20 Best Pool Bars In The US

The dog days of summer are prime time for ice cream, tropical cocktails, and hitting the beach. It's also high season for pool bars, where fruity drinks and ice-cold beer pair perfectly with cooling waters to offer refreshing respite. Tiki bars and rooftop bars are similar breeds of bars that shine this time of year, but pool bars often combine the best of both worlds, offering tiki tipples on sky-scraping terraces, maximizing summer vibes in serious style.

All over the US, pool bars are making a splash at boutique hotels or alongside standalone restaurants, from popular poolside destinations like Las Vegas and Miami to more under-the-radar spots like Maine, Oklahoma City, and Tempe. And just like their distinct environments and locations, each one lends its own style, flavor, and atmosphere. Some are scene-y and over-the-top and others feature beach-like sand, while others still are desert oases or meandering lazy rivers. What they all share, though, is a penchant for refreshing cocktails, summery snacks, and as evidenced by this crop of 20 great pool bars across the country, a seasonal ambience that can't be beat.

York Beach Surf Club in York, Maine

Located across the street from York Beach, a quaint community that also boasts one of the best hotel restaurants in the country, the York Beach Surf Club is the perfect blend of old and new. The longstanding resort pays homage to the timeworn surf culture, while a recent refurbishment saw a slew of modern upgrades and sleek new amenities. And it doesn't get any sleeker than the pair of pools at this breezy oceanside resort.

Located behind the boutique hotel, the pool bar is a retro-chic watering hole sandwiched between two heated saline pools — a nice alternative to the decidedly chillier ocean water across the street. In addition to the hotel's cute all-day cafe and an oyster bar on the front lawn, the pool bar offers poolside lobster rolls, craft beer, and cocktails, all on a stylish pool deck outfitted with striped beach chairs and umbrellas. The hotel also features periodic movie nights at the pool.

Broken Shaker in Miami

The same folks behind one of the best poolside bars in Los Angeles are behind the brand that started all in Miami. Broken Shaker, which has seen expansion to cities like Los Angeles and New York, launched in Miami Beach, in the back courtyard of the hip Freehand Hotel. After opening in 2012, the bungalow-like bar rose to quick acclaim, named the Best Hotel Bar in 2015. And thanks to its disco-themed pool, it's easily one of the best pool bars, too.

The drinks and bites at this funky haunt are among the most unique and interesting out there, poolside or otherwise. Cocktails change seasonally, and feature esoteric riffs and ingredients, like the Patio Pounder with tequila, St. Germain, white wine, sage-plum syrup, lemon, and club soda, or the Coco Puffs Old Fashioned infused with cereal and chocolate bitters. The food is just as fresh — look for guacamole with tostones, falafel burgers, and oyster mushroom pita wraps.

Snack Bar in Richmond, Virginia

As a self-described "tropical diner", known for some of the best frozen cocktails in the nation, it's a seamless move for Little Nickel to spawn a pool-inspired summertime bar designed to channel poolside energy. The new Snack Bar is a seasonal outdoor bar outfitted and flavored to feel like a Palm Springs pool bar, and while there technically isn't an actual pool to dive into, the nostalgic and transportive patio earns points for ingenuity.

Open only on Fridays and Saturdays, Snack Bar is a casual walk-up bar attached to Little Nickel, where guests can order summery comforts like hot dogs, beer, sangria, rum punch, and the always-popular frozen cocktails. Other light bites and refreshing options include poké and ceviche.

Beach Bar & Grill in Las Vegas

If ever there was a city synonymous with pool bars, daybeds, and pool parties, it's Las Vegas. Here, poolside watering holes come in all shapes, sizes, and immersive themes, especially clustered in larger-than-life resorts on and around the Strip. One such immersive experience is the Beach Bar & Grill at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, which in true Vegas style, brings a literal beach to the desert.

The massive bar is sized to match the massive pool, which is fronted by a sandy beach and lined with palm trees and beach chairs. The menu is just as abundant, offering eclectic comfort food and quenching cocktails aplenty. From taquitos and maki rolls to chicken tenders and soft-serve ice cream, there's something for every summery craving, plus Jell-O shots, canned wine, boozy soft-serve floats, and classic poolside cocktails (think mojitos and mango Mai Tais).

