Mug Shots: Rooftop Bars Take a Look at the City From Up High

Posted May 12, 2010 at 2:50pm

Here at Mug Shots, we are big believers in outdoor drinking. Getting some fresh air in your lungs and alcohol in your bloodstream can be just what the doctor ordered after a long day of committee hearings and constituent phone calls.

[IMGCAP(1)]Earlier this spring, we brought you a handy list of bars and restaurants that offered outdoor seating. Today we set our sights a little higher — pun intended — and present a roundup of rooftop bars all around the District. Whether you’re looking for cheap beer and a flat-screen or hoping to spy on the first family, we’ve got a spot for you.

While POV (515 15th St. NW) at the W Hotel may be pretentious and expensive, there’s no denying that this bar has the best view in D.C. Where else can you peer into the Obamas’ front lawn? Drinks created by New York mixologist Sasha Petraske are a steep $15 each, while wines by the glass start at $9. The bar provides indoor and outdoor seating on the covered terrace. Reservations are a must to make it to the roof on the weekends, though it’s not unheard of to slip up there without one during the week.

18th Street Lounge (1212 18th St. NW) has perhaps the kitschiest rooftop in all of Washington. Located off the second floor, the space is decorated with hanging chandeliers and green wallpaper, very shabby chic. More than a dozen tables are available in addition to a long, white bar. 18th Street Lounge charges a cover of up to $20 to get in after 9:30 p.m., making it a pricey night out. But happy hour, which runs until 8 p.m., is an exception. Rail drinks and beers such as Dos Equis and Yuengling go for $4, while wine by the glass is $5.

A few doors down, you can find Public Bar (1214 18th St. NW), a high-end sports bar with a spacious rooftop featuring a large bar, a handful of tables and a few flat-screens so you won’t have to miss the big game. From 5 to 8 p.m., the bar sells “pregame specials” that include $3 domestic beers, $4 imported beers and $5 rail drinks. The bar also serves up a variety of food specials during happy hour, most notably half-priced appetizers on Wednesdays.

Over on U Street, Marvin (2007 14th St. NW) boasts a massive outdoor area that doubles as a beer garden. The deck, open year-round thanks to a few strategically placed space heaters, is a smokers’ paradise, and the bar serves more than 30 Belgian beers in addition to wine and cocktails. At the low end of the menu, a Stella goes for $6, while cocktails cost upward of $10. In addition to drinks, customers can order items off the bistro menu.

Perry’s (1811 Columbia Road NW) in Adams Morgan has a large rooftop that overlooks the hustle and bustle of one of the city’s busiest nightlife districts. The deck is adorned with white lights, tables and a bar. Patrons can either have a meal on the roof or simply sip drinks. Cocktails begin at $8 and include refreshing summer drinks such as a Pimm’s Cup. The sushi restaurant specializes in Japanese beers, offering a choice of six.