Few things make the summer heat feel bearable in the way that icy cold cocktails can. Well, maybe icy cold beers. So it makes perfect sense that we spend these sweltering months seeking out cool places to enjoy said beverages. Dark dive bars with air conditioning will do. So will breezy poolside cabanas. But to really maximize the joy of a well-made craft cocktail, quaff that sh*t outside. And if you want to take that to the next level, be outside on a rooftop high above an awesome skyline.
Cocktails, outdoors, high above it all in a stylish venue. That’s the summer drinking trifecta, right there.
If you happen to have your own penthouse terrace, you already have everything figured out and you don’t need any advice from us. But if you (like most people) have to find a rooftop bar in order to down some margs while you take selfies with the horizon in the background, then this list of the ten best rooftop bars in the nation is exactly what you need. With options from coast to coast, you should either find a venue near enough to hit up or be inspired to seek out one of your choosing.
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge (New York City, New York)
All the high rises in New York City make for a lot of rooftop bars, but Magic Hour is the city’s biggest indoor/outdoor hotel rooftop bar and lounge operating in all seasons. That’s a mouthful. Which is fitting because the space is a massive 10,000-square-feet. In fact, the venue prefers to label itself an “urban amusement park” — a theme reflected in the rotating carousel seating and the naughty miniature golf course called Foreplay filled with animal statues in rather adult poses. This bar, atop the Moxy Times Square hotel, also delivers on views of midtown and the Empire State Building, so don’t worry that you’ll get denied your sky-high views.
The playful mood is also reflected in the food and drink options. There is a margarita gummy bear, a popcorn and cocktail pairing, some all-natural alcohol infused push pops, and literal IV bags filled with booze. And, if you get plastered, there are 100-square-foot rooms that go for $99.00 a night and are only available after 11 pm.
Altitude Sky Lounge (San Diego, California)
Altitude likes to bill itself as the place to see and be seen in San Diego and we freely admit that sounds a bit too #humblebrag to be appealing. But though it may feel boastful, it’s not far from the mark. Sunset Magazine voted this hotspot the #1 rooftop bar in the western United States, and Conde Nast Magazine included it in their list of the top 50 bars in the country. And, as if the accolades weren’t enough, Altitude is literally the highest rooftop bar on the west coast — sitting 22 stories above the city’s epic skyline. You get views of Coronado Island, San Diego Bay, the Downtown Skyline, and Petco Park. You can literally see home plate from the bar, so you could opt to try watch a game from this elevated perch.
The menu isn’t particularly elevated — bar food with offerings like sandwiches, flatbreads, chicken wings, and nachos. Tasty? Yes. Shockingly original? No. But we have no real complaints about classic bar treats. The cocktails are unique, however. Novel twists on the expected, and we think that the Mile High Spicy Margarita is tasty as hell. If you want to get really fancy, get the VIP treatment with bottle service. You go straight to the front of the line, enjoy private seating, and have your pick of bottles. It’s not just champagne.
Departure (Portland, Oregon)
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Growing up, I was always miffed that my birthday was in June because school was always out and all of us summer birthdays got lumped into one “birthday event” in class. Now, as a gay boy, I’m realizing my birthday couldn’t be smack dab in the middle of a more amazing month!!! Happy birthday to me and happy mother fucking pride everyone!! Share love and light and hold onto those close to you!! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜 📷: @badbitchbaii @olicap