Salt & Gila in Tempe, Arizona

A true oasis in the sun-soaked Arizona desert, Salt & Gila is a third-floor pool bar and restaurant within the vast Omni Tempe Hotel, offering an above-and-beyond medley of unexpected plates and drinks in an airy and posh space complete with a sleek pool, contemporary umbrella fixtures, and a shaded bar area offering a welcome reprieve from the southwestern sun.

Seasonality is front and center here, where a lighter menu spotlights items like tea sandwiches, black tea cocktails, and mocktails. Options include an Elderflower Spritz and a mojito variation infused with mint tea and kiwi boba pearls. To snack, food follows suit with the likes of aguachile, tropical fruit bowls, southwestern Caesar salads, and baby kale with hibiscus tea-compressed Asian pears.

Pool Bar in Oklahoma City

A pool bar so good it's one of the best dining and drinking destinations in Oklahoma City, the aptly dubbed Pool Bar makes a splash with cocktails and plates that are far from the norm. Housed in the newly re-branded Fordson Hotel (previously the 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City), Pool Bar features a patio-centric menu to be savored and sipped on the intimate back deck, where a small wading pool awaits.

Beyond basic beers and cocktails, menu options run the gamut from frozen mules and housemade Jell-O shots to seasonal novelties like the Summer Fling, a rum-soaked libation with raspberry liqueur, vanilla, pineapple agave, and bitters. To eat, order tortilla chips with pimento cheese or sweet potato hummus, pineapple chicken wings, or Thai shrimp cakes with nuoc cham slaw.

Fish Heads in Pensacola

With its beachside views and poolside perch, it's the best of both worlds at Fish Heads, a casual al fresco fixture that recently reopened at the new Fairfield Inn & Suites Pensacola Beach. Cool, casual, and colorful, complete with a massive open-air deck perched 32 feet above the sand, this is the kind of summer staple where the atmosphere is as quintessential as the cuisine.

Taking a something-for-everyone approach, Fish Heads features an extensive menu of seasonal hits, from fried calamari and street corn to excellent burgers, hot dogs, tacos, and key lime pie. Be sure and try some Gulf specialties, like grouper fingers and shrimp po'boys, and wash it all down with margaritas, strawberry daiquiris, and bushwackers, a frozen Pensacola Beach classic.

Cabana Club in Chicago

Rooftop bars are a dime a dozen in the sky-scraping metropolis of Chicago, but in the indie neighborhood of Wicker Park on the northwest side, Cabana Club offers something new. Perched on the sixth floor of the Robey Hotel, a boutique property with a unique view of the downtown skyline and the passing L train down below, the chic bar boasts eclectic summer eats and drinks, alongside a small wading pool.

The menu is stacked with atypical pool grub, like Texas queso, jalapeño cheese fritters, and chili lime shrimp skewers, while cocktails take a quenching approach with Pisco Punches and Summer Breezes, the latter made with tequila, lime, passion fruit, and Aperol. Frozen drinks are a mainstay, too, available as margaritas, piña coladas, and even a jumbo 32-oz. "Mega Marg" that serves two to three thirsty swimmers.

High Bar in Palm Springs

Pool bars are a quintessential part of the culture in Palm Springs, a foodie and cocktail haven in the desert of southern California. But while pool bars might be ubiquitous, rooftop pool bars are decidedly rare. This is what makes High Bar, a retro-glam watering hole atop the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs, such a rare gem.

Clad with cacti, daybeds, cabanas, and views of the San Jacinto mountains from the posh pool, High Bar exceeds expectations in more ways than one. This is certainly true of its menu, an extensive lineup of easy-breezy snacks like poke nachos, charcuterie, BBQ pork belly sliders, and Baja shrimp tacos. Meanwhile, cocktails are classic poolside fare, like the Trader Vic's Mai Tai and a Negroni with pineapple-infused Campari.

Dream Beach in New York City

On any given day in any given season, you can find just about anything in New York City — but a sandy beach in the middle of downtown might be a tall order. That is unless you pay a visit to the Dream Downtown NYC Hotel, a place where poolside dreams come true.

