Where to Day Drink on a DC Rooftop During the Week

It was lunchtime on a recent Thursday and I was stumped. A friend visiting from out of town had texted me, asking: “What’s a good place to drink on a rooftop right now?” Completely out of ideas, I instead pointed him to solid patios that I knew were open  like Duke’s Grocery and DC Reynolds. 

Afterwards, using RockTheRoofDC’s near-comprehensive guide to DC rooftops as a starting point, I confirmed that  museum/Mall-weary tourists, conventioneer truants, and local workers with more “flexible” summer schedules had few partake on roofs or similar elevated outdoor drinking areas: out of the 60-odd bars/restaurants in DC with such outdoor spaces, only FOUR are even open before 4p on weekdays, and only two of them, both in Georgetown, are open before 3p. Of course, if one wants to drink alfresco closer to the ground, there are a number of solid patios that are open during the day on weekdays, just not that many roof decks (although the majority are open during the day during the weekend). The short, but sweet, list of places to day drink on a roof during the week:

Georgetown

Old Glory

Old Glory (Credit: Old Glory website)
  • opens at 11a on weekdays
  • 3139 M St. NW
  • casual bbq spot
  • partially-covered deck off rear of 2nd floor, overlooks parking lot & Wisconsin Ave.

il Canale

il Canale (Credit: PoPville http://www.popville.com/2010/05/judging-restaurants-italian-in-georgetown/)
  • opens at 11:30a on weekdays
  • 1063 31st NW (between M and C&O Canal)
  • Italian restaurant
  • 2nd floor patio with large table umbrellas overlooks 31st St. with view of C&O canal

Downtown

P.OV. Rooftop Lounge and Terrace (W Washington Hotel)

P.O.V. atop W Washington (Credit: AFAR http://www.afar.com/highlights/a-good-point-of-view)
  • opens at 3p on weekdays
  • 515 15th St. NW (at F)
  • fancy hotel bar
  • million-dollar view of Washington Monument and White House; fully covered but open-air

Dupont Circle

Rebellion

Rebellion (Credit: Rebellion Facebook page)
  • opens at 3:30p on weekdays
  • 1836 18th St. NW (at T)
  • new whiskey spot
  • spacious 2nd floor spot (beware: not much of a cover) with own outdoor bar overlooking 18th Street
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Buffalo Billiards 20th Anniversary Party this Saturday, May 17th

IMG_20130408_205928_998

The subterranean Dupont sports bar Buffalo Billiards is throwing a bash this Saturday, May 17th to celebrate its 20th anniversary. From 2-8p, there will be specials each hour from a different brewery/liquor company. 20th anniversary can coozies will be given away and hot dogs will be grilled on the patio (weather permitting). Details (from DC Beer) on specials and prizes below (the 4-5p hour seems the best):

  • 2-3p
    • $2 Miller Lite and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy
    • Nats tickets & other prizes
  • 3p-4p
    • $2 Corona and Corona Light
    • raffle for a bike & other prizes
  • 4p-5p
    • $2 Flying Dog Easy IPA
    • Flying Dog brewery passes & Flying Dog summer concert series tickets
  • 5p-6p
    • $2 Yuengling
    • Brewery trip prizes & more
  • 6p-7p
    • $2 Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
    • Heavy Seas Aniversary cask with Loose Cannon, columbus and citra hops, apple wood and hard maple available
  • 7p-8p
    • $5 Patron
    • Patron golf bag and restaurant gift certificates

 

New Whiskey-Focused Bar, Rebellion, Opens Tuesday in Dupont

Rebellion First Floor Bar – Credit Rebellion Facebook page

Rebellion (website, Facebook, Twitter) – 1836 18th St. NW (at T), a new whiskey-focused Dupont bar, officially opens its doors on Tuesday, May 13th, after soft opening to the public on Friday. Previously home to a series of Asian eateries (memorably Straits of Malaya from 1989-1999 & 2004-2010, and less memorably Zabb and Mum Mum), the transformed space sits directly across 18th Street from the uber-popular Lauriol Plaza margarita/Mexican behemoth but aims to be a neighborhood spot. The menu boasts 50 types of bourbon and whiskey, a lengthy list of craft beers, a number of $10 & $12 cocktails, and Southern-inspired food. The bar (Rebellion’s photo gallery from the soft-opening gives a great tour of the space) features a tremendous rooftop complete with its own dedicated bar. Rebellion features some extended happy hour specials (3:30-8p M-F; $5 house wines & rails; $3 domestic cans; 1/2 price bar bites) and daily specials like 10% off for locals on Mondays, 25% off whiskey on Wednesday & $2 off craft beers on Thursdays.

