Well, I wanted to welcome y’all into the new year with a lovely post about good things for 2021, but here we are.
A different turkey day
It’s almost Thanksgiving. But alas, a different one this year. Many people are opting to stay within immediate family and nobody more. And that is a smart choice with Covid-19 going out of control in the USA. Of course it’s sad! But you can still have a wonderful (but maybe quieter) Thanksgiving time with your family or close friends. Maybe it will be time to start a new tradition or make a new Thanksgiving dish that you’ve always thought about.
Either way – stay safe, keep wearing a mask and don’t forget that hand sanitizer!
That’s MADAME VP to you.
What a week it has been! Am I right or am I right? But it has turned out to be all worth the wait. Biden beat Trump and we have our first female vice president! Kamala Harris has made history and I love her words – “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.”
BIDEN HARRIS you did it! WE did it! Time to celebrate and feel the relief and happiness that this news brings to us and our country.
Sometimes I treat my blog as my diary and this is one entry I don’t ever want to forget. Get your party on America! Things are looking up. XO -k
5 Fun Things to Do in Phoenix AZ
My parents moved to Phoenix, AZ a few years ago in their perfect retirement community. And every time I’m there I find so many fun and cool things to do, which I’d love to share with you!
Sharing is caring, y’all.
- Take A Hike! Get your butt outdoors and breathe in the fresh air. Plus some exercise always does a body good. There are many great hiking trails but Camelback Mountain is the closest to my parent’s house so that’s the one I hike. Two main trails lead to the summit of Camelback, a camel-shaped mountain just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix. Both are rated extremely difficult. The Echo Canyon hike is the more rugged of the two and requires steep climbs and scrambling over large rocks. The Cholla Trail, while a little bit less strenuous, is also a little bit longer. The beginning of the hike is easy, with switchbacks and even terrain. The last third of the trail requires scrambling up steep grades with drop-offs on each side. Both hikes are a little under 2.5 miles long. Plan on taking two to three hours, depending on your condition, to make either of the round-trip hikes. Please don’t forget to bring lots of water to stay hydrated!
- Go See A Show! It doesn’t matter if it’s theatre or ballet or opera or a concert. Whichever is your jam go do it. There are just so many opportunities in Phoenix to find something that you would love. I recently saw Wicked at the ASU Gammage theatre. Great show! Great theatre. In August, The Book Of Mormon (SO GOOD) will be performing there.
- Visit A Museum! I love the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix. It’s one of the best places to experience the myriad cultures and art of American Indians of the Southwest. Since its founding in 1929, the Heard Museum has grown in size and stature to become recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming and its unmatched festivals. Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, the Heard successfully presents the stories of American Indian people from a first-person perspective, as well as exhibitions that showcase the beauty and vitality of traditional and contemporary art.
- Eat At A New Restaurant! Before seeing Wicked at the ASU Gammage we went to have an early dinner at Durant’s Steakhouse. We got there five minutes before actual opening hours, walked through the back entrance (through the kitchen – do it, be a regular), ordered martinis (extra dirty for me) and a brandy old fashioned for mom before we were seated. And speaking of seating, we slid into our red leather booth surrounded by red velvety wallpaper before having an excellent meal. Don’t get me wrong, Durant’s is not somewhere to get a quick, cheap eat. But if you want a culinary and cool experience go check it out. Quick fun fact – John Wayne, Clark Gable and Joe DiMaggio all frequented Durant’s.
