9 Rooftop Bars to Hit this Winter
Now that it’s an icy tundra outside, we can’t stop dreaming about summer — fruity cocktails, warm weather, and of course, our favorite rooftop bars. Here, the best spots to booze away the winter blues.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
230 Fifth, New York City
No matter what season, 230 Fifth is party central. In the summer, the rooftop is a tropical oasis, but come colder weather the open-air bar transforms into a winter wonderland, complete with fluffy robes to snuggle up in, hot spiked apple cider, and some seriously sick igloos overlooking the Empire State Building and city skyline.
Sky Terrace, London
This retro-chalet rooftop at the Courthouse Hotel Soho channels a 1950s ski scene with its vintage posters, candle-lit lanterns, and comfy fleece seating areas. On the menu: warm mulled wine, toffee pudding and wine-cooked chorizo.
IO Godfrey, Chicago
It’s no secret that the Windy City is brutal come winter (they don’t call it Chiberia for nothing!). Locals looking to stay toasty head up to the Godfrey Hotel’s IO, a massive 15,000-square-foot terrace with a retractable roof, a bi-level firepit, and one killer margarita (topped with habanero sea salt). Go on Wednesdays for chill live music, and snag a booth along the south side for panoramic vistas of River North.
Baita, New York City
This year, Eataly’s rooftop brewpub, La Birreria, is hosting a pop-up called Baita (Italian for small ski lodge in the Dolomites). The space is filled with Adirondack chairs, pine trees, and festive lights dangling from the ceiling. Book a log cabin, where you can tuck into polenta (try the one with Brooklyn Brine sauerkraut) and Swiss raclette specials like Vermont's Spring Brook Farm cheese with pickled vegetables, potatoes and pork loin. Prefer drinks over dishes? Get the Barr Hill Gin–infused White Hot Negroni or a frosty, espresso-filled Grappacino with almond grappa.
The Lodge at Gallow Green, New York City
Want to trade your cramped, cold apartment for a cozy cabin? The Lodge at Gallow Green has you covered. The seasonal spot atop the McKittrick Hotel looks like a movie set, where visitors can duck into an alpine chalet done up in plaid, pine and fake fur pelts. Chill out on a flannel-clad bunk bed or a rocking chair by the roaring fireplace, with an après-ski cocktail in hand. JS Tip: Keep an eye out for secret compartments and corners, like a closet that leads to an outdoor fire pit surrounded by a small grove of evergreens.
Le Pavillon, Switzerland
While sundecks don’t exactly scream “winter,” this snowy escape at Grand Hotel Kronenhof knows how to keep it cozy. Guests can sip après-ski cocktails and tuck into warm cheese fondue while cuddling up in plush blankets at Le Pavillon. Plus, the views are unreal, overlooking the hotel’s natural ice rink and the towering Roseg glacier in the distance.
Forest on the Roof, London
Escape the London cityscape for a forest hideaway, tucked at the top of Selfridges. The decor is decked out with tree-lined walls, fairy lights, tartan rugs, silver ornaments, and lodge-like huts. But we’d come just for the food — former Ivy head chef Des McDonald whips up mouthwatering meals such as wild Highland venison fillet with bashed neeps (mashed root veggies) and sour cherry sauce or the slow-cooked pork cheek hash with fried ducks egg.
Monkey Bar, Berlin
As a past Jetsetter Best of the Best winner for its buzzy nightlife scene, the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin sure knows how to show people a good time. Its perennially-packed rooftop, Monkey Bar, has sweeping views of the German capital and the Berlin Zoo, plus there’s regular DJ events like the Live at 25 program for one-off performances ranging from hip-hop to theater.
Ozio Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, Washington DC
There’s enough entertainment in this multi-floor venue to stay all night without getting bored. But, if it’s up to us, we’d make a beeline for Ozio’s heated rooftop terrace, which hosts a handful of upbeat parties. The sleek sky lounge doubles as a nightclub, with DJs bumping top hits and pretty people dancing until the early morning (rain or shine). Bonus: It’s also one of a select few bars in the District that has cigar service.
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