The 12 Best Pool Bars In The Country

These pool decks are the perfect places to sip and swim

Temperatures are starting to climb; we're wiping sweat from our brows and craving a cocktail. When we long to be drenched from a dip in a hotel pool, between glugs of a stiff drink, the daydreaming begins. Yes, secretive sips from a paper bag-disguised beverage while running through sprinklers in the park might be cheaper, but it just doesn't have the same allure as a weekend getaway in a new city.

From L.A. to NY, with a few stops in between, these hotels pair stunning views with the comfiest of lounge chairs. Here are our top 12 hotel pool decks for relaxing with a frosty cocktail in hand. Now please excuse us while we book a room. 

The Empire Hotel, New York City

Photo: Courtesy of Empire Hotel

Channel your inner Chuck Bass with a lounge on the Empire's glamorous pool deck. Swing by the bar to enjoy the stunning view of the Midtown skyline with a Manhattan in your (well-manicured) hand. Stay in the shade of a private cabana or venture out onto the concrete jungle hotel's deck. With a snack from the Pool Deck menu and a drink or two, all problems melt away. Keep in mind that the deck is for hotel guests only, unless you rent it for a private party.

The Raleigh Hotel, Miami

Photo: Courtesy of The Raleigh Hotel via Facebook 

Life magazine named the Raleigh hotel pool the most beautiful in America in 1947, and we're glad to know some things never change. Although steps from the ocean, the historic yet modern pool deck is hard to ignore. Sip on a piña colada or an Esther Williams cocktail and soak up those Miami rays with a snack from the poolside menu. Hotel guests have full access to the pool and private beach, but public day passes to the pool are available for purchase. To ensure the most glamorous experience, cabanas and lounge chairs can be reserved via email.

Ace Hotel, New Orleans

Photo: Fran Parente

When you need a break from Bourbon Street antics and hurricane fish bowls, head to this modern pool deck in the arts-filled Warehouse District. You'll find a bar with a constantly rotating tap of beers, wines and, of course, boozy frozen slushies on hand to beat the South's scorching heat. For a small fee, locals can join out-of-towners to experience the glow of NOLA's famous nightlife, no Mardi Gras beads necessary.

④ The Aliante Hotel, Las Vegas 

Photo: Courtesy of The Aliante Hotel via Facebook

Down an old-fashioned (or two) by this enormous casino pool. The Aliante pool offers plush orange lounge chairs, as well as private cabanas for rent. When all the eye can see is flowing blue water, you might even forget you're in the middle of a desert. As if that weren't enough, the palm tree-surrounded deck makes the sweetest spot to snooze before doing those things that will have to stay in Vegas. Pool access is included with a room but is also open to the public for a small fee.

The Joule Hotel, Dallas

Photo: Courtesy of The Joule Hotel via Facebook

The 1920s neo-Gothic building in the core of Downtown Dallas boasts a stunning eight-foot cantilevered "poule." Open exclusively to guests, pool-goers really can hang out by the pool, as it quite literally overlooks Main Street; those with fears of heights may want to chug a Texas Tea first. If that's not quite your scene, the Joule also has an underground spa, complete with its own heated pool.

The Gansevoort Hotel, New York City

Photo: Courtesy of Gansevoort Hotel Group

Deep in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, high above hot city sidewalks, lies the Gansevoort hotel rooftop pool. The heated pool provides a stellar hangout spot to take in that incredible skyline. Though each main pool visitor must be staying in the hotel, the Gansevoort does allow guests to invite a few friends to splash around with them. Grab a snack from the secret garden and a cosmo from the bar—you won't be leaving anytime soon.

The Standard, Los Angeles

Photo: Courtesy of The Standard via Facebook

The Standard's rooftop has a nightly DJ spinning for guests on the dance floor, an outdoor fireplace and a biergarten—and did we mention the heated pool? Grab a vodka soda while perusing the RoofFood menu. Order another drink while trying to decide between the grilled shishito peppers with Sriracha or house-made sea salt and balsamic vinegar chips. Pool access is free to the public, though it fills up fast.

The Phoenix Hotel, San Francisco

Photo: Courtesy of The Phoenix Hotel

The boutique hotel in the City by the Bay boasts a poolside restaurant and bar, complete with Andy Warhol-inspired tiling. The restaurant, Chambers Eat + Drink, features a market-driven menu by Trevor Ogden (Mission Beach Café, Umami). Suck down a basil gimlet, order another, then sit back and enjoy events hosted by the restaurant. The pool is open only to guests. Bonus: No reservations are required to use the cabana.

Hotel Saint Cecilia, Austin

Photo: Nick Simonite

A 50-foot-long oasis at the mod-inspired hotel, the pool at Saint Cecilia is open exclusively to hotel guests 24/7. Set up under the arbor for a poolside breakfast then head out to take in Austin sights. The pool will be there waiting when you come back for an afternoon can of Lone Star, preferably with one foot dangling in the water, and for midnight drinks much later.

The Riviera, Palm Springs

Photo: Riviera Palm Springs

Equally a weekend retreat for both Hollywood A-listers and traffic-fatigued Californians, the Soleil Pool & Bar at The Riviera gives us a reason to head to Palm Springs for something other than a music festival. Rent a private cabana, order poolside beverages from the bar (which come in both single servings and group-friendly pitchers) and take in the majestic views of the San Bernardino Mountains. Need help making it back in time for work on Monday? The hotel offers a chic Tesla valet service that will drive you all the way back to L.A. reality.

⑪ Soho House, Chicago

Photo: SoHo House Chicago

Step onto the roof of this refurbished 107-year-old hotel, and you'll be met with panoramic views of the Windy City skyline—the perfect place to spend your Saturday afternoons. And if you've been soaking in the 60-foot pool just a bit too long, grab your friends, nab an oversize couch by the fireplace and share an evening pitcher of the bourbon punch, infused with black tea and clementines.

⑫ The Hollywood Roosevelt, Los Angeles

Photo: Courtesy of the Hollywood Roosevelt

Overlooking the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this legendary hotel's pool has been designated a historic cultural monument. You can relive Tinseltown's golden age and spend your summer the same way Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable did when they visited the Roosevelt: relaxing in L.A.'s perpetual sunshine, cocktail in hand. (Pro tip: Grab a glass at The Rosy Oyster, the poolside bar appropriately specializing in shucked bivalves and an entire menu of curated rosé wines.)

Whether your idea of the perfect picnic is cooking in the wilderness or sipping a summery cocktail at a sidewalk café, we've got everything you need to spend your Summer in the Wild. Let the outdoor entertaining begin.

This article was originally published on 5/31/16 and was updated by Andrew Bui with additional images and content on 6/14/17.