Higher Calling

Rooftop bars offer sky-high views for dining, drinking, and fun.

Parry Restaurant Group

Spring is in full swing, and people are out looking for a spot to get a drink with a view. Luckily, a growing rank of swanky rooftop bars from Virginia’s southwest to the beach invite you to have your head in the clouds while you enjoy sunsets, stars, hand-crafted cocktails, local craft beer, and farm-fresh plates well into the night. Did we miss your favorite? Share a photo and tag us #VirginiaLiving #VirginiaRooftops.

Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill is an outdoor bar, restaurant, and lounge with a distinctly natural vibe. Strings of lights illuminate the patio area after dark, but try to arrive before dusk to catch a stunning sunset over the city. Snack on appetizers like crab dip and chips, fried calamari, chicken wings, and enjoy some of the signature drink options. ArlRooftop.com

Bristol’s first rooftop restaurant and bar, Lumac, invites patrons to linger under the stars while lounging over hand-poured libations, soaking in the scenic views of the Appalachian Mountains and the sparkling city center. Small batch brews, barrel-aged whiskeys, and live music are all on tap. BristolHotelVa.com

In Farmville, the Hotel Weyanoke’s rooftop bar and lounge, Catbird, offers seasonal hand-crafted cocktails, craft brews or wines, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. HotelWeyanoke.com

The rooftop at Jimmy Madison’s Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar in downtown Harrisonburg features elegant homestyle dishes, including chargrilled meatloaf and drunken shrimp and grits. A specialty whiskey menu offers tasting flights and craft cocktails such as a whiskey sour and a Sazerac, complete with an absinthe-coated glass. JimmyMadisons.com

Also in Harrisonburg, Magnolia’s Tacos & Tequila Bar boasts three levels of dining, including a panoramic rooftop experience, offering unique tacos, great libations, and a rustic but modern atmosphere in the heart of downtown. MagnoliasTacos.com

Grain’s rooftop patio beer garden, located at The Main hotel in Norfolk, affords stunning views of the Elizabeth River, lawn chess, and a billiards room, as well as small plates and a draft list featuring more than 80 brews. Hilton.com

In Richmond, Q Rooftop Bar at the Quirk Hotel offers panoramic views of downtown, signature cocktails such as Love and Happiness (grapefruit vodka, house-made cassis, and chamomile lemongrass syrup), and a small plate menu featuring pork belly steamed buns and smoked chicken tacos. The Hof Garden, the Graduate, Postbellum, and Kabana are among Richmond’s other favorite rooftop locales. Look for a new option, Sonora, in the Arts District. DestinationHotels.com

Shamin Hotels

If you’re aiming even higher, try the Sky Bar at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel, which is 21 floors up from the sandy beachfront, with 360-degree views that include Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the North Carolina border, downtown Norfolk, and the Atlantic Ocean. SkybarVB.com

Raise a glass at the rooftop bar at the Denim and Pearls restaurant in Old Town Warrenton, which specializes in Italian-American food. Drink offerings include an extensive list of wine, whiskey, and house martinis, including the Chairman of the Board with blue-cheese-stuffed olives. DenimAndPearlsRestaurant.com

Right off of Interstate 81 amid the Jefferson National Forest, The Bolling Wilson Hotel in Wytheville offers 360-degree views from its rooftop bar and outdoor dining on the porches of the property. ChoiceHotels.com


This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue.

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