There’s a lot to love about Miami. David Caruso taking off his sunglasses every couple of minutes and Emily Proctor kicking ass and taking names – even if they are technically doing all that in California, it’s the thought that counts. Pulled pork sandwiches. The Bay Harbor Butcher. Even Will Smith digs Little Cuba, and if the Fresh Prince tells you there ain’t no city in the world like it, you best believe him.
While there’s also gobs and scads of strange crime and episodes of Cops that come out of the sunshine state, we’ve found that if you stick to the 15 best rooftop bars in Miami, you’ll stay above the fray.
Stuck on the roof of an old ‘20’s bank, the Broker stays true to its Prohibition-era roots by offering a whole menu of drinks that are inspired by the roaring twenties. Though it goes for speakeasy-chic, it’s certainly no backwater with plenty of marble and cuban tile to go along with the smashing drinks. Try The Giggle Water: a spin on bathtub gin with loads of zest and plenty of kick.
FIFTY Ultra Lounge
Address: 485 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL 33131
As the name says, you’ll get your kicks 50 stories into the sky at the Ultra Lounge. It’s been recently remodeled with grass along the pool and old cabanas transmuted into private VIP seating that overlook Brickell and the bay. Drop in on Saturday night when it’s smoking hot go-go dancers, fire slingers, and live DJs.
Fine, Area 31 isn’t technically a rooftop bar, but try to complain as you scope out one of the best views of downtown 16 stories up. Lots of young pros and the business elite head here to unwind, so it’s good for networking as much as relaxing, and the champagne flows during happy hour specials on Thursday and Friday nights. Try the In Honor with tonic and lime made right there.
C-Level Rooftop Terrace
The C-Level is the absolute home of ships-passing-in-the-night hookups, since it crowns The Clevelander hotel, which is a notorious tourist trap. It’s actually better during the day, when the mood is chill and you can grab a Cleve on the Beach while sunbathing. During the night, it’s a crowded meat market of fare from everywhere.
The 1 Rooftop
Lazy days and good living is the vibe of The 1 Rooftop. It’s covered in plush couches where you can take your ease and watch the sunset, then grind to your heart’s content while live DJs spin. Try the organic wines or drop by on Sunday for their stellar brunch service where the burgers will wreck your bathing suit body.
Above Mayfair Pool Lounge
Address: 3000 Florida Avenue, Miami, FL 33133
A wide and sweeping view of the bay working hand in hand with decorations inspired by Gaudí, this transports you far from the Coconut grove and drops you right into a tropical hideaway that is worthy of a postcard. Every Sunday is the Sunset Over Miami party with specials on food and booze to go with the bangin’ club scene.
Often the Highbar is all that you need of South Beach. It’s glitzy from top to bottom with loads of flash to go with the infinity pool in the center. On one side you’ll have the Miami skyline, with the beach on the other. All day pool parties happen every week for those who aren’t guests of the hotel, so eat, hydrate, and throw it down for 14 hours, son.
Your wallet is going to feel the heat when you hit Juvia, but the wide views and royal theme is a world away from the low-rent hedonism you’ll find elsewhere in the Miami scene. Class and sophistication are the order of the day in Juvia, along with a truly astounding look at the city far below. Give the Purple Rain a try, and honor the late Prince in the most intoxicating way.
Spire Bar & Lounge
A watering hole that only opens on the weekends, there’s a little more gaudiness than some may enjoy, but the Spire has a fun, kitschy feel that can easily catch you off guard and force you to enjoy the glowing lights and wild drinks in spite of yourself. Give the champagne mojito a shot and enjoy a look at the Collins Avenue scene.
Gale South Beach
Short in stature but long on curiosity, Gale is just 4 stories up, so rather than getting incredible views of the entire city, you’ll be able to gaze at the strange folk populating South Beach, which will only get more hilarious as the drinks keep flowing. Prop your feet up, get some food, and have a laugh.
Elbow room is at a premium, because locals and tourists alike flock to this spot, with good reason. It looks out over the bay in a style that is French Riviera through and through. The bi-level bar and lounge sits within spitting distance of the ocean, where beachwear abounds. Order a bottle of Domaine Sainte Foy La Côte imported straight from Provence and thank us later.
The Bar at LVL 25
A bit of an unknown gem, The Bar gives you a nice look at Biscayne Bay and Brickell Avenue, but isn’t stuffed to the ceiling with tourists or thumping beats. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7, making it a handy place to live it up on weekday nights when you’re tired of the crowds.
Part of the private Soho Beach House club, you’ll need to reserve a spot or find a member to slip you in, but it’s well worth it. Tranquil as Miami ever is, it’s not uncommon to espy a few celebrities or members of the social elite as you enjoy margaritas with more spice than sweetness, and a menu that includes a dirty burger that must be experienced.
Dolores, But You Can Call Me Lolita
Located on only the 2nd floor, you can’t expect much in the way of eye-popping views, but the extended happy hour specials on food and drink, as well as the revelrous atmosphere offer up plenty of eye-candy to enjoy that has nothing to do with the beach or the buildings. Pop downstairs to dance to reggaeton and salsa, then upstairs to enjoy the sea breeze.
The Rooftop at E11EVEN
While no decent human can forgive the name, this is a quaint bar atop a gentleman’s club for those who prefer a sexy staging area before they hit the mega clubs in the area. Sports, grilling, music, and all manner of other, more unusual fare happens here, depending on when you arrive, and how strangely your tastes run.