The Best Rooftop Bars in the Twin Cities

Beer tastes better up there.

We can’t think of a better sign of summer—and a return to normal post-COVID—than rooftop bars opening up for the season… As temperatures rise, it’s time to break out the shorts, get away from the grind, and look to the sky. Some of the Twin Cities’ best spaces are found above ground level, where you get stunning skyline views with your happy hour specials. From brand-new spots to tried-and-true favorites, our list of best rooftop bars will steer you and your crew in the right direction.

Graze Food Hall

North Loop

While technically not on the roof, Graze’s second-level walk-out patio is pretty close—and close to Target Field so it’s perfect for pre- or post-gaming. Sip a handcrafted cocktail like the Overnight Celebrity (Hennessy, raspberry lemonade, tea) or the North Loop Negroni (gin, campari, vermouth) while you enjoy city views. The food hall also has about a half-dozen vendors, so you’ve got lots of options when hunger hits. Think empanadas, churros, wings, and tacos.

The Rooftop Bar

North Loop

The hottest spot in town this summer is definitely gonna be the new, aptly named Rooftop Bar atop NOLO’s Kitchen & Bar in the Maytag building. Open Thursdays - Sundays, The Rooftop has a surf-inspired vibe and live music. Drinks are spiked versions of kid favorites. Patron is served in Capri-sun-like pouches, slushie machines churn out colorful coladas, and the Pink Flamingo is basically lemonade with vodka and a crazy straw. It’s been open less than a month and is already one of the most buzzed-about spots on Instagram.
 

The popular Uptown patio-in-the-sky has been around since the early 00’s, and for good reason. In addition to flown-in-fresh seafood, Stella’s four-story-high patio serves beautiful views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline. (You can even go higher and rent the private five-story SkyDeck for special events.) Try one of the many mojito flavors, a Moscow Mule, or the Fish Punch with rum, pineapple, and cranberry juice. Snacks like calamari, mussels, oysters, crab cakes, and sushi specials will also keep your crowd satisfied. 

This is just the second summer the roof of the hip Hewing has been open to the public, and, six stories above the North Loop, it’s easy to understand the appeal. In addition to providing a great vantage point from which to see Minneapolis, the Hewing rooftop also has a pool for the  summer and a sauna for the winter. While only registered hotel guests can use the pool, anyone can stop up for a highball or cocktail Thursday - Saturday. If you want a bite after a few old fashioneds the hotel’s first-floor restaurant, Tullibee, has bar snacks and sandwiches.
 

The popular American restaurant has a lotta locations, but LaSalle Plaza’s 6,500 square foot rooftop is decidedly the trendiest. In summers past, CRAVE has had live DJ’s, bottle service ,and movie nights so we’ll see what 2021 brings, but strong cocktails and shareable apps are definitely on the menu. Sip house sangria, a blackberry mule, or a blood orange margarita while splitting flatbreads and sliders with your group. 

Spend Saturday or Sunday furniture shopping (or browsing) at the massive, three-story Restoration Hardware and cap it off with brunch at the ritzy RH Rooftop. Opened in Fall 2019, the restaurant was designed for year-round use, with a retractable roof and glass walls. The space itself is an architectural stunner, featuring grand staircases, chandeliers, water fountains, and lots of indoor greenery. Morning and lunch menus include egg dishes, avocado toast and salads while evening offers an extensive wine list as well as ribeye, lobster, and salmon. 

If you’re looking for affordable vino, authentic pasta dishes, and an off-street escape in the heart of Uptown, it’s definitely Amore. The charming second-story rooftop is relaxed and casual, with traffic whizzing by and lake Bde Maka Ska just down the street. Wines run the gamut from the quality house white and red (from Tuscany, not California) to $100 Italian bottles. Antipasto includes caprese, bruschetta and calamari, or skip the starters and go straight for the Uptown Bolognese with fresh rigatoni.