Rebellion’s outdoor rooftop bar. Credit Rebellion’s Facebook page

Rebellion’s opening comes in the midst of a transformation of one of my favorite areas of DC; the blocks of 18th Street between S & T Streets now feature the affordable cocktail spot Bar Charley, the solid Dupont Market deli/sandwich spot, Mandu for Korean dumplings, Rosemary’s Bistro with its great patio, the hordes who frequent Lauriol Plaza and spill out onto its sidewalks, Rebellion, and possibly a new bar-Saloon 45-in an old flower shop. Unlike Bar Charley, Rebellion will not face a fight to open later hours; Mum Mum’s liquor license, which allowed full late closing hours, carries over (although the rooftop and sidewalk cafes will have to shut down by midnight each night, similar to neighboring spots).

 

Cinco de Mayo in DC – 2014

If you have recovered from Derby festivities, Cinco de Mayo is on Monday. Plenty of establishments (Mexican or not) are hosting celebrations (many already started); details below. Good round-ups at Washingtonian, the Post, the City Paper.

Dupont Circle

  • Cafe Citron – $4 tropical Malibu shots / $4 Olmeca Altos tequila shots / $6 Malibu Red margaritas
  • Mission – 3p-2a / $4 Corona / $4 El Jimador tequila / $6 margaritas
  • Lauriol Plaza  – $6.70 Margaritas
  • Crios
  • Fiesta
  • Alero

14th Street/Logan/U Street

  • Tortilla Coast – Corona Beach Cruiser bike giveaway
  • El Centro D.F. – starts at 3p / $5 margaritas (classic/strawberry/mango) / $10 buffet / DJ
  • Masa 14 –  starts at 3p / $5 margaritas (classic/strawberry/mango) / $5 small plates / DJ
  • El Rey – get a 5 pork taco (made of all pork) for $5 / tacos & drink specials
  • Pica Taco – platters & 1/2 price beers
  • Taqueria Nacional – all-day party from noon-10p
  • Alero
  • Diego
  • Judy Restaurant
  • Chi Cha Lounge – $4 Dos Equis / $5 peach margaritas & tequila shots / $6 El Diablo’s / $7 frozen margaritas / $20 Corona buckets

Downtown

  • Ceiba – starts at 3p / $5 margaritas / Mexican street food
  • MXDC – starts at 3p /  $6 cocktails / launch of new cocktail menu with DC mixologists / $3 Dos Equis & Tecate / $5 tacos / $6 El Jimador Blanco shots

Chinatown/Penn Quarter

  • Zengo – starts at 3p / $5 margaritas (classic/strawberry/mango) / free chips & salsa & passed apps / DJ
  • Oyamel
  • Austin Grill
  • Rosa Mexicana – special menu / $35 prix fixe avail / mariachi bands
  • Penn Social – starts at 7p / $5 margaritas
  • Ella’s Pizza – $5 margaritas & sangria all day
  • Carving Room – $3 tacos / $5 tequila / $6 margaritas  / $5 Mexican craft beer

Adams Morgan

  • Casa Oaxaca – HH 3-6:30p / $5 margaritas, sangrias & antojitos / $4 tequila-tamarind shots
  • El Tamarindo – drink specials, giveaways & special menu
  • Town Tavern – starts at 5p / $3 taco baskets & tequila sunrises until 10p / $5 Coronas, margaritas & tequila shots all night / $12 bottomless margaritas 5-7p / Town Tavern donkey
  • Jack Rose – DC Brau/Flying Dog SAVOR week event / $5 beer from 6-9p / Mexican food avail

Georgetown/Glover Park

  • El Centro D.F. – starts at 3p / $5 margaritas (classic/strawberry/mango) / $10 buffet / DJ
  • Bandolero – all day happy hour
  • Surfside
  • Don Lobo’s
  • Los Cuates
  • Mate Lounge – $6 margaritas & mojitos / $7 tequila cocktails, frozen margaritas & daiquiris

