Outdoor dining options aren't short on the ground, but who wants to enjoy their dinner to the accompaniment of noisy traffic and nosy pedestrians? If you want to tuck into your food in peace and soak up some spectacular views while you do it, it's time to look to the skies. Increasing numbers of canny restauranteurs are eschewing the ground floor for the roof, offering equally canny diners the chance to indulge in a first-rate dining experience high above the hustle and bustle below. If you're hungry to get in on the action, check out our pick of the 20 best rooftop restaurants in the US.
20. Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails, Seattle, Washington
Named as one of the best rooftop restaurants in the US by afar.com, Frolik Kitchen + Cocktails is ideal for guests looking to soak up some views, enjoy a cocktail, and tuck into some first-rate regional cuisine. Don't worry about the weather either - if the hot toddy's don't keep out the chill, the tabletop fireplaces certainly will.
19. Top of the Gate, Washington, D.C.
After a $200 million facelift, the rooftop bar at the notorious (but oh so luxurious) Watergate Hotel is now one of the hottest tickets in town. The views of the Potomac and D.C. skyline are beyond belief, especially at sunset with a cocktail in one hand and a slice of artisanal pizza in the other. Tables get booked up quickly, so be sure to make an advance reservation to avoid disappointment.
18. Sugar at East, Miami, Florida
If you want to enjoy some Asian cuisine while enjoying outstanding views over the Miami skyline, book your table at Sugar at East now. Located 40 stories high, the intimate setting is crammed with ferns, bamboo, and greenery, creating a lush, jungle vibe that's complemented perfectly by a menu of Pan-Asian tapas (the steamed dumplings are legendary) and exotic cocktails. Just be aware that it's a pretty swanky spot, so don't rock up in your flip-flops and expect a seat.
17. Over the Charles Rooftop Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
As therooftopguide.com says, if you want to enjoy the most amazing views over both Charles River and the Boston city skyline, Over the Charles Rooftop Bar is the place to go. The terrace is a mix of high-top bar tables, loungers, and dining tables, letting you choose your seat according to whether you want to enjoy a sunset cocktail or a full meal. Either way, you'll be met with excellent service, a friendly atmosphere, and a faultless selection of locally crafted beers, lagers, wines, cocktails, and tasty bites.
16. Amore Uptown, Minneapolis, Minnesota
If you want to enjoy a fine dining experience in Minneapolis, take the advice of Trip 101 and make your way over to Amore Uptown. Combining gorgeous views over the Minneapolis skyline with a delectable menu of creative dishes and classic comfort foods, it's ideal for date nights, special occasions, or even just grabbing a bite with friends after work. Although the menu is upscale, the atmosphere is down-to-earth and friendly - regardless of whether you show up in a tuxedo or flips, you'll get the same warm welcome. Key dishes to try include the juicy lobster roll and the always excellent charred ribeye steak. Portions are generous, prices are reasonable, and the service is awesome - if you don't start planning your next visit while you're still enjoying your entree, you'll be the only one.
15. O-Ku, Washington, D.C.
If you want to enjoy some of the best views in Washington with some of the city's finest sushi, start planning your visit to O-Ku now. The menu of traditional sushi and sashimi dishes, Japanese specialties, and wood-fired robata dishes is exceptionally creative, with standout items including the unfailingly delicious salmon yaki kuro with black rice, Asian pear, arugula and shiso cream. The drinks menu is equally excellent, with an exceptional selection of sake, Japanese whisky, and specialty cocktails.
14. Cindy's, Chicago, Illinois
According to Time Out, Cindy's boast some of the most exquisite views in Chicago. The food isn't exactly disappointing either, with a hearty selection of American classics plus a tempting selection of small bites, cheese and charcuterie boards, and some of the best-grilled bread you'll find in the city.
13. Linger, Denver, Colorado
If you want to enjoy some old-school glam, don't miss a visit to Linger. Located in the former Olinger Mortuary on Denver’s 16th Street, its got retro vibes (check out the original illuminated sign from its mortuary days), wicked cocktails (the frozen mai tais are to die for), and a belly-busting selection of street food classics like falafel lettuce wraps, Waygu sliders, and BBQ duck buns.
12. Mr. Purple, New York City, New York
A mainstay of the New York City restaurant scene, Mr. Purple is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates a good view, a fine meal, and excellent service. Located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo Lower East Side, it's a vibrant, lively place that occupies an almost permanent place on lists of the city's best restaurants. Standout items to try on the menu include the Mr. Purple Burger served with crunchy salt and pepper fries and the mind blowingly delicious Truffle Waffle Fries.
11. Brit’s Pub & Eating Establishment, Minneapolis, Minnesota
If you're an anglophile, a homesick expat, or just someone who really digs a good Scotch egg, be sure to stop by Brit’s Pub & Eating Establishment next time you're in Minneapolis. The beers are good (and half-price at happy hour), the Scotch list is impressive, the food is hearty, and if you're in the mood for some soccer, there's usually a match live-streaming in the bar. Otherwise, draw up a chair on the veranda to enjoy the lovely views over the pub's English Garden Park.
10. El Techo, Washington, D.C.
El Techo describes its self as an "adult treehouse," which, as descriptions go, is bang on the money. Located in a lofty position in the very heart of Washington, DC, its rooftop position offers gorgeous views over the city skyscape - better yet, the deck is heated, meaning you can enjoy the experience regardless of what's happening with the weather. Menu-wise, expect a good selection of Latin-inspired tapas and entrees, spicy margaritas, and a very tempting assortment of cervezas.
