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Mama Shelter Los Angeles
Photograph: Courtesy Mama Shelter Los Angeles

The best rooftop bars in L.A.

Check out rooftop bars in L.A. with the best views, from Malibu sunsets to city views over the Sunset Strip

By Erin Kuschner and Stephanie Breijo

What is it that they say about smog? Oh yeah, beautiful sunsets. Make L.A.’s haze work for you at these cocktail bars and beachside spots, where the views rightfully rival the booze. From Downtown’s bars with stellar sights to seaside cabanas in Malibu and Venice, here are the city’s—literally—top rooftop bars.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in Los Angeles

Before you head to the rooftops, a brief note: Indoor and outdoor dining and bars are nearly fully reopen, but some of the rooftop bars we previously featured in this list are still closed. Though a couple of the open spots are only accepting walk-ins, we highly encourage securing a reservation when possible since all of these venues are operating at a limited capacity.

Best rooftop bars in L.A.

L.P. rooftop bar, Frankie's Bar
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

1. L.P. Rooftop Bar

Bars Cocktail bars West Hollywood

Open for walk-ins only. E.P., the restaurant downstairs, accepts reservations.

There’s a party happening at the intersection of La Cienega and Melrose—and while everyone is invited, not everyone may feel like they fit in with the too-cool crowd. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give L.P. Rooftop a try, though; after all, the view is so stellar and the drinks are so fun, you can cozy up near some neon and just take it all in stride. Located above E.P., a restaurant featuring a hodgepodge of vibrant Asian cuisine, you’ll find L.P., the rooftop bar with killer views and swanky, photo-ready, fun-loving clientele. Share spiked bubble tea with new friends as the sun sets on West Hollywood. Hit this roof at just the right time during the summer and you can even catch an outdoor screening—and yes, there are snacks.

Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

2. Broken Shaker

Bars Hotel bars Downtown

The Freehand Hotel’s trendiest clientele are like moths to a flame at the quirky, colorful and palm-laden rooftop bar above DTLA. Cool off with eclectic cocktails—with some equally eclectic and colorful garnishes—served from the thatched-roof bar as you snack on street-food-inspired dishes. (Don’t skip that guac with peanut salsa.) It’s a perfect perch to take in views of Downtown, especially around sunset. Overwhelmed by that brief but fun menu? We’re crazy for the Carrot Colada, made with gin, montenegro, carrot-and-coconut orgeat and a pink peppercorn cordial.

Mama Shelter Hollywood rooftop
Photograph: Courtesy Mama Shelter Los Angeles

3. Mama Shelter

Restaurants Contemporary American Hollywood

First-come, first-served.

We’re big fans of Mama Shelter as a hotel and a restaurant, but once we saw the rooftop, we decided we just might move in for good. The bright space is splattered with multicolored sofas and chairs where you can lounge while waiting for your salmon pita to arrive. Cocktails veer from the Mediterranean with a full Moscow mule bar, though you can also find multiple sangrias. On warm nights, you can dance under the stars while DJs spin an eclectic mix of music, or take in a classic movie on their outdoor screen. There’s also a foosball table, a yoga area and sweeping views of Hollywood. Like we said—we’re never leaving.

Photograph: Jesse Hsu

4. Margot

Restaurants Contemporary American Culver City

Culver City isn’t home to too many rooftop bars and restaurants, which makes the PLATFORM complex’s new one a very popular spot. Get to Margot on the early end so that you can stake out a table on the heated patio, as opposed to the glassed-in atrium (also pretty). Gaggles of chic friends and romantic couples on dates are all the norm here, as is a Mediterranean-leaning menu—especially when it comes to wine. There’s also that collection of gin and tonics, not to mention boozy slushies and bright, breezy cocktails. You’ll probably make your way through all of them, what with all the times you’ll be coming up here.

High at the Hotel Erwin
Photograph: Courtesy High at the Hotel Erwin

5. High Rooftop Lounge

Bars Cocktail bars Venice

Beachside rooftops are in surprisingly short supply in L.A., making Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge an in-demand spot for sun-kissed Venice locals. Even if you’re staying at the hotel, be sure to make a reservation; there’s nothing like a multi-hued sunset over the Pacific with a cocktail in hand to get Angelenos buzzing. Getting chilly? Evening bar-goers can wrapthemselves in one of the bar’s cozy blankets, along with a spiked cocoa or hot toddy. If you don’t like your drinks sweet, stick to local craft brews to pair with munchies like gourmet sliders and street tacos.

