Top USA Bars with a View

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From JetSetter.com – Saving because I love to have cocktails with a view in the best places. And unbelievably I’ve never had a tipple in any of these so I defo need to start checking some off my list.  Do you have any good recs for me from your state? Do tell!

 

 

 

50 States of Cocktails: Where to Drink (With a View) Across America

Nothing has us pining more for a refreshing drink than the long, hot days of August. Thankfully, America is absolutely brimming with fabulous cocktail dens, hometown breweries, and rooftop bars where you can toast the season in style. From an open-air deck on a Delaware beach to a swanky loft in New Orleans, here are 50 spots (and 50 drinks) to try this summer in each state.

1 Maine: Portland Lobster Company

Winter can be downright brutal in coastal Maine, so when summer hits, locals spend as much time as possible outdoors. Where better to enjoy the sun and salty sea breezes than at a lobster shack? They’re ubiquitous up and down the coast but Portland Lobster Company, situated right on the water overlooking Casco Bay, might just be the best. Its alfresco picnic tables are perpetually crowded with Portlanders, who come to enjoy local craft beer (go for the Allagash White or Black, brewed right in town), live music, and some of tastiest lobster rolls in the state.

2 Pennsylvania: Assembly Rooftop at the Logan, Philadelphia

As far as views in Philly go, it doesn’t get much better than the Logan Philadelphia‘s Assembly Rooftop Lounge, whose terrace affords sweeping views of Logan Square, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art with its famous staircase (any Rocky fans out there?). Grab a group of friends and cozy up on one of the semi-circular couches surrounding the fire pits for a drink or two. On warm days, cool down with the Celery Stalked—a refreshing combination of local Bluecoat barrel-aged gin, St. Germain, and celery and lime juice.

3 New Jersey: Rooftop at Exchange Place, Jersey City

Many New Yorkers would agree: in order to truly appreciate Manhattan’s skyline, you need to get out of the city. No place proves that point more than Jersey City’s new Rooftop at Exchange Place, where you can take in unbeatable panoramas that stretch from the Empire State Building all the way to the Statue of Liberty. We doubt anyone will judge you for snapping pics of the Skyliner (sparkling wine with crème de violette) held up against One World Trade Center’s silhouette.

4 Rhode Island: The Roof Deck at the Grace Vanderbilt, Newport

American businessman Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt commissioned the Grace Vanderbilt in 1909 as a mansion for his mistress. Now a boutique hotel, this property has some of the best views of Newport’s marina. Drink like a Gilded Age tycoon at the Roof Deck, where guests settle into Adirondack chairs with champagne cocktails in hand and watch the sun set over the water. New this summer: a crudo bar, which will serve oysters and seafood all season long.

5 Connecticut: Treehouse at the Oyster Club, Mystic

You might recognize Mystic from its starring role in the 1988 Julia Roberts film Mystic Pizza, but there’s lots to discover in this quintessential New England seaside town beyond its Hollywood roots—including the largest maritime museum in the United States. After exploring the quaint downtown, grab a seat on the string light-lit wooden deck at the Treehouse above the Oyster Club during daily happy hour (3 to 6 p.m.) to take advantage of $1 freshly shucked oysters alongside a signature Bloody Mary.

6 New York: The Ides Bar, Brooklyn

The Ides Bar at Williamsburg’s hip Wythe Hotel may not be New York’s newest rooftop bar, or even its highest, but it’s still one of the best places in New York to take in Manhattan’s storied skyline. As Williamsburg’s original boutique hotel, the Wythe’s got street cred in spades: the top floors (which were added onto the original cooperage) feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows that guarantee gorgeous views all year long, but Ides really comes alive in summer when it opens its outdoor terrace. Toast the end of the season with a Storm in the Summer, a house cocktail made with Reyka Vodka, raspberry brandy, bianco vermouth, and soda.

7 Vermont: Falcon Bar, Manchester

Talk about a piece of living history: the Equinox, a Luxury Collection Golf Resort & Spa has hosted no less than four U.S. presidents in its historic rooms and suites, and rumor has it Marsh Tavern (located in the original 1769 building) was a watering hole for revolutionaries during the Civil War. The place to savor a drink alfresco is the Falcon Bar, just off the main lobby, where (in addition to classic cocktails) you can sip local craft beer and over 50 varieties of wine and single-malt scotches. There’s even a fire pit for cooler nights.

8 New Hampshire: Cabonnay, Manchester

Opened last year in Manchester, Cabonnay (a blend between cabernet and chardonnay) occupies two spectacular spaces inside an otherwise unassuming office building: there’s the rooftop patio lined with flower boxes, umbrellas, and tables for two along with a ground-floor dining room whose menu of New England favorites with an Asian twist (tempura fried chicken; avocado toast with a soy poached egg) earned it a spot on New Hampshire Magazine’s Best New Restaurants list in 2017. You won’t go wrong with any of their wines.

9 Maryland: Pool Bar & Grill at the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

The Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, which debuted earlier this year in the landmarked Recreation Pier in Fell’s Point, is drawing hip locals and out-of-towners to its innovative pool bar, shaped out of recycled shipping containers. After enjoying a refreshing Aperol Spritz and views of the real shipping frigates docked in Baltimore Harbor, order up something from the food menu (crab cakes; fish tacos), which is overseen by none other than New York-based chef Andrew Carmellini.

