Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Washington Business Journal cover story on restaurant rooftop decks in DC

Firehouse owner Brian Brown has mentioned the idea of a rooftop deck for the firehouse restaurant on North Capitol Street NW.

The most recent Washington Business Journal (Friday, July 23, 2010) includes a cover story about restaurant rooftop decks in the District.

I have copied in the first few paragraphs to whet your appetite. (I can Email you the entire article if you send me an Email requesting it -- scott at scott hyphen roberts dot net.)

Since Bloomingdale may gain a rooftop deck at the firehouse, I thought you might like to read this WBJ article.

Friday, July 23, 2010
Rooftop venues can bring in cash, but also complaints

Washington Business Journal - by Tierney Plumb

While firetrucks blare along U Street NW, a gaggle of well-dressed young professionals slip into the relative quiet of neighborhood hot spot Local 16 and climb the curved, carpeted stairs to reach a plant-lined rooftop oasis.

On the roof, stark-white tablecloths flutter next to large fans that drown out the street noise below, and a new VIP area features funky drawings that seem to grow up the wall. Chatter from conference-goers, co-workers and 20-something friends fills the air.

Just three blocks away, patrons sit in a sleek, but mood-lit, space at Masa 14, a popular Latin-Asian tapas joint catering to a more Logan Circle-centric crowd.

At the center of that wood- and brick-accented space is a wide set of stairs that locals have dubbed the ``Stairs to Nowhere.`` The stairs are expected to eventually lead guests to a partially enclosed roof deck.

Given the relatively small number of D.C. establishments that offer the amenity, rooftop spaces present a prime marketing opportunity for bars and restaurants, accounting for as much as 80 percent of revenue for some proprietors.

``Roof decks are the only real option for outdoor seating, eating, drinking and enjoying one`s self without sitting on a busy, dirty street,`` said Patrick Oberman, a member of the Dupont Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC). They are also perhaps the only way to accommodate patrons who smoke.

It`s not clear exactly how many rooftop restaurants exist or are pending in D.C.— the District`s alcohol board says it is in the process of creating a database to compile the permit numbers — but there are at least 30 already open, according to consumer review website


  1. See this comment from a Quincy Place NW resident who lives down the street from Brian Brown`s firehouse:

    Regarding Rooftop decks, I used to live around the corner from Perry`s in Adams Morgan and IT. WAS. AWESOME. It felt intimate up there because they did a good job with keeping a perimeter of tall plant around. Every spring when they FINALLY opened the roof it was worth it to sit at the bar and wait an extra 45 minutes just to get a table on that roof. Just thinking about it makes me miss it.

    I keep my windows open in spring as early and as long as I can because I love the fresh air. Consequently I hear all kinds of noise from the street below (Quincy Pl. NW) and from North Capitol and even Florida. Mostly it`s mundane (traffic) sometimes it`s unpleasant (drunk guy arguing with a woman or himself at high volume or a car pulling up to pick up a friend and blasting their music for 5 minutes while said friend takes their time coming out the door). As you know I`m right around the corner from the firehouse and frankly the sounds of people talking and laughing having a good time in the spring air sound like a pretty happy ambiance to me.

  2. Couldn't agree more w/ Quincy Place. Well landscaped rooftops are great. I also live near the Firehouse and am not worried about the noise. I'm imagining the view of the Capital Dome will be great.

  3. Landscaping must matter because I can clearly hear the people with the roof deck several doors down as the sound bounces around the alley. They don't have any landscaping on the deck.