By Eric Barton
City & Shore Magazine
There was a time, not long ago, when we would take a trip to New York or Chicago and marvel at the open-air bars atop so many buildings. If only we could have them, too, we would say.
Now’s come rooftop revolution in South Florida, as bars and restaurants and chill hangouts are springing up from the tops of our buildings. For a bar crawl with skyline views, here are some choice rooftop views.
401 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale, 954-990-6658, barritaftl.com
It took three and a half years for the team behind Tap 42 to open Bar Rita, but they finally pulled it off late last year. The space includes a 5,500-square-foot rooftop bar with views of Fort Lauderdale’s skyline to the north. Unlike the downstairs, laid out to mostly accommodate diners, the upstairs feels more like a Wynwood club, with pumping hip-hop and neon-glowing lights to set the party mood.
501 E. Camino Real, Boca Raton, 561-447-3000, theblueboca.com
Don’t let the lowercase name fool you because there’s nothing understated about the blue. Surrounded by windowed walls on the 27th floor of The Boca Raton Resort & Club, the blue serves up fine dining and $7 cocktails during happy hour. It’s not an open-air rooftop spot like others on this list, but the blue does offer panoramas of Boca Raton, best caught as the sunset drops across the Intracoastal and western Palm Beach County.
Buddha Sky Bar
217 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach, 561-450-7557, buddhaskybardelraybeach.com
Delray Beach has had a hopping dining and bar scene for years, but Buddha Sky Bar was the first spot to open atop a building, offering views of busy Atlantic Avenue below. The space features a glass-encased main dining room and bar. There’s also a private chef’s table accessed through the kitchen. It can hold 10 guests and requires an $800 minimum tab weeknights and a grand on weekends.
Cielo Restaurant & Sky Bar
777 N. Ocean Drive, Hollywood, 954-613-3700, costahollywoodresort.com
This is perhaps the most chill of the rooftop spots on this list, with a come-as-you-are beach vibe atop the Costa Hollywood Beach Resort. But Cielo’s spot along A1A on Hollywood Beach affords brilliant panoramas of the Intracoastal to the west and Hollywood Beach. Catch live music and discounts on drinks and food during weekday social hours.
1780 Polk St., Hollywood, 954-500-1780, circhotel.com
The first hotel in downtown Hollywood in three decades, Circ Hotel added something else entirely novel for the city: a trendy rooftop hangout. It’s called The Muse, and it has a modern feel with a faux ivy wall, tiled floors and glass railings allowing for a 12-story view of south Broward. The Muse offers daily specials including DJs spinning ’80s classics on Tuesday, ladies’ nights on Wednesdays and live music and DJs on weekend nights.
560 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach, 561-804-6826, restorationhardware.com
Feeling more like someone’s lavish and large home rather than a furniture store, Restoration Hardware’s four-story spot in downtown West Palm continues the theme on the roof. There you’ll find an elegant 10,000-square-foot restaurant that breezes from inside under a glass atrium to a rooftop porch. The views overlook the city, with a soundtrack provided by a dramatic fountain in the courtyard below.
One W. Las Olas Boulevard, 954-523.1956, rooftop1wlo.com
Combine the clubby scene of YOLO with a modern manicured garden and you get the vibe behind Rooftop. The venue from The Restaurant People occupies the entire top of the office building at the west end of the Las Olas entertainment district, offering craft cocktails, a gas fire pit for ambience and 360-degree views of the city.
299 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, 954-945-9500, thedalmar.com
The Dalmar Fort Lauderdale hotel teamed up with Los Angeles-based Proprietors LLC to add an open-air bar to the top of its 25th-story. The proprietors are the same ones behind a swanky cocktail bar you’ve likely visited elsewhere, including the trio of Death & Co. cocktail bars in New York, Los Angeles and Denver. At Sparrow, the company went for a classic midcentury-modern vibe to harken back to the golden age of travel – the kind of place the cast from Mad Men would’ve recognized. The space opens at 4 daily, stays open late night and also adds weekend brunch.
PHOTO: Cielo Restaurant & Sky Bar (Courtesy)