Our Wishlist to the World's Best Roof-top Bars

Jane Ramsay

Posted on May 28 2014

There are literally thousands of rooftop bars around the world, and naturally some demand higher (erhem) expectations than others. As we put our wish list together we looked for destinations that really ‘raised the bar’ (couldn’t resist that one). Some we know well and others... Let's just say next time we are in these towns, we’ll be pressing the UP button pronto.

NEW YORK (We had to start with NYC - You know how much we love it!)
La Piscine at the Americano Hotel

518 West 27th St, Chelsea, New York NY 10001
After a day of gallery hopping, stay cool at the super slick Hotel Americano’s rooftop bar La Piscine with views of the neighborhood and The Highline. A slender pool does double tricks: cool in summer, hot tub in winter. The hotel’s grill functions the same way, grilling a Mediterranean menu in summer and Alpine grill come snowy season.

The Empire Hotel 
Upper West Side, Manhattan, 44 West 63rd St, New York NY 10023
This rooftop lounge has three separate terraces, with views of the Lincoln Center and Central Park. The cocktails are affordable and deliver specialties like Oran’gin the Mood (orange juice, Bombay Sapphire, Patron Citronge and club soda). Yum.

Ava Lounge, Penthouse of The Dream Hotel
210 West 55th Street, New York
Don your party dress for the Ava Lounge and get there early to secure seat for people watching – oh and the views of the city of course, including Times Square. The earlier relaxed vibe turns more party as the DJ carries on into the morning.

Rooftop Garden Cafe, The Met

1000 Fifth Ave, Manhattan, New York NY 10028
The Metropolitan’s Museum of Art Rooftop Garden Café leans right into the canopy of Central Park. Apparently the best time to be here is early evening when the apartment buildings that line the park are orange in the light of the falling sun (source: Only open certain times of the year, check the opening hours when you go.

The Ides, at The Wythe Hotel
80 Wythe Ave at N.11th Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11249
The hotel is relatively new to Brooklyn, although the building it has been converted in was built in 1901. The hoteliers behind this one are the same guys who made the Brooklyn café institution Marlow & Sons. The Wythe looks like a good mix of contemporary luxury with a hipster twist, a true Brooklyn experience. The Ides has a great view over the Williamsburg waterfront looking across to Manhattan.

Los Angeles
ABH, SIXTY Beverly Hills (formerly Thompson Hotel)
9360 Wilshire Blvd. Beverley Hills, CA 90212
The ABH stands for ‘Above Beverley Hills’, and it really is. 360 degree views can be enjoyed from the ABH lounge, but you might find the people watching more alluring. Smart cocktails and smart attire here please; case in point – this is a Jane Ramsay favourite!

The Moon Bar, Bangkok
21/100 South Sathon Road, Bangkok, Thailand
The Moon Bar is 61 floors above the The Banyan Tree hotel. Once used as a helipad, there is an openness and definite sense of elevation to this rooftop bar. Aptly enough, it’s sister restaurant is called Vertigo.

Sevva, Hong Kong
Prince’s Building, 25th Floor, 10 Chater Rd, Central Hong Kong
Described as ‘the swankiest bar in Hong Kong’, this bar has some of the best views for watching the many firework displays in Hong Kong, or just sipping a drink after a long day shopping while watching the harbour, and some of HK's most stylish fashionista's.

Aqua Spirit, Hong Kong
Top floor, 1 Peking Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
The Kowloon answer to Sevva - set a-top the amazing building "One Peking" the views here are spectacular, and the people watching is too. Perfect after a day spent walking the shops in Harbour City.

Aer Bar, Mumbai
Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, 114 Dr E Moses Road, Mumbai, India
The AER bar is the highest rooftop bar in India, with views across high energy Mumbai city to the Arabian Sea. We have not tried Aer Bar yet, but we've heard great things, and are dying to try their Indian inspired cocktails mixed by India’s best bartender, Varun Sudhakar.

Radio at ME London
336-337 The Strand, London WC2, UK
Conde Naste Traveller describes this rooftop bar as, “…something between city swagger and Euro strut”. That could be read as a positive or a negative, but we’ll be heading there to judge for ourselves.

Sushi Samba Rooftop Bar

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY, UK
The super fast elevator up the side of the Heron Tower arrives at the Sushisamba restaurant, and from there go another level to the 39th floor to get to this little and charming looking rooftop bar. Views to the adjacent Gherkin, Thames, St Pauls and the other good bits.

The Roof Gardens, Kensington
Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High St, London W8, UK
This stunning sixth floor garden space dates back to 1936 and is now owned by Sir Richard Branson. Within its 6000 square metres there is a Spanish garden, a Tudor-styled garden and an English woodland area – need we say more? Get thee there now.
(Check open times before hand, as this is an event space and may indulge in exclusive entry).

The Shangri La Hotel, Paris

10 Avenue d'Iéna, 75116 Paris, France
Rooftop modernity atop the opulent Shangri La; it’s the romantic Paris of your dreams.

La Terrazza, Florence
Vicolo dell'Oro, 6r - 50123 Florence, Italy
Nestled into the top floor of the medieval tower of fashionable Hotel Continentale, La Terrazza has recently been redesigned by Florentine architect Michele Bonan. 1950’s cinema was the inspiration. Offering 360 degree views of Florence, an open fireplace and heated seating, it will be hard to leave.

**NOTE: The opinions and topics covered in this Blog are intended as a conversation with the reader, and reflect my own personal views and opinions, and are not intended to represent expert knowledge or advice. 

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