San Diego’s Best Rooftop Bars and Eateries
A gorgeous rooftop view
Paul Body (The Nolen) and Rustic Root
In the throes of summertime, it is difficult to stay indoors, especially in this region! From sun-drenched days at the beach to evenings spent wine-tasting in the rolling vineyards that lay inland, San Diego summers are incomparable. Recognizing the appeal of the city’s favorable weather, restaurants have been committed to incorporating the outdoors into the dining experience. In the past few years, San Diego has become home to numerous eateries boasting open-air patios, al fresco dining options and, most recently, rooftop restaurants. With exceptional views of downtown and mouth-watering menus, these two exceptional rooftop eateries provide a premiere dining experience for patrons without asking them to sacrifice their time spent outdoors.
The Nolen sits downtown, boasting a sleek and mildly industrial aesthetic. To celebrate the current season, this restaurant and bar has created a tasty cocktail menu and embraced the flavors of summer. The seasonal cocktail menu features new cocktails created by longtime Nolen bartenders Valerie Bancroft and Erik Frank. Open since 2015, The Nolen’s menu has always complemented its breezy rooftop location situated 14 floors above 6th Avenue and this summer is no exception. Many refined ingredients are included in the crafting of these cocktails such as lemongrass, blackberry shrubs, and mango purée. Most notably is the cocktail named “Ultra Violets” a blend of tequila, fresh lime, fresh orange and ginger syrup, and blueberry blonde ale, all topped with a kiwi shrub and kiwi slice. The food menu includes savory flatbreads topped with fresh heirloom tomatoes and basil, arancini with grated parmesan and roasted garlic, and perfectly proportioned cheese charcuterie boards, to name a few. thenolenrooftop.com
For a down-home, slightly more casual feel, head down to Rustic Root. This restaurant boasts an indoor dining room as well as a rooftop patio, perfect for taking in unobstructed views of the downtown San Diego. With a full bar and unique menu offering both starters and larger plates including the salmon tartare, famous RR burger, and sticky pork belly, this eatery puts a sophisticated spin on comfort food. Rustic Root is ideal for rooftop dining or grabbing one of many specialty cocktails. Lush greenery, stone fireplaces, and street-inspired lamp posts, typical of the Gaslamp Quarter sitting below, adorn this restaurant. The perfect place for watching a sunset or soaking up the sun while it is still high in the sky, the rooftop is also home to one of San Diego’s most famous brunches, specifically their pancake-of-the-month. rusticroot.com