The Best Rooftop Bars in DC

Take in sweeping views of the District.

If there is a better way to take in the sights and sounds of our nation’s capital than perched atop the city with a drink in hand, we have yet to find it. After a year spent mostly inside, longer days and inviting temperatures mean we’re ready to enjoy the great outdoors more than ever. And luckily, DC has plenty of rooftop bars with sweeping views of the city that make it easy to get outside. With DC bars roaring back to their pre-pandemic glory, ‘tis the season to head up to the ever-growing number of rooftops in the city, grab a cocktail, and make merry.

Hi-Lawn

Union Market

There are always new adventures to be had at Union Market, and Hi-Lawn makes that apparent. This new-ish bar opened last fall amid the pandemic, so 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

Above the hustle and bustle of The Wharf, you can find some semblance of respite while sipping on strong drinks at Cantina Bambina. An ever-rotating cast of drinks is available to folks looking to take in sunset views or overlook the water, and best of all, you can bring in your own food to enjoy.

Available for Reservations

Colada Shop

14th Street

The rooftop of this Cuban 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: Reservations via Tock

The award-winning Columbia Room is meticulous about cocktails, and the drinks available at its breezy rooftop garden are no exception. New this season is a beautiful Blagden Alley patio and themed rooftop Spritz Garden where you can knock back refreshing menu options like the frozen aperol spritz, or, for the more spirit-forward tastes, the Suit & Tie, alongside sandwiches from the bar’s pandemic-born ghost kitchen Your Only Friend or the regular food menu.
How to book: Tock

 

Conservatory

Ivy City

This rooftop garden bar is run by the team behind Gravitas, a swanky tasting menu spot located just downstairs, but you can expect a much more approachable menu. 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 p.m. 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. 
How to book: Walk in only
 

An afternoon of Mexican corn on the cob and frozen margs in the sun is now officially part of your summer plans. The rooftop spot has been a mainstay for years because of its array of mezcal and tequila cocktails, and the rooftop overlooking Columbia Heights doesn’t hurt either.
 

Available for Reservations

The bright decor at El Techo’s rooftop space pays homage to warm weather. And a vibrant new spring and summer cocktail menu, Monday happy hour, and rooftop yoga classes with live music take that commitment a step further. The stunning rooftop space fills up early, especially on beautiful weekends, so be sure to book early and often. 

Available for Reservations

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.
How to book: Walk in only

 

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

If you want to supplement your drinking and eating with actual activity, head over to Nellie’s, the venerable gay sports bar on U Street that offers drag bingo, trivia, and a whole host of other fun events to keep you entertained on the roof. 
How to book: Walk in only

 

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 and events space where you can have drinks and small bites or enjoy a full dinner service. Grab a glass of crisp rosé or sparkling wine from their 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 luxe sushi rolls.
 

Available for Reservations

Perry's

Adams Morgan

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

Available for Reservations

POV

Penn Quarter

The W Hotel’s rooftop bar gives you an unparalleled view of the White House, the Washington Monument, and many of DC’s treasures. If you go during happy hour, you can feel extra fancy with a bottle of Moet & Chandon for 20% off—but no matter what time of day you visit, you can always enjoy classic dishes like crab cakes and lobster rolls with your drinks.
How to book: Via website

 

Red Derby

Columbia Heights

Working your way through a beer list that’s 70-plus suds deep on a rooftop sounds like a good way to spend a summer, don’t you think? Sometimes, you don’t need any pretense to have a good time, and that’s exactly what Red Derby offers.
How to book: Walk in only
 

If sophistication were an image, it would look a lot like the Rosewood Hotel’s rooftop, aptly called CUT Above. From your exclusive perch, enjoy panoramic views of the city that can be admired from intimate alcoves, bistro-style dining tables, or the unobstructed sundeck. Pair them with cocktails, hard-to-find whiskeys, and light bites.
How to book: Walk in only
 

Skybox at the Player’s Club
Photo courtesy of Players Club DC

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 and sip on cocktails like their Red Hot Chili Pineapple Batida with reposado tequila.
How to book: Walk in only

Takoda

Shaw

The cocktail list at Takoda features drink names that are always fun and of the times, but whether you’re one of the Moderna Boys or part of Pfizer Gang (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

When it's time to enjoy views from the other side of the Potomac, check out TTT in Clarendon. Mexican food lovers will appreciate the endless small plates that come with the similarly endless boozy beverages at brunch, but you can also enjoy delicious food and boozy beverages here later in the day alongside views of DC’s twinkling lights.

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 include the made-in-house brand, Thrasher’s Rum.

Available for Reservations

Top of the Gate

Foggy Bottom

This sprawling rooftop is the perfect place to take out-of-towners. Head up to the top of the Watergate Hotel to show them 360 degree views of the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center, and the Arlington skyline.

Available for Reservations

From the top of the Navy Yard Hampton Inn and Suites, you can peer directly into Nationals Park. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the action while munching on ballpark-style dogs, burgers, pretzels, and cold beers—all without buying a ticket.

Available for Reservations

If it’s space you’re looking for, it’s space you’ll get at Tortuga, which boasts the largest rooftop in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It’s fitting considering Tortuga’s expansive menu of Carribean favorites that can help transport you to crystalline waters and white sand beaches with rum-forward drinks and spice-forward food.

 

Available for Reservations

The rooftop of this chic city center hotel has an eco-conscious menu that places a great emphasis on seasonal, local produce, and the drink list is also regionally focused with plenty of sips that showcase female winemakers.

Available for Reservations

Wild Days

Downtown

At the top floor of the Eaton Hotel is Wild Days, a spacious indoor-outdoor rooftop spot where you can snack on chef Tim Ma’s food with a wide range of cocktails. The verdant garden once served as a music venue, but until shows return you can still enjoy sweeping views of the city and tropical garden vibes.

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