Ditch the crowded, expensive tourist towers for neighbourhood rooftop bars when you’re visiting a city.
Enjoy a drink, the vibe, the people and views across the city and the rooftops. You might not always be sitting at the highest point in town but for the price of a tower entry ticket, you can have a drink or two instead. Here are a few rooftop bars, unique and loved by locals in their cities to seek out on your journeys around the world.
Berlin – Klunkerkranich
At the very top of a very regular looking shopping mall in East Berlin, wind your way through the carpark to find this rooftop bar up high. Berlin’s orange rooftops and satellite dishes sprawl out before you from the bar with its wooden decking and its very own blossoming garden, which you are free to wander through.
This is very much a daytime bar where people come to catch the Berlin sun but it’s equally pumping at night. People lounge everywhere, from the chairs to the steps to the floor sipping drinks and eating the homemade pizza.
Paris – Monceur
There’s a secret sundown spot up above Paris in up-and-coming neighbourhood Belleville, where Parisiens come together to watch the sun go down behind the Eiffel Tower from afar.
Monceur, a casual restaurant/bar complete with board games, is perched on this Belleville hilltop with the perfect view over Paris. You can also grab a bottle of wine and some snacks and sit in the pretty Parc de Belleville opposite the bar just before sunset.
Brisbane – Up Bar
At the very top of one of Brisbane’s newest boutique hotels, there’s a bar out on a deck, airy and light, perfectly fitting for the almost year-round good weather in the city. The modern space fills up with workers from the surrounding neighbourhood on weekdays after work and local sun lovers on weekends.
Melbourne – Naked in the Sky
Up high in the sky above the beautiful old buildings of inner-city Fitzroy is this rooftop bar, best saved for sunny Melbourne days and warm nights.
Enter through dingy-cool pub Naked For Satan, take the dark elevator up and emerge on the top floor with views in all directions.
Portland – Slammer Tavern
Looking out over downtown Portland and to the mountains surrounding the city, this dive bar beloved by locals is unassuming and authentic. Sit outside for sunsets on picnic tables or play eighties arcade games inside (Pac-man or Big Buck Hunter?) while classic bar tunes blare overhead.
Ubud, Bali – Sari Organik
This one requires a bit of determination, you walk about a kilometre through the rice paddies to find this restaurant and bar. You’ll pass locals transporting oversized and inappropriate cargo on motorbikes, wild green rice paddies, ducks and other animals, homes, yoga studios, astrologers, shopfronts and tea houses. Made entirely of bamboo, it’s open-air and perched on stilts looking out over a rice paddy field. They serve organic food grown on-site, you can choose from dishes made with love for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores too.
London – Frank’s Cafe
Every summer, in Peckham in South-East London, Frank’s set-up a makeshift bar and cafe on the roof of a ten storey carpark.
Decked out with red marquees, serving Campari cocktails along with very good food, the rooftop sees Londoners converge to soak up the rare summer sun. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a journey on the train to get here but that’s half the fun.
Follow nomadic freelancer, Katie McKnoulty’s (a.k.a. The Travelling Light) travels for more authentic, secret, soul-filled places to visit around the world at www.thetravellinglight.com