An Elevated Summer: The Area’s Best Rooftop Bars

by July 20, 2012 at 10:00 am 3,194 2 Comments


The new rooftop bar at 1905 Garden. (Borderstan).

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]

It doesn’t matter how hot it gets this season, drinking on a rooftop still remains one of the coolest things to do during the summer months in DC.

Thankfully, area restaurants and bars have taken note, and we have proof!

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite local rooftop bars for the next time you and your friends are looking to take your happy hour to the next level, literally.

New to the Mix

Nothing says, “Come scope out our bar” quite like a rooftop terrace. And while not all of these restaurants and bars are new to the neighborhood, their new additions landed them on this list!

The Brixton – 901 U Street NW. This brand new British pub-style bar boasts more than just bangers and mash. Check out the expansive rooftop terrace for terrific views of the Washington Monument.

Masa 14 – 1825 14th Street NW. The neighborhood hotspot expanded its space this summer to include a new roof deck. In my opinion, mojitos taste better when sipped in the open, summer air.

El Centro D.F. – 1819 14th Street NW. While it technically opened last summer, the modern taqueria’s rooftop bar is still somewhat new to local residents. A cool breeze up top and an agave cocktail are sure to subdue the heat of the salsas.

MOVA – 2204 14th Street NW. The Miami-inspired bar’s newly added rooftop definitely makes walking the two extra blocks past U Street totally worth it.

1905 Garden – 1905 9th Street NW. This new roof deck is exactly what the restaurant’s name implies; it’s garden-themed. The space makes use of reclaimed wood and old metal sheets, while sporting views of the neighborhood and monuments.

Oldies, But Goodies

While not new to the Borderstan scene, these rooftop bars keep us coming back for more. Can’t find your favorite on this list? Check out last year’s list of favorites compiled by Borderstan’s grub gurus, Alejandra Owens and Laura Herman.

Tabaq – 1336 U Street. Snag one of the best views of the city while getting your workout in! Yes, you will have to climb up several flights of stairs, but the views on a clear night will quickly make you forget your burning thighs.

Lost Society – 2001 14th Street NW. The chandeliers and décor make it hard to believe that you are outside. Thankfully, the cool breeze, neighborhood views and U Street noise remind you that you are sipping cocktails on a DC roof, and not in a palace!

Nellie’s Sports Bar – 900 U Street NW. Great and breezy rooftop. It has an ample bar covered with a tent and also a nice corner area for smokers. You can always enjoy their popular buckets of beers.

Marvin – 2007 14th Street NW. Another U Street favorite, Marvin’s large rooftop makes it easy for you to enjoy a beer with hundreds of your local friends. Great food menu, too!

Local 16 – 1602 U Street NW. Although it may be too hot to even think about being outside, Local 16 has you covered. The roof deck has water spritzers and fans going constantly to make sure you and your beverage stay at the perfect temperature.

Jack Rose – 2007 18th Street NW. If you thought nothing could top barbeque and bourbon, then you were wrong, literally.

Lauriol Plaza – 1835 18th Street NW. A neighborhood classic, the patio and upper deck areas provide the perfect setting to share a margarita pitcher.

Donovan House – 1155 14th Street NW. Because nothing is better than a rooftop pool and bar. This one is located right in Thomas Circle and comes with great views. Pack your suit!

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