The Big Hunt
Sit at an umbrella-covered picnic table on the roof at this dive in Dupont Circle—you can fit up to ten people, which makes it great for a post-work gathering—and take advantage of one of the best happy-hour deals around: $2.50 beers and $3 rail drinks. 1345 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-785-2333; thebighunt.net. Metro Station: Dupont Circle.
Located on the Southwest DC waterfront, Cantina Marina is the kind of place Jimmy Buffett would like. Sunset views, barbecue shrimp, and cold Coronas keep its patio bar packed with a lively crowd in the warmer months. 600 Water St., SW; 202-554-8396; cantinamarina.com. Metro Station: Waterfront.
Eighteenth Street Lounge
First-time visitors to this Dupont Circle spot usually look confused as to why the bar is empty. The answer? Head through an unmarked door at the back and you’ll find big crowds on the terrace. 1212 18th St., NW; 202-466-3922; eighteenthstreetlounge.com. Metro Station: Dupont Circle.
This whimsical American restaurant in DC’s West End isn’t on the most exciting block in the city, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it means you can usually find a table on the pretty, expansive patio at peak times (after work, weekend nights). 2030 M St., NW; 202-872-8700; hudson-dc.com. Metro Station: Dupont Circle.
You’ll have to climb up three stories to access this rooftop dive in Adams Morgan, but the hike is worth it. The vibe is laid-back, and once the sun goes down, you can join the group dancing to live jazz and blues downstairs. 2461 18th St., NW; 202-667-5370; madamsorgan.com. Metro Station: Woodley Park-Zoo.
Founded in 1984, before Washington had even heard of Asian fusion, this is an Adams Morgan sushi institution. The rooftop terrace, strung with lights, offers a sweeping view of the often-rowdy neighborhood. 1811 Columbia Rd., NW; 202-234-6218; perrysadamsmorgan.com. Metro Station: Woodley Park-Zoo.
P.O.V. Roof Terraceand Lounge
The W Hotel’s rooftop bar has panoramic views of DC and beyond. At $15 apiece, cocktails aren’t cheap, but you can sip slowly while lounging on a velvet banquette. 515 15th St., NW; 202-661-2400; starwoodhotels.com. Metro Station: Federal Triangle.
Trusty’s Full-serve Bar
This truck-stop-themed bar on Capitol Hill has a second-floor deck with a half dozen umbrella-covered tables. There’s not much of a view because the space is enclosed—picture it as a room without a ceiling—but there’s plenty of canned beer or drafts served in Mason jars to go around. 1420 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-547-1010; trustysdc.com. Metro Station: Potomac Avenue.