There’s nothing like a good bar - the conveniently situated hotel bar, the tourist-friendly English or Irish pub, the rowdy sports bar, a fancier gastropub, the full-of-itself high-concept bar, even a shady no-frills neighborhood dive bar (you know, the one with the solid jukebox selection and sticky floor). Heck, even a dark and musty, cavernous watering hole may be in order every once in a blue moon, should you really need to tie one on. They’re all ‘great’ in their own right. But is there anything that compares with the vantage point of a rooftop bar? We think not.
It was, however, a tall order to reduce an infinitely long list of excellent rooftop bars to a mere six, but here’s a legit half-dozen of the best rooftop bars in the US:
Top of the Gate at the Watergate Hotel, Washington, D.C.
The competition is stiff amidst D.C.’s cocktail scene. Like, as a proprietor, you might benefit from a $200-million renovation to up your game, for instance. The iconic and notorious Nixon-era Watergate Hotel recently did just that. And, its rooftop bar, Top of the Gate is killing it. It’s hard not to notice during its bustling, upscale happy hour - the perfect place for professionals to meet everyone they've been emailing from ten feet away throughout the day.
Sardonic humor aside, Top of the Gate is the talk of the town, boasting panoramic views of the city skyline, the Potomac River, and if you get there at sunset, then, you guessed it…the sunset. Tip: head downstairs to the chic 70s-inspired whiskey lounge when you’re ready. A good 2,500 bottles of the strong stuff dress the walls. They’ve quite the selection, but make a reservation and expect a minimum spend.
The Nest at Thompson Seattle, Seattle
Location… Location... Location. Nest has claimed one of the best. And with it, an optimally unobstructed view of Puget Sound, the Wheel, the ferries, Elliott Bay, Pike Place Market, the two stadiums [Century Link and T-Mobile (formerly Safeco Field)], and the Olympic Mountain Range. We’d say it’s well worth making your way through the mob of patrons to enjoy the view. Then, find your spot and cozy up on comfortable couches next fire pits amidst lush greenery and modern lighting design - anything they can to heighten your experience. Oh, and the cocktails are named after various birds from all over the world.
One of our favorites: The Juniper Titmouse - Beefeater and Sichuan pepper-infused Dolin Blanc. The Nest also provides a small plates menu that is just as creative; it includes gourmet charcuterie boards, confit boar ribs, and salmon collar with Korean wing sauce, to name but a few interesting items.
Lookout Rooftop at the Envoy Hotel, Boston
Located on the waterfront’s edge of downtown, Boston’s premiere rooftop bar offers expansive views of the city's skyline and waterfront. It’s no wonder the Lookout Rooftop has become a popular go-to for some good-ole day-drinking. It’s the perfect spot to take a time-out and chill out. Maybe even sip on one of their many refreshing, fruity cocktails or a nice, cold glass of rosé.
Also, take some panoramic shots…of the city's skyline and waterfront at historic Boston Harbor! We also recommend staying for dinner downstairs at affiliate restaurant, Outlook Kitchen. At its helm is Food Network royalty Chef Tatiana Rosana who recently won both Chopped and Chopped Champions, The menu presents a lovely medley of Cuban, Asian, and New England-inspired fare.
Sugar at EAST, Miami FL
The Magic City strikes again. This time with a sleek 40th-floor rooftop bar and garden that offers killer craft cocktails and Asian tapas. This place hits it out of the park. Show up for happy hour…but why limit happy to an hour. Stay awhile. Relax. Sit on some super cool Balinese furnishings among exotic plants, why don’t you. Watch the sky explode in a masterpiece of reds, pinks and oranges.
Then the spectacle of night, as the burgeoning Miami skyline is reflected in the surrounding waterways beneath. Part of the billion-dollar Brickell City Centre complex, Sugar is a great place to go before or after visiting any of the nearby premium retail shops, the new movie theatre, or even other restaurants & bars, spas, and more.
The Rooftop by JG at the Waldorf Astoria, Los Angeles
Finally, a rooftop bar and restaurant that’s on par with the prestige of its surrounding Beverly Hills. Since opening its doors in the summer of 2018, the Rooftop by JG, at the Waldorf has become a popular favorite for local socialites and celebs with a penchant for the panoramic. Sunsets are fabulous.
Reputable Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is quite the celebrity himself, by the way - far from surprising if you had the remarkable food here, or anything off the all-day cocktail list. The place gets busy but it is so big that you’ll never feel cramped. It’s impeccably cared for garden setting is very agreeable. A one-of-a-kind experience, not to be missed.
Ophelia, New York City
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HONEY & SMOKE JACK DANIELS HONEY, MONKEY SHOULDER, BENEDICTINE, LEMON, THYME, TONIC, PEATED MIST, EGG WHITE (NEW YORK SOUR, DECONSTRUCTED AND REIMAGINED AGAIN) Bonnie & Clyde, the notorious American couple were feared and admired at the same time. The familiar and the unknown will leave you wondering why nobody told you it’s that easy. #rooftopbar #cocktails #nycviews #mixology #bar #nyceats #nyc #rooftop #springcocktails #opheliany #drinks #nightout
Built in 1928, and once the go-to spot for regular, Frank Sinatra, this off-the-radar space is now yours to enjoy. Few rooftop bars check off all the boxes like this place. Situated atop the landmark Beekman Tower in Manhattan's Midtown East neighborhood, the Art-Deco inspired rooftop lounge (26th floor) transports us, even if for just a while, to the times of flirty flappers and century-old tarot cards.
Cocktails are crafty without being pretentious, the price points are fair, the seating is abundant, the service is stellar and, of course, the stunning 360-degree views over the East River keep Manhattan skylines at the top our list. A perfect spot to enjoy a summer sunset. Fourth of July Sunset Social Reservations are available online. The evening will feature a DJ, passed hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie boards, raw bar, and expertly crafted signature cocktails.
XSUIT would like to remind you to drink responsibly. And, if you need a sweat-proof, stain-proof suit to sip a sunset cocktail at any of these iconic rooftops, we got your covered.