20 Backyard and Rooftop Bars You Need to Hit Before Labor Day
Summer will be over before you know it, which means now’s the time to kick your outdoor bar-hopping habits into high gear. Add these breezy, open-air spots to your must-visit list while the days are long and the nights are warm — we’ll see you there.
The Crown, New York, NY: Chef Dale Talde and his Three Kings Restaurant Group have found a new home in NYC’s Chinatown district. Aside from the epic views of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's a variety of Asian-inspired cocktails to sample and endless Instagram pics to take. Try favorites like The Crown Manhattan (with Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Antica, Szechuan tincture, and bitters) or The East India (with Fords gin, Pimms, lemongrass, ginger, cucumber, and lime), and definitely don't sleep on their famed "Slush Cocktail," which changes seasonally based on local ingredients sourced in Chinatown.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar at The Envoy, Boston, MA: The Envoy is Boston's answer to the perfect hot-spot hotel. Not only do they have a year-round rooftop bar (Lookout) where even locals wait in lines to drink, but they also have chic rooms, a crazy talented chef (Tatiana Pairot Rosana) who heads up their Outlook restaurant, and unmatched views of the seaport neighborhood. Order the Bella Signora (Galliano Amaro, Campo Viejo Sparkling Rose) and Angro Mango (Lunazul Blanco, Patron Mango Lillet Blanc, fresh grapefruit juice) in the summer, and make your way back in the winter when they bring heated igloos up to the roof to drink in. Yes, seriously.
Bar Amis, Philadelphia, PA: Having just opened in Philly's Navy Yard this month, this bar perfectly merges laid-back vibes with Italian comfort food. Along with the trending summer cocktail frosé, they also serve seasonally driven small plates like fried cauliflower with herbs, fluke crudo with watermelon, and grilled zucchini. Their patio is the perfect spot to sip garden spritzers and catch up with friends.
Watr at the 1 Rooftop, Miami Beach, FL: There's a reason everyone is flocking to this swanky spot, and it has everything to do with the fact that they have the largest rooftop pool in the area. The adults-only space has a 110-foot-long swimming pool and multiple “daylife” events, like Sunday’s "healthy parties," featuring dancing, DJs, and sushi + poke nibble options. A good time indeed.
Olmsted, New York, NY: Chef Greg Baxtrom (of Per Se and Blue Hill at Stone Barns) and farmer Ian Rothman (the former horticulturist at Atera) have teamed up to create one of the most impressive outdoor spaces in Prospect Heights. And they are as generous in the community as they are meticulous about the lush landscape — for every meal eaten, they donate 25 cents to GrowNYC to help New Yorkers eat better, plant a tree, and connect with nature. Enjoy strawberry, tarragon, and lavender-based cocktails and snacks like snap pea sushi, radish top gazpacho, and carrot crepes with littleneck clams and sunflowers (made from the herbs and flowers out back, naturally).
Lake Club at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, CA: There's no better way to imbibe on refreshing beverages in Tahoe than out in the open air, on the lake. At the Ritz-Carlton Lake Club (located on the North Shore in California), guests can cheers with Mai Tahoe Tais and Basil Blooms, in addition to enjoying outside dining, a private boat pier, a fire pit, and fun activities like parasailing, waterskiing, wake surfing, and more. Count us in.
Wet Deck at the W, Austin, TX: When you want to get tipsy in Austin, head to the W hotel. Situated on the corner of Willie Nelson Boulevard, this is where you want to “sip and be seen,” especially on Soundwave Sundays (from 12pm 'til sundown). They also have a Detox.Retox.Repeat special (in partnership with Bumble BFF) for poolside workouts with The Barre Code and complimentary post-workout cocktails.
La Lanterna di Vittorio in New York, NY: Frequented by celebs like Taylor Swift, Amal Clooney, and Julianne Hough, this gem in the heart of the West Village is the ultimate date-night spot. The cozy cafe is known for its 20 Genoan-style pizza varieties, in-house psychic, and Bar Next Door jazz club, but it's the romantic votive-lit garden that will really make you feel like you've been transplanted to an Italian countryside oasis.
Precinct Bar at Loews Hotel, Boston, MA: Summa in Beantown is the best, especially when there's seafood and cocktails involved. Swing by Precinct for their sidewalk terrace to sip a Nor’Easter (bourbon, maple, and ginger) or a Harvard (cognac, vermouth, and bitters) and take advantage of their "Two Buck Shuck" happy hour deal. From 4-6pm daily you can sample Malpeque, Beausoleil, Katama, and Powder Point oysters for $2 each — doesn't get much better than that.
