The Watergate Hotel’s patio is outfitted to capitalize on the latest American sports craze this summer, with fruity cocktails in tennis ball-shaped mugs and badminton game-themed bites like pickleball.
The free activation went live behind the iconic Foggy Bottom Hotel’s Next Whiskey Bar last week and runs through Labor Day. The public can reserve a pickleball spot on a first-come basis, and hotel guests can reserve the court at the front desk.
The court, open from 4:30 p.m. until midnight, overlooks the Potomac and lights up at night with a glow-in-the-dark net, paddles, balls and tape. The raised garden terrace also screams summer with views of the Watergate complex’s circular swimming pool.
After you sweat (or just watch from the sidelines), Watergate’s new special snacks double as teachable moments. A falafel, topped with homemade tzatziki, is also a term for when a pickleball player paddles the ball without any power. The “Flapjack”, which refers to the mandatory bounce of a ball before it can be hit, features chicken sausages dipped in waffle batter with a dusting of powdered sugar. A starter of marinated cauliflower with yellow grape tomatoes looks like a racket and a ball, and “marinated” refers to when a team scores zero points. Each dish is $12, or try a sampler for $32. Circular treats ($3) include cake pops and scoops of sorbet or ice cream.
There’s also a wine list and Chandon’s new Garden Spritz by the glass ($14) or bottle ($52). The featured bubbly brand also has an on-site spritz cart.
DC continues to see an increase in spots that combine sports and drinks, from ax throwing to ping pong to golf bars, but Watergate’s new summer feature is a first of its kind. A lot of local recreation centers are already on the pickleball boom, but it’s the only dedicated DC court with a fun menu to match.
The hours follow those of the Next Whiskey Bar (4:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m., Sunday to Wednesday, and Thursday, Friday, Saturday until midnight). Lessons are available by pre-booking with Coach Zorano “Z” Tubo, one of the best in the country IPTA-Certified pickleball teaching professionals who have taught top pros and national champions.