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Rooftop Revelry and Patio Patriotism

Submitted by on July 4, 2010 – 8:45 PMNo Comment
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Summer hit DC at least a month early, and now the city is in High Festival season – punctuated by Fourth of July celebrations.

Whether you are seized by a spirit of jingoism, you want to express your appreciation for all the good things (or ignore all the bad things) to be found in the US of A, or you just need a good excuse to go eat something grilled and wash it down with copious amounts of domestic, micro-brewed beer, there are places to enjoy Independence Day throughout the DC area.

With beautiful weather and lots of things bursting in air all across the horizon, DC’s plethora of bar patios and rooftop decks offer the best options for viewing fireworks displays short of renting a penthouse apartment downtown.

Most of the nicest spots fill up early, so reservations are advisable when possible.  Also be advised that many rooftops and patios are glass-free; in other words, the dreaded Plastic Cup awaits your erstwhile high-class beer selection.  But if you are determined, there are a number of desirable locales.

Adam’s Morgan tops the list, a bit uphill from downtown and littered with nightlife.  The Reef and, across the street, Madam’s Organ (2446 & 2461 18th St. NW, respectively) are two of the best choices.  The Reef’s deck is spacious and has great views.  Madam’s Organ has a top-story Tiki Lounge which oozes atmosphere.  Both offer a variety of food and liquid refreshment, but, whereas the Reef provides a simple ambience with lots of good tap beer, the Tiki Lounge – perhaps appropriately for that genuine beach-bar feel – has better choices by the bottle.

Not far away, at 2317 18th St., The Brass Monkey/Roxanne/Spaghetti Garden complex contains bars, pool tables, and karaoke, as well as Italian-esque cuisine.  It also contains a roof patio, which is invariably full.  Early arrivals stake out their spots for the duration, so one must arrive early and order right away, or face a long wait and a scrum through the crowd for each drink.

Heading down to U Street, Local 19 (1602 U St. NW) offers more bottled fare, but it comes with stylish ambience and a good sampling of DC’s young-and-attractive crowd.  Several blocks down (900 U St. NW), Nellie’s is hosting a Summer-long fiesta on their rooftop, with specials all the time, including during DC’s 4th of July display.

Garrett’s Restaurant & Railroad Tavern in Georgetown (3003 M St. NW) is another possibility.  The normally collegiate crowd becomes slightly more local in the Summer, but the young folks are still drawn here, where nightly drink specials accompany a varied Americana menu.  The drawbacks are the limited tap selection, and the limited visibility from the patio.

The Cleveland Park Bar & Grill (3421 Connecticut Ave.) presents a good local atmosphere, with a quaint deck once again offering views mostly of the surrounding neighborhood.  But you might catch some flashes above the horizon, and the selection of beer, food, and people make it a good, relaxed choice.

Other spots for beer-and-fireworks fun can be found, but often they are hotel lounges with limited, overpriced selections.  Any place with a view is a good spot to catch the DC area’s fireworks displays for the all-American holiday, but tastes, location, and the ease of finding a seat will be the deciding factors when choosing an ideal patio or rooftop bar.