Standard in L.A.

Make the scene, watch the game, or get away from it all at one of these lofty watering holes

1. SAN DIEGO, CA

Altitude Sky Bar And Garden Lounge
Even if the Padres aren't your team, there is something cool about looking down on a game from this bar 22 
dizzying stories above San Diego. And even when the sluggers are away, the place puts on a show: Eight-foot screens show American Idol, beauty pageants, or cult classics; from June 29 to July 1, it's 
eye-level fireworks after the Summer 
Pops concerts. The bar menu ( $$), like the crowd, is a combination of high style 
(artisan cheese plate) and pretension-free (honey-cured wings). INFO: San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, 660 K St.; 619/446-6086. -Jane Onstott

2. TODOS SANTOS, 
BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO

Posada la Poza
It doesn't get much closer to paradise than the rooftop terrace of this secluded inn near the artsy surfing town Todos Santos. The Sunset Bar Terrace overlooks lush gardens, hundreds of palms, and a bird-sanctuary lagoon. Savor a margarita and the catch of the 
day as the sun slides into the Pacific. 
From November to May, you might even glimpse gray whales cruising by. INFO: Closed Thu; Colonia La Poza; 011-52-612/145-0400. -Jenny Hontz

3. BOULDER, CO

West End Tavern
The local favorite straddles Boulder's dual personality perfectly with two rooftop decks: one showcasing the town's vibrant cityscape, the other with the makes-you-proud-to-be-an-American vista of the Flatirons. 
But thanks to a creative roster of libations that lays claim to the state's largest 
bourbon selection, it isn't all about views. Sample a bourbon flight or imbibe the Pimm's Cup concocted with muddled fresh mint, cucumbers, fresh fruit, and ginger root. INFO: 926 Pearl St.; 303/444-3535. -Lori Midson

4. MCMINNVILLE, OR

The Rooftop Bar at Hotel Oregon
Four stories up is just right for a 360° panorama of the verdant surrounding wine country. As part of Oregon's popular McMenamins empire, the bar offers pub fare ( $), housemade ales, and Edgefield Winery wines. Grab a seat inside the tiny glass-roofed bar to watch storms roll across the valley. But when the sun shines, head out to the roof or vie for one of the coveted tables atop the crow's nest. INFO: 310 N.E. Evans St.; 503/472-8427. -Lucy Burningham

5. SANTA BARBARA, CA

El Cielo
There's something classically Californian ― relaxed, sunny, beautiful ― about Santa Barbara, and the El Cielo bar atop the Hotel Andalucía embodies that mood perfectly. Sip wine from nearby 
 Sideways country against a backdrop of 
the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Channel Islands, and the red-tiled roofs of downtown. The mission-style fireplace at the intimate poolside lounge ups the romantic ante, which is why you should call ahead; the bar is a popular site for weddings. INFO: 31 W. Carrillo St.; 805/884-0300. -J.H.

6. SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Medjool
Sample minty mojitos and snack on pork loin skewers ( $$) while surrounded by skyscrapers, church spires, and the gritty Mission District spread out below. On foggy summer days, you'll have the city's sprawling ― and only ― "sky terrace" to yourself; but sunny weekends are fun too, for frosty pints and people-watching. Linger all afternoon but leave before dark, when the sardine-packed crowd obstructs the view. INFO: Bar is cash only; 2522 Mission St.; 415/550-9055. -Rachel Levin

7. SANTA FE, NM

Bell Tower Bar
In Santa Fe, you don't need much elevation to get a top-
of-the-world perspective. So while the 
Bell Tower Bar at La Fonda hotel is only five floors up, it delivers great vistas. At sunset you'll be treated to the dramatic skies and mountain silhouettes that have inspired generations of artists. Even notoriously tourist-wary locals can't resist 
the double lure of that view and a cold margarita. INFO: Open afternoons through sunset mid-May through mid-Oct; 100 E. San Francisco St.; 505/982-5511. -Matthew Jaffe

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8. LOS ANGELES, CA

The Standard, Downtown L.A.
The much-ballyhooed spot was at the forefront of the hip rooftop-bar movement. Its innovations include vibrating waterbed pods, a DJ spinning '80s music, and a menu of mini cheeseburgers ( $). The cityscape from this see-and-be-seen bar is reminiscent of Manhattan, but the scene around the rooftop pool is quintessential Southern California. Suits from nearby skyscrapers mix with impossibly fabulous hipsters and star-seeking tourists. Get there before 7 p.m. to avoid long lines and the $20 cover. Entry is guaranteed only if you are a hotel guest. INFO: 550 S. Flower St., 213/892-8080. -J.H.

9. PHOENIX, AZ

Bar Smith
A fire-engine red staircase, lit from below, leads to the stylish new addition to Phoenix's nightlife. The rooftop bar is just a home run away from Chase Field and offers framed city views, the twinkling night sky, and, most nights, movies and Diamondbacks games projected on the wall above the bar. Overhead misters keep temps down so patrons can comfortably sample ahi sliders ( $$) or kick back with a cool cosmo even when 
the desert heat blazes. INFO: Closed Sun; 130 E. Washington St.; 602/229-1265. -Nora Burba Trulsson

10. DENVER, CO

The Tavern Downtown
When the Rockies play in Denver, this rooftop revs up. Coors Field is so close you can almost hear the crack of a bat. Yet even without batters up, the tavern, with Rocky Mountain views and a deck-party atmosphere, scores a homer. The island-sunset mural, shade umbrellas, and slushy neon-colored drinks bring in the flip-flop-and-aloha-shirt types, while the list of 20 different martinis and upscale ballpark appetizers ( $$) lure the nine-to-fivers. INFO: 1949 Market St.; 303/299-0100. -Ted Alan Stedman