pov: to go or not to go

Posted on Sep 21, 2015


Where we’ve been drinking: POV

POV. It’s the swanky rooftop bar at the W Hotel. Everything we have read told us we should go there. And, after going there we can unequivocally say two things:

  1. It was a great way to start the evening. We’re so glad we went;
  2. We’re somewhat ashamed that we believed it when this place ended up on so many ‘Best Cocktails of DC’ lists.

Here’s the thing. Several years ago, we finally made our way to Boston’s Legal Harborside. Part of the Boston-based franchise,Legal Seafoods, Legal Harborside features three levels, three menus, and a 3rd floor patio with a view to die for. Seriously, it’s amazing. And, simultaneously, it’s the worst: there was a line by 6pm; every gaggle of girls seemed dressed for a bachelorette party even though it was unclear whether anyone was actually on a bachelorette party; the sushi menu was a nice change of pace, but mediocre for the price; and the drinks seemed geared at 24 year old girls (think pink, bubbly, and fruity), which, to be fair, based on aforementioned open-backed attire, was maybe the right direction to go. The point is their view was so incredible that they knew they didn’t have to try with anything else.

In fact, every amazing rooftop bar with a stunning view has overpriced faire, mediocre cocktails, and service that waivers somewhere between meh and downright bad.

POV seemed well acquainted with this rooftop moral code and had no problem obliging.

What we ordered

We ordered the Purple Basil (the pink one) and the Young Summer (the non-pink one). First sign of rooftop bar etiquette: serve unnaturally pink drinks.

What we thought

The Purple Basil called for red Lillet, Campari, and no surprise, purple basil. Lillet is a sweet, red fortified wine and campari is a very bitter orange vermouth. We love both of these ingredients and found their mixture of the two novel. However, having no base liquor made the drink kind of sticky. Think drinking the syrup of a popsicle. We did like it more over time as the bitter Campari and sweet Lillet interacted. According to google, purple basil is just that: basil with a dark purple hue. We’re guessing they had a purple basil simple syrup that they added to the drink? But then again, we’re not sure. We saw no muddling nor anything that looked like fresh basil; we couldn’t taste it either. We could potentially be fine with the lack of fresh ingredients, but not when the drink is named after an herb. Call it Summer Sunset or The Ruby or really anything besides Purple Basil. Or just tell us it’s a purple basil syrup. Like with food, you want to know what’s in it.

The Young Summer was a decent middle of the road drink. Spicy tequila drinks have been all the rage this season. We were intrigued by their use of sherry in addition to the usual suspects of spice (in this case chili lime) and some type of fruit juice (in this case, passion fruit). It wasn’t bad. And, it wasn’t exceptional. And for $15 it’s fair to want your drinks to be exceptional. Am I right?

So, should you go?

POV uses some spirit forward ingredients and has a variety to their cocktail list that give you the initial impression that it’s a legit cocktail bar. But, in the end you’re probably better off thinking of POV as the place with an amazing view, that also happens to serve cocktails. Best cocktail in DC? No way. Most spectacular setting for a drink? Yes, indeed. I mean it is named Point of View, after all.

We think you should go at least once (especially if you’re visiting, have guests who are visiting, or are new to town.) And probably that you should order a wine or beer.

Make it your go-to place if you want to watch the sun set while feeling high and mighty staring down on the most powerful blanca house in the world. But leave your unique, hand-crafted cocktail to an establishment that doesn’t follow the code of the rooftop lounge.

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