Rooftop dining – why so rare?
I was sitting next to a friend of mine whose girlfriend exclaimed, “I feel like going to one of those restaurants with rooftop dining!” It wasn’t a difficult decision, being that there were really only two choices in the neighborhood. Which made me wonder, why are there only two?
It’s easier to figure why not. First of all, it’s practically free real estate space, compared to most rooftops that add no value. The same with patio dining, but that’s another story. Second, people absolutely love dining outdoors on rooftops, especially in places like Perry’s in Adams Morgan above. Who wouldn’t?
One reason is that rooftop dining doesn’t easily self-advertise like patio dining out front – how would visitors know? That’s one reason why we’re developing a tool for them to find out – like our half-finished entertainment guide here for the neighborhood – click on ‘Experiences’ then ‘Outdoor Dining’. Second, if entrepreneurs are skeptical about filling two floors with patrons, they should check out Lauriol Plaza in Washington DC, with three floors and rooftop dining – to be profiled tomorrow…
I think you have answered the question. Rooftops are inaccesible…you can’t just drop-in…you have to take an elevator…so people can’t see them and can’t get to them easily. That’s not good for promotingbusiness.
I am not the least surprised how few there are.
I think more of the problem is that there are only a limited number of suitable building roofs. In Clarendon, VA we have Clarendon Ballroom (1 story, former 1930’s Woolworths building) with a rooftop bar and it also is super popular – and it is visible from the street and it makes you want to be up there with the people having a good time. The Oar House restaurante in Sante Fe overlooking the plaza is another fine example (further away). 2nd story Veranda’s take up GFA and how many 1 to 3 story buildings are built in places that could support rooftop dining? Another, unexpected problem we had in Clarendon – the new 2-story building that houses the Cheesecake factory was going to be built to accomodate rooftop dining, but the local residents opposed it at the board meeting, apparently fearing that it would create too much noise.