10 Massachusetts: Lookout Rooftop, Boston

The Lookout Rooftop & Bar at the Envoy, an Autograph Collection Hotel has been Boston’s hot spot for drinks with amazing waterfront views ever since it opened in 2015, but a recent $4 million expansion has made it even better. We’re talking 2,500 square feet more space and a plush seated section overlooking the Seaport District, where you can while away happy hours among the city’s stylish locals. House cocktails are the way to go; spring for their take on a Moscow Mule (made with Absolut Lime, lime juice, simple syrup, and ginger beer).

11 Delaware: Big Chill Beach Club, Bethany Beach

Delaware is all about its beach towns, and locals know that North Bethany Beach has some of the best venues to hang out at when the summer season hits. Our favorite: the wooden rooftop deck at the Big Chill Beach Club, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Bay and seats up to 200 people (so you rarely have to fight for a seat). Bring all your friends and order a Beach Bucket to share like the South Side Punch, made with Cruzan Passion Fruit rum, orange juice, pineapple, and grenadine.

12 Mississippi: The Coop, Oxford

You don’t have to be a University of Mississippi student to appreciate the Graduate Oxford, a funky hotel near campus that exudes southern charm. The place to be is The Coop, the property’s fourth-floor terrace lounge with a modern farmhouse vibe, for barrel-aged whiskey cocktails and Southern classics (including four excellent Moscow mule variations like the Kentucky, mixed with Four Roses bourbon).

13 West Virginia: Restaurant at the Glen Ferris Inn

For a taste of historic charm on the banks of the Kanawha River, it’s hard to beat the restaurant at the Glen Ferris Inn. Built in 1816, the inn was first conceived as a family residence for retired army colonel Aaron Stockton. Over time, the inn began to take on lodgers including presidents, governors, and the naturalist John James Audubon. Follow in their footsteps by sipping something classic—a gin and tonic, perhaps?—with views of Kanawha Falls.

14 South Carolina: The Rooftop at the Vendue, Charleston

For a bird’s-eye view of Charleston’s steepled skyline and the waterfront, take the elevator to the top-floor bar of The Vendue, a historic hotel in the city’s French Quarter. Downstairs, sparkling chandeliers and original wood beams recall the property’s 18th-century heritage; upstairs is far more modern—a two-tiered space of covered and uncovered wooden decks with fun pop art installations. Watch the sunset over a refreshing Southside Fizz, made with Seersucker Gin, lime juice, fresh mint, and club soda.

15 Kentucky: Belle’s Cocktail House, Lexington

When it comes to bourbon, all roads lead from Lexington, where world-famous distilleries Four Roses and Woodford Reserve are just a half-hour’s drive away. For something right in town, locals love Belle’s Cocktail House. Named for Belle Brezing (a real-life Victorian-era southern belle who ran a high-class brothel out of her mansion and was the inspiration for the fictional character Belle Watling in Gone With the Wind), this watering hole stocks more than a hundred varieties of Kentucky’s famous whiskey. The rooftop bar (Lexington’s first) is an added bonus—perfect for sipping an Old Fashioned on hot summer nights.

16 Florida: Sugar, Miami

Competition for the best outdoor bar is fierce in Miami, where over-the-top hotels like the Faena and creative cocktail dens like the Broken Shaker offer up ambiance in spades. This summer’s rooftop du jour is Sugar, a 40th-floor hangout at EAST, Miami where revelers dressed to the nines sip Asian-inflected drinks in a tropical oasis of Balinese-inspired décor and copious potted palms. Try the refreshing Toki Highball, made with Japanese Suntory Toki whiskey, yuzu, Lagavulin 16, and soda.

17 Georgia: Peregrin, Savannah

Savannah’s highly anticipated Perry Lane Hotel (a member of the Luxury Collection) has finally opened its doors, bringing a hot new rooftop bar to Georgia’s oldest city. Designed by award-winning firm AvroKO, the hotel embodies southern charm with a modern twist—and the rooftop, dubbed Peregrin, is no different. A lush oasis of jasmine blossoms and boxwood plants surround an inviting patio where both locals and visitors come to play lawn games and sip local craft beers, frozés, and signature drinks like the Perry Lane Special—made with cognac, dry curaçao, absinthe, sparkling wine, and lemon.

18 Tennessee: L.A. Jackson, Nashville

Instagram lovers will find everything their feed needs next at L.A. Jackson, the rooftop bar at the Thompson Nashville beloved as much for its panoramic views of downtown and the Gulch as it is for its ice cream sandwiches (of which there are three mouthwatering varieties—in addition to bar bites like catfish chips and venison poppers). The daiquiris are worth their salt, too. JS Tip: time your visit for a Monday night, when Jack White’s record label Third Man Records hosts DJ nights featuring local musicians and influencers that spin their favorite tunes.

