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Last-Chance Rooftop Romps Before Fall Begins

September 21, 2012 at 12:27 PM | by | ()

We hate to see rooftop season go, and with fall officially beginning tomorrow, places will start closing up shop soon. Which is why we've asked our HotelChatter editors and contributors to pick their favorite hotel rooftops around the US and Europe in case you haven't visited one yet. Ever the optimists, we'll say there are a few weeks of prime rooftop hopping left before annoying things like rain, wind chill factor, and snow block us from the outdoor lounging we love so much.

Use this guide to get your pre-Fall affairs in order!

Pod 39, New York City
Word's gotten out about midtown's newest hotel rooftop bar, located on the 17th floor of the Pod 39. And why not? Enclosed by a series of majestic terra cotta columns and slender brick archways, the al fresco space feels more like a re-discovered Greek temple than the regular old Manhattan standby. But, it's a bar alright. Cocktails like the delicious Weathervane (rye whiskey, grapefruit juice, campari, ginger, and a sprig of fresh rosemary, $12) make a great accompaniment to up-close views of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and neighboring Queens. (ASchechter, Assistant Editor)

See the rest of the picks after the jump!


Rare View, New York City
Though we tend to expect NYC rooftops to be crowded when we visit them, Rare View on the 16th floor of the Affinia Shelburne is a rare (heh) exception. There’s space aplenty to spread out, eliminating the need to elbow folks in the kidneys to get to the bar. And the music? Love. The DJs are young enough so twentysomethings are entertained, but old enough that when a lady of a certain age (cough) requests a song, not only does he not give them the side-eye, he actually plays it. When fall hits, check out the up-top action at Rare View Chelsea at the Hilton New York Fashion District, which has a covered section and is open year-round! (Chanize, Editor)

Departure, Portland
We love this rooftop space above The Nines for its quintessential Portland vibe, remarkable views, and perfect martinis—not to mention a global wine list and the city's largest sake menu, sourced from hand-crafted, artisan producers. If you get peckish, try the grilled kushiyaki selections, kobe meatballs and maguro karai honey sushi rolls. Oh, and if your stomach can handle it, don't forget to sample a little of that yummy home-distilled whiskey! (glamtravel, contributor)

Angler, London
There aren't a lot of places in London to hotel rooftop, but with two new additions this autumn, things are looking up. Earlier this week, South Place Hotel opened the doors to its seafood brasserie Angler, which offers both indoor and outdoor seating on the hotel's top floor. We've taken you along a tour of the rest of this brand new property, and you can guarantee we'll be stopping by again soon to check out the rooftop. Then next month, ME by Melia London will also add its rooftop space, Radio, complete with live DJs on the last Thursday of the month. (JasonD, contributor)

Vertigo, Chicago
Like with most rooftop venues, the real reason people continue flocking to the 26th floor of the Dana Hotel and Spa has nothing to do with the drinks or music, but rather the killer views of the Chicago skyline. A promising "facelift" at the start of the summer opened up more space (800 square feet), extended the length of the bar (an extra 20 ft), and added new furniture—meaning the open-air venue, which is enclosed by high glass walls on all sides, can now accommodate up to 150 people. Just be sure to nudge your way to the front for the best views. (ASchechter, Assistant Editor)

Altitude Sky Lounge, San Diego
For Padres fans, this is the ultimate sports bar: located on the 22nd floor of the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. The sprawling rooftop lounge has beautiful views of Coronado, the Pacific Ocean and, of course, standing adjacent to Petco Park has great inside vantage points. As the above photo shows, patrons can actually look right down into the stadium and see a large portion of the field. At night, stop up for a beer (PBR, of course) and sit by the fire pits before heading down to the streets after for dinner if you haven't had your fill of bean n' cheese nachos.(Will McGough, contributor)

Ocho, Miami
If you're lucky enough to get a membership to Soho Beach House (somewhere we've spent a bit of time exploring), you can spend sultry fall afternoons enjoying margaritas and tacos on the hotel's rooftop taco bar, Ocho. Not only does this taqueria serve up dynamic food and a solid tequila list (try CORZO margaritas), you can check out the art splashed across the bark-bar by Primary Projects' Chris Oh. (The Smooth Operator, contributor)

Gaja Roof & Sky, Istanbul
If you happen to find yourself in Eastern Europe this fall, we'd recommend a visit to Gaja Roof & Sky on top of Swissotel The Bosphorus Istanbul. Why? It's the hottest rooftop bar in Istanbul, with views of the old city and, across the Bosphorus Strait, the Asian continent. DJs work their magic till 5 a.m. and, when we were there, Stevie Wonder was playing a concert next door and the music at Gaja was crystal clear. And, if you need more incentive, they make a mean Strawberry Mojito. (Janice Tober, contributor)

The Roof, Los Angeles
On top of Hotel Wilshire, The Roof is a small bar and cafe adjacent to the pool, with tables, booths and a fire pit. Head up here on a clear evening to be surrounded by panoramic views of the entire city, and order from Executive Chef Eric Greenspan's (of The Foundry on Melrose) "Sunset Menu," featuring bites like the Wilshire Salad (greens, avocado, seasonal fruit, goat's cheese) and the Wilshire Grilled Cheese (gruyere, date marmalade, roasted peppers sourdough bread). Drink-wise, we'd recommend the Red Hook, which is basically a Manhattan with rye, maraschino liqueur and sweet vermouth. (Eric Rosen, contributor)

[Photos: HotelChatter; Affinia Hotels; Departure; Swissotel; Hotel Wilshire]

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