Okay, so rooftop bars have never not been popular – but nowadays it’s easier than ever to find a spot for #drinkswithviews shots and soak up a sunset with your Spritz. So how do you find somewhere that’s worth the hype and the money, where jaw-dropping views are matched with strong drinks and good vibes? That’s where the experts come in. We’ve tapped up local Time Out editors and well-travelled contributors to assemble our definitive list of the world’s best rooftop bars.
Some of the bars you’ll find below are undeniably swanky, but others are surprisingly down-to-earth (despite being a long way from the ground). From the USA to South America and Europe to Asia, you’ll find these awesome rooftop bars on top of car parks, schools, factories, arts centres and shopping malls. We’ll be updating the list regularly to add new spots – because these days, it’s all happening up on the roof.
RECOMMENDED: Check out The DRINK List, our guide to the world’s best bars.
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The world’s best rooftop bars
The view A 360-degree panorama of the dreamy Parisian skyline: roofs, chimneys and the distant peak of Montmartre, topped by the Sacré-Cœur Church.
The vibe With a capacity of only 300, Le Perchoir is a victim of its own success: you won’t escape a small wait before the lift in the inner courtyard takes you up to seventh heaven. But once you’re there, it’s pleasantly unpretentious: cosy benches, mismatched cushions, raw wood tables, aromatic herbs and a trendy but never overdressed crowd.
The drinks The simple but well-made cocktails use homemade juices and high-quality booze. Try the acidulous Dark & Stormy, mixing orange-infused rum with ginger beer, lime and DeGroff’s bitters.
Don’t miss The restaurant on the floor below, Tontine – it’s in place until December 2020. Tina Meyer, Time Out Paris
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Paris.
The view The best of both worlds: the city of Lisbon on the left, with its coloured rooftops and the Castelo de São Jorge, and the River Tagus on the right. The sweet spot is at the top of the stairs on the ninth floor, before you descend to the terrace.
The vibe Less touristy than many of Lisbon’s rooftop bars, with sofas to relax on and a dancefloor in the central bar. The monthly schedule of guest DJs means the rhythm is constantly changing.
The drinks There are all the classics, but it’s worth looking at bartender Lucas Jacques’s signature cocktails – like Pisco Paradise (pisco, egg white and mint) or Spritz Moniz (dry white port, green wine, cinnamon, anise and orange).
Don’t miss The Seen tacos with king crab from Seen’s excellent restaurant. The bar snacks are great too. Inês Garcia, Time Out Lisbon
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Lisbon.
The view A breathtaking sweep of central London from the south, with landmarks poking out all over the shop. It’s hard to find a better spot for ogling one of the world’s most famous skylines.
The vibe Perched atop a repurposed multi-storey car park, Frank’s is a rough-and-ready wood-and-canvas structure that’s only open in summer. When the sun’s out, the roof heaves with young, hip Londoners. But the space is so huge that there’s always room to spread out and admire the large-scale sculptures that pop up every year courtesy of Bold Tendencies, the art non-profit that runs the place.
The drinks Stay true to Frank Boxer’s original ‘Campari Bar’ brief and order a classic Negroni. Otherwise there’s a solid selection of classy summer tipples including white port and tonic or Pimm’s, plus the inevitable Aperol Spritz.
Don’t miss The immersively lurid, Instagram-famous pink staircase that ushers you up from street level. James Manning, Time Out London
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in London.
The view It’s a hilariously unfair face-off from this rooftop in the Scottish capital. In the red corner: a not-quite-brutalist, ex-council office block. In the blue corner, looming directly to the right: um, it’s only Edinburgh bloody Castle! You won’t find many better places to admire its medieval splendour.
The vibe Enjoyably chilled and low-key – think bare timber supports, fairy lights, noughties tracks by Gorillaz, Arcade Fire and The Strokes on the speakers and a bar housed in a retro Citroën van.
The drinks Cold Town House is the flagship outlet of local craft brewers Cold Town Beer, so pints are the main draw here. Head downstairs for a broader choice of wines and cocktails.
