They’re no secluded beach or mountaintop, but rooftop bars offer a pretty scenic place to watch some smoggy sunsets — and they’re conveniently ubiquitous in Los Angeles. Enjoy Southern California weather year-round, but especially now, by grabbing drinks at these sky-high spots.
Broken Shaker at the Freehand is probably the closest you’ll get to a tropical vacation in the middle of 8th Street. The poolside umbrellas and beach chairs are pink, the bar is covered in tiki-themed decorations and the cocktails are mixed with flavors like coconut and kaffir lime. It’s open noon to 2 a.m. daily. Cocktails (Carrot Colada and RuPaul’s Baby, among the options) start at $14 each; it’s $12 a glass for wine; beer starts at $5. And hey, don’t jump in the pool — unless you’re a hotel guest. Info: Broken Shaker at Freehand, 416 W. 8th St., Los Angeles; (213) 395-9532
Mama Shelter, thanks to its view of the Hollywood sign and palm trees aplenty, might be one of the best places to impress an out-of-town visitor. If you ever take your eyes off the skyline, you’ll have fun snacking on Mama’s Boujee Fries ($10), made with Parmesan and truffle oil, and sampling the drinks list. Each cocktail ($12) has some twist on the word “mama” in the name, such as Y Tu Mama Tambien with tequila or mezcal, and Mama Mia!, with vodka, lemon, almond syrup and cherry bitters. Info: Mama Shelter, 6500 Selma Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 785-6666
Ride the elevator of the Hollywood Proper residence up 22 floors, and you’ll step out into Filifera. Cocktails are $16, beers start at $8 and they have quite a few wines, ranging from $13 to $20 a glass. The fried chicken sliders ($14) are nearly as picturesque as the view. If you’re a fan of designer Kelly Wearstler, you’ll like the way she decked out the bar with neutral tones and chic furniture. With a view of L.A.’s impressive mountain backdrop, just sit back and let it all unfold. Info: Filifera at Hollywood Proper, 1550 N. El Centro, Los Angeles; (323) 465-7767
It may be in the middle of Beverly Hills, but The Rooftop by JG has a greener view than most in the city. Its color scheme is green, it overlooks the Los Angeles Country Club golf course and its food menu features a healthy amount of vegetables. Refreshing drinks, like the ginger margarita ($25) and non-alcoholic passion fruit cooler ($10), complement the view. Info: The Rooftop by JG at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, 9850 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills; (800) 774-1500
The High Rooftop Lounge at the Hotel Erwin is, surprisingly, Venice’s only rooftop bar. You can catch the sunset while peering out at the boardwalk and the Pacific Ocean. When the evening gets chillier, snag a spot by a heat lamp to offset the iciness of their frozen, summer-only cocktails, including Frosé and the Havana Painkiller with rum, pineapple juice and coconut cream (both $17). Info: High Rooftop Lounge at Hotel Erwin, 1697 Pacific Ave, Venice; (424) 214-1062