Look good—but not like you're trying too hard—when visiting Upstairs, a Moroccan oasis perched atop the trendy Ace Hotel. A sluggish elevator is your key to getting inside (or rather, outside) the buzzing, open-air roof deck, swathed in an exotic canopy and scattered with hip Downtowners clutching plastic cups—just precaution for the pint-sized dipping pool off to the side. You’d be surprised at how many people can fit into it after a few drinks. A DJ in shades (despite the near-midnight hour) spins cool electronic beats as the city lights glitter below. It’s definitely one of the better rooftop lounges in LA, mainly because of the surplus of seating. With two bars and an attentive waitstaff, getting a drink has never been so easy.
Good for: An after-work schmooze or reunion with old friends. The drinks are fine; where Upstairs shines is with its food. The Middle Eastern bites here are superb: cucumber and watermelon salad ($11), spicy lamb sausage flatbread ($15) and ricotta toast ($12). Head over early to snatch a cushy couch along the edge of the rooftop for stellar views, and get your order in before the crowds hit.
The scene: Hipsters and Hollywood types are a given after 9pm, but before that, it’s a predominantly laid-back, after-work crowd. On any given night, the funky-casual vibe draws imbibers of all ages. The common denominator? Eclectic style. Let’s just say that Upstairs is home to some of the finest people-watching in town.
The playlist: Upstairs employs a wide variety of DJs, so depending on when you go, what you’ll hear could range from golden oldies to house music. Whatever it is, it’s loud, so you better like it. Tip: Check the events calendar on Ace Hotel's website in advance of your visit.
Bartender says: These are not the most accommodating of bartenders. They’re more of the order-and-move-aside types. But what did you expect from one of DTLA's hottest destinations? If you have any questions, you'd be wise to intercept a server instead—oh, and stick to the menu.
Drink this: One of the pricier cocktails on the menu, the Kentucky Mai Tai ($14) is a peculiar twist (or, shall we say, complete overhaul) on the tropical drink we all know and love. There's mezcal, plus bourbon, lemon, Liquor de Peche, Cynar and orgeat. Shake all of that up and the result is somehow very dull—perhaps it was an off-night. For something less boozy, Lefty Lucy ($13) is a surprisingly easy-to-drink concoction made with chile liqueur, peach liqueur, ginger, lime and yellow chartreuse. Sweet and bubbly, it's the quintessential ladies cocktail. Upstairs' Amazing Frozen Drink ($13), which changes seasonally, was actually quite decent (though calling it "amazing" is a stretch). On our visit, it was a jalapeno-infused tequila slushy that went down a little too easy. Punch ($100) is an option for larger parties, and there’s always wine (red, white, rose and sparkling), as well as six types of beer—Budweiser ($7), for example.
929 S Broadway
|Opening hours:||Daily 11am-2am|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
4 / 5
- 5 star:2
- 4 star:5
- 3 star:2
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
The drinks are good, not great, and the lines on weekend evenings are never worth waiting in, but there's something really special about the space here. Though only one side of the bar has a truly scenic vista, it's pretty fantastic to stare up at the building's gothic tower or across at the Eastern Columbia. Definitely try to avoid the crowds—the vibe during weekday sunsets is great—though the free programming up there can be pretty good.
If the rooftop at the Ace, aka "Upstairs," were the only reason to come to DTLA, it would be worth it. The views are hot and the vibe is chill. Lots of people watching to be had here!
While Upstairs Bar isn't my favorite rooftop bar in LA, it's definitely a contender. I love the people watching and the occasional great DJ, plus the views will make you fall in love with DTLA. Drinks here can be hit or miss, but their seasonal cocktail menus are always so creative and fun. Check their website for special parties, live music or the odd birdwatching lesson.
Upstairs is one of the best rooftop bars in DTLA. It's a beautiful spot to just hang out, though during peak hours it can get a little crowded. There's a small pool to relax by and intimate little nooks to set up shop in. It's also an awesome place to get a little work done during work hours!
Upstairs Bar is a great place to kick-back and enjoy a cocktail while soaking in a gorgeous rooftop view. Not all of their drinks will blow you out of the water, but there's definitely something for everyone. If you're with a group of people then it's worth the money to shell out $99 for the King's Cross punch bowl.