News & Politics

The W’s P.O.V. Lounge Is Closing for Renovation

One of the best views of DC will be unavailable for a month.

A view of the Washington Monument from P.O.V. Photograph by Flickr user Katie T.

As of this weekend, there will be one fewer city rooftop where scenesters can eat, drink, be merry, and, in some notable cases, get in trouble. The P.O.V. rooftop lounge of the W Hotel, famous for a stunning view of the White House and beyond, announced it will close after business on Saturday to start a “full renovation.”

We have no clue what specific changes the renovation will bring, but reps say when it reopens in September, the rooftop concept will be taken to “a new level” and provide service in “ways unimaginable until now.” The mind reels.

Since its splashy opening in 2009, P.O.V. has attracted publicity but not always the kind that’s wanted by a bar or restaurant. In an incident in April 2011, former Washington NFL defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth pleaded no contest to a sexual assault charge after an incident at P.O.V. The charges against him said he popped his credit card down a female server’s shirt and touched her breast. Last fall, singer Chris Brown was arrested in an altercation outside the W, but there’s no indication he had been upstairs at the rooftop bar. In June 2011 a woman, who reportedly had been drinking at P.O.V., later plunged to her death from the rooftop’s ledge in an apparent suicide.

Those were the lowest points. In more positive moments, House of Cards star Kevin Spacey was photographed there this week, Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio took tea time on the rooftop last winter, and—in happier times—Jennifer Lopez booked the roof for a birthday party for now ex-husband Marc Anthony. It was also the location for lots of other private parties and a destination hang out on weekend nights, though some patrons complained of long waits to get let through the velvet rope and up in the elevator. Service was sometimes good, sometimes not so much.

What no one will debate is its spectacular view of the city, including the Washington Monument, the Ellipse, the Jefferson Memorial, and Reagan National Airport—even over the rooftops of the Treasury Building and the White House. If you like to count flags on the rooftops of government buildings, this is the place to be.

Find Carol Ross Joynt on Twitter at @caroljoynt.