19 North Carolina: The Roof at the Durham Hotel

Sleek midcentury vibes prevail at the Durham Hotel, a 53-room boutique hotel in a 1969 former bank building downtown. For alfresco cocktails, look no further than the hotel’s 3,000-square-foot roof deck, which includes an indoor bar with covered seating in addition to its open-air space. Wherever you choose to hold court, you can’t go wrong with the hotel’s namesake cocktail, which blends rum, cognac, port, Benedictine, and Angostura bitters.

20 Arkansas: The Preacher’s Son, Bentonville

Bentonville, Arkansas, is one of the best under-the-radar small cities in the United States, particularly when it comes to its art scene (you’ll find everything from Andy Warhol’s COCA-COLA to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Bachman-Wilson House at its ground-breaking Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art). When it comes to drinks, there are some great places to imbibe, too. The Preacher’s Son, housed in a former Neo-gothic church, debuted a new rooftop patio last summer—a great place to enjoy a Rhubarb Cup (gin, Sfumato, strawberry-rhubarb syrup, lemon, and soda).

21 Louisiana: Hot Tin, New Orleans

If you’re not in the mood to deal with the masses on Bourbon Street, head for NOLA’s rooftops. A swanky evening out is guaranteed at Hot Tin, in the historic Pontchartrain Hotel, which was designed to look like a 1940s artist’s loft (Tennessee Williams reportedly lived on property when he wrote A Streetcar Named Desire). Spicy drinks dominate this summer’s menu; for something more low-key with just a little kick, try the Hibbity Dibbity—a bourbon-based cocktail mixed with blueberry hibiscus tea, lemon, and ginger.

22 Virginia: Q Rooftop Bar, Richmond

Since its opening in 2015, Richmond’s Quirk Hotel has been a magnet for creative types, who are drawn to its sleek design and the adjacent Quirk Gallery that exhibits work by established and emerging artists. You might even meet some of them at Q Rooftop Bar, where locals and visitors mingle over craft cocktails, wine, and beer. Grab a spot on one of the white couches or chairs and soak up the views of downtown that stretch all the way to the Richmond Coliseum.

23 Alabama: Carrigan’s Public House, Birmingham

Carrigan’s Public House occupies an industrial space in the heart of Birmingham with a cool rooftop deck that’s perfect for catching the breeze on hot summer nights. You’ll find a great selection of craft beer here, but they’re most known for their elevated cocktails. Try the Fightin’ Words, a unique take on an Old Fashioned with rye, Cocchi Americano, Fernet Branca, orange blossom water, Angostura bitters, and flamed orange.

24 Washington: Canon, Seattle

A line often extends out the door at Seattle’s tiny 32-seat bar, Canon. It’s little wonder why: the spot won an award at the 2017 Tales of the Cocktails celebration (often considered the industry’s Academy Awards) for housing one of the largest and rarest collections of spirits in the world. The interior looks like a library of sorts, with tall shelves extending up to the ceiling (and reached only by ladder). The Capitol Hill drinkery also has a fun summertime secret: a hidden patio. If you manage to nab a coveted outdoor seat, we recommend indulging in the refreshing Streamline, made with gin, strawberry juice, pineapple, and bitters.

25 Idaho: 315 Martinis and Tapas, Coeur d’Alene

Tucked away in the northern city of Coeur d’Alene is Idaho’s historic Greenbriar Inn, which opened in 1908. Its restaurant, 315 Martinis and Tapas, has the foremost cocktail program in town—and a patio and two porches for alfresco drinking. Order a Tuscan Pear (citrus vodka, ginger liqueur, pear juice, and orange bitters) then kick back, relax, and enjoy being outdoors.

26 Montana: Tiki Bar at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake

Nature reigns supreme in Montana, and during the summer at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, you can drink lakeside at a tiki bar. (There’s a poolside space, too, if that’s more your scene.) The summertime hot spot is an extension of the Boat Club Lounge and Restaurant, which has been named one of the best happy hours in Whitefish. Try the Big Mountain Mojito for a refreshing tipple under the sun.

27 Oregon: Departure Restaurant and Lounge, Portland

Portland, Oregon, might have more of a reputation for its outdoorsy personality, but it has some seriously swanky drinking dens as well. You’ll find a bit of both at Departure, the Asian-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant inside the artsy-luxe Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel. While the mountain and river views from the dining room are amazing, the vistas from its two patios are even better. Order the tequila-based (and easily Instagrammable) Madame Cheng: coconut ash colors the cocktail black, but guanabana and lemon verbena make it surprisingly fruity and fresh.

28 Wyoming: The Deck @ Piste, Jackson Hole

With a landscape as beautiful as Wyoming’s, you’re best off imbibing somewhere where you can take it all in. Though you might be more used to seeing white ski slopes in Jackson Hole, during the summer, you can take the gondola up to The Deck @ Piste, which has a beautiful patio overlooking the greenery. For a simple but tasty tipple, order the Huckleberry How Pow, made with huckleberry vodka (it’s the state fruit of neighboring Idaho), lemonade, and soda.

