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Mama Shelter Hollywood rooftop
Photograph: Courtesy Mama Shelter Los Angeles

Top rooftop bars in the US

Elevate your drinking game at our favorite US rooftop bars, from LA to DC

Scott Snowden
Edited by
Scott Snowden
Written by
Sarah Medina

It's official: summer's finally here. And not a moment too soon. So it's time to find a great bar with space outdoors and even better, a great bar that also offers a spectacular roof top view. There are cool bars with really cool views in every city in the US, you just need to know where to look. Or, alternatively you could save yourself the time frantically searching online and instead utilize our handy compiled list.

And we're not exaggerating when we say that at these spots the views are even better than the drinks. With spring finally on its way after a long dark winter and cities slowly reopening across the country, our dreams of sipping a Spritz at one of these cocktail bars this summer seems like it could actually become a reality. Cheers to summer! And while you're on the road, you might want to check out these scenic breweries on the West Coast, in the Northeast and in the Midwest, too. 

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Best US rooftop bars

Mama Shelter | Los Angeles, CA
Photograph: Courtesy Mama Shelter Los Angeles

1. Mama Shelter | Los Angeles, CA

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.

Discover: The 14 best bars in Los Angeles

Discover: The best rooftop bars in L.A.

Cindy's | Chicago, IL
Photograph: Thomas Hart Shelby

2. Cindy's | Chicago, IL

Boasting some of the most exquisite views of the city, Cindy's sits atop the stunning Chicago Athletic Association Hotel in the Loop. Though the cocktails are the main draw of this beautiful rooftop terrace, guests can nosh on small bites like spiced pepitas and cheese and charcuterie boards, piled high with local selections, preserves and grilled bread.

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Discover: The 19 best rooftop bars in Chicago

Vue | Washington, DC
Photograph: Courtesy Vue Rooftop DC

3. Vue | Washington, DC

In addition to jaw-dropping views of the the Treasury, the Washington Monument and the National Mall, eagle-eyed visitors will be able to spot secret service on the rooftop of the White House—it’s practically across the street from Vue (formally POV)—as well as political and Hollywood celebs in nearby booths. Best of all, stadium-style seating provides uninterrupted views. Choose between weekend brunch or after-work cocktails, but be sure to try the Royal Tea Punch and Tidal Basin Paloma. And don't forget: Reservations are a must. 

Discover: The best bars in DC

Discover: The best rooftop bars in Washington, DC

Sugar | Miami, FL
Photograph: Courtesy EAST

4. Sugar | Miami, FL

The elevator will pass 40 floors before you finally reach, Sugar, the ultra trendy rooftop lounge at the East Hotel that’s quickly become one of the most popular bars in Brickell. Remain patient and soon you’ll be rewarded with 360-degree views of the city and surrounding waterways, Asian-themed cocktails (like the Sweet Life, a sugar-y cocktail blended with Thai iced tea, lemon and whiskey) and a place that feels more like a secluded, storybook garden than a bar.

Discover: The best bars in Miami

Discover: The best rooftop bars in Miami

Top of the Gate | Washington, DC
Photograph: Courtesy Watergate Hotel

5. Top of the Gate | Washington, DC

Hot off a $200-million renovation, the historic (and notorious) Watergate Hotel is now home to one of the coolest cocktail spots in the city—a sprawling rooftop bar and lounge called Top of the Gate. Sip a Celebration (Avion Silver tequila,  grenadine spice mix, sparkling rosé) while you take in the sunset with a 360-degree view of the city's biggest attractions, including the Pentagon, Potomac River, and Washington Monument.

Discover: The best bars in DC

Discover: The best rooftop bars in Washington, DC

High Rooftop Lounge | Los Angeles, CA
Photograph: Courtesy High at the Hotel Erwin

6. High Rooftop Lounge | Los Angeles, CA

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. 

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Discover: The best rooftop bars in L.A.

Lookout | Boston, MA
Photograph: Courtesy Lookout Rooftop

7. Lookout | Boston, MA

One of the citys most popular options for outdoor drinking and dining resides atop the Seaports Envoy Hotel. The expansive skyline and sunset views alone are worth the often lengthy waits at both the elevator and the bar. An array of area worker bees and selfie-snapping scenesters fill the comfortable lounge seating to sip top-shelf cocktails while grooving along to trendy tunes. 

