Enjoying summer cocktails isn't just about artisanal ingredients. It’s also about cool breezes, warm sun and rare, unobstructed views of a cloud-strewn sky. Take your warm-weather revelries to a new level, literally, with a visit to one of our nation's best rooftop bars, where the martinis are matched by Instagram-worthy views.
Le Bain at the Standard Hotel
Where: New York, N.Y.
Forget Las Vegas. When you’re drinking at the Standard's notoriously rambunctious rooftop, what happens at Le Bain stays at Le Bain. And a lot is bound to happen when you have a disco-ball-adorned, diamond-shaped hot tub and killer views of New York's magnificent downtown skyline.
P.O.V. at the W Hotel
Where: Washington, D.C.
Watch from your perch on P.O.V.'s terrace while disgruntled tourists mill about like ants. From its 11th-floor vantage point, the rooftop boasts crystal-clear views of the Washington Monument and even a peek at the White House.
During the day, the classically cool setting serves as sanctuary from some of the capital's stuffier establishments. But in the evening, things are kicked up a notch, with a DJ spinning beats that just might make your head swirl -- in a good way, of course.
Float at the Hard Rock Hotel
Where: San Diego, Calif.
Float's lounge may be only four floors up, but its panoramic views of downtown San Diego's cityscape are worth getting stirred up about. If the view doesn't convince you, Float's glamourous digs and scantily dressed crowd swaying to the DJ's sets surely will.
Each poolside cabana is sharply appointed with just the right amount of rock flair and features its very own toasty fire pit for combating nippy nights. If that doesn't float your boat, we're not sure what could.
Departure Bar at The Nines
Where: Portland, Ore.
Portland's 15th-floor bar manages to do what few rooftops bars can: offer stunning views of a downtown skyline in a sleek, citrus-hued setting without even the slightest hint of pretension.
Departure's spaceship vibe may be reminiscent of "The Jetsons," but if drinks like New Horizons -- an inventive cocktail of scotch, fresh ginger and cucumber -- are the wave of the future, then the future is bright.
Jimmy at the James Hotel
Where: New York, N.Y.
For those who crave a break from the crowd, the rooftop space that awaits you on the 18th floor of Soho's James Hotel exudes a certain seductive exclusivity. With room for only 80 discerningly selected bodies, Jimmy's minimalist pool, ultra-modern design and electric views of the Hudson are to be enjoyed in an intimate, never-crowded setting.
Cocktails like the 1 Percent -- a decadent mix of Hennessy, apple brandy, pomegranate-infused molasses and egg whites -- add to Jimmy's chic vibe.
The Shanghai Terrace at The Peninsula
Where: Chicago, Ill.
Asian elegance meets modern allure at the Peninsula's Shanghai terrace, where Chicagoans flock to the hotel's sprawling outdoor space.
The irresistible mix of unrivaled scenery and delicious dim sum (aided by the Ning Sling cocktail's surprisingly potent sweetness) will make you feel as though you're seeing Chicago's skyscrapers for the first time.
Plunge at the Perry
Where: Miami, Fla.
The Perry's rooftop hideaway, Plunge, epitomizes everything to love about Miami. The 18th-floor bar pulsates with a high-energy city vibe, while the palm trees and Atlantic seascapes make every urban stress fall away. Sweet talk your way into one of the many chandelier-adorned cabanas lining the 100-foot stretch of infinity pool, but play it smart and don't actually take the plunge. The locals opt to linger at the water’s edge, so diving in will label you an out-of-towner.
SkyBar at the Mondrian Hotel
Where: Los Angeles, Calif.
There are two equally alluring levels to the Skybar: the dark wood deck that surrounds the hotel's pool, and the plush seating of the inside bar. The best advice? Alternate between the two as an excuse to mingle with the West Hollywood crowd, or just sip your handcrafted cocktail as you take in Sunset Boulevard and the socialite scene.
Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental
Where: Las Vegas, Nev.
Twenty-three floors above the money-making mayhem of the strip's main stretch sits the slice of solace that is the Mandarin Bar.
There are no slot machines to be found here. Instead you'll be acquainted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows that afford an unadulterated glimpse of Las Vegas' glittering skyline.
The relaxed space is cozy and romantic, so after a few sips of their signature Champagne Mojito, making moves on your date will seem a whole lot easier.
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ABH at the Thompson
Where: Beverly Hills, Calif.
A wise woman once said, "Nothing comes close to the Golden Coast." Katy Perry isn't the only one who knows the importance of sipping your gin and juice in a sun-drenched locale. To make the most of Cali's rays, check out the ultra-luxe lounge at the top of the Thompson hotel.
Every element of glamour is covered in this opulent oasis, from the 360-degree views and curtain-enclosed cabanas appointed with flat screens and fully-stocked mini bars, to the heated tiles that surround the Swarovski-bedazzled pool.
America's 10 Best Rooftop BarsWhere potent cocktails and stunning outdoor spaces collide