Spring and summer, for almost any city—save Los Angeles, which greedily sucks up more than its fair share of sunshine year round—means a mass bodily assent to the rafters of any bar, restaurant or rudimentary structure with the smallest piece of open air real estate.

Like pale, post-Apocalyptic zombies, every thirsty urbanite whose AccuWeather app finally reads 70°F prepares for the upward pilgrimage. It’s rooftop bar time.

We’ve rounded up some of finest conduits of light, paper straws and happiness in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City.

Los Angeles

1. Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles

929 South Broadway – Los Angeles, CA 90015
T: 213-623-3233

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As if Mary Pickford’s refurbished 1927 flagship United Artists theater building needs any further draw than the history within its Spanish Gothic celluloid walls, the Upstairs rooftop bar is hosting ‘Friends With Benefits’ through July 28th. Run by Beverage Manager and Chilled 100 member Dan Sabo, the guest curator series invites industry pros to design entire menus and then educate the Upstairs team on how to execute the concepts. Mary Bartlett & Emily Mistell, Mandolyn Mcintyre, Genie Gore & Anna Knudson, Brad Fry & Andie Ferman, Dushan Zaric & Simon Ford, Beau du Bois and more will participate. Their contributions, as well as already existing menu items like the $98 Sherpa Punch bowl—pisco, grapefruit, Swedish Punsch, allspice, demerara and hopped grapefruit bitters—will swill well beside the public accessible pool.

2. Petit Ermitage

8822 Cynthia Street – West Hollywood, CA 90069
T: 310-854-1114

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A National Wildlife Federation hummingbird and butterfly sanctuary on the roof of a boutique West Hollywood hotel; it’s like a green fairy wonderland for adults. The vegetative lushness, European saltwater pool, welcoming fireplace and Butterfly Bar are accessible to hotel guests only. However, up to four non-guests are able to accompany one guest at a time. Suggestion: spend some time loitering outside of the hotel in a very approachable, “I’m value added” sort of way and see if you can’t snag a room key-carrying temporary friend. The Rooftop Master Lounge offers monthly scotch, whiskey, absinthe and mezcal tastings with small plate food pairings.

3. Perch

448 S Hill Street – Los Angeles, CA 90013
T: 213-802-1770

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Perched atop the Pershing Square Building, the aptly-named Perch occupies floors 15 and 16. The 16th floor outdoor rooftop serves only cocktails to its 21 and over clientele, while the 15th floor restaurant offers both food, from Executive Chef Gerardo Benitez, and beverages to all ages until 9 p.m., after which I.D.s are required. The French-bohemian motif inspires the cocktail menu, which tips a beret to those tortured novelists who wrote their best works while in France. Try the Hemingway on the Beach — Greenalls gin, Luxardo, lemon juice and Angostura bitters. With outdoor fire pits and live jazz music on a regular basis, c’est toujours le bon moment to fly the coop to Perch.

New York City (Manhattan)

1. Refinery Rooftop at the Refinery Hotel

63 West 38th Street – New York, NY 10018
T: 646-664-0310

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Visitors to the Empire State who want to avoid the onslaught of ticket sellers asking “Going up?” can view the Empire State Building in all its iconic Art Deco glory from the comfort of Refinery Hotel’s 3,500 square foot Rooftop. On the 13th floor of the former hat factory, repurposed wooden ceiling beams constructed from the original 1912 water tank frame part of the interior space. A fireplace, retractable glass roof, revolving DJ lineup, and porch swings help take a load off from a day hoofing it in the Garment District. Seasonal cocktails designed by Alex Ott add to the refreshing vibe.

2. Rock & Reilly’s at Renaissance Madison Square Hotel

218 West 35th Street – New York, NY 10001

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Still under construction, this high-end Prohibition sports bar and Irish pub made a popular name for itself at its Park City and West Hollywood iterations. Now debuting on the East Coast, the 5th floor behemoth will offer 5,000 square feet of indoor space and 10,000 square feet of retractable roof patio space. In shooting range of that event-inhaling whirlpool Madison Square Garden, Rock & Reilly’s will offer a better pre/post-game staging area than is currently available. Or, for a during-game experience, settle in by one of the numerous outside TVs.

3. Bar Hugo at Hotel Hugo

525 Greenwich Street – New York, NY 10013

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Hudson Square, still a no man’s land, recruited another player to its young roster last August when the spindly Hotel Hugo squeezed itself onto Greenwich Street. One of Manhattan’s endangered “hidden gems” for at least a little longer, the hotel’s Bar Hugo has an easy aesthetic about it. Relaxingly reminiscent of a sauna with wood-planked floors spaced out like a boardwalk, a slithery center bar serves as its focal point. The real beauty of this place is the wraparound outdoor patio that offers a rare chance to revel in the unobstructed sunlight streaming over the Hudson. The barfolk add to the ambiance with specialty cocktail offerings and honestly unpretentious (an overused word, but in this case accurate) service.


1. Drumbar at Rafaello Hotel

201 E Delaware Place – Chicago, IL 60611
T: 312-933-4805

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In September 2014, GQ Magazine called Drumbar’s skyline view the best in Chicago. If, for some reason, you disagree, the tufted leather couches inside and private golf club vibe outside should cut it for you. With its open flame fire pits, the patio beckons you in, makes you want to stay forever, and promptly tosses you on your tuchus upon closing at midnight. The bountiful bar program includes several house cocktails, the Fort Night—The Glenrothes single malt scotch, velvet falernum, Suze, lemon and saffron bitters—being an especially intriguing one of them.

2. I/O Godfrey at the Godfrey Hotel

127 W Huron Street – Chicago, IL 60654
T: 312-374-1830

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With its claim to fame being “the largest year-round retractable outdoor lounge with 250 seats and bar space in Chicago,” one might fear the futility of packing a house so large. And since the age of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has dawned, nobody wants to hang out in a half empty lounge. Well, fear not, I/O fills to the brim on any given day or night. The bartenders, adeptly trained in the art of high volume as they are, churn out top-notch, complicated drinks at breakneck pace. The Chef’s Cocktails menu, recently updated for spring, has a $42 Spring Awakening pitcher with Grey Goose, cucumber, and herbs topped with fresh lemon.

3. Tanta

118 W Grand Avenue – Chicago, IL 60654
T: 312-222-9700


This Peruvian restaurant in River North plans to reopen its rooftop lounge for the fair weather months come May. With a standing room capacity of 90 and a mix of high tops, bar stools, dining tables and lounge seating, come for Executive Chef Jesus Delgado’s Tiradito Mixto (fresh fish and octopus in a creamy rocoto leche de tigre emulsion ($17)), but stay for the rave-worthy signature Pisco Sour ($12). Prepared using Barsol Quebranta pisco, egg white, lime, sugar, and Amargo Chuncho bitters, no Peruvian restaurant worth its salt would be complete without a killer pisco drink.