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Best Rooftop Lounges & Bars in San Diego

Rooftop parties bring a big crowd to downtown San Diego every weekend, especially during the summer. We have some beautiful views from atop the buildings: the breathtaking cityscape and the gorgeous San Diego sunsets over the water give a beautiful backdrop for an exciting party. San Diego can throw some good ragers, and we made a list of some of the best places to dance your heart out while you enjoy a view of America’s Finest City:

Downtown/Gaslamp Quarter

Top of the Hyatt

Raise your glass and sip in style with a spectacular view 40 stories above San Diego Bay atop the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer dramatic panoramic views of the city below, Coronado Island and beyond.

The Poolhouse

Head to the Pendry Hotel Downtown for the city’s newest rooftop lounge. During the day the third-floor space is reserved for hotel guests, but from 5–9 PM the general public is invited to the hotel’s daily rooftop social, with specials on drinks and light bites.

Rustic Root

When Gaslamp is a complete shitshow and you want a bit of a reprieve from insane lines and fighting for elbow room at the bar, head to Rustic Root. The super-relaxed atmosphere pairs really well with the rooftop view for watching the masses as they roll down Sixth Ave.

Float

Skylines, cityscapes and sunsets – San Diego has them all. But Hard Rock Hotel San Diego is one of the few places downtown that offers panoramic rooftop views of San Diego’s best sights. Float, Hard Rock’s rooftop bar, overlooks the harbor, historic Gaslamp Sign and the famous Coronado Bridge. Float offers you and your friends a lavish look into one of Southern California’s most stunning views.

Float is a stylish oasis in the afternoon, but at night the poolside lounge evolves and out come the fire pits and DJs. Private poolside cabanas feature lounge seating and flat screen TV’s, and are able to be reserved day and night. Whether the sun is up or down, there is something to fit every mood and satisfy every impulse at Float.

The Rooftop by STK

By day, The Rooftop by STK will sweep you away with stunning city views and creative regional cuisine. Using organic, locally sourced ingredients, our rooftop restaurant serves breakfast and lunch featuring American dishes with a cool SoCal spin. By night, The Rooftop by STK is San Diego’s ultimate rooftop destination and nightlife experience high above the city. This cool sky-lit nightclub and lounge is the place to be seen in San Diego. There’s a live DJ every Friday & Saturday from 9pm-12am, VIP bottle service available, and farm direct American cuisine. The rooftop party at STK has a way of making you feel like a celebrity.

The Nolen

A 14-story jewel in the Gaslamp, The Nolen features both a patio and a rooftop, because why not? Its beautiful setting — which features a communal fire pit — underlies an immersive cocktail menu. It’s cocktails only at The Nolen, but the barrel-aged and classic menus featuring cant-miss drinks like sidecars and new-age cocktails like a Christmas in Nicaragua.

SummerSalt Rooftop Bar and Lounge

Hosting some of the hottest events in town, the SummerSalt Rooftop Bar and Lounge at the Palomar San Diego lets you rock the night away, cool off in the pool or relax while sipping their signature cocktails.

East Village/Petco Park

Altitude Sky Lounge

Living up to its name in more ways than one, Altitude Sky Lounge lays claim to being the highest of all San Diego’s rooftop bars. Perched atop the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter at 22 stories above street level, Altitude offers fantastic views of downtown, San Diego Bay, and Petco Park. It’s the ideal place to sip a cocktail while watching a Padres game or relax with a beer and take in the sights.

Level 9 Rooftop Bar

The Level 9 Rooftop Bar has a way of capturing the vibe that only the Gaslamp Quarter offers. It’s not stuffy or exclusive but it is vibrant, delicious and offers quite a few indulgences for those who make their way up here. It’s actually the picture-perfect place to begin a night out on the town, because nothing goes better with cocktails and conversation than a stunning sunset over San Diego. Level 9 is a great place to pre-game before you set out to explore San Diego’s wilder side. Happy hour specials are popular here with the locals, and include $5.00 well drinks, domestic beers and selected wines from 5pm to 7pm Sunday through Friday. In addition to the full bar, extensive drink menu and happy hour specials, Level 9 also offers some great culinary delights that are perfect for sharing.

