San Francisco Rooftop Bars That Are Perfect for Summer
On a sultry evening, nothing beats a cool cocktail — unless, of course, that cocktail is accompanied by a knockout rooftop view. San Francisco has scores of fun al fresco places to imbibe, but these not-to-miss local spots will (literally) elevate your usual night on the town.
Rooftop At VIA (138 King St.)
Toast to summertime atop the Hotel VIA in South Beach. The hotel’s Rooftop at VIA is a chic indoor/outdoor space complete with captivating views of the downtown skyline, Bay Bridge, East Bay/Oakland Hills and AT&T Park. Open-air fire pits and comfy seating create a relaxed vibe, and you’ll slip right into a celebratory mood thanks to VIA’s warm service, sophisticated drink menu and tasty tapas and sweets. Rooftop at VIA is truly exclusive; it’s available only to hotel guests or by renting one of the swanky six-person cabanas.
Charmaine’s (1100 Market St.)
Step off the San Francisco Proper Hotel elevator and straight into the playfully opulent atmosphere of Charmaine’s. Perched 120 feet above the hustle and bustle of Market Street, this indoor/outdoor escape boasts a glittering backdrop of city lights and a dazzling array of cocktails to match it. The creative bartenders can mix something up to please any palate, whether you’re in the mood for a quirky concoction or a classic Old Fashioned. The snack selection fits right in with Charmaine’s luxe-yet-cheeky theme. Don’t miss the hot dog dressed up with Bavarian mustard and fermented lettuce.
The Starlight Room (450 Powell St.)
Want a reason to break out your party clothes? Look no further than the iconic Starlight Room, located on the 21st floor of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Take in the bird’s-eye view of Union Square directly from the dance floor, or settle into the plush high-backed booth for some good old-fashioned people-watching. If you’re running with a crowd, the extensive drink list includes tasty spiked punch bowls for sharing. On Sunday, come back to the Starlight Room for the Sunday’s a Drag brunch, featuring raucous routines by fabulously-attired drag queens and transgender performers.
A few new rooftop locales are scheduled to open this summer, so you’ll have even more options for lofty libations. Stay tuned for upcoming details about the much-anticipated rooftop terraces at the Virgin Hotel in SoMa and YOTEL in Central Market’s historic Grant Building.