- Check out something just outside of Phoenix! Last time my mom and I went to see Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright‘s winter home and school. Ever since I was young I loved architecture and touring mansions – the Marland mansion in Ponca City, OK and don’t think I went completely insane in Newport, RI – The Breakers!!! Marble House. WOW, just wow. So definitely check out Taliesin West. But THIS TIME we went on a boat ride on Saguro Lake with my aunt and uncle who were visiting. Saguro Lake is about 45 minutes Northeast of Phoenix. The 1,200-acre lake is 10 miles long and reaches depths of more than 110 feet at its deepest point. Its 22 miles of shoreline include rocky crags, canyon walls, marshland, and desert shrubland. The area also offers a variety of recreational activities (kayaking, hiking, fishing, sailing) including a scenic and educational riverboat cruise. We took a ride on the Desert Belle riverboat, a 90-minute narrated cruise on the lake. Let me clarify, the Captain didn’t speak the entire boat ride, there were lots of groovy tunes and time to breath in the nature. Besides hundreds, if not thousands of Saguro cacti we saw a bald eagle and a bighorn sheep!!! I was super stoked about the sheep. I highly suggest to bring your binoculars.
Have a ton of fun on all your adventures. And I’d love to hear what you love to do in and around Phoenix. 🙂
Midwest USA Trippin
Hello? Is this thing on?
I’ve been doing some major road trippin’ in the USA – visiting friends in Oklahoma, meeting up with my parents for a road trip to Wisconsin where I hung out in Madison, attended a wedding in upstate Wisconsin and then another wedding where my Mom grew up, small town Manawa, WI, then hit Grand Rapids, MI. And naturally, hung out with LOTS of relatives. Ahhhh, it was all good. It’s actually amazing how things can change so much in so little time – in both good and bad ways.
Let’s start with Oklahoma, shall we? Flew into green (!!!) and blazing hot Oklahoma via Will Rogers Airport in OKC.
The lovely Amy W picked me up and we were off to Stillwater – home of Pistol Pete, Oklahoma State University and where I have a zillion fantastical memories of growing up. We were getting the gang together. These are my OK girls that I’ve known since I moved to Stillwater at the age of 10. We’ve been through a lot – roomies, yelling at strangers, proms, drinking, smoking, car accidents, marriages, divorces, singing at the top of our lungs, dancing, deaths, sickness, skylab fallouts, the tumbleweed, the strip, babies, time capsules, cars, coloring hair red black grey blonde pretty much any color and I could go on and on but I think you get the idea. These girls and I understand each other so well that it only takes a look to get a meaning across and we have so many stories that nobody will ever know about but us. It’s true love, y’all. And I got tears in my eyes posting this picture below. XXOOOOOO
The weekend was filled with HEAT, drinks, laughter, QUESO!, lots of tears and just a bonding again that we really needed. It was emotionally exhausting but this time together was so important for us all. We celebrated a life, we celebrated an engagement, we celebrated us. It was another Loo meet-up for the books.
Where to hit in Stillwater? Well, it had been a good while since I was last there and Stillwater has grown a lot. Of course, there is always Eskimo Joe’s for burgers and beer, Mexico Joe’s for well, mexican. Don’t forget to hit the strip for Coney Island (now I’m craving about 10 of their hotdogs) and the strip has fun bars and shops to check out too. Walk around the beautiful campus of Oklahoma State (wave at my awesome Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house across from Theta Pond) and if you’re there during school time try to catch a football or basketball game.
Next up, road trip with Mom and Dad. I do a lot of these with my parents and I cherish each one immensely, no matter how minute. They drove into OKC from Phoenix and I stayed one more night with Amy, I needed my Amy time!!
It took us two days to get to Madison, WI. (You can check out my post about Madison, WI HERE) Where I enjoyed the peculiar items at the road side gas stations (pickled bologna anyone?) plus the sites along the way. I got to see the St. Louis Arch! And yes, my parents are one of those rare souls who still own a road atlas. I love looking through it. 🙂
We stopped one night in the hometown of Abraham Lincoln – Springfield, Illinois. And had a delicious dinner at the Chesapeake Seafood House. They serve yummy seafood, steaks and a raw bar in a mansion from the 1800s.