Fairweather

Nestled in the East Village above the restaurant Rare Form, Fairweather’s patio bar pays homage to San Diego’s amazing climate with “drinks from sunny places” including daiquiris and piña coladas, mai tais and zombies.

La Jolla

George’s at the Cove

Considered one of the region’s best rooftop dining locales, grab a bite al fresco at Ocean Terrace overlooking the picturesque La Jolla Cove. House specialties include a range of unique vodka infusions and new twists on the traditional, like the Seasonal Caipirinha.

Mission Bay & Beaches

Cannonball

Besides the delicious California cuisine, Pacific Rim influences and sushi, this oceanfront restaurant is serving up one of the best views in Mission Beach. Sip on refreshing seasonally-inspired beach craft cocktails while soaking up the essence of this bustling, beautiful San Diego beach.

Amplified Ale Works

An ocean-view gastropub and craft brewery serving fresh Mediterranean-inspired dishes alongside craft beer and wine.

 

Best Rooftop Bars and Lounges in Washington DC

There’s something missing from the D.C. skyline: skyscrapers. A height limit has kept most of the District’s buildings shorter than the Capitol dome, creating a town-like atmosphere while offering unobstructed views. It’s the perfect recipe for rooftop bars—and this summer, the city’s nightlife mavens have taken note. D.C.’s in a rooftop boom, with nearly a dozen new drinking perches open this year. From cozy cornertops where you can people-watch the street below, to Instagram-ready sunset and stadium views, here are some of Washington’s best new rooftop bars.

Top of The Gate

Take it from your rooftop bar experts, the pinnacle of the Washington D.C. Rooftop Bar industry begins with Top of the Gate. Nestled atop of the infamous, stunning, and ever-so-popular, Watergate Hotel – this rooftop bar has built a reputation, offering some of the most breath-taking views in the entire city. Of course, that’s just the beginning of what makes this bar such a popular tourist and local desired destination.

For one, the ambience and environment of this rooftop bar are on par to win awards across the country. The moment you walk on top of the Watergate Hotel, you will feel the Top of the Gate difference. Additionally, the drinks and food that this bar offers are evident why many people keep coming back. Our favourite is their delicious pizza – take that from your NYC Rooftop Bar Crawl experts.

Sauf Haus Bier Hall

Do you want fun? Take all of your closest friends to the Sauf Haus Bier Hall. Let’s start off by talking about the fact that this rooftop bar currently has over 16 different beers on draft and a wealth of different speciality cocktails that can take any night to a brand-new level. Additionally, this bar has some of the most unique and special foods, including a 2 lbs. pretzel. That’s right, 2 pounds!

On top of the impressive drinks and small plate options, the rooftop bar, of course, offers stellar, breathtaking views of Washington D.C. If you are visiting during the summer – you can watch the sunset fall across the Dupont area – making it a memorable and photographic moment. We highly suggest checking in with the rooftop bar to see what specials are happening before visiting. \

POV

When visiting Washington D.C. – what is one of the primary reason for your visits? To see the National Monuments! Well, after spending a long day trekking around this touristy, political capital – it may prove beneficial to get a new view of the many different monuments. In all of D.C., the best location to catch an aerial view of not only your favourite monuments but also the stunning sunsets – is POV. Now, we would like to say, this is not your average rooftop bar.

In fact, in all of Washington D.C., this might just be the most extravagant and expensive rooftop bar experience. With some of the best-handcrafted cocktails, professionally cooked plates, and VIP experiences, POV can provide locals and tourists with the experience they dream about. Now, if you are planning a visit, plan your trip in advance. This place can get busy.

Cortez

Only the heartiest of margarita lovers have ventured up to the rooftop deck at Cortez, which replaced 1905 in Shaw last month. But the warming weather should increase the number of people hunting for the colorful bar stools, especially with a new happy hour offering $8 margaritas and $5 beers between 5 and 7 p.m. on weekdays. The deck offers views of U Street, neighborhood rowhouses and, in the distance, the Washington Monument. 1905 Ninth St. NW.

