Guide to Drinking on Rooftops and Roof Decks in DC

TikiTNT Roof Deck on The Wharf (photo: Barred in DC)

Updated – May 2022

[This post is just about rooftops, roof decks, and elevated bars; for other outside patios and beer gardens in DC, see (not yet updated) here). Like this content-become a Patreon member to support this free site.

Folks in DC love drinking outside. Throughout March-October (and beyond), sidewalk patios and other “summer gardens” (DC’s legal term for outdoor drinking not on public space)) are always packed for happy hour and on weekends ( smoking is legally allowed, though many spots prohibit it). But sometimes patrons rather drink away from the cars, scooters, and pedestrians down below; instead they make their way to higher up towards the sky, to the rooftop bars and roof decks across the city. The Washingtonian‘s Jessica Sidman has maintained for a couple years now that DC has more rooftop bars than any U.S. city. Barred in DC’s cursory research reveals that on a per capita basis, this may be true (at least for big cities): for example, New York had over 100 in 2016, while Chicago had 65 in 2017.  Barred in DC’s accounting shows around 95 rooftop/roof deck bars in DC in the city proper as of June 2019 so that means (assuming 10% increase a year) NYC has 1 rooftop bar for every 65,000 people, Chicago with 1 in every 33,000, and DC with 1 for every 7400 people!

To aid y’all in your elevated outdoor drinking quest, Barred in DC has attempted to compile a comprehensive list of every rooftop, roof deck, and other prominent elevated drinking destinations in the District of Columbia (sorry Arlington and Bethesda), including many restaurants. Thanks to journalist writer Chelsea Cirruzzo, I’ve also embedded a map.  Have any corrections or additions? Email barredindc@gmail.com or @barredindc on Twitter (DM’s open). 

First, some definitions (there is very good chance you will disagree with the categorizations) to get you some flavor of what the bar is like and a potential view:

  • Rooftop: A bar that is essentially on the roof of the building. If you look at the building from across the street or from afar, you’ll think “oh yeah, they put a bar on the roof.” If “bar” is added, this  means that there is an outdoor bar (or basically outdoor) to serve drinks from. Many of these are seasonal.
  • Roof deck: A drinking area that isn’t really on the roof of the building per se but instead it’s essentially a deck on the top floor of the building. Many of these may feel like more rooftops (most of the top floor might be outdoors) while others may just feel like a back balcony (though this list does not include small balconies). Basically, if you looked at the building, the outdoor space does not look like it’s on the roof. If “w/ bar” is added, this  means that there is an outdoor bar (or basically outdoor) to serve drinks from.
  • Open air-terrace: Close to a roof deck w/ bar, but these are places that the roof and some walls of an existing interior space seemingly (or actually were removed) and usually added retractable roof and/or windows. Always year-round spots.
  • Elevated bar: These feel like roof decks but aren’t actually on the top floor of the building. Only including significant spots here.
  • 2nd floor: The outdoor drinking space is on the 2nd floor (top) of the building
  • Low-rise: The outdoor drinking space is on the 3rd-4th floors of the building
  • Mid-rise: The outdoor drinking space is on the 5th-8th floors of the building
  • High-rise: The outdoor drinking space is on the 9th or higher floor of the building
  • *: Asterisk means the outdoor space is geared more for eating/sitting

THE MAP

THE LIST

Divey roof tops/decks:  Madams Organ, Red Derby, Dew Drop Inn, Dirty Water, Little Miss Whiskey’s, DC9

Allow Smoking (confirmed*): Madam’s Organ*, Red Derby*, Dew Drop Inn*, Little Miss Whiskey’s*, DC9* (special area year round, in rest of space when not enclosed otherwise),  Ivy City Smokehouse

Hotels with Roof tops/decks: Courtyard/Residence Inn Convention Center, Cambria Hotel Convention Center, Courtyard/Residence Inn Convention Center, Viceroy Hotel (Hush Rooftop Bar, formerly Kimpton Mason & Rook), Hotel Zena (Hedy’s Rooftop, formerly DNV Rooftop at Kimpton Donovan hotel), Kimpton Banneker Hotel (Lady Bird, formerly Hotel Rouge, rooftop previously not open), Beacon Hotel (Sky Bar, currently closed), Intercontinental – The Wharf (12 Stories), Canopy by Hilton – The Wharf (Whiskey Charlie), Hyatt Place National Mall (CityBar), citizenM Capitol (cloudM Capitol), Hampton Inn Navy Yard (Top of the Yard), Thompson Hotel (Anchovy Social), AC Hotel Capitol Hill/Navy Yard (Smoke and Mirrors), Homewood Suites Navy Yard, Eaton Hotel (Wild Days), Hyatt Place White House (The Ellipse Rooftop Bar), Hotel Washington (VUE, previously POV at W Washington), The Graham Georgetown Hotel, Rosewood Hotel (CUT Above Rooftop Bar & Lounge), Hotel Hive (Hive Rooftop), The Watergate Hotel (Top of the Gate), Motto Hotel (Crimson View, formerly the Pod Hotel), Conrad Hotel DC (Summitt the Rooftop), AC Hotel – Convention Center (Ciel Social Club), Cambria Capitol Riverfront (Perch SW Waterfront)

Shaw

DC9 low-rise rooftop bar
Ivy & Coney 2nd floor open-air terrace
Takoda low-rise roof deck
Courtyard/Residence Inn Conv. Ctr Rooftop Bar hi-rise rooftop bar
Cortez low-rise rooftop bar
El Techo low-rise rooftop bar
801 low-rise rooftop bar
Flash low-rise rooftop bar
Uproar low-rise rooftop bar
Cambria Hotel Convention Center hi-rise rooftop bar

