Red Derby Getting a Roof Deck!

by Prince Of Petworth June 22, 2010 at 10:13 pm 66 Comments

We first learned back in April ’09 that Red Derby (3718 14th St. NW at Quincy) was looking to get a roof deck.

Thanks to a reader for the heads up – permits have been issued, construction has begun and I’m told the progress is advancing ahead of schedule! You can see there is a huge gap in the ceiling:

The bar will be closed Wed. for more construction updates. I’m told that in addition to a deck, there will also be a bar on the roof and it will have a similar configuration to the one on the first floor. If all goes according to schedule the new roof deck should be open by the first week of August.

And let’s give big props to those working and supporting the Derby while construction is ongoing because when I stopped by Tues. night there was no air conditioning. I will gladly patronize the Derby in 90 plus degree heat without a/c if we are rewarded with a roof deck!

Stairs to the roof likely to go where the closet above is now

  • RD

    This is awesome. A little apprehensive about the potential change, though. will it go from primarily a neighborhood bar, with visitors on the weekends, to a bridge and tunnel hotspot?

    • Anonomi

      +1 on the awesomeness.

      I doubt it’ll be a bridge and tunnel hotspot. Drinking out of cans is unfathomable for them. And if they try to take over, Ralph will just scare them away.

      • Shawn

        God people on this blog are so snobby about “bridge and tunnelers”

        • Ragged Dog

          Don’t worry, it’s in direct proportion to the level of drunken obnoxiousness that the B&T crowd brings to the bar.

          • Shawn

            What’s an example of this? It’s like people in this area live in constant paranoia of “bridge and tunnelers” and “fratboy douchebags”

            It kind of sounds like a complex or something

          • Ragged Dog

            Have you been out in DC?

          • Shawn

            I’m just saying it sounds snobby and I think people have some issues. The “hip” dc residents can’t be bothered to have the lame/douchey people from the “burbs” come into their neighborhood.

          • Ragged Dog

            No one’s getting hurt over it. If a hipster or two want to complain about suburbanites, well that’s just what they do. Next go around we’ll complain about hipsters, then ghetto thugs, then government employees.

            It’s gonna be alright.

          • anon

            Ragged: Maybe here?

          • ryan

            It is snobby, Shawn. And the fact that you don’t get it means you’re probably B&T yourself, yes? Wanna hang out at St. Ex later?

            I wouldn’t worry too much about it though. the Derby is a good walk or bus ride through otherwise non-douchey territory, and they usually do a good job of NOT getting blog coverage to avoid getting “discovered” and ruined. If it does I vote we all move to v’Domku.

        • Rick Shartz

          And there are plenty of young District residents who are every bit as douchey and annoying as people visiting from Virginia and Maryland.

          • Ragged Dog

            Absolutely, but this is the blog where we complain about about people from the burbs. I’m not aware of the blog where they complain about people from the city. Maybe we.hate.dc? I’m sure it exists.

          • If you need a blog where they complain about people in the city, it’s called wtopnews.com.

  • Stating the Obvious

    It’s practically a hispter hotspot on the weekends. I can’t go in without having to fight through a mob of folks by the bar, and the back pool table is never open. The only time it’s tolerable to go is on weekdays when significantly fewer people there, but even then you have to deal with the aging scenester/punk crowd.

    • gaaahh

      aaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrggh i hate people grrrrrrrr

      • gaaahh

        (yay! roofdeck!)

    • Anonymous

      “aging scenester/punk crowd.”

      ouch. that’s me.

      • saf

        Might be me too.

        • anon

          if you have a mohawk with a bald spot in it, you may qualify.

          • saf

            Ok, not me.

          • Anonymous


  • Bloomingdale

    Ok… check. No bridge and tunnel crowd, no aging scenesters, no punks, no hipsters. How about unemployed llama trainers?

    Seriously, this seems like great news. I hope they provide some shade and greenery, though, given how hot summers are becoming around here…

  • Local Girl

    Things just keep getting better and better.