Radiator

When it comes to a rooftop bar, there is no better experience than when a company offers their guests 360-degree views. With that being said, Radiator is making a big step in the rooftop bar industry by taking their regular restaurant and bar experiences, which can be found at the bottom of the Kempton Mason and Rook Hotel, and enhancing them with their city-wide views atop the hotel. Now, what makes this such a popular choice among locals is that each month, the rooftop bar follows a specific theme.

As your Rooftop Bar expert – we can say that this place is probably one of the best places to bring your friends for a get-together, or a fun, intimate date experience. We highly advise trying some of the different delicacies on their menu and, of course, their speciality cocktails. Be sure to always check back with the rooftop bar to figure out what the new theme for the month may be before visiting.

Bar Deco

If you are a sports fan, then you are well aware that one of the biggest stadiums in the country is located in Washington D.C. Of course, we are talking about the Verizon Center. With that being said, Bar Deco could be seen as the un-intentional rooftop bar compliment for the popular sports entertainment arena. Today, this location has established an impressive reputation from locals and tourists catching glimpses of some of the events held at the centre.

With that being said, atop of the Chinatown’s Sixth Street, visitors can snag some of the coolest views of the streets below, the Verizon Center, and so much more. Now, this is a traditional rooftop bar, meaning they do not offer any major small plate items. With that being said, you should also show up to this location early, especially on the night of a sporting event. It can get busy and packed quickly! 

Whiskey Charlie

The view from the outdoor seats at the Wharf’s first rooftop bar is breathtaking: cherry blossoms blooming in East Potomac Park, boats sailing in the Washington Channel, planes taking off and landing at Reagan National Airport. Turn around and spot the scoreboard at Nationals Park, the Capitol Dome and the Library of Congress.

Whiskey Charlie has been offering these stellar vistas since mid-November, but winter wasn’t the ideal time to visit a waterfront rooftop with frequent crosswinds. The bar, perched on the 10th floor of the hotel Canopy by Hilton, at the development’s southern tip, kept drinks flowing indoors through the cold months, offering fire pits and heat lamps for those brave enough to imbibe on the deck. The views compensated for the chilly fingers holding glasses.

Whiskey Charlie’s full outdoor bar is set to open April 15 — a spokesperson said management was waiting until there was no longer a chance that the pipes could freeze — but in the meantime, you’re welcome to grab a $13 cocktail inside, such as the spicy Warm Spell, made with mezcal, tequila, pineapple and a chile pepper tincture, or a Dark and Stormy punched up by house-made ginger beer, and then carry it out to the deck, where there are a mix of couches, garden furniture and high communal tables. (Plenty of customers, though, seemed happy to settle at the railing and take selfies with the water and docks in the background.)

Colada Shop

Beginning Friday, Colada Shop — and its vibrant, Technicolor vision of Miami’s Little Havana at 14th and T streets NW — is expanding to the building’s Instagrammable rooftop, where flowerpots hang on seafoam-green walls and tables are surrounded by low, cushioned couches and bright blue and yellow chairs.

A satellite bar sells $10 pouched cocktails — think adult Capri-Suns, the latest trend for adults who can’t let go of childhood — and $35 pitchers of mojitos and pineapple sparkling sangria after 4 p.m. on Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays. (Customers can still order classic Cuban cocktails, including one of the area’s best daiquiris and the rum-and-apricot Hotel Nacional, which will be brought up from downstairs.) Snacks, such as empanadas and croquetas, are also available.

Even better, you don’t have to rush out of work to snag a happy-hour deal: On Thursdays, the Havana Nights party offers $6 house cocktails and $2 empanadas from 4 to 11 p.m. 1405 T St. NW.

The Embassy Row Hotel

This rooftop wins the superlative for “Most Attractive.” A sparkling pool, brightly colored couches, and cabanas give you the feeling that you’re no longer in the city, with refreshing drinks and bar bites enhancing the experience. Day passes are available starting at 3pm for $30, but if you’re ordering food, you don’t need to buy one. This summer, there’s plenty to do up there — spin classes in the pool, live music, a silent disco, sunrise yoga on weekends, and bottomless Bloodys and mimosas for $35 from 11am-1pm on Sundays.

