Guide to Drinking on Rooftops and Roof Decks in DC

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

[This post is just about rooftops, roof decks, and elevated bars; for other outside patios and beer gardens in DC, see here).

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 (even though 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/great Twitter /newsletter writer Chelsea Cirruzzo, I’ve also embedded a map. You can also download this sortable spreadsheet to keep track yourself. 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
  • Barred in DC pick in red.

THE MAP

 

THE LIST

(Best read in landscape mode on phone)

More information is in the spreadsheet, including opening weekday hours (those in italics signify only information about the interior space, unclear whether roof is open that early), information regarding whether the spot allows smoking outside, and whether it has a divey feel to it. Spreadsheet also includes other outdoor bars and beer gardens; you can filter those out.

Roof tops/decks open before 3p during week: The Liaison Cap Hill, POV, Bar Deco, Colada Shop, The Embassy Row Hotel (fee)

Roof tops/decks open 3p-4p during week: Tortuga’s, Rebellion, The Delegate, TikiTNT, Whiskey Charlie; Friday only: Nellie’s, El Centro D.F.

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

Allow Smoking: Jack Rose, Madam’s Organ, Red Derby, The Big Hunt, Dew Drop Inn, The Graham Georgetown, Rock and Roll Hotel, Dirty Water, Little Miss Whiskey’s, H Street CC (distant part of roof), DC9, Ivy & Coney, Dodge City, Marvin, The Brixton, Ivy City Smokehouse

Pools: The Liaison Cap Hill (fee required to swim), The DNV Rooftop (may be just for hotel guests), The Embassy Row Hotel (must pay to even get on roof)

Shaw

DC9 low-rise rooftop bar
Ivy & Coney 2nd floor open-air terrace
Takoda low-rise roof deck
Columbia Room low-rise roof deck
The Delegate (Courtyard/Res. Inn Conv. Ctr) 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 Shaw hi-rise rooftop bar

U Street / Logan Circle

Nellie’s 2nd floor open-air terrace
El Centro D.F. 2nd floor open-air terrace
Sakerum 2nd floor open-air terrace
Colada Shop 2nd floor roof deck
Masa 14 2nd floor rooftop
Dodge City 2nd floor roof deck
Marvin 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
Local 16 2nd floor roof deck w/ 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
The Rooftop Bar at Mason & Rook (Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar
DNV Rooftop Lounge (Donovan Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar

Dupont Circle

Lauriol Plaza low-rise rooftop bar
18th Street Lounge 2nd floor elevated bar
Sauf Haus low-rise open-air terrace
The Big Hunt 2nd floor roof deck
Beacon Sky Bar (Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar
The Rooftop at the Embassy Row Hotel

(sometimes only for guests of hotel, other times require to pay fee)

hi-rise rooftop bar
Rebellion 2nd floor rooftop bar
Ozio low-rise rooftop bar
Dirty Bar low-rise roof deck w/bar
Decades mid-rise rooftop bar
Rosebar low-rise rooftop bar
Public Bar Live low-rise rooftop bar

H Street

Smith Commons low-rise roof deck
Pie Shop 2nd floor roof deck
Biergarten Haus 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
Rock N Roll Hotel low-rise rooftop bar
RedRocks H Street 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

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 rooftop bar
CityBar  (Hyatt Place National Mall) hi-rise rooftop bar

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 Liaison Capitol Hill Rooftop Bar (Hotel) hi-rise rooftop bar
The Ugly Mug 2nd floor open-air terrace
Top of the Yard (Hampton Inn NY) 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 terrace
roof deck w/ bar
Mellow Mushroom 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
Cleveland Park Bar & Grill 2nd floor rooftop bar

Columbia Heights / Petworth

El Chucho 2nd floor rooftop
The Airedale 2nd floor roof deck
Little Coco’s 2nd floor roof deck w/ bar
Red Derby 2nd floor rooftop bar
Homestead low-rise roof deck w/ bar
The Pitch Tavern low-rise roof deck

Downtown

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

Georgetown / Foggy Bottom / Glover Park

Surfside Glover Park 2nd floor rooftop bar
Town Hall 2nd floor roof deck
American Eats Tavern 2nd floor elevated bar
The Graham Georgetown Rooftop (Hotel) mid-rise rooftop bar
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 (Pod 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

Ivy City / Union Market / NoMa / Other NE

Ivy City Smokehouse 2nd floor roof deck
City Winery low-rise rooftop
The Conservatory at Gravitas 2nd floor rooftop
Big Chief 2nd floor rooftop bar
Dew Drop Inn 2nd floor roof deck

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

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