Five rooftop bars and patios where you can beat the heat
It’s time to brace ourselves for the worst of the summer heat, and there’s no better way to do it than with an ice cold drink, some great food, and a good view from some of the city’s best patio and rooftop bars.
Publico Beach Club
The vibe: South Boston has turned South Beach with this summer’s newest pop-up: Publico Beach Club. OK, so you can’t dip your toes in the sand, but you can breathe in the fresh air at this “oceanside haven.” There’s major nautical vibes going on here, complete with all the beachy decor you need to pretend you’re in Miami: retro beach stripes, pops of orange and turquoise, and buoys galore. The snack-shack-inspired menu includes some sensational seafood: clam fritters, lobster rolls, and beach sticker oysters. This summer oasis is fresh, fun, and free of Cape Cod traffic.
Guest list: Publico Street Bistro’s local regulars make up a big part of the crowd, but it’s becoming friendly to a few new faces, especially among families and younger friend groups.
Eat this: Chef Joel Howard’s signature Hot Dawg is a slam dunk: Kayem hot dog, poblano chili, pineapple salsa, bacon, and lime mayo.
Drink this: It’s summer in the city: you need a frozen cocktail. There are three options at the beach club: spiked lemonade, a Dark N’ Stormy, and frosé.
Etc.: On Saturdays and Sundays, Publico Beach Club opens at 11 a.m. for brunch: blessed. Check Publico’s social media channels for information about upcoming events at the beach club, including summer movies and a Caribbean night. Publico Beach Club at Public Street Bistro & Garden. publicoboston.com
The vibe: Poolside paradise. One of Boston’s few rooftop pool bars, the Colonnade offers an upbeat scene for sun lovers and loungers. Few things in this world will make you feel more boujee than sipping cocktails on this 12th-floor terrace. Make sure to enjoy its expansive views of Back Bay on a day with some breeze and cloud coverage — you’ll probably need it to beat the heat and cramped space.
Guest list: It’s a mixed bag. Young professionals during the day, locals and singles at night, and a steady international crowd throughout the week.
Drink this: The raspberry mojito or strawberry margarita should do the trick. When in doubt, go for the classic: aperol spritz.
Eat this: Two words: cheeseburger sliders. Two more: treat yourself.
Etc.: It has been said that the rooftop is great for parties after 5 p.m., (i.e. giant “monster mules” fit to serve a small army) but keep in mind that there’s a fee for nonhotel guests. It’s $45 during the day for people who aren’t guests of the hotel, and $25 after 5. On weekends, it’s guests only. And it should be noted that the rooftop fills quickly — the hotel stresses that the rooftop is open on a first-come, first-served basis. 120 Huntington Ave. 617-424-7000; www.colonnadehotel.com/roof-top-pool
The vibe: Chic, elegant, and a little bit on the swankier side, Pier 6 in the Charlestown harborside offers some peace and quiet away from the city’s buzz and bustle. Steps from the USS Constitution in the marina, this rooftop bar and patio features panoramic views, a seafood-heavy menu, and lots of “nautical design elements” to match its backdrop.
Guest list: Pier 6 suits a casual crowd, mainly the after-work crew, young couples, and families. Plus, on one occasion, the Bruins: The NHL team paid a visit just last week.
Eat this: The much-buzzed-about crab cake with frisee, red onions, and chipotle aioli. And depending on the market prices for the day, the lobster roll is worth checking out, too.
Drink this: Shared cocktails (there’s one called “a Nauti Bath”), watermelon frosé, plus wine and beer on tap.
Etc.: Pier 6 offers a complimentary boat shuttle to the marina on weekends, noon to 10 p.m. There’s a parking lot next to the restaurant that charges an hourly rate — credit cards only. There’s also a garage across the street at Flagship Wharf. 1 8th St., Charlestown, 617-337-0054; www.pier6boston.com
The vibe: It’s refined, it’s regal, it’s relaxed. Ristorante Fiore is a rooftop gem in the North End. Spy on the masses below from a cast-iron seat or catch up with the local teams on the flatscreens. This spot defines versatility, welcoming any crowd and occasion. Are you in Boston? Or are you in Tuscany?
Guest list: Tourists and locals alike. It’s a popular spot with the professionals of the financial district, too.
Eat this: It’s the North End: homemade pasta or bust. Its chitarrine alla carbonara, for example, has received high praise.
Etc.: The rooftop is covered, so even a rainy day shouldn’t keep you away. 250 Hanover St., 617-371-1176; www.ristorantefiore.com
The vibe: This cozy spot is a public-private pop-up project, right across from the Dreamland Wax Museum. Renewed for the summer after last year’s successful stint, The Patio — laid back, covered, and always bustling — is good for almost any occasion.
Guest list: Anyone, really! Co-workers gather in the late afternoon and couples flock at night, but you’ll always find a group of friends itching to get a cookout started.
Eat this: This spot is interesting because it’s very DIY. While the beer is provided by Wachusett Brewing Co., the food is more or less up to you. Guests are encouraged to bring their own coolers full of food for a cookout using one of four electric grills, which are first-come, first-served. Not in the mood to lug food around? You can buy grillables onsite from Bittersweet Homestead, which will offer all the makings of a perfect cookout: burgers, Italian sausages, hot dogs, lemonade, and even some sweets. Not in the mood to cook? Well, from 5 to 8 p.m. every day, and at lunchtime, food trucks line the plaza, with regular appearances from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Maria’s Taqueria, Clyde’s Cupcakes, and Tacos Don Beto.
Drink this: Wachusett has some awesome beer, but we like the blueberry wheat ale. Refreshing, light, and fruity — it’s our definition of summer.
Etc.: A fan favorite from last year, the patio is featuring “Wag Wednesdays,” a recurring weekly event where people can meet and play with adoptable dogs from Shultz’s Guest House. 1 City Hall Plaza. cityhallplazaboston.com/patios-pints
The vibe: Sometimes, you want to hit a rooftop bar that has a dress code. The kind where you order martinis and pretend to know a lot about the jazz song that’s playing over a sophisticated speaker. Sometimes the music is even live. But there are other times where you want to just get up there and EAT. Maybe a few margaritas won’t hurt either. That’s where Felipe’s comes in. A fast-casual Mexican joint, this spot has become a Cambridge favorite since it earned a full liquor license.
Guest list: Lots and lots of college students and young working professionals. This spot is less than a block away from Harvard Yard, and even though it’s summer, a lot of students and graduates stick around and love to get drinks.
Eat this: You can’t go wrong with Felipe’s quesadilla.
Drink this: The frozen margarita! It’s all anyone can talk about.
Etc.: Not in the mood to drink alcohol? Try a Jarritos. This Mexican staple is a strikingly sweet soda with all sorts of fruity flavors, but avid drinkers consider it to be more of a nectar. 21 Brattle St., Cambridge, 617-354-9944; harvardsq.felipestaqueria.com