The Drifters, those soulful 1960s crooners who extolled the benefits of altitude on mental health, claimed that their cares drifted into space when they were up on the roof. Sadly, rooftops are unlikely to alleviate the current dumpster fire of pandemic woes, but they are a pleasant distraction on a lovely summer evening, especially with a glass of rosé and a temperate breeze.
Three hotels in Boston have reconfigured their rooftops specifically for outdoor drinking and dining, and it’s a nice change from the new crop of street-level restaurants where diners sit face-to-headlight with passing vehicles (although kudos for the last minute, scrappy ingenuity). All of these hotels are located in South Boston and the Seaport and reservations are required across the board. In addition to following the city’s protocols for outdoor dining, only one party at a time is allowed to use the elevator. The restaurant at the Envoy opens July 2, the rooftop restaurants at the Cambria and Yotel are currently open.
Six West, located on the rooftop of the Cambria in South Boston, is up and running and the place is bumping. A crowded outdoor restaurant may sound like a COVID-19 headache, but Six West has done an impressive job of creating separate spaces for diners with plexiglass dividers between tables. The crowd tends to linger longer here because the views are stunning. It’s a diverse crowd, appearing a bit older and slightly more swanky than those at street-level Southie hotspots — at least on the Wednesday evening when I dropped by.
There’s a full bar and some inventive cocktails. Although the dinner menu of salads, sandwiches, and pasta is limited, may I point your attention back to the view. The Italian panini was petite, but the remainder of dinner box was loaded with delicious potato wedges. The watermelon salad was also small, and could have used a bit more watermelon and avocado, but was still refreshing. The full menu is available on Instagram. If you’re looking for a romantic experience this probably isn’t it, but it’s a fun scene.
Six West is open from 11 a.m. to close, which is listed as 2 a.m. (the last reservation is available at 10:45 p.m.). 6 West Broadway, 617-752-6681.
The Lookout Rooftop
When the Envoy Hotel opened five years ago, the Lookout Rooftop quickly became a destination for downtown workers looking for an after-work libation, and later in the evening, a magnet for thirsty millennials. When the Lookout reopens on July 2 (the Envoy Hotel reopens July 1), expect a very different scene. Instead of a crush at the bar, and other folks standing and gawking at harbor views along the perimeter, the space will open as a weather-dependent restaurant from Thursday through Sunday with a Mexican-influenced menu developed by chef Tatiana Rosana. Lunch (served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), features truffle parmesan fries. lobster rolls, burgers, and salads.
Dinner (served from 5 to 10 p.m.), includes fish and chips, Korean barbecue chicken thighs, and the obligatory burger. Like Six West, the dinner menu at Lookout is limited, but the bar offerings are plentiful. There’s also a late night menu served from 10 p.m. to midnight.
The Lookout Rooftop is open from 11 a.m. to midnight (with an hour closed from 4 to 5 p.m. for cleaning). 70 Sleeper St., 617-530-1559.
The smallest of the rooftop restaurants, Deck 12 at Yotel in the Seaport, is currently open and features bar snacks (fancy pickles, fancier popcorn, and marinated olives), plus sharable plates. Don’t come here looking for a huge meal, sharable offerings include avocado lobster toast and Caribbean nachos. Deck 12 has not yet released photos of how the space will be configured, but space will be at a premium given that much of the previous incarnation of rooftop was billed as a lounge rather than a restaurant and there were many shared outdoor sofas. Expect that to change. What won’t change are the incredible views. As the Drifters once sang, “At night the stars put on a show for free.”
Deck 12 is open from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m, and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. 65 Seaport Blvd., 617-377-4747.