Seven Rooftop

Downtown Minneapolis

A downtown staple since 2007, Seven may sit off busy (and under construction) Hennepin Avenue but the rooftop is a world away from the street below. The huge space is very lounge-y, with plush couches, mini fire pits, strong drinks, and snackable small plates. Sip some fruity Bomba Juice (a nod to Twins baseball) or boost your Confidence (vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit) before chatting up that stranger. Seven also brings in live DJs some weekends that get people partying into the early morning.

Brit's Pub

Downtown

When it comes to rooftop patios, one name always rises to the top. The worst kept secret in downtown Minneapolis, Brits has a fabulous space that goes far beyond simple dining. Outdoor second level bar? Check. Indoor overflow in case of unexpected summer showers? Check. An all-grass, barefoot bocce ball court that also serves as a plein air movie theater and soccer stadium? Check, check and check. A word to the wise, however: although Brits’ capacity marches well over 2,000 patrons at a time, it regularly fills up on soccer days. Get there early.

moto-i
Photo courtesy of Moto-i

Moto-i

Lyn-Lake

Doing ramen before anyone knew who David Chang was, moto-i is a perfect stop for fulfilling your umami Japanese food cravings. Not into the idea of mixing your ramen with a hot, sunny rooftop? That’s cool too. With miso popcorn, a full suite of steamed buns available, and a daily happy hour, moto-i has plenty for the snackier al fresco diner. Moto-i also happens to be the only restaurant in Minnesota that can claim to have an on-site sake brewery, (we recommend a flight so you can try them all).

LynLake Brewery
Photo courtesy of LynLake Brewery

Of all the rapidly developing neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, Uptown is certainly one of the busiest. The constant foot traffic means buildings have to be creative about finding outdoor space, like this brewery converted from an old theater. LynLake Brewery features dozens of delicious brews to cool yourself down on hot summer days. Even better? If you get hungry, LynLake’s in-house Burger Joint serves up “Oakie-style” onion burgers to balance out those strong IPA’s. Try the rotating burger of the month, such as the K-Town with kimchi slaw and gulgogi glaze

The Lexington

Grand Avenue

This St. Paul institution has been around since the end of prohibition, but after a total facelift in recent years The Lex is back and better than ever. The 60-person rooftop patio lets you bake in the sun or enjoy the shade and features a full bar serving up strong, classic cocktails. Try the Lex Cup (cucumber vodka, lemon sour, ginger ale) or Earl on Grand (gin, Grand Marnier, Earl Gray simple syrup.)

Up-Down

Lyn-Lake

Up-Down, a multi-floor arcade experience in the heart of the Lyn-Lake neighborhood, is an arcade jam-packed with vintage and modern games. The main floor includes an arcade jam-packed with vintage and modern games, while the rooftop patio has group gaming and more tactile activities like life-size Jenga. With pizza by the slice and game fees topping out at 25 cents per play, you can’t beat Up-Down as one of the most creative, affordable dates in town.

UNION has the only year-round, glass-enclosed rooftop in Minnesota- and it offers great skyline views while serving upscale American food and cocktails. During the day, UNION’s Solar Brunch on the roof is known as one of the hottest in town- with $15 bottomless mimosas, eggs benedict, hash brown bowls and shrimp avocado toast. After dark, it’s a great spot for downtown dwellers to see-and-be-seen under the stars.

6Smith

Wayzata

What should you do if you live in the suburbs and don’t want to blow your dining budget on a pricey Uber into the city? Stay local by enjoying a rooftop view of summer shenanigans on Lake Minnetonka instead. The seasonal space at 6Smith gives access to high-end dining options, including lavish weekend brunches, an expansive menu focused on surf and turf, and a full menu just for vegans. 

Jenna Bennett Williams is a writer for Thrillist who is thankful it’s finally nice enough to visit the rooftops on this list. Follow her on Instagram @jennabennnettwilliams.

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