Capitol Hill/Eastern Market

  • Tortilla Coast – Corona Beach Cruiser bike giveaway
  • Banana Cafe – $5 El Jimador & Cuervo tequila shots / $8 Corona-ritas / $17 Dos Equis pitchers
  • Pacifico Cantina
  • La Loma
  • La Plaza
  • Las Placitas
  • La Lomita

H Street

Columbia Heights/Petworth

  • El Chucho – starts at 11:30p / breakfast burritos / $4.50 draft margs / $5.50 frozen margs / $3 Tecate tallboys
  • Mama Chuy
  • El Tio
  • Dulcinea Bar and Grill

Other

  • Cantina Marina (SW Waterfront)
  • Guapo’s (Tenleytown)
  • Cactus Cantina (Cathedral Heights)
  • Rose Mexicana (Friendship Heights) – special menu / $35 prix fixe avail
  • Alero (Cleveland Park)
  • Agua 301 (Navy Yard)

The Julep Index – Where to Watch the Derby in DC

The Kentucky Derby, the most famous horse race in the world, is this Saturday, with a post time at 6:24p. Many DC bars are hosting watch parties (one is even doing a listening party as it has no TVs); it’s always a good excuse for day-drinking and dressing fancy. We’ve compiled a list of these events from the Post, BYT, Washingtonian, InTheCapital, Zagat, and Urbandaddy, along with our own research. These are helpfully organized by how much mint juleps will cost during the festivities, so you can know where to get your julep on (though likely the pricier juleps have higher-quality bourbon).

$5 Juleps

  • Red Derby (ColHi): 11a-7pish, $3 bloody mary’s & mimosas, free derby pie at 6p
  • The Blaguard (Adams Morgan): 12:30-7p
  • Acadiana (PQ/Chinatown): tvs on patio & inside, $5 hot browns, burgoo stew, Derby pie & Bulleit tasting at 4p
  • Ventnor Sports Cafe (AdMo): followed by DC United viewing party
  • Old Glory (Georgetown)
  • Barrel (Capitol Hill): 4-7p, $5 Barrel-aged Makers Mark Mint Juleps, house-made corndogs ($5), honey butter biscuits ($7)

$7 Juleps

  • Acre 121 (ColHi): tvs on patio and inside, also $7 Derby Punch, hat contest
  • Vinoteca (U Street): also boozy Churchill Downs Iced tea & other derby cocktails
  • J. Paul’s (Georgetown): 4:30-6:30p (end of race), Big Hat Goose Island 312 Beer & Bourbon party, free J. Paul’s Amber Ale if you wear derby hat, also $7 baby Fireball shot & Derby Sangria

$8 Juleps

  • Bourbon (Glover Park): Noon-7p, juleps made with Old Forester, derby punch specials
  • The Brixton (U Street): 2-7p, tvs on 2nd floor & rooftop also $8 Ketel One lemonades, $5 drafts, $20 Miller Lite buckets
  • Logan Tavern (14th St/Logan): Southern food; also $8 Ginger Arnold Palmer, Oaks Lily; $15 Kentucky bourbon flights

$10 Juleps

  • Bourbon (Adams Morgan): starts at 11a, julep made with Old Forester & passed apps start at 3-4p
  • The Heights (ColHi): $12 hot browns & $5 bourbon balls, drink specials
  • Black Jack (14th/Logan)

Unknown Price

  • Southern Efficiency (Shaw): starts at 2p, draft juleps, hot browns on broiler, no TVs, so announce winner or play radio
  • Bourbon Steak (Georgetown): tv on patio, julep spritzers, prizes
  • Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar (H Street): 5-7:30; Bulleit bourbon, mint julep crunkcakes, bbq prepared by guy from The Queen Vic on back patio, hosted by drag queen
  • Smith Commons (H Street): 2-7p, HH upstairs ($5 selected beer, cocktails & wine), DJ, juleps & big hat contest
  • RFD (Chinatown): julep specials from 3-6:30p
  • Policy (14th/Logan)
  • Irish Whiskey (Dupont)
  • Old Dominion Brewhouse (Shaw/Convention Center): food and drink specials

Ticketed Admission

  • Poste (PQ/Chinatown): $80; 3-7p, all-you-can-eat-and-drink inc. draft juleps, Southern cuisine, live bluegrass, Wii horse-race tourney, special DC Brau PQ Porter barrel-aged Knob Creek
  • Round Robin (Willard): $80; 3-6p, 28th annual Bonnets and Bowties party, inc. 2 cocktails (juleps or otherwise), Southern buffet, music, prizes
  • Park at Fourteenth (Downtown): $25 advance/$30 door; 6th annual benefit for Perry Center Youth Development programs, inc. games, auctions & prizes

