The Best Roof Decks in

The Best Roof Decks in

It’s warm and sunny out, well, at least it’s supposed to be. An unseasonably cold April throws everything into doubt. But, on the assumption that late spring offers the most pleasantor, really, only pleasantweather D.C. has to offer, it’s the right time to take your drinks up to the roof and soak in the views as you quaff away. Oh, sure, there’s always somebody dropping blog posts about how every rooftop bar is sweet, awesome, and brand new, but don’t be taken in by the unfiltered hype. These are our picks for the best rooftop drinking spots around town.

RED DERBY: There were always plenty of reasons to like Red Derbyit’s unassuming, has great beer choices, and attracts a good crowd of neighborhood locals on weeknightsand its relatively new roof deck is just one more. Perched high above 14th Street, the deck affords a nice view of the neighborhood around it while taking advantage of the breezes that can make any D.C. summer day bearable. The recent addition of a roof cover over the deck means that you can even enjoy it during inclement weather; even on the coldest days the space heaters make it a great place to enjoy a drink.

DC9: The top, and exposed, floor of this Ninth Street NW music club is dark, narrow, and a little grimy, but its location offers great views of the U Street corridor. The layout is similar to that of Red Derby, but a bit more compact, so it feels more like a friend’s rooftop. Good beer selection, too.

POV: So, maybe it’s not officially a roofdeck because its not open-air and is adjacent, rather than above, the W hotel’s top floor, but this lounge on the top of the hotel offers seriously amazing views. One side looks directly on the National Mall and Washington Monument, the other, well, just a couple of ivory-white federal buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue. (The Treasury Department and White House, if you must ask.) Yeah, the decor, drinks, and often the clientele are ridiculous, especially when the after-work drinkers forget to stash their West Wing hard passes, but those views are hard to beat.

Via Jack Rose Dining Saloon

JACK ROSE DINING SALOON: Unlike other bars in Adams Morgan, Jack Rose Dining Saloon’s roof deck is open year-round, thanks to, well, a hard-plastic roof with retractable panels that open in the warmer months. (And also enable it to take advantage of D.C.’s very strict regulations over cigar smoking.) It also features a tiki bar and a grill pit. Not to mention one of the most impressive 304-grade stainless steel draught systems in the country. And it will soon be serving whiskey and cocktails on tap.

MADAM’S ORGAN: Or, you could try the other end of the Adams Morgan strip and head to the roof deck above D.C.’s most famous bosom. The roof at Madam’s Organ is up a few creaky staircases that probably need replacingor are at least held in place by owner Bill Duggan’s devil-may-care attitudeand offers the best views one can want in surveying the chaos of the trapezoid of iniquity below.

HOUSE OF SWEDEN: It’s an embassy of a foreign nation, not a bar, so it’s not always open for a quick sunset akvavit, but when the Swedes throw a springtime or summertime event, they do it by offering some of the best views in Georgetown. The embassy’s roof sees beyond the Whitehurst Freeway and into the rest of Georgetown; face the Potomac, and the Arlington skyline, with its tall buildings and airplane traffic, are in clear view. Plus, it’s decorated like the nicest IKEA store you’ve ever visited.

The Best Roof Decks in

The House of Sweden is located at 2900 K Street NW.

The Whitman in Mount Vernon Square

YOUR (OR YOUR FRIEND’S) APARTMENT BUILDING: Some of the best roof decks in the city are in condominium and apartment buildings, not bars. The Ellington, on U Street NW, has top-notch views but gets crowded quickly and is always under construction. Most of the other condo buildings in that areathe Beauregard, for instance, has good views but little furnishing. The 2020 Lofts have great views and enough furniture to not get crowded, but the commonersaka, non-penthouse ownersonly get views off the west side of the building. The Whitman in Mt. Vernon Square has an awesome roofdeck with a big pool, good amount of furniture, and a snack bar!

Your roof deck is located on the roof of your building. Or, if that doesn’t apply to you, get a friend with a condo.

Compiled by Martin Austermuhle, John Fleury, Benjamin R. Freed, Brett Gellman, Alicia Mazzara, Lynne Venart, and Andrew Wiseman.


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