Whisky With a View: Rooftop Whisky Bars

Geraldine’s • Austin WHIT PRESTON

Whisky With a View: Rooftop Whisky Bars

January 30, 2023 –––––– Sally Kral, , , ,

Taking in a city’s stunning skyline while sipping a delicious drink—what’s not to love about a rooftop bar? Add in a stellar whisky list, and you’re all set for a memorable evening. Rooftop drinking is generally seen as a summertime experience, but these whisky-focused spots offer both indoor and outdoor spaces for year-round enjoyment.

Big Apple Vistas

Bar 54 • New York City

At 54 floors up, this lounge atop the Hyatt Centric Times Square is the city’s highest hotel rooftop bar, complete with river-to-river views. The beverage menu includes a cocktail list that changes twice a year, plus over 30 American, Irish, Japanese, and scotch whiskies, ranging from $17/2 oz. pour for labels like Rittenhouse rye and Dewar’s White Label up to $325 for Macallan Sherry Oak 25 year old. Reservations are required.

A Whisky Aerie

Dirty Habit • San Francisco

Located in the SoMa neighborhood, this fifth-floor retreat at Hotel Zelos features a sleek dining room and a fully heated outdoor patio. In addition to gourmet snacks, there’s a wide selection of craft cocktails to choose from ($14 to $15), including pre-Prohibition and modern classics, and rotating seasonal options. But the real showstopper is the collection of more than 600 whiskies, ranging from American labels to rare scotch bottlings to lesser-known world whiskies. Highlights include Hibiki 17 year old ($51/2 oz.), Nikka Yoichi 15 year old ($25), John E. Fitzgerald Very Special Reserve 20 year old ($104), Russell’s Reserve 1998 ($89), Orphan Barrel Rhetoric ($64), and Bowmore Mizunara Cask ($365).

Behold, the Northwest

Fog Room Sky Lounge & Terrace • Seattle

Atop the Charter Hotel in downtown Seattle, this whisky haven offers gorgeous views of Puget Sound. There are over 200 whiskies available, including rare offerings ranging from Wild Turkey Master’s Keep One ($65/1.5 oz.) to Michter’s 20 year old ($285). Or try a cocktail—there are over 20 to choose from—including “Splendor” options, made with top-shelf spirits, like the Improved Whiskey Cocktail ($55), featuring Glenmorangie 18 year old, Hibiki Harmony, Ardbeg Uigeadail, Luxardo Maraschino, absinthe, and orange and Angostura bitters.

L.A. Jackson • Nashville ANDREA BEHRENDS L.A. Jackson • Nashville ANDREA BEHRENDS

Poolside Sipping

Geraldine’s • Austin

This hip, New American restaurant at the Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt features an adjacent rooftop lounge and pool deck, offering plenty of comfortable seating, private cabanas, and live music. In addition to breakfast, brunch, and dinner, this spot boasts an extensive whisky selection, with over 100 bottles ranging from bourbon and rye to single malts and blends to Japanese and Irish, with a cocktail menu that changes seasonally. Whisky highlights include the Glenfiddich collection, including Fire and Cane ($13/1.5 oz.), Grand Cru ($110), and 30 year old ($200), as well as Van Winkle expressions ($40 to $150).

Music City Panorama

L.A. Jackson • Nashville

Perched atop the Thompson Hotel, this 200- plus seat, indoor-outdoor spot offers panoramic views of the Nashville skyline with live DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. Along with creative small bites, enjoy rotating craft cocktails—the Dismisinformation ($13) blends Buffalo Trace bourbon, yellow Chartreuse, lemon, cucumber, and mint—and a selection of more than 40 whiskies, including bottlings from Van Winkle ($52 to $60/2 oz.), Johnnie Walker ($14 to $42), and Laphroaig ($15 to $20).

High Atop Sin City

Legacy Club • Las Vegas

Located on Circa Resort & Casino’s 60th floor, this elegant club lounge is all about luxury: There’s a display showcasing 1,000 ounces of gold bars showing the market price, which is updated to the minute, flashing above. The venue hosts nightly sunset parties at its firepit tables, where you can take in the view while you build your own Old Fashioned ($18), crafted with your choice of whisky, sweetener, and style of bitters. There are also roughly 190 different whiskies to choose from, including O.F.C. 1995 ($450/1 oz.; $850/2 oz.), plus whisky flights and a selection of more than a dozen cigars.

Speakeasy in the Sky

Rowdy Tiger Whiskey Bar & Kitchen • Atlanta

Featuring panoramic views of midtown, this spot is inspired by speakeasies—or blind tigers—inside homes, with the space featuring a front porch area, living room, and backyard beer garden complete with lawn games. Seasonal, modern Southern comfort food is complemented by more than 130 whiskies, plus Prohibition-themed drinks, such as the Of Feather and Bone ($22), a smoked cocktail featuring bone marrow-washed Eagle Rare bourbon, Real McCoy 5 year old rum, Punt e Mes vermouth, blood orange-infused Bénédictine, Regans’ No. 6 orange bitters, and Angostura bitters. Each month the bar team develops a new secret cocktail that’s served in a teacup.

Whisky Thief • Chattanooga STARBOARD & PORT CREATIVE Whisky Thief • Chattanooga STARBOARD & PORT CREATIVE

Rooftop Playground

Whiskey Business • Chicago

This 3,000-square-foot rooftop hang is more than a bar—it’s an experience. With an ’80s and ’90s theme, this casual spot is always hosting a fun event, including movie nights, puppy yoga, and holiday-themed parties, to name just a few. The menu offers comfort food classics, seasonal cocktails, and a whisky list of over 100 expressions that are available in 1.5-ounce neat pours and 2-oz. rocks pours, ranging from $8/$10 for Powers Gold Label, Tullamore D.E.W., and Jim Beam, up to $102/$136 for Laphroaig 25 year old.

Waterfront Space

Whiskey Charlie • Washington, D.C.

This cocktail lounge is on the 10th floor of the Canopy Hotel at The Wharf, a new mixed-use waterfront development. It features both an intimate rooftop deck and an indoor lounge, The Cabin, both of which offer views of the marina and the city’s monuments. In addition to “clever finger food” and premium cocktails, the venue offers 50-plus whiskies, ranging from $14 a pour for labels like Maker’s Mark and Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve up to $425 for Macallan 25 year old.

Ringside Scenery

Whiskey Thief • Chattanooga

High above the Walnut Street Bridge perches this swanky lounge located at the Edwin Hotel. It offers seasonal small plates, high-end cocktails like the Barrel-Aged Maple Old Fashioned ($20), a blend of the venue’s own barrel of W.L. Weller Antique 107, maple syrup, and bitters that’s aged for more than seven days; whisky flights; and over 150 whiskies, including a list of top-shelf options and rarities called “The Lockers”— Glenmorangie Pride 1974 is on there for $750/2 oz. Or try a pour of its own barrel of George Dickel 18 year old for $20.

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