Rooftop dining has been on the rise in the past decade. Cities around the country are focusing on increasing the amount of rooftop dining/drinking space in new developments to capitalize on soaring skyline views or in some cases, water views. Here are are a few establishments that are winning the praises of travelers.
Lumin SkyBar - Columbus, OH
Columbus, OH, has the 15th largest per capita gay population in the U.S. — more than NYC & Miami — making it one of the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations. A must-do in the city is a visit to the Lumin SkyBar, atop the recently-opened AC Hotel Columbus Downtown, which boasts panoramic city views while welcoming hotel guests and locals alike for Spanish-inspired small plates and craft cocktails as bold in color as they are in flavor. Located where the Arena District and Short North Arts Districts intersect, Lumin overlooks Park Street, the bustling heartbeat of the city, combining rooftop with social hub and providing guests with the perfect launch point to the city’s bustling art, culture and culinary scenes.
AC SkyBar - Orlando, FL
Known as the "The City Beautiful", Orlando is known as one of the top LGBTQ friendly cities in Florida. According to Orlando Weekly, the city has the highest number of coupled gay and lesbians households in the entire state. From Disney Gay Days and the annual Come Out With Pride festival celebrated in October, to Frontyard Festival and Orlando’s Fringe Theater events, there’s no shortage of activities keeping the community at play. When not out exploring, travelers can opt for crafted drinks at the18th floor SkyBar at AC Hotel Orlando Downtown. This hot new gem is in the center of it all - serving up incredible sunset views and cutting-edge mixology from its unique vantage point. For something extra special, order “The Cloud”, a secret menu cocktail inspired by the magic of Orlando and the bar’s location, seemingly floating amongst the clouds. Blood red in color, it includes a white orb that when popped, gently releases flumes of elderflower herbals. For the foodies, AC Kitchen serves a variety of Spanish-style tapas like the Tortilla Española with a mix of more traditional apps such as the meatball cazuela and crispy potatoes. Most recently, AC Orlando announced the debut of SkyBrunch. Held exclusively on Sundays, the “Elevated Brunch Menu” includes everything from crème brûlée French Toast to Spanish-style tapas like the Gambas and Chorizo Cazuela practically transporting guests’ tastebuds to the winding cobblestone roads of Spain.
Azul Restaurant and Rooftop Lounge - St. Maarten
Deemed “The Friendly Island,” St. Maarten celebrates pride year-round, welcoming all for life, love and endless sunshine. The adults-only and all-inclusive Sonesta Ocean Point Resort is registered with the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) -- need we say more? It’s home to the Azul Restaurant and Rooftop Lounge, which hangs over a cliff on Maho Bay, allowing for sweeping views of the turquoise Caribbean Sea all around while enjoying a variety of international cuisines with a drink (or two!) in hand. The all-suite resort sits in a spectacular location at the island’s southernmost point and provides the perfect vantage point for Maho Beach’s famed jet landings. Book at www.sonesta.com/oceanpoint.
Bario Urban Street Food - Curaçao
The vibrant and colorful Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao is not only recognized for its artsy vibe and endless cultural explorations, but for its welcoming and accepting nature. It is no surprise that the island's Live and Let Live mantra make it one of the most LGBTQ friendly destinations in the Caribbean. Travelers looking to experience the island like a local should look no further than the newly opened Bario Hotel & Bar, an authentic boutique hotel located in the heart of Otrobanda, the island’s most artistic district recognized for its endless murals, art galleries, studios, sculptures and local flavor. The beating heart of Bario Hotel & Bar, which means “neighborhood” in Spanish, is it’s open-air al fresco food court called Bario Urban Street Food that features numerous food stalls in colorful shipping containers, each serving distinctive, and locally-inspired street food and craft cocktails. On any given night, locals and visitors alike gather in the food court to enjoy delicious bites, fresh and delicious cocktails, or a nice cold beer while enjoying live music or open mic performances. When visiting the outdoor terrace, guests are invited to soak in views of the artsy district, the twinkling lights of the surrounding city and the infamous Queen Juliana Bridge that stands 185 feet high and is regarded as the tallest bridge in the Caribbean.