From the brand new rooftop deck at Avery’s Bar and Lounge, you can watch the setting sun glinting off the dome of the Capitol or the Library of Congress. The Washington Monument blinks on the horizon while cars and pedestrians stream down H Street NE. Turn the other way, and you can see the unmistakable swoop of RFK Stadium through the trees, and Anacostia beyond it. Plenty of rooftop bars offer Washington Monument views, but seeing the Capitol’s silhouette in the distance is a rare occurrence.
Avery’s has become one of my favorite neighborhood spots on H Street. No crazy theme or menu. Just a local hangout with good drinks and a great vibe. When I stopped in at happy hour last night to have a look at the roof, there was a DJ spinning Wale, Outkast and Snoop. A couple of chafing dishes near the bar were loaded with free chicken wings and buffalo wings. Drinks were $4. A couple of guys had set up a table for beer pong. The TVs were silently showing “Martin” and “SportsCenter.” I didn’t have to be encouraged to linger.
The new rooftop deck should help draw even more customers to the eastern end of H Street – well, east of Biergarten Haus – which can feel empty compared to the buzz of the 1200 block. There’s no bar on the roof yet, though owner Avery Leake is working on building a basic bar that will serve cans of beer and simple cocktails, with a full wet bar launching next year. In the meantime, customers can grab a drink from the bar downstairs and climb the wooden staircase to the roof to enjoy the views.
One more thing to note: About a quarter of the roof is covered, if you need to escape the sun or a passing rain shower.
Leake says more improvements will be coming to the roof over the next few weeks, including additional lights and a small sound system. (Neighbors prevent it from being too loud or running too late.) For now, though, the simple spot should be high on your list of outdoor destinations in the Atlas District.
-- Fritz Hahn (July 18, 2013)