It’s also a destination for good eats and killer cocktails.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here: VIDA’s Penthouse Pool Lounges are the best deal in the District. For only slightly more than the cost of membership to VIDA’s already awesome gyms, you can join their Penthouse and have full access to the pools, cabanas (and cabana boys), fire pits, kitchen, and bar. They currently have two locations: one on top of their U Street gym, and the other at their Navy Yard location. We recently visited the U Street location and will be returning to the Penthouse very, very soon.
On first impression, there is tons of seating. Tons and tons of endless comfy lounge chairs and day beds for you to soak up the rays. And there are a variety of spots to choose from. You want a little shade? We’ve got you covered. You want a queen side bed by the pool? We’ve got that too. Oh you want a couch by the fire pit? Step right up. If you can’t find your happy place somewhere up here, then you need to get your head examined.
Now, this isn’t just your average rooftop pool that we all have on top of our apartment buildings. This one has a full bar. And kitchen. And an awesome new chef and menu that we talked a little bit about last month. During the week, the Penthouse closes at a respectable 7pm, but on the weekends it goes from pool bar to rooftop nightlife and stays open til 2am.
Also unlike your average apartment rooftop pool, the Penthouse has spacious cabanas, complete with waiter service. And if you head down to the Navy Yard location, those cabanas have TVs, safes, and mini refrigerators so you really can post up for an entire day without every leaving the pool. And oh yeah there’s wifi. (Hello all of you who work remotely – this could be your new office.)
Of course we started with some cocktails. Both the Ginny Hendrick’s (their take on a gimlet) and the Jalapeno Margarita came highly recommended, and we were not led astray. The Ginny is cool and refreshing and could easily transition you from poolside day drinks to nighttime on the roof. The Jalapeno Margarita was fresh and spicy with just enough heat to keep you wanting more. And of course the Penthouse has plenty of other cocktails, wines, draft and bottled beers, and a full bar if nothing on the menu tickles your fancy.
One thing that struck us was how healthy (yet still delicious) the new Penthouse menu is. Even though we are dedicated carnivores, we wanted to try out the vegetarian Porto Burger. The patty is made from a thick grilled portobello mushroom and adorned with some leaves of bibb lettuce, a slice of tomato and some fig chutney. The combination of the smoky mushroom and the tangy fig chutney was delightful. We definitely weren’t fooled into thinking we were eating meat, but this burger is delicious as is. And perfect for poolside dining when you don’t want to bust out of your bikini.
If you had blindfolded us, fed us the crab avocado tower, and said we were at one of DC’s Michelin starred restaurants we would have believed you. The flavors are fresh and powerful. There’s no filler in the lump crab, and the avocado is mixed with mango and some citrus to give it a bright finish. A tortilla chip scooped full with half crab half avocado was the perfect bite. And, like the Porto Burger, it was light enough to not feel like you needed to put on your cover up and hide in a cabana.
Long story short: bug your friends that are VIDA members to take you up to the Penthouse or join yourself so you can indulge in the pool, the bar, and the foods whenever you want.