Pair Instagram-worthy views with a cool drink and delicious bites at the best Washington, DC rooftop bars and restaurants.
It's always the right time to head out on the town, find the nearest rooftop bar and order up your favorite cocktail or draft beer. During happy hour or any hour, feel the breeze and ease back at these District locales that have set up shop up top for your warm-weather pleasure.
Top of the Gate at The Watergate Hotel
Smoke & Mirrors
Nestled atop the AC Hotel Washington DC Capitol Hill Navy Yard, Smoke & Mirrors overlooks the U.S. Capitol Building and provides a stylish, sleek and comfortable escape in DC's most powerful neighborhood. Expect an extensive list of ingenious craft cocktails and shareable dishes like baked crab fondue, fried duck wings, diver scallops and roasted wild mushrooms. The bar is open from 4 p.m. until midnight, Tuesday through Saturday.
So you already know that The Wharf is the District’s warm-weather place to be, right? Well, be sure to stop by the InterContinental Washington, DC - The Wharf rooftop as your next must-visit drinks spot. 12 Stories is the first DC venture from the minds behind New York City mainstay Mr. Purple, complete with a sleek, modern design and panoramas of the Washington Channel and beyond. Head there for creative cocktails like the 'Aren't You a Fineapple' (hennessy, grand marnier, cointreau, pineapple, lemon + lime), high-end bites (think oysters and rib-eye skewers) and, of course, the #views.
DC’s rivers do their best French Riviera impression at La Vie, a stunning and sleek restaurant at The Wharf featuring views of the Washington Channel from its rooftop terrace. Sophisticated Mediterranean vibes abound as you choose from a cocktail list divided into “Dip Your Toes,” “Dive In” or ”Off the Deep End” options and take in the waterfront scenes. Golden hour at La Vie also means happy hour prices, with bar bites and sunset drinks on weekdays from 4-7 p.m.
Nautical vibes and top-notch cocktails are the name of the game at Whiskey Charlie, the rooftop bar perched atop the Canopy by Hilton hotel at The Wharf. Catch the perfectly Instagrammable sunset while enjoying a range of delightful drinks – we’re big fans of the Gentlemen's Pirate (Redemption bourbon, Grand Marnier, orange & walnut bitters) and Clouds Over Provence (vodka, blue velvet tea, blackberries & citrus).
Get excited about sushi-with-a-view at O-Ku, one of the only restaurants near Union Market with a rooftop. While traditional sushi and sashimi reside on the menu, you’ll also be delighted by creative plates such as the salmon yaki kuro with black rice, asian pear, arugula and shiso cream. Accentuate the meal with a drink from O-Ku’s extensive sake, whiskey and cocktail offerings.
Billed as an “adult treehouse,” the turf-adorned El Techo brings the heat in Shaw with spicy margaritas and the creative Mexican street food you’ve come to expect from the downstairs Rito Loco shop. El Techo also offers Spanish-inspired tapas and a number of cervezas for the perfect warm-weather happy hour.
An adventure in Adams Morgan is not complete without a visit to Perry’s, a neighborhood staple that opened its doors more than 30 years ago. Enjoy the delicious Japanese fare and an extensive beverage list that includes wine, Japanese whiskey and sake while you relax at the year-round bar or on the seasonal rooftop terrace.
This throwback dance club has dropped its loudest beat yet – a rooftop that tips its cap to raves of yore. You’ll feel Miami and Ibiza vibes as you dance the night away surrounded by palm trees, lounge furniture and vibrant lighting in a 2,500-square foot space. Creative cocktails like coconut-and-mango jalapeño margaritas and strawberry basil lemonade are available.
If you’re on the hunt for a Michelin-starred chef’s tribute to Italian cuisine, look no further than Nicholas Stefanelli’s Officina at The Wharf. This three-story market-restaurant-bar is also home to Terrazza, an alfresco rooftop bar inspired by terraces in the Eternal City. Take in gorgeous riverfront views all year (winter means cozying up by the outdoor fire pits) and imbibe with seasonal cocktails and a selection of bubbly. Terrazza can be enjoyed daily from 5-10 p.m. Enjoy the terrace by making a reservation today.
Summit the Rooftop
Summit the Rooftop
Sporting a superlative view from the heart of CityCenterDC, Summit the Rooftop at Conrad offers socially distanced tables and plenty of real estate to take in the surroundings. Its approach to food and drink leans socially conscious, with an eco-friendly solar oven (see: slow-cooked barbecue pork), food sourced from the Mid-Atlantic region and a community-oriented approach to its drink offerings via local and regional distillers, brewers and female winemakers.
801 Restaurant & Bar
"Good vibes only" isn't just the motto at 801 Restaurant & Bar, it's also the first thing patrons see (illuminated in white lights) when reaching the top of the stairs at this rooftop bar straddling the U Street and Shaw neighborhoods. If you're with a thirsty group, try the signature 801 Mega Mule – a multi-person Moscow Mule served in a massive copper mug.
Given its namesake, you’d expect this Adams Morgan eatery to feature an open air option, and it does not disappoint. The third floor hub boasts spectacular views of the buzzing neighborhood, while also offering craft cocktails and a popular punch bowl. Try the hearty menu (sriracha honey-glazed chicken wings!) while living the good life at the horseshoe bar.
Get your dive bar fix at Red Derby in Columbia Heights, sporting a beer list heavy on cans to go with thoughtful beer-shot specials – who wouldn’t want to try Pabst Blue Ribbon with Fireball? The rooftop deck bumps, providing a comfortable, hanging-out-at-your-friend’s-place atmosphere. The menu helps too: bar food like mac and cheese wedges and tacos sound perfect paired with a can of Natty Boh.
You can find this rooftop and green space atop Union Market. With many vendors in the market below and snacks and cocktails offered at this posh spot, a good time is assured. Guests can lounge on the turf or relax at a picnic table to admire in the 360-degree city views. Whether you reserve a spot or walk in, please follow safety regulations.
Hotel Washington’s swank rooftop bar and lounge, VUE, overlooks the White House and is favored by DC’s see-and-be-seen set. The view of the Washington Monument isn’t too shabby either. Bottle service is available at this hot spot and you’ll want to dress to impress if you head there for cocktails. Reservations are recommended.
Adorned with decorative plants and disco balls, this rooftop bar dubbed the “Green Room” provides plenty of funky beach vibes. Sip on a variety of cocktails and slushies paired with sandwiches and snacks, while overlooking the Shaw neighborhood. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited.
Get a bird’s eye view of historic Georgetown and Washington, DC at the top of The Graham Hotel. The sleek rooftop bar features craft cocktails, flavorful bites (hello, Thai tiger shrimp flatbread), and bottle service. The business casual setting is rounded out by chic sofas and high-top tables. Reservations are not required but seating is first-come, first-served.
This spacious rooftop beer garden features a horseshoe-shaped bar, hanging plants and lights, a selection of 70 whiskeys and bourbons and craft beer and cocktails on tap. What more could you ask for? Enjoy happy hour on select weekdays or indulge in bottomless brunch on the weekends. Reservations are available through Resy.
Ciel Social Club
With a name derived from the French word for "the heavens", Ciel Social Club is a luxurious penthouse lounge and restaurant at the AC Hotel Washington DC Convention Center features opulent decor and celestial, nearly 360-degree views of the U.S. Capitol, the Washington Monument and downtown DC. Executive chef Paul Yellin, praised in Forbes and The New York Times, crafted a menu of Mediterranean small plates. VERSUS beverage director Hank Bowers has also dreamed up an innovative cocktail menu with libations like a cotton candy gin sour and an olive oil-washed gimlet with mint oil.