By Myranda Bolstad
Taking in all the sights your travel destination has to offer can be a herculean task; from a rooftop bar, however, you get a bird’s eye view of the beauty below while unwinding. For a high-end and sky-high experience, these are the rooftop bars you must visit at least once in your life:
Vertigo and Moon Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)
Swing by Vertigo or the Moon Bar in the Banyan Tree Hotel to take advantage of the 360 views this 61st story, open-air venue has to offer. With low walls offering unobscured views all around, the spot is especially spectacular at sunset. The twilight hours, too, usher in an atmosphere of romance, making this an excellent venue for an intimate and special occasion. If the height itself isn’t enough of a rush for you, you can up the ante by ordering a round or two of the bar’s signature drink, the tropical-tasting Vertigo Sunset, made with Malibu rum and pineapple, cranberry, and lime juices, or try the Thai Sabai, which features Thailand’s first and most celebrated distilled spirit, Mekhong, which is akin to a flavored rum.
The Press Lounge (New York City, United States)
For a taste of elegance and refinement, visit the Press Lounge in Manhattan, one of New York City’s best offerings. The décor is sleek and modern, and the panoramic views that surround guests are incredible. It’s also known for ensuring sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients, which translates to an inspired selection of seasonal cocktails.
Alfresco 64 (Bangkok, Thailand)
Located 800 feet above the ground at the Lebua Hotel, this Chivas bar will have guests feel like they are flying. The indoor area is decorated to resemble an extravagant yacht cabin, the sunken seating and glossy rosewood making this an exquisitely designed spot in which to spend time. The outdoor area is surrounded by glass and gives you some extra thrills. Don’t miss out on one of the chef’s expertly imaginative meals, which will only serve to enhance the already spectacular views over Bangkok. Good to know, this bar serves whiskey (cocktails) only, though luck when you are gluten allergic!
Bramante Terrace (Rome, Italy)
Italy is known for its romance, and the intimate tables with views over the seasoned roofs of Rome in the Bramante terrace are no exception. From here, see the old town or River Tiber lit by the golden rays of the sun while sipping on one of the many excellent Italian wines, or spot St. Peter’s Cathedral and the many other landmarks of Rome’s skyline. No matter the occasion, this beautiful terrace rises to it.
Baba Nest (Phuket, Thailand)
Taking the rooftop bar to the next level is Baba Nest at Sri Panwa Resort, which floats in the middle of an infinity pool. Guests can lounge on the comfortable cushions next to the low tables while admiring the view of the surrounding islands. Baba Nest also offers an array of cocktails such as the Sri-hito, the bar’s citrus twist on the traditional mojito. Make a reservation in advance, however; in a testament to its excellence, this popular spot books up quickly.
Top Mountain Star (Wurmkogel, Austria)
The Top Mountain Star is worth the journey just to check out the architectural feat that is Austria’s highest café. Built directly on one of the Wurmkogel’s narrow ridges, its continuous glass face means visitors have panoramic mountain views in all directions. Guests can make their way to the free-floating terrace for coffee and cake, or stay nearer the “star bar”, which glitters with thousands of Swarovski crystals. No matter their choice, the café itself is the true gem, and patrons are sure to find the experience memorable.
Aer (Mumbai, India)
Boasting breath-taking views over Mumbai’s metropolitan sprawl on one side and a gorgeous seascape on the other, a night at the spacious and classy Aer is an experience in and of itself. Rising 34 stories above the city in the Four Seasons hotel, Aer offers a lovely break from the buzz of the city below. With its soft lighting and quiet music, it makes for an excellent place for friends or couples to spend time together. The food menu is limited but the cocktails are to die for, and there is also an excellent selection of delicious mocktails for those who want something non-alcoholic.
Rock Bar (Bali, Indonesia)
The Ayana Resort and Hotel’s Rock Bar might be one it’s most unique venues: technically, it sits not on a roof but atop a rock formation right on Bali’s coast. After a cable car ride to this natural beauty, guests are so close to the Indian Ocean that, at high tide, the water, is just a few feet below their own. Visitors should definitely check out one of their tasty signature drinks, such as the Beer Bomb Sandy or a Spa on the Rock, to add to the experience.
Galaxy Restaurant and Bar (Athens, Greece)
Whether dining under the stars of the open-air terrace or watching the sunset from this Hilton Hotel venue, patrons will be sure to feel stellar while at the Galaxy Restaurant and Bar. It features a spectacular view of Athens’ most well-known landmark, the Acropolis, which is lit at night so guests can enjoy the view after dark. One of Athens’ most high-end experiences, the Galaxy offers a modern take on Mediterranean dishes as well as extravagant cocktails.
360 (Istanbul, Turkey)
Aptly-named, from 360 on top of the notable Misir Apartment, guests can take in panoramic views over the city itself as well as the Bosphorus Strait. Primarily famed as a club scene hotspot, this penthouse bar attracts acts from all over the world. With a comfortable but thoroughly modern appearance, it offers a diverse Turkish fusion menu, an international selection of wines, and incredible entertainment.
