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aerial view of South Beach, MIami

Best Rooftop Bars in Miami

As we head Southeast to the beautiful city of Miami, one wonders how it is possible to soak up all the city has to offer. Although many enjoy running around finding clubs and bars, few actually know some of the hidden gems scattered around the city. Rooftop bars. Yes, scenic views, calm breezes and stunning crowds, rooftop bars will not only provide you a playground for fun but also impress your friends as you guide or show them what Miami has to offer. None of our lists are ever in ranking order.

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Altitude at SLS Brickell

The idea behind this 20,000 square foot pool deck and bar was to provide party goers a pool bar where you can lounge and hang out throughout the day and into the night. Here you can take gorgeous pictures of the sights around Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, while drinking a margarita and pondering a dip in the pool. The deck is free to the public — with the purchase of a day pass or cabana rental — so you don’t need to pay out for a room to enjoy an afternoon here.

Area 31

There perhaps no better feeling than standing at the edge of this bar on the 31st floor of the EPIC. Of course, going here on a Friday night means you’re sharing that feeling with a couple hundred other people, but who cares. Truth be told, I prefer a bar where everyone’s in a great mood. That’s nothing new in this city so grab whatever you enjoy drinking on a lovely night out and hang poolside, while appreciating that you’re living this good in February.

Vista

Unknown to many, the Buena Vista neighborhood was founded and named far before there were “rooftop bars” where people like you and me go to take in the “vistas.” The foreshadowing name comes to fruition as when arriving you’ll notice this terrace on the second floor of Vista Italian restaurant. Here you are able to survey the neighborhood, or enjoy Upper Buena Vista’s iconic ancient oak tree, tapas and a menu all with live music in the background.

Watr at the 1 Hotel

When your pool is known as having one of the best hotel pool views in the world, of course you need to be shooting some serious beverages to go along with it. Although this spot has quieted down, the bar still remains one of the most scenic spots on the beach.

When taking in the views, your treated to the Atlantic, while in the other you’ll see the expansive Miami skyline, blending the feel of an urban rooftop, oceanview, and trendy pool bar in one sun-soaked patio.

C-Level

When hittting Ocean Drive, an afternoon spent at the Clevelander’s rooftop bar is a must for new comers to the city and for the locals, a visit to this bar is sure to remind you why you live in this gorgeous city. As you stare out at the inviting blue-green waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Art Deco hotels, and the city behind you, you are taken back to the enchantment that first drew you to this wild beach city.

Juvia

The restaurant found on the top of the 1111 garage in South Beach is one of the great date-with-a-view spots in Miami. Not only is it one of the top date spots, but bewarned, the place is expensive and will quickly burn a hole in your wallet if you let your friends order multiple rounds of drinks and entres on you.

If looking for romance and a much lower bill, head over to this place for drinks. Relax and unwind by the ivy-covered walls outside, and relish in the award-winning design layout and views of the ocean.

No. 3 Social

With Wynwood building being what it is, a second-floor bar qualifies as a top tier rooftop establishment on its own. So rather than waiting for an elevator, you’ll just ascend a flight of stairs surrounded by beautiful tropical plants and come towards this big, purple space where you are reminded to “Socialize.” Perhaps no greater debate has ever existed, as one struggles between posting the perfect picture or following the rules that have been told to you. Good luck finding a healthy balance.

E11even

Perhaps nothing is quite as enoyable after spending all your money at E11even than making a quick retreat to the bar upstairs. You can gaze out towards Downtown, feel the cool breeze blowing upon you from down NW 11th Street, and savor an ice-cold beer or fancy cocktail. E11even also has fantastic bottle service availiable for those looking to drop real money. Then, once you’ve regained your composure, you have the option of enjoying some food or going back downstairs and to continue with your bad decision making. Click here for upcoming events at E11even so not to miss out!

Sugar

Way atop Brickell’s swanky East hotel rests one of the city’s premier rooftop bar, Sugar, with perfect views far out beyond Biscayne Bay to the east, north to Downtown, and south to the bright lights of Brickell. Completely encompassing this Balinese garden exists a mysterious but alluring feeling that makes you more than happy to be here. And if it’s raining, nothing to worry about. The party’s not ruined, make sure to head inside to the not-so-secret room to keep enjoying all the views without the rain.

