Photo of POV view by Laura Hayes

You can’t sit there. You can’t sit there either, spits a server at POV—the rooftop bar at W Washington D.C. Hotel with a dead sexy view of the White House and everything else glorious about this fine city. It feels like the high school cafeteria all over again when no one would let me sit with them because I was super annoying and I brought weird, stinky school lunches like ten zaru soba, natto rolls, and beef negimaki.

Some tables at the haven for view-seeking tourists have reserved signs on them, but others don’t, begging the question, do you want our money or not? The irony that we’re facing a lot of barriers to grabbing a table is not lost on me, given the recently remodeled design of the bar features a 50-foot sculptural “red tape wall” as a nod to D.C. bureaucracy. 

Finally, my companion and I saddle up to a ledge that comes with a free side of sauna. The blinding afternoon sunshine is so strong I have to flip like a pancake every five minutes to avoid burning only one side of my face creating a yin yang effect. My companion and I join forces with the nice family next to us to ask if we could please lower the shade. Strength in numbers! The answer, you guessed it, is no.

On to drinks. I’m with a gal pal who only drinks red wine, even in the dog days of summer on the beach. It’s a strong move because red wine is hard to fuck up. But POV managed to wreck it. Her glass of $11 Malbec is so warm that we detect an attempt to simmer. She asks if any of their other reds are to temp. “It’s the same temperature no matter what, it’s going to be hot.” Wowsers. Because the customer comes first, the bartender gets innovative and drops in two ice cubes. Thanks! 

It’s long been documented that restaurants with coveted views can get away with sub-par drinks priced 20 to 30 percent higher than the market rate. People care less about whether a cocktail has siphoned coriander foam when they’re watching dolphin fins crest over the surface of the water thanks to an ocean vista, and they understand why their drink costs an extra $3. 

But why, WHY OH WHY, does service have to suffer too? Because I’m a wimp, I leave a 20 percent tip. I also leave feeling unwelcome.