29 Alaska: Crow’s Nest, Anchorage

Most bars in Anchorage don’t have outdoor space (for a city whose summertime temperatures typically top out at 61˚F, we’re not surprised), but you can still get incredible 360-degree views of the mountains and the sea from the Crow’s Nest, Hotel Captain Cook’s rooftop bar and restaurant. Despite the name, you won’t find a tacky pirate theme here: the bar is sleek with warm woods that mimic the interior of an elegant ship, and the dress code is business casual. Order a classic Sidecar—it might not be the most summery of drinks, but it certainly feels like the right choice given the space.

30 Nevada: Mandarin Bar, Las Vegas

Las Vegas has no shortage of places to imbibe, but in our opinion, the best are the ones overlooking the Strip. The sophisticated Mandarin Bar on the Mandarin Oriental hotel’s 23rd floor offers a quieter, more luxe experience than other spots in Sin City, with floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides framing neon-lit views of the famous Vegas skyline. The five elements–inspired Wu Xing cocktail (mixed with Johnnie Walker Blue and baiju with flavors of lemongrass, ginger, lychee, oolong, and sandalwood) is new this year and makes for the perfect summer sip while enjoying the twinkling lights.

31 New Mexico: Bell Tower Bar, Santa Fe

Fun fact: the artsy town of Santa Fe, founded in 1610, is the oldest capital city in the U.S. Get a taste of history at La Fonda on the Plaza, the grand dame in town, whose site has hosted inns since 1609. Of all the margaritas on the menu (and there are a few of them) at the property’s seasonal Bell Tower Bar, located on the fifth floor, we’re partial to the Daizy—mixed with Cointreau, St. Germain, and a Patron tequila made just for the hotel.

32 California: Broken Shaker, Los Angeles

In downtown L.A., you’ll find this summer’s hottest scene at the Broken Shaker, the new Freehand Hotel’s loosely tiki-themed rooftop bar featuring a pool surrounded by pink loungers (note that swimming is for hotel guests only) and a vibrant atmosphere that transitions from day to night. The Funky Monkey—gin, Tempis Fugit crème de cacao, banana purée, and coconut cream—is the perfect boozy delight and packs quite the tropical punch.

33 Arizona: Jade Bar, Scottsdale

If it was good enough for Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s honeymoon, it’s good enough for us. The luxurious Sanctuary Camelback Mountain has one of the best views of all the hotels in Scottsdale, thanks to its location on the slopes of Camelback Mountain. Another romantic draw: the seriously swanky Jade Bar, which often has live music and maximizes those views with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the desert and Arizona’s magical sunsets. For a spicy, smoky riff on a margarita, try the State of the Union (made with pineapple-infused mezcal, Ancho Reyes Verde, a five-spice simple syrup, and lime).

34 Oklahoma: O Bar, Oklahoma City

The seventh-floor rooftop of the boutique Ambassador Hotel, an Autograph Collection property in downtown Oklahoma City, possesses one of the best views of the skyline. Though the indoor bar has great vistas itself, there’s a small outdoor area open in the summer, which is a great spot to sip an Airmail—a refreshingly sweet mix of rum, lime, honey, and sparkling wine.

35 Utah: Red Rocks Grill at Zion Lodge

As the only lodge located within the borders of Zion National Park, Zion Lodge is perfectly situated to soak in the beautiful views of its majestic rock formations. Head to the terrace at Red Rock Grill and order the Prickly Pear Margarita—an indigenous fruit to the area that’s just the right amount of sweet you can indulge in all day long.

36 Colorado: Corrida, Boulder

Right in the heart of downtown Boulder, the newly opened Corrida is a Spanish-inspired steakhouse with a killer cocktail menu and a great deck with mountain views. The restaurant serves a menu of gin and tonics in the Spanish style—that is, poured table-side. Our favorite is the herbal Sweet Citrus, made with Damrak & Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic, orange, rosemary, and coriander.

37 Texas: Arlo Grey, Austin

The Line, Austin’s newly minted boutique hotel, is already one of the most popular spots to be at this season thanks to its fantastic pool scene and highly-anticipated restaurant by Top Chef winner Kristen Kish called Arlo Grey. The latter offers a great view onto the pool, so it’s a prime people-watching spot made all the better with a cocktail in hand. Try the Devil’s Backbone, a concoction of mezcal, pineapple, and lime that practically sings summer.

38 Hawaii: KOA Oasis Booze Shack, Honolulu

Beachfront bars lining the shores of Hawaii are a dime a dozen, but for a funky spot that drastically differs from Honolulu’s typically swanky hotel pool scenes, head to the KOA Oasis Booze Shack. It’s just a trailer parked along the Fort DeRussy Boardwalk (so don’t expect any frills), but it serves one of the best Mai Tais you’ll ever have. Grab one and take in the views of the water while you people-watch.

39 Wisconsin: Outsider Rooftop, Milwaukee

Indoor-outdoor living might be the norm in California, but in Wisconsin, it’s a rarity—unless you’re at The Outsider rooftop bar in Milwaukee, where you can get the best of both worlds. There are six different areas of the bar to choose from (including booths on the terrace warmed by fire pits) and many have retractable glass walls, making this a destination in any season. This summer, order a Toucan House Rules for a strong tropical tipple: it’s made of rum, gin, pineapple-infused Campari, orgeat, lime, pineapple, mint, and bitters.