Dream Beach is the name of the pool bar at this swanky property, and it's unlike any other watering hole in the entire city. For starters, it features a 5,000-sq. ft. deck with 800 sq. ft. of imported beach sand, surrounded by elegant cabanas. Oh, and the glass-bottom pool overlooks the lobby down below. For food and drink, the bar offers Champagne packages, frozen cocktails, and a lengthy food menu with everything from gazpacho and chicken pibil tacos to short rib empanadas and ice cream sandwiches.

Carpenters Hall in Austin

In central Texas, poolside respite is essential in the summer heat. And nowhere brings the reprieve like Carpenters Hall, a crafty bar and restaurant nestled within a funky boutique hotel lined with trees, terra cotta, and old bowling alley banquettes. The breezy bungalow also contains an ample shaded pool in the backyard, adjoining the restaurant, where guests can order food and drink right to their lounge chairs.

In addition to sporting a spiffy space and pool deck, the menu is full of fresh surprises. Dishes include a vegan cashew "queso" dip, chicharrones with guacamole, crispy oyster mushrooms, and grain bowls with green beans, broccolini, and harissa carrots. To drink, look for spritzes and sangria, along with the full cocktail list — because nothing says "Texas summer" like a Texas Gibson garnished with pickled okra.

Beach Club in Sea Island, Georgia

When it comes to summertime swims, be it in the ocean or a pool, it doesn't get any ritzier than Sea Island. One of the Golden Isles barrier islands on the Georgia coast, this privately owned haven features palatial upscale resorts and sophisticated restaurants — as well as one of the prettiest pool bars in the country.

Beach Club, in Sea Island Resort, is an open-air bar and patio overlooking a gorgeous zero-entry pool lined with palm trees mere steps from the sandy ocean shore. Swimming or not, the menu is outfitted with light bites and refreshing cocktails, from vegetable crudites and coconut shrimp tacos to chilled shrimp lettuce wraps and kabob bowls. Cocktails skew just as light and fresh as the blackberry-lavender margarita and the basil aqua fresca spiked with vodka.

Bar Clara in Los Angeles

For big-city views paired with big-city vibes, it doesn't get any better than Bar Clara, the rooftop pool bar atop downtown's Hotel Per La. From its perch, the towering pool deck accents metropolitan views with swanky lounge chairs, umbrellas, and bountiful plants, all surrounding a vast pool that's ideal for cooling off on sweltering summer days.

The menu is just as Californian as the views. Selections skew locally sourced and eclectic, like tempura fries with furikake dust, garlic-and-thyme-roasted chicken wings with tzatziki, and grilled albacore tuna sandwiches, while porcini mushroom orecchiette and hanger steak provide some surprisingly hefty options. Drinks, meanwhile, feature sparkling cocktails, an impressive wine list, and house libations like The Buzz, with tequila, coffee liqueur, and cocoa.

Hedy's Rooftop in Washington, D.C.

Named after Hedy Lamarr, a pioneering actress and inventor who patented radio-frequency hopping, paving the way for modern Bluetooth, Hedy's Rooftop is a pool bar with a big personality. It's located on the 14th floor of the Hotel Zena, offering some of the best views of downtown D.C., along with chic art installations, fire pits, and contemporary tables and chairs that look right out of a gallery.

Hedy's food and drink offerings perfectly align with the upscale ambiance, featuring lamb skewers, jerk mahi tacos, and roasted red pepper hummus as a few of its atypical eats. Beverage-wise, several glass pours and beers make up the drink list, along with cocktails inspired by Lamarr's personality, like Confident & Self Assured (vodka, cucumber, white grape, lime) and the Vivacious & Carefree (strawberry, lime, cachaca, sugar).

Alto in New Orleans

As evidenced by its sweltering summer humidity, pool bars are a necessity in New Orleans. Of the many aquatic options in town, Alto reigns as a particular destination for its sprawling rooftop views, its rustic-chic decor filled with plants and loungers, and its menu that toes the line between familiar and inventive.