  • Rick Shartz

    I can’t wait to drink good beers in cans on that roof top. The Red Derby is a very nice bar.

  • Jeff Comeblood

    It’s going to be a great spot, but tell me this, what roof deck in this town isn’t filled with annoying tools on Friday and Saturday night?

    • Tree Spoonduck

      Is that really your last name?

      • Jeff Comeblood

        Unfortunately, yes.

        • Shoshon the Elegant


  • Ragged Dog

    More per capita rooftop decks means fewer per capita douchebags on your favorite rooftop deck.

    Just let the ecosystem work.

  • Anonymous

    Couldn’t be happier that this is my neighborhood spot! can’t wait to enjoy the roofdeck

  • Tortise

    I like the Derby. But hopefully with the new deck, will come a jukebox because for a “hipster” spot some of the music abysmal. Most 80s music should have been buried in 1989.

    • Ragged Dog

      Speak for yourself.

      • Tortise

        If you think its cool to drink your Dan’s Pale Ale to the blaring synths of Flock of Seagulls or “Take on Me” whatever. Explains while the “hipster” scene is DC is laughable.

        I wasn’t condemning all 80s music. New Order, Post-Punk, etc. would be nice.

        • Rick Shartz

          The “hipster” scene in DC is what it is, and it isn’t at all different than the “hipster” scene anyplace else in the country. You are right that musical tastes around here generally leave a lot to be desired, but I guess that comes with the territory.

          • Tortise

            Are you implying there is no difference to the “hipster scene” than say San Fran? or hell, even Baltimore? Remind me to never pay you any mind every again.

          • Jeff Comeblood

            Remind me to look you up when I need a subject matter expert on all things hipster. What makes DC so great is that we are not only overrun by people who think of themselves as hipsters, but that they are also all-knowing experts on this element of American culture. Now it’s time for you to get back to listening to your enormous New Order vinyl collection and being ironic.

          • victoria

            Why so worked up about the “lot to be desired” musical tastes of other people? What are you desiring? And why not just enjoy what you like regardless of others?

        • mieldog

          Dale’s Pale Ale. Yummers.

  • dreas

    Here, something else for everyone to complain about, since you’re all done with hipsters and the B&T crowd:

    We sometimes take our baby there. Not recently, but we have in the past.

    • TaylorStreetMan

      is your son’s name Max, by any chance? I think I know you guys!

      • dreas

        Nope, that’s not us. Like I said, it’s been a while. I was just giving the PoP commentariat another group to bash on for a while, since the bashing of hipsters and the bridge & tunnel crowd seemed to have died down. đŸ™‚

    • Jeff Comeblood

      I remember you! I don’t think we met, but I shared a cigarette with your baby out front and we had a long conversation about canned beers versus taps. What a coincidence! Tell him Jeff says ‘hi.’

  • Tito

    Yay! Now my buddy Barbapapa will have a hip place to drink a la onzieme arrondissement.

    • Barbidou


  • GforGood

    Great! There are residential houses right next door though so I would imagine the opening hours would be more limited than for the bar itself? Or are there general rules on how late to the night patios etc. can stay open?

    • TaylorStreetMan

      are there houses behind it?
      that whole block otherwise is commercial and the next nearest residential (I think) is that condo building one block north, and it’s pretty far away.

      but I hadn’t thought of that. Not sure I would want to have a party patio across from my bedroom window.

      • saf

        There are houses behind it, and they have (long ago) gone through the ANC process and have talked extensively with those neighbors (I was at that ANC meeting).

  • TaylorStreetMan

    Awesome. Love the rooftop, but can they get some taps? Please!

    I’m sorry if this sounds snobby, but beer in a can is just nasty. I freely admit to being somewhat of a beer snob, but I think beer in a can is generally considered to be the low end of flavor.

    Ask a brewer how they’d rank it. My guess is:
    1) cold draft
    2) warm draft
    3) cold bottle
    4) cold can

    • ed

      I agree.

      I would increase the good beer/ crappy beer ratio as well.

      I’m willing to pay six bucks for a good beer, but won’t pay 3 bucks a can for swill.

