Drinking outside in warm weather is hard to beat. Even in the wintertime, a hotel rooftop bar — at least one that has either indoor space or a fleet of heat lamps (or both) — is a great spot to unwind, so it’s no wonder hotel rooftop bars across the country are highly sought after. Taking into account the scene, vibe, cocktails, and more, we’ve come up with a list of the 19 best hotel rooftop bars in the United States.
1 Hotel South Beach is one of Miami's hottest hotels, and its rooftop bar only adds to the "it" factor. A sleek, sexy spot by the rooftop pool, it is simply named Rooftop Bar; hotel guests, visitors, locals, and even celebs come here to sip (pricey) cocktails and enjoy the ocean view. Sunset is a particularly popular time here.
The Standard High Line may have opened back in 2009 (which, by New York standards, makes it old), but its rooftop bar, Le Bain, as well as its several other bars and restaurants, has maintained its cool factor -- thanks, in large part, to a discerning doorman. With indoor and outdoor space, Le Bain is open year-round, but summer months bring a dance floor plunge pool (yep) and a food truck to the al fresco area.
Just northeast of The Standard, the Dream Downtown offers some fierce rooftop bar competition with PH-D. A massive space, the penthouse bar is mostly indoor, but has a nice patio for outdoor imbibing as well. Not only is the bar lively every night of the week, but it also hosts frequent parties for events such as Cinco de Mayo, Halloween, and more. And did we mention the Empire State Building and Hudson River views? Check out a 360-degree view of the space here.
The boutique Ace chain is known for its cool, hipster vibe -- from New York City to L.A. At this West Coast outpost, Upstairs attracts a young, good-looking crowd with its tasty cocktails, boho-chic design, and plentiful outdoor space, which includes a small pool. The rooftop space also hosts DJs, bands, parties, and pop-up shops.
Open since Spring 2013, Frol!k seems to have everything. Views? Check. String lights? Check. Outdoor fireplace? Check. Ping-pong? Check. Shuffleboard? Check. Oh, and if that's not enough, the delicious drinks and eats are discounted during happy hour, and summer months bring in a popular concert series.
Sure, POV is a tourist magnet -- but locals still come anyways, because it's hard to beat this sexy spot. Each space here has a decidedly different vibe -- the main dining area is bright and open, with class black-and-white checkerboard flooring, one bar area has more of a wild side (with a cool rounded bar and a colorful mural overtaking one wall), and another is decked out in gold -- but all have amazing views of iconic D.C. attractions, such as the Washington Monument. POV serves brunch, as well as all-day and late-night menus, and visitors can opt for single cocktails or bottle service.
Drai's Beach Club is not your typical rooftop bar -- but it makes the list, because it is on a rooftop, and is quite the Las Vegas party. A massive space 11 floors up, Drai's is actually the only rooftop pool deck overlooking the Strip. During the day, it hosts a wild pool party -- complete with bikini-clad revelers, DJs, overflowing drinks, and classy cabanas. At night, guests can continue to party outside, or spill into the indoor space and dance till 5 a.m.
Versatility scores big on this list, and that's something that the Refinery Rooftop delivers. With both indoor and outdoor space (indoors feels nice and airy with high ceilings and family-style tall tables), the Refinery Rooftop is popular among the corporate crowd post-work, although it opens every day at noon for those who'd like lunch with their cocktails and Empire State Building views. But this Midtown hot spot also knows how to party late-night; it continues to serve seasonal cocktails well into the wee hours on the weekends, and in the summer months, Refinery Rooftop hosts lively fetes like barbecues and see-and-be-seen launch parties. Check out a 360-degree view of the space here.
The scene at WET is, not surprisingly, centered around the pool -- which has a vibe similar to one you'd find in Miami. Revelers show up early (the hotel suggests that it's best for adults-only after 1 p.m.) and Sundays mean Sunday Fundays (hotel guests get in free). Lounge chairs are first-come, first-serve, or visitors can opt to reserve a private cabana.
