Mug Shots: Raising the Happy Hour Bar

Charlie Palmer Starts Weekly Rooftop Bar Service

Posted September 5, 2007 at 6:21pm

The new Capitol Hill happy hour at which to be seen has finally arrived, and it’s in a space usually reserved for private parties of the large-dollar kind. [IMGCAP(1)]

Starting today, the rooftop of 101 Constitution Ave. NW is opening its doors to Charlie Palmer Steak every Thursday until Thanksgiving for a new kind of happy hour. Owners are no doubt hoping that if working in the shadow of the Capitol is exhilarating and empowering, raising a glass in the building’s shadow may be even better.

“It’s going to be unlike anything else in D.C.,” said Bryan Voltaggio, executive chef and general manager of the Capitol Hill power steakhouse.

The roof deck has traditionally served as a swanky site for private events. By bringing happy hours to the roof, Voltaggio says the restaurant is hoping to extend the restaurant’s popular bar scene.

Voltaggio says they’ll be offering different cocktails upstairs each week, as well as an extension of their wine list.

This week’s specialty cocktails will feature Brad’s margarita (Voltaggio swears it’s the best in town), a rum-heavy planter’s punch and a pomegranate fizz, which involves sparkling wine. Prices are comparable to those found at the downstairs bar and lounge.

It’s probably not a good idea to enjoy these delicious drinks on an empty stomach. That’s where the passed hors d’oeuvres come in.

The free finger-food selection will feature different treats each week. This week’s offerings include some creative combos, namely the mini lobster corn dogs. Steak tartare and crisp oysters with remoulade also are on the schedule of appetizers.

And to accompany all that munching and sipping (not to mention the view!), they’re bringing in a DJ for some ambient background music.

You don’t necessarily have to have big pockets to fit in here: The hors d’oeuvres, the music and the atmosphere are all available without a cover charge and drinks will average from $8 to $12, and wine by the glass will run from $10 to $15.

Voltaggio expects the weekly happy hours, which are held from 5-9 p.m., will just be an extension of their original bar and lounge area with a better view.

“The people who are going to come are the people who work here, who care about the Hill,” he said of the happy hour’s expected attendance.