From Norfolk all the way up to D.C., we've narrowed down our list of favorite rooftop bars to three.
There is something so liberating about gathering on a rooftop bar with friends—sipping cocktails, nibbling off specialty plate offerings, and relaxing as the day’s aggravations are erased with a breeze and a fabulous view. What could be better than that?
Over the last several years, there has been an increasing popularity of rooftop bars popping up all over the country. I’m sharing three amazing rooftop bars that have totally diverse vibes, absolutely amazing but different views, and what I think are must-tries.
Courtesy of Grain
Grain is the fabulous new rooftop bar atop the 21-story Hilton Norfolk The Main hotel. The Main opened in the spring of 2017 in the heart of Norfolk's revitalized Waterside District and has been the talk of the town since its inception. With the absolutely most stunning views of the Elizabeth River and downtown Norfolk’s cityscape, it definitely has the essence of a fantastic rooftop bar. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly with a large round firepit, tables, and ample sofas to relax and enjoy your friends and meet new ones.
Courtesy of Grain Instagram
Branded as a beer garden, Grain features over 70 craft beers from which to choose. The menu has a vast selection of reasonably priced food offerings, each a delicious delight. Every Wednesday at Grain is an event called "Brewfest," where a new beer is introduced. However, don't think this is just a place for beer; there are also pretty cocktails and a lovely selection of wine. Grain has a Happy Hour during the week from 5 to 7 p.m., with live music in the evenings, Wednesday–Sunday.
Every Sunday, Grain offers brunch. Choose either a buffet for $22 per person, or make a selection from the brunch menu. Plus, there are $2 classic mimosas and $2 classic bloody marys.
A great rooftop bar for all ages, Grain is smart-casual and super-easy to find. The view is phenomenal, and you'll love the great food and drink deals and fun toys (lawn chess, foosball, a complimentary photo booth).
Courtesy of The Watergate Hotel
Top of the Gate, the iconic Watergate Hotel’s rooftop bar, has absolutely the most stunning panoramic views in D.C. Situated on the 15th floor of the newly $150M renovated hotel, this sophisticated respite overlooks the Potomac River, The Kennedy Center, Georgetown, the Key Bridge, Arlington, the Washington Monument, and oh so much more of our nation’s capital.
Top of the Gate is the perfect place to gather and enjoy beautifully crafted cocktails and rustically plated Mediterranean-inspired nibbles in a simple yet elegant environment. If you want to relax and avoid the bar, bottle service is offered—How metropolitan VIP is that? A quick tip, though: If you’re eyeing one of the sofa areas to perch upon for the evening, reservations are required in advance.
Courtesy of The Watergate Hotel
This rooftop bar was named by Maxim as one of the “10 Great Rooftop Bars Across America.” I would totally agree—the unparalleled view, the chic vibe, the delicious food and cocktails ... Top of the Gate is definitely the epitome of a rooftop bar.
Courtesy of Quirk Hotel
Q Rooftop Bar is open-air, pristine, and offers the most incredible views of downtown Richmond. Located in the heart of The Broad Street Commercial Historic District, Q Rooftop is a two-level bar which is located on top of the boutique Quirk Hotel. Originally a luxury department store built in 1916, Quirk is so appropriately named, as it is such a “quirky,” modern, and charming boutique hotel that keeps true to its architectural historic beginnings. I would literally live in this hotel if I could or decorate my house like it, if my husband would let me.
Courtesy of Quirk Hotel Instagram
Q is a popular local rooftop bar; however, hotel guests have first priority seating. The breathtaking views of the city are a perfect backdrop for photos ops, as are the cleverly named craft cocktails. The food is as charming as the entire experience, as it is lauded “elevated” street fare. Live music on this particular rooftop is so cool. The staff is amazingly trained, which is always a plus; a rude server can ruin an evening in my world. A little tip: Don’t forget your ID as they card everyone (and I mean everyone—you could be 80 years old); no ID, no Q Rooftop Bar experience.
What stands out about Q Rooftop Bar is the striking white furniture and glass stairs, doors, and walls set against the contrasting backdrop of the redbrick historic buildings of Richmond. This rooftop bar has an awesome vibe and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view, friends, and good food and drinks in a casual atmosphere. This is my kind of rooftop bar. Here's a little scoop: Owners Ted and Katie Ukrop announced on the hotel website that they are opening a second Quirk Hotel in Charlottesville in 2020; I bet the rooftop bar will be just a fabulous! I can’t wait!