The Top 20 Rooftop Bars and Restaurants in Boston
Head to a romantic hideaway in the North End, a swanky hotspot in Southie, or a popular pool bar in Back Bay.
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Sometimes you’re fine with simply finding the closest possible restaurant patio for a pleasant al fresco meal. At other times, though, there’s something about ascending to a rooftop bar for a slightly more, well, elevated experience. When that mood strikes, here’s where to head, from a romantic rooftop hideaway in the North End to a swanky new hotspot in Southie (plus a preview of a few cloud-scraping coming attractions).
It’s not open quite yet, but you’ll want to get wise now to Blue Owl, a rooftop bar and restaurant slated to open this summer. Expect Cambridge diners to flock to the place, which plans to bring street food-inspired small plates and inventive cocktails to a terrace atop Cambridge’s boutique 907 Main hotel, which also houses the Dial restaurant on its ground floor.
907 Main St., Cambridge, 617-349-2967, blueowlcentralsq.com.
A popular watering hole for Boston College grad students and their Brighton neighbors since ’85, Cityside is a friendly, straightforward city tavern with great people-watching, thanks to its roof deck overlooking Cleveland Circle and the comings and goings of the Green Line’s C trains. Enjoy your anthropological studies with something from Cityside’s “Hangover Cures 101” menu of brunch cocktails, including a boozy iced coffee with peanut butter whisky and Reese’s Pieces candies.
1960 Beacon St., Brighton, 617-566-1002, cityside-tavern.com.
The Colonnade Boston’s Roof Top Pool
Reopening for the season on May 28, the Colonnade’s super-popular rooftop pool deck, a fine place to suck down fruit cocktails before taking a cooling dip, allows non-hotel guests to visit for a $45 per guest fee, plus a $20 minimum on food and drink. If you’d like to spread out a bit more, you can also reserve a cabana—outfitted with chaise lounges, a TV, and mini-fridge—for up to six guests.
120 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-424-7000, colonnadehotel.com.
Another upcoming addition to Boston’s rooftop-dining options, Contessa is a Northern Italian-inspired restaurant slated to open in June at the Newbury Boston, the Public Garden-side luxury hotel that recently replaced the Taj. As the first foray into Massachusetts from Major Food Group—a well, major food group with two-dozen swanky restaurants in major cities around the world—Contessa has enclosed the rooftop space with retractable glass panels and roofing, so it can serve as a four-season dining destination too.
1 Newbury St., Boston, 888-974-3948, thenewburyboston.com.
This Southie spot boasts not only the 75-seat “Porch” out front, but also a vintage Airstream-turned-rooftop bar, the Airdeck. The multi-level space has summer-ready cocktails and craft beer, plus party-friendly barbecue plates, buffalo shrimp, sweet potato tots, and more.
40 W. 3rd St., South Boston, 617-658-3452, coppersmithboston.com.
It feels like you’re cocktailing atop a shipping container at Cunard Tavern’s so-called TopDeck in East Boston, a great place to see a spring or summer sunset over the western horizon. Currently open Thursdays through Sundays only, the deck has slim square-footage—so reserve a table in advance if you want to soak up the wharf-side breezes while wolfing down a corn salad-tossed lobster roll with a craft brew.
24 Orleans St., East Boston, 617-567-7609, cunardtavern.com.
In Harvard Square, a neighborhood that has transformed dramatically over the last decade, enduring hangouts like the 20 year-old Daedalus take on a kind of mythic quality now. At this point, it has one of the oldest rooftop dining scenes in the area, still full of garrulous grad students who either sound like they’re on double dates or as though they’re practicing for debate club. In all instances, the people-pleasing New American eats and drinks, from sangria to some dessert-friendly Scotch and ports, remains a reliable social lubricant.
45.5 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, 617-349-0071, daedalusrestaurantcambridge.com.
Perched a dozen floors high at the Seaport’s Yotel, a hotel brand that offers trendy urban travelers budget-conscious rates for cruise-ship-cabin-sized rooms, Deck 12 is a small but stylish lounge that welcomes overnight guests and any other wandering soul seeking al fresco dinner, drinks, or weekend brunch. It pulls out plenty of heaters to stay open during the winter, too.
65 Seaport Blvd. (inside Yotel), Boston, 617-377-4747, yotel.com.
Dorchester Brewing Company and M&M BBQ
Dorchester Brewing Company’s recent addition includes an exterior deck with open-air tables and breathtaking views of the Boston skyline. Along with a wide spectrum of house beers, the place also boasts access to a full menu from in-house restaurant M&M BBQ, so dive in to chef-owner Geo Lambert’s famous ribs or the “Fenway” soft pretzel with smoked cheese sauce.
Earls Kitchen + Bar (Back Bay)
This twinkling roof deck seats more than 200 people across various dining and lounge-style settings. It has a gigantic tree and an ivy-lined wall, and the retractable roof allows for three-season enjoyment.
