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Whether you’re perched atop the Watergate Hotel or soaking up the breeze by the river at The Wharf, the views and drinks from these rooftop bars won’t disappoint.
The district may not be known for its towering buildings, but the city skyline offers great views of the streets of DC with cocktails to sip with your friends.
Although a trip for a drink can cost a fortune, the striking views from some of the district’s rooftop bars are well worth the visit if you’re looking to treat yourself. From vantage points overlooking the National Mall and across the Potomac River to Arlington, here are a few rooftop bars to visit for the ultimate sunset view while sipping creative cocktails.
The roof of the Graham Georgetown
Admire the Arlington skyscrapers and Georgetown University spiers from The roof at Graham Georgetown. This Instagrammable spot, with pink and white flowers draped in twisted branches hanging from the ceiling, is a gorgeous place to relax and have a few drinks. The cozy atmosphere of the bar replaces the mundane marble and concrete commonly found in the district with rustic wooden floors and brick walls. As you watch the sun dip below the Georgetown skyline, catch some delicious little bites like the Sourdough Bruschetta ($17) or the Tiger Prawn Thai Flatbread ($20), which incorporates coconut curry and Thai basil. For refreshing drinks that offer a final taste of summer, try the Roosevelt Island cocktail ($17), a blend of bourbon, vodka, iced tea and fresh lemon juice, or the Peach Paradise ($17) with flavored vodka, peach liqueur, elderflower and lemon.
1075 Thomas Jefferson Street NW. Open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday to Wednesday, from 4 p.m. to midnight, Thursday to Saturday. 21+ only.
DC rooftop view
If you’re looking for a more traditional view of DC with the National Mall’s top sights, like the White House and Washington Monument, look no further than DC rooftop view. Perched atop the historic Hotel Washington, this rooftop is all about downtown glitz and glamour. Polished marble bar tops and lavish light fixtures are the icing on the cake of an already breathtaking experience. Food down on parmesan fries ($14) or olives and country bread ($14) as an appetizer while admiring the perched view. Try Power to the Peaches ($22), a fruity blend of flavored vodkas, Cointreau, spritz, chamomile honey syrup and lemon for a bright yet smooth sip.
515 15th St. NW. Open Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Didn’t get enough flowers from The Rooftop at the Graham? Look no further than El Techo, a Latin-inspired rooftop bar in Shaw. You won’t find the same awe-inspiring views as the previous two entries on this list, but the bar offers a refuge from the monotonous blocks outside. You will find tons of color throughout the space, from bright yellow chairs with green foliage covering the walls to pink and white flowers hanging from the ceiling. The bar even has decorations straight from Mexico, finish its theme “Latin Jungle Vacation Transport”. Sip over a Cinnamon Old Fashioned ($13) while you munch on carne asada tacos ($5.24) or pork carnitas ($4.49). Try the papaya or passion fruit margarita for $10 during happy hour Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from opening to 6:30 p.m.
606 Florida Avenue NW. Open Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Top of the door
Are you a history buff? West a of Condé Nast Traveler’s “15 Best Rooftop Bars in the United States” is enough to impress you? In either case, go to Top of the door, sitting atop, as the name suggests, the famous Watergate Hotel. From here you can get a 360 degree view of the DC and Arlington skylines. While a trip to the scenic spot is expensive, the atmosphere provides a special place to spend in good company. Cozy up with your loved ones on sofas next to a heater or fireplace when the temperature starts to drop at night in this open-air space bar. Divide a charcuterie platter ($32) with friends and unwind with a Mango Mule cocktail ($25) while taking in the views and reveling in Watergate infamy.
2650 Virginia Avenue NW. Open Thursday and Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Next time you attend a concert at the Wharf, sip a few drinks at Whiskey Charlie before heading to the big show. This bar, Position in the context of The Wharf Marina, prides itself on its “nautical vibes,” serving drinks with sea-themed names like the bourbon-based Old Scalawag ($18), Grand Mariner and bitters or the Seaside ($18 $) made with vodka, mango sage syrup and lime. Modern and rustic designs, wooden tables with metal mesh accents here to create an outdoor patio and indoor lounge feel rarely found elsewhere in DC Food-wise, you can order classic bar snacks like nachos from blue corn ($14) to satisfy your hunger.
975 7th Street SW. Open Monday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. 21+ only.