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Top 10 rooftop bars in the world
We’ve checked out the top 10 rooftop bars in the world – the swankiest watering holes where you can enjoy a drink high in the sky.
La Terrazza Bar, Florence
Where: At the top floor of the Consorti Tower at Hotel Continentale, next to Ponte Vecchio.
The scene: Perched on the top of the hotel’s 13th century medieval tower, this swish open-air drinking hole overlooks the iconic Arno River and affords superb views of some of the city’s masterpieces including Brunelleschi’s Dome, San Miniato, Palazzo Vecchio and Forte Belvedere. Following a recent re-design by Florentine architect Michele Bönan, the vibe here is ‘1950s Italian cinema meets fashion’, replete with contemporary furnishings, wooden floors, an open fireplace and heated benches to thrill the cool crowd who swarm here on chillier nights.
Signature drinks: A brand new drinks menu has recently been created by some of Florence’s best mixologists. The most popular cocktails include the Negroni (a potent blend of gin, vermouth rosso and Campari) and a new interpretation of the Vesper Martini, the drink ordered by James Bond in Casino Royale which is made with three measures of Gordon’s, one measure of vodka and half a measure of Kina Lillet. To be shaken not stirred, obviously.
The Roof, Madrid
Where: On the rooftop at the ME Madrid Reina Victoria hotel in the historic Plaza de Santa Ana.
The scene: International party-goers and Madrid socialites are whisked up to the seventh-floor at this five-star Melia Hotel by a funky-looking lift complete with ultra-violet lights. Once at the top, a haven of elegance beckons where night owls can enjoy the 360-degree view across the city and the beautiful people at the bar in equal measure. Owned by US nightlife impresario Rande Gerber and updated by British architect Keith Hobbs, the décor style is classic-meets-contemporary. The bar itself is built into a stone wall and outfitted with a vibrant palette of purple glass, polished chrome, white couches, custom-designed hanging lights and marble tables. Party here past midnight for DJ chillout sessions.
Signature drinks: speciality premium cocktails include Mangomint Mojito, Chicago Martini, Clover Club, Pisco Green and more. Try the Cointreaupolitan (a mix of Cointreau, cranberry juice and fresh lime) and graze on delicious freshly-prepared tapas. The drinks at this decadent terrace are very expensive, but hanging out with Madrid’s high-society doesn’t come cheap.
Kensington Roof Gardens, London
Where: On top of the former Derry & Toms department store at 99 Kensington High Street.
The scene: Laid out by Welsh landscaped architect Ralph Hancock in 1936 and now owned by Sir Richard Branson, these fabled gardens impress high-flyers with panoramic views across West London. There are three themed gardens sprawling over one-and-a-half acres on the building’s sixth floor: the Alhambra-inspired Spanish Garden features fountains and vine-covered walkways, the Tudor Garden is characterised by archways, evergreen shrubs and roses, and the English Woodland Garden is defined by a pond that is home to four flamingos. Book a table at Babylon Restaurant on the seventh floor, dance in The Club and mingle with millionaires on the terrace 100-feet above ground level.
Signature drinks: Babylon pulls in the crowds with designer interiors and British-inspired cuisine. Order Psychedelic Flamingo (a blend of Caribbean rum, lime juice, grenadine, peach puree and pineapple juice), The Lady Gardener (Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, apple liqueur, fresh basil and aniseed) and Derry & Tom’s Julep (Johnnie Walker Whisky, apple liqueur and lemon juice).
Upstairs at the Kimberly, New York
Where: Set 30 stories high atop the Kimberly Hotel at 145 East 50th Street.
The scene: Live the high life at this penthouse-level lounge that offers 3,000-square-foot of drinking space and boasts 360-degree views of Midtown Manhattan and the Chrysler Building. Appealing to hipper-than-hip New Yorkers, this posh but unpretentious bar features three separate indoor/outdoor areas, retractable all-glass ceilings and lots of twinkling lights. The design theme is theatrical and very Hollywood glam; from the bronze bar topped with black granite and the hand-painted Venetian walls to the elegant leather seating, cascading ivy walls and heated hardwood flooring.
Signature drinks: Created by world-renowned mixologist Alexander Ott, masterfully-created cocktails include Rum Service (Montecristo rum with nuances of honey, fresh pear and zesty lime), The Electrolyte (Russian Standard vodka with fresh pineapple dressed with watermelon) and The Chrysler (a champagne cocktail made with the finest honey, fresh lemon and lime). There is also an extensive wine list, an excellent selection of beers and an eclectic menu of small plate offerings.
Brisa del Mar, Barcelona
Where: On the sixth floor of Hotel Duquesa De Cardona at Passeig de Colom 12, opposite the marina.
The scene: Set atop this small luxury boutique hotel on the edge of the Gothic Quarter, the views from this idyllic rooftop space include Montjuich Park, the Olympic Marina, the Mercè Church dome, the Barceloneta neighbourhood and the pleasure boats docked in Port Vell. Frequented by hotel guests and well-heeled Catalan locals, this fashionable terrace is divided into two areas: one has a small plunge pool and is perfect for sunbathing and cooling down, the other for enjoying a sundowner and snacking on mouth-watering tapas. The bar hosts live jazz and bossa nova on selected nights.
Signature drinks: There is a comprehensive wine list offering 30 different varieties of red, white, rosé and cava; most of them are from DO Catalunya and are sold by the bottle or glass. There is also a good selection of cocktails and G&T specials flavoured with ginger, lavender, rosemary or kumquat. The terrace doubles as a nightly tapas and BBQ restaurant between May and September.
SEVVA, Hong Kong
Where: On the 25th floor of the Prince’s Building at 10 Chater Road in Central.
