Friday, June 14, 2024
Art & DesignFashionLifestyle

Upstairs Rooftop Bar at The Morrow Hotel – A Derby Celebration Away From KY

Ideally, I would’ve loved to attend the Derby in person this year for its 125th Anniversary, but I figured it would be entirely too crowded, therefore dampening the experience. What’s a Louisville native to do when it comes to celebrating the Derby in DC? There are some viable options in the city, but I decided to go to the Upstairs Rooftop Bar. Located atop The Morrow Hotel, the bar offered a pleasurable experience with stunning views, delectable drinks, and a cool ambiance. Although the rainy weather dampened the mood in the evening and prevented people from going out, this evening was still worth the experience. 

Drinks: The Derby-themed menu had an impressive array of libations, and I decided to indulge in the Seattle Slew and Makers Sour, both of which were expertly crafted, delightfully refreshing, and far from watered down! Boy, I felt a nice buzz by drink number two; then again, I am a lightweight. My guest, the fabulous Gabrielle Arrington, opted for the Affirm Lemonade and Bourbon featuring Makers, which proved to be a winning combination that she loved. Thanks to our bartender Shelsa and bar hop Bubba (whom you can catch on Fridays), these two were like the Dwyane Wade and Lebron James of bar service! By the way, the bar’s impressive selection of top-shelf alcohol items ensured we could enjoy premium spirits throughout the evening. 

My friend/plus one Gabrielle, enjoying a nice beverage.
(L-R) bartender Shelsa and bar hop Bubba

Food: Upstairs’s food offerings did not disappoint either! I chose the Hot Chicken Biscuit and Cheese with fries, a flavorful delight that pleased me. It was so good that my friend Gabrielle decided to get her own meal after sampling mine. The deviled eggs were also delicious. I had them last year, and I ordered two servings of them this time. They weren’t my mom’s infamous deviled eggs, but they were close. 

Upstairs Derby bar setup

Entertainment: Throughout the evening, the talented DJ kept the energy high with a blend of music from the 2000s and Reggaeton beats, ensuring that we either were moving to the beat or just keeping the vibe positive the whole night. The only time the music wasn’t playing was during the Derby race itself. 

Ambiance: The rooftop ambiance was nothing short of enchanting, with vibrant hues of blue and purple setting the stage for an unforgettable evening. Despite the rainy weather, the cozy indoor space provided a welcoming space to enjoy good company. I met some other kind and cool guests who were also there for a lovely Derby experience. 

Blogger Georginé (pictured on the right) and her guest
Kenny Washington and Gina Smallwood

Activities: Besides the amazing drinks and music, we had the opportunity to partake in various games, adding an extra layer of fun to the festivities. These included a Derby board game, tic-tac-toe, and a giant Connect Four game. There was also a contest for “Best Dressed” at the event, which I missed but was able to snag a photo of the third-place winner,

(L-R) Amber, Teisha, and Kaer (Third place winner of the Derby “Best Dressed.”)

Overall, my experience at Upstairs Rooftop Bar was exceptional. With a full belly and winnings from my Derby selection (I only won $25!), my time was phenomenal! From the delicious drinks and mouthwatering food to the lively entertainment and inviting ambiance, it was a Derby celebration that I hope to experience again next year. I highly recommend Upstairs to anyone looking for an awesome rooftop experience in Washington, D.C., for Derby or any occasion. 

Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.

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