Located atop the Ace Hotel in the Warehouse District, Alto offers a bit of everything: craft beer, happy hour, fruity cocktails, wines, zero-proof drinks, and frozen cocktails, like Eternal Summer with vodka, coconut cream, orange, and lemon. It all pairs handily with food options, which skew European with grilled tuna spiedino (essentially Italian kebabs), chicken wings spiced with Calabrian vinaigrette, hummus with seasonal crudite, grain bowls, pizzas, and Caprese sandwiches.

Lylo Swim Club in Phoenix

In Uptown Phoenix, a desert city where pools are a pivotal piece of the cultural puzzle, Lylo Swim Club is a sunny retreat where the food and cocktails are as bright and vibrant as the open-air ambiance. It's all located within the Rise Uptown Hotel, a mid-century boutique property dripping in style and character.

The pool bar, flanked by comfy lounge chairs and equipped with thumping DJ sets on weekends is a full-blown dining and drinking destination and a flavorful homage to the surrounding Sonoran desert. Start with carne asada fries and shrimp aguachile verde, then beef it up with the hamburguesa al carbón, a smoky smashed patty topped with poblano sauce. Cocktails are playful and fun, like the Dole Whipped, an ode to Disney Dole Whip with rum-soaked pineapple soft-serve, and seasonal sorbet bellinis.

The Pool Club in Nashville

Aglow in bright pops of color and flying high from its 14th-floor nook in Nashville's Virgin Hotel, offering panoramic views of the skyline, The Pool Club is as lustrous and scenic as it is tasty. Lush plants, cushioned booths, and umbrella-clad poolside lounge chairs make up the motif, while the covered bar slings coastal cocktails and comfort food. 

Said comfort food comes in many flavors and forms, from crunchy ahi tuna wontons and Wagyu meatballs to crispy ravioli and lobster rolls stuffed in buttery, toasted rolls. There are also some unconventional plates, like black octopus pasta and langoustine tacos. The enormous drink list provides both classics (e.g. palomas, mojitos) and coastal originals, like Mia Valentina with vodka, Chambord, and San Pellegrino Limonata.

High Dive in Houston

Leave it to Texas to go large. When it comes to pool bars, this is the kind of state that exceeds the norm and not only offers a pool bar but enhances it with a full-blown lazy river. That's the premise behind High Dive, a sprawling indoor-outdoor bar that features not only a pool but a giant Texas-shaped lazy river and copious fire pits and chairs for al fresco lounging.

Located at the Marriott Marquis Houston, on the enormous sixth-floor roof deck, High Dive features requisite frozen cocktails, summery drinks, and beer, plus hearty plates like loaded nachos, guacamole, and country-style chicken fingers. But it's the pools that steal the show, including a sleek infinity pool and the gigantic lazy river shaped like Texas.

The Pool House Bar & Grille in Park City, Utah

When you're not cozying up fireside for an apres ski experience in Park City, your summer alternative is suntanning by the rooftop pool deck at the Pendry Park City, where The Pool House Bar & Grille is the only one of its kind in Canyons Village.

Befitting its Park City address, the pool bar is upscale and contemporary, lined with upscale lounge chairs, ambient lights, and this being Park City, an outdoor fireplace. Food options are on the lighter, more shareable side, like ceviche and poke bowls, but don't sleep on the fennel sausage pizza. The drink list is larger, featuring lots of wine options, beers, and house cocktails, like the Silver Rush, made with locally distilled vodka, pear juice, elderflower liqueur, honey, ginger syrup, and lemon juice.

Dr. Mai Tai's in Oahu

When hanging poolside in Hawaii, a mai tai is precisely what the doctor ordered. That's the M.O. at Dr. Mai Tai's, the lush swim-up bar at the ritzy Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. While the Mai Tai Bar in nearby Honolulu may rank as one of the country's best tiki bars, the drink achieves a whole new level of sophistication at this ocean-side icon.

The pint-sized mai tai bar is located on the edge of the hotel's infinity pool, offering convenient access for swimmers looking for a sip. It's named after the resort's "Dr. Mai Tai," who makes the rounds with rum-infused "prescriptions" by the pool. He's really perfected the form, too, offering unique signature riffs like the Sunset Mai Tai made with light and dark rum, cherry spiced vanilla puree, Amaretto, Cointreau, lilikoi juice, pineapple juice, and lime.