Don’t miss The chance to hide out in one of two upcycled ski gondolas – understandably, they’re in high demand if (when) the Edinburgh wind picks up. Niki Boyle
Want more? Here are the best bars in Edinburgh.
The view Amsterdam is an unusually flat city, so you don’t need to get up high to be above it all. From the eleventh floor, SkyLounge offers unparalleled up-close views of the Basilica of Saint Nicholas and Amsterdam’s iconic canal houses, with sightlines stretching all the way out to Schiphol airport.
The vibe Perched on top of the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station hotel, this breezy rooftop is generally packed, with locals, expats, and tourists alike bobbing their heads to the DJ’s tracks while planning out a weekend’s worth of mischief.
The drinks When you think Amsterdam, you naturally think tiki cocktails. No? Well, they’re in high demand here, though those with more refined tastes can always opt for something based on champagne or gin instead.
Don’t miss Sunset, when the city glows with that unbeatable Dutch light. Just remember that the golden hour ranges from 4pm in December to 10pm in June. Christina Newberry
Want more? Here are the best bars in Amsterdam.
The view This urban garden on the seventh floor of the Hotel Pulitzer might not offer the most dizzying views of the city, but few are as strategically placed as this. You get an aerial view from the nerve centre of Barcelona, a visual hinge between the mad meandering of La Rambla and the reasonable logic of the Eixample.
The drinks You can’t escape the Aperol Spritz: in fact, this terrace was one of the first to serve it in Barcelona. But you could also delve into the bar’s splendid selection of wines by the glass.
The vibe A pioneer in the craze of opening hotel rooftop terraces to the public, the Pulitzer Terrace is a classic of cool. Catch some of the best DJs in Barcelona spinning electronic music throughout the summer as part of the venue’s #BuenasTardesPulitzer sessions.
Don’t miss The cuisine by chef Olly Melhuish, from street food to barbecue, which deserves more than one visit. Ricard Martín, Time Out Barcelona
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Barcelona.
The view Cast your gaze over Madrid’s splendid Plaza de España, which will look even more amazing when the current remodelling works are finished, or admire the sunset over the rooftops of the historic neighbourhood of Los Austrias with the imposing Royal Palace as a backdrop.
The vibe Up on the twelfth floor terrace, it’s all about the live music: there’s jazz on Wednesdays, funk sessions on Thursdays, and ’80s and ’90s music on Fridays, leading up to a fun-filled Saturday night of Ibizan house. So if you're looking for a bit of calm, go early in the week.
The drink The ginkgo was the only tree to survive the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, so just imagine what the cocktail that bears its name – concocted with gin, shiso leaf, lemongrass, Jerez sherry and pink pepper tonic – can do for you.
Don’t miss The pool is exclusively for guests of the hotel (sorry!) but if you sneak a peek at its glass bottom, you can catch a glimpse of a stunning waterfall sculpture by Pere Gifre. Gorka Elorrieta, Time Out Madrid
Want more? Here are the best bars in Madrid.
The view At what is currently Bangkok’s highest bar, you get a bird’s-eye view of everything great about the city in one glance: the lit-up streets of Silom, the gleaming skyscrapers of Sukhumvit, the majestic Chao Phraya River and the deep green jungle of Bang Krachao.
The drinks Mostly the classics at the moment: this place is a new addition to the city and has yet to reveal its menu of original cocktails.
The vibe French designer has Tristan Auer interpreted ‘Thainess’ in the form of curved wooden chairs, supple leather couches and soft lighting, coupled with the luxurious aesthetics of the Orient Express. Outdoor seats are best reserved on a clear and breezy day.
Don’t miss The trip up a few more floors to the building’s observation deck, currently Thailand’s highest. Top Koaysomboon, Time Out Bangkok
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Bangkok.
The view A thrilling vista across one of Asia’s most vivacious cities, with the sun dipping behind ramshackle streets dotted with colonial-era landmarks and neon-lit towers.
