Editors' pick

Happy Hour on the Donovan House Rooftop

Happy hour
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Editorial Review

Donovan roof still prime spot to chill
By Fritz Hahn
Friday, June 29, 2012

Shortly after the Kimpton Hotel chain took over the chic Donovan House in April, the new owners announced that the DJ-fueled rooftop pool parties that made Donovan a destination in summers past would come to an end.

Although this caused consternation among the hip artists and fashionistas who frequented the alfresco gatherings, the breezy rooftop bar remains open to the public every night -- it’s just much more low-key these days.

When I stopped by recently, the views were as good as ever, sweeping from downtown to the National Shrine at Catholic University. The crowd was sporting college casual gear instead of slim-cut shirts and only hotel guests are allowed to dangle their legs in the small pool, but that matters less when you can still settle into a deck chair, relax and catch some rays before sunset.

The new happy hour doesn’t hurt, either: The $5 drink menu includes Plymouth gin rickeys, sweet St. Germain cocktails and glasses of bubbly, a selection of house red and white wines and cans of beer. Also fresh: Two frozen drink machines pouring icy Dark and Stormys and a slushy mixture of blueberry vodka and lemonade for $10 per glass. (Unfortunately, those aren’t included in happy hour.)

Donovan House is no longer the achingly cool party where you’ll bring visiting friends from New York or L.A. But if you’re looking for a great view and drinks that won’t break the bank, there’s nothing else like it downtown.