Sky Bar (Bangkok, Thailand)
With its LED-lit bar and breath-taking views from the 820 feet in the air, the Sky Bar’s colourful atmosphere makes this attraction potentially the best rooftop bar in Bangkok. With a staff of skilled mixologists, guests get to enjoy a creative and fun selection of signature cocktails, including the Hangovertini. Especially unique, on hot nights guests can cool off with one of the bar’s “poptails”, the refreshing, alcohol-infused popsicles that will delight the inner child and outer adult alike.
Cé La Vi (Marina Bay, Singapore)
With its chic décor, inventive cocktails, and feature infinity pool, Cé La Vi definitely has that je ne sais quoi an adventurous traveller will enjoy. This leading rooftop party venue is part of the spectacular Sky Park, on the 57th floor of the Marina Bay Sands. Guests get same views as the observation deck below, where the entry fee is similar to that of the cocktail they can enjoy just above the tourist spot. During the day, the Marina Bay skyline delights, while the nightly laser show is an enthralling and entertaining after the dark offering.
The American Bar (Innsbruck, Austria)
Akin to a tropical terrace complete with lush plants and glass walls, this heated rooftop bar has gorgeous views of the surrounding Alps. Featuring a drink menu of high caliber gin, rum, and whiskeys as well as a creative selection of cocktails, patrons are sure to find something fun and delicious to drink. Of course, if they are feeling extra adventurous, guests can skip the drink menu altogether in favour of letting one of the skilled bartenders create a unique and personized cocktail.
Radio (Madrid, Spain)
For one of the most glamorous experiences Madrid has to offer, stop by Radio, the exclusive bar atop the ME hotel in Madrid. Whether you want to relax under the stars with a cool drink and a delicious meal or get the special treatment the VIP bar has to offer, Radio caters wonderfully to their guests. While the terrace comes across as comfortable and casual, the exquisite culinary offerings and a wide selection of beverages are just a few reasons this is one of Madrid’s most popular venues.
The Top Bar (Hvar, Croatia)
Overlooking the harbour from the Adriana Hotel, the Top Bar is an excellent place to while away the time watching the boats from the comfort of one of the lush sofas, or to dance the night away with the jet-set crowd. Also offering multi-level garden terraces, a fantastic drink menu and a spa lounge, guests are sure to leave more relaxed.
Two Rooms (Tokyo, Japan)
Two Rooms is a picture of elegance inside that complements the skyline view around it. Though only five floors up, the terrace has an unobscured view northward view of the Harajuku. Inside, the modernist design is accented beautifully with wood and leather, lending to its sleek and seductive atmosphere. With an extensive wine list, it makes for an excellent spot to wind down for the evening, but for those who aren’t night owls, their Sunday brunches are some of the best in the city.
Skye Bar & Restaurant (São Paulo, Brazil)
The Skye Bar & Restaurant can be found on top of the Unique Hotel that, true to its name, is distinctively built to resemble an enormous boat. The contemporary design and crimson-watered pool in which guests can cool off give a stylish twist to the relaxed ambience Brazil’s famous “caipirinha” – a cocktail made with lime, sugar, and cachaça – is a recommended drink, perfect for sipping while taking in the view of São Paulo.
Cu-ba Rooftop Bar and Lounge (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
If half of your heart is in Havana, the dazzling views of Dubai are only one attraction this elegant space has on display. In keeping with its Latin American vibe, the bar offers top quality tapas, rum, and cigars that will all but transport you to the southern hemisphere. With its lavish couches, 82-foot swimming pool, and private cabanas in a spacious and sleek setting, guests will be captivated by this stylish spot.
Vue Bar (Shanghai, China)
Taking over not one but two levels of the Hyatt on the Bund in Shanghai, this avant-garde bar overlooks the historic waterfront on one side, and the ultramodern skyline of Pudong on the other. The fashionable atmosphere coupled with premier beverages make an event of any visit, and this is taken up a notch at night when the resident DJ transforms it into one of the city’s hottest nightlife venues. For those more keen to relax during the day, the open-air terrace features a Jacuzzi where guests can soak away tension.
Uptown Bar (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)At the crest of the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Uptown Bar’s view features Dubai’s skyline beautifully, most notably the shifting colours of the Burj Al Arab on the horizon. Whether taking advantage of the vast array of cocktails or enjoying the champagne specials of the weekends, visitors will be charmed by the beauty around them as well as the cosy and comfortable ambience of the club itself.
Flair Rooftop Restaurant Bar (Shanghai, China)
For a view of Shanghai, the Flair Rooftop Restaurant and Bar in the Ritz-Carlton is a must see. From 58 stories up, guests are treated to a view of the busy city’s skyline, including the picturesque Pearl Tower. With a clean yet cosy atmosphere, beautifully-plated food, and an excellent suite of cocktails by the resident mixologist, the Flair’s view isn’t the only attraction. If a cocktail isn’t your tipple, afternoon tea is served from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Friday to Sunday.