40 Minnesota: Seven Steakhouse Sushi & Rooftop, Minneapolis

After a major overhaul last year, the Seven Steakhouse Sushi & Rooftop in downtown Minneapolis debuted not only all-new interiors—very sleek and modern ones, at that—but also a brand-new menu that makes even the most classic choices exciting (there’s champagne in the potato soup and sirloins are aged for 40 days, New York strip-style). As the venue name suggests, there are several components to this complex, but we recommend going straight to the massive Haven rooftop (which serves Asian-inspired bites as well as steaks) and ordering the Ginger on the Rye.

41 Illinois: Cindy’s, Chicago

Once home to a landmarked men’s-only private club, the Chicago Athletic Association received a gorgeous refurb courtesy of hit design firm Roman and Williams and its rooftop bar, Cindy’s, now consistently ranks among the city’s best bars. The vaulted glass-and-steel atrium reminiscent of a Beaux Arts train station keeps the space bright and airy, while an open-air terrace offers panoramic views of Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Lake Michigan. Ask a bartender to shake up one of their creative concoctions like the Grey Garden (made with Tito’s, Dolin Blanc, crème de violette, jasmine tea, and lemon).

42 Indiana: Rooftop Garden Cocktail Lounge, Indianapolis

Indianapolis’s food scene has been heating up over the last few years and gaining lots of acclaim. If you’re headed there this summer, discover one of the city’s most unique attractions at the historic Fountain Square Theater Building, where you can savor excellent cocktails and pizza with panoramic downtown views at the new Rooftop Garden Cocktail Lounge. Try one of their Moscow Mule variations like the Gin Gin Mule, made with Tanqueray, ginger beer, mint, and lime.

43 Iowa: UP Skybar, Davenport

Situated just a few blocks from the banks of the Mississippi River, the Current Iowa, an Autograph Collection Hotel, boasts one of the best rooftop bars in Davenport. The appropriately named UP Skybar features lounge-style seating with sofas and chairs surrounding fire pits. Sip on a “Summers Are For Shandies” cocktail, which blends sweet tea vodka with lemon juice and Old Davenport Gold blonde ale from the local Front Street Brewery.

44 Missouri: Element, St. Louis

For a small city, St. Louis has a surprising number of rooftop bars. Our current favorite is the third-floor terrace of Element St. Louis, a casual fine-dining restaurant serving up American cuisine inside a former power plant. The outdoor space offers more than views; you can also enjoy live music on Friday nights during the summer. If you’re looking for a perfectly fruity-but-not-too-sweet cocktail, consider the Collinsville, which is mixed with gin, aloe, grapefruit, lemon, and simple syrup.

45 Nebraska: 1912 Benson, Omaha

Nebraska might be considered a flyover state, but Omaha is well worth a stop, especially for its food and drinks. In the summer, do yourself a favor and head to the rooftop of 1912 Benson in the historic district of Benson—one of the city’s hippest neighborhoods. While the restaurant might be best known for its delicious food (get the poutine), we’re partial to its cocktails, especially the Benson Mule with its mouthwatering ginger and pineapple combination.

46 South Dakota: Vertex Sky Bar, Rapid City

At the nexus of Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Badlands, Rapid City has a flourishing food and drink scene that’s putting South Dakota on the map. For the best views in town, head to the Art Deco-style Hotel Alex Johnson, which is home to the luxurious Vertex Sky Bar. Though you can imbibe and take in the views from indoors year-round, the atmosphere is best in the summer, when the terrace opens up. Order the Black-Berry Hills Smash—the bar’s riff on a Mint Julep featuring bourbon, simple syrup, blackberries, mint, lemon, and soda.

47 North Dakota: Luft Rooftop Beer Garden, Bismarck

When summer rolls around after a frigid winter, North Dakotans flock to outdoor bars to enjoy the much-missed rays of sun. In the capital, Bismarck, the Lüft Rooftop Beer Garden offers imbibers a greenhouse-themed space decorated with warm woods and quite a bit of greenery, with a roof that remains open in the warmer months so you can enjoy the fresh air. Embrace the summertime spirit with a Swipe Right, a rum-based drink mixed with lychee, lime, and mint.

48 Kansas: Public at the Brickyard, Wichita

You don’t need to score tickets to enjoy the tunes of Wichita’s largest outdoor music venue. Public at the Brickyard offers its own patio space, which is a great spot to listen to the music being played next-door. The bar and restaurant are dedicated to all things Kansas—bar bites incorporate ingredients sourced from local businesses like Yoder Meats and Creekstone Farms, while many of their craft beers are brewed right in Wichita—but when it comes to cocktails, we’re a fan of something a bit farther-flung: namely, the seasonal Verano, comprised of tequila, Grand Marnier, lime, pineapple, habañero, mango nectar, and a Tajin-spiced rim.

49 Ohio: Cocktail Terrace at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati

The pop-tails at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati’s Cocktail Terrace might be the summer’s most Instagrammable drinks, but the boozy slushies are a close second. This intimate rooftop bar clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously—just look to the yellow plastic penguins, the 21c brand’s mascot—which makes it the perfect place for day drinking with a group of friends.

