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June 25, 2013

Roundup: Our Guide To Breezy Rooftop Bars And Elevated Patios In And Around Philadelphia

This summer, take in spectacular city views atop any one of the restaurants or hotels possessing bars above street level. (Photo courtesy Nineteen)

Drinks with a breeze and a view? Yes, please.

Head to the nearest roofdeck or elevated patio this summer for alfresco drinks, bites and always-impressive city views.

Whether you’re welcoming the Hotel Monaco’s Stratus Rooftop Lounge as it meets its first summer, or visiting a solid standby like City Tap House or Standard Tap to enjoy some fresh air from above, it’s time to escape the hustle and bustle of street-level dining by sneaking away to a deck located above the crowds.

If you’re looking to dine under the stars or soak up some midday sun, a meal or drink above the crowds is the perfect opportunity. After dinner, visit the bars listed in our roundup for late-night drinks right under the stars.

Our top picks for rooftop bars, below:

Stratus Rooftop Lounge: The Hotel Monaco’s all-new Stratus Rooftop Lounge is a fabulous addition to the city scene, overlooking Independence Mall and offering super views of skyscrapers. Shared plates, thin crust pizzas, sliders and more provide guests with a variety of great eats. Expertly mixed drinks, craft beer, wine and champagne rounds out the offerings. Enjoy a cool Old City breeze 11 stories above the historic district. Stratus boasts hours every day of the week — perfect for catching mid-week rays — and serves into the wee hours to make for an ultimate late-night hangout. Throughout the year, Stratus hosts parties and events to make the space even more welcoming.

City Tap House: City Tap House, a beer mecca (with more than 60 brews on tap) in University City has a green roof deck overlooking Walnut Street complete with fire pits. City Tap House serves up extensive brunch, lunch and dinner menus and plenty of local, national and international beer. In addition to fare and libations, every Thursday night City Tap House hosts an outdoor film screening and brewery pair-up on its patio (and inside in the case of rain).

Continental Mid-Town: The rooftop lounge is Continental Midtown’s pièce de résistance. Partially enclosed so that it’s serviceable year-round, the deck area is one of the most popular nightspots in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood during the summer.

The Corner: Juxtaposed with Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s 13th street empire, you might miss this cozy lounge on the corner of 13th and Drury Streets. But head upstairs at The Corner to the private, scenic second floor roofdeck and you’ll be loathe to pass the restaurant by again. Summer cocktails and American comfort food go scrumptiously well together.

Revolution House: The old Snow White Diner in Old City has been transformed into a Mediterranean bistro with brick-oven pizza known as Revolution House. But the best part is the expansive terrace overlooking the Christ Church garden, with a glimpse of Penn’s Landing and the Ben Franklin Bridge.

Standard Tap: The place that began Philadelphia’s gastropub evolution back in 2000 has a roof deck that’s one of the most popular spots in the city, where a lot of people want to be whenever the weather is agreeable. Standard Tap is an excellent spot for weekend brunch, and the roof deck is also a great place for after-work drinks or dinner.

Warmdaddy’s: Warmdaddy’s, a soul-food mecca on Columbus Boulevard in South Philly opens its roof for the summer season, serving up fried chicken, cornbread and other Southern eats. Live jazz and blues makes dining and drinking in the open air space along the Delaware River a wonderful summer evening.

Nineteen (XIX) at the Hyatt at the Bellevue: Nineteen (XIX), a cafe, bar and lounge and the Hyatt at the Bellevue Hotel, is located on the building’s very top floor. From this lofty perch, the restaurant offers spectacular views of the surrounding city; none are better than the ones from the open-air balconies, available for diners (weather permitting) for both lunch and dinner. Word to the wise: those afraid of heights best desist.

Vango Lounge and Skybar: Vango has gathered rave reviews for its modern Asian decor and A-list social scene. But the biggest draw is the amazing upstairs deck, complete with oversized beds and outdoor seating, that can pull in capacity crowds on the weekends.

More picks, below.

TGI Friday’s at Embassy Suites: TGI Friday’s at Embassy Suites overlooks the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and allows spectacular views of one of the city’s most popular areas. Hotel guests and non-hotel guests alike are invited to enjoy the food and take in the views.

Azie: An assortment of sushi, sashimi, and other Asian fusion eats fill the menu at Media’s Azie. Inspired cocktails featuring ingredients like sake, lychee and pomegranate along with a variety of brews allow for perfect elevated sipping. The second floor spot overlooks Orange Street in Media and is open every day (weather permitting).

Mas Mexicali Cantina: West Chester’s Mas Mexicali Cantina offers an expansive roofdeck fit to hold 150 people. The margarita list is nearly endless, enjoy sweet, spicy and even budget-friendly libations. The food menu has all of the offerings one would expect from a top-notch Mexican restaurant. Think tacos, burritos, fajitas and enchiladas.

Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant and Pub: With two locations, one in Lansdale and one in Phoenixville, Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant and Pub offers elevated seating at both locations. Enjoy fine Irish fare while wining and dining outside. Both locations open up their outdoor patio seating on Friday and Saturday evenings from dinner time to close.

Bonus: R2L: It’s not an “outdoor” rooftop per se, but R2L, perched high atop Liberty Place, features completely amazing 360 degree views of the city. You haven’t dined on a rooftop until you’ve dined while watching the sun set from 37 floors up.

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