If anything has the power to make one pause for a moment and consider that life didn’t turn out so bad, it’s a panoramic view accompanied by the carbonated nostril-tickle of a favorite beverage as it’s lifted above the horizon and drawn into the gullet.
For the best results, you need to select the best rooftop bars. We tracked down travel writers, bar/restaurant pundits and some good old-fashioned worldly drinkers and eaters to find the best rooftop bars and restaurants around the planet.
Combining fantastic views, great mixes, of the quaffable and auditory kind, and above all experiences you want to tell your friends about, we’ve come up with a pretty good list.
1. Coq D’Argent: London, England
Don’t mind rubbing shoulders with hordes of pinstripe-besuited bankers, and have the bank balance to match? Try Coq D’Argent.Next to the Bank of England, St Paul’s Cathedral and Mansion House, this rooftop garden in London comes with lawns and ornamental box hedges.
There’s a (very) pricey indoor restaurant, but a reasonably priced list of bar snacks. You can sit on the grass or gaze down on the suits hurrying along the streets far below.
2. Rooftop Bar, Hotel Raphael: Rome, Italy
In the heart of Rome, Italy, near the vibrant Piazza Nova, is the Hotel Raphael with its gorgeous roof terrace. It’s a great place for soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying panoramic views of the eternal city.
You can spy the Vatican from the terrace and the surrounding patchwork of colorful roofs provide a neat, photogenic backdrop to your coffee or cocktail. The food is also good.
3. Skyline, Hilton Molino Stucky: Venice, Italy
Perched atop a restored mill that is now home to the Hilton Molino Stucky Hotel in Venice, the Skyline Bar offers views over the Giudecca Canal as far as Piazza San Marco. It’s beautiful by day, but especially alluring at night when the bar acts as a magnet to wealthy Venetians, attracted by the bar’s romantic ambiance.
4. The Top Bar, Adriana Hotel: Hvar, Croatia
The Top Bar is the place to go if you want to meet Russian oligarchs and yachting types knocking back magnums of Champagne. The aptly named Top Bar offers wrap-around views of the ancient city, the yacht harbor and Paklinski Islands. It has sleek, low-slung sofas and areas to dance with Hvar’s jet set.
5. 360: Istanbul, Turkey
In a city replete with rooftop bars, 360 is still the most spectacular. A spacious multiple-award winning restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows opens out onto a huge terrace where you can eat, drink or – later – throw some shapes on the dance floor when the bar turns into one of the city’s trendiest clubs.
6. Uptown Bar, Jumeirah Beach Hotel: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Roads recede to a vanishing point, and the Burj Al Arab glows on the horizon. There’s an extensive drinks menu, but you’ll be too busy gawping at the view to pay attention to much else.