9 of the coolest rooftop bars around the world

Feb 21, 2021

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While we are under the third national lockdown, holidays, dining out and socialising in groups is off the table — for now. But the end is in sight! There is little more magical than a fabulous cocktail on a warm night atop a rooftop bar, incredible vistas spread out below.

So when that can become a reality again, here are nine magnificent rooftop bars from around the globe to add to your wish list.

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1. Sky Bar — Bangkok

Situated 820 feet in the air, Sky Bar — located on the 63rd floor of the Lebua at State Tower Hotel — is one of the world’s highest open-air bars. If you feel a sense of déjà vu when you make your way toward the neon LED-lit bar, which changes colour every 90 seconds, it might be because the place had a starring role in “The Hangover Part II”. It makes sense then that one of the bar’s signature cocktails is called a Hangovertini, a concoction the bar’s mixologists created specifically for the cast of the hit comedy, which has since become a staple libation. On a warm night, the bar’s ice poptails — like the Pop Star, a boozy pineapple ice lolly made with tequila and Midori — are a perfect way to enjoy Sky Bar’s breathtaking views of the city below.

Image courtesy of Lebua Hotels and Resorts.
(Photo courtesy of Lebua Hotels and Resorts)

2. The Culpeper — London

There’s something for everyone at the Culpeper: a pub, a restaurant, a hotel and on the fourth floor, a rooftop garden and bar where mixologists make use of the property’s greenhouse (which is also on the roof) to craft unique botanical cocktails like the Lemon-Thyme Ambrosia, which is made with brandy, calvados and Prosecco. If you like what you taste, in normal times, the Culpeper also hosts regular cocktail-making workshops on its rooftop — and the occasional astronomy lesson.

Image courtesy of The Culpeper’s Facebook page.
(Photo courtesy of The Culpeper/Facebook)

3. AER — Mumbai

Monsoon season is no match for AER, the lounge on top of the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. In normal times, the bar is open year-round for hotel guests and heights-loving tipplers alike, though it adds a canopy and windscreen during monsoon season. As one of the highest spots in all of India, AER — located 34 stories up — mixes spectacular views with perfectly crafted cocktails and a high-energy atmosphere where a resident DJ keeps the party going — and the tunes spinning — each and every night.

Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai.
(Photo courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai)

4. Radio — Madrid

Get a bird’s-eye view of Madrid’s famed Plaza de Santa Ana from Radio, the recently revamped lounge at the tippity top of the ME Madrid hotel. Since first opening its doors in 2013, the bar has been one of the city’s major night hotspots, so don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line before getting in — it’s totally worth it. The space is divided into eight separate sections, with designated spaces for live music, food and cocktails, as well as a private VIP bar. Translation: whatever kind of mood you’re in, Radio doesn’t disappoint.

Image courtesy of ME Madrid.
(Photo courtesy of ME Madrid)

5. Rock Bar — Bali

Technically, Rock Bar is more of a rocktop bar than a rooftop bar — it’s built atop a rock formation on the coast of Bali — but we say it still counts, particularly if your goal is to enjoy a drink from on high. Situated nearly 50 feet above the Indian Ocean, the bar seamlessly blends nature at its finest (check out the DJ booth that’s been carved into the cliffside) with a modern party vibe, thanks to its endless lineup of live music. The drinks are perfectly befitting of the location, too, with options like the Beer Bomb Sandy (beer with rum, mint leaves and lemonade) and Spa on the Rock (vodka with black currant liqueur, blueberry, cranberry juice and brown sugar) among other signature drinks. Another thing that makes it even more exciting: you have to take a tiny cable car to get there.

Image courtesy of Ayana Resort and Spa Bali.
(Photo courtesy of the Ayana Resort and Spa Bali)

6. Sevva — Hong Kong

The rooftop cocktail scene in Hong Kong is a pretty thriving one, but there’s something one-of-a-kind about Sevva (which is pronounced like “savour”). The outdoor terrace offers spectacular views of the city at every turn, with picturesque peeks at iconic pieces of architecture like the HSBC building and the Bank of China Tower. It’s also the perfect vantage point from which to take in the Symphony of Lights, which the Guinness Book of World Records calls the world’s biggest light and sound display, illuminating the city’s buildings each and every night.

Image courtesy of Sevva.
(Photo courtesy of Sevva)

7. Mama Shelter — Paris

We’ve already pledged our love for the rooftop of Los Angeles’ Mama Shelter, so it’s hardly surprising that the brand’s Paris outpost is one of our favourite sky-high getaways, too. It has a lot in common with its Hollywood sibling — including colourful décor, a laid-back vibe with fun distractions like ping-pong and foosball and a menu full of comfort food — and that’s what makes it so unique to the City of Light. Though it’s well known to locals who want to let their hair down and spend a night hanging out, its location — tucked away in the 19th arrondissement — has kept the bar somewhat under the radar, so consider yourself in the know.

Image courtesy of Mama Shelter.
(Photo courtesy of Mama Shelter)

8. Vertigo — Bangkok

The name of the Banyan Tree Bangkok’s rooftop restaurant and bar sort of says it all: Vertigo, on the hotel’s 61st-floor terrace, is not a spot for acrophobes. But if you’re looking for a place to watch the sunset, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect place to do it. Wash it down with a Vertigo Sunset, the bar’s signature drink, which offers a taste of the tropics with its mix of pineapple, cranberry and lime juices plus Malibu rum.

(Photo courtesy of Banyan Tree Bangkok/ Facebook)

9. Floor 17 — Amsterdam

Generally, we’ve come to expect a bare-bones experience from the Ramada chain. In Amsterdam, it’s a different story. The four-star Ramada Apollo Amsterdam is home to the city’s highest bar, Floor 17, which offers a unique al fresco experience whether the sun is shining or the snow is falling. In the summer, it’s a popular spot for cocktails and people-watching, plus the bar hosts regular events, including movie screenings, making it a great place to settle in for the evening. But winter travelers won’t be left out in the cold — at least not as far as enjoying the rooftop goes. When the weather turns chilly, the sundeck is transformed into one of the world’s only rooftop ice skating rinks. And yes, there’s plenty of hot chocolate to go around.

Image courtesy Ramada Apollo Amsterdam.
(Photo courtesy of the Ramada Apollo Amsterdam)

Bottom line

We hope this list has given you some serious rooftop inspo – we know they’re all top of our list for 2021 and beyond.

Featured photo courtesy of Ayana Resort and Spa Bali.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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