The Shops at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston (Back Bay), 857-957-0949, earlsrestaurants.com.
Salt-rimmed margaritas flow by the pitcher at Felipe’s, a familiar-feeling, casual Mexican spot in Harvard Square. Its rooftop has a dedicated bar for tending to whatever you need for washing down burritos and Baja-style tacos filled with wood-grilled meats, fish, and veggies.
21 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-354-9944, felipesboston.com.
This three-story behemoth is a stunner in all seasons, but summertime is when it really excels. Grab a pint at nearby Harpoon before hitting up Legal’s picturesque rooftop patio—equipped with a rain-fortified retractable roof—for some steamers, New England fried clams, and freshly shucked shellfish.
270 Northern Ave., Boston (Seaport), 617-477-2900, legalseafoods.com.
Chef Will Gilson’s triad of restaurants at Cambridge Crossing includes Cafe Beatrice, an all-daytime cafe; Geppetto, a full-service Italian eatery; and the Lexington, a people-pleasing restaurant and bar that just happens to boast a rare-for-the-neighborhood roof deck connected to its dining room by wide walls of retractable windows. It’s a stylish, breezy space for kicking back with Gilson’s New American cuisine (try the fried chicken with green goddess dressing and cranberry slaw) and kicky cocktails.
100 N First St., Cambridge, 617-945-1349, thelexingtoncx.com.
Lookout Rooftop and Bar
Impress out-of-town guests this summer at this trendy spot. Along with craft cocktails, the seventh-story lounge on top of the Envoy Hotel serves up breathtaking views of the Harbor and the Skyline. (And even when the weather is cold, the place trots out glowing, plexiglass igloos that small parties can reserve to huddle inside with hot drinks and noshes.)
70 Sleeper St., Boston (Seaport), 617-530-1538, theenvoyhotel.com.
A rare rooftop-dining option in North End streets flooded with restaurants, Fiore’s retractable covering ensures that, should unexpected storm clouds roll in, you won’t wind up with rain in your glass of red wine or bowl of red sauce-drenched pasta. Heck, if you’re with the right person, that pitter patter of drops overhead might even add to the Italian cucina-style intimacy.
250 Hanover St., Boston, 617-371-1176, ristorantefiore.com.
Over the Charles
You don’t need to check in to the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton to check out Over the Charles, its rooftop bar by the riverbank. In addition to the water view, you’ll also receive a double vision of Boston and Cambridge skylines—and speaking of pairings, the spot’s menu of snacks and lightish bites offers handy suggestions for the perfect accompanying Jack’s Abby beer. The chipotle mayo-slicked fried chicken sandwich, for instance, goes well with the local craft brewer’s Ray Catcher, a sunny, citrusy lemongrass lager.
400 Soldiers Field Rd. (DoubleTree Suites by Hilton), Boston, 617-783-0090, hilton.com.
Dine in full view of the historic Charlestown Navy Yard and the USS Constitution on the roof deck, or on the huge, first-floor patio. Downstairs, there’s an outdoor bar, with rosé magnums and cocktails like the Captain’s Mistress, a refreshing sparkler with tequila, Aperol, grapefruit juice, rhubarb bitters, and cava. Plus: There’s a complimentary (weather-dependent) seasonal water taxi directly to the equally scenic East Boston sister spot, ReelHouse.
1 8th St., Boston (Charlestown), 617-337-0054, pier6boston.com.
Rooftop at Revere
It’s not even summer yet, but crowds are already roaring back to the rooftop bar at the Revere Hotel, where beach club-style cabanas and couches are a lovely place to laze about and soak up some sun. It’s the kind of place to pop a bottle of bubbly for sipping with fresh salads, charcuterie, and small bites. Seats are in high demand, though, so reserve seats on OpenTable ahead of time; if you want a private cabana for up to six friends, head here to check out the two-hour time slots and food and beverage minimums.
200 Stuart St., Boston, 617-482-1800, reverehotel.com.
Sam Adams Taproom
Downtown Boston’s new Sam Adams taproom continues to offer beer pick-up, so if you want to celebrate sunnier days ahead with the aptly named Beacon of Hops, a new double IPA made in collaboration with Lamplighter Brewing Co., you can always preorder a crowler to go. Better yet, settle in for a cold pint on a warm day on the brewpub’s rooftop, which accepts reservations for its first seating of the day only—otherwise, it’s first come, first seated.
60 State St., Boston, 617-466-6418, samadamsbostontaproom.com.
Trillium Brewing Company
Good news for those who like to keep their feet on the ground: The super-popular brewery will reopen its seasonal beer garden on the Greenway on May 20. If you’re looking for a loftier experience, though, the Fort Point bar and restaurant is already pouring pints on its roof deck, including particularly refreshing varieties like the Daily Serving, a sour fruited Berliner Weisse with notes of raspberry and passion fruit.
50 Thomson Pl., Boston, 857-449-0083, trilliumbrewing.com.