At LA's Best Rooftop Bars, The Drinks Are As Good As The Views
We are so lucky in Los Angeles. The temperate weather means we have scads of beautiful spots where we can sip cocktails al fresco year-round. But when it comes to rooftop bars, gorgeous views don't go hand-in-hand with quality libations. Fortunately, we've found the best places to pair delicious drinks with shimmering city lights.
Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel
DTLA rooftop bar Broken Shaker, with its lush greenery and floaties-filled pool, is one of the best places to showcase L.A. to out-of-towners. Poolside-friendly drinks such as the Supernova Lava Burst, made with gin and a pineapple cacao nib shrub, and the PB&J Old Fashioned, with peanut butter fat-washed rye and guava cordial, will divert your focus from the cityscape and that gorgeous pool. You don't need to make reservations but before 7 p.m., non-hotel guests must spend at least $45.
- 416 W 8th St., Downtown L.A.
For a rooftop bar without doormen or velvet ropes, there's Bar Bohemién, which sits atop Citizen Public Market in downtown Culver City. It's first-come, first-serve and can be reached via stairs at both the front and the back of the food hall (there's also an elevator). The views, which are mostly of nearby buildings, are partially obscured by trees but you can still enjoy the sky above and cocktails such as the La Vive mezcal espresso martini.
- 9355 Culver Blvd., Culver City.
LA Cha Cha Chá
If it wasn't for the spectacular view of the downtown L.A. skyline, you could easily mistake LA Cha Cha Chá as a Palm Springs oasis. With its desert pastels color scheme, its midcentury decor and more than 150 plants effectively block the neighboring buildings, it's a rooftop oasis. Keep the vacation fantasy going with a spicy pineapple margarita. Although LA Cha Cha Chá is primarily a restaurant, walk-ins looking for a drink are always welcome.
- 812 E. 3rd St., Arts District.
Umbrella Social Club
There's exciting cocktail news from Beverly Hills. The team behind Melrose Umbrella Co. has taken over the food and beverage program of the Sixty Hotel on Wilshire Blvd. You can drink tropical cocktails during the day or take in the night air while lounging on the jungalow-decorated patio. The upper pool area, Umbrella Swim Club, is for members only but the social club below offers lovely views of the sunset and downtown LA.
- 9360 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills.
The Green Room
Technically, The Green Room isn't a bar on a roof. It juts out of the Burbank foothills as part of the Castaway restaurant. But it still offers up views of the sunset and the twinkling lights of the San Fernando Valley. So, yeah, that counts. It's definitely a special occasion spot where you'll want to dress up. You're greeted with a cocktail from a fountain and the immersive drinks range in price from $21 for a martini to $36 for a large batch rum cocktail poured out of an airplane.
- 1250 E. Harvard Rd., Burbank.
Grandmaster Recorders Rooftop Bar
What was once a recording studio for everyone from David Bowie to Gwen Stefani is now Grandmaster Recorders, a massive dining and drinking complex with one restaurant and two bars. The 4,000-square-foot rooftop with its Hollywood views is primarily for drinking but there's a snack menu featuring cheese-stuffed olives and wood-fired pizzas. The liquid offerings are a mix of drinks best enjoyed on sunny days, such as spritzes and drinks on tap, as well as signature cocktails such as Midnight Vultures, a combo of mezcal, green chile, Campari, prickly pear and cilantro.
- 1518 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood.
Turns out, there's only one rooftop pool bar in Culver City. Fortunately, it offers agave cocktails such as Gicela's Flame with blanco tequila and grilled pineapple as well as fresh aguas frescas (tepache and strawberry melon basil) that can be spiked. Celestina can also cater to groups with its scorpion bowls and a "shotopus," a silver octopus holding six shots. Settle down beside the crystal fireplace and take in the view, which stretches from Culver City to downtown L.A.
- 8801 Washington Blvd., Culver City.
Upstairs at the Ace Hotel
Upstairs at the Ace Hotel, atop the former United Artists building, has had a party atmosphere with DJs, live bands and a young, artsy crowd since opening in 2014. To fuel the fun, it serves Aperol Spritzes and mezcal negronis. This rooftop features a shallow concrete pool where you can lounge around while taking in sights such as the gorgeous Art Deco Eastern Columbia building.
- 929 S. Broadway, Downtown L.A.
The Proper Hotel downtown's 5,000-square-foot rooftop restaurant Cara Cara boasts unobstructed views of the city as well as an elevated dining area where you can enjoy Chef Suzanne Goin's all-day menu of roasted cauliflower tacos and a "hangover burger" with mahon and grilled onions. Drinkers can also kick back by the firepit or pool on the lower lounge and order a cocktail, wine or beer. When it first opened, the rooftop shared the same cocktail menu with downstairs restaurant Caldo Verde but its own expanded menu is in the works. For now, relax by sipping a Barrels on Barrels, made with Japanese whisky, sherry cask rum, sherries and barhi dates.
- 1100 S. Broadway, Downtown L.A.