Tall concrete jungles like New York (No. 1), Los Angeles (No. 2) and Chicago (No. 3) are great cities to enjoy a cocktail with a view. Our top performing companies usually make quality drinks readily available, even if they are expensive. With the climate shifting between ideal and unpredictable, it’s clear that bar owners haven’t stopped making rooftops more popular.
At the bottom of our ranking barrel are much smaller cities such as Springfield, Massachusetts (289th), Sioux City, Iowa (286th), and Beaumont, Texas (283rd). Rooftop pubs are as rare here as at Dalmore 62. You might have to drive (sober) to the nearest big city to enjoy a cold drink on the top floor.
New York climbed to the top of the leaderboard with 77.48 points, more than 35 points ahead of silver medalist Los Angeles, thanks to its #1 spot in both Access and Consumer Satisfaction.
big apple martini
New York City (#1 overall) boasts over 850 top-floor eateries. This is about 2.4 times the number of 354 in the next most populated city, Los Angeles (second place).
Rooftop lounges are more popular than rooftop bars in 40 cities, 30 of which are in the West and Southwest. Los Angeles (2nd overall) has 50 more rooftop lounges than bars, which is the biggest difference, followed by Las Vegas (6th) with 23 and Miami Beach, Florida (18th) with 19 more.
California’s Escondido (71st overall), which means ‘hidden’ in Spanish, is an undisputed but priceless gem. It was the only city in the top 10 (7th) for consumer satisfaction and did not rank in the top 15 overall.
take down the roof
Despite offering the most affordable booze, there are only two rooftop eateries in Boynton Beach, FL (#203 overall), but the quality of their beverages needs to be addressed. These companies had the lowest average consumer satisfaction score across the rankings, tied with Mesa, Arizona (263rd).
The cheapest menu prices and the most ideal climate can attract the thirstiest, most outdoorsy patrons, but investors in Yuma, Arizona (175th overall) aren’t capitalizing on this favorable combination. Yuma has neither rooftop eateries (265th in access ranking) nor top-notch liquor stores (275th in consumer satisfaction).
upset but undaunted
The harsh northern climates of Buffalo, New York (209th overall), Grand Rapids, Michigan (147th), and Pittsburgh (109th) may cause residents to shiver while sipping warm toddies on their rooftops, but these cold temperatures are clearly not a hindrance. All three cities rank in the top 75 for access and offer decent drinks.
Raise the glass (ceiling)
Of the 10 cities with the highest number of highest-rated and most-reviewed rooftop bars, only two have less than 670,000 people: Savannah, Georgia (11th overall) and Charleston, South Carolina (20th). Both have a population of about 150,000.