Although I no longer live in Atlanta full-time, I still consider Atlanta my home (and the 50 surrounding suburban towns that Georgians refer to as Alanna to any outsider asking where you grew up). The city does not get enough credit when it comes to dining and entertainment, but I can honestly say this city has a lot to offer in both regards.
The Top 10 Rooftop Bars in Atlanta | My Personal Favorites,These bars provide a different experience depending on the occasion. My picks may not have city views as breathtaking as a Manhattan rooftop oasis, but each restaurant/bar is unique to Atlanta and compliments it's ‘small’ city charm.
Warning: drinking outside in Atlanta during the summer months, averaging 90°F, may cause accelerated intoxication, dehydration, and in extreme cases, befriending Alabama fans... Go Dawgs. Drink responsibly.
#10 - 5 Church
Located smack dab in the middle of 14th and Peachtree Street, 5 Church is Colony Square’s beloved restaurant, serving New American cuisine in an over the top “Neo-Victorian” environment. The first time I came for a visit, I felt underdressed because the interior design is intimidating with black leather seating, chandeliers, and hand painted walls. The roof is a midtown gem that professionals frequent for happy hour or a company sponsored event. The location and view from the roof showcases Midtown as “cool” and “hip” juxtaposed to the corporate high-rise surroundings. Most of the rooftop vie
ws on my list overlook the Midtown skyline, so it’s nice to have a rooftop located in the middle of the madness.
#9 TIE - Gypsy Kitchen & American Cut
As much as a hate on Buckhead (Inman Park pride), I really do enjoy a lot of the dining options and the development called ‘The Shops Buckhead Atlanta’ (real clever name), complete with classy restaurants, designer shops, and luxury apartments. If I had to live in Buckhead, it would undoubtedly be here.
Gypsy Kitchen is always buzzing with young professionals, the PR and Marketing types, sipping on Spanish wines and enjoying tapas. I usually go here with my girlfriends because it seems to appeal more towards women. I don’t think guys love eating $13 dollar tiny plates, but I love it. Why wouldn’t you want to taste a bunch of different dishes instead of committing to just one dish? Wait… are we still talking about food?
American Cut, on the other hand is a much more sophisticated and traditional looking bar with dark woods and rich leathers (a guys heaven), but also more on the expensive side. This joint usually fills out with 30-40 year old men, Finance types, and awkward first dates hoping to display a solid first impression. I love the rooftop at American Cut because the layout is half indoor/ half outdoor seating with plenty of open space for events or dancing. I recommend you trying either one of these locations in The Shops depending on your style!
#8- Community Smith
I think of Community Smith first for their food, and second for their rooftop space. The views aren’t as desirable in comparison to the other rooftop bars on my list, but I adore the layout of the space. It feels like a personal patio, broken up into smaller seating areas that feel more intimate opposed to communal seating, oversized couches, and wide open spaces. It’s a great place to catch up with a friend and dive into conversation without feeling like you are being judged or trying to be “seen."
#7- Whiskey Blue- The W Hotel
I haven’t been to Whiskey Blue in a couple of years, but it remains on my list. I think it is a good place for visitors to experience, especially if you are already staying at the hotel. It is a comfortable place to relax with their massive patio couches that you can become one with if you lose count of your cocktails. The atmosphere is modern, chic, and serves signature cocktails at an elevated price. *Pun intended.* There is a dress code, so make sure you look “casual & sophisticated”- I would advise no hats, baggy pants, or ath-leisure attire (leggings are not pants, ladies).
#6- Six Feet Under
I used to work close to Six Feet Under, and would love to stop by on a Friday afternoon after work (4-5pm). The people that work here are really cool and helpful, while the atmosphere is casual and a tad hipster. The menu has a large seafood selection, but I prefer to stick to more basic items like the Fried Green Tomatoes, Ch
icken Fajita Soup, or one of the salads. This place is great for a birthday parties because there is something for everyone on the menu (alcohol included) and the prices are very reasonable! My cocktail of choice is the Georgia Mule made with bourbon, ginger beer, lime, and a cucumber ice cube.
If you like sushi, you will love O-Ku because of their high quality ingredients and artfully plated dishes. I enjoy visiting O-Ku during the week to have a more relaxed experience, or during one of their happy hour nights occurring every Monday and Wednesday. For those who plan on dining, the restaurant is a little pricey, but makes up for it by creating a modern environment with knowledgeable service and a fantastic view.
#4- New Realm Brewing
New Realm is located on the Atlanta Beltline between Ponce City Market and Inman Park. I was so excited for their grand opening because of its proximity to my former apartment.
If you are walking, biking, or Birding the beltline with friends, New Realm is worth the stop. I am not crazy about beer, but I am crazy about this Brewery because they have an impressive food menu. My favorite time to go is during the the afternoon on a weekend with a group of girls. For you single ladies, this place is definitely a spot to meet single dudes.
#3- Ponce City Market
9 Mile Station is an excellent place to have dinner with views of Midtown and Old Forth Ward. It is always crowded, so make sure to snag a reservation online a few days prior- especially if you want to visit on the weekend. The patio portion of 9 Mile station has several fire pits that come with cozy blankets to cuddle up to in the winter months- very romantic.
However, I prefer to go to Skyline Park and drink beers and snacks (pretzels, hot dogs, snow cones, ice cream) with friends. Since the rooftop is spacious, it is easy to meet a large group of friends for a weekend gathering. Bonus: let your inner child/ competitive nature shine through by paying mini golf, old school festival games, and race down slides.... or maybe just bring your kids and save yourself the embarrassment.
#2- SkyLounge- The Glenn Hotel
I have been going to SkyLounge with my cousins and brothers for years as a classy pregame to sporting events, concerts, and shows at the Fox. If there is an event you are attending Downtown, I highly suggest stopping by the roof. This bar has the BEST view of the city- 100 percent- takes the cake. The snacks are minimal, so don’t plan on eating at Skylounge unless you can be satiated from bacon wrapped dates and a spicy peanut mix. SkyLounge is a perfect way to impress your date if he/she has yet to experience it. There is a dress code, so once again no hats or other clothing that could prevent you from entering.
#1- Hotel Clermont - The Roof Top
(0ld Fourth Ward)
Formerly, the Clermont Lounge was only a place I would bring friends as a rite of passage upon their official move to Atlanta. Now, the Clermont has a whole new meaning- and only a positive one. I was beyond excited when Hotel Clermont opened up a few months ago because Atlanta has been in dire need of a trendy boutique hotel.
The roof top bar is decorated to perfection with lounge-worthy chairs, bright astro turf, cocktails served in coconuts, and great city view. The hotel feels like it was made in the 20’s but somehow complete with retro-glam accents from the 70s.
Hotel Clermont quickly became my favorite place to sip on a cool, refreshing frosé this summer, and will be my first stop whenever I am visiting Atlanta! I look forward to dining at the French-American bistro, Tiny Lou’s, located on the first floor of the hotel, and then heading back up to the roof.
Until next time,