Craft cocktails and glorious views go hand in hand in New Orleans. From the French Quarter to the Garden District, The Big Easy is home to a staggering variety of high-rise bars. After a day of pummelling the streets, we suggest hitting the heights to try one out first-hand. Sit back under the blazing Louisiana sunshine, sip on your favourite cocktail and fix your eyes on that spectacular city skyline. Here are seven of the best rooftop bars in New Orleans.
Best Rooftop Bars in New Orleans
1. Hot Tin
Of all the rooftop bars in New Orleans, of which there are many, Hot Tin stands out as one of the best spots to soak in the city skyline. Occupying the 11th floor of the Pontchartrain Hotel, the bar serves up all the speakeasy vibes with its interiors inspired by a 1940s artist’s loft. Enjoy creative and well-crafted cocktails, as well as champagne beers and wines, as the sun goes down. It’s surprisingly affordable too, despite its stellar location.
Located on the 9th floor of the swish NOPSI Hotel, Above the Grid serves up some of the best sunsets in the city. Offering sweeping views of the Mississippi River and city skyline, it’s a dynamic rooftop terrace with a chilled lounge by day and a vibrant bar by night. If you’re lucky enough to be staying at the hotel, you’ll have exclusive access to the pool area too. Hire a private cabana, tuck into ice-cold beers and bask under the Louisiana sunshine. For everyone else, the bar is open from 4 pm.
Come for high-energy and high-calibre cocktails against the backdrop of one of the coolest cities in the States.
Piscobar does exactly what it says it does — Pisco, exceptionally well. Located on the 13th floor of the lovely Catahoula Hotel in the Central Business District, this equally lovely rooftop terrace is the perfect perfect place to kick back after a day of sightseeing. Decorated with bare wood panelling, sun loungers and a Tikki-bar, it’s a private oasis in the midst of office building skyscrapers.
There’s a staggering variety of pisco-based cocktails and you won’t even make a dent on the menu, though you’ll want to try.
4. Mambo’s Nola
Boasting ‘laid-back Louisiana front-porch vibes’, Mambo’s Nola is the only cocktail bar on Bourbon Street. Set in the historic street in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans, the rooftop terrace features a Louis Armstrong mural, a water fountain made from musical instruments and a menu bursting with delicious Cajun and Creole dishes.
Get yourself a Frozen Margarita, a plate of fried oysters and let the good times roll.
On the top floor of the chic Ace Hotel, Alto has all the ingredients for a winning rooftop bar. Sweeping views of the city? Check. Seasonally-changing cocktail menu? Of course. Pool? Got it. What’s more, the pool is open to non-hotel guests too.
The hotel is located just off Lafayette Square, one of the oldest parks in New Orleans.
Set in a restored 1800’s warehouse, Capulet boasts a prime location overlooking the river and the French Quarter. Ice-cold beers, wines and expertly-made cocktail mixes await, with a slew of freshly made sandwiches and light bites too. It’s so beautiful that the venue closes at night and the weekends for private banquets and matrimonial ceremonies. Make plans to visit on a Thursday for the all-night Happy Hour and ‘Jazz Jam’.
For alfresco views of the downtown skyline that are worthy of your Instagram feed, Monkey Board is your best bet. With park benches and lounge chairs, graffiti walls and hanging lanterns, The Monkey Board aces the rooftop park vibes. There’s an excellent selection of crafted speciality cocktails, as well as Southern-inspired bites. And with early morning yoga sessions and late-night DJ sets, it’s as popular with sundowners as it is with partiers.
Sadly, it has nothing to do with monkeys, it’s named instead after the highest platform of an oil rig.
There are only three floors between the Rooftop at Selina Catahoula and the whirl of Union Street, but the two feel worlds apart. The website describes it as ‘Agave-centric Oasis’, which we feel is a pretty accurate description given the abundance of wildlife and cocktail ingredients list. Guests can choose from comfy loungers and sofas or kick back in one of the hammocks. It boasts an enviable location too, just a short stroll from St. Charles streetcar line, the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and some of the best museums and retail in the region.
