Of course you know whisky is more than just a cold-weather comfort. Still, much of the civilized world turns to white spirits and cold beer as temperatures rise, oblivious to whisky’s seasonal versatility. These pool bars are the perfect place to soak up some sun, take a refreshing dip, and then turn some heads by ordering a whisky drink. Because hey, you’re cool like that.
The Pools at ARIA—Las Vegas, Nevada
With three ellipse-shaped pools, a pool bar, rentable cabanas, hot tubs, the adults-only Liquid Pool Lounge, and the separate Sky Pool for guests staying in the Sky Suites, the ARIA is like an adult waterpark. Certainly, there are endless opportunities to overindulge and blow through your bank account in Las Vegas, so keep it simple during your pool time by ordering from a classics-heavy abbreviated poolside whisky list. Or opt for the ARIA Mule, featuring Jack Daniel’s and ginger beer. In Vegas, it practically qualifies as hydration. Pools are for guests only, but the public can access them by reserving a lounge chair or cabana.
Azul at The Westin Austin Downtown—Austin, Texas
The tallest hotel rooftop pool in Austin boasts beautiful city views and an enticing year-round water temperature of 83 degrees. The sleek, modern pool area features lounge chairs, cabanas, and fire pits. The whisky list is predominantly bourbon-focused and also showcases local grain-to-glass distillery Still Austin Whiskey Co. So try something local and new, or tee off with the Peachy Palmer, a whiskey-and-peach Arnold Palmer riff that can take on the Texas heat. The pool is open to both hotel guests and the public.
Delano Beach Club—Miami Beach, Florida
Combining an iconic Miami Beach locale with the best of modern luxury, not to mention direct ocean access, this destination guarantees Instagram jealousy. The whisky list is roughly 40-strong, highlighted by premium selections such as Hibiki 21 year old, Glenlivet 25 year old, and Chivas Regal Ultis. Or opt for a refreshing poolside whiskey cocktail, like the Kiwi Keel, with Jameson 12 year old, green apple, and kiwi, or the Black Sunset, with Knob Creek, lemonade, and a house-made blackberry-and-tarragon syrup. The pool is open to hotel guests only until 7 p.m., then open to the public.
DNV Rooftop—Washington, D.C.
Escape the hustle and bustle of a tourist-jammed D.C. summer by heading to the DNV Rooftop pool and lounge atop the Kimpton Donovan. The hotel’s acclaimed Zentan restaurant serves up a menu of Japanese street food and small plates, while barkeep Matt Allred offers a rotating list of cocktails including boozy popsicles and Whisky Smashes. Add some live music, captivating cabanas, and sensational District views, and you have a cool recipe for a hot summer night. The restaurant boasts a deep Japanese whisky selection, making the air-conditioned bar a perfect respite when the heat and humidity catch up to you. The pool is open to the public on Sundays throughout the summer. Non-hotel guests can visit the DNV Rooftop bar and lounge daily starting at 5 p.m. and for brunch on Sundays.
High Bar at The Rowan—Palm Springs, California
One of the best vantage points in Palm Springs, this is a true oasis in this desert city. The rooftop pool and lounge offer everything you need for all-day and all-night enjoyment, seamlessly switching gears from sun-soaked fun to swanky lounge. The whisky list boasts over 60 options, including American single malts, a hefty selection of bourbon, and classics from Scotland and Ireland alike. The signature Old-Fashioned is dubbed Highway 111, made with Buffalo Trace infused with Coachella Valley dates, Wild Turkey 101, demerara syrup, and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters. For a fee, daily passes can be purchased by the general public. After 4 p.m. the pool and lounge are open to the public without a fee.