Recap of 3 Stars Brewing Tap Takeover at Scion

Signage with info on Tap Takeover at Scion
Signage with info on Tap Takeover at Scion

DC’s best brewery, 3 Stars Brewing Company (not just according to me-see the City Paper’s nod), hopes to finally release its first bottled beer in the next 4-6 weeks. This is one of the many tidbits Barred in DC learned while chatting with the brewers at the recent Tap Takeover hosted by the Dupont restaurant Scion. Ten beers from 3 Stars were offered ($4-4.50 during HH, $8-9 afterwards); Barred in DC was able to sample seven (whoa! on a school night, no less) of them over the course of the evening. All were great (tasting notes about these beers at the end of this post). We also snagged some swag including a t-shirt and a mesh cap.

Two of the beers sampled
Two of the beers sampled

We chatted at length with co-owner Dave Coleman, who shared the news about the bottles; the first beer may be one of its darker beers such as the Pandemic Porter or the Southern Belle brown ale. They’ll be large-format beers (750 mL) and likely be topped with corks and cages. The bottles will be first offered only to members of its beer club (Illuminati Reserve Society), and may be offered to public afterwards (let’s hope!). Later, a tallboy can of the incredible Citra & Lemon Peel Saison may be canned.  

Bar at Scion
Bar at Scion

Dave also spoke at length about the benefit of collaborations with other brewers or restaurants (as several of those on tap were): they’re fun to do, help spread the hard labor around (often cutting the brew day in half), and provide new brewers a kick-start before they can set up their own equipment (3 Stars worked with Evolution and Oliver Ales in collaborations before releasing its own stuff). Currently, 3 Stars is doing a cool collaboration with Pizzeria Paradiso inspired by the great writer/thinker Dante. This 9 part series has already kicked off (the first one was The Moon-featured at the Tap Takeover; next up is Mercury-both inspired by Dante’s Paradiso). The goal is to culminate with a college lecture.

Posted up at the bar
Posted up at the bar

The folks from 3 Stars were very friendly; Dave also shared an amusing story (ask him) on how 3 Stars monitors social media, including the popular Untappd app, has evolved over the past few years they have been in business. We had a great time and highly recommend that you make to one of the many events Scion hosts (always a good crowd, but never so packed you can’t move).

Scion hosts many great beer events
Scion hosts many great beer events

Some notes of each of the beers we sampled in pints, snifters, tulips, pints & smaller snifters:

Samsquanch w/ lemon peel (cask)

  • White IPA  / 5.8% ABV
  • Very drinkable even for non-IPA drinkers
  • This version was only cask available so may not be available anymore

Danny Greene (Oxbow collaboration)

  • Imperial IPA / 8%
  • Very hoppy; let the aroma prepare and forewarn you

Paradiso: The Moon (Pizzeria Paradiso collaboration)

  • Saison w/ sour orange / 5.5%
  • slight tartness that refreshes more than dries palate
  • served in tulip glass so nose is just as happy as your mouth

From Russia with Love (Meridian Pint collaboration)

  • Imperial Stout / 8.2%
  • bold flavor
  • front-end chocolate flavors melt into a back-end coffee taste

The Phoenix

  • Rye saison / 5.3%
  • liked this a ton
  • buttery, like a smooth Chardonnay of beers

Pandemic Porter

  • Imperial porter / 9.6%
  • big, bold bitter flavor
  • epitome of imperial porter
  • pretty balanced, sweet and creamy

Southern Belle

  • Brown ale w/ pecan / 8.7%
  • moderately bitter
  • aroma of sweet syrupy nuttiness of pecan
  • fresh, crisp, very sweet
  • wait for wave of pecan to wash over you in after taste

The Gryphon set to reopen in mid-May

The Gryphon
The Gryphon

The Gryphon, the short-lived Dupont sports lounge in the old Heritage India space, is set to reopen in mid-May. The spot, from the folks behind Lost Society, was only open for about 3 months (March-June 2013) before closing for “renovations.” An announced October reopening came and went.

According to a story from the City Paper’s Young & Hungry blog, The Gryphon was being retooled to downplay the unsuccessful sports bar element (which I witnessed firsthand) and be more like a steakhouse like Lost Society.