Drinks

Raising the Bar

11 of the world's most breathtaking bars, where stunning views meet world-class cocktails
The Best Rooftop Bars
Photo: Courtesy of Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona

Not all rooftop bars come with unimaginable waits, eyebrow-raising cocktail prices and borderline-dangerous competition for an open couch. But if they do, they're probably worth it. That’s because there’s nowhere as celebratory in the summer months as a roof with a view, whether you’re swinging in for a post-work pick-me-up or lingering into the wee hours, libation in hand.

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Here are some of the world’s most glamorous sky-high destinations, where the sights are just as spectacular as the sippers you’re holding.

The Heights at Arlo NoMad
New York, NY

Photo: Courtesy of Arlo NoMad

It doesn’t get much fresher than this Manhattan rooftop, which opened to the public just this April. A menu from chef Dale Talde features everything from Detroit-style pizzas to Italian-inspired salads, meaning that hungry crowds are in good hands. Don’t miss the cocktails—a classic selection pays homage to a handful of NYC neighborhoods.

Watr at the 1 Rooftop
Miami, FL

Photo: Courtesy of Watr

Celebs like Cindy Crawford and Jessica Alba abound at this South Beach-situated rooftop and hotel, where eco-friendly philosophies and serious food and drink collide. Recycled woods and plush white banquettes set the scene for all-night lounging, a practice made even easier with refreshing concoctions like the Rinse Off, featuring green grapes, shiso agave and soda.

Top of the Gate at the Watergate Hotel
Washington, D.C.

Photo: Ron Blunt

May 11 marked the first full season debut for this rooftop, which gives visitors a front-row seat to some of D.C.’s most prized sights, from the Potomac River and Washington Monument to the Pentagon and the Georgetown Waterfront. Take it all in between bites of artisanal pizzas and icy granitas from chef Michael Santoro.

La Dolce Vitae at the Majestic
Barcelona, Spain

Photo: Courtesy of Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona

It doesn’t get much better than long, summer nights in Barcelona—unless, of course, you’re enjoying them on the terrace of this five-star luxury hotel. Kick off your visit with a round of oysters and charcuterie from chef Nandu Jubany and gear up for the venue’s Sunset Sessions, a curated lineup of DJs happening every Friday.

Marini’s on 57
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Photo: Courtesy of Marini's on 57

Go for the impressive whiskey selection but stay for the views. This rooftop is known for having one of the best vantage points in all of Kuala Lumpur (that alone being a feat). And that’s not all. An award-winning Italian restaurant serves as the perfect stopover for post-happy hour respite.

The Outsider
Milwaukee, WI

Photo: Courtesy of The Outsider

Perched on the ninth floor of the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel overlooking Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, this rooftop is the place to be for sky- and shoreline views alike. Gather a group for an outing, where Jenga and a full-size shuffleboard court mitigate any waits for carefully tailored cocktails from lead bartender Gen Longoria.

The Standard
Los Angeles, CA

Photo: Spencer Lowell

Creative types and tastemakers tend to make a home out of this downtown destination, which also claims locations in Miami and New York. Those in the know head straight to the rooftop, where a pool, beer garden, ping-pong club and 24-hour restaurant cater to nearly every recreational need under the sun—right down to sunbathing itself. When hunger strikes, take your pick from everything from pretzels and brats to steak frites and avocado toast.

Sky Bar at Lebua
Bangkok, Thailand

Photo: Courtesy of Sky Bar

There’s no denying a good party at this Bangkok hangout. After all, it did set the scene for much of The Hangover Part II (so much so that a signature cocktail, the Hangovertini, was created exclusively for the visiting cast). Credit that allure to its 820-foot reach and fleet of expertly tailored libations from cocktail guru Valerio Politano.

La Purificadora
Puebla, Mexico

Photo: Undine Pröhl

Jet-setters and fashionistas have been flocking to this rooftop for the past decade, thanks to its convenient city center location and idyllic views of the San Francisco church and gardens. There’s also the 31-meter swimming pool, a spectacle in and of itself that rivals another on-site amenity: a 20-person Jacuzzi built for happy hour and post-dinner dips.

Coq d’Argent
London, UK

Photo: Coq d'Argent via Facebook

Green-thumb enthusiasts are sure to love this rooftop restaurant, where lush gardens serve as the focal point for terrace space that is both covered and heated when need be—ready for any weather London proper tosses its way. Once you’ve had your fill of food and drink, be sure to stroll through the greenery—an urban retreat and a rarity in big-city living.

Cindy’s at the Chicago Athletic Association
Chicago, IL

Photo: Courtesy of Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

The well-heeled congregate at this Loop rooftop on the nightly, thanks to sizeable portions from chef Christian Ragano and meticulously crafted cocktails from spirit guide Nandini Khaund. An open-air terrace is just as much of a draw, boasting unmatched views of Lake Michigan, Millennium Park and biweekly fireworks come summer months.

  • The bar at the Arlo hotel in Manhattan.

    Photo: Courtesy of Arlo NoMad

  • Drinks at Cindy's in Chicago.

    Photos: Neil Burger

  • A refreshing cocktail at London's Coq d'Argent.

    Photo: Coq d'Argent via Facebook

  • Swimming laps in the pool at La Purificadora in Puebla, Mexico.

    Photo: Undine Pröhl

  • This hamburger from the Majestic Hotel & Spa in Barcelona is made with steak tartare.

    Photo: Courtesy of Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona

  • Marini’s on 57 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Photo: Courtesy of Marini's on 57

  • A bartender shaking up a drink at Sky Bar in Bangkok.

    Photo: Courtesy of Sky Bar

  • Snacks at Milwaukee's The Outsider bar.

    Photo: Courtesy of The Outsider

  • Where to take in the view and take a dip at The Standard's rooftop in L.A.

    Photos: Courtesy of The Standard

  • Where to get cozy and gaze out at the water at D.C.'s Top of the Gate.

    Photo: Ron Blunt

  • Watr, the Miami hot spot where you'll want to spend the whole night.

    Photo: Courtesy of Watr

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