6 New DC Rooftop Bars for Sipping in the Sunshine

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Fresh decks for margaritas, happy hours, and water views.

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Lucha Rosa, a chic Mexican rooftop bar, opens in Mt. Vernon Triangle. Photograph courtesy of Lucha Rosa

DC may not be a tall building town—but we do love our rooftop bars. And thankfully, we have a ton of excellent options with more on the way, just in time for sunshine sipping season.

Lucha Rosa

1011 K St., NW (13th Floor)

Maximalist restaurant decor is in—and this rose-filled rooftop bar atop the Moxy Hotel in Mount Vernon Triangle fits the Insta-ready bill. Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group, which just opened swanky chophouse Parlour Victoria next door, is behind the 75-seat chic Mexican cantina (a spinoff of Maximón, their margarita-fueled spot in Baltimore’s Four Seasons). In addition to the beachy vibes and monument views, there’s a serious agave collection with over 130 bottles of tequila, mezcal, and lesser-seen agave-based spirits like Sotol—plus fun cocktails ($16 to $20) like a riff on a grapefruit Paloma with tequila, Campari, rosé, and pink peppercorns. A small kitchen turns out ceviches, salads, tortas, and five styles of tacos including carne asada and crispy fish. Dinner wraps at midnight, but DJs and drinks keep the party going until 3 AM on weekends. It all opens on Tuesday, April 11.

Moonraker offers some of the best rooftop bar views at the Wharf. Photograph courtesy of the Pendry
Moonraker offers some of the best rooftop bar views at the Wharf. Photograph courtesy of the Pendry

Moonraker

655 Water St., SW

The luxe new Pendry hotel opened at the Wharf in October last year, but this is the first warm weather season that diners and guests can take full advantage of al fresco amenities like a pool terrace and rooftop cocktail lounge, Moonraker, with panoramic water views. The latter offers some of the best, highest views at the Wharf—and you’ll pay accordingly—as well as a  Japanese-inspired menu of sushi rolls, small plates, and cocktails ($18 to $22) made with Asian spirits. Fire pits and a glittery interior bar set the scene.

Upstairs at the Morrow

222 M St., NE

Downstairs at the Morrow Hotel in NoMa, you’ll find fun distractions like a Champagne vending machine and a ritzy French bistro. The vibe is more casual at restaurateur Nick Stefanelli’s brand new rooftop bar—outfitted with 75 seats outdoors and another 60 inside, plus fire pits, heaters, and a wrap-around bar. Cabana-worthy cocktails ($15 to $18) are joined by a lineup of fancy shots ($11) like a gin pickleback with cucumber and mint, or a fruity gummy bear-inspired shooter. A small dining menu mixes sushi rolls with snacks like duck-confit taquitos and a French onion burger. 

Sip cocktails by fire pits at Upstairs at the Morrow. Photograph courtesy of the Morrow.
Sip cocktails by fire pits at Upstairs at the Morrow. Photograph courtesy of the Morrow.

Baby Shank

1602 U St., NW

Longtime U Street rooftop hangout Local 16 gets a new life as Baby Shank, a French bistro with lush garden decor indoors and out. Former Sei chef  Noriaki Yasutake also brings creative sushi rolls to the menu, so you can nibble a French-style hamachi roll with truffle oil alongside steak frites. Happy hour, offered only at the bar and on the rooftop, brings specials like $9 cocktails and $8 maki. 

Baja Tap, a two-story Mexican restaurant and rooftop bar, opens in Adams Morgan. Photograph courtesy of Baja Tap.
Baja Tap, a two-story Mexican restaurant and rooftop bar, opens in Adams Morgan. Photograph courtesy of Baja Tap.

Baja Tap

2436 18th St., NW

Taco towers and margarita happy hours are draws at this huge new Mexican spot in Adams Morgan, which takes over the former Mellow Mushroom space. Weekday happy hour brings solid deals on drinks and food, including $6 margaritas, $5 Mexican drafts and sangrias, as well as tacos starting at $4. Former Le Diplomate chef Greg Lloyd is behind fun creations like a Philly cheesesteak-inspired taco and a plateau loaded with Mexican snacks instead of the traditional shellfish. Afraid of heights? There’s also a front patio where a late-night tamale stand is set up on weekends. 

Ambar's second floor bar becomes an open air spot in nice weather. Photograph by Rey Lopez
Ambar’s second floor bar becomes an open air spot in nice weather. Photograph by Rey Lopez

Ambar Shaw

1547 Seventh St., NW

Like a Balkan convertible, Ivan Iricanin’s new Shaw restaurant can pop off its retractable roof when nice weather arrives. The two-story restaurant and bar is similar to its siblings in Capitol Hill and Clarendon, but here, revelers will find a big bar on the top floor with a DJ booth for weekend entertainment. Bottomless food and drink menus, brunch through dinner, are what make Ambar stand out—though this new spot also serves a la carte drinks such as margaritas and espresso martinis, and late night Belgrade-style street fare like kebabs and cheese-stuffed burgers. 

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.

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