Depending on whom you ask, summer starts on Memorial Day, on June 1st, on the last day of school, or on the summer solstice. We think summer really starts when reveling and relaxing moves outdoors to DC’s patios, roof decks, and backyards. Here are the best places to grab a drink outdoors this summer.
Best place to drink with a European flair
The Shaw beer garden Dacha and its distinctive Elizabeth Taylor mural is a popular spot on weekends and weekdays alike. Grab a seat at a picnic table and choose from a selection of German and American beer served by the half-liter or the boot. Crucially, Dacha lets you bring food in—or have it delivered—so grab a sandwich and fill up on classic German hefeweizens and pilsners or some of Dacha’s more exotic offerings.
Best place to escape bar crawlers
Adams Morgan has been inching towards respectability recently, with upscale neighborhood additions like Mintwood Place, Mellow Mushroom, and Smoke and Barrel. The latest newcomer to the 18th Street strip is Roofers Union, which has the advantage of one of the best roof decks in the city. Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley—who also oversees Cleveland Park favorite Ripple—has crafted a menu that’s upscale but affordable, with fresh takes on sausage, chicken, and grilled skewers. The bar offers a refreshing assortment of beers, wine, and cocktails, as well as more unique frozen drinks and punches.
Best place to impress your parents (especially if they’re buying)
No list of roof decks and patios would be complete without P.O.V., which tops the W Hotel downtown. Yes, P.O.V.’s drinks are a li’l pricey, but you’re paying for the view—the rooftop bar looks down on the Treasury Department, the South Lawn of the White House, and the Washington Monument. The people watching— think diplomats, politicos, and White House staffers —ain’t shabby, either.
Best place to drink next to art
Now in its 14th year, Jazz in the Garden is a firmly rooted DC summer tradition. A variety of jazz artists provide the soundtrack to picnicking and the drinking of sangria for sale by the pitcher. Get to the sculpture garden at the National Gallery early on Friday afternoon to snag a spot for your blanket—in nice weather it’s hard to find space after 6 p.m.