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.
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 mumbo wings, pork belly deviled eggs, crab cake salad and squash risotto.
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, pineapple and lemon), high-end bites (think grilled shrimp and truffle fries) 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.
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 'Smoke on the Horizon' (smoked WhistlePig Piggyback rye, Malbec vermouth & Angostura bitters) and 'Velvet Moon' (Botanist gin, butterfly pea tea & lime basil simple syrup).
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.
Upstairs at The Morrow
Upstairs at the Morrow, another Nicholas Stefanelli venture, is – you guessed it – the rooftop lounge of The Morrow Hotel in the heart of NoMa. The chic, indoor-outdoor space features firepits, a wrap-around bar, French-inspired fare and playful cocktails (espresso martinis on tap) and shooters.
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.
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 Fridays and Saturdays from 5-10 p.m.
Sporting a superlative view from the heart of CityCenterDC, SUMMIT Rooftop at Conrad offers craft cocktails 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 (churning out sun roasted beet tartar and corn & crab fondue), 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.
Translated to ‘pink struggle,’ Lucha Rosa pays homage to the wrestling culture of Mexico, while featuring vibrant flavors, colors and design. The rooftop oasis of the Moxy Washington, DC Downtown offers upscale tacos, an extensive tequila and mezcal list (we’re talking 130 varieties) and sweeping city views. Sip on inventive cocktails like the 'Bed of Roses' with Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila, Campari, grapefruit, rose and pink peppercorn or the 'Seven Snakes' with Bozal Mezcal, elote, ancho chili, mole and sesame.
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 burgers sound perfect paired with a can of Natty Boh.
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 'Creme de la Creme' with Bluefin otoro, sea urchin, fresh wasabi, uni, sturgeon caviar and gold flake. Accentuate the meal with a drink from O-Ku’s extensive sake and cocktail offerings.
Adorned with decorative plants and disco balls, this rooftop bar dubbed the “Green Room” provides plenty of funky beach vibes. Enjoy late night and weekend DJ sets and sip on a variety of cocktails and slushies while overlooking the Shaw neighborhood. The Sunday Love series offers music, wellness sessions and a bazaar with local vendors.
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, chorizo & chimichurri 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 in Shaw features a horseshoe-shaped bar and hanging plants, while its second location, across from Nats Park, boasts the biggest rooftop bar in Navy Yard. With a vast draft beer selection and cocktails on tap, what more could you ask for? Enjoy happy hour on select weekdays or indulge in bottomless brunch on the weekends.
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, featuring seasonal flavors.