Events and receptions at rooftop bars and restaurants are one of the hottest trends in the meetings industry, with new hotels boasting about their lofty perches feathered with all manner of top-shelf booze and the latest culinary creations.

The Rise of the Rooftop Bar

In Florida, attendees roosting in these rarefied environments can get a bird’s-eye view of the entire convention district in Orlando or the bustling downtown St. Petersburg area. From the beautiful and tranquil Tampa Bay on the west coast to the thundering Atlantic Ocean on the east coast, there isn’t a bad view in the house at any of these top spots.

In Daytona Beach, the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery offers rooftop event space with a private bar. When Toronto’s Sunwing Airlines announced it would launch nonstop airlift service to Daytona Beach International Airport in January this year, more than 150 Sunwing representatives, travel agents, travel writers and social media influencers enjoyed a day-long Daytona Beach Area CVB familiarization tour in November that culminated on the rooftop at Rock Bottom Brewery. The venue overlooks the fountains of ONE DAYTONA, a unique new dining, shopping and entertainment experience across from Daytona International Speedway.

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The Wave Terrace, located on the third floor of Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach, pairs local beer and craft cocktails with a seafood-inspired menu of ceviche, gazpacho and seafood towers, all served in a casual atmosphere of glowing fire pits and live music.

In December, Daytona Beach CVB hosted the United States Sports Congress, a group of 150 top-level decision makers, sports rights holders and Olympic National Governing Bodies from around the world at the newly opened Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach, which set up flexible meeting space on Wave Terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

THe Betsy Hotel, South Beach
The Betsy Hotel, South Beach

Sky Lounge at The Streamline hotel in Daytona also offers groups sweeping city views from on top of this historic beachside Art Deco-style boutique property that once hosted the meeting that launched NASCAR.

In Fort Lauderdale, Wet East and Wet West at the W Fort Lauderdale are two pools on the fifth floor that offer prime rooftop ocean views, day beds, loungers, a full bar and live DJs on the weekends.

While soaking in the sun poolside, guests can nosh on a variety of fresh salads, mouthwatering burgers and other casual fare. Guests can cool down with refreshing cocktails and frozen drinks brought right to their private lounge.

The Wet Deck at W Miami in the Brickell District of downtown Miami is a rooftop pool and lounge with private cabanas, live music and cocktails and bar snacks. Located on the 50th floor, it offers stunning views of Miami with views of Biscayne Bay and the hotel’s private pool.

Luxury Boutiques and Gastro Pubs

The Betsy-South Beach is a luxury boutique property located just steps from the beach. The only four-star, four-diamond boutique hotel in Miami, The Betsy has breathtaking ocean views with a 3,000-square-foot Rooftop Pool.

The Betsy also boats its Ocean Deck, home to The Wellness Garden & Spa at The Betsy, Miami’s only outdoor spa. In the evening, the space transitions into a starlit lounge with soft music, light fare, refreshing smoothies and a full-service bar.

In downtown Hollywood, with views of the Hollywood skyline and close to shops and restaurants downtown, the 111-room modern-boutique CIRC Hotel offers 3,000 square feet of meeting space. The CIRC also boasts a beautiful pool area and The Muse Rooftop Bar & Lounge, which opened in May 2018.

The only rooftop bar in West Palm Beach is on Clematis Street in the heart of downtown. Called Roxy’s Pub, it has three bars, a large, covered dance floor and a full catering menu, and can accommodate parties from 25 to 500.

In Jacksonville, the Cowford Chophouse combines steakhouse dining with seafood, a raw bar and a rooftop bar that overlooks downtown, including an amazing view of the Main Street Bridge. The views are particularly stunning at night. The Rooftop Lounge can accommodate 100 guests. The bar was the cherry on top of the renovation of the 1902 vintage historic Bostwick Building.

River & Post, another new restaurant that opened late last year, has an amazing rooftop bar with outdoor couches and fire pits to soak in views of the St. Johns River and downtown Jacksonville. In case of inclement weather, there’s a retractable roof and a connected inside bar that allows guests to still enjoy the view.  

Gastropub Black Sheep Restaurant is located at Intuition Ale Works and offers a wraparound rooftop bar overlooking the Jacksonville skyline replete with a gorgeous outdoor fireplace. It’s a great spot for its all-day Sunday happy hour and is popular with the crowds before and after Jacksonville Jaguars games.

At the San Sebastian Winery in St. Augustine, the Cellar Upstairs serves appetizers, wine and beer with the sounds of live jazz in the background.

Aventura Hotel, Orlando
Aventura Hotel, Orlando

At St. Augustine’s Salt Life Food Shack, the top floor is an open-air space with a full bar, fire pit, full menu service and views of St. Augustine Beach.

Orlando is home to the new Bar 17 Bistro, located on the rooftop of Universal’s Aventura Hotel. This bar is guaranteed to provide breathtaking views of Universal Orlando’s three theme parks. The bar offers unique dishes and classic plates as well as custom-crafted cocktails designed to pair well with the urban international flavors on the menu.

Disney California Grill Rooftop Bar and More

Situated on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, California Grill offers rooftop views that are perfect for watching sunsets and the nightly fireworks show. Inside, guests can experience the lively onstage kitchen. Its California cuisine style features fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Located on the 17th-floor rooftop of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World, Capa steakhouse and bar boasts the best of Spanish-influenced cuisine, from fresh Florida seafood to small plates and expertly grilled cuts. An open kitchen and wood-burning grill provides an up-close experience with all of the culinary action, while the outdoor patio offers views of Disney’s nightly fireworks.

On the west coast of Florida in downtown St. Petersburg, the newest rooftop lounge is The Canopy at the hip Birchwood Hotel. With fire pits, cabanas and sweeping views of Tampa Bay and the historic Vinoy Hotel and downtown, this is a perfect spot for light bites and craft cocktails.

On St. Pete Beach, Spinners Rooftop Revolving Bistro is on the 12th floor of the Grand Plaza Hotel. Fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks and signature pasta dishes are on the menu for dinner, and specialty sandwiches, fresh seasonal salads and classic burgers for lunch. It takes about one-and-a-half hours to revolve around completely.

Tesoro, the rooftop gem at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, is named after the Italian and Spanish words for “treasure.” Located on the fifth floor of the resort with views of the Gulf of Mexico on the west coast, the restaurant showcases coastal Mediterranean cuisine highlighting flavors of France, Italy, Spain and Greece. 

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