A Definitive Guide to the Best Rooftops in Los Angeles
by Trina Hendry
With an endless summer, there is no better place in North America, let alone California, for wining and dining al fresco than Los Angeles. And, for those looking to cap off their meal/drinks with a view of the city (I mean, who isn’t?), LA has some of the best rooftops around. The best part is you can enjoy them all year long! With that said, here is my definitive guide to the best rooftops in Los Angeles, mapped out by sections of the city.
As the only rooftop patio in all of Venice, High Lounge has the BEST views of Venice Beach, the action on the boardwalk and, at night, the epic California sunset. With drinks flowing, casual bites served, and a DJ spinning chill vibes each night, this deck is the sweetest place to be on the beachy side of town.
ÉLEPHANTE BEACH HOUSE
The newest kid on the Santa Monica block, Élephante is the place to see and be scene in Downtown Santa Monica. With its Mediterranean vibe and aesthetic, It’s the kind of place where you will want to spend the day—where a tranquil afternoon can turn into decadent dinner, into a lively evening late night with the innovative cocktail program and vibrant night scene.
ONYX at the ultra glam Hotel Shangri-La on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica is the city’s only indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge. It’s sweeping views of Santa Monica Pier to the south and Malibu to the north, combined with its art deco meets Hollywood glam aesthetic make it one of the hottest tickets on he westside. The hotel itself, is a historical landmark and is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year! We’ll raise a glass to that.
Oh, Margot…She had me at hello! The latest stunner to open its doors at Platform in Culver City, I dare say Margot is one of the prettiest restaurants in all of LA, and has the sexiest (OK, the only) rooftop deck in this very trendy part of town. Recently touted as one of the city’s best new restaurants, the menu is decidedly Mediterranean and the cocktails are creatively refreshing. My personal fave, the Strawberry Spritz, is the perfect summer sipper.
Last summer, I chose to spend my birthday at Terra because not only is the food stellar, but so are the views of the Hollywood Hills. Located on the third floor of Eataly Los Angeles in Century City, Terra, which means “earth” in Italian, is an escape from the concrete jungle with its garden-like terrace, fire pit and outdoor bar. The menu is focused around grilling, which only adds to earthy vibe.
THE ROOFTOP BY JG
While technically not on the westside, I feel Beverly Hills is pretty darn close so I’m putting The Rooftop By JG in this section. Overlooking Rodeo Drive and all of Beverly Hills, this garden in the sky is perched atop the famous Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. As you might expect from Jean-Georges it’s a bit pricey for dinner so you may want to save it for a special occasion or enjoy lunch or brunch instead. Whatever you decide, you will surely enjoy the Southeast Asian flavors.
E.P. & L.P.
The rooftop is the “L.P. “ of the E.P. & L.P. dining establishment in West Hollywood. Serving up spectacular views of the Hollywood Hills and the Sunset Strip, alongside Asian street food and hand-crafted cocktails, L.P. is one of the largest roof decks in all of LA. This hotspot is also one of the most exciting places for people-watching, if that’s your thing. Insider tip: They don’t take reservations, but if you enjoy dinner first at E.P, the delectable Asian Fusion restaurant downstairs, you will automatically be granted access to the roof.
Located on roof of the chic 1 Hotel West Hollywood on Sunset, Harriet’s preserves the values of an old-fashioned cocktail lounge. If you’re looking for Old Hollywood but with a contemporary twist, this is the place for you. Don’ to go hungry though as Harriet’s only serves a limited snack food menu of trail mix, ranch-seasoned Tuscan potato chip and citrus marinated olives.
As one of the hottest locales in town still, the rooftop at the Mama Shelter hotel in Hollywood is having more than its 15 minutes fame. It’s likely due to the fact that everything about this gem is superb - the “we dont’ take ourselves too seriously” ambiance is fun, the 360-degree views are unmatchable, the food and drinks are top-notch, the location in the heart of Hollywood is ideal, and the space is an instagrammer’s dream. The unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign is reason enough to go, in my humble opinion
Brand spanking new Sorra is a flying under the radar at the moment but mark my words…it’s just a matter of time before it takes LA by storm. Steps from the bustle of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the new restaurant and bar is located at the top of The Residences of Columbia Square, and will surely be a welcomed respite from the crowds below. Expect Japanese and Mexican small bites and a robust cocktail menu.
THE HIGHLIGHT ROOM
Located at the super-trendy Dream Hotel in Hollywood, The Highlight Room has all the makings of a fun night out - DJs, bottle service and the twinkling lights of Hollywood all around you. They do offer dinner service as well, but we suggest you save this place for after-dinner drinks and a night out on the town.
NOMAD HOTEL ROOFTOP
My new favorite boutique hotel brand, the NoMad Hotel in Los Angeles is super chic, continuing in the spirit of the original NoMad in New York by taking residence in the historic building, Giannini Place. With sweeping views of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline, the Rooftop features an outdoor café, cocktail bar, and a lushly landscaped pool area. The pool is reserved for hotel guests from sunrise to sunset, while the café and bar is open to the public all-day. Anyone in the mood for a spritz?
FREEHAND HOTEL / BROKEN SHAKER
Another day, another fabulous bar at the top of another cool hotel, Broken Shaker at the Freehand Hotel is DTLA’s answer to a tiki bar. Day and night, this place is rammed so get there early, stake your claim on the best seats in the house and enjoy the delectable tiki cocktails (little umbrellas, and all) under the warm California sun. The tiny bar is poolside, so while the pool may be for guests only, you will still feel you are part of the action.
Atop the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown sits the world’s tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere—Spire73. Well, we can cross that off our bucket list now! With a nightly cover charge (waived for hotel guests), this won’t become your go-to spot, but it is certainly worth the trek to the 73rd floor at least once.
There is something to be said about a classic. Although Perch has been around for what seems like forever, it still holds its own as one of the prettiest rooftop spots in all of LA. Perhaps that is because it is a French-inspired bistro, located atop the Pershing Square Building on the 15th floor. It was one of the first places I visited when I moved here 4 years ago and it is still one of my favorite places to bring guests to because it shows off the beauty of downtown so well.
THE STANDARD HOTEL
Perhaps DTLA’s first official rooftop, the Standard Hotel still offers some of the best panoramic views of Downtown, and living up to the hotel brand’s reputation, it is a heck of a lot of fun to hang by the heated pool sipping sweet libations and people watching.
UPSTAIRS AT ACE HOTEL
Upstairs at Ace Hotel was one of the first places I headed to when I first moved to LA, and for that reason and the fact that it is such a stunning space, it will always have a place on this list. While there is a pool, albeit a small one, the emphasis isn’t really on swimming here. It’s about cozying up to the fireplace, sampling their eclectic cocktails and listening to some fantastic tunes spun by their DJ. If you want to hang with the hipsters, this is the place for you.
While these are my faves, I’ve only scratched the surface of great rooftops in LA. Is there one on the top of your list that I haven’t mentioned here? Please share in the comments!