Our Unofficial, Wildly Subjective Guide to the Best U.S. Rooftop Bars

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Our Unofficial, Wildly Subjective Guide to the Best U.S. Rooftop Bars
As we drift toward summer, our thoughts here at AFAR turn to cocktails and the outdoors—and especially to places that merge the two. Like, say, a rooftop bar.

Here are 10 of our favorite places to drink, swim, and see and be seen high above the world.
Photo courtesy of the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
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    The Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
    Los Angeles, California

    “The rooftop bar/pool at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles is exactly what you’d imagine an L.A. rooftop bar to be: Way too hipster for its own good. There are fire pits, giant trees, weird art, animal-hide upholstery and rugs, and people in John Lennon glasses and kimonos lounging around the pool. (Will they ever swim? No one knows.) It’s got incredible views, DJs most nights, and a killer, super-cheap taco place right next to the entrance. (It’s unaffiliated with the hotel.) Even with the ‘cooler-than-you’ vibe, the space actually feels very accessible and comfortable. It’s like that super-hip friend who somehow manages to make you feel just as cool.” —Maggie Fuller, editorial assistant
    Photo courtesy of the Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
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    El Techo
    San Francisco, California

    El Techo may not soar 15 stories above the SF waterfront, but the bar has a 360-degree view of the Mission and feels much more like a local hangout. Go for the happy hour margaritas ($7) and the cotija-topped guac ($5).” —Aislyn Greene, senior editor
    Photo by Aislyn Greene
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    Petit Ermitage
    Los Angeles, California

    “Brunch and bellinis at West Hollywood’s Petit Ermitage is just about the most Californian experience you could have in L.A.: The food is prepared using produce from the local farmers’ market, the lounge beds are within feeling distance of fireplaces, and the pool is filled with saltwater instead of chlorine stuff.” —Andrew Richdale, former senior editor
    Photo courtesy of Petit Ermitage
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    Mezcaleria Oaxaca
    Seattle, Washington

    Mezcaleria Oaxaca’s rooftop patio is large, serves mezcal a hundred ways, and gets you a few levels above the bustle of Capitol Hill. The only other thing you need is one of those perfect Seattle summer days.” —Aislyn Greene, senior editor
    Photo courtesy of Mezcaleria Oaxaca
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    Northern Territory
    Brooklyn, New York

    Northern Territory in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood is a bit of a trek from the subway, but that shouldn’t inhibit you from enjoying its chill rooftop during the summer. The view of the NYC skyline cannot be beat.” —Danielle Walsh, senior editor
    Photo courtesy of Northern Territory
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    Wythe Hotel
    New York, New York

    “The Wythe Hotel brings the best views of Manhattan in Brooklyn—and there’s no better view from the hotel than from its Art Deco–themed bar, The Ides, easily one of the most of the Instagrammable locations in the borough. Don’t miss the wine list from the hotel’s star sommelier, Lee Campbell, who has a knack for finding quirky, offbeat wines.” —Andrew Richdale, former senior editor
    Photo courtesy of The Wythe Hotel
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    The Met
    New York, New York

    “I freaking love the rooftop at The Met. If I want to stay awhile, I order two drinks because the line can get super long. There’s a different installation there every summer.” —Danielle Walsh, senior editor
    Photo courtesy of the Met
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    New York, New York

    “At Sushisamba in the West Village, you feel as though you’re in an overgrown garden, surrounded by swirling ivy and curled branches, plus white paper lanterns that add some Asian flair. From the new seasonal cocktail menu, order the Miso Mule—a pina colada–like texture and taste with ginger thrown into the mix.”
    —Nicoletta Richardson, former assistant editor
    Photo courtesy of Sushisamba
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    Ace Hotel New Orelans
    New Orleans, Lousianna

    “The Ace brand sure knows how to make a rooftop sing. Alto, at the new Ace Hotel New Orleans, is that mix of pool, bar, and made-for-sunset views that make you want to stay and laze the day away. And the food is so good that, as we were leaving one night, the bouncer-type person at the door grabbed my elbow and demanded to know if we had tried the John T Burger because it was ‘freaking to die for’. We hadn’t but made a point of coming back the day for the meaty, crispy-edged burger. She was right: It was freaking to die for.” —Aislyn Greene, senior editor
    Photo by Fran Parente
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    The Envoy
    Boston, Massachusetts

    The Envoy hotel’s rooftop bar, The Lookout, is one of Boston’s better rooftops for a pre-dinner drink. Yes, it’ll be jam-packed after work hours, but you’ll be able to snag a seat if you go right at four p.m. when it opens. It’s perched right alongside Boston Harbor and adjacent to the city’s financial district, so you’ll be able to take in the twinkle of the skyline and behold that famous not-so-dirty water.” —Danielle Walsh, senior editor
    Photo courtesy of The Envoy
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    WHAT'S NEXT. . .
    Photo courtesy of British Airways Speedbird Centre