If there’s one vital travel lesson I’ve learnt in the past year – it’s to find the best view in any city you need to head to a rooftop bar. Sure, you can splash out on tickets to the nearest tourist trap and head up for your skyscraper view or you can follow the Grundy Travels train of thought – rooftop bar = view + drink.
I’m lucky enough to have travelled to quite a lot of countries throughout the past year, and in the process I’ve tried quite a few rooftop bars – all in the name of research of course. Below is a round-up of my favourite I’ve been to from around the globe, to stop, grab a drink and watch the world go by – from the top.
Mr Purple in NYC
I am so, so happy we came across Mr Purple, especially on such a gorgeous and sunny day in New York so we could have an incredible view of the infamous skyline. Because of it’s location you can see both The One World Trade Center and The Empire State building on either side, and an incredible view of the bustling New York streets below. It was a bit too chilly for a dip when I was visiting last time, but in the Summer heat it would be a great spot to stop and dip your toes in their infinity pool.
Like the majority of bars in New York it does have a pricey drinks menu to match, but I can confirm the drinks are pretty tasty, and the food menu looks divine too. If the weather isn’t great when you’re visiting it still has a great indoors area, which has floor to ceiling high windows – enough to still get a good view. Mr Purple is actually located within a hotel, so it’s not clearly signposted from the street – which means it’s a (perhaps not so well) kept secret…
Hidden on the fourth floor of a car park – yes really – PARK is a raised terrace bar with a gorgeous view of the Lisbon skyline including it’s infamous bridge and river. It is dotted with bars situated inside, and has an outdoor terrace to sit back and relax with friends and a giant Aperol Spritz.
The menu isn’t too pricey considering what an incredible view you get, and there are plenty of options to go large and get jugs of cocktails… It is a gorgeous spot to stop at when the sun is setting, so you can see all the way out to the bridge, and if you have excellent vision, maybe even spot the tiny Christ The King statue on the other side of the river.
Neni/Monkey Bar, Berlin
Even though this bar is enclosed, it definitely still counts as a ‘rooftop’ bar, and you can’t dispute that once you’ve seen the incredible view from the top. Not only do you get a view across Berlin, but right next door is the Berlin Zoo so you have a birds eye view directly into the monkey enclosure, which is quite an incredible sight from above.
Monkey Bar is the cocktail bar with plenty of room to kick back with a creative cocktail and admire the view, or you can pop to Neni for something to eat, and I can vouch that the food is absolutely delicious (it’s where I had my birthday meal…). Not only does it have a beautiful view of the Berlin skyline, but the interior decoration is pretty great too.
La Terrasse at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann in Paris
On top of the most extravagant shopping department stores I’ve ever seen is La Terrasse, which has both the option to sit outside in the good weather, or inside their big ice-bubble. You can stop for a coffee, lunch or something to drink, all whilst taking in the view from the top.
You don’t actually even need to stop for something to eat as there is a viewing deck that’s free to access, but it’s always a better experience with a glass of fizz in your hand. You can of course spot the Eiffel Tower in the difference, but it’s fun to watch the Parisian streets bustling by below you.
Sushi Samba London
I can’t finish this post without a shout-out to my own city, with Sushi Samba in London. You can stop for dinner – although you’ll have to book in advance – but you can rock up on the day for a spot at the bar. The cocktail menu is extensive and creative, and there are still bar snacks on offer if you’re peckish – but it can be quite pricey.
The view you get from the top is incredible – especially at night – as you’re right in the middle of London’s skyline and incredibly close to the infamous Gherkin. Speaking of heights, the journey up in the elevator is not for the faint hearted, as it’s completely surrounded in glass, which offers an incredible view of London on your way up to the bar, but may not be best for those who are not a fan of heights…
I’m not sure about you all but that round up of bars has made me really in the mood to go and find a cocktail… preferably with a rooftop view to match… I hope you enjoyed this round up of rooftop bars, if there are any essential bars I need to try please let me know in the comments! Otherwise, more travel updates and pictures are updated daily on my Instagram @GrundyTravels. Thanks for reading!