Departure Elevated, Denver, CO: As the only rooftop pool in Cherry Creek and one of the only ones in the Denver area, THIS is where you get the good views. The urban observatory has craft cocktails and light bites aplenty, but we're partial to the Battle of Batida (barrel-aged novo fogo cachaça, coconut milk, passion fruit, lime) and the miso deviled eggs.
Porta, Asbury Park, NJ: When you're in the mood for a good #TGIF situation, post up at this flagship spot in Asbury Park, because who doesn't like drinking at communal picnic tables?? They also have lawn games, signature cocktails, pizzas, and a pretty great list of local craft beers — AKA everything we love in life.
The Jane Rooftop, New York, NY: Enjoy summer on the Hudson River atop the quirky-cute hotel that's as notorious for its decor (think hand-chipped paint, cracked walls, and stools dripping with fringe) as it is for its inhabitants (RuPaul lived in an apartment here for years). Oh, and rooms start at $99 per night, which means the after-party begins after the rooftop party.
The Betsey South Beach, Miami, FL: Not only is this one of the *cutest* hotels in Miami right now, but it's also one of the most fun for al fresco day (or evening) drinking. They have a rooftop pool, a pet-friendly policy, an award-winning restaurant (LT Steak & Seafood) outside on Ocean Drive, and an art deco wing where you'll want to snap a few pics for your 'gram.
L27 Rooftop Bar, Nashville, TN: We hope you're not afraid of heights, because the "27" stands for the floor it's on. The journey up there is definitely worth it for their killer drinks and savory bites, along with their infinity pool and VIP cabana service. They also have a new live music series called "Rooftop on the Rocks" on the last Wednesday of every month. And if you're looking for somewhere major to take in this summer's solar eclipse, this is where you want to be to see the scientific wonder.
1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, NY: After you spend the day poolside soaking up the sun (and the prime people watching), indulge in summer classics from Chef Michael Oliver. There's a locally sourced grilled hot dog and a backyard burger to choose from, or opt for his guacamole with spiced chips, crudité, or whipped ricotta with market tomatoes. YUM.
Rattle Inn Rooftop, Austin, TX: Rattle Inn has been a West 6th Street staple since 2012, so you know their rooftop patio game is strong. Go for nightly live music, cocktails and craft beer, and their epic guacamole competition.
Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY: Tucked behind the sepia-toned, Parisian-inspired bar at Premiere is a hidden oasis that's perfect for oyster and cocktail pairings in the middle of summer. It's also worth a visit for their out-of-this-world mixology program, run by bar director Will Elliott. Try crudo, lobster rolls, and sea urchin over glasses of Pastis and Sandman Sling and Peacock Throne cocktails, and don't leave without snapping a photo of their working Absinthe fountain.
Mama Shelter, Los Angeles, CA: If you're into bright furniture, cold libations, and cool views of the Hollywood sign, then this is the place for you. They also have an entertainment-themed cocktail list, with favorites like the Y Tu Mama Tambien (mezcal, almond syrup, lime, jalapeño, cucumber) and How I Met Your Mother (Hangar One vodka, Aperol, red grapes, mint, lemon, wheat beer). Plus they have foosball, drag queen bingo on Saturdays, and outdoor film screenings. Why go anywhere else?
Hot Tin Rooftop Bar, New Orleans, LA: 270-degree views of the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans are here for your social media likes. Behind the bar at the Pontchartrain Hotel are elevated cocktails and Champagne. But the ultimate reason to come here? The decor is inspired by a 1940s artist's loft and American playwright Tennessee Williams, who lived at the hotel while writing A Streetcar Named Desire. Coolest thing ever.
Pok Pok, Brooklyn, NY: It’s no surprise that Pok Pok usually sweeps the “best Thai” awards, but even their most devoted fans might not be aware of the hidden oasis looming in the back, behind the legendary restaurant. Now you can order their addictive chicken wings in the open air on a balmy summer night. Wash those down with a Lord Bergamot (Smith Teas bergamot tea-infused vodka, Som honey drinking vinegar, orange liqueur, and soda on the rocks) or a Salted Plum Vodka Collins (salted plum, vodka, fresh lemon juice, and soda on the rocks) and be sure to snap a pic or two of your spread on their bright, floral tablecloths.
What’s your favorite outdoor drinking spot? Let us know @BritandCo!