Los Angeles is a strange city, unlike any on Earth. While it doesn’t have the cramped feel of New York, nor the gritty hubbub of Chicago, it’s got a kind of charm that very few see; to their detriment. While it’s certainly chic to complain about L.A., the fact is that the City of Angels has a lot going for it, if you get the right vantage point. We’ve found that the combination of beautiful views, rolling hills, stunning ocean, artfully arcing freeways, and consummately gorgeous weather make this the rooftop bar town of note.
If you haven’t seen the L.A. metropolis from an awe-inspiring sun deck with the city lights brightened by an intoxicated mind, then you need to visit one of the 17 best rooftop bars in Los Angeles to get your head correct.
A real celebration of fluid, a pool is the central feature of the Standard, but if you’re not dressed to get wet, then you can still lay out on one of the waterbed pods as you enjoy liquid refreshment both inside and out.
Outfitted with a Caribbean theme, Mama is a little slice of escapism that will get you far away from the traffic to enjoy dazzling sunsets complete with the smog-tint coloration that make them so lovely. French-Moroccan cuisine will keep you sated, while specialized cocktails with names based around cinema will either amuse, or cause groans with their kitsch.
High At Hotel Erwin
This is all the L.A. you could ask for in one location. The High overlooks the ocean, giving you a panoramic experience of the sun sinking into the sea that’s postcard-worthy. When you tire of the tranquility, you can look down to the Venice boardwalk, which is always littered with madcap characters, and some of the juiceheads from Muscle Beach.
Shangri-La Suite 700
A quick elevator ride will put your feet in the sand when you feel like hitting the ocean for a dip, or you can while away your time on the striped lounges that conjure up images of old Hollywood. A little time at the 700 and you’ll feel as much like Liz Taylor as you ever want to.
Skybar at the Mondrian
The Skybar’s doors were kicked open by Cindy Crawford’s husband, Randy Gerber, who has an eye for beauty and caviar tastes. A few specialty drinks bear unbearable names (like Great Expectations) but they actually taste wonderful and complement the menu well. Best of all, there’s a slew of different events at the Skybar, from DJ-assisted dance parties to movie screenings, to name a few.
The atmosphere is replete with fire pits that are meant to keep the complete lack of Los Angeles chill at bay, while casting a slightly mysterious light. Rather than staring at the ocean, the view is of the L.A. skyline, making it seem almost idyllic.
A West Hollywood fixture that never seems to go out of style, the huge pool and dual bar scene have everything you need to calm your nerves and refresh your senses after a long day on set (or waiting tables). A calming garden and dense American menu top off this Los Angeles rooftop oasis.
Upstairs at The Ace Hotel
Take the elevator that sits beside L.A. Chapter to reach this balmy cut of Morocco tucked away at the top of the Ace Hotel. You’ll need to be garbed in the hottest styles to blend in with the crowd, but otherwise the environment is casual and fun, with plastic cups and loads of scintillating concoctions. Try the Lefty Lucy and thank us later.
E.P. & L.P.
Another bar dotted with fire pits, the L.P. might be fairly new on the scene, but it gives you a 360-degree eyeful of West Hollywood so that you can pick and choose what you want to look at when twilight strikes. Spicy south-of-the-border drinks and food will keep you running long into the night. If feeling bold, have an Appetite For Destruction with true mezcal.
As niche as you can find on a rooftop in Los Angeles, Palihouse is an easy place to miss, and it’s meant to be that way. The unique and startling drink menu has more than a few surprises, most of them amazing. It’s truly a one-percenter’s view of the city.
Located in Beverly Hills, this is as much poolside lounge as it is skyline bar. It’s the only top-shelf rooftop establishment you’ll find within walking distance of Rodeo Drive. The menu changes often, but never disappoints, though you’ll pay for the privilege.
The Library at The Redbury
Rather than sweeping vistas, The Library gives a sense of privacy with a garden design that is only a single story up. Books (those are the things with pages) line the walls and the oversized furniture entices you to curl up and read as much as drink yourself into a dozy stupor.
WP24 By Wolfgang Puck
The crown jewel of the downtown Ritz-Carlton, Puck’s restaurant is generally closed to the public, but during the summer it often opens its doors to the riff and the raff while they try out new dishes, and novel twists on old favorites. You haven’t had ramen until you’ve had Wolfgang ramen.
Roof on Wilshire
A custom-tailored menu and drink list give the Roof at the boutique hotel Wilshire an esoteric feel along with its sweeping, detached look straight at the Hollywood Hills. Making it easy to dream big.
Sitting atop the JW Marriott off of Olympic Boulevard, it’s the best way to experience downtown L.A. The vibe is decidedly sexy with long couches that encourage couples – or whatever number allures you – to kanoodle in the intimate setting.
Made to feel like a speakeasy, Pearl’s is a welcome divorce from the uber-trendy bars. It’s a double-decker lounge that encourages intense conversation far more than relaxation. Stimulating and decidedly out of place, east coast transplants will find it refreshingly odd.
A patio, rather than a true rooftop establishment, anyone who longs for the Malibu beach without needing to suffer through the throngs will enjoy this tranquil escape. A live DJ keeps the beats hot even as the drinks and Pacific spray cool things down.