April 13, 2018 at 9:00 AM
After this long, insufferable winter and miserable start to “spring,” warm weather is finally here. Enjoy a drink in the sun at these three rooftop decks, including one that’s debuting Friday.
The view from the outdoor seats at the Wharf’s first rooftop bar is breathtaking: cherry blossoms blooming in East Potomac Park, boats sailing in the Washington Channel, planes taking off and landing at Reagan National Airport. Turn around and spot the scoreboard at Nationals Park, the Capitol Dome and the Library of Congress.
Whiskey Charlie has been offering these stellar vistas since mid-November, but winter wasn’t the ideal time to visit a waterfront rooftop with frequent crosswinds. The bar, perched on the 10th floor of the hotel Canopy by Hilton, at the development’s southern tip, kept drinks flowing indoors through the cold months, offering fire pits and heat lamps for those brave enough to imbibe on the deck. The views compensated for the chilly fingers holding glasses.
Whiskey Charlie’s full outdoor bar is set to open April 15 — a spokesperson said management was waiting until there was no longer a chance that the pipes could freeze — but in the meantime, you’re welcome to grab a $13 cocktail inside, such as the spicy Warm Spell, made with mezcal, tequila, pineapple and a chile pepper tincture, or a Dark and Stormy punched up by house-made ginger beer, and then carry it out to the deck, where there are a mix of couches, garden furniture and high communal tables. (Plenty of customers, though, seemed happy to settle at the railing and take selfies with the water and docks in the background.)
Over the past five months, Whiskey Charlie hasn’t gotten as much buzz as its neighbors, such as Hank’s at the Wharf or the Brighton. Like the temperatures, that’s about to change. 975 Seventh St. SW (inside the Canopy by Hilton hotel).
Beginning Friday, Colada Shop — and its vibrant, Technicolor vision of Miami’s Little Havana at 14th and T streets NW — is expanding to the building’s Instagrammable rooftop, where flowerpots hang on seafoam-green walls and tables are surrounded by low, cushioned couches and bright blue and yellow chairs.
A satellite bar sells $10 pouched cocktails — think adult Capri-Suns, the latest trend for adults who can’t let go of childhood — and $35 pitchers of mojitos and pineapple sparkling sangria after 4 p.m. on Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays. (Customers can still order classic Cuban cocktails, including one of the area’s best daiquiris and the rum-and-apricot Hotel Nacional, which will be brought up from downstairs.) Snacks, such as empanadas and croquetas, are also available.
Even better, you don’t have to rush out of work to snag a happy-hour deal: On Thursdays, the Havana Nights party offers $6 house cocktails and $2 empanadas from 4 to 11 p.m. 1405 T St. NW.
Only the heartiest of margarita lovers have ventured up to the rooftop deck at Cortez, which replaced 1905 in Shaw last month. But the warming weather should increase the number of people hunting for the colorful bar stools, especially with a new happy hour offering $8 margaritas and $5 beers between 5 and 7 p.m. on weekdays. The deck offers views of U Street, neighborhood rowhouses and, in the distance, the Washington Monument. 1905 Ninth St. NW.