Los Angeles: Andaz West Hollywood
At this 14th-floor rooftop getaway, sun-seeking hotel guests can dip into the plunge pool while waiting for their drinks (try the Limoncello Sparkle), or take in the panoramic views, which stretch from the Hollywood Hills to downtown L.A. and out to the Pacific.
Empire Hotel Rooftop
New York: The Empire Hotel Rooftop
The iconic red-neon Empire Hotel sign is a familiar sight on the Manhattan skyline. Now, thanks to the opening of the 8,000-square-foot Empire Hotel Rooftop—the latest addition to restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow’s empire—you can enjoy cocktails directly in its shadow. Patrons to the Upper West Side space have the run of not one, but three outdoor terraces that feature wicker day loungers, private cabanas, and a bar with a retractable roof. The menu features Chodorow’s typical Asian fusion cuisine, like Kobe beef sliders and rock shrimp tempura served with a sweet chili sauce.
Miami: Plunge at the Gansevoort
Miami’s not one for understatement, as visitors to Plunge can attest. At 24,000 square feet, complete with a 110-foot-long elevated pool, it’s one of the largest rooftop bars in the world. Here, the wood deck is lined with towering palm trees, the bar is carved from marble, the poolside cabanas feature chandeliers, and the views go from the Miami skyline out to the Atlantic.
Courtesy of W Hotels
Atlanta: Whiskey Blue at the W Buckhead
Longtime bar entrepreneur Rande Gerber’s first venture in the South delivers ultra-modern glamour atop the newly opened W Buckhead. Call the hostess to make a VIP reservation; you’ll be led to the front of the line for the glass elevator, which offers a preview of the bar’s unrivaled views of Atlanta’s skyline.
Courtesy of The Canary Hotel
Santa Barbara, CA: Perch at the Canary Hotel
With its terracotta floors, mosaic tile work, burnished furniture, and quietly trickling fountain, the aptly named Perch takes its cues from the Mediterranean. But it only takes one sunset to remind you of your southern California setting. The 1,800-square-foot terrace features views all the way from the Santa Cruz Islands, 26 miles out into the Pacific, to the Santa Ynez Mountains. Grab a glass of a local vintner’s wine and enjoy it in front of the limestone fireplace, in the Jacuzzi, or beside the pool.
Courtesy of The Nines
Portland, OR: Departure Restaurant and Lounge at the Nines Hotel
To construct Departure, the architects of the Nines added a 15th floor to the famed 77-year-old Meier & Frank Building, which houses the property. But instead of repeating the building’s terracotta façade, the space is sheathed in gray and white steel and resembles a spaceship. The futuristic design carries through on both of the outdoor lounging decks, thanks to their sleek, geometric-style furniture and metallic color scheme, punctuated by fiery bursts of orange. The views stretch from Mount Hood to Mount St. Helens.
Courtesy of Peninsula Hotels
Los Angeles: Roof Garden at the Peninsula Beverly Hills
Many L.A. rooftop destinations come with headline-grabbing features (Astroturf lawns! Glass-bottom pools!), but what the Peninsula’s newly redesigned Roof Garden lacks in razzle-dazzle, it more than makes up for in sophistication and tranquillity. Here it’s all about refined creature comforts, from the weekly barbecue to the heated limestone.
San Diego: Sìrèn at the Sè Hotel
As rooftop bars go, this fourth-floor, poolside lounge doesn’t exactly tower over its downtown neighbors. But what it lacks in views it makes up for with its own brand of eye candy: a rotating cast of Cirque du Soleil–esque performers who turn the 7,000-square-foot oasis into an interactive stage twice a week. The drinks also go beyond the usual bar offerings. Don’t miss the menu of vodka-infused fruits and vegetables.
Courtesy of the Clarendon Hotel
Phoenix: The Clarendon
Known for its 60-foot water wall and a bubbling hydro spa that holds 50 people, this Valley of the Sun bar also hosts a Sunday night retro-Brazilian dance party. Locals love the inventive cocktails (like the creamy horchata-Kahlúa milk shakes) and the fine views of Phoenix’s seven crimson mountain ranges.
Courtesy of EPIC
Miami: Magic City at the Epic Hotel
This lounge doesn’t crown the 22-story building but rather wraps around the 16th floor, taking in the generous southern exposure. While the 10 private cabanas may fill up fast, the curvy wicker chairs bordering the two infinity pools are a romantic touch. Sweet pink Florida shrimp or line-caught yellowtail sashimi from the hip neighboring restaurant Area 31 restaurant are choice snacks, especially since the bay waters they came from are glittering below you.