26 Rooftop Bars with Epic Views of Washington DC

From the National Mall to the Potomac River, you can see it all from these lofty bars.

Between the monuments on the National Mall, the White House, and all the scenic waterfronts, DC is a city with plenty to see. And while you can no doubt visit these locales and rub elbows with all the tourists that roam our city every day, why not enjoy the sights with a cocktail in hand?

In addition to great drinks and quality bites, some of the city’s best bars also boast ample rooftop space that offers an epic vantage point of DC’s most iconic sights. From dive bars with surprisingly great rooftops to swanky cocktail bars perched high above the city, these are the best rooftop bars in DC to enjoy warm weather, sunsets, and incredible views of our nation’s capital.

Anchovy Social

Navy Yard
$$$$

From Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group, Anchovy Social takes its cues from sister restaurant Maialino Mare, located just downstairs. The lofty bar is serving up great seafood, great spritzes, and of course, great views from the heart of Navy Yard. 360-degree views are available across all seasons, and it can also be booked out for private events.

Available for Reservations

Betsy

Capitol Hill
$$$$

From the team that brought you the beloved Belga Cafe comes Betsy, a charming rooftop oasis that was practically made for Instagram. In the summer, indulge in spritzy cocktails that utilize gin (which serves as the house spirit of choice and makes up the bulk of the menu), or come winter, head over for hot beverages and well-placed heaters.

Crimson View

Chinatown
$$$$

Whiskey drinkers, unite. Crimson is home to three floors and three different concepts, but Crimson View, the rooftop bar that features both an indoor and outdoor space, is most worthy of a visit. Located on the penthouse level of Motto hotel, you can delight in views of the Washington Monument while sipping on seasonal craft cocktails, beers, and wines.
How to book: Via website

This friendly neighborhood bar dedicated to all things Chicago and Detroit offers cheap eats and drinks with a view that is anything but budget. The roofdeck is a great place to take in the sights and sounds of the game (this is a sports bar, after all), and you can’t go wrong with a Detroit-style pizza washed down with a local beer. Plus, there are both food and drink specials from Sunday to Wednesday, and on Saturday during University of Michigan games.

Lady Bird at The Banneker

Dupont Circle
$$$$

This relatively new Dupont Circle rooftop bar offers a beautiful view of the White House—but the airy space is absolutely beautiful in its own right with a U-shaped bar that serves as the centerpiece and a mural by local artist Meg Biram. The indoor and outdoor space lets you soak up or escape the sun just as you’d like, and the seasonal, vegetable-forward menu (as well as the craft cocktails) also has something for everyone.

DC’s largest biergarten also has a wonder of a roofdeck. This three-floored German brewhouse is the perfect place to grab a pretzel, a beer, and some sunshine. The retractable roof means you can enjoy the weather all year round, and if you’re a soccer fan, this is definitely the place to catch a match as well.

12 Stories

The Wharf
$$$$

At the top of the InterContinental Hotel at the Wharf is 12 Stories, a stunning space that offers unparalleled views of the Potomac waterfront and much of the city skyline. The cocktail menu, which is a combination of creative takes on classics and original offerings, has options like a Superchilled Negroni and The Southwest (gin, lemon, fresh mint, sugar, and Veuve Clicquot), plus small bites for sharing while taking in the view.
How to book: Via website

Vue

Penn Quarter
$$$$

The aptly named VUE and perched atop the Hotel Washington, this bar gives you 360-degree views of some of our fair city’s best known landmarks. From a vantage point 11 stories high, check out the White House, the Washington Monument, and other iconic sights while enjoying seasonal cocktails. The spring menu currently pays homage to the cherry blossoms with drinks like the Tidal Basin Paloma and a full dinner menu that ranges from olives for snacking to a 32-ounce tomahawk steak for a decadent meal.
How to book: Via website

Cantina Bambina

The Wharf
$$$$

Above the hustle and bustle of The Wharf, you can find some semblance of respite while sipping on tequila cocktails at Cantina Bambina. An ever-rotating cast of frozen and standard drinks to pair with a couple of souped-up bar snacks like Cantina Spiced Pork Skins and Chef Rob’s Spicy Nut Mix are available to folks looking to take in sunset views or overlook the water.

Available for Reservations

Colada Shop

14th Street
$$$$

The rooftop of this Cuban grab-and-go hotspot has empanadas, croquetas, and pastelitos galore, plus a wide variety of drinks options. From frozen pina coladas and other tropical cocktails served in pouches to beer and wine by the glass, there's something for everyone. Afraid of rain ruining your rooftop vibe? Fear not, there’s a retractable roof to ensure the party goes on.
How to book: Via Tock

Conservatory

Ivy City
$$$$

This lofty garden patio is run by the team behind Gravitas, a swanky tasting menu spot located just downstairs, but you can expect a much more approachable menu at the rooftop bar. Guests can still start off with upscale seasonal bites or go for the full tasting menu, but this picturesque rooftop is an apt spot for sipping wine and cocktails and enjoying the urban garden that supplies many of the ingredients used in the restaurant’s dishes and drinks.

Available for Reservations

Cortez

Shaw
$$$$

As the colorful bar stools at Cortez indicate, you’re here at this Shaw rooftop to have a great time. Happy hour doesn’t happen all too often (it runs from 5 to 7 pm on Wednesday through Friday), but when it does, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of discounted margaritas and beers that pair perfectly with the delicious tacos.

El Chucho Cocina Superior

Columbia Heights
$$$$

An afternoon of Mexican corn on the cob and frozen margs in the sun is an essential part of your spring and summer plans. The rooftop spot has been a mainstay for years because of its array of mezcal and tequila cocktails and tacos, burritos, small plates, and a killer mole by chef Juan Rodriguez—and the rooftop overlooking Columbia Heights doesn’t hurt either.