50 Michigan: Lumen, Detroit

It’s no secret that Detroit is seeing an infusion of energy into its restaurant and bar scene. One of the coolest new spots to take it all in is Lumen, a 4,000-square-foot restaurant that’s also home to a green roof and a 45-seat rooftop patio. Grab one of the tables or have a seat around the fire pit and start off the evening right with one of their Michigan-brewed ales from Griffin Claw Brewing Co. (like the fruity Mr. Bluesky or El Ligero).

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Madison, Wisconsin

GOOOOOOOO BADGERS!!!

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Madison was famously described by a candidate for governor in 1978 as “30 square miles surrounded by reality.” He meant it as a dig, but many Madisonians embraced it, then and now. And for the record, it’s now 77 sq. miles.

Being born in Madison, WI and having lived there for the first ten years of my life, it holds a place in my heart that I will never let go. I think back fondly on that first house my parents built in DeForest, a suburb just outside of Madison. My brother and I making our first friends, running down to the lake behind us to throw bread at the ducks who always seemed to hang out on our yard and my mom letting me run up to my friend’s house for the very first time on my own. I can still picture the house, it was dark brown and split level, a pretty cool house that my parents designed. We drove by it when we passed through Madison last week, it’s now a beige color and I remembered it being a bit different but still put a smile on my face to see it again.

After DeForest we moved into a duplex in Madison. We drove by this too and I have even fonder memories of this house, but maybe not the scary basement – I still have nightmares sometimes of this basement. Fonder memories possibly because I was older and could remember more but maybe just because those first years of your life are quite meaningful.

 

 

I’m still in contact with a few of my friends from then – Jackie was my bestie in those years, Kathy lived the next block over and Joyce would visit from New York during the summer and sometimes at Christmas to her grandparents house behind ours. I would walk to John Muir School with my brother, slowly picking up our gang of friends along the way. After school we would walk over to the small store run by the chinese man where I would buy grape Hubba Bubba gum or those huge, chewy SweeTarts. I can still smell that gum when I think of it.

My gang of girlfriends ruled the neighborhood. We had our secret hideouts in the forest close to my house where I had my first kiss with Jason Cook. Oh those sweet innocent years in the 1970s. No cell phones, no Instagram, no need to make a duck face. In the summers we ran around from after breakfast til before dinner, we never wore bike helmets, we made gross concoctions of mustard, mayo, bugs and more to dare each other to eat and we still made it out alive.

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My Wisconsin girl gang. We were tough! 😉

The duplex is where my love of musicals began. I remember my parents taking me to my very first movie – Grease and I was in love. Not necessarily with Mr. Travolta but just the beauty of movies with singing and dancing. And the joy of music evolved from there – Billy Joel was my first record, then Xanadu, J. Geils Band, The Muppet Movie soundtrack – it wasn’t until my later years that I got into the big hits from the 70s – Joni Mitchell, Blondie, Fleetwood Mac.

My parents both graduated from UW – Madison so we drove around the huge campus while my parents told stories about their days. The campus has changed a lot since they were there and I loved all the stories. There was a terrible snowstorm and the streets were too icy and full of snow for any vehicles; Mom had to walk all the way from campus to our duplex – it took maaaaany hours and by the time she got home she was practically frozen. Another story – There is a statue of Abraham Lincoln that has watched over campus atop Bascom Hill for over a hundred years. Dad said the story goes that Abe would stand up whenever a virgin would walk by, and he hasn’t stood since 1953. Haha Dad.

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We parked the car and walked down State Street. A pedestrian street lined with shops and bars. And sadly this time we walked down it there were a lot of beggars. It was a bit depressing to see. It was really warm that day and I stupidly wore jeans for some reason so we rushed through it a bit but I can see where it would be a lot of fun during the night. Definitely go get a brat at State Street Brats!

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At the end of State Street is the Wisconsin State Capitol which houses both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature along with the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor. It is a beautiful building both inside and out. And it was air conditioned! ahhhhhhh

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The UW – Madison campus is so beautiful and next time I would like to explore it even more. Both my mom and I were craving a Garibaldi sandwich and a brandy old-fashioned sweet from Paisan’s so we headed there, enjoyed our food and drink and looked out over the serene view of Lake Monona. If you want a cool spot for dinner which also serves the Garibaldi go to Porta Bella just off State St. It’s funky, cool, old vibe, the small rooms and wooden booths make it perfect.

Madison, Wisconsin thank you and I love you.

A hotel, a restaurant and an airline

I have three, no wait, FOUR, fantastic recommendations for you. I went to London the other weekend (no, not for the wedding, my invite must have been lost by the Spanish Post) and thoroughly enjoyed my hotel, found a great restaurant and a free product from the hotel which I recently ordered a larger bottle of their fabulous pillow spray.

Let’s start with the airline since I needed one of those to get to London in the first place. This was my first experience with Easy Jet and I was happily surprised at how smooth the transaction was with everything. I thought I had paid for my small suitcase to be carry-on but when I got to the gate she put a tag on it for me to check it when I boarded. In the end the plane wasn’t that busy so I was able to just keep it with me. With the return I did check it in London Gatwick and it was a super easy, do-it-yourself process. Plus the flight was pretty inexpensive and the flight attendants were some of the nicest I’ve experienced in quite awhile. Thanks Easy Jet! I will be a return customer.

