The Best Rooftop Bars on the Coast
Bud and Alley’s
A beachfront institution (it opened in 1986), Bud and Alley’s is known for delicious seafood, refreshing libations, and one stellar view. Perched right on Florida’s Gulf coast, the two-tiered rooftop deck is one of the best spots to catch the sunset and unwind after a long day in the sun and salt water.
On the Menu: The Seaside Punch, with vodka, Chambord, peach, apple, sour mix, and pineapple juice, is just one example of the fun cocktail list that also features an impressive martini selection. Fresh seafood dishes dominate the dinner menu.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar
With harbor and skyline views, local beers, and seasonal cocktails, The Envoy Hotel’s Lookout Rooftop and Bar is 4,000-square-feet of breezy Boston fun.
On the Menu: Cheeky cocktails including the Google Me…Google Me (whiskey, Crème de Peche, and peach bitters) and Look, But Don’t Touch (vodka, lemon, sherry, hibiscus, and blackberry) are up for cocktail hour grabs.
St. Pete Beach, Florida
Panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway are on tap atop Hotel Zamora’s rooftop hangout, 360°. Come for “happier hour” (Monday – Friday from 2 – 6), and stay for the fiery sunset.
On the Menu: Classic, tropical cocktails that make you feel like you’re on vacation: mojito, caiprinha, paloma, piña colada, and more. The tapas-style snack list includes shrimp ceviche, burrata salad, and black bean hummus.
Rocks on the Roof
High tops and cozy couches line the exterior of the Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront’s rooftop bar, located right on the Savannah River in the historic district. The river view begets a romantic scene: passing boats and the Talmadge Memorial Bridge.
On the Menu: Southern-inspired tapas, like boiled peanut hummus and fried green tomatoes, and an impressive martini list.
With sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the sun setting over Chicago’s skyline, J. Parker features an indoor lounge and outdoor patio where a DJ spins on Saturdays.
On the Menu: Summer 2016 signature cocktails include the Ziggy Stardust, with peligroso blanco, aperol, cucumber lime, and spicy salt, to honor David Bowie's passing. J. Parker’s small plate menu, curated by James Beard-nominated Chef Paul Virant, features gems like House Smoked Salmon Cakes and the J. Parker Patty Melt.
Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge
Rosemary Beach, Florida
With views of Rosemary Beach’s beautiful homes, the town green, and the white sand-meets-turquoise Gulf, Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge is one stunning hangout. Located on top of The Pearl hotel, the lounge features bistro and community table seating, as well as couches and hammocks for kicking way back.
On the Menu: Cuban-inspired bites based on the hotel’s restaurant, the Havana Beach Bar & Grill, like the Mojo Pork sandwich, plus refreshing cocktails like the Cuba Libre and Hemingway Daiquiri.
The 1 Rooftop
18 floors up and infinitely chic, The 1 Rooftop at 1Hotel South Beach sports 360-degree views of azure ocean and glimmering downtown skyline. Plush white couches, reclaimed wood tables, and sky-blue bar stools mingle with the green of swaying palm fronds.
On the Menu: The tapas-style menu features organic and local ingredients, and craft cocktails are creative and oh-so fresh.
This relative newbie (it opened in fall 2015 and is named for an early San Diego city planner) sits atop the Marriott San Diego Gaslamp hotel and provides city views from the Coronado Bridge to Point Loma and beyond. The Nolen’s warm atmosphere (literally, with two fire features) is outfitted in sleek, sophisticated furnishings.
On the Menu: Cocktails made from local and national small-batch spirits are divided into three groups on the menu: Territory: Nolen originals; Tiki: twists on the tropical classics; and The Rest: barrel-aged, house-made cocktails, like the Master of None, with reposado tequila, Benedictine, apple brandy, and yellow chartreuse. On the food side, there are snacks, flatbreads, and salads.
Chair 5 Rooftop Deck
Narragansett, Rhode Island
With views of the Atlantic and Narragansett rooftops, the tip top of The Break, a charming boutique hotel that’s outfitted in pops of bright turquoise and a surfer-inspired aesthetic, is a stunning spot to end the day. The upstairs sister of The Break’s Chair 5 restaurant, the bar features a wrap-around deck outfitted in Adirondacks and plenty of cozy seating inside.
On the Menu: Artisan cocktails, New England craft beers, and boutique wines.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Gorgeous water view? Check. Roaring fire pits? Check. Private cabanas and cozy, open-air seating? Check! The Canopy rooftop bar crowns the The Birchwood, an elegant boutique hotel. The rooftop’s glass railings provide an unobstructed view of Tampa Bay, Straub Park, Beach Drive, and the St. Petersburg skyline.
On the Menu: Local beer (try Tampa-based Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA), specialty cocktails (the Smoke on the Water features vodka, grapefruit jalapeno shrub, and pineapple juice), and small plates, salads, and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.
The Pacific Terrace Bar
Laguna Beach, California
The Inn at Laguna Beach, a blufftop boutique hotel, offers the perfect spot for gazing at Main Beach, the Pacific, and the setting sun on its breezy patio after a day exploring this art-filled coastal enclave.
On the Menu: Guacamole, ceviche, shrimp cocktail, ahi poke, and a list of fresh salads. Libations include beer, wine, and seasonal cocktails.