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Booze With a View — the Rooftop Bars Worthy of Summer's Final Days

August 22, 2014

Rooftop bars have been rocking it for decades, but the allure of panoramic views has really stolen the show recently.

We don’t have to tell you how awesome it is to be on a rooftop. There are unrivaled selfle potential, views that can’t be replicated, breezes, sunshine, moonshine (both kinds), and pools. There is also, of course, the fact that life is just generally better when you’re hanging out in a garden in the sky. 

From Dallas to West Hollywood, we have collected some of our favorite rooftop bars for spending the remaining days of summer. 

(Photo: NYLO Hotels)

1. Soda Bar at the NYLO South Side in Dallas

Infinity pool? Check. Specialty cocktails? Check. View of a funky green building? Check. From happy hour to the wee hours, this is where the beautiful people in Dallas come to be fabulous alfresco. The only thing that might keep you from this Dallas rooftop bar is the fact that it is off the beaten path. But remember, the best cowboys love going off the trail.

(Photo: The London West Hollywood Hotel/Facebook)

2. Rooftop pool at The London in West Hollywood 

This place was designed in the style of a refined British garden. Gordon Ramsay, one of the most Michelin-awarded chefs on Earth, has personally crafted the menu of nibbles. Yet, this rooftop is loved for these two words: “pool party.” If you want a taste of how some really pretty people mix luxury, lounging, and a bit of ludicrousness, reserve a cabana here toward the end of the day, when the crowd starts coming in. If it’s peace and quiet you’re after, come early — they serve that during the day.

(Photo: Peyri Herrera/Flickr)

3. The Ides at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn

Yes, it’s in Brooklyn, but the first thing you’ll do when you step onto the rooftop terrace here is take a selfie in front of Manhattan. You get an expanse that’s possible only from this side of the river. From the art deco decor, the neowarehouse glass cube encasing the bar, and the dolled-up borough dwellers that haunt this place, you might swear you were in an episode of “Girls.”

(Photo: The Godfrey Hotel)

4. IO Urban Roofscape at The Godfrey in Chicago

Buzzing since it burst onto the scene earlier this year, this huge fourth-floor patio is the only outside space in town where you can party beneath the uninterrupted backdrop of Chicago’s southern skyline. Perched above River North, Chicago’s neighborhood of art galleries, the Godfrey hotel’s roof is a mix of industrial chic with some modern treats such as USB charging stations beneath the bar. A clear, retractable top and fire pits keep this popular spot for launch parties, fashion shows, and light fare going year-round, no matter how windy the city gets.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Trip to Chicago 

(Photo: Hilton Hotels)

5. Three Sixty Bar at the Hilton at the Ballpark in St. Louis

Here you’ll find the the ABCs of St. Louis “rooftop-ology.” “A” for the amazing view of the Arch. “B” for the beer and bird’s-eye view of the baseball games in Busch Stadium. And “C” for the cocktails and Cardinals. Get there early on game day, because they don’t take “R,” or reservations. 

(Photo: Rooftop600 at Andaz/Facebook)

6. Rooftop 600 at the Andaz in San Diego

After having undergone a little refurbishing earlier this year, the largest rooftop in downtown San Diego feels as fresh as ever, and there are two very distinct sides to explore. By day, it’s exactly what you want in a sunny hotel rooftop: a pool with great views of the city and a healthy, organic restaurant. By night, this rooftop becomes a party palace, as it transforms into one of the most exclusive clubs in town.

(Photo: Standard International Management)

7. Le Bain at the Standard Hotel in New York

New York City has the most hotel rooftop bars of any city, and it rightfully deserves its own top 10 list, but we’re putting our money on Le Bain. It’s not the newest nest in town, but its far-west location gives the deck a stunning, full monty view of Manhattan and makes for one of the most “Instagrammable” backdrops of any bar in the country. It’s an indoor-outdoor duplex of rabble-rousing, fashionistas, and the occasional celebrity, with a plunge pool that we’re pretty sure has more Champagne in it than water. 

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Trip to New York City

(Photo: Viceroy Hotel Group)

8. FIFTY Miami at the Viceroy in Miami

Still looking for that major Miami party in South Beach? No bueno, amigo. That was last decade. Everyone’s downtown these days trying to get into this rooftop nightclub that towers 50 stories over Biscayne Bay. But don’t worry, it’s still muy Miami Beach, especially on the weekends with an ever-changing roster of international DJs making the sexy people shake until the wee hours.

Related: How to Plan an Awesome Trip to Miami

(Photo: Legacy Restaurant Partners)

9. Skylounge at The Glenn in Atlanta

Atlanta does a lot of things well — Southern charm, naming things after peaches, aquariums, and malls — but when this place goes all in for a rooftop, you can see that it also has a penchant for the posh. From its perch above the historic Glenn Hotel downtown, it’s a quieter affair than most on this list, but with handcrafted cocktails and a crowd that’s dressed to impress, it’s like going to a ball beneath the sky.

(Photo: Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide)

10. POV at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Politics and pleasure combine — legally — at this swanky 11th-floor rooftop terrace that overlooks the White House and the Washington Monument. It’s worth checking out not just for the two beautiful bars paneled in fresh grass, but also for the artisan cocktails, made with ingredients from the hotel’s own garden. A tapas bar by day, it transforms into a cocktail lounge once everyone’s off the clock — and come nighttime, it’s where Washingtonians go to cross party lines.

(Photo: Sage Restaurant Group)

11. Departure Restaurant at the The Nines in Portland

The definition of “optimistic” is a rooftop anything in a town that gets as much rain as Portland, so we applaud this plot of outdoor real estate newly created on the 15th floor of the famed Meier & Frank building downtown. The restaurant rocks some inventive Asian cuisine (as only a foodie town like Portland can) but stays open late on the weekends, so you can enjoy the largest saké list in town as you take in the view of Pioneer Courthouse Square, Mount Hood (if it’s not foggy), and Mount Saint Helens (on a clear day).

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