Now that the summer months have returned, so have the long evenings of drinking and dining in the outdoor bars of cities across Europe and the United States – bars that are so often at their best when they come with a view. We take a look at some of the best and most talked-about rooftop terraces right now, which combine spectacular outlooks with creative cocktails and fine food.
Bōkan, Canary Wharf London
A favorite among Londoners looking for cocktails and good food with a panoramic view, Bōkan is well worth dedicating at least an evening or two to during the vibrant summer months. The stylishly furnished ‘lounge in the sky’ features a specialist gin bar, comfy seating areas and daybeds, with a jazz session hosted each Sunday. Taking inspiration from its Canary Wharf setting, and the area’s rich history in trade, Bōkan offers a menu of dishes reflecting a diversity of European cuisines, using fresh and local British ingredients, with cocktails also paying homage the Docklands’ history.
Image: Instagram @bokanlondon
GB Roof Garden Athens
With the city’s ancient Acropolis in view, GB Roof Garden at Hotel Grand Bretagne wouldn’t have to try hard to make an impression. Luckily though, these spectacular views do come with the atmosphere, food and service to match. Dine on the celebrated cuisine of executive chef Asterios Koustoudis and desserts of chef Arnaud Larher in the panoramic restaurant, then head out to the open-air terrace for excellent cocktails that transport you to destinations across the globe.
Image: Instagram @hotelgrandbretagne
Filifera Los Angeles
The stunning rooftop bar Filifera sits on the 22nd floor of Hollywood Proper Residences, making it LA’s highest bar as well as one of the prettiest. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, the venue incorporates indoor and outdoor space with views that are equally captivating during the day and after dark. Come for live music nights and special culinary experiences, or just stop by to try the bar’s cocktails and complementary snacks. From the current cocktail offering, we love the Penthouse Passion with Four Roses Bourbon, passion fruit, Aqua Fava, lemon and agave.
Image: Instagram @filiferahollywood
La Terrazza Rome
With such iconic landmarks dotted throughout the city, it would be a shame to leave Rome without gazing across the rooftops from one of the city’s elevated venues. Hotel Eden has one of the city’s best rooftop locations for drinking and dining with a far-reaching view. La Terrazza combines fine dining dishes, which are created by chef Fabio Ciervo to celebrate fresh Italian produce, with captivating views across Rome, impeccable service and sommelier chosen wines. Highlights of the menu inspired by art and innovation include Gran Riserva risotto with almond, curry and red prawns.
Image: Instagram @hoteledenrome
Skyline Rooftop Bar Venice Venice
Elsewhere in Italy, crowds are gathering at Skyline Rooftop Bar in Venice, the crowing jewel of the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice hotel. Naturally it’s the views that make the biggest impression here, stretching from Canale Giudecca to Piazza San Marco. In this open-air setting, you can savor cocktails like the Giudecca (an Italian take on the Manhattan), with a light bite to eat – the perfect pre-dinner aperitif.
Image: Instagram @skylinevenice
Ophelia New York City
This cocktail lounge at the top of the Art Deco Beekman Tower is among our favorite rooftop bars for its 360 degree greenhouse terrace, stellar Manhattan views, ultra-stylish décor by John Mead Howells (featuring sculptures by Rene Paul Chambellan) and excellent cocktails and food. In this inviting space try creative cocktails like Ophelia’s Ascension with smoked Jamaican pepper infused Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Makers Mark, Sri Lankan palm sugar, aromatic bitters and cedar smoke. Pair these cocktails with the chef’s selection of oysters, Hudson Valley cheeses or ahi tuna tartare.
Image: Instagram @opheliany
Top of the Gate Washington, D.C.
The rooftop of The Watergate Hotel, Top of the Gate provides the ideal space to spend your summer evenings with 360-degree views across the city skyline, taking in the Kennedy Center, Potomac River, the Key and Arlington Bridges and Washington Monument. Find a spot in the rooftop lounge to try the bar’s cocktails or toast the view with a glass of champagne. The menu also offers a selection of casual Italian plates.
Image: Instagram @watergatehotel
La Isabela at Hotel 1898 Barcelona
The rooftop terrace of this hotel in La Rambla attracts particular attention at this time of year, being lauded as one of Barcelona’s best bars with a view. La Isabela is in fact named after the island of the same name in the Philippines, so naturally this influence is seen in the menu too. The tapas and cocktails here combine fresh ingredients from the local market with ingredients from Asia and beyond. Try tapas plates like Iberico ham and crispy prawns accompanied by tamarind sauce with cocktails such as the coconut and chili mojito. The bar has a rooftop pool but it’s reserved exclusively for hotel guests.
Image: Instagram @hotel1898