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Okay, what do you want to hear about next? How about the hotel. I met Jeannie at the Andaz London Liverpool Street hotel. There wasn’t a single thing I can complain about. The staff was delightful, the hotel was modern and hip, the room was spacious and clean. It’s a 5 star boutique hotel located in the heart of bustling East London, just next to the Liverpool Tube Station. We used the Central and Circle Line for getting around and getting back but it also connects with the Hammersmith and the Metropolitan. Perfect for traveling cheap!

The rooms have free Wi-Fi, a free (non-alcoholic) daily stocked minibar and we were welcomed with a lovely bottle of Prosecco in the room when we checked in. And in the room they also had a free sample of REN & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray. It’s a soothing natural perfume, blending floral notes of lavender with deeply restful Frankincense, to relax both the body and mind. I loved it so much I just bought two larger bottles for my bedtime routine. I’ve been sleeping like a baby.

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You also have free access to the Health Club, where we really enjoyed the steam room. And the free apples for after you have sweated everything out. The last night we were a bit tired and decided to try their sushi restaurant. Try the saki sampler!

But the best thing and maybe it’s just me but the hotel serves complimentary (that means FREE to me) wine and canapes (one night it was small sushi rolls and the other some bread with paté) from 6 – 9 pm. It was lovely to come back from a long day of sightseeing and relax in the lounge area with a snack and a glass of wine. Or two. 🙂 FOR FREE Y’ALL.

And now what I know you’ve been waiting for – FOOD. The restaurant. It was fabulous. If you love Indian food you must go. Dishoom in Shoreditch (they also have a few more locations around London) was where I had the best Indian food of my life. It’s a big restaurant and they only take reservations for parties more than 6. So arrive a little early, put your name on the list and head over to the bar for a tipple or two while you wait for your table. I highly recommend the whiskey sour.

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Jeannie doesn’t eat foods with gluten and they had a large variety of items that she could eat. So feel free to eat your heart out. We shared the Crunchy Pomelo salad (with fresh kale, pink pomelo, pistachios, mint and coriander) and the okra fries (not gluten-free but Jeannie had a few). I haven’t had okra since my Oklahoma days! For the main dish I had the lamb Sheekh Kabab and Jeannie had the Chicken Tikki. It did not disappoint. They are also open for breakfast and the menu and teas look totes amazeballs. Just go already.

And I actually have one more rec for you. The good stuff just keeps on coming! If you do go to the Dishoom Shoreditch locatation and you feel like going out and dancing a bit, stop by Momento Lounge bar for some drinks and good tunes from the live DJ.

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And there you have it. Great times are made even greater with a good hotel, good food and good experiences.

But nothing compares to GREAT FRIENDS. And when you have this kind of happiness and fun together, it doesn’t really matter where you stay or what you eat.

Happy weekend y’all!!

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Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse

Top O’ The Morning To Ya! And Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Are you wearing your green?

On this lovely St. Patrick’s Day of 2018 I thought I would share my experience from Dublin’s Guinness Storehouse. What exactly is this you ask? It is a lovely brewery experience taking you through the history of Ireland’s most famous beer with seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness. The ground floor introduces the beer’s four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast), and the brewery’s founder, Arthur Guinness.

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The journey continues up the rest of the seven floors explaining the history of beer with stories told through various interactive exhibition areas including ingredients, brewing, transport, cooperage, advertising and sponsorship.

The building in which the Storehouse is located was constructed in 1902 as a fermentation plant for the St. James’s Gate Brewery (where yeast is added to the brew). The building was the first multi-story steel-framed building to be constructed in Ireland. The building was used continuously as the fermentation plant of the Brewery until its closure in 1988, when a new fermentation plant was completed near the River Liffey.

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It’s located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery which I found completely adorable with it brick buildings and horses around every corner.

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We did the self tour which was perfect. And I really enjoyed learning more about the beer making process and what makes Guinness so special (pssst they have their own famous strain of yeast). Some pics fer ya laddies.

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But the big finale was the Gravity Bar at the top which you can only reach with a paid ticket to the Guinness Storehouse. The ticket does include a free pint of Guinness from the Gravity Bar. Not only do you get to enjoy a perfectly brewed glass of Guinness but you can drink it overlooking Dublin’s famous rooftops with a 360° views of Dublin’s magnificent skyline.

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Dublin is such a fun city! And the beer isn’t too shabby either. I like my Guinness with a touch of black currants. Go to the Guinness Storehouse for a new cold one this St. Patty’s Day! And don’t forget to drink responsibly. Sláinte!!

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Parc Güell ~ Barcelona

The first time I visited Barcelona, I was twenty-one years old with a mission to see as much of Europe as I could. I had bought a month long eurorail train ticket and was trying to visit as many European countries as humanly possible with not much money. Back then I only spent one day in Barcelona and it was a mix of seeing the Olympic Park at Montjuic Mountain (which I found a little boring) and checking out the Picasso Museum (amazing).