The vibe Drenched in history, this atmospheric terrace bar on the ninth-floor of the Caravelle Hotel hasn’t changed much since it served as a media centre for the world’s press during the American War. Happy hour here is the perfect time to recharge amid Ho Chi Minh City’s sensory excesses.
The drinks Pretend you’re a 1960s war correspondent and grab an ice-cold, tailor-brewed Caravelle Terrace Draft beer. Or if cocktails are your thing, a Miss Saigon makes for a colourful production.
Don’t miss Look out for another famous rooftop, a block or so away, at the Pittman Building. It’s where the last American chopper to flee Saigon was photographed by Hubert Van Es in April 1975, from this very terrace. James Brennan
The view The Hollywood Hills somehow look even more glamorous from all the way up here, especially at night. L.P., the rooftop bar of Southeast Asian restaurant E.P., gives you a tantalisting glimpse of one of the world’s most exclusive neighbourhoods – not to mention the surrounding streets of West Hollywood, which come to life when the sun goes down. Grab a seat along the edge for the best views.
The drinks L.P. keeps pace with the eclectic, bright flavours downstairs, serving boba cocktails (complete with massive straws), cocktail pitchers, frosé and vibrant combos such as mescal with passion fruit and Thai chilli. Soak it all up with the late-night menu of street food-inspired bites.
The vibe Part-breezy tropical hideout, part-Instagram bait, the lush hanging plants and inviting neon make L.P. something of a go-to for L.A.’s young and fashionable. That's not to say all aren’t welcome, but you might want to put some thought into your outfit beyond sweatpants (unless, of course, they’re designer streetwear).
Don’t miss Melrose Rooftop Cinema, E.P. & L.P.’s alfresco movie series, which takes place in summer and autumn. Stephanie Breijo, Time Out Los Angeles
Want more? Discover L.A.’s best rooftop bars.
The view Millennium Park is Chicago’s front yard, and Cindy’s is the place for a bird’s-eye view. It looks out over the park’s world-famous Cloud Gate sculpture (known universally as ‘The Bean’) as well as many of the city’s notable architectural marvels – and Lake Michigan, glittering beyond.
The vibe The crown jewel of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, Cindy’s is the kind of place that’s hopping all day with trendy locals and clued-up visitors – even in winter, when the outdoor fire pits come into their own. You’ll find groups of friends catching up over oysters and rosé at the communal tables, and a steady stream of people ogling the skyline.
The drinks The perfect thing to sip on the sprawling outdoor terrace is The Jillian: a juicy blend of vodka, vermouth, spiced clementine and lemon which has been on the menu since day one.
Don’t miss The hotel’s other eating and drinking spots, such as Milk Room: an eight-seat speakeasy on the second floor that specialises in rare spirits. Morgan Olsen, Time Out Chicago
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Chicago.
The view An electric expanse of Las Vegas neon spreads out before you, including a flashing blue martini and the pink marquee of the El Cortez. Commonwealth has a prime position at the intersection of Fremont Street and Sixth Street Fremont Experience to your left and the trendy Fremont East District to your right.
The vibe In direct contrast to the massive clubs on the Strip, a night at this Downtown bar feels like a spontaneous dance party on a neighbourhood rooftop – because that’s exactly what it is.
The drinks Don’t overthink it: order something you can carry with you on the dancefloor. There’s an impressive list of craft beer including offerings from local Las Vegas breweries like Tenaya Creek.
Don’t miss The vintage cocktails at The Laundry Room, the secret speakeasy hidden within Commonwealth. Reservations can be made by text message. Krista Diamond
Want more? Here are Las Vegas’s best rooftop bars.
The view Philadelphia’s ever-evolving skyline holds court to the north, looking especially dazzling at night with all its twinkling lights. Spot the Benjamin Franklin Bridge jutting up to your right and gritty West Philly to the left.
