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The Graham: Georgetown’s view from the top

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If you're talking about the best view from a rooftop bar, it's hard to beat the W's P.O.V. Lounge, which overlooks the White House and the National Mall. But the W will face some serious competition from the Observatory Bar at the Graham, which opens on May 3.

Located between M Street and the C&O Canal, the Graham offers the only public rooftop bar in Georgetown. (The recently opened Capella Hotel has one, but it's only open to hotel guests.) The Observatory is big enough for 150 people, lined with sky-blue couches and love seats, and has its own bar with 16 stools. Expect the tables to be saved for bottle service reservations, which will take up about half of the roof's capacity; the rest will be open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

The rooftop patio wraps around three sides of the building, offering views of Georgetown University, Rosslyn, the Kennedy Center and Memorial Bridge, and should be a real attraction on summer nights. (Unless, of course, it rains; a retractable roof is on the way, but won't be up in the immediate future.)

Most cocktails are $14, and are the kind of sweet, summery concoctions you'd expect to find at P.O.V. or Donovan House. The Randy has grapefruit vodka and ginger liqueur muddled with cucumber, basil and cantaloupe syrup; the Telegram mixes rum, Malibu, pineapple, strawberry and mint.

An exception is the hotel's signature cocktail. The Graham had Kentucky's Louisville Distilling Company blend a special batch of Angel's Envy bourbon and age it in a port barrel for six months. The Graham cocktail ($15) features the house bourbon and Campari, served up or on the rocks. (There's a $20 cocktail, made with Bulleit, citrus and spiced port, if you've got money to burn.)

The roof will open at 5 p.m. on most weeknights. Expect an earlier opening on Fridays, when there will be special happy hours with Georgetown Cigars, and a 10 a.m. first call for brunch on Saturdays. Plan well ahead: The Graham is expecting this to be so popular that even hotel guests will have to make reservations in advance.