Feature

10 Hottest Rooftop Restaurants & Bars in DC

By Rina Rapuano  |  May 16, 2016
Credit: Scott Suchman

This might be the rainiest spring on record, but it won't be long until we're all complaining about the heat. (#SouthernSummer.) All we're hoping for is a few glorious days of perfect rooftop weather before the impending sweat lodge. So, whether you're interested in grabbing brunch in the sun or dancing to a DJ under the stars, we've got you covered. Here are 10 of the hottest rooftop bars and restaurants in DC:  

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  • Credit: Vithaya Photography

    Takoda Restaurant & Beer Garden
    No need to settle for the downstairs dining room — the rooftop “beer garden” is weather-proof with removable windows that make it comfortable year-round.
    The View: Its location — where Florida Avenue meets U Street — means great people-watching
    What to Order: Rosemary-Parmesan tots ($6); skillet mac 'n' cheese ($8); fried chicken and sweet potato waffle ($15)
    Insider Tip: Whiskey fans, take note: The bar pours more than 50 American spirits ranging from a $6 Old Crow to a Hillrock Solera aged bourbon for $22

    715 Florida Ave. NW; 202-525-1252

  • Hawthorne
    This new bistro on U Street houses four floors of bar and restaurants and is capped with a glass-enclosed rooftop bar with retractable roof.
    The View: A 360-degree view of the DC skyline, including panoramic shots of the Washington Monument and The Capitol
    What to Order: Chesapeake mussels with duck fat fries ($20); lamb sandwich ($14); lobster mac 'n' cheese ($18)
    Insider Tip: Half-price drinks during happy hour, which runs from 5–7 PM daily; other happy hour deals include $7 BLT pork sliders, $5 craft beer, $6 wine selections and a $7 Hawthorne Smash cocktail

    1336 U St. NW; 202-853-9194

  • Sauf Haus Bier Hall
    Everything from the name (we hear it comes from the German phrase for being “sloshed”) to the 2-pound pretzels to the 16 mostly German beers on draft, this place was designed for fun. 
    The View: The Dupont skyline
    What to Order: Platter special ($12); Bavarian soft pretzels ($7–$20); whatever German draft catches your eye ($8–$17; each $2 off during happy hour)
    Insider Tip: Free live music every Thursday–Saturday nights; Monday nights are dubbed Equal Pay Day, when women receive a 22% discount on all food and drinks

    1216 18th St. NW; 202-466-3355

  • Credit: Barbara L. Salisbury

    POV
    Sure, it’s so touristy that you’ll likely have someone ask you to take their picture. And yes, it’s expensive. But this is one of those DC experiences you have to do at least once — and then every time you have a guest visiting from out of town. And you know what? You'll like it. 
    The View: This might be the very best public place in the city to view the grandeur of the monuments and the White House, not to mention a killer sunset
    What to Order: Duck quesadilla ($16); crab cake ($34); Corpse Reviver No. 2 ($16)
    Insider Tip: Request the monument corner well in advance for the most VIP experience; there’s late-night bottle service that includes a $3,000 bottle of 1998 Krug Brut champagne

    515 15th St. NW; 202-661-2400

  • Ten 01
    Occupying the two floors above Ben’s Chili Bowl on H Street, this sister restaurant serves a well-rounded roster of American and Mediterranean-inspired dishes like whole grain risotto, Johnny cakes and baked gnocchi.
    The View: The Washington Monument and the top of Union Station
    What to Order: Jerked salmon ($13.50); black bean hummus ($7.50); cauliflower two ways ($7.50)
    Insider Tip: Brunch is served alfresco Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM–4 PM featuring bottomless mimosas for $16; there’s no elevator, but you can take pit-stops to document the climb by taking photos in the artist painted “selfie stairwell”

    1001 H St. NE; 202-733-2405

  • Credit: Scott Suchman

    DNV Rooftop Lounge at Donovan House
    When you’re up here, you hardly feel like you’re in DC — it feels more like you’ve stepped into a Hollywood movie scene, both laid-back and sophisticated with its pool and a beach-getaway feel.
    The View: Thomas Circle has never looked so charming, plus you can see some monuments in the distance
    What to Order: Chicken burger ($16); robata skewers ($6–$8); Selfie Sticks ($15 for three), which are boozy ice pops that will come in varying flavors
    Insider Tip: The space hosts a happy hour from 4-7 PM weekdays, with sparkling sake and sushi rolls on special for $6

    1155 14th St. NW; 202-379-4366

  • Embassy Row Hotel
    Unlike many hotel rooftop pools, this one isn’t reserved for guests. Locals can take a dip for $30 a day — or lounge around the pool ordering drinks and taking in sunsets with no cover charge.
    The View: Embassies, the National Cathedral and Dupont Circle
    What to Order: Watermelon summer salad ($14); chicken sandwich with bacon and Swiss ($10); watermelon margarita ($12)
    Insider Tip: Check here for an up-to-date roster of fun rooftop events like Hooky Fridays, silent discos, yoga and art exhibitions

    2015 Massachusetts Ave. NW; 202-265-1600

  • Bar Deco
    This rooftop near the Verizon Center is a popular spot to hit before games, when crowds flock here for frozen drinks, brewskis and house-smoked meats. A bottomless brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday.
    The View: The Verizon Center and Chinatown’s Sixth Street
    What to Order: Loaded nachos topped with smoked pork ($14); Gouda short rib sandwich with bourbon-maple glaze ($15); smoked prime rib sandwich ($16)
    Insider Tip: Happy hour prices are in effect from 4–7 PM weekdays, when DC Brau drafts, house wines and rail drinks go for $5 each and nachos cost $10

    717 Sixth St. NW; 202-774-5867

  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon
    This Adams Morgan hot spot has three distinct bar areas on its rooftop terrace: the open-air terrace with draft beers, craft cocktails and a pit menu featuring food off the wood grill; the Balcony Room; and the back Tiki Bar, slinging tiki cocktails and Hawaiian-inspired fare starting in June.
    The View: The Balcony Room overlooks buzzing 18th Street; the Tiki Bar shows off the Washington Monument, making it a good spot for watching Fourth of July fireworks; and the terrace affords a great skyline view up 18th Street
    What to Order: Smoked whiskey wings ($13); steak tacos ($13); the Don’t Blink cocktail ($13); the Right Turn Clyde cocktail ($13)
    Insider Tip: Weekend nights tend to get crowded, so you’ll have a better shot at avoiding the masses if you go on weekdays or before 9 PM on weekends. Big games are shown on the terrace bar's four flat-screens

    2007 18th St. NW; 202-588-7388

  • Roofers Union
    One of the city’s hottest rooftops is also one of its most familiar — this place used to be the popular Reef bar. It now has a tent cover and heaters, plus TVs for watching sports and music — and is successfully making us forget it ever existed any other way.
    The View: Upper Adams Morgan, including the iconic Madam’s Organ mural
    What to Order: Fried chicken thigh sandwich with Sriracha honey ($13); bacon-cheddar burger ($15); Breaking the Curse dessert ($6); Lei Me Down punch bowl ($10 per person for two drinks each)
    Insider Tip: Punch bowls are still a roof-only option, and the restaurant is no longer serving brunch on the rooftop.

    2446 18th St. NW; 202-232-7663