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Food + Drink

9 Hotel Rooftop Bars to Hit this Summer

Summer is upon us—which means it’s finally rooftop season, people! Here, we’ve rounded up the country’s best hotel bars to soak in the booze and views. Cheers!

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.

See recent posts by Chelsea Bengier

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Mama Shelter, LA

LA is all about the see-and-be-seen culture. But rest assured, you won’t feel 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, foosball), a yoga area, DJ dance nights, and outdoor movie screenings, all with direct views of the Hollywood sign. Have the bartender make you an After Hours with Four Roses bourbon, strawberry, saffron, lemon and prosecco—you won’t regret it.

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Photos courtesy of Hotel Indigo LES

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Mr. Purple at Hotel Indigo, NYC

Come summer, rooftop bars are like catnip to New Yorkers. What with the gorgeous sunset views, killer cocktails and of course, the young and pretty people—we can’t exactly blame them. See the scene yourself at Mr. Purple, a buzzy spot on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo in the Lower East Side. The 8,750-square-foot indoor/outdoor space by Crème has two terraces, a plunge pool, and high-top tables where you can feast on flatbreads, oysters, and more. Order the signature GG Manhattan (Woodford Reserve bourbon, carpano antica vermouth, angostura bitters) while taking in the 360-degree views.

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Sugar at EAST, Miami

The debut of the EAST, Miami hotel last spring officially put the Brickell business district on Miami’s map, transforming it into one of the trendiest new neighborhoods. Follow the city’s stylish set to its four pools, a South American restaurant, and most notably Sugar, a buzzy rooftop bar and garden on the 40th floor with views over Biscayne Bay. Here, intimate seating areas are tucked into nooks surrounded by lush greenery, hanging lanterns, and wooden walkways, making it feel like a tropical oasis. On the menu: Asian-inspired bites like steamed prawn and scallop dumplings, Korean chicken wings, and coconut palm leaf crepes with Florida mangoes, best paired with their creative cocktails—the lychee blossom with vodka and sake is a must-try.

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LH at LondonHouse, Chicago

A 1923 beaux arts landmark is making a major comeback in the Windy City. After three years of redevelopment, it has transformed into a 452-room luxury hotel on Michigan Avenue, complete with a new glass building. Simeone Deary dreamed up the 1920s-style interiors while chef Riley Huddleston (of Aviary and Godfrey) takes charge in the kitchen. The biggest draw, however, is the tri-level rooftop, LH, which has a sleek lounge, manicured green space, and an al fresco cupola, all overlooking the Chicago River, Magnificent Mile and Lake Michigan.

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Departure at The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland

Get a taste of Asia at the Departure restaurant and bar atop The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel in downtown Portland. This swanky 15th-floor spot has two patios and jaw-dropping views of the Willamette River and Pioneer Square, but it’s the food and drink menus that locals really love. There’s Hakushu 18 yr. Japanese Whisky, Angela Estate Oregon Pinot Noir, and the city’s largest saké selection, which pairs perfectly with the Izakaya-style dishes like pork belly and kimchee fried rice.

RELATED: The World's Coolest Hotel Bars

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Lookout at the Envoy, Boston

Set in the Seaport Innovation District—Boston’s answer to Silicon Valley—the new $70 million Envoy hotel is the talk of the town thanks to Lookout, its wraparound waterfront terrace. Join the fun young crew for pitchers of craft beer or seasonal spirits (try the Angro Mango with Lunazul Blanco, Patron Mango Lillet Blanc and fresh grapefruit juice) while watching the sailboats cruise into the harbor. And the best part? When the temps drop at night, you’ll stay cozy and warm under the built-in ceiling heaters and heat lamps.

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Top right image by Chelsea Bengier

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The Nest at Thompson Seattle

Seattle doesn’t have many rooftops, which makes this one at the crown of the Thompson all the more special. The massive space is more a lounge than a bar with outdoor fire pits, plush sofas and shady umbrellas, but it makes sure to keep the laid-back Pacific Northwest vibe, with waiters wheeling around carts of fresh oysters (which they shuck at your seat) and direct views of downtown, Elliott Bay and the Olympic mountains.

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Top of the Gate at Watergate Hotel, D.C.

Even politicos need a place to unwind (especially with the drama in D.C. these days). And there’s no more fitting spot to kick back with a drink than at the Watergate’s expansive deck. The Top of the Gate emerged last August after the hotel underwent a $200 million facelift, and today you’ll find a high-end happy hour, where the power players schmooze and booze on mod pod-shaped chairs overlooking the Potomac River, the Washington Monument, Georgetown and Arlington.

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Westlight at William Vale, Brooklyn

When the William Vale opened last summer, it reshaped Williamsburg as we know it. The eye-popping tower is not like the neighborhood’s typical industrial-chic stays (as much as we love them). It’s a destination in and of itself, with 20,000 square feet of retail shops, a massive public park on a terrace overlooking the skyline, plus a 60-foot outdoor pool (the longest hotel pool in the city). But the real sky-high stunner is the soon-to-come Westlight, a 22nd-floor bar with bites from Andrew Carmellini. Don’t miss the tequila cured salmon with crushed avocado and chili lime tortillas.

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