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The 10 Best Rooftop Bars in the U.S.
Imbibe in creative cocktails at these top spots across the country.
From a trendy perch rising over Manhattan to a laid-back hangout with a crackling fireplace in Seattle, these rooftop bars pack in plenty of scenery and a see-and-be-seen crowd.(Getty Images).
When it comes to summer sipping, nothing beats the panoramic vistas, brilliant sunsets and sophisticated atmosphere of a rooftop bar. And with summer ushering in longer, warmer days, it's not shocking people are slipping away from their typical indoor haunts and choosing bars that don't just offer unique cocktails, but also Instagram-worthy views to go with them. From one of New York's best-kept gems to Seattle's favorite hipster hangout, these elevated outdoor space across the U.S. offer the perfect spots to unwind and leisurely savor drinks and scenery this season.
P.O.V. Rooftop Lounge and Terrace at the W Washington D.C.
Aside from a helicopter tour or a private jet, you won't get a better view of iconic landmarks in our nation's capital than from the swanky P.O.V. Rooftop Lounge at the W Washington D.C. While the cocktails lean toward the pricier side, they're well worth it – with innovative seasonal sips like the Jon Burrows, a mix of vodka, sour, seasonal beer and blackberries. Plus, every drink comes with a breathtaking view of President Obama's backyard and the district's surrounding monuments.
Mr. Purple at Hotel Indigo
Few other spots in New York City offer the sweeping views of downtown Manhattan found at Mr. Purple at the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side. Located on the 15th floor, Mr. Purple's expansive deck boasts an outdoor bar serving up trendy cocktails like the Summertime Spice (made with silver tequila, ancho chile liquor, agave nector and fresh lemon). And that's not all. The space also features a pool that's highly coveted during the warm summer months and lounge chairs gazing toward downtown Manhattan.
Market Pavilion Pool and Bar
Unwind from the sticky heat of a Charleston, South Carolina, summer with a nitrogen-infused martini at the bustling rooftop of the famous Market Pavilion Hotel. The trendy rooftop offers views of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Arthur Ravenel Bridge and City Market. Also equipped with a pool, this outdoor oasis is popular all day long. If nitrogen martinis aren't your thing, try the infamous Pavilion Punch, made with Myers Dark Rum, cranberry, orange and pineapple juices along with a splash of grenadine. And you'd be remiss to skip pairing salsa fresca or a colossal crab cocktail with your libation as well.
Cindy's at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
Situated in one of Chicago's most beautiful buildings, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Cindy's rooftop bar has quickly become a staple spot for happy hours and tourists since it's opening in 2015. Even though guests love the exposed brick and expansive views from the roof, it's the veranda that beckons to crowds far and wide, with its incredible views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. The spirit and cocktail list (referred to as Potions and Elixirs) is vast, with popular options including the "We'll Always Have Paris" – a blend of gin, fresh strawberries, pistachio milk and rose petal and the "Grey Garden" – a mix of Ketel One Vodka, crème de biolette, jasmine pearl tea and lemon. If you're hungry, the bar also features a full food menu.
[See: Hotels with the Best Rooftops.]
Acme Feed & Seed
Even though Acme Feed & Seed is just a few steps from the honky-tonk scenes of Music City's buzzing Lower Broadway, the rooftop bar is more hip than kitsch. The bar's 360-degree views of downtown Nashville and its iconic landmarks, such the Music City Center and Cumberland River, is just one of the charms of this local favorite. The rooftop also offers live music daily, and a delicious array of innovative cocktails, local beers and wine along with mouthwatering bites, such as hand-rolled sushi and the city's famous hot chicken.
Pearl's Rooftop on the Sunset Strip
If you want to experience a taste of Los Angeles in the Roaring '20s, make Pearl's Rooftop a stop on your next trip to La-La Land. The cozy space, outfitted with a working fireplace and hanging ceiling plants, boasts incredible views of the Sunset Strip's bright neon lights, as well as the San Gabriel Mountains that flank the city. Order the namesake Pink Pearl cocktail – a tart, yet sweet combination of gin, aperol, grapefruit, rosé and prosecco. And if you want to savor small bites while you drink, check out Pearl's expansive food menu, which offers staples such as ahi tuna poke stuffed avocado and half-pound burgers topped with cheddar.
The Highbar at Dream South Beach
Entering the blue-lit Highbar at the Dream South Beach is like stepping inside a 1970's party in legendary South Beach. During the day, the blazing sun keeps the pool filled with perfectly bronzed patrons sipping homemade margaritas and at a night, the comfortable couches and high cocktail tables are filled with glitzy and glamorous locals who look like they belong in a fashion magazine. In addition to a great atmosphere, the bar offers jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic Ocean and a palm-flanked beach, making it one of the best spots to watch the sunset.
Lustre Rooftop Bar at the Hotel Palomar Phoenix CityScape, A Kimpton Hotel
With a refreshing pool, a lush garden filled with succulents and desert plants and panoramic views of downtown Phoenix, Lustre's picturesque rooftop garden from its perch at the Hotel Palomar Phoenix CityScape offers plenty to swoon over. Locals and tourists alike love to escape the stifling desert heat for a dip and a margarita or daiquiri pitcher while soaking in the sweeping mountain vistas and an eclectic variety of poolside games like champong (or beer pong with champagne).
Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails at Motif Seattle
It's hard to beat the ambiance at Frolik, Seattle's hippest rooftop bar. Perched on top of Motif Seattle, a Destination Hotel property, Frolik boasts more than 4,000 square feet of patio space filled with benches, ping-pong tables, a posh candle-lit bar, shuffleboard courts and roaring outdoor fireplaces. The fifth floor offers incredible views of Seattle's bustling downtown. Known for its revolving collection of the Pacific Northwest's best brews, Frolik's hoppy Schooner Exact IPA is a crowd favorite. If you're feeling daring, sip on something a bit more dangerous, like the Troublemaker – a meld of redemption rye, lillet blanc, lemon juice and a splash of grenadine.
Ghostbar at Palms Casino Resort
If your perfect night on the town includes hob-knobbing with celebrities, flashing lights, disco music and exclusive VIP treatment, head to Ghostbar, an elusive bar located on the 55th floor of the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. If money is no option, grab a table and order bottle service for you and your closest friends for the ultimate bar experience. If you'd rather mix and mingle, grab a flute of Champagne or a cosmopolitan and sit on one of the plush couches on the terrace where you'll be met with dramatic views of the Strip.
About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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