Home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the United States, Washington DC isn’t short on spectacular sights to see. But there are few better ways to enjoy that skyline than by soaking up the sunset on one of city’s many rooftop bars. From swanky rooftop cocktail lounges to low-key Mexican-inspired terraces, here are some of the best rooftop bars in Washington DC.
Best rooftop bars in Washington DC
Grab a glass of champagne, sit back and soak in the rays — and you could easily fool yourself into thinking you’re in Italy. Part-marketplace, part-trattoria, Officina offers a spectacular terrace that was inspired by the rooftops of Rome.
Load up on aperitivo-style Italian nibbles and if you’re here mid-week, don’t miss ‘Pasta Wednesday’. The bar was created by Michelin-starred chef Nicholas Stefanelli, so you can expect the food to be every bit as good as the drinks.
This sleek and sexy cocktail lounge is set in the heart of the Wharf District — you guessed it — 12 storeys up. Interiors are plush but the terrace is the real star here, with 360-degree views of the Potomac River and the best of the Washington skyline.
Expect creative house cocktails like the ‘Spicy Cucumber Mule’ and the more formidable ‘Red Bull Rum Punch’. If you’re feeling peckish, 12 Stories boasts an impressive menu of ‘elevated bar food’ too.
It’s all about the view at POV Washington. It might be touristy but given it offers the best view of one of the most iconic landmarks in the United States, we can forgive them. Located at the top of W Hotel on 15th Street, this swanky bar literally overlooks the White House and Washington Monument.
The cocktails are delicious too, offering signature mixers as well as some more creative concoctions. At $20 a pop, they aren’t cheap but they’re worth every penny.
With its pretty painted chairs and hanging flowers, Colada Shop is as easy on the eye as it is on the wallet. Head here on a Thursday to make the most of ‘Havana Nights’, an all night happy hour offering Caribbean-inspired cocktails for a bargain $6. Pick up a pitcher of mojitos and dance the night away under the twinkling lights.
They’re experts at coffee here too. If you’re visiting during the day, pick up a café con leche —you won’t be disappointed.
One for the whiskey-lovers, Jack Rose Dining Saloon boasts the largest whisky collection in the Western Hemisphere. The open-air terrace is open come rain and shine, with a retractable roof and plenty of heaters.
The drinks menu is excellent but the melt-in-your-mouth chicken wings are a must-order too. You could opt for the classic buffalo but, given its credentials, we say go for the whisky wings.
Located on the 15th-floor of the infamous Watergate Hotel, Top of the Gate offers unbeatable views of the Arlington skyline. There’s a luxurious large bar counter, lounge areas with fire-pits and plenty of seating, so you won’t need to fight for a seat. Come winter, the floor opens up for an ice skating rink, with igloos installed around on the roof.
Whether you’re looking to wind down with a glass of white wine or looking for a prime date location, Top of the Gate is a winner.
El Chucho combines a fun and friendly atmosphere, delicious Mexican dishes and an expertly-made selection of cocktails. The bar is located in Columbia Heights, a creative quarter in the north-west that’s well known for its Hispanic roots. Food and drinks are super affordable, and it’s as popular with locals as it is with out-of-towners.
Head straight to the rooftop bar, then tuck into tacos, freshly-made torta and burritos as long as your arm (almost). Go for the margaritas on tap and stay for the feel-good vibes.