But the next time (and the next time and the next time) I returned to Barcelona I had a plan. I knew what I wanted to see, which was pretty much everything created by Gaudí – Parc Güell, La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and Casa Battló. And all of these are so remarkable and beautiful that I must focus on each, one at a time. And first up is Parc Güell.

A little history for you – in 1890, the industrialist Eusebi Güell hired Antoni Gaudí to design the park which was originally planned to be a garden city with villas high above Barcelona in an area called Bare Mountain. It was inspired by the English garden city movement and its intent was to exploit the fresh air and enjoy expansive views of the city and the coast. There were sixty triangular lots available for luxury houses but nobody was interested. Only two homes were built on the land (neither by Gaudí), with Gaudí buying one of them and living there from 1906 to 1926, it is now the Gaudí House Museum.

By 1903 the two entrance pavilions had been constructed, as well as the main flight of steps, the shelter for horse-drawn carriages, the outer enclosure, the viaducts and part of the great esplanade, together with the water evacuation system.

The Dragon Stairway:

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The great entrance leads to the Hypostyle room, which was designed to be the market for the estate. It is made up of 86 striated columns inspired in the Doric order. The outermost ones slope in an undulating movement clearly contrary to the rules of classical composition, while reinforcing a perception of their structural role.

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Inside the room the absence of columns in some sections creates spaces that simulate three naves, like a great church. The ceiling is formed of small domes constructed using the traditional technique of clay bricks decorated with original tile-shard mosaics made by Josep M. Jujol, one of Gaudí’s assistants.

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My favorite area (and I think most people’s favorite) is the Greek Theatre but it has more recently been rechristened as Plaça de la Natura (Nature Square). Its original name was due to the fact that it was planned for staging large open-air shows that could be watched from the surrounding terraces. Although Gaudí always respected the lie of the land, this large square is artificial. Part of it is dug into the rock, while the other part is held up on top of the Hypostyle room. The focal point is the long bench in the form of a sea serpent and the views are breathtaking. The curves of the serpent bench form a number of enclaves, creating a more social atmosphere.

This bench is world famous, even Salvador Dalí called the bench once the precursor of surrealism. And he has sat there!

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I mean seriously, check out the view.

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On the eastern side of the Greek Theatre square there is an original iron door which leads to where there used to be the gardens of Casa Larrard, the former mansion that Güell adopted as his own house, but which has been a school since 1931. The route, which runs at a level higher than that of the house, passes through a pine grove with the portico backing onto a retaining wall made from unworked stone. The portico adopts the shape of a great wave atop slanting columns, with a double colonnade that acts as a buttress. It is one of the finest examples of the organic architecture upheld by Gaudí.

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While the park is completely enchanting with all of its, let’s just say “stunningness”, my favorites are always the gorgeous mosaic tiles. Which a lot of were planned and designed not by Gaudí but by his often overlooked colaberator, Josep M. Jujol.

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And the best mosaic of them all, the dragon which guards the entrance to Park Güell – El Drac. A conduit running inside the Hypostyle toom collects the rainwater that filters down from the square, sending it to an underground tank, which uses the dragon’s mouth as its overflow. Genius, I tell you.

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There is a large area of the park that is open free to the public. But all of these areas to visit mentioned above you need to buy a ticket, adults are 7.50€ and children are 5.25€. I would advise to buy tickets online to bypass the long line that sometimes happens with the beautiful park.

I would love to hear about your experience at Parc Güell if you go or if you have been before. I find this such a magical place that it always draws me to it every time I am in the fabulous city of Barcelona.

 

 

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

The cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Have you been? They are breathtaking! So beautiful. We had just finished exploring the Ring of Kerry the day before and headed northwest to check them out the day before we had to head back home. Film buffs will recognize them as the cliffs of insanity from the movie The Princess Bride. (LOVE that movie. so good)

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The cliffs are one of Ireland’s most famous tourist destinations receiving over one million tourists every year. They’re in Clare county and located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region. The cliffs consist of mainly Namurian shale and sandstone and it’s possible to see 300-million-year-old river channels cutting through at the base of the cliffs. 300 million years old? Wow.

I was really REALLY wanting to see a puffin. I think they are one of the cutest birds ever. Sadly, we didn’t see any (insert sad face) but maybe you’ll be luckier. If so, please send a picture.

You are free to walk along the cliffs. There aren’t any guard rails so if you have young children please make sure to watch them. I was astonished at so many people sitting on the edge with their feet dangling! It made my stomach drop a bit. Cuz you know, one slip and well, I’d think you’re a goner.

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The day was a bit hazy when we were there. But still gorgeous.

O’Brien’s Tower is located at the highest point of the cliffs. It was built in 1835 by Sir Cornellius O’Brien as an observation tower for Victorian tourists but is also rumored to have been built for a woman he was courting. On a clear day the view can extend as far as Loop Head at the southern tip of Clare and beyond to the mountains of Kerry. Looking north from O’Brien’s Tower on clear days, the Twelve Bens in Connemara, beyond Galway Bay can be seen, and typically the Aran Islands to the west.

The cliffs are a must see when in Ireland. Don’t forget to add them to your sightseeing list. I’m off to watch The Princess Bride again.

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