Rooftop bars are the ideal place to get a real sense of a city. But which of these intoxicating high points is really worth a visit? Ten addresses for connoisseurs who like to be on top of things.
“Famous from movies and television!” A great headline for the Lebua Sky Bar – and still a dramatic understatement. This is where Hangover 2 was filmed, the buddy film featuring Bradley Cooper. Not that the Lebua ever needed the plug; it was already the world’s highest open-air bar long before the movie.
The NuTeras rooftop bar in Istanbul provides great alternatives to big-city stress: high-proof hedonism, sweeping views of the Taksim, the Golden Horn, the minarets, kofta meatballs with pistachios, and happily, what so many DJs promise but fail to deliver: the best tracks from the 1980s and ’90s.
Daddy Cool Bar
Capetown, South Africa
Gleaming chrome-plated trailers reflect the African sun across the decking like a kaleidoscope. What feels like an inviting campsite is actually Cape Town’s hippest rooftop bar, planted on top of the Grand Daddy Hotel. The trailers do have beds, though, just in case guests don’t want to come down again.
Círculo De Bellas Artes
“And people come to Madrid to conquer the sky,” the author Julio Llamazares once wrote. How right he was! Down in the Circulo, you can admire the works of Goya, Picasso and Minerva, and from the bar upstairs, the entire city. Practically a work of art in its own right, the panorama just cries out to be framed.
Boomtown Ho Chi Minh City’s top spot, on level 26 of the AB Tower – with booming prices to match. With the right crowd, the bar morphs into a club after 8 p.m., and it’s money well spent. But first you have to get in: The doormen decide in the lift who’s in and who’s out. In shorts, you haven’t a chance.
The name of this bar is a nod to Singapore’s Red Lantern Pier, where Chinese settlers landed in the 19th century. Everything else is modern, like the house beats booming from speakers and the sophisticated drinks. From up here on the roof of the Fullerton Hotel, you have a fantastic view over Marina Bay and the spectacular skyline.
New York, USA
New York has many rooftop bars, most of which are too crowded, too loud and too expensive. Andrew Carmellini aims to provide something better – and looks like succeeding with the Westlight at the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg. The man’s a pro with many a successful Manhattan restaurant to his name.
“Is it still under construction?” is a question many first timers at the Klunkerkranich ask. Sure, nothing really looks finished here, the chipboard, the chairs, the stage – but it’s all intentional. An improvised bar in an improvised city – with music, a rooftop garden and lots of charm: Berlin in a nutshell.
Los Angeles, USA
As an outsider, it’s all but impossible to gain admittance to the upper echelons of society in this town, where the rich, beautiful and beautified keep themselves to themselves. Refreshingly, Mama Shelter welcomes all comers to chill, lounge, feel they belong, and admire the Hollywood sign through its telescopes.
Strictly speaking, the Baba Nest is not really a rooftop bar but a rock-top bar, situated high above Panwa Bay. But with a stunning infinity pool, a breathtaking sky, and a sri-jito – the lemongrass variation on the mojito – to enjoy, who are we to split hairs?
The At.mosphere, 442 meters above the ground, is in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Winston, the cognac cocktail once mixed by bar-keeper Joel Heffernan at Club 23 in Melbourne, cost a heady 12916 U.S. dollars.
The terrace at the Streeterville Social in Chicago measures 836 square meters; people even play boccia and cricket here.
It’s a straight 350 meters from the Oval Office to the W Hotel’s POV Rooftop Bar frequented by Washington’s political elite.
1) Lebua, Bangkok
2) Nuteras, Istanbul
3) Grand Daddy, Capetown
4) Círculo De Bellas Artes, Madrid
5) Chill Skybar, Ho-Chi-Minh-City
6) Lantern, Singaore
7) Westlight, New York
8) Klunkerkranich, Berlin
9) Mama Shelter, Los Angeles
10) Baba Nest, Phuket