IO is a recent addition to the Chicago rooftop scene and -- considering the harsh Midwest winters -- we're grateful this massive space has an equally massive retractable roof, as well as an outdoor fire pit. It's only four stories high, and yet it offers great views of the city. Other perks that keep it securely in the top 10 include VIP booths, tables, and cabanas, as well as specialty cocktails and apps, a lively brunch, and themed parties for events such as the Kentucky Derby and New Year's Eve.
POV isn't the only sought-after rooftop bar from the W brand. Living Room brings a cool factor to Miami's oft-forgotten neighbor with ocean views that best those found at many Miami rooftops. The swanky venue, with tons of indoor and outdoor space (the latter has fire pits), is outfitted in cool blues and boasts an extensive cocktail menu, as well as DJ-spun tunes and board games. The highlight here, though, may be that parts of it sit below the rooftop pool, so revelers can watch swimmer pass above via portholes.
Not as spacious as the one at 1 Hotel South Beach, the Dream's rooftop bar is nonetheless a great spot for drinking and enjoying the views (ocean and city) in Miami. Centered around the small pool, loungers can start partying as early as 9 a.m., although the scene really picks up around the start of happy hour. Another perk? The food menu is catered by the hotel's delicious Naked Taco.
Hotel Erwin is a relatively unassuming hotel in Venice Beach, but locals and visitors alike know its name thanks to High Rooftop Lounge, sitting on the seventh floor with views overlooking the beach. The space serves drinks and appetizers nightly (as well as a popular brunch) and offers cushioned banquettes, heat lamps, and blankets. As one of the only rooftop bars in Venice Beach (with a great position for taking in the sunset), lines can get long.
In the newly dubbed "Hudson Square" neighborhood of Manhattan (basically west SoHo), Bar Hugo is partially responsible for this not-so-long-ago sleepy area's revival as a food and nightlife destination. While the portion of the roof that is completely outdoors is small, views of downtown (including the Freedom Tower) and the Hudson review are expansive, and massive glass doors and windows bring tons of natural light into the chic space. It opens daily at 5 p.m., and a weekday happy hour offers discounted house wines and half-price specialty cocktails.
The downside? This popular D.C. spot only opens up once the weather gets warm. Fortunately, though, the pros far outweigh this one con at DNV Rooftop, and its limited season perhaps makes it all the more special as visitors flock here once there's a hint of spring. With a Japanese menu comprised of tasty cocktails and street food-inspired bites (a modified version of what you'll find at the hotel's associated Zentan restaurant), DNV stays open late on the weekends, and attracts partiers with its pool, live music, and summertime roasts.
This rooftop bar may be relatively low-key, but that certainly doesn't take away from its sexy vibe. Visitors, hotel guests, and locals come here to sip seasonal cocktails and enjoy a range of menu items, from light bites to full meals. Views of the neighborhood are a highlight, as is the pool -- but keep in mind that the latter is open only to hotel guests and VIPs.
During the day, this rooftop bar -- complete with a pool and city views -- has a relatively laid-back scene, with guests soaking up the sun and ordering poolside bagels with lox. Once happy hour hits, though, RoofTop600 livens up, as a mix of locals and visitors enjoy fruity cocktails, SoCal-inspired bites, and the sunset. Weekends, however, are the highlight; DJs spin on Fridays and Saturdays till 1:30 a.m., and VIP bottle service is available.
Long Island City may not be NYC's most popular neighborhood, but it's becoming increasingly so -- and it doesn't hurt that its location makes for great views of Manhattan. Z Roof at Z Hotel takes full advantage of this; 360-degree views allow cocktail-sippers to take in the Empire State Building, United Nations, Chrysler Building, and Queensboro Bridge. Last call isn't until 4 a.m. on the weekends, and Z Roof generally stays open through October.
Suite 700 makes the list for being the only indoor-outdoor rooftop in Santa Monica. But it has other accolades to boast as well; weekday happy hours offer solid deals, a DJ hits the deck every Saturday, and the ocean views are spectacular, particularly at sunset.