Mr. C Coconut Grove

While you’re pounding shots at Sunday brunch or sipping mimosas, there’s a pretty good chance you’re enjoying yourself while doing it if doing it here. Mr. C’s bar provides a gorgeous view of Miami and hosts a elegant and sophisticated atmosphree while also staying light and upbeat. The latest sits atop the Mr. C hotel in Coconut Grove, where the nautical Cipriani décor gives way to a huge patio with sights that stretch far out over the lush, tropical landscape.

Astra

Although not the very first rooftop lounge in Wynwood, Astra is the very first to bring the garden styled view feel to Miami’s art district. This Greek-inspired scene has a west facing patio, ensuring you and your friends see the beautiful sunset. You’ll additionally notice the large trippy pink walls and pink butterflies that litter on the ground. The sunsets seem particularly heavenly when matched with what is possibly the best selection of Greek wines in the city.

Bloom Skybar

The bar located at the top of the Langford Hotel boasts one of the most divine panoramic views from the middle of the Miami skyline, provding partrons with spectacular drinks in inventive containers. If you find yourself looking for a great view or maybe an escape from the typical bar-on-a-curb scene, this is your place.

Broken Shaker – NYC’s Hottest New Rooftop Bar

New Yorkers are lining up around the block to get into Broken Shaker, a new cocktail bar that sits atop the Freehand Hotel in Gramercy Park. But there, on the 18th floor, you won’t find the pricey bottle service and snobby clientele common to many hot spots.

Rather, the bar, which has outposts in Miami, Chicago and LA, has a chill, egalitarian vibe that draws an eclectic and hip crowd for its exotic cocktails.

“Everybody’s welcome and treated the same,” says co-owner Gabe Orta, 39, who runs the group of subtly tropical watering holes with buddy Elad Zvi. “We’re not changing the foundation of what Shaker is about: We want everyone to feel like they’re at home.”

With its straw-shaded light fixtures and brightly patterned wallpaper, the wood-paneled space feels like an Afro-Caribbean rec room. Funk, reggae and soul emanate from an old-school, reel-to-reel audio tape and DJs will spin on occasion. A huge outdoor space wraps around the indoor bar, offering 360-degree views of Midtown, along with plenty of out-of-the-way nooks perfect for discreet canoodling.

On a recent night, the clientele was a mix of creative types, tech guys and Instagram babes — quite a different crowd than the one that previously occupied the space.

“Apparently Joey Ramone once lived in the hotel [back when it was a fleabag called the George Washington] and Keith Haring hung out here,” says Zvi. “ The outdoor part of the bar used to be a sun deck. The indoor part was a game room.”

The first Broken Shaker launched in 2012, originally as a pop-up at the Freehand in Miami. It quickly gained a loyal following, thanks to its fresh juice-infused cocktails and mellow atmosphere. It has since expanded to other Freehand outposts — each with its own distinct feel.

For New York, head bartender Evan Hawkins, formerly of the acclaimed Mother’s Ruin, has created a number of drinks (all $16) inspired by the Big Apple. They include the tequila-based Curry in a Hurry, named for a nearby Indian spot of the same name, and the Smillie, a beet-based cordial that honors Orta and Zvi’s friend, Upland chef Justin Smillie. There’s even a bagel-based drink.

The Poppyseed Bagel Fizz is made by soaking poppy seed bagels from downtown’s Black Seed in water, sugar and yeast overnight and then mixing the resulting liquid with liquor.

“We create a kind of bagel beer and use it to make a gin fizz,” says Zvi. Expect more New York-specific drinks in the future, along with bar games such as Jenga, chess and backgammon.

“We used to visit [NYC] every month to be inspired,” says Orta. “Now, being here and actually living here, we’re finding new ways to be inspired all the time. It all ties together.”

A concise, international menu features elevated bar food from South American arepas to Middle Eastern dips.

Locals who loved the Florida original are thrilled to have a Broken Shaker of their own.

“I felt like I was traveling to Florida without having to buy an airline ticket,” says Gary Toriello, 52, a web designer from Jersey City, who praised the balanced cocktails and nice glassware. “I’ll definitely be back.”

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. Rooftop bars is a nice break from LA’s epic nightclubs and there’s plenty of them to choose from. 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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