Watch CBS News

Best Rooftop Bars In The Bay Area

The Bay Area is blessed with a number of world-class restaurants and bars, but unlike metropolitan areas of New York and Los Angeles, the selection of rooftop bars is slim. Perhaps one reason can be attributed to the familiar yet sometimes interminable foggy and chilly weather, lingering sometimes well into the afternoon or evening. Yet even luxury wine country dining establishments, with its gloriously warm summer nights, are noticeably absent of rooftop or top-level bars and lounges. Despite its well-known foggy summers, almost all of the legitimate rooftop bars and most highly regarded top-floor lounges are located in San Francisco. The following is a list of five of the best rooftop or top-level bars in the Bay Area, with just one outside of the City.

355 Santana Row
San Jose, CA  95128
(408) 551-0010

Located atop the magnificent Hotel Valencia, Cielo is a South Bay favorite for not only its view but also for its captivating rooftop wine bar and terrace. The fabulous rooftop bar has a panoramic view of San Jose, with the impressive Santa Cruz Mountains serving as a scenic backdrop. The award-winning, four-star diamond Hotel Valencia, within the upscale Santana Row shopping and entertainment complex, is a favorite among many Silicon Valley professionals and other guests who desire accommodations and dining in one of the area's finest luxury hotels. In addition to Cielo, the hotel features the highly acclaimed Citrus restaurant and the equally impressive VBar. During the summer months, Cielo offers special tastings of wine, cheese and appetizers from the hotel's executive chef.

Nightlife & Music Summer TIme, 620 Jones
Photo Credit:

620 Jones St.
San Francisco, CA
(415) 496-6858

Appearing on most any list for best rooftop bars in San Francisco, Jones is a hip yet sophisticated establishment favored by many locals and professionals on business travel. Located just minutes from Union Square, Jones serves classic and signature cocktails, after-dinner drinks such as talisker and the singleton, fine wines and beers. Among other favorites from the generous bar menu are the Kensington zinger, rear window and san fantastic. The bar is cash only, with credit cards only accepted at dinner tables or for bottle service. In addition to its wonderful selection of refreshments, Jones serves meals for brunch, happy hour and dinner. Because San Francisco gets foggy and chilly, particularly in the evenings, Jones provides an assorted collection of nicely heated lamps on the third-floor terrace.

Related: Best Hipster Hangouts in San Francisco


2518 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA  94110
(415) 550-6970

Although in business for just a short time, Lolinda has already gained recognition as one of the Bay Area's best spots for Latin dining. Opening last August, the Argentinian steakhouse moved into the 8,000-square-foot restaurant space that formerly housed Medjool, a very popular restaurant-bar in the Mission District with a 360-degree panoramic view from its rooftop bar, Sky Terrace. Adriano Paganini, the new owner of Lolinda, has completely remodeled the acclaimed scenic bar and renamed it El Techo del Lolinda, or "the celing of Lolinda." Amid an enormous amount of anticipation, the upstairs bar finally reopened last month. Guests at El Techo del Lolinda can enjoy Latin street food along with their favorite cocktails "del sol" or enjoy lavishly created Argentine dinners inside the main restaurant.

starlight room

The Starlight Room
450 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA  94108
(415) 395-8595

Located at the top of the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel, The Starlight is an elegant 1940s-style nightclub with unquestionably one of the grandest views of the bustling Union Square section of downtown San Francisco. Upon arriving at one of the City's best-known and most beloved hotels, visitors are greeted by elegantly dressed doormen in familiar Beefeater attire - highly regarded as one of San Francisco's most important cultural icons. The popular 21st-floor Starlight Room consistently reaps praises as the City's number one nightclub from local publications. The beautifully designed top-level bar features a number of fine wines and champagnes, including 1998 Moët et Chandon Dom Pérignon Rosé and 1975 Moët et Chandon Dom Pérignon, in addition to many specialty cocktails like pisco punch flavored by Encanto Pisco, pineapple, lemon and lime, and Tommy's punch, with Maestro Dobel Tequila and lime.


Quiver Bar
369 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA  94105
(415) 369-9955

Located at the top of the Epic Roasthouse and along the City's Embarcadero, Quiver Bar offers some of the most breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay. Unlike neighboring Waterbar, with only private dining available at its top floor, Quiver Bar is far more accessible, with food options from either the full restaurant or bar menu. Quiver Bar is well known for its outstanding beer and wine collection, in addition to specialty cocktails such as Roger and Joan and The Alexandria. Among the top wine selections include 1989 Krug Champagne Brut and 2009 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Vosne-Romanée. Selections from Epic Roasthouse's dinner menu include wood-roasted rib eye, petit beef filet with spicy crab cake and wood-roasted whole fish.

Related: Best Places to Watch the San Francisco Giants

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. His work can be found on

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.