The scene: Owned by fashionista and lifestyle icon Bonnie Gokson, SEVVA (pronounced savour) is a swanky penthouse bar with a 360-degree wraparound balcony overlooking Victoria Harbour, Kowloon and the shimmering towers of Admiralty and Central in Hong Kong. The Vogue-like décor is as lavish as befits the city’s fanciest hangout; expect East-meets-West furnishings, cushioned sofas, low-lit tables, artworks from London’s Fine Art Gallery and a vaulted ceiling filled with 20,000 gorgeous silk flowers. Whilst sky-high prices prevail, this is the place to impress and be impressed. The bar even has a dedicated cake corner called Ms. B’s Bakery that serves over 15 varieties of sweet temptations
Signature drinks: Bespoke cocktails include the creatively-named I Know I’m Beautiful (Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, mango, peach liqueur and cognac), Thaijito (mojito with Thai rum) and Ginseng & Pink Grapefruit Cosmopolitan. Other potent tipples include Kama Sutra, SEVVA Mojito, Bloody Mary in Asia and SEVVA Sexy Pink Sangria. Various Bordeaux reds, dark rum shooters, champagnes, organic vegetable juices and fruit-infused cocktails are also available.
VUE Bar, Shanghai
Where: On the 32nd and 33rd floors of the new Hyatt on the Bund at 199 Huang Pu Road.
The scene: Offering stunning vistas of both sides of the Huangpu River and the glittering lights from Pudong’s skyscrapers, this split-level bar at the northern part of the Bund is one of Shanghai’s most sophisticated. Level 32 has a drinks lounge with a circular cocktail bar and reversible daybeds, but the showstopper is Level 33; accessed by a spiral staircase this sumptuous space tempts with an open-air marble Jacuzzi. Bring a bathing suit (or buy one from the bar) and share bubbles and bubbly with expats and affluent Shanghai locals. The bar features nightly DJ’s and regularly hosts live jazz bands.
Signature drinks: The head bartender mixes up premium cocktails including Caipirinhas (prepared with cachaça, sugar and lime) and VUE Martini (made with mango puree and lime juice). Alternatively, order from the extensive wine list (it changes seasonally) or simply stick with champagne. There is a £10 cover charge if you are not a hotel guest, but you do get a voucher for a free drink.
Luna Bar, Kuala Lumpur
Where: On the 34th floor of the Pacific Regency Hotel, directly opposite the KL Tower.
The scene: Experience 360-degree city views at this super-sexy rooftop and poolside bar which is easily KL’s most desirable destination for wining and dining. Bag a deck chair by the huge pool on the lower deck (sadly a night-time dip is not permitted) or step up to Luna Mezzanine on the top floor and laze on sofas in the lounge – be sure to pick a window seat for the best views of the illuminated 88-storey Twin Towers. A resident DJ enthralls a smart-looking crowd on a nightly basis and the place is packed out on Wednesdays for Red Hot Diva Night (ladies can indulge in complimentary canapés and five different cocktails) and on Thursdays for the 1980’s Retro-Themed Party when decade-inspired attire is strongly encouraged.
Signature drinks: Resident mixologists offer a medley of exotic-named cocktails such as Sex on the Pool, Purple Love, Scandalous, 69, LS2 and LUNA – the bar’s signature turquoise cocktail made with dark rum, Cointreau, blue Curacao, lychee liqueur and garnished with a Longan fruit and sago. There is also a decent selection of cocktails, wines, beers, premium liquors and mocktails. The bar menu includes escargot and foot-long hot dogs.
Aer Lounge, Mumbai
Where: On the 34th floor rooftop of the Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai at 114 Dr. E. Moses Road.
The scene: Covering the hotel’s entire rooftop, Mumbai’s highest bar exudes sky-high chic with views of the commercial Worli district and the Arabian Sea. Accessed via a glass-panelled staircase from the luxury hotel club rooms below, this glossy bar wows with lots of white sofas and groovy-looking seating, glowing neon lights, a circular bar and raised VIP sections for Mumbai’s elite. The in-house DJ works the decks most nights and spins a varied selection of club tunes, modern Indian lounge music, house, jazz and funk to gear up the high-energy crowd.
Signature drinks: Champagne and speciality cocktails such as Bellini (the bar’s signature cocktail made with mango puree with Moet and Chandon) and Horizon (made with vodka, coconut water and curry leaves) are reduced to half price during happy hour which runs nightly from 5.30pm to 8pm. The international and domestic wine menu is extensive and there is also a pleasing selection of beers, spirits and martinis to compliment gourmet-style bar food such as tapas, mezze and sushi.
Vertigo & Moon Bar, Banyan Tree Bangkok
Where: A whopping 61 floors up on the top of the Banyan Tree Hotel, South Sathorn Rd, Sathorn.
The scene: There is literally nothing above the Banyan Tree Hotel other than Bangkok's all-consuming sky which is why Vertigo & Moon Bar is such an apt name for this Bangkok rooftop legend. Basically, if you're after food - head to Vertigo and about face for drinks at Moon Bar. Once you've made your choice then all you have to do is negotiate the seemingly gravity-defying bridge in between the two venues and you're all set. Although prices can rise as high as the Banyan Tree itself, the views alone are totally worth it, especially if you're hoping to impress a special someone. Arrival before sun down is definitely recommended due to the limited amount of seating and if it's raining then you might as well hold fire as everything shuts down due to the open-air ambience.
Food for thought: Vertigo is fairly good for steak and seafood however, don't expect too much as it's usually the view that takes centre stage.
Signature drinks: High-end spirits, bottled beers and cocktails - just try to make them last if you're running low on funds!