Happy Hour is even happier with an elevated view of the ocean. “Rooftop bar” calls to mind festivity and an experience that is just as cool as the words sound. Add in “Florida” and we are all pulling out our phones to make space on our calendars for our next visit.
We’ve rounded up the 7 best rooftop bars with ocean views in Florida, from ultra hip (plan your trendy outfit ahead of time) to zero-attitude (sandy flip flops and ocean-stiff hair? No problem.) Some places and views are so beautiful they don’t seem real, while others revel in the kitschy culture that Florida is known – and made fun of – for.
Starting up north and making our way down the Gulf coast and back up the Atlantic:
BUD AND ALLEY’S ROOF DECK BAR/ SEASIDE
2236 East County Rd., 30-A
Seaside, FL 32459
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner starting at 8 a.m., closing at 10 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Hank Sforzini. For more cool pics like these (and possibly very adorable dog photos) check him out @hanksforzini on Instagram
- Bud and Alley’s was founded in 1987 by a couple of local surfers who named their place after the town founder’s dog and the restaurant owner’s cat.
- Rated #1 on TripAdvisor for Seaside, Bud and Alley’s specializes in farm- and sea-to-table with a fresh take on Southern coastal classics.
- Bud and Alley’s proudly supports local farmers and fishermen, and is a member of the Florida Trend magazine Golden Spoon Award Hall of Fame. Visit their site by clicking on their name above.
Because walkability is so important, to avoid a DUI but also to get the best feel for your destination town (and just because walking is fun and healthy) we strongly recommend lodging where you can park your car and leave it for the duration.
Watercolor Inn is just a half mile walk down wide pedestrian-friendly sidewalks from Bud and Alley’s.
JIMMY’S CROWS NEST/CLEARWATER
101 Coronado Dr.
Clearwater, FL 33767
Open 12 pm-12 am
Happy Hour 3-6 pm Sunday – Thursday
Photo courtesy of Caleb Doell, for some awesome photos of mostly SNOW scenes and adventures in Canada, follow him on Instagram @fub4ever
- On the 10th floor of Pier House 60 Marina and Hotel, the tallest point on the island – perfect for a Florida rooftop bar experience.
- Awe-inspiring panoramic view of both the Gulf and the Intracoastal.
- Serving light appetizers and sandwiches; no reservations are taken or necessary.
Taking the elevator to your room after a few cold ones is even safer than walking down the street, so staying where you play is a good choice: Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel.
For a more authentic old-school Florida experience, try the retro boutique style Frenchy’s Oasis Motel, a completely renovated motel an easy walk less than a half mile from Jimmy’s Crows Nest.
360º ROOFTOP/ST. PETE BEACH
3701 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
Open Mon-thurs 4 pm-10 pm, Fri Sat 4 pm-midnight, Sun 4 pm-9
‘Happier Hour’ is 4 pm-6pm
- A part of Castile Restaurant and Lounge, 360º Rooftop offers panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico, the Intracoastal Waterway and downtown St. Pete.
- A lounge menu of small plates, salads and sandwiches is available.
- From 7 pm to close only those 21 and older may enjoy 360º Rooftop.
You can take the elevator down to your room after imbibing if you stay at the Hotel Zamora, a member of Kimpton Hotels. While we normally recommend non-chain and independently owned properties, we’d like to give a shout-out to Kimpton Hotels for starting the boutique hotel movement in the U.S. Back when people would say “A what?“, Kimpton began turning interesting old buildings (hooray for adaptive reuse!) into great hotels. Thanks to them “boutique hotel” is no longer a foreign concept!
For a smaller, more mom-and-pop experience try Palm Crest Resort, a family owned property directly on the beach and barely 2/10 of a mile from 360º Rooftop.
HURRICANE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT/PASS-A-GRILLE – ST. PETE BEACH
9th Ave. and Gulf Way
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
Open Sun-Thurs 7 am-10 pm, Fri Sat 7 am-11 pm
Happy Hour Mon-Fri 12-6
- Family owned and operated for over 30 years, with multi-level dining including a pet friendly outdoor patio on the first floor.
- Specializing in fresh, wild-caught seafood and many other options. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- 360 degree views of Pass-a-Grille Beach and the bay.
Inn on the Beach is a bright and contemporary boutique style hotel a five minute walk from The Hurricane, in a quiet mostly residential setting. Read more about Inn on the Beach and historic Pass-a-Grille in ‘Gulf Coast Florida’s Favorite Walkable Vacation Town.’
LIDO BEACH GRILLE/LIDO KEY
400 Benjamin Franklin Dr.
Sarasota, FL 34236
Open 5 pm-10 pm
Happy Hour 5-7
- Not technically roof TOP but the top of the Lido Beach Resort, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Gulf with amazing sunset views, so it does have a roof top feel without being exposed to the elements.
- A lounge menu is available with ‘Island Bites’, flatbreads, shared appetizers and desserts. You can also choose from their more extensive dinner menu.
1020 Ocean Dr.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
- Located on the 6th floor of the famous Clevelander Hotel, C-Level’s gorgeous views are of the Miami skyline, Ocean Drive and the beach.
- By day hotel guests have VIP access to lounge in the sun by day, but Thursday through Sunday nights C-Level turns into a relaxing bar and lounge, with bottle service and Miami’s favorite DJ.
WET® BAR/FORT LAUDERDALE
401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Open 11 a.m. to dusk
Photo courtesy of Amy Lynne Hayes of The Global Creator, curating artisan-made collections from around the globe so you can shop locally, globally. Follow her on Instagram @theglobalcreator
- High-energy swimming and sunbathing deck with DJ’s spinning tunes on the weekends at WET® East, with breathtaking views of Fort Lauderdale beach.
- WET® West pool is a calm oasis on the other side with Intracoastal views and stunning sunsets.
- Choose a colorful cocktail or snacks from the WET® Bites menu.
Feedback is always appreciated! What are your favorite rooftop bars overlooking the ocean or the Gulf?
Thank you to all of our friends who provided photos for this article: because the Triple B Team can’t be EVERYwhere! While 98% of the time we check out each town ourselves in order to make the best recommendations for you, if we aren’t able to visit we spend many hours researching and speaking with locals who are in the know.
Also many thanks to the stock photography site Pexels, on which we found our lovely rooftop bar photo at the beginning of this article. While they don’t require photo attribution we always give credit where credit is due.