The sun is shining, curfews are being lifted, and vaccines are being received! It’s officially time to get out, breathe the fresh air, and sip the cold drinks. As travel ramps up, think about heading to a city known for their great outdoor accommodations. While there will undoubtedly still be some restrictions in place throughout the upcoming months, it’s up to us to seek out the best options for a cocktail this summer season. Whether you’re looking to day drink or night cap, peak into some of the best rooftop bars in America.
This gem is perched on the top floor of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. Located right next to Millennium Park and The Art Institute of Chicago, there is no better locale to grab a drink in the Windy City. Known for the good music, great views, and even better cocktails, Cindy’s high glass ceilings and open-air terrace are perfect for Happy Hour during a hot Chicago summer. Some crowd favorite signature cocktails include the refreshing Mama’s Garden and the tropical Spontaneous Publicity.
Forever some of the most sought-after seats in Boston, this lounge offers craft cocktails, small plates, and sweeping views of the harbor. As part of the Envoy Hotel, they made sure to let the sleek and modern feel radiate through the entire building from the inside out. Evening fire pits and intimate group seating can be reserved ahead of time, and brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Fun cocktails include the Release the Karen and the Left Ear, made appropriately with Van Gogh Acai Blueberry Vodka.
Located on the 40th floor of the East Miami Hotel, this is probably the most greenery you will find in the concrete jungle of downtown. The lush, Asian foliage offers a nice escape from the hustle and bustle below, and the mouthwatering Korean chicken wings definitely help too. The bar’s drink menu is extensive and offers seasonal cocktails, currently featuring the One in A Melon and the Oh You Fancy, Huh?
Your entire experience at mbar will feel like a full transportation. The anticipation builds as you ride the elevator up, then strut through a long neon-lit corridor, and are finally rewarded with insane views of the Space Needle. Pretty out of this world. Famed Seattle Chef, Jason Stratton, is behind the tasty menu of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fusion tapas, and seasonal delicacies are always changing things up. Order a Smuggler’s Paradise in house, or grab one of their bottled cocktails to go, like the delicious Miss Daisy.
This rooftop pink paradise acts as a personal invitation into country star Dolly Parton’s cocktail club. Dawning the same name as the singer’s 29th solo album, the dreamhouse is the cherry atop the delicious sundae that is The Graduate Hotel. Considered the kitschiest and most eclectic hotel downtown, the vibrant colors and loud decor capture you from the first floor to the 12th. The inside bar features velvet daybeds and crystal chandeliers, and on the grand patio you’ll fringe umbrellas and a small pool – for those hotter Nashville days. Notably favored cocktails include their Lightning Bug and Frozen Lychee Mar-Tea-Ni.
In a city known for their rooftop bars, it’s hard to choose just one; but that decision becomes much easier once you reach the 22nd floor of the William Vale Hotel. With breathtaking views of the East River and Manhattan skyline, this spot offers some of the best sunset views that the city can offer. Most summers, the hotel will turn the 23rd floor into The TurfClub, where guests can pay $20 to drink and sun-bathe on a rooftop playground of fake grass. That’s a small price to pay for some outdoor space in NYC. At the bar, you can find some rare spirits that are used to make their signature cocktails, like the Ghost Shadow and the Cedar House Mule.
With 360-degree views of the Potomac River, Washington Monument, and D.C.’s skyscrapers, you can even wave to Virginia from here. Located on top of the pristine Watergate Hotel in Georgetown, the space hosts many different daytime and evening events including morning yoga, afternoon tea, and live music. So enjoy one of their barrel aged cocktails and a handcrafted cheese boards as you look upon our nation’s capital.
Drawing inspiration from Monet’s garden in Giverny, France, architecture firm Michael Hsu and L.A. designer Sean Knibb created this bar as a reimagined greenhouse. The wraparound terraces with an indoor fireplace in the middle keep the space open, airy, and communal. For those of us who have been to Austin in the summer, it’s hot. Like, really hot. But thankfully, the relaxing, boho vibes from this rooftop at The Line Hotel will be there to cool you down. And don’t miss the Sundowncobbler for some prosecco-soaked, fresh berries.