9. Mama Shelter, Los Angeles, California
If you're looking to kick back and relax at one of LA's coolest spots, check out the rainbow-colored bar and restaurant, Mama Shelter (of just plain Mama's, if you're a regular). Guests can expect a laid back atmosphere, fabulous entertainment (outdoor film screenings and drag queen bingo are just a couple of examples), 360-degree views over the city, amazing cocktails (be sure to try the signature Mama Is on the Roof, a dreamy blend of tequila, Aperol, hibiscus tea, and lemon juice) and a very delicious lunch and dinner menu of creative, Mediterranean inspired dishes.
8. Departure, Portland, Oregon
Perched high up on the 15th floor of the swanky Nines Hote is the super sleek Departure restaurant and lounge. The rooftop is mainly enclosed, making it an excellent option in unpredictable weather, but there's also a balcony to enjoy on balmier days. The cocktail menu is full of quirky delights like the Stumptown Express, a lively combination of Buffalo Trace bourbon, Stumptown cold-brew coffee, ginger liqueur, honey, and bitters. If you're hungry, the menu of Asian-inspired dishes like crispy squid with miso is sure to please. There's also a great selection of vegetarian options for non-meat eaters.
7. 12 Stories, Washington, D.C.
12 Stories is widely considered one of Washington D.C.'s hippest venues, and for very good reason. Owned by the same team behind New York's Mr. Purple, it's a sleek, contemporary spot with slick furnishings, trendy decor, and some of the most jaw-dropping views you'll find anywhere in the city. Cocktails like Aren't You a Fineapple (a mix of Hennessy, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and pineapple, with just a dash of lemon and lime to finish it off) have already reached legendary status, but the menu of upscale bites like rib eye skewers and spicy oysters isn't to be sniffed at either. As it's incredibly popular, reservations are advised to avoid disappointment.
6. Area 31, Miami, Florida
Perched on the 16th floor of the EPIC Hotel, Area 31 offers guests the chance to tuck into chef Alex Olivier’s innovative seafood menu while enjoying unparalleled views over the Miami skyline. The food is divine, and while the menu changes regularly depending on what's freshest on the day, the staples of ceviche and tartars leave little to be desired. The atmosphere is lively, with a resident DJ and regular musical guests on hand to pump up the fun. If you want to save some cash, visit from 5 pm to 11 pm on Friday to enjoy cocktails for $7 and bar bites for $8.
5. High Rooftop Lounge, Los Angeles, California
Considering its location and weather, you'd expect LA to be packed with rooftop restaurants. Surprisingly, it's not. It does, however, boast the High Rooftop Lounge, which is good enough to make up for the shortage. Located at the top of Hotel Erwin, it's a blissful place to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset over the Pacific. If it gets chilly, warm up with whiskey-laced cocoa instead. There are some great eats on offer too, including a very tempting selection of tacos and gourmet sliders.
4. Acme Feed and Seed, Nashville, Tennessee
If you're looking to enjoy a good time in Nashville, forget the honky-tonks and head for Acme Feed and Seed instead. The self-described "funky-tonk" is spread over four floors, with a rooftop terrace that offers awe-inspiring views of downtown. On a clear day, you'll be treated to a birds-eye view over the Music City Centre, Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. and Cumberland River. Live music is on offer nightly, and there's usually some kind of event taking place in the day, whether that's Yoga Buzz (alcohol-fueled yoga - a combination that shouldn't work but really does) or the Sunday champagne jam session. Key highlights from the menu include the Lobro Sandwich (grilled ahi tuna, napa sesame slaw, avocado aioli, and pickled ginger served with sweet potato fries) and the Heaven-Lee Ribs (a half rack of dry rub ribs served with mac n’ cheese, collard greens, and slaw).
3. Alto, New Orleans, Louisiana
When the temperatures in New Orleans start to rise, head for Alto to cool off on its rooftop garden and restaurant. Expect Italian-inspired dishes (don't miss the cheesy fried chicken Milanese sandwich), a fantastic selection of frozen cocktails, and a good assortment of craft beers. There's even a pool to dip your toes in while you enjoy the views.
2. Charmaine's at San Francisco Proper Hotel, San Francisco, California
Rooftop restaurants are relatively thin on the ground in San Francisco (blame the weather), but while the quantity might be lacking, the quality certainly isn't. One of the latest must-go venues to hit the scene is Charmaine's at San Francisco Proper Hotel. It's divided into four spaces - Bar, Fireplace, Lounge, and Point - each with its own distinctive appeal. The outdoor terrace is strewn with oversized couches, comfy chairs, and firepits, making it a great place to enjoy the sunset. The food is delicious (the mushrooms quesadilla frittata comes particularly highly recommended), the cocktails are moreish, and the views are sublime - what more could you want?
1. POV, Washington, D.C.
As CN Traveler notes, in addition to being able to enjoy spectacular views of the Treasury, the Washington Monument, and the National Mall, eagle-eyed guests of Washington D.C.'s POV will also be able to check out secret service on the rooftop of the White House, which sits just across the street from the restaurant. A lovely setting for a lazy weekend brunch or after-dinner cocktails, it's ideal for guests looking for an upscale dining experience in a very slick setting.
Written by Liz Flynn
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