Raise Your Spirits at The Best Rooftop Bars in L.A.
What is it that they say about smog? Oh yeah, beautiful sunsets. Make L.A.’s haze work for you at these cocktail bars and beachside spots, where the views rightfully rival the booze. From Downtown’s bars with stellar sights to seaside cabanas in Malibu and Venice, here are the city’s—literally—top rooftop bars.
L.P. Rooftop Bar
There’s a party happening at the intersection of La Cienega and Melrose—and while everyone is invited, not everyone may feel like they fit in with the too-cool crowd. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give L.P. Rooftop a try, though; after all, the view is so stellar and the drinks are so fun, you can cozy up near some neon and just take it all in stride. Located above E.P., a restaurant featuring a hodgepodge of vibrant Asian cuisine, you’ll find L.P., the rooftop bar with killer views and swanky, photo-ready, fun-loving clientele. Share spiked bubble tea with new friends as the sun sets on West Hollywood. Hit this roof at just the right time during the summer and you can even catch an outdoor screening—and yes, there are snacks.
The Freehand Hotel’s trendiest clientele are like moths to a flame at the quirky, colorful and palm-laden rooftop bar above DTLA. Cool off with eclectic cocktails—with some equally eclectic and colorful garnishes—served from the thatched-roof bar as you snack on street-food-inspired dishes. (Don’t skip that guac with peanut salsa.) It’s a perfect perch to take in views of Downtown, especially around sunset. Overwhelmed by that brief but fun menu? We’re crazy for the Carrot Colada, made with gin, montenegro, carrot-and-coconut orgeat and a pink peppercorn cordial.
We’re big fans of Mama Shelter as a hotel and a restaurant, but once we saw the rooftop, we decided we just might move in for good. The bright space is splattered with multicolored sofas and chairs where you can lounge while waiting for your salmon pita to arrive. Cocktails veer from the Mediterranean with a full Moscow mule bar, though you can also find multiple sangrias. On warm nights, you can dance under the stars while DJs spin an eclectic mix of music, or take in a classic movie on their outdoor screen. There’s also a foosball table, a yoga area and sweeping views of Hollywood. Like we said—we’re never leaving.
Culver City isn’t home to too many rooftop bars and restaurants, which makes the PLATFORM complex’s new one a very popular spot. Get to Margot on the early end so that you can stake out a table on the heated patio, as opposed to the glassed-in atrium (also pretty). Gaggles of chic friends and romantic couples on dates are all the norm here, as is a Mediterranean-leaning menu—especially when it comes to wine. There’s also that collection of gin and tonics, not to mention boozy slushies and bright, breezy cocktails. You’ll probably make your way through all of them, what with all the times you’ll be coming up here.
High Rooftop Lounge
Beachside rooftops are in surprisingly short supply in L.A., making Hotel Erwin’s High Rooftop Lounge an in-demand spot for sun-kissed Venice locals. Even if you’re staying at the hotel, be sure to make a reservation; there’s nothing like a multi-hued sunset over the Pacific with a cocktail in hand to get Angelenos buzzing. Getting chilly? Evening bar-goers can wrap themselves in one of the bar’s cozy blankets, along with a spiked cocoa or hot toddy. If you don’t like your drinks sweet, stick to local craft brews to pair with munchies like gourmet sliders and street tacos.
There are rooftops, and then there are scenes. Santa Monica’s breezy, all-day sky-high restaurant and bar is a little of both at all times of the day. Sure, Elephante serves light, bright food with seasonal ingredients (and the pizza’s not bad), but we’re all about the cocktails and of course the view. The indoor-outdoor space feels like a dream living room, with modern, comfortable-but-chic furniture and a stunning view of the ocean off the patio, but with a space like that, it’s also one of the toughest SaMo reservations to land. Best to book in advance, instead of fighting the Westside’s most gorgeous clientele for a walk-in spot.
The rooftop bar that started it all, the Mondrian’s Skybar still retains its secret Sunset Strip entryway, complete with dress-to-impress entry and nightlife cred—this is one of the rare poolside bars where people really do jump in after a night of cocktails. The all-ages crowd ranges from wide-eyed ingénues to aging, rugged types, but no matter where you fall on the spectrum, the Mexican-style oasis of flowering walls and gorgeous nooks will win you over—especially with a mojito in hand. Get there early, because nightly programming like DJ sets and weekend pool parties make this one of the hottest spots to be, hot day or not.
Downtown Historic Core
This rooftop bistro is one of the prettiest in town with its patterned tile floors and potted trees full of twinkly lights. Downtown locals, plus a few hundred of their closest friends, sit on bar stools and plush sofas inside the eclectic boudoir-themed bar or fireside on the outdoor patio. From any seat, you’ll want to sample the selection of kir-style cocktails that go beyond crème de cassis—try a tasty, blackberry-flavored crème de mure—and other French by-the-glass pours. The after-work crowd drops in for happy hour, dubbed Apéritif Hour, weekdays from 4 to 6pm, while late-night partygoers and music-lovers can find frequent DJ sets and live bands.
Downtown Historic Core
Look good—but not like you’re trying too hard—when visiting Upstairs, a Moroccan oasis perched atop the trendy Ace Hotel. Make your way to the buzzing, open-air roof deck, swathed in an exotic canopy and scattered with hip Downtowners clutching plastic cups, to find pitchers of sangria and small plates you won’t want to share. Perfect for an after-work schmooze or a reunion with old friends, you’ll find two bars to order a drink from (be warned: weekends bring the requisite long lines). Try the How Bazaar, an easy drinker made with mezcal, fig brandy, Benedictine, ginger and honey.
Downtown Financial District
Perched 73 floors above DTLA, sitting pretty in the InterContinental hotel, is Spire 73—the bar that just so happens to lay claim to the title of tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. Relax fireside as you sip classic-leaning cocktails on one of the luxe lounge seats, take a seat along the extended bar, or peer past the glass partitions to enjoy one of the best views L.A. has to offer. Not a guest of the hotel? Just beware that there’s a $20 cover fee—but hey, at least that includes a $10 credit toward drinks from Sunday to Thursday.
The Highlight Room at the Dream Hollywood
There’s always a party high above Cahuenga thanks to the Dream Hotel. The trendy hospitality chain’s first West Coast outpost throws killer, almost nightly events at its rooftop pool and bar, but if the party scene isn’t your thing, you can visit during the day for casual lunch and cocktails in the restaurant’s black-and-white checkered dining room (hotel guests only, or by reservation). Of course if you are there to party, keep an eye on Highlight Room’s social accounts for special event announcements—and don’t forget to R.S.V.P.
Downtown Financial District
Even if you don’t hop in the pool, you can still plunge into the fun on one of the bright red waterbed pods scattered across the roof. Take the elevator up to the top, where mod furnishings give a slightly space-age vibe. Afternoons call for sunshine snacks like ube toast, not to mention some quality cocktail lounging—try the sweet and sour Hennessy lemonade—but beware covers on event nights, which never deter the lines that can stretch out into the parking lot. Not staying at the hotel but want to use that perfect pool? A cool $45-per-person minimum can make it happen.
Source: Timeout LA