Best rooftop bars in Philadelphia
You’d never suspect the city’s best rooftop view exists on top of a former high school in a quiet Southeast Philadelphia neighborhood, but lo and behold, Bok Bar offers just that. Drinks are limited to beer and wine, but the beer options are plentiful and there are more non-alcoholic options available than is typical of any other rooftop bar—including kombucha. The rooftop is also, by way of being atop a school building, enormous. As such, it offers the most incredible panoramic view of the city—from West Philly all the way to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Mosey on over if you just need a place to enjoy a beer and breathe. And get your camera ready. This is one of the most Instagrammable places in Philadelphia.
R2L boasts about its sunset views for good reason: There’s nothing quite like seeing a pink glow kiss the rooftops of the city’s skyline from this lofty restaurant located on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place. Dining areas, to boot, are designed to face the glass for optimal viewing. There’s also a compelling cocktail option for every variety of liquor (the Dragon’s Fire gin cocktail with lemongrass bitters is especially pleasant) and a long list of appetizers to munch on. Just prepare for your wallet to take a heavy beating—drinks ain’t cheap—and opt for a reservation if you can.
You’ll feel all kinds of fabulous at the Assembly balcony bar, which, like the Logan Hotel that it’s located on top of, is decorated with sophistication in mind and sports an air of exclusivity. Cozy, semi-circular booths surround beautiful fire pits and create perfect little nooks for conversation as you look out over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The menu features refreshing cocktails such as an Eternal Springtime, concocted with locally distilled Stateside vodka and a combo of St. Germaine and rhubarb.
The ultimate high-up space to relax, XIX (Nineteen) is both the perfect spot for tea and mimosas on a Sunday morning and a classy, calming environment for an end-of-day cocktail. The spectacular view of Liberty Place is not to be outdone by the posh drink concoctions, such as Highball in the Sky or the Bourbon Smash, a sweet concoction of bourbon, apricot syrup, lemon juice, and basil. XIX (Nineteen)'s stately dining room features a lush fireplace, and dark wood and plush leather furniture to create a perfect backdrop for an elegant evening out with the honey.
One of the more spacious rooftop lounges in the city, Stratus keeps it swanky while not feeling stiff, with plenty of flowers and greenery to keep you feeling less concrete-claustrophobic while you take in glorious views of Chestnut Street in Old City. The menu includes a diverse lineup of lighter wines, with an even bigger variety of floral- and citrus-inspired cocktails. If you’re feeling indulgent, pair any of the above with a Boozy Chocolate Truffle, a decadent dessert morsel filled with vodka, bourbon and mezcal. Leave your baseball caps and flip flops at home, though: Stratus enforces a casual yet upscale dress code.
A retractable glass roof makes this a fascinating recent addition to Philadelphia’s growing lineup of outdoor lounges. Perched above the popular and lively 13th Street corridor in the Gayborhod, the venue’s decor is stylish and chic—with a floral mural adding flourish. The menu, by Top Chef contestant Sylva Senat, touts an approachable selection of small plates with a healthy mix of cocktails, beer and wine.
Continental Midtown is a stalwart and staple of rooftop lounging in Philadelphia. Trees bring the space to life, and a set of sofas situated near a mid-century-modern-style fireplace give the joint a cozy, 1960s-living-room vibe. For drinks, go for the cutesy Philly-themed cocktails, like the Pimm’s cup-like Grace Kelly or a whiskey-ginger concoction called Society Hill.
A more casual rooftop environment with—you guessed it—a seemingly endless selection of tapped craft beers (60 in total), City Tap is the place in University City for a hard-earned after-work drink and mingling with strangers. The view won’t blow you away, mind you, but the cozy evening atmosphere more than satisfies the rooftop-lounge craving all the same.
On the 11th floor of a parking garage, you’ll find yourself on the roof at Cira Green, a futuristic urban green space in University City. The Philadelphia skyline, Schuylkill River and West Philadelphia views from this “second tallest Beer Garden in Philadelphia” is not to be missed. Swing by on Friday nights April through June, World Café Live hosts live music and a selection of beers, including a limited-release brew each week.
The Parkway Central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia transforms its Skyline Terrace into a rooftop beer garden on select evenings from April to July. The soirees come complete with local beers and a menu of small bites from Brûlée Catering and live entertainment each week. Come for the brews, stay for the views (and return your overdue books—the library is open until 9pm).
The second-story deck of this Center City spot may be tiny, but it’s fierce! Don’t miss its best-seller Tikila Blanco, made with tequila, lime and ginger syrup, or the Hairy Buffalo, which is a cooler full of booze, juice and fruit. Whether you’re sipping a drink directly from a fresh pineapple or from one of the many cans of beer or cider they offer, you’ll definitely be having a good time.
The views of Walnut and Second streets may not be all that inspiring, but the Sopra Lounge within Positano Coast manages to sweep you away to a vacation on the Amalfi Coast. The restaurant serves up a beautiful atmosphere with white couches set on blue tiled floors and sheer drapes that flow gloriously when there’s a nice breeze. Feel like you’re on a Mediterranean cruise as you sip on a Get Rich, made with bourbon, watermelon, Aperol, and basil simple syrup with a chili salt rim.
Set right in the heart of Old City, Revolution House offers a breezy rooftop deck overlooking the bustling intersection of Market and Second streets. The decor is thoughtfully arranged to complement the neighborhood’s trademark old-world style while also adding a few industrial-modern touches. Try the housemade punch with brandy, amber rum, peach brandy, demerara sugar, lemon juice, chamomile and wild mint tea or settle into a more traditional draft beer, which is half price during the weekday happy hour (Mon–Fri 5–7pm).
With reliable hours and a variety of reservation options for events (including a birthday-specific package), Vango is a standout rooftop lounge option near Rittenhouse Square. Drink options include a handful of mostly fruit-based cocktais ranging from $10 to $14, domestic and imported beers and a trio of sake bottles for $20 each. The food menu is similarly flexible, ranging from hummus or French fries to filet mignon. The chandelier, meanwhile, makes the space pop.
When summer rolls around the owners of this multi-level Gayborhood nightclub open the eclectic rooftop bar, where they host cookouts and happy hours throughout the season. The hangout boasts a Hawaiian vibe with tropical plants, tiki torches and music pumping out of the speakers. It also provides a view of the eclectic architecture that dots the neighborhood, such as the ornate 19th-century highrises and the slicker, more contemporary development.