The Absolute Best Rooftop Bars in Atlanta

Beer tastes better up there.

You’ve undoubtedly felt that itch already, but just in case you needed some reassurance, rooftop patio season has in fact returned. Escaping Atlanta’s summertime heat can be tricky—especially when you feel like getting dressed up and going out rather than just taking a dip in the closest nearby pool—so having some breezy outdoor moves in your back pocket is key. That’s where Atlanta’s elevated eating establishments come in. You can’t go wrong with mouth-watering food, drinks, and gorgeous views of Atlanta, and these rooftop bars sprinkled throughout the city are the best ones for you to hit first.

Tucked right beside Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, State Farm Arena, and practically every other major attraction in Downtown Atlanta is Suite Food Lounge, a bar and lounge that looks lavish but still feels welcoming. Its rooftop bar is revered for its lively day parties (which often stretch all the way to 11 pm), so after experiencing any of Downtown’s go-to attractions—and maybe even an Atlanta Hawks playoff game this summer—head over to Suite Food Lounge.

HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern’s newest location has made a major splash at Atlantic Station since its opening earlier this year. In addition to having a menu full of must-try handcrafted cocktails (and fishbowls), the two-story eatery also boasts HOBNOB HIGH UP, a 21+ rooftop patio that overlooks Atlantic Station’s stunning new courtyard and gives patrons an awe-inspiring view of the Midtown Skyline. Pull up to HOBNOB right before sunset and thank us later.

Whiskey Blue

Buckhead

Resting atop the stylish boutique hotel known as Hotel Colee—which was formerly The W—is Whiskey Blue. So whether you’re treating yourself to a picturesque staycation or simply looking for a sleek and classy rooftop bar to hit up on a clear summer night, Whiskey Blue should most definitely be on your radar. 

5Church is a staple in Colony Square, and thanks to its swank discord, the Midtown eater has become a tried-and-true destination for low-key business meetings, a quick, yet fulfilling bite for lunch, and everything in between. What makes 5Church even cooler is that its roof is home to the sexy (and not too-high) rooftop lounge known as Virtue Cocktail Club, which is open Tuesday to Sunday starting at 5 pm. Having just re-opened earlier this Spring, Virtue Cocktail Club is back like it never left, and its brand new menu of bites and craft cocktails have already proven to be a winner.

Estrella

Old Fourth Ward

Upstairs at the Parisian-styled market Bazati, Estrella serves up a Latin-American vibe that’s part Miami nightlife and part Yucatan flavors Wednesday through Sunday. The brilliant white interior, with teal floral floor tiling and woven brown chairs, provides a high-energy brightness that complements the skyline sprouting from Atlanta’s tree canopy and pedestrians strolling the Eastside BeltLine trail below. But it’s easy to let your tastebuds escape ATL for a few moments via the tamarind margarita, pisco sour, Hemingway daiquiri, and Cuba Libre, along with tapas like jicama ceviche with pineapple vinaigrette, fancy venison, or tempura-fried oyster tacos.

Whether you’re ducking traffic on Howell Mill and Northside, or just enjoying the view of Atlanta’s most memorable dead people at Oakland Cemetery, these are two of the city’s premiere spots for rooftop boozing (and brunch boozing as well). Both locations are open till 11 pm on the weekends and serve the likes of lobster rolls, conch fritters, and crawfish boils.

Whether you’re in at 7 am to catch an obscure soccer match on the other side of the globe, or just lifting a pint in honor of knocking off work early, this Buckhead booze factory is a can't-miss stop thanks to a fantastic view, a deep drink menu, and waitresses who'll charmingly explain that yes, Queens Park Rangers and Rangers are two different things. Get there between 4 pm and 7 pm to enjoy Happy Hour and throw back $7.50 premium wines and $8 signature cocktails.

Republic stands out for its varied assortment of daily specials, including the $0.65 wings on Mondays from 6 - 9 pm, $9 burger-and-a-beer lunch deals on Wednesdays, and the $8 beer-and-shot combos on Thursdays, among others. Oh, and don’t forget the $15 bottle of bubbly with OJ during weekend brunch from 11 am to 2 pm.

Drinking beer out of a stein on a beer garden roof in Downtown ATL has many benefits, starting with the buzz that results from all that German beer you’re getting in one vessel. Will you fail at pronouncing the names of many of these Reinheitsgebot-approved brews? Absolutely. Will that be OK? Absolutely. 

O-Ku

West Midtown

The Westside has plenty of views, but O-Ku stands out with remarkably fresh sushi. The deck may not be the most decked-out, but when you’re standing on the weathered wood floors under the string lights and steel covering, you’ll know that they treated their rooftop like their sushi—great taste based on simplicity.

Little 5 Corner Tavern

Little 5 Points

The inside almost completely burned up a few years ago, and that sucked. But then it came back with a rooftop patio situated right in the heart of Little 5 Points. You’re in the center of Atlanta's strangest neighborhood, with a bird's-eye view of purple and pink mohawks attached to bodies wearing matching sneakers. Not a bad place to drink local beer!

