First Look: With Graham, Georgetown Gets Its First Rooftop Bar
svetlana | Apr 23, 2013 | 11:45AM |

all photos: Dakota Fine

There are few things DC people get more excited for than outdoor drinking season (side note: our OUTDOOR DRINKING GUIDE goes live TOMORROW, so get all sorts of excited for it), and each new spot is met with the level of enthusiasm normally reserved for welcoming new additions to immediate family or winning the lottery (you may think we are exaggerating, but those exclamation point retweets don’t lie, and that’s ok). And now, Georgetown finally has a rooftop contender in the game. After a year of renovations the old Monticello Hotel is now reopened as The Graham, and it has a snazzy new rooftop bar and a quiet little speakeasy bar to show for it.


The Graham is officially open now, but the OBSERVATORY roof will officially open on May 3rd (by which time, we assume the weather will be slightly less early March like).  The bar will be open for dinner and cocktails all week, with the brunch addition on the weekends. The second you step onto the wooden deck, and lean into one of the re-purposed wine barrel bar tables, you know this place will be all sorts of successful.



Brought to us by the team who previously manned the Donovan House rooftop (and therefore knows a thing or two about a successful outdoor hotel bar operation), the Observatory will feature craft cocktails (one, named Freddie’s Nightcap, will top out at $500 and will include a suite, a bag of roses and an intimacy kit) as well as other creative plays on the hotel drinking culture (in lieu of bottle service, the OBSERVATORY will serve the “Mini Bar” with split bottles and snacks).



All drinks carry names relating either to the history of:

  • the hotel (which was named after Alexander Graham Bell, who had his labs in the neighborhood) like rum, pineapple and strawberry The Telegram or the Gin, St. Germaine Blue Eyes, named after the lore of Frank Sinatra hanging out at the hotel on the regular in the past
  • the area, including the Sweet Rosslyn (citrus vodka, ginger, apple) in the homage of one of the views from the roof


  • the new Georgetown scene (we dare you to order The Real Housewife)


Speaking of Ole Blue Eyes and places he’d feel at home even in 2013, on the opposite spectrum of the rooftop bar is the the AGB (named after Graham Bell’s initials) unmarked basement speakeasy, with the house distilled bourbon Angel’s Envy and a a full dinner menu. There is room only for 47 so, whether you’re aiming to hang above or below Georgetown, reservations are recommended.



Recent Comments:
  • Anonymous says:

    Very poorly managed place! Overpriced watery drinks, dirty couches, and on top of that the restroom does not lock properly and anyone can get caught up in there! Mess!!!

  • Anonymous says:


  • Anonymous says:

    doesn’t look like they’ll be doing PBRs. “We are Georgetown”

    • Yogi says:

      I’d say preservation, being the first ceatorvnsion-oriented (though generally oriented towards ceatorvnsion of cultural artifacts) treatment of the built environment, gets the nod. As you note, Murph, building for proximity was much more of a wealth-creating or wealth-affirming effort, so though it was efficient I’d say it was not ceatorvnsion-oriented. And just building for proximity in my mind includes rebuilding for proximity, which gets into the materials spiral again.Patrick, while some uses and building types are becoming more intensely-used per site, for a wide range of other uses (particularly residential and detached residences within that) the use is becoming less intense. Clearly sites of health care operations fall into the former. Educational buildings, that can go either way.The green teardown happens in many cases quite explicitly. You know Roger Revelle, the dude who first started studying global warming 50 years ago? His grandson is a prof around these parts. Fulfilling his family’s legacy, he bought a mansion on Lake Michigan and tore it down to build a new green mansion. I guess it’s quite the conversation piece. This doesn’t seem like it is particularly environmentally sensitive to me. There are teardowns all over the city though, that have energy efficient windows and appliances and HVAC systems, while doubling the developed square footage of a site with fewer people. McMansions have moved to the city and they’ve got good locations but they’re still bloated and unnecessarily wasteful, no matter what their R-ratings are for windows or insulation. This same teardown ethos goes for office buildings but I don’t know these quite as well as I do residential. I think it’s rare that corporations or developers are looking beyond a twenty-year horizon thanks to the tax code and even institutions like universities half-ass this when they can. I’m waiting to see how soon the calls for redevelopment of Mies’ come now that it’s about half vacant (though still the same building it was 2 years ago, just without the same view).Preservation largely has been in the cultural/aesthetic realm, but I think it should be part of the continuum of development treatments of the built environment, rather than a historical or artistic endeavor.This is totally independent of labor/capital issues in building re-use moves expenditures to the human labor side, rather than the capital-intensive new construction. Murph, did you ever finish that paper for the preservation class? How about turning it into a blog post?