9 of the Best Rooftop Bars in the World

Ellen Millard

2 July 2019

A global round-up of the world’s best cloud-skimming rooftop bars, from an urban escape in Barcelona to cliffside cocktails in Bali

Raise the roof: experience an elevated drinking experience in every sense of the word

2 July 2019 | Ellen Millard

Aer at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai

Escape the frenetic streets of Mumbai and venture to the heady heights of Aer, a rooftop bar located on the 34th floor of the Four Seasons Mumbai. Sea, sunset and city views can be spied from this vantage point, where the cocktails are experimental and half price during the sundowner happy hours of 5:30pm-8pm. On Sundays, Aer hosts a sunset event with live musical acts.

HighNote Sky Bar at Aria Hotel Budapest

You will be hard-pushed to find a better view of Budapest’s St. Stephen’s Basilica than the Highnote Sky Bar at Aria Hotel Budapest. The bi-level design, connected by a glass staircase, gives you ample opportunity to seek out the best spot for people watching.

3. Baba Nest at Sri Panwa, Phuket

Pull up a cushion at this wrap-around infinity pool-turned-rooftop bolthole, which is found at Phuket’s Sri Panwa resort. The mountaintop bar has some of the best views on the island. From this rooftop bar, watch the sun set over the Adaman sea while sampling Sri Panwa’s lemongrass twist on the classic mojito – the Sri-jito.

4. La Terrazza at Hotel Continentale, Florence

Located in the medieval Consorti tower, now the chic Hotel Continentale owned by the Ferragamo family, La Terrazza rooftop bar has some of the best views found in Florence. The Arno river, the Ponte Vecchio, Brunelleschi’s Dome, Palazzo Vecchio and Forte Belvedere can all be spied from this historic viewing point. The cocktail list is vast and, in true Italian form, includes a make-your-own Negroni section. When in Florence...

5. Rock Bar at Ayana Bali

Perched atop a series of rocks that jut out into the Indian Ocean, Rock Bar, Ayana Bali’s rooftop residence, is one of the best boltholes on the island. Accessible via a dramatic cliff-face lift, the views start from the bottom and improve as you make your ascent. Once you’re seated, sample the bar’s tapas dishes and wash them down with a signature smoking cocktail. If you’re staying at the hotel, you have exclusive access to the VIP Round Deck, which has 360° views.

6. Terrat at Mandarian Oriental, Barcelona

High above the thrum of Passeig de Gràcia – Barcelona’s answer to Oxford Street – Terrat, the open-air bar and Peruvian restaurant that tops the Mandarian Oriental is a tranquil place in which to take a breather. Pull up a daybed and watch the sun set over Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, pisco sour in hand.

7. SKY, Maldives

Sky at Anantara Kihavah somewhat stretches the definition of rooftop bar – the building is only two stories tall, so don’t expect to reach any dizzying heights. However, the views, cocktails and stargazing opportunities will make up for any vertigo lost. Budding astronomers can distinguish their Ursa Major from their Capricornus with the resident telescope and observatory, both of which are the largest in the Indian Ocean.

8. The Roof, New York

When it comes to skylines, New York is hard to beat. Take it all in at The Roof at Public, the best place to drink a Manhattan while admiring, er, Manhattan. Located downtown, the hotel is set back from the huddle of skyscrapers, meaning you can gawp at the best of the city’s landmarks – the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Freedom Tower, to name a few – without craning your neck.

9. Sky Bar, China

Overlooking the South China Sea, the Sky Bar at The Sanya Edition – Ian Schrager’s first hotel in China – is the perfect day-to-night escape. When the sun’s up, marvel at the views while lounging by the infinity pool. After dark, enjoy a rotating calendar of performances by high-profile DJs.