list was originally compiled by Julie Yorkshire and has been updated by Michelle Goldchain.
Everyone should already know about this Admo hot spot, but in case you missed the memo, make it a priority to stop by the Jack Rose Dining Saloon. Enjoy a great craft brew or cocktail from the open-air terrace which overlooks 18th Street.
In search of a cute and romantic rooftop with lights strung across the sky and flickering tiny candles on the table? Look no further than Perry’s in AdMo. We like their gin cocktails, Elderflower sangria, and sushi bites. The perch overlooks Columbia Road and 18th Street – perfect walking distance to the rest of your night on the town.
“Roof” is in the name, so don’t miss this neighborhood bar located in popular Adam’s Morgan. Grab a seat overlooking 18th Street and enjoy beer flights or a punch bowl cocktail and some live music.
Next time you’re in the Eastern Market area, be sure to stop by this neighborhood rooftop haven. We recommend drinks like the Great Green Garden cocktail and the Chairman’s Mule to wash down your order of Saganaki (aka flamin’ cheese).
Ambar is a prime destination for Balkan cuisine and $4 happy hour specials on weekdays. The drink menu is extensive, and our favorites include Barrel-Aged Negroni cocktails and Zagorka beer. Rooftop seating goes fast, so ditch work early to stake out your spot – your boss is cool with it.
This three-story bar is situated conveniently in Chinatown just across the street from the Verizon Center. It’s a reliable spot for a good happy hour deals, cocktails, and views of heavily intoxicated sports fans flooding the streets after games.
If you like board games, dive bars, and roof decks, you’ll probably like Red Derby. Enough said.
Get the party started with sublime margaritas and cerveza at El Chucho. The rooftop gets crowded, so risk being un-cool by showing up while it’s still daylight to secure your seats.
Head to the rooftop of The Donovan House for great views of Thomas Circle. The bar has a sophisticated vibe and features live music, Japanese street food, classic cocktails, and fun options like boozy popsicles.
POV is the rooftop bar at the W Hotel and it’s one of the most selfie-violated bars in the city. Don’t believe us? Just look it up on social media. Everything about POV looks expensive and it’s one of the best places to take in views of the monuments and the White House.
This rooftop bar features spectacular views of the Dupont Circle neighborhood and vistas of the D.C. skyline. Order classic house cocktails, martinis, and snacks from the menu!
You might not find a better lookin’ beer garden in town! The menu includes all the bells and whistles you’d expect, and then some. We like the $20 two-pound pretzels, grapefruit beer, and authentic German drafts which are impossible to pronounce, especially after you’ve had a few of them.
This is less of a bar and more of a full-on restaurant, but, man, are the drinks great or what? ON Sundays, this venue offers a buffet brunch, while the pre-performance cocktails are included with an intimate setting. Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
Why not drink in style at one of the city’s most scandalous locations? At the Watergate Hotel, enjoy 360-degree views of the Potomac River and the Kennedy Center at this rooftop bar and lounge.
The Observatory is not actually an observatory at all in terms of star-gazing. People gazing, yes. This swanky Georgetown rooftop bar, atop the Graham Hotel, offers ample seating and amazing panoramic views of the Washington Monument and city skyline. Hurry while views last – this gem is only open through the end of summer. Sad face.
H Street NE
Order yourself a pint of German beer and a soft pretzel at Biergarten Haus on H Street. There’s plenty of rooftop seating, and if you’re lucky, you might happen to stop by during a live polka music show. And if you’re even luckier, you might be able to showcase your own moves, but don’t bet on it.
Skip the childish mini golf and head upstairs to the rooftop where the real fun happens. This place isn’t actually a country club, in case you were wondering, so leave the polos at home. Margaritas, whisky, sangria, beer — this menu has the basics down.
Okay. Okay. This is less of a rooftop bar than an outdoor patio, but it’s still great for river-side views and a glass of some Rosé. The restaurant menu is also pretty impressive with lamb, roasted monkfish, and, for dessert, a caramel apple with cider donuts or an elderflower parfait with a coconut sorbet.
Head to DC9 for quality drinks between music shows. It’s a great spot to enjoy cheap draft beer, juicy burgers, and never-ending piles of garlic fries. Just be sure to bring some mouthwash.
1905 is a gem hidden in plain site in the Shaw neighborhood. The rooftop has a full service bar and a food menu featuring southern favorites like fried shrimp, fried grits, and fried catfish. It’s finger lickin’ good.
U Street Corridor/14th Street
With $5 beers and $8 frozen margaritas, the happy hour at this bar is hard to beat. At this rooftop, be sure to enjoy some people-watching in U Street.
For the foodies out there, this eatery includes much more than just good drinks, but also croquetas, empanadas, Cuban sandwiches, and the ever-wonderful tres leches cake, topped with vanilla meringue.
If you love to people-watch while sipping mango margaritas and caipirinhas, then El Centro on 14th Street is for you. Make this rooftop part of your weekend or happy hour plans, and don’t forget your sunglasses – no Español necessary.
Marvin’s rooftop is the perfect place to enjoy Southern-inspired dishes and cocktails with incredible names like “Distant Lover,” “Mercy Mercy Me,” and “The Mayor.” Drink – and dance – at your own risk.
Behold, the Wharf’s first ever rooftop bar. From here, view the cherry blossoms in East Potomac Park or the crowds lining up at The Anthem. Expect high-end cocktails and “clever” finger food (e.g., crab cake sliders, house-made cheese empanadas, and more).
Did we miss one of your favorite spots for outdoor libations? Email us: [email protected]