The Ellipse Rooftop Bar

Opened in summer 2016, this stylish, minimalist spot has plush seating, fire pits, and a retractable canopy. Settle in with a cocktail like the Spicy Mexican Mule, local craft brews, the charcuterie board, and bar staples like nachos, wings, and tots.

Best Rooftop Bars in Los Angeles – Hollywood, Beverly Hills, DTLA, Weho

What is it that they say about smog? Oh yeah, beautiful sunsets. Make L.A.’s haze work for you at these cocktail bars and beachside spots, where the views rightfully rival the booze. From Downtown’s bars with a view to seaside cabanas in Malibu and Venice, here are the city’s top (literally) rooftop bars.

Highlight Room – Hollywood

The Highlight Room takes over the rooftop and poolside at the mod hotel, which officially opens tonight with some of the sweetest views in Hollywood. With clear cut vistas looking out to Hollywood and beyond, it’s clearly outfitted to become an evening party space, what with speakers galore, two DJ booths, and bottle service.

The Roof on Wilshire – Central LA

From weekend brunch—tuck into pancake lasagna as you sip on mimosas—to sunset drinks and bites, you’ll find full views paired with staycation cocktails and eats at the Hotel Wilshire’s rooftop restaurant and lounge. As nights get cooler, slip into one of the banquettes that line the pool and warm up with drinks like the Cue Southside, with gin, cucumber and mint; or El Ristocrat, with tequila, agave and bitters.

Perch LA – Downtown LA

This rooftop bistro is one of the prettiest in town with its patterned tile floors, dead-on view of the Central Library and potted trees full of twinkly lights. Downtown locals, plus a few hundred of their closest friends, sit on velour bar stools and plush sofas inside the eclectic boudoir-themed bar or fireside on the outdoor patio. From any seat, you’ll want to sample the wide selection of Kirs that go beyond Crème de Cassis—try a tasty, blackberry-flavored Crème de Mure—and other French by-the-glass pours. The after-work crowd drops in for happy hour, dubbed Apéritif Hour, weekdays from 4 to 6pm, while late-night partygoers can enjoy a live DJ on Tuesdays from 9pm-2am.

Petit Ermitage – West Hollywood

Just off the hustle and bustle of the Sunset Strip, this West Hollywood boutique gem boasts boho-chic rooms with European touches and overwhelming charm. Take in the 360° vistas of Los Angeles from the rooftop (often overlooked by locals as a relaxing hangout spot), complete with outdoor pool, fireplaces, two bars, patio and garden, recognized as a hummingbird and butterfly sanctuary by the National Wildlife Federation.

High Rooftop Lounge – Venice

Beachside rooftops are in surprisingly short supply in L.A., making the Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge an in-demand spot for sun-kissed Venice Beach locals. Even if you’re staying at the hotel, be sure to make a reservation. There’s nothing like a multi-hued sunset over the Pacific with a cocktail in hand to get Angelenos buzzing. Getting chilly? Evening bar-goers can stay past sundown wrapped up in one of the bar’s cozy blankets, along with a spiked cocoa or hot root beer float. If you don’t like your drinks sweet, stick to local craft brews to pair with midnight (gourmet) munchies like the mini lobster roll and a bacon, cream cheese, jalapeño hot dog.

E.P. L.P. Rooftop Bar – West Hollywood

There’s a party happening at the intersection of La Cienega and Melrose—and while everyone is invited, not everyone may fit in. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give L.P. Rooftop a try, though. Located above E.P., a restaurant featuring a hodgepodge of Asian cuisine, you’ll find L.P., a rooftop bar with killer views and a swanky clientele. Share a pitcher of spiked bubble tea and Fijian nachos with new friends or industry colleagues as the sun sets on West Hollywood. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get into the super exclusive patch of rooftop known as Frankie’s, a private bar with daybeds.

