Food

Washington Pool Bars/Restaurants for Memorial Day Weekend

Private pools that open to the public for watery fun and sipping in the sun.
Sip a summery drink by the pool over Memorial Day Weekend. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of swim season for many places in Washington, including a number of private pools that are open to the public for a fee. A variety of options await, from DJ-fueled pool parties to relaxing spots with cabanas, chef-driven menus and plenty of summery cocktails.

Capitol Skyline Hotel Pool Party

10 I St., SW; 202-488-7500

The Skyline’s popular summer pool party series is back on Saturday, May 23. The lively scene is fueled by three outdoor bars, a grill serving burgers and dogs all day, and tunes from resident DJ Antonio Ernesto. Don’t expect to nap in the sun, but do plan to have high-energy fun (and a hangover).

Fee: Register in advance online for discounted entrance, regularly $20 per person (drinks and food purchased separately).

DNV Rooftop Lounge

1155 14th St., NW; 202-737-1200

Sadly only Donovan Hotel guests can swim in the rooftop pool during the day, but the public is welcome come evening to watch the sunset, sip a boozy slushy, and nibble on sushi, ceviche, and robata skewers from Zentan (located in the hotel lobby). Sunbathers can catch rays during Saturday and Sunday brunch, where chef Yo Matsuzaki serves Asian riffs on classics like shrimp and grits with shiitake mushrooms ad strawberry-brandy beignets.

Fee: Entrance is free to the public after 4 Monday through Friday, and 5 on Saturday; brunch serves 11 to 4, Saturday and Sunday.

Liaison Capitol Hill

415 New Jersey Ave., NW; 202-638-1616

The Liaison’s rooftop pool opens on Monday, May 25, and is one of the best bets for a relaxing afternoon by the water in a chaise lounge or daybed. The outdoor pool bar mixes cocktails and pours local brews from 11 to 11, while rooftop happy hour runs from 5 to 7:30, Monday through Friday. Art & Soul restaurant in the hotel is also a good option for dining post-swim.

Fee: The public can purchase day passes online for $25. Unfortunately single Memorial Day passes are sold out, but six-to-eight person cabanas are available (starting at $350 with a $100 food credit).

Penthouse Pool and Lounge at Vida Fitness

1612 U St., NW; 1212 Fourth St., SE

Don’t expect to see rooftop swimmers doing laps at these swanky fitness clubs—the vibe is more aprèsspin, when the toned members are ready to let loose. Chef Spike Mendelsohn recently signed on to design the menus, so you can sip a jalapeño margarita or “skinny” vodka-spiked lemonade in a private cabana while snacking on ceviche, fish tacos, or a spicy lamb burger.

Fee: You’ll have to sign up for a pricey pool membership for full access, but there’s hope for outsiders: find a fit friend. Members can bring one guest during peak times (Saturday, Sunday, and holidays) for $25.

The Rooftop at The Embassy Row Hotel

2015 Massachusetts Ave., NW; 202-265-1600

One of the newest rooftop bar/lounges on the scene is kicking off the summer in style with a party hosted by HOT 99.5 on Saturday, May 23 from noon to 6. Guests can head up to the tenth-floor deck—which is high for Washington—for swimming, dancing to DJ tunes, drinking summery cocktails, and sampling “swimsuit-friendly” dishes from hotel eatery Station Kitchen & Cocktails.

Fee: $45 per person online, which includes a ten percent discount at Station Kitchen & Cocktails, and 20 percent off guest rooms.

Washington Plaza

10 Thomas Cir., NW; 202-842-1300

Complimentary towel service and a poolside bar make this a pleasant place to lay out for an afternoon. Whole summer passes are available for true sun worshippers.

Fee: $50 per person for a day pass. The public can call the day-of to inquire about availability, which is based upon hotel occupancy.

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Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.