U Street / Logan Circle

Nellie’s 2nd floor open-air terrace
Salazar 2nd floor open-air terrace
Colada Shop 2nd floor roof deck
Gypsy Kitchen 2nd floor rooftop
Kiki 2nd floor roof deck
Elements low-rise rooftop bar
The Brixton low-rise rooftop bar
Lost Society low-rise rooftop bar
Hawthorne low-rise rooftop bar
Dirty Goose low-rise rooftop bar
Skybox at Player’s Club mid-rise rooftop
Hush Rooftop Bar (Viceroy Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar
Hedy’s Rooftop (Hotel Zena) hi-rise rooftop bar

Dupont Circle

Lauriol Plaza low-rise rooftop bar
Twelve After Twelve 2nd floor elevated bar
Sauf Haus low-rise open-air terrace
Lady Bird (Kimpton Banneker Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar
Beacon Sky Bar (Hotel) (temp closed) hi-rise rooftop bar
Ozio low-rise rooftop bar
Decades mid-rise rooftop bar
Rosebar low-rise rooftop bar
Public Bar Live low-rise rooftop bar

H Street

Crab Boss low-rise rooftop bar
Pie Shop 2nd floor roof deck
Biergarten Haus 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
Focus low-rise rooftop bar
Dirty Water low-rise rooftop bar
Little Miss Whiskey’s 2nd floor roof deck
H Street Country Club low-rise rooftop bar

The Wharf / SW 

The Anthem Marquee Bar 2nd floor elevated bar
Cantina Bambina 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
12 Stories (Intercontinental – The Wharf) hi-rise rooftop
Officina low-rise rooftop bar
Tiki TNT 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
Whiskey Charlie (Canopy By Hilton – The Wharf) hi-rise rooftop bar
La Vie mid-rise elevated bar
Perch SW Rooftop Lounge (Cambria Capitol Riverfront) hi-rise rooftop bar
CityBar  (Hyatt Place National Mall) hi-rise rooftop bar
cloudM Washington DC Capitol (citzenM Washington DC Capitol Hotel) hi-rise rooftop

Capitol Hill / Navy Yard 

Tortuga Caribbean Bar & Grill 2nd floor rooftop bar
Trusty’s 2nd floor roof deck
Betsy 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
The Ugly Mug 2nd floor open-air terrace
Top of the Yard (Hampton Inn NY) hi-rise rooftop bar
Anchovy Social (Thompson Hotel) hi-rise rooftop
Smoke and Mirrors (AC Hotel Capitol Hill/Navy Yard) hi-rise rooftop bar
All Purpose Navy Yard 2nd floor rooftop bar
Homewood Suites Navy Yard hi-rise rooftop

Adams Morgan / Cleveland Park

Jack Rose 2nd floor open-air terraceroof deck w/ bar
Big Sky low-rise roof deck
Pitchers 2nd floor roof deck
Roofer’s Union low-rise rooftop bar
Perry’s low-rise rooftop bar
Madams Organ low-rise rooftop bar
The Imperial 2nd floor rooftop bar
Cleveland Park Bar & Grill 2nd floor rooftop bar

Columbia Heights / Petworth

El Chucho 2nd floor rooftop
The Artemis 2nd floor roof deck
Little Coco’s 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
Red Derby 2nd floor rooftop bar
Commonwealth Cantina low-rise roof deck w/ bar

Downtown

Wild Days (Eaton Hotel) hi-rise rooftop
The Ellipse Rooftop Bar (Hyatt Place White House) hi-rise rooftop bar
VUE (Hotel Washington) hi-rise rooftop bar
Eden mid-rise rooftop bar

Georgetown / Foggy Bottom / Glover Park

Mario’s Trattoria 2nd floor rooftop bar
The Graham Georgetown Rooftop (Hotel) mid-rise rooftop bar
CUT Above Rooftop Bar & Lounge (Rosewood Hotel) mid-rise rooftop bar
Hive Rooftop (Hotel Hive) mid-rise rooftop bar
Top of the Gate (The Watergate Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar

Penn Quarter / Chinatown / Mt. Vernon Triangle

Crimson View (Motto Hotel) hi-rise rooftop
Bar Deco low-rise rooftop bar
Summit the Rooftop at Conrad (Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar
Cloak Room (adult entertainment) low-rise rooftop bar
Ciel Social Club (AC Hotel – Convention Center) hi-rise rooftop

Ivy City / Union Market / NoMa / Brookland

Ivy City Smokehouse 2nd floor roof deck
City Winery low-rise rooftop
The Conservatory at Gravitas 2nd floor rooftop
Other Half Brewing 2nd floor rooftop bar
Hi-Lawn (on top of Union Market) 2nd floor rooftop bar
Dew Drop Inn 2nd floor roof deck
The Runaway 2nd floor roof deck

Restaurants with Rooftop/Roof Decks But Mostly For Diners, Not Drinkers: Jinya (14th), Nooshi (Capitol Hill), il Canale (Georgetown), Del Mar (The Wharf), O-Ku (Union Market), Union Oyster Bar and Lounge (Union Market), Provost (Woodridge), Maketto (H Street)

Roof Decks with Pool Open to Public with Purchase of Day Pass/Private Event Rental: Yotel Washington DC (Deck 11-$50 day pass starting at 8a M-W, $100 Th-Sun); The Ven Embassy Row (The Rooftop-$99 day pass M-Th; $700/month for weekly access, $500/month for Mon-Th)

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