Available for Reservations

El Techo

Shaw
$$$$

With 1,100 square feet of space decorated in bright colors and lush greenery, there are plenty of ways to pay homage to warm weather at El Techo right now. Beyond the vibrant spring and summer cocktail menu, great happy hour, and beloved tacos and burritos, the bar also offers rooftop yoga classes (when seasonally appropriate, of course) and live music make the space a true destination. The stunning rooftop space fills up early, especially on beautiful weekends, so be sure to book early and often.

Available for Reservations

The Graham Rooftop

Georgetown
$$$$

The refined rooftop enthusiast will appreciate this swanky spot for its top-notch cocktails, tobacco selection, and raw bar. The bar even offers bottle service for nights when you really want to go all out, and the views of historic Georgetown aren’t bad, either.

Hi-Lawn

Union Market
$$$$

There are always new adventures to be had at Union Market, and Hi-Lawn makes that apparent. Given that the bar opened mid-pandemic, it has plenty of space to sprawl out on the turf covered rooftop. Multiple picnic tables with colorful umbrellas are also available, and a shipping container bar is ready to serve you draft cocktails, punches in pouches, craft beers by the bucket, and affordable wines.

Available for Reservations

The Imperial

Adams Morgan
$$$$

From the team that brought you Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Imperial is a three-floor restaurant and bar that combines fine dining with an even finer atmosphere. Although this spot has an impressive dinner menu, the Imperial is known for drinks and, just like its sister spot, stocks hundreds of rare and vintage bottles. The creative cocktail menu is best enjoyed on the open-air rooftop garden where you can lounge on couches and enjoy views of the city.

Available for Delivery/Takeout
Available for Reservations

Officina

The Wharf
$$$$

Chef Nick Stefanelli’s multilevel Officina has a little bit of everything. Part specialty market, part modern trattoria—the Italian-inspired venue also includes Terrazza, a rooftop bar where you can have drinks and small bites like Fritto Misto and meat and cheese boards or enjoy a full dinner service. The space utilizes a retractable roof for year-round outdoor dining, plenty of bar seating, and fire pits for cozy date nights. Grab a glass of crisp rosé or a modern classic cocktail like a Paper Plane or a Martinez 2.0 from the spot’s expansive list, and soak in the sun and the views.
How to book: Reservations via Tock

O-Ku

Union Market
$$$$

This posh Japanese joint has cornered the market on views of this warehouse district. Sit under the string lights and sample Japanese whiskey alongside robata-style small plates and luxe sashimi and sushi rolls that utilize fish from fine markets around the world.

Available for Reservations

Perry's

Adams Morgan
$$$$

Known best for its roaring weekend drag brunch, Perry’s should get equal accolades for its excellent rooftop bar. The well-loved spot has a seasonal terrace where you can dine on sushi and sip Japanese-influenced cocktails with sprawling views of Adams Morgan and the rest of the city.

Available for Reservations

Player’s Club, the retro arcade bar with eyebrow-raising prizes in its claw machine, has expanded its horizons quite literally with the Skybox, a ‘70s sports themed rooftop venue. Take the elevator up from inside Players’ Club to enjoy the view; grab a seat at the picnic tables, sofas, or bar stools; and sip on cocktails like the Red Hot Chili Pineapple Batida with reposado tequila. Even better, you can still head downstairs once the sun sets to play a game or two.

Takoda

Shaw
$$$$

The cocktail list at Takoda features drink names that are always fun and of the times, but whether you’re interested in Cuffing Season or Probiotics (yes, that’s really what the cocktails are called), you’re sure to have a tasty drink. This indoor-outdoor rooftop comes in clutch on days when DC’s weather is unpredictable, and its Shaw location puts you right above all the action so you can bar hop or people watch to your heart’s content.

Available for Reservations

Tiki TNT

The Wharf
$$$$

This colorful, modern tiki bar doesn’t aim to take itself too seriously. With a menu influenced by owner Todd Thrasher’s scuba diving experiences, drinks come colorful and cheekily named, like the T.N.T Problem Forgetter (which may make you forget more than just your problems) and many of the drinks are crafted with the made-in-house brand, Thrasher’s Rum.

Available for Reservations
Top of the Gate
Top of the Gate | The Watergate Hotel

Top of the Gate

Foggy Bottom
$$$$

This sprawling rooftop has 360-degree views of the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center, the National Mall, and the Arlington skyline all from one vantage point, making it the perfect place to take out-of-towners. Located atop the Watergate Hotel, hence the name, you’ll find a solid cocktail list with some food options to order, and the space often hosts events like rooftop yoga in the warmer months.

Available for Reservations

If it’s space you’re looking for, it’s space you’ll get at Tortuga. This spot boasts the largest rooftop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and its menu is equally as expansive. Tortuga’s menu covers Carribean favorites that can help transport you to crystalline waters and white sand beaches with rum-forward drinks like the Key Lime Mojito and dishes like Tostone Sliders, Stuffed Mofongo, and Braised Oxtail.

Available for Reservations

Wild Days

Downtown
$$$$

Perched on the top floor of the Eaton Hotel, Wild Days is a spacious indoor-outdoor rooftop spot where you can sip seasonal cocktails alongside sweeping views of the city. Cocktails rotate with the seasons, and the food menu is broken down into two sections: tacos and not tacos with other bites like Cod Ceviche and Tomatillo Pibil Chicken Nachos. The verdant garden also has fire pits set up for s’mores and part of the space serves as a music venue, so you can catch a local DJ, band, or comedy show while enjoying epic views and tropical garden vibes.

Available for Reservations
Elsie Yang is a contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Instagram.