Standard Downtown – DTLA

Even if you don’t hop in the pool, you can still plunge into the fun on one of the bright red waterbed pods scattered across the roof at the Downtown outpost of Andre Balaz’s hip hotel. Take the elevator up to the top, where mod furnishings give a slightly space-age vibe—the perfect backdrop for a crowd ranging from folks waiting for next year’s Burning Man to hotel guests checking out the scene. Weekend afternoons call for cocktail lounging—try the sweet and sour Hennessy Lemonade—but beware the $20 cover after 7pm, which doesn’t deter the lines that can stretch out into the parking lot.

Mama Shelter – Hollywood

We’re big fans of Mama Shelter as a hotel and a restaurant, but once we saw the rooftop, we decided we just might move in for good. The bright space is splattered with multicolored sofas and chairs where you can lounge while waiting for shawarma to arrive; the Mediterranean-inspired menu also serves falafel, salmon skewers and a few hummus options. Cocktails also pay tribute to the Mediterranean, with drinks like the Za’atar Margarita and Mediterranean Mule. On warm nights, you can dance under the stars while DJs spin an eclectic mix of music, or take in a classic movie on their outdoor screen. There’s also a fusbol table, a yoga studio and sweeping views of Hollywood. Like we said—we’re never leaving.

Upstairs – DTLA

Look good—but not like you’re trying too hard—when visiting Upstairs, a Moroccan oasis perched atop the trendy Ace Hotel. The elevator next to L.A. Chapter is your key to getting inside (or rather, outside) the buzzing, open-air roof deck, swathed in an exotic canopy and scattered with hip Downtowners clutching plastic cups. Perfect for an after-work schmooze or a reunion with old friends, you’ll find two bars to order a drink from (be warned: weekends bring the requisite long lines). Try the Lefty Lucy, a surprisingly easy-to-drink concoction made with chile liqueur, peach liqueur, ginger, lime and yellow chartreuse.

SkyBar – WeHo

The rooftop bar that started it all, the Mondrian’s Skybar still retains its secret Sunset Strip entryway, complete with dress-to-impress entry and nightlife cred—this is one of the rare poolside bars where people really do jump in after a night of cocktails. The all-ages crowd ranges from wide-eyed ingénues to aging Robert Evans types, but no matter where you fall on the spectrum, the Mexican-style oasis of flowering walls and gorgeous nooks will win you over, especially with a mojito in hand.

Above SIXTY Beverly Hills – Beverly Hills

Above SIXTY provides both a name and directions to this exclusive hotel bar. Open to Sixty Beverly Hills guests, members and cabana reservations during the day, this ritzy rooftop lounge is open to the public for a swanky bar crowd at night. The rooftop lounge offers wine, beer and cocktails, like the Strawberry Smash crafted with vodka and fresh muddled strawberries. Appetizers and meals, from kale salads to crab cakes, are also available on the roof of the sleek hotel, as are occasional weekend pool parties. You’ll pay a pretty penny for your libations, but it’s worth it for the view.

The Fonda Theatre – Hollywood

A smoke break doesn’t mean that you’ll miss the show at Hollywood’s Fonda Theatre, where not only is the music hooked up to the rooftop “speakeasy,” but the live on-stage performance is also projected on the exterior wall. Unfortunately, you do have to buy tickets to the gig to gain entrance, but the prime perch—lounge on one of the scattered sofas on the outdoor patio—from the historic Spanish Revival–style building offers an unobstructed view of Hollywood as you listen to indie faves like Alt-J and the Alabama Shakes. Throw back a brewski and gaze down the boulevard as you channel your inner Dracula, performed on the Fonda stage soon after it opened in 1926.

Moonshadows – Malibu

Forget flip-flops and sunscreen—dolphin sightings are de rigueur at this longtime PCH watering hole. With an outdoor lounge area lined with white beds and curtained booths that hang right over the Pacific, you’re practically within blowhole distance of the pods that swim close to shore. Catch afternoon rays at weekend brunch or laze on the sundeck at sunset or after dark, when Malibu locals turn out for margaritas and the salt air mixes with pretty young things.

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