Élephante rooftop restaurant and bar in Santa Monica
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Élephante

6. Élephante

Restaurants American creative Santa Monica

There are rooftops, and then there are scenes. Santa Monica's breezy, all-day sky-high restaurant and bar is a little of both at all times of the day. Sure, Elephante serves light, bright food with seasonal ingredients (and the pizza's not bad), but we're all about the cocktails and of course the view. The indoor-outdoor space feels like a dream living room, with modern, comfortable-but-chic furniture and a stunning view of the ocean off the patio, but with a space like that, it's also one of the toughest SaMo reservations to land. Best to book in advance, instead of fighting the Westside's most gorgeous clientele for a walk-in spot.

Rooftop at Perch
Photograph: Courtesy Perch

7. Perch LA

Restaurants French Downtown Historic Core

This rooftop bistro is one of the prettiest in town with its patterned tile floors and potted trees full of twinkly lights. Downtown locals, plus a few hundred of their closest friends, sit on bar stools and plush sofas inside the eclectic boudoir-themed bar or fireside on the outdoor patio. From any seat, you’ll want to sample the selection of kir-style cocktails that go beyond crème de cassis—try a tasty, blackberry-flavored crème de mure—and other French by-the-glass pours. The after-work crowd drops in for happy hour, dubbed Apéritif Hour, weekdays from 4 to 6pm, while late-night partygoers and music-lovers can find frequent DJ sets and live bands.

Upstairs Bar at the Ace hotel
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

8. Upstairs

Bars Hotel bars Downtown Historic Core

Look good—but not like you’re trying too hard—when visiting Upstairs, a Moroccan oasis perched atop the trendy Ace Hotel. Make your way to the buzzing, open-air roof deck, swathed in an exotic canopy and scattered with hip Downtowners clutching plastic cups, to find pitchers of sangria and small plates you won’t want to share. Perfect for an after-work schmooze or a reunion with old friends, you’ll find two bars to order a drink from (be warned: weekends bring the requisite long lines). Try the How Bazaar, an easy drinker made with mezcal, fig brandy, Benedictine, ginger and honey.

Photograph: Courtesy Skybar

9. SkyBar

Bars Hotel bars West Hollywood

The rooftop bar that started it all, the Mondrian’s Skybar still retains its secret Sunset Strip entryway, complete with dress-to-impress entry and nightlife cred—this is one of the rare poolside bars where people really do jump in after a night of cocktails. The all-ages crowd ranges from wide-eyed ingénues to aging, rugged types, but no matter where you fall on the spectrum, the Mexican-style oasis of flowering walls and gorgeous nooks will win you over—especially with a mojito in hand. Get there early, because nightly programming like DJ sets and weekend pool parties make this one of the hottest spots to be, hot day or not.

To book a room at the Mondrian Hotel, click here.

Photograph: Courtesy InterContinental

10. Spire 73

Restaurants Downtown Financial District

Perched 73 floors above DTLA, sitting pretty in the InterContinental hotel, is Spire 73—the bar that just so happens to lay claim to the title of tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. Relax fireside as you sip classic-leaning cocktails on one of the luxe lounge seats, take a seat along the extended bar, or peer past the glass partitions to enjoy one of the best views L.A. has to offer.

Photograph: Courtesy Moonshadows

11. Moonshadows

Restaurants Seafood Malibu

Forget flip-flops and sunscreen—dolphin sightings are de rigueur at this longtime PCH watering hole. This one isn’t so much sky-high as it is water-on, with an outdoor lounge area lined with white sofas and curtained booths that hang right over the Pacific—you’re practically within blowhole distance of the pods that swim close to shore. Catch afternoon rays at weekend brunch or laze on the sundeck at sunset or after dark, when Malibu locals turn out for margaritas and the salt air mixes with pretty young things.

Dream Hotel Hollywood rooftop pool parties and bar and restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Eugenia L.

12. The Highlight Room at the Dream Hollywood

Hotels Boutique hotels Hollywood

Reservations available.

There’s always a party high above Cahuenga thanks to the Dream Hotel. The trendy hospitality chain’s first West Coast outpost throws killer, almost nightly events at its rooftop pool and bar, but if the party scene isn’t your thing, you can visit during the day for casual lunch and cocktails in the restaurant’s black-and-white checkered dining room (hotel guests only, or by reservation). Of course if you are there to party, keep an eye on Highlight Room’s social accounts for special event announcements—and don’t forget to R.S.V.P.

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