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Discover: The Boston rooftop bars you need to know about

Frol!k Kitchen & Cocktails | Seattle, WA
Photograph: Courtesy Motif Seattle

8. Frol!k Kitchen & Cocktails | Seattle, WA

For those looking to do more than get tipsy while taking in a view, Frol!k, located off the fifth floor of downtown Seattle’s Motif hotel, offers date-night–worthy diversions like shuffleboard and Ping-Pong. The sleek drinkery also features an expansive cocktail list, and if that’s not enough to warm you up when the Pacific Northwest chill sets in, there are several heat sources—including a super-cool-looking (contained) tabletop fireplace.

Discover: The 19 best bars in Seattle

El Techo de Lolinda | San Francisco, CA
Photograph: Courtesy of El Techo de Lolinda

9. El Techo de Lolinda | San Francisco, CA

Latin American-inspired hotspot El Techo is one of the best-equipped rooftop bars in the city, which explains the constant crowds. The open-air rooftop is bordered by glass walls—a welcome shield from breezes—and outfitted with sun-shading umbrellas and high-powered heat lamps. Hot, sunny days call for rum, usually in the form of blended drinks like pina coladas and the Belafonte, made with aged rum, lime, pineapple, banana, cacao, and ginger.

Discover: The best bars in San Francisco to drink at right now

Discover: The 10 best rooftop bars in San Francisco

The J. Parker | Chicago, Il
Photograph: Courtesy The J. Parker

10. The J. Parker | Chicago, Il

If you haven't crossed the J. Parker off your Chicago bucket list, grab a glass of sparkling rosé and get to work. With its mesmerizing views of the city and Lincoln Park, this year-round rooftop bar is a must for entertaining out-of-towners. On particularly beautiful summer days, arrive early and be prepared to wait for a seat to open. It's worth it, promise!

Discover: The 40 absolute best bars in Chicago

Discover: The 19 best rooftop bars in Chicago

Departure | Portland, OR
Photograph: Courtesy Departure

11. Departure | Portland, OR

Head up to the 15th floor of the super modern Nines Hotel to sleek restaurant and lounge Departure for bites by Top Chef finalist Gregory Gourdet and quirky cocktails like the Stumptown Express (Buffalo Trace bourbon, Stumptown cold-brew coffee, ginger liqueur, honey, bitters). During happy hour, you can try some of the eatery’s Asian and vegetarian specialties like the crispy squid with miso, or vegetable udon noodles with spinach. Though the rooftop is mostly enclosed, there is a balcony, but the views of Portland are unparalleled and the ambience is unpretentious no matter where you sit.

Discover: The 13 best breweries in Portland to grab a pint

Area 31 | Miami, FL
Photograph: Courtesy Area 31

12. Area 31 | Miami, FL

Even if it didn’t boast one of the city’s most spectacular views—the Miami skyline is laid out in front of you from the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel—Executive chef Alex Olivier’s innovative seafood offerings, much of it sourced from the waters you can gaze out upon, would surely be packing in the patrons. The menu changes regularly, but expect fresh ceviche, tartars and crudos among the range of sustainable seafood dishes available.

Discover: The absolute best bars in Miami

Discover: The absolute best rooftop bars in Miami

Linger | Denver, CO
Photograph: Courtesy Linger

13. Linger | Denver, CO

You can spot Linger while walking along Denver’s 16th Street, which connects downtown Denver and the LoHi neighborhood. The bar is located in the former Olinger Mortuary and the original illuminated sign remains—except that the 'O' stays dim at night to reveal the watering hole’s name, beckoning you to stay awhile. The roof is home to a 1975 RV (or Bar-V, as it’s known), where frozen mai tais and global street food like Mongolian BBQ duck buns, Wagyu sliders and falafel lettuce wraps are served.

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Brit’s Pub | Minneapolis, MN
Photograph: Courtesy Brit’s Pub

14. Brit’s Pub | Minneapolis, MN

On weekends, gawk at lawn bowlers in the pub’s English Garden Park from Brit’s second-story veranda while you nosh on British favorites like Scotch eggs and tandoori chicken. Inside the bar, homesick expats and Anglophiles can watch live-streaming soccer matches. Beers are half price at happy hour, and if you prefer the hard stuff, a formidable Scotch list awaits.

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Acme Feed & Seed | Nashville, TN
Photograph: Courtesy Acme Feed & Seed/Sarah Frenzel

15. Acme Feed & Seed | Nashville, TN

Practically a stones throw from Nashville’s famous honky-tonks on Lower Broadway, Acme calls itself a 'funky-tonk.' The bar is spread over four floors, with a rooftop that offers 360-degree views of downtown, including the Music City Center, LP Field, the Cumberland River and Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. Before the pandemic, the bar hosted live music every night as well as themed events such as Yoga Buzz (yoga followed by drink specials) or a Sunday champagne jam session. 

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