Every time I travel, I make it a point to get a towering, birds-eye view of the city I am in – I feel like that gives me a unique perspective on the city and makes me love it even more! If possible, I try and find a rooftop bar / restaurant so I can enjoy the view in a leisurely manner with some great food and drinks to go. This list brings together some of the world's best rooftop bars (including some in India) which you must visit!
1. Sky Bar, Bangkok: Bangkok is a sparkling city with a gorgeous skyline and overlooking the city’s glittering urban landscape is the iconic Lebua Hotel. On its roof sits the illuminated Sky Bar, housed beneath the exquisite gilded dome that crowns the Lebua hotel. Sky Bar is a great place to enjoy a fancy night out in Bangkok with exquisite fruity Champagne cocktails and a premium whisky collection. Come in the evening, when the sun is setting as the spectacular light reflects off the river below to create a magical view. Later on, enjoy dinner at the world’s highest rooftop restaurant, Sirocco.
While you're in Thailand, do check out the legendary Full Moon Party.
2. Skyye Bar, Bangalore: All through the three years that I spent living in Bangalore, Skyye was the most iconic, upscale and loved rooftop bar in the city. Housed in the UB City complex (Bangalore’s most luxurious mall) it is located in the heart of the city. Skkye offers glorious views of the city including Cubbon Park and UB Tower. This ultra-modern bar has an outdoor and indoor seating option (in case of rain) along with a neat dance floor.
3. Flair Bar, Shanghai: Located On the topmost floor (Level 58) of Shanghai’s Ritz-Carlton in the Financial District of Pudong, this is a destination in itself thanks to the memorable design and views. The iconic Pearl Tower seems almost close enough to touch, and you get spectacular panoramas of this futuristic city. The hot spot attracts stylish locals and visitors, with fun cocktails and a menu of Southeast Asian bites and sushi.
4. Kensington Roof Gardens, London: This is a special spot because of the magical ambience it offers. A truly dreamy space in the heart of London, Richard Branson’s Kensington Roof Gardens seem to be conjured from a fairytale. This enchanting venue features a bar surrounded by manicured gardens with Tudor and Spanish influences and even a colony of flamingos. Drop by for the uniquely lush setting, whimsical cocktails and breathtaking city views.
5. Dome, Mumbai: Picking my favourite rooftop in Mumbai is a difficult task, but Dome (located on the rooftop of the Intercontinental Hotel, Marine Drive) is special because of how truly Mumbai it view is – of Marine Drive, the Arabian Sea and the famous Queen’s Necklace. In the evening, you get to see a glorious sunset view while at night, you will get to see the sparkling city lights of the Queen’s Necklace. In case you would rather have a city view, hop over to AER, located on Level 34 at Four Seasons Hotel, Worli.
6. La Dolce Vitae, Barcelona: Although the Majestic Hotel is one of Barcelona’s grande dame hotels, it evokes a sophisticated and hip vibe, which is especially apparent at its rooftop bar and pool deck. With views towards the Mediterranean Sea, you can also see numerous Gaudi buildings’ façades from the rooftop at the Majestic, and the sea breezes are divine. An ideal afternoon itinerary includes a wine-filled rooftop lunch followed by a massage at the spa, using the sunbeds for lounging (or taking a quick siesta) and appreciating the contemporary art on display. It’s a wonderful place to linger over afternoon or pre-dinner cocktails and tapas while listening to live music - before heading out to enjoy Barcelona's legendary nightlife.
7. CE LA VI bar, Singapore (formerly KU DE TA) enjoys one of the best views in Singapore. Its location on the 57th floor of Marina Bay Sands offers uninterrupted views of the city and bay. With a cocktail costing around the same price as entry to Marina Bay Sands observation desk and CE LA VI’s slightly more elevated location, it has quickly become one of Singapore’s hottest rooftop venues. For those not lucky enough to be staying at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, a few drinks at CE LA VI (maybe even the famous Singapore Sling?) is a perfect way to enjoy a little of the luxury this iconic building has to offer.
8. 360 Bar, Budapest: Crowning the stylishly historic Paris Department Store on Andrássy Avenue, this sprawling hangout occupies the highest publicly accessible rooftop in Budapest, taking advantage of this sky-scraping perch to provide urban revelers with a lofty lounge that’s completely surrounded by cityscape vistas. In addition to a luscious selection of liquids – including reasonably priced cocktails and an outstanding Hungarian wine assortment – 360 Bar offers Sunday brunches and hosts live concerts, and every Thursday night it stays open until 3am to dazzle drinkers with illuminated sights in every direction.
Speaking of Budapest, here are 8 awesome (and unique) reasons to visit Budapest!
9. Bar le Perchoir, Paris: An enormously popular new bar in Menilmontant, has opened on a huge rooftop with a 360 degree view of the capital. Despite being a ‘speakeasy’ bar (the street entrance is unmarked), the place has become wildly popular with queues out of the front door to be endured before you take the lift to the 7th floor. But once you do make it up there, you’ll find a vast space with a handsome bar and lovely views of the city!
10. Top of the Strand, New York City: The Strand Hotel’s 21st-floor drinkery boasts an uninterrupted sight line of the towering Empire State Building and first-come, first-served benches that offer a front-row seat. Don’t let the imposing main attraction blind you to the rest of the skyline—to your left is the lit-up crown of Langham Place and over to your right is the illuminated double-fin roof of the Epic. Don’t worry about the weather, a retractable glass roof ensures a warm viewing platform safe from the elements.
If you are visiting New York, check out this Epic New York Bar Guide that I complied. And while you're in USA, why not go partying in these epic party cities?
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Photo credits: Respective websites, Pinterest, TripAdvisor, TimeOut