Words by Kaylee Dugan
Photos by Clarissa Villondo
The Watergate Hotel has the best rooftop views in D.C. There is absolutely no arguing this. Unless a taller hotel pops up right next to the Watergate, that fact is not going to change anytime soon. Being able to stare off into the Potomac or survey the grand architecture of the Kennedy Center is truly awesome. Put a beer (or a glass of wine) in my hand, and I could do this for hours at a time.
And if that’s all your looking for, a stellar view and a simple drink, Top of the Gate is the perfect spot. It’s when you start looking for a little more that things fall flat. The cocktails, sugary and sweet without much depth or complexity are way too expensive for what you’re ordering. Likewise, the menu is scant and only features a few pizzas. If you really feel the need to drop some cash on a snack, go for the prosciutto and arugula option, unlike the pepperoni and mushroom pizzas, this one had the least grease and was the most refreshing.
There are a few other hiccups around the way, if you want a little space and a more comfortable seat than the bar will allow, that’s going to cost you some real money. Off peak hours, reserving a single seat in the lounge is $25, during peak it jumps up to $40. If you want to smoke one of those nice electric hookahs dotting the tables, that’s going to cost you another $50. To be clear, that’s $50 for one hose. If you have three friends that want to join you, it’s going to be $200 for the group. None of this includes food or drink.
I don’t say this to dissuade you from going to the Top of the Gate. As I said before, the view is truly something to behold. I really recommend everyone try and stop by at least once to really soak it in, but I can’t see this becoming a regular spot for me or any of my friends. I think the Watergate understands. This is a bar for a specific kind of clientele and there’s nothing wrong with that.
As a fun side note, they have a ‘mentalist’ there every Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. From what I can gather, mentalist is the bougie word for magician. When I was there for the opening media party, they flew a magician out from California named Chris Korn and he fucking rocked. The biggest thing I want you to take away from all of this is that the Watergate hotel is low key one of the best places to see magic tricks in D.C. God, I love this city.
Top of the Gate is located at 2650 Virginia Ave NW. Hours are 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday thru Thursday and 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday thru Saturday.