From drinking in views of Hollywood to peering over the Sydney Opera House, cocktail in hand, we raise a glass to 13 of the best rooftop bars around the globe.
Mr. Purple, New York City
If there's one thing NYC is known for in the summer, it's the killer rooftop bars. And Mr. Purple is the most buzzed-about spot of the season. Set on the 15th floor of the recently-opened Hotel Indigo, the artsy 8,750-square-foot space by Crème has a plunge pool, chaise lounges and 360-degree views of lower Manhattan.
What to drink: LES (Jameson black barrel whiskey, appleton v/x rum, lime juice, grenadine and nutmeg)
Mama Shelter, LA
LA is all about the see-and-be-seen culture. But rest assured, you won’t find any pretense here — this hangout is super low-key thanks to its playful design. Tables and sofas are painted in pops of turquoise, chartreuse, yellow, and baby pink, and there are games (chess, backgammon), a yoga area, and outdoor movie screenings, all with direct views of the Hollywood sign and the Pacific Ocean.
What to drink: After Hours (Four Roses bourbon, strawberry, saffron, lemon and prosecco)
Streeterville Social, Chicago
Don’t be fooled by this bar’s third-floor perch in the Loews Hotel. It may not be the tallest, but it is the biggest terrace in the Windy City. At a sprawling 9,000 square feet, the park-like place has two bars, a grassy lawn, and lounge area. Chill out in a swinging birdcage chair or a plush cabana, or start a game of oversized Jenga, croquet, cornhole and bocce ball on the lawn.
What to drink: Hot Pants (Hendrick's Gin, Velvet Falernum, Lime Juice, house-made Cucumber Cordial and Hellfire Bitters)
Rumpus Room, London
On the 12th level of the Mondrian London, the 1920s-inspired bar has style in spades. Picture: floor-to-ceiling windows, a brushed gold bar, plush velvet seating and a terrace overlooking the River Thames and the city skyline. Wednesday nights there's the Skyline Sessions live music series, and DJ sets on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, while sipping champagne cocktails and spiked punch.
What to drink: British 45 (Beefeater 24 Gin, falernum, fresh grapefruit, celery and Nyetimber Brut sparkling wine) or Bankside (Banks 5 Island Rum, mango, burnt honey tea and ginger)
Pulitzer Terrace, Barcelona
Sure, Barcelona is synonymous with paella and Gaudí, but it's also known for its high-octane party set. To dance until dawn, hit Hotel Pulitzer's hip garden terrace that's done up in chic white couches, blond wood furnishings and ample greenery. With nightly live music (electronic, pop, DJs) and an inventive drink menu, it has all the ingredients of a good time.
What to drink: El Matador (G' Vine, St. Germain, Campari, strawberry and lemon)
Coogee Rooftop Pavillion, Sydney
This airy, beach deck fits right in with Sydney's coastal-cool vibe, despite being 15 minutes outside of the city. Picture clean, contemporary interiors with Moroccan tile floors, navy blue seating and retractable glass walls, so you can feel the sea breeze while you sip a fruity cocktail.
What to drink: Pomegranate Cosmopolitan (absolut citron, pomegranate, orange liqueur and lime) or Beachside Fizz (plymouth, cucumber, lime, mint and soda)
The Villa, Rio de Janeiro
The roof at the just-opened Villa boutique hotel is just as sexy as its bronzed clientele (and that's saying something in Rio!). In fact, rumor has it that models and designers hung out here after the Louis Vuitton's Resort fashion show in May. The hilltop pad in the Santa Teresa 'hood is all white linen lounges, striped throw pillows, and blonde wood decor. On the menu: a bevy of tipples to taste while watching the sunset over Guanabara Bay.
What to drink: Caipirinha (cachaça, lime and sugarcane) — Yes, it may be Brazil's national drink, but The Villa pours a damn good version.
New York Bar, Tokyo
Atop a 52-floor skyscraper near the lively Shinjuku station, New York Bar at Tokyo’s Park Hyatt dishes up some of the most jaw-dropping views of the city. Movie buffs will also recognize the bar as the spot where Scarlett Johansen's Charlotte and Bill Murray's Bob first meet in Lost in Translation. Kick back to some dulcet live jazz and ogle the twinkling lights of Tokyo.
What to drink: Dark & Stormy (Brugal Blanco, Brugal Añejo, House Made Ginger Syrup and Ginger Beer)
Pompidou Centre Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, Paris
The Pompidou Centre’s had a facelift in recent years, with architects Dominique Jakob and Brendan MacFarlane creating the trendy sixth-floor Le George restaurant. Combine culture and cocktails by heading to its 150-seat outdoor terrace and watch the bustle of the street performers below during the day or take the elevator up to see Paris’s rooftops by night.
What to drink: Granny's Secret (apricot, Poire Williams and cassis)
Slap bang in the center of the Mitte neighborhood, in an old Soviet tower block, Week12end is the place to party in Berlin. From Thursday to Sunday, revelers stream in for the techno music, brews and panoramic views of the sprawling city from the 12th and 15th floors, while those in the know sneak up to the rooftop terrace to dance under the stars.
What to drink: Flying Turtle craft beer
Sevva, Hong Kong
Hong Kong isn’t short of rooftop bars, but if you want to make like a local, head to Sevva. Owned and designed by socialite Bonnie Gokson, drinking here is a swanky affair (with prices to match). Interiors are lavish and then some: A glass-walled foyer leads to a vaulted ceiling, a vertical garden and a decadent cake shop. Outside, a 360-degree wraparound balcony takes in views of Admiralty’s skyscrapers, the harbor and the Kowloon skyline.
What to drink: Blush (vodka, maraschino liqueur, cherry brandy, lemon lime & bitters, soda and cream)
With its year-round sunshine and balmy temperatures there’s only one place to be in Dubai, and that’s lounging around a pool with a cocktail. Cue the Melia and its rooftop hangout, Estrellas. Located in the heart of Old Dubai, it looks out over towering skyscrapers. Don some chic beachwear and work your way through the extensive drinks menu.
What to drink: Jack Goes Sour (Bourbon whiskey, gomme, lemon juice, egg white and Angostura bitters)
Boscolo Exedra Rome, Rome
From the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi to Hotel Splendide Royal, there are many fine rooftops to snag a typical Roman vista, but none do it quite as flawlessly as the Boscolo Exedra Rome. Akin to a fairy-tale castle, the 19-century neoclassical hotel is home to a vast rooftop terrace, with chic lounge beds and billowing white curtains. Work up an appetite in the rooftop pool and indulge in some Italian aperitivo while gazing out over the Basilica of Santa Maria and the thermal baths of Diocletian.
What to drink: Prosecco