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 coolabout looking down on a game from this bar 22 dizzyingstories above San Diego. And even when the sluggers are away, theplace puts on a show: Eight-foot screens show American Idol, beauty pageants, or cult classics; from June29 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 (artisancheese plate) and pretension-free (honey-cured wings). INFO: SanDiego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, 660 K St.; 619/446-6086. -JaneOnstott
2. TODOS SANTOS, BAJACALIFORNIA, MEXICO
Posada la Poza
It doesn’t get much closer to paradise than the rooftopterrace of this secluded inn near the artsy surfing town TodosSantos. The Sunset Bar Terrace overlooks lush gardens, hundreds ofpalms, and a bird-sanctuary lagoon. Savor a margarita and the catchof the day as the sun slides into the Pacific. FromNovember to May, you might even glimpse gray whales cruising by.INFO: Closed Thu; Colonia La Poza; 011-52-612/145-0400. -JennyHontz
3. BOULDER, CO
West End Tavern
The local favorite straddles Boulder’s dual personalityperfectly with two rooftop decks: one showcasing the town’s vibrantcityscape, the other with the makes-you-proud-to-be-an-Americanvista of the Flatirons. But thanks to a creative roster oflibations that lays claim to the state’s largest bourbonselection, it isn’t all about views. Sample a bourbon flight orimbibe 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 theverdant surrounding wine country. As part of Oregon’s popularMcMenamins empire, the bar offers pub fare ( $),housemade ales, and Edgefield Winery wines. Grab a seat inside thetiny glass-roofed bar to watch storms roll across the valley. Butwhen the sun shines, head out to the roof or vie for one of thecoveted tables atop the crow’s nest. INFO: 310 N.E. Evans St.;503/472-8427. -Lucy Burningham
5. SANTA BARBARA, CA
There’s something classically Californian ― relaxed,sunny, beautiful ― about Santa Barbara, and the El Cielo baratop the Hotel Andalucía embodiesthat mood perfectly. Sip wine from nearby Sideways country against a backdrop of the Santa YnezMountains, the Channel Islands, and the red-tiled roofs ofdowntown. The mission-style fireplace at the intimate poolsidelounge 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
Sample minty mojitos and snack on pork loin skewers ( $$)while surrounded by skyscrapers, church spires, and the grittyMission District spread out below. On foggy summer days, you’llhave the city’s sprawling ― and only ― “sky terrace” toyourself; but sunny weekends are fun too, for frosty pints andpeople-watching. Linger all afternoon but leave before dark, whenthe sardine-packed crowd obstructs the view. INFO: Bar is cashonly; 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 atop- of-the-world perspective. So while the Bell TowerBar at La Fonda hotel is only five floors up, it delivers greatvistas. At sunset you’ll be treated to the dramatic skies andmountain silhouettes that have inspired generations of artists.Even notoriously tourist-wary locals can’t resist the doublelure of that view and a cold margarita. INFO: Open afternoonsthrough sunset mid-May through mid-Oct; 100 E. San Francisco St.;505/982-5511. -Matthew Jaffe
8. LOS ANGELES, CA
The Standard, Downtown L.A.
The much-ballyhooed spot was at the forefront of the hiprooftop-bar movement. Its innovations include vibrating waterbedpods, a DJ spinning ’80s music, and a menu of mini cheeseburgers ( $).The cityscape from this see-and-be-seen bar is reminiscent ofManhattan, but the scene around the rooftop pool is quintessentialSouthern California. Suits from nearby skyscrapers mix withimpossibly fabulous hipsters and star-seeking tourists. Get therebefore 7 p.m. to avoid long lines and the $20 cover. Entry isguaranteed only if you are a hotel guest. INFO: 550 S. Flower St.,213/892-8080. -J.H.
9. PHOENIX, AZ
A fire-engine red staircase, lit from below, leads to thestylish new addition to Phoenix’s nightlife. The rooftop bar isjust a home run away from Chase Field and offers framed city views,the twinkling night sky, and, most nights, movies and Diamondbacksgames projected on the wall above the bar. Overhead misters keeptemps down so patrons can comfortably sample ahi sliders ( $$)or kick back with a cool cosmo even when the desert heatblazes. INFO: Closed Sun; 130 E. Washington St.; 602/229-1265.-Nora Burba Trulsson
10. DENVER, CO
The Tavern Downtown
When the Rockies play in Denver, this rooftop revs up. CoorsField is so close you can almost hear the crack of a bat. Yet evenwithout batters up, the tavern, with Rocky Mountain views and adeck-party atmosphere, scores a homer. The island-sunset mural,shade umbrellas, and slushy neon-colored drinks bring in theflip-flop-and-aloha-shirt types, while the list of 20 differentmartinis and upscale ballpark appetizers ( $$)lure the nine-to-fivers. INFO: 1949 Market St.; 303/299-0100. -TedAlan Stedman