      If I am low on cash, I’d much rather pick up a six pack (bottles) of Miller High Life (‘the champagne of beers’) for $4.49 at Giant and chill it in my freezer.

      Also, how does everyone feel about the cash only thing? I’m old fashioned, so carrying cash for an evening out doesn’t bother me.

      • saf

        Cash only is good – it really helps keep the prices down. I mean, do you KNOW how high those card fees are for small retail establishments?

        • Anonymous

          well card swipe fee rules are changing as we speak w/ the financial reform conference…

    • Mr. Poon

      +1 for this. I’m a regular, but just put TWO decent beers on tap, Red Derby. You’ll still keep your alcoholic hipster card, but I’ll love you all the more. You could even serve it to me in a plastic cup.

      • TaylorStreetMan

        ha! me too! I’m not too snobby that I need a glass or anything.

        I never seem to have cash, so it becomes an issue for me personally, but it doesn’t bother me as a policy for a bar.

    • FentonH

      I’m actually really pro can policy. I can get good draft beer anywhere. I think the Derby is amazingly cheap for the selection.

      I think it’s nice to have a place that’s not like all the others. It’s my favorite bar because it’s just so absolutely no stress going there. So atypical for DC, just really mellow and no pressure.

  • MtP

    Sooo many reasons to drink beer from a can: http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/2010/01/the_beer_can_revolution

    • anon

      great article.. read it people – and if you want to drink out of a glass – just pour the can in the glass – you’ll never know the difference.

  • Sarah

    Draft beer is so overrated it’s comical,For the beer snobs that are obviously too old to remember canned beer just stay @ church key with your $10 drafts.. Yeah rooftop! Can’t wait..

  • Joe

    As an amateur brewer (but professional drinker), I feel compelled to point out that most bars’ tap lines are not cleaned with nearly the frequency necessary to avoid off-flavors. Plus if you have a keg of something fancy (so that the keg sits in the fridge all week), by the end of the week you are getting something that is over or under-carbonated at most bars. And often there is one mondo keg fridge that serves everything (for example, lagers and ales) at the same temperature. I wouldn’t call myself a beer snob because I enjoy cheap schwill in addition to the nice stuff, but as a beer lover I can attest that ordering drafts is highly over-rated.

  • adadf

    1. even the phrase “bridge and tunnel” crowd is annoying. all of you just moved here in the past decade anyway, so….what right do you have to say who should be in “your” neighborhood
    2. the mt. pleasant (and most cool arm tatooed) hipsters will never target any other group than the “bridge and tunnel crowd” because they are “down”. riiiighhht. Take a shower. being dirty is not cool.
    3. either way the bar seems alright and I’m sure the roof deck will only make it better

  • Dave Powell

    Best Bar in DC! Best Bartender: Victoria. Best Door Man: Andre. And now it will be even better. The beer they have in cans is way better than you can get at most DC bars and cheaper.

  • bevita

    I always wondered who wanted to sit on the concrete on 14th Street to watch the buses go by. Ugh. Enjoy your roof deck.

  • hennessey

    i like bars. especially bars that have a shtick.

    especially bars that have shtick and have good beer and good grilled cheese.

    i’ve only been once but i dig this bar. a roof deck just makes me more jealous its not over here in my hood.

  • Gianna

    You can’t say bridge and tunnel in DC. It’s as wannabe-NYC as saying there’s an area called midtown. I love the Red Derby.

  • victoria

    I say we need a blind beer taste test at Red Derby – snobbery smackdown!

  • Zorro

    It so sad to hear you all so excited about this place. Have you ever been to Carolina restaurant on 14th street? it is really close to red derby. I bet you have not. It has a patio, good bear and great food. Oh, i forgot, there are a lot of Central Americans there. Of course. Hipsters work at their “save the world” NGOs from 9-5 and then hang out at white-only bars. It all makes sense.

  • Latino

    Actually i live next to Carolina and it has very bad food not so great BEAR.White only? Have you even been in the derby? Chrissakes get over yourself.


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