I love flying my drone around downtown Raleigh for the elevated views it gives me, and if you’re looking to take in an elevated perspective yourself with drinks in hand, below are five cool rooftop bars in Raleigh to savor the city skyline from above!
Whether you’re looking for a nice date spot, or to socialize with friends or work colleagues, there’s a Raleigh rooftop bar for you and each of the bars listed offer a unique experience and are beloved by locals.
When you see Raleigh from above, you’ll appreciate why it’s nicknamed the City of Oaks, one of our favorite reasons for living in Raleigh is all the trees and greenery and it can feel like the city is in the middle of a forest – we’ll drink to that!
Rooftop Bars in Raleigh
The Willard Rooftop Lounge
The AC Hotel in downtown Raleigh is a relatively new addition to the skyline, and located atop is the Willard Rooftop Lounge containing two outdoor terraces and an indoor dining space with spectacular downtown Raleigh views.
We recently had pre-dinner drinks here before our 20th wedding anniversary dinner, and a late afternoon/early evening drink here is now one of our favorite spots for awesome views of the growing downtown Raleigh skyline.
It especially pops on a sunny afternoon with the sun’s rays washing over the downtown high rises, and there’s a cool, comfortable vibe and atmosphere here creating a fun place to gather and relax with your significant other, a group of friends or work colleagues!
Located in the happening Glenwood South District, you’re steps away from many other bars and restaurants up and down Glenwood Ave to make a real night of it, and within walking distance of the Warehouse District and downtown Raleigh.
The Willard serves cocktails, beer, wine by the glass or bottle, plus Mediterranean-inspired small plates with city views.
They also host cool events like wine tastings and star gazing. And no, you don’t need to be stay at the hotel below to access the rooftop lounge!
10th & Terrace
One of the highlights of our staycation at the Residence Inn for us was drinks at the fantastic 10th and Terrace rooftop lounge and bar, especially good as a spot to take in an elevated sunset drink in Raleigh.
The outdoor deck has comfy lounges, tables and chairs, and uninterrupted views of the Performing Arts Center which looks brilliant at night time, and sweeping views over the Southern part of downtown – we loved looking out over all the trees towards the south!
This a lovely space to relax and enjoy an excellent cocktail, local craft beer, or fine wine. You can eat here too, and they have a Contemporary American Fusion small plates menu, and the attached indoor bar area is very inviting and cozy too if the weather turns bad!
Dress code here is smart casual, and you don’t have to be staying at the hotel to enjoy this rooftop area. And, you’re right in the heart of downtown Raleigh to walk to other bars and some of the best downtown Raleigh restaurants.
By the way, this would be an awesome space to hire for a private event/party (one for the future).
At the top of the AC Hotel in the fabulous North Hills District you’ll find one of the top rooftop bars in Raleigh. Level7 is a sophisticated bar and cocktail lounge specializing in craft cocktails, small batch brews, wines, and small bites.
With stunning views out over the North Hills neighborhood and a vibrant atmosphere, Level7 compliments the European inspired experience of the AC Hotel below and feels more like something you’d find in Vegas, or NYC.
Grab a cocktail before dinner such as their signature Gin & Tonic, or the Smoked Manhattan, and then maybe a late night drink under the stars and socialize with all age groups from young professionals, to middle-aged couples, to people living in North Hills.
When the weather is beautiful out, this outdoor patio is a great place to unwind and relax with a date or group of friends. Open to the public seven days a week.
In the middle of all the action on Glenwood South, the beautiful Highgarden is a happening spot and one of the best bars in Raleigh for a party-like atmosphere on a rooftop, and we’ve also enjoyed drinks here during quieter times for networking events.
This is a completely open-air rooftop bar that offers fantastic views of the downtown skyline with beautifully appointed cabanas surrounded by greenery and you feel like you’re on a getaway in the middle of the city.
They specialize in craft cocktails, a full champagne bar, plus 14 different tapas-style food items to choose from.
The atmosphere is lively, and if you’re up for a big night you can combine drinks here with many of the other fun bars on Glenwood, some of our favorites close by include The Ark Royal Tiki Bar, The Avenue, Milk Bar, Raleigh Beer Garden, Teets.
Raleigh Times Bar
The Raleigh Times is a timeless watering hole and the most famous of the bars in downtown Raleigh – even Obama had a campaign beer here – and it’s named after the former newspaper that occupied this 100 year old historic building that has been beautifully restored.
On offer is an extensive Belgian beer selection and multiple levels including their open rooftop bar that was added in 2012. We like to make our way up to this rooftop bar for drinks and a bite to eat – the burger and nachos are very good – and you get nice views overlooking the corner of E Hargett and S Wilmington Streets right in the heart of the city!
Come grab a drink with friends and chow down on some American pub grub surrounded by 100+ years of history and chat about Raleigh’s past, present and future!
Other rooftop bars in Raleigh
Other bars in Raleigh offering an elevated experience and views of the city that we need to spend more time at include:
- Hibernian Restaurant & Pub
- Raleigh Beer Garden (3rd level)
- Tin Roof
- Carolina Ale House
- Young Hearts Distilling
- Lynwood Grille
More Raleigh Bars:
Now it’s your turn. Share with us in the comments below, what rooftop bar in Raleigh do you recommend as a place to grab a drink with a view? And if you love breweries, check our our post on 20+ breweries in Raleigh for a great pint!