clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where to Drink By a Pool This Summer

Cocktails by the water.

Capitol Skyline pool.
Capitol Skyline pool.

Summertime in D.C. means heat. And lots of it. Escaping to one of the area's numerous nearby beaches can help, but crowds, traffic and sand can make the trip more trouble than it's worth.

With DJs spinning, poolside drinks, cabanas and bars open before noon, the District's pool party scene combats the heat wave without the road trip.

For those who'd rather skip the parties and simply spend the day soaking up the sun while sipping cocktails on the deck, weekdays offer up a more leisurely pool experience. And since that whole no-swimming-after-eating thing has been debunked, there's no 
risk in downing a bucket of tasty fried chicken poolside right before taking a dip.

All the following hotel pools are open to the public and don't require a membership (the Donovan House's swank DNV rooftop, for example, is for hotel guests only). Day passes allow morning-to-night access to the fun including some offering up free entry during certain hours. From rooftop oases to landscaped, ground-level courtyards, D.C.'s pools may not be able to compete with Vegas or South Beach, but they still provide a great escape.

Capitol Skyline Hotel

10 I Street SW

It's a tale of two pools at the Capitol Skyline Hotel with a relaxing atmosphere during the week and then a raucous, DJ-spinning, music-pumping party on Saturdays and Sundays. The District Lounge is also located right off of the pool for additional food and beverage options. Both weekday and weekend pool days kick off at 11 a.m. and run through 9 p.m. with day passes available for $20. The Capitol Skyline pool is open through September 7.

Embassy Row Hotel's The Rooftop

2015 Massachusetts Avenue NW

A heated pool, outside grill and bar highlight the Embassy Row Hotel's rooftop. Chaise lounge chairs and cabanas are available for free, but they're first-come, first-serve, so it's best to arrive early to secure a seat. Sip drinks like a DC Sidecar paired with food like kale salads and soft pretzels. Swimming kicks off at 7 a.m. every day with the bar opening at noon Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. on weekends. A DJ spins on Saturdays (including a headphone-only "silent disco" from 7 - 10 p.m.) while Sundays, it's all about the reggae. Day passes are $25 each and starting at 2 p.m. on Friday, they're free. Embassy Row Hotel's pool is open until Labor Day but, depending on weather, the end of the pool season could be extended.

Liaison Capitol Hill

415 New Jersey Ave NW Washington, DC

Daily swimming kicks off at 8 a.m. and drinks start pouring at the 11 a.m. at the Liaison Capitol Hill's rooftop pool and lounge. With a Monday through Thursday happy hour, day passes can be snagged for $35 or, for those looking to upgrade the pool party, a cabana is $150. Interested in an evening swim? After 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday, pool access is free. Bonus: The hotel's restaurant, Art and Soul, offers fried chicken picnic lunches available poolside for $40. Pool season at Liaison Capitol Hill ends September 30, 2015.

Washington Plaza Hotel

10 Thomas Circle NW

Billing itself as "DC's most beautifully landscaped swimming pool," taking a dip at the Washington Plaza doesn't come cheap. A $50 day pass secures access to the water and its poolside bar from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., with food service also available. The Washington Plaza Hotel pool is open until September 13.