Onsite, there’s also an award-winning Piscobar, Grab&Go store, restaurant and outdoor courtyard, but we recommend heading straight for the top floor. Sure, you won’t find sensational views but nothing quite beats a warm breeze and a frosty pisco sour. It’s only open Friday and Saturday from 4 pm – 11 pm, so make sure you get here early to grab a table. Or you could arrive early in the morning to stretch it all out with Rooftop Yoga.
For an elevated rooftop experience – in every sense of the word – The Roosevelt delivers. The menu features a myriad of frozen concoctions, including the crowd-pleasing ‘Frozevelt’, which go down beautiful on a hot summers day. You can also take your pick from a range of cocktail classics like piña coladas and mai tais, as well as frosty beers and fine wines. If you’re peckish, there are some delicious salads and sandwiches to snack on too. Did we mention there’s also a pool?
The rooftop bar is open from March and to get access you’ll either need to be a guest or fork out $200 (weekday) for a private cabana rental. Each cabana can accommodate up to eight people, so it’s well with getting a gang together. You’ll also get bottled water and fresh fruit. How luxurious.
Rosie’s on the Roof is a relative newcomer to the scene but it’s fast becoming one of the best rooftop bars in New Orleans. Perched atop the Higgins Hotel, in the Warehouse District, it boasts sweeping views of the city skyline. It’s the perfect spot to start – and end – your night, with regular events and live music throughout the year.
There’s a limited menu of light bites and sandwiches, with the usual burgers and Caesar salads on offer, as well as some more unusual dishes like candied bacon wrap Brussel sprouts and truffle aioli hush puppies. Don’t miss the dessert highlight – fresh beignets tossed with satsuma dusting sugar and warm chocolate dipping sauce.
Another poolside offering, this time at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel. Floating seven floors above the busy streets below, it offers spectacular views over the Mississippi River and the historic French Quarter. The pool is sadly for guests only, but it does make a spectacular backdrop for your rooftop drinks. There’s a range of hand-crafted cocktails, microbrews and wines by the glass on offer, as well as light bites like fried gulf shrimp and buttered brioche with grilled cheese. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you could head straight for the key lime pie or something called a Jumbo Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich instead.
The New Orleans Lager and Ale (NOLA) Brewing Company have set up camp in Irish Channel. There’s an industrial-chic taproom or a fairy-light adorned rooftop bar to choose from, and we heartily recommend the latter. There are at least 32 different craft brews to choose from, so you’re bound to find one for every taste. There’s a mouthwatering menu too featuring southern specials like Alabama-style chicken wings and more metropolitan NYC-style pizzas.
Kirk Coco founded NOLA Brewing in the days after Hurricane Katrina. Once upon a time New Orleans was the brewing capital of the south, making dozens of national brands like Dixie, Falstaff and Jax. Disheartened to find that none of them were now brewed in the city, he decided to launch his own. The rest, as they say, is history.
Vue is located on the 14th floor of the historic ODECO office building on Canal Street. The penthouse bar features panoramic views of Canal Street, Vieux Carre and out to the Mississipi. The bar is run by masterful mixologists who will whip you up a delicious cocktail made from an assortment of eclectic liquors, and there’s also a very good range of local and imported bottled beers. Outside the terrace is all plush velvet stools and loungers, rattan chairs and jewel-coloured enamel tables. It’s one of the most stylish spots in the city, particularly popular with amorous 20-something on a date. The small plates are tasty too.
Tropical Isle is less a rooftop, more a sprawling terrace but we’ll take it. The Bourbon Street location features a second-floor balcony – one of the largest in Bourbon Street – with views of St. Louis Cathedral and “Touchdown Jesus”. While the views are charming, most people come for the world-famous Hand Grenade cocktail. The luminous green drink, made from a secret concoction of liquors, has been dubbed ‘New Orleans most powerful drink’. If you don’t think you can stomach it, try one of the numerous other creative combinations on the menu, like Shark Attack and Horny Gator. Expect big Caribbean tunes and eats too.