Sampling local food and drink is one of the joys of being on holiday. It is always good to tickle your taste buds and try something a bit different. Vacationers are prepared to spend a lot more on food and drink than normal. For example, a survey carried out by MyVoucherCodes showed that British travelers spend an average of £49.92, per day, on alcoholic drinks while on holiday. Quite a bit of that spending goes on treating themselves to special drinks, like cocktails.
There is nothing quite like lying on a sunbed by the pool or on the beach with a cool, long drink that is bristling with umbrellas. Or, in the evening, watching the sunset while sipping a cocktail at a rooftop bar. Since about 2015, rooftop bars and lounges have grown in popularity. A study carried out by Ernst & Young for National Real Estate Investors showed that a lot of hotel chains were opening them. As were the owners of office blocks, and public leisure buildings like museums.
This boom in rooftop bar openings did not go unnoticed by Mandoe Media. They operate globally, so were increasingly being asked to provide digital signage technology that was suitable for use in outdoor spaces. Something which prompted them to take a deeper look at the size of this emerging market. The data that they generated while doing this enabled them to identify which cities had the best rooftop bars.
Below, we have summarized their findings and also used their data to work out which countries offer the most top rooftop bars. But let’s start with the individual cities first.
Barcelona is home to the best rooftop bars
In the Mandoe Media survey, it was Barcelona that topped the list of cities with the best rooftop bars. Three of the city´s high-rise bars appeared in the top 25:
The Rooftop at Serras – Passeig de Colom, 9 located on the 6th floor
Like so many of the best rooftop bars, this one is on top of a hotel – The Serras. It offers port and sea views. There is an excellent restaurant too, run by the Michelin-starred Chef Marc Gascons. Unsurprisingly, guests tend to linger, so it is wise to book.
It is a great venue for a special evening out. For a city like Barcelona it is relatively quiet, so is popular with couples. But, during the summer, at weekends, they often have a DJ, which creates far more of a party atmosphere.
La Isabela at Hotel 1898 – La Rambla – located on the 7th floor
If cityscape views are your thing, head to La Isabela. It offers a true 360-degree view of the entire city, providing you with the perfect spot to chill and plan what you will do during your stay. The waiting staff are incredibly friendly and when it is quieter they will happily pause and use their local knowledge to give you the inside track on where to go.
The Pulitzer Terrace at Hotel Pulitzer – Plaza Catalunya – located on the 6th floor
If you like to be right in the center of things, this is the rooftop bar for you. It is very lively, especially in the evenings when you can usually enjoy live music with your drinks and bar bites.
Bangkok grabs the second spot
It was Bangkok in Thailand that grabbed the number two spot. Like Barcelona, three of its bars ranked in the top 25 :
AkaAza Bar at Amara Bangkok Hotel – Bang Rak – located on the 26th floor
Looking at the cityscape views across the hotel´s infinity pool is an experience you do not want to miss. This is the place to enjoy classic cocktails and old-school levels of service. But don´t think this is a stuffy, old-fashioned venue. The vibe is sophisticated but laid back and the bar´s signature cocktails offer something a bit different. Plus, at the time of writing this, you don´t have to be a hotel guest to be able to enjoy your cocktail while chilling on a poolside lounger.
Above Eleven – Nana – spread across the 33rd and 34th floors
This is the perfect spot to enjoy cocktails followed by a meal. The restaurant serves an inspired mix of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. Most nights there is live music or a DJ. The terrace has been designed to make you feel like you are in a city park. Sitting under one of the trees is a great way to stay cool, especially if it is a bit humid. You even get fantastic views while using the bathroom.
The St Regis Bar – Ratchadamri – located on the 12th floor
Despite being one of the city´s lowest rooftop bars, you still get fantastic views while sipping cocktails on this garden-style terrace, which also features an infinity pool. The taste sensation which is the bar´s signature Siam Mary cocktail is not to be missed. Unsurprisingly, for a sports club venue, the dress code is smart casual.
So, if you are a rooftop cocktail lover wondering where to base yourself for your next vacation, Bangkok or Barcelona are both good options. But what about if you are one of those travelers who likes to visit several parts of a country, where should you head to?
Don´t worry we´ve got you covered and have crunched the Mandoe Media stats for you to answer that question.
Which country has the best rooftop bars?
Unsurprisingly, given the size of the country, the USA tops the list. Eight of the top 25 best rooftop bars were located there. Jacksonville got 2 mentions, with Houston, Nashville, San Diego, Denver, Atlanta, and Chicago each getting one mention.
The next on the list is the UK with 5 bars featuring in the top 25. Liverpool and London have 2 each and Manchester has one.
If you want to learn more, we suggest that you take a look at Mandoe Media´s article. It includes a sortable table, which will enable you to also find the rooftop bars that offer the best value for money.