As a travel writer, I'm fortunate to be able to travel the world. My days are often filled with interviews, sight-seeing, researching, exploring, and walking...a lot of walking. At night, though, I often like to head for a rooftop bar. It's a great opportunity to relax after a long day, meet the locals, and see a city from another angle.
Here are my Top 10 rooftop bars around the world!
10) LA TERRAZZA, HOTEL CONTINENTALE, FLORENCE, ITALY - Probably the best place in Florence to take in the sunset is this bar, on the top floor of the medieval Consorti Tower. La Terrazza overlooks the Ponte Vecchio and the Arno River and the ancient domed churches, with the Tuscany hills in the background. Take it all in while sipping a Florence-born cocktail called the Negroni. This bar combines the timeless ambience of Old Florence with the chic styles of the beautiful people who flock here. And there's an iPad in the elevator taking you here...so, if you're feeling particularly chic that night, you can take a selfie.
9) LANTERN, FULLERTON BAY HOTEL, SINGAPORE - This bar is a great place to take in the vast, sprawling vitality that is Singapore. It's an oasis of tranquility amidst the city, with tropical landscaping, Colonial-style décor accents, and a swimming pool where you can relax with the specialty of the house, a blend of tequila, vegetables, and fruit called - what else? - the Red Lantern. Believe it or not, in this Oriental city, the Lantern has Latin touches, with live Latin music and a variety of interesting tapas on which to munch.
8) LE 360, RADISSON BLU 1835 HOTEL & THALASSO, CANNES, FRANCE - Cannes is, well...Cannes! It's one of the tree-chic-est destinations on Earth. And you can get an incredible view of it - the picturesque bay, the streets of Old Town, and the surrounding hills that change color as the sun sets - from this seventh-floor watering hole/rooftop terrace. After you experience the shops of Cannes, or its beaches, or touring the countryside dotted with wineries, order a glass of Champagne Rosé and take it all in from this superb vantage-point.
7) SUSHISAMBA, LONDON, ENGLAND - At the top of the Heron Tower - 39 stories high - is a rooftop bar with spectacular views, creative cocktails, and one of the largest sake selections in town. Part of a restaurant with the same name, Sushisamba is the highest rooftop bar in Europe, and the views include landmarks such as the Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral. A fashionable crowd gathers here every evening, to enjoy cocktails such as the Nina Fresa, Chu-Cumber, Shiso Fine, and Kaifirinha.
6) THE ROOFTOP BAR, THE RITZ-CARLTON HERZLIYA, TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - The twelfth-story location of this bar affords you a stunning panorama of the Mediterranean Sea and the sun setting on its distant horizon, a 360-view of the ancient minarets and alleys of Jaffa nudging up against the modern towers of Tel Aviv, and, below you, the largest marina in Israel. The open-air design brings the outside in, and the unique interior intersperses earthy touches with stunning modern accents.
5) TWILIGHT SKY TERRACE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, USA - Located on top of a boutique hotel called the Madison, Twilight Sky Terrace offers wonderful views of the legendary Mississippi River and the bridges crossing it...especially at sunset. The décor is modern-sleek and very comfortable. There's a fire pit that becomes a great gathering spot in the evening, and shades to moderate the summer sun in the daytime. There's a live DJ from Thursday to Sunday evenings, and "Breakfast With the Beatles" each weekend. The bar is open to hotel guests and members only.
4) ROOFTOP LOUNGE, THOMPSON TORONTO HOTEL, TORONTO, CANADA - During the daytime, this lounge is a casual poolside club, with an infinity pool and cabanas. Once the sun goes down, however, this place doffs its nightclub-wear and goes out on the town. Either time, though, the Rooftop Lounge offers a memorable view of one of North America's great cities, and the Great Lake (Ontario) upon which it sits. It's open only to hotel guests or members.
3) AER, FOUR SEASONS HOTEL MUMBAI, INDIA - The stunning city of Mumbai - which has transformed into a true world capital over the past couple of decades - sprawls out before you as far as the eye can see as you enjoy a cocktail here. Aer is the highest rooftop bar in Mumbai - on the 34th floor - and it covers the entire roof of the Four Seasons. It's an eye-catching collage of modernistic furniture and lighting, curved into flowing, artistic shapes.
2) THE ROOFTOP, DENVER, COLORADO, USA - This is not only the largest rooftop bar in the world...but, at 38,000 square-feet, it may also be the largest bar in the world! Just opened this past April, The Rooftop crowns Coors Field, a 50,000-seat stadium that's home to Major League Baseball's Colorado Rockies. This two-story area can hold up to 4,500 fans, including seating for 1,200. In addition to the baseball game taking place below you, the views of the city of Denver, and the 10,000'-14,000' Rocky Mountains beyond, are truly spectacular. And The Rooftop offers the opportunity to try some local craft-beers from the city considered the micro-brewery capital of America.
And now, my pick for the No. 1 rooftop bar on Earth...
1) OZONE BAR, RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL, HONG KONG, CHINA - There's a good reason this bar is called Ozone...it's practically in the Ozone! Sitting atop the Ritz-Carlton at the top of the International Commerce Centre, at 118 stories, it's the highest bar in the world. And perhaps the most chic. Bathed in imaginative blue lighting, the modern, whimsical furniture is highlighted by creative decorative accents that encompass pretty much every angle and shape known to mankind. From here, you'll have an unforgettable view of Victoria Harbor. And when you're done ogling the view, you can boogie to the sounds of the house DJ, or take a Cocktail Master Class taught by an expert mixologist. (After which you may be an expert mixologist!)
Been to any good rooftop bars lately? What's your choice for the best?