7 Rooftop Bars with the Best Drinks (and Views) of Asheville

Gaze out at the Blue Ridge Mountains and art deco skyline from behind your chilled martini glass.

People sitting at tables on a rooftop bar in the evening

Whether you want to socialize with friends or enjoy the mountain views, Asheville bars like Social Lounge are worth visiting.

Photo by Tim Robison

After a day hiking some of the enchanting trails of Pisgah National Forest or enjoying a leisurely drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, head back to Asheville to experience the mountains in a whole different way—as a scenic backdrop at one of the city’s many atmospheric rooftop bars. Asheville’s skyline is also no slouch, as it includes the art deco Asheville City Hall and the neo-Gothic Jackson Building, each an architectural marvel. The following high-in-the-sky watering holes offer a front-row seat for both views.

Left image shows empty tables and chairs on a terrace; right photo shows people grabbing food from plates on a table.

For incredible mountainous landscape views, head to the Montford.

Courtesy of The Montford (left), Photo by Chelsea Lane Photography (right)

Montford Rooftop Bar

  • Best for: An afternoon drink
  • Where to find it: 199 Haywood Street in the Hyatt Place Hotel
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville

With nothing but a wall of glass rising up between patrons and the city below at the edge of this eighth-floor rooftop, you might experience a bit of vertigo—especially when combined with a potent and delicious Montford Mule, a signature cocktail made with Salamander vodka, the spiced-honey Krupnikas liqueur, ginger beer, and a squeeze of lime. Pro tip for day-drinkers: Bring sunblock and shades to really enjoy the Montford’s direct afternoon summer sun.

The Observatory

  • Best for: An upscale evening
  • Where to find it: 68 Patton Avenue in the Restoration Hotel
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville

Asheville’s Drum Circle—featuring a collection of beat-keepers, dancers, and Hula-Hoopers—has been taking place every Friday at 6 p.m. in Pritchard Park for nearly 25 years. While it gets a bit crowded, Observatory goers can elevate their experience by watching and listening to the scene from above the fray. The bar is a fine spot for a romantic evening, special celebration, or even just a drink for one on every other night of the week, too. While the staff welcomes everyone and says there’s no official dress code, this is one place where your trail-to-town outfit might leave you feeling a little underdressed.

Antidote at Chemist Spirits

  • Best for: Craft cocktail lovers
  • Where to find it: 151 Coxe Avenue
  • Neighborhood: South Slope

Many guests have never made it to the rooftop at this establishment—because of the appealing below-deck ambiance. But do pull yourself away from the 1900s apothecary-inspired bar on the first floor because the rooftop is worth it. Trust us. The partially covered rooftop lounge overlooks the popular South Slope neighborhood and provides the perfect backdrop for sipping a flight of the handmade, locally sourced and inspired, award-winning spirits like the Barrel Rested Gin or Biltmore Single Malt Whiskey. It’s also an ideal vantage point for peeping the annual Mardi Gras parade and a fine place to people-watch on any warm evening. The cocktails are among the finest around, made with a precision that makes the place stand out in a beer-obsessed town.

Capella on 9

  • Best for: All-around vibe
  • Where to find it: 10 Broadway Street in the AC Hotel Downtown Asheville
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville

Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours founder and owner Kaye Bentley has arguably spent more time canvassing best buzzed views than anyone else in the city. She made it her job back in 2018, when she combined a love of gorgeous Asheville views with history and a few thoughtfully crafted cocktails, which vary from spot to spot (and also include nonalcoholic options). She spun it all into what is now one of the most beloved experiences in town. So it’s no small thing when she highlights Capella on 9 for having the best ambiance in the game. “At Capella, you can enjoy two distinct areas for rooftop views with spacious outdoor seating and see local art on display,” she says. And if you’re feeling peckish, she adds, “They have a great tapas-style menu.”

Woman shaking a mixer at the bar across the counter from another woman.

The Social Lounge is one of Asheville’s rooftop bars that can be enjoyed year-round.

Photo by Tim Robison

Social Lounge

  • Best for: Intimate evenings and live DJ sets
  • Where to find it: 29 Broadway Street
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville

This place is of two minds: Early in the evening, the small, upscale, loved-by-locals space makes it the perfect incubator for romance. On weekends, the rooftop tables get cleared away to make way for a dance floor, which gets packed with folks grooving to the live set from a local DJ. The rooftop is covered and heated during the chilly months; when it gets balmy in warmer weather, the roll-up doors open and the fans come on, so the party never has to stop.

Hemingway’s Cuba Rooftop Restaurant & Bar

  • Best for: Foodies and large groups
  • Where to find it: 15 Page Avenue in the Cambria Hotel
  • Neighborhood: Downtown Asheville

Share a couple of small plates—we recommend the ceviche mixto and the yuca frita with garlic aioli—at this Cuban-inspired rooftop hot spot where you can pair your food with an exquisite cocktail. A shining example is the #Hemingwayssunset, a blend of Bacardi Silver, blackberry puree, lime juice, simple syrup, mint, and soda water, which comes with a side of sunglasses. When it comes to rooftop eats, this is Bentley’s go-to.

The Roof at the Radical

  • Best for: Golden river sunset views
  • Where to find it: 95 Roberts Street in the Radical Hotel
  • Neighborhood: River Arts District

Atop the newest hotel in town is an alfresco drinking den that peers down on the French Broad River and the heart of the River Arts District. “Its open-air bar is a great way to relax and soak in the collective energy and creativity of the Arts District from a bird’s-eye view,” says Bentley. At sunset the river turns golden, dotted with specks that are people floating along on inner tubes and kayaks. The Radical’s clever use of outdoor furniture creates pockets of intimacy centered around firepits in a space that feels both laid-back and modern. And its 3 p.m. start time on Fridays and Saturdays makes this a solid afternoon-cocktail headquarters (say yes to its 3 Day Weekend Bourbon).

Erin McGrady (she/her) is a queer Korean American writer, photographer, and filmmaker based in Asheville, North Carolina.
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