The vibe Stretching across the roof of an enormous former high school in South Philadelphia, the Bok Bar offers plenty of space for its crowd of well-dressed young scenesters to spread out and enjoy the epic skyline view. Colourful, blocky furniture mimics the days when the Bok was an actual learning institution and good tunes keep the vibe going till close.
The drinks Choose from 18 beers – many of which, like the Victory Summer Love, are Pennsylvania-brewed – and a dozen wines from across the globe. Non-drinkers can enjoy a selection of kombucha by South Philly-based outfit Inspired Brews.
Don’t miss A visit just before the sun goes down on a clear night will reward you with a spectacular sunset over the City of Brotherly Love. Josh Middleton
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Philadelphia.
The view Majestically perched atop the Envoy Hotel in Boston’s fast-developing Seaport District, this expansive eighth-floor spot has stunning panoramic views of historic Boston Harbor and the city skyline.
The vibe As the hottest after-work spot in the area, the Lookout draws a crowd of well-dressed office types. Visit on a cool evening to dodge a wait and take advantage of the covered and heated seating areas. In winter, there are pop-up rooftop igloos to cosy up in.
The drinks Homemade craft cocktails – including barrel-aged and frozen options – provide a perfect pop of colour for #drinkswithviews shots.
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Boston.
The view In a city blessed with a disproportionate number of breathtaking views, it’s hard to choose a favourite. Yet the lofty viewpoint at The Maze that looks out over the Guanabara Bay and the iconic Sugarloaf mountain is a strong contender.
The vibe Perched at the top of Tavares Bastos, one of Rio’s safest favelas, The Maze’s unusual location makes it a hotspot for adventurous backpackers and locals. As the name suggests, it’s an intriguing labyrinth of corridors and multi-level spaces that heave with visitors on the venue’s popular jazz nights.
The drinks Caipirinha, of course! When in Rio, there’s no cocktail quite as refreshing as this classic mix of lime juice and cachaça. The ones at The Maze are the perfect blend of sweet and strong.
Don’t miss The handmade mosaic of palm trees, people, and birds tiled throughout, which transforms the building into a vibrant piece of storytelling art. Sarah Brown
The view Buenos Aires vistas come two for the price of one at Trade, which houses watering holes on both the nineteenth and twenty-second floors of the Argentinian capital’s famous Comega building. Head to the Art Deco tower’s outdoor rooftop to soak up views of regenerated docking area Puerto Madero, the River Plate, the iconic Obelisk and, on a clear day, all the way to Uruguay.
The vibe The chocolate-brown leather booths and lime-green window seats at the nineteenth-floor bar hint at yuppie glory days, attracting suits and model types, while the roof draws the lunchtime office crowd and sunset selfie-hunters.
The drinks Consultant bartender López Davalos has taken influences from the Japanese stock exchange, of all places. Try the Chivas Mizunara-based Three White Soldiers, infused with wagyu beef and topped with jerky.
Don’t miss The chance to dine like a president: Dante Liporace, chef to Argentina’s head of state, also oversees the menus at Trade. Meaty hits include his steak tartare and ribeye burger. Sorrel Moseley-Williams
The view A stunning vista out to the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf. You’ll overlook the protected sands of Saadiyat Island, home of the Emirati capital’s resident hawksbill turtles.
The vibe It’s a rooftop bar overlooking the sand and sea, so things are pretty chill. Come early for sundowners, or you’ll be fighting for a seat near the edge – at least until the crowd begins to thin, once dinner service is underway at the rather good surf and turf restaurant downstairs. (Oh, and like most rooftop bars in the UAE, this one closes for summer.)
The drinks Skip the liqueur coffees (it’s going to be hot, after all) and try one of the bar’s speciality juleps. Our pick is the Makers Mark option, with the bourbon, orange bitters, mint and cane sugar.
Don’t miss The dolphins! The coast off Saadiyat is famous for being home to pods of them. Keep an eye out and you’ll eventually be rewarded. Paul Clifford, Time Out Abu Dhabi
Want more? Here are the best rooftop bars in Abu Dhabi.