As long as The Glenn Hotel’s centrally located roof exists, it'll remain in the top tier of ATL’s most scenic building-top bars. It’s hard to get a better view of Downtown and beyond than what’s in your frame of vision on the 11th floor. The drink menu includes three wines by the glass (pinot grigio, chardonnay, and pinot noir) and cocktails like the margarita-esque Smoked Roca, with pineapple and a paprika salt rim. It’s also a great place to catch musical performances during their recurring SkyLounge Live weekend shows.

Grindhouse makes the cut because we’ve seen how awesome Grindhouse has been without a rooftop bar. Now that it has one, and has a solid list of drafts available by pint and pitcher, the burger spot’s robot-toy decorated, horror-movie-styled design will benefit from an uplifted outside area designated as a sports bar (and limited to adults only). Hopefully that means you qualify for being at least 21, and isn’t a way to pass judgment on the way you dress or the type of jokes that come to your mind and make you snort with Beavis-like laughter when you invite your nerdy friends to a place called “Grindhouse.”

Sitting above American Cut (go inside and take the elevator up), TRCC is a seasonally open classic cocktail bar for elegant enthusiasts of booze, with chairs shaped like cocktail strainers lining an upper deck overlooking the north side of Peachtree Road. There’s live music or a DJ most of the week, including a recurring lineup of acoustic guitar Wednesday through Saturday.

Nine Mile Station

Ponce City Market

Nine Mile Station, located in a corner slightly separated from the rest of PCM’s rooftop carnival Skyline Park, is more than a beer garden—it’s a beer garden with low-ABV draft beers, high-gravity stouts (appropriate for your location), three types of Old Fashioneds, a house shot that mixes Campari with Fernet-Branca called the Ferrari, and a cocktail called “3rd Coast Drip” that mixes gin with yellow Chartreuse, lime, mint, and more. You can also buy wine by the glass or bottle and sip enough to completely crush Skyline Park’s games and giant slide as you get back to your skeeball-loving childhood.

This upper-deck intersection of Spanish, Moroccan, and Indian flavors at the Buckhead Atlanta development welcomes you to “Gypsy Hour” every weekday at 4 pm for two hours of $6 wine varietals, $9 infused gin & tonics, and tapas for $10 or less. They’ve also got a late-night menu with chorizo and manchego plates, poutine, and a fried chicken pita all beneath that huge marquee name sign. Be there on Sundays for Basque in the Sun Sundays, which will make you feel like you’ve momentarily been transported to Northwestern Spain with a live flamenco guitarist, featured wines, refreshing ciders, and a vast selection of delicious Spanish snacks.

Tom, Dick & Hank

Mechanicsville

While you won’t see any Braves games happening just down the street anymore, this Ralph David Abernathy barbecue bar still offers some of Atlanta’s best smoked wings and supreme looks at what used to be Turner Field. The modernist, woodsy design somehow blends in with the historic vibe of the area, so you’ll feel like The Perfect Atlantan when you drink the actual cocktail, made of Crown Royal Apple, agave, Chambord, lime and cranberry juice, or the Hennessy peach tea. Hell, if it’s hot (and it probably will be), get the house special TDH made with Hendrick's gin, cucumbers, lime, and ginger beer.

From the Hop City empire comes Barleygarden, which has brought a beer garden to the Avalon—and therefore serious beer credibility. There’s a covered patio bar outlined by stools with butcher block seats, where you can sip top-shelf Euro brews, canned local beers, and Pulp Fiction-inspired cocktails like the Fox Force Five with rum, lime, and allspice dram, and the gin-based Vincent Vega with house-made grapefruit and fennel aperitif. If you get hungry, The Spotted Trotter provides charcuterie, sausage, and such, paired especially to your beverage.

Hotel Clermont

Poncey-Highland

After a bout of heavy renovations and near-demolitions, Hotel Clermont reopened last summer with a relaxed, well-manicured, Astroturf-covered rooftop space. It's got an identity all its own, with plants growing from painted oil barrels, early-to-mid-century patio furniture, and the restored, neon-red-lettered “HOTEL CLERMONT” radio tower that stood on the top floor for decades and is taller than the actual hotel—but most importantly, it has a pristine white bar shack from which you can order frosé.

Panoramic Atlanta is what you get from New Realm's rooftop terrace. The BeltLine is its backyard, and the rooftop has plenty of heated outdoor seating, food from Chef Julio Delgado (who previously ran the kitchens at The Ritz-Carlton Downtown and Château Élan Winery & Resort), and beers like Hoplandia American IPA from cofounder Mitch Steele (former Stone Brewing brewmaster).

Joshua Robinson is an Atlanta-based contributor for Thrillist.

Mike Jordan really wanted to write this story because some of y’all had no idea that Southside ATL is the best place for Mexican food, and he gets to stunt because he lives in East Point. Tweet him at @michaelbjordan and IG him at @mikejordanatl.