Off to the small town of Manawa, WI, where some of my aunts, uncles and cousins live. My Uncle David lives on the farm where my mom grew up, it hasn’t changed too much but more wildlife have returned lately. YAY!! I love to hear that. We saw these two bald eagles fighting over a catch of something (hopefully not a cat which my aunt said an eagle caught last year). And I was gonna go for a run but heard there was a bear prowling around so I decided to nix that. Wisconsin is such a pretty state, with lakes, sprawling farms and dark forests as far as the eye can see. I feel back at home whenever I’m there. Oh, and of course I needed to try out the tractor. Yep, lil me drove that.
Now we go to North Wisconsin to Eagle River. I’d never been to Eagle River before, it was niiiiice. It’s a chain of 28 lakes, the largest freshwater chain in the world! Yo. ANOTHER aunt and uncle of mine (my mom has 5 siblings) just bought a lake house on Cranberry Lake and it was lovely to just chill there and be one with nature. Plus my gorgeous cousin got married there and the wedding and reception was beautiful and so much fun. Whenever I get together with my cousins we revert back to age five and just find each other hilarious. Beautiful spot for a wedding, no?
After the wedding I tried to relax and enjoy the peacefulness. Okay, so you do have boaters driving by but their house was set a bit back so it was quite calm. Of course we had to ride in their pontoon boat around the Lakes and one of the near neighbors owns the house that was used for the horror movie Damien II: The Omen. I was taking pictures of the boat ride and my picture of that house was UPSIDE DOWN. Freaky. Check it out. So. Weird.
Isn’t that FREAKY?!?! I swear I didn’t flip it. And all my other pics that I took within minutes even seconds of that one are normal.
And somehow the stars aligned because I got to meet up with Jeannie in Grand Rapids, MI. – another American city that I’d never been to before. We stayed in the downtown area in two different hotels because one we needed to expense (the cheaper one) and one for fun. The JW Marriot was the one for fun. It’s on the river, has beautiful views, the room was clean and spacious and the steam rooms are free and lovely. The other was CityFlatsHotel and it was smack dab in the center. We could walk around to many bars, restaurants and shops. It’s a bit funkier with a big room but not as many nice amenities as the JW Marriot. I enjoyed them both.
My restaurant recommendations for Grand Rapids – Sunday night it was late and the only place near the hotel and open was the SpeakEZ Lounge. We walked there (bravely, I would say), the outside was a bit sketchy but we opened the doors to lots of people, a jazz band and a place in the back for us to sit. The food was good and I love a live band. HopCat is your typical American bar. They have TONS of beers and ciders on tap – Squishy cider was my fav (Squishy is a semi-sweet Fruit Cider fermented with Michigan apples, tart cherries, and English Cider yeast). For a breakfast/brunch place I can highly recommend Anna’s House. With an already extensive menu they have many gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options. The waffles with strawberries and the breakfast sandwich were soooo delicious and we got to-go cups for our coffees when we left. Two huge thumbs up. Jeannie even went back the next day before she flew back to NYC!
And for a bit more classy experience, try Reserve Wine & Bar. We ordered a brand old fashioned to start (it was the cocktail theme for my time in the states if you hadn’t noticed and they are the BEST in Wisconsin) and then we each ordered a flight of wine. Later we decided to share a charcuterie board of cheese and meat – really yummy. A bit on the pricey side but I feel it was worth the money. Also there is a fun bathroom downstairs with a big mirror for fun selfies. If you ask really nicely I can send a video of a head growing out of my shoulder. Ahhh, yes, my time with Jeannie is always a blast and always too short, 36 hours was not enough with her. But I will take any amount I can get. I love that girl to the ends of the earth.
And that was it. Trip was over (insert major sad face). A lot of brandy old-fashioned sweets consumed, time with relatives, friends were had and enjoyed and I flew back home to Mallorca. I hope you enjoyed the post with lots of good recommendations. Maybe they aren’t always in the fanciest of locations but sometimes one must venture away from the busy lights and hustle bustle of those.
Until next time, y’all. Cheers!
Just Do It Again
Yes, this. Kneeling for social injustice. Off to buy me some new Nikes.
Top USA Bars with a View
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).
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.
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.
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!
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
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.