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5 Things to Know Before Opening a Rooftop Bar

J. Vigotsky Feb 15th 2019

5 Things to Know Before Opening a Rooftop Bar

Rooftop bars are becoming increasingly popular in big cities. By offering a truly unique dining experience, they give patrons more reason than ever to spend a night on the town. This post will cover 5 things you need to know if you’re thinking about opening a rooftop bar.

Why People Love Them

rooftop bar manhattan

The View

The first question anyone asks about a rooftop bar is, “How’s the view?” Food, cocktails, and service are important. But they all take a backseat to the all-mighty “view.” Perched high atop cities, rooftop bars offer incredible sight lines of impressive buildings and the bustling pedestrians below. Dinner and a show has long been heralded as a classic night out. Eating and drinking while taking in a brilliant view of the city is just that.

The Fresh Air

There’s a reason why outdoor eating areas see the most competition for seating. When the weather is nice, nothing complements a delicious meal like some beautiful fresh air. And while sidewalk dining areas in the city are sometimes plagued with the smell of car exhaust, a rooftop bar allows patrons to escape the stench. The air on top of a building is cleaner and more breathable, which leads to a better overall experience.

The Environment

Even though a rooftop bar might be only a few stories above ground level, it can feel like a different world. For a patron who had a rough day at work and is frustrated with the city, a rooftop bar can help him see things from a different view—both literally and figuratively.

Climate is Key

rooftop bar miami

If you’re thinking of opening a rooftop bar in a colder part of the country, keep in mind it will likely be closed for half the year. A few outdoor heaters can make the cold weather more bearable in the fall and spring. But nobody wants to relax outside in sub-freezing temperatures. During times like those, it won’t matter how spectacular your view is. Your rooftop bar will not be on anyone’s to-do list. On the flipside, places in warmer parts of the country are perfect for year-round business.

Design Plan

rooftop bar waterfront

If you decide to take on the task of opening a rooftop bar, you’ll need to determine whether it will also serve food or just beverages. If you opt to serve food, you’ll need to designate more space for tables and seating. But if your rooftop is drinks only, you’ll have more room for other things. Cozy couches are a popular choice. And you might even have enough space for a dance floor. Club-like rooftop bars can be tricky though, as you’ll likely need to monitor your music’s volume closely.

Consider Your Clientele

rooftop bar clientele

Every bar and restaurant has a different set of regular customers. Keep these people in mind when designing your rooftop bar. For instance, you won’t want to open a club-like rooftop area if the majority of your patrons are older. And if your customers like to order food with their drinks, you’ll want to offer food in addition to drinks on your rooftop area.

Get the Right Permits

rooftop bar construction

As you might expect, there’s plenty of red tape when it comes to opening a rooftop bar. If you’re leasing space, you’ll need to speak to your landlord about doing construction. And when the rooftop bar is completed, your lease will likely need to be re-negotiated. Elevators, gas hook-ups, and  restaurant equipment are just a few things you’ll need to account for when altering space of the roof. Many of these require permits and can take a long time until they’re completed. So plan accordingly.

Like any restaurant endeavor, opening a rooftop bar comes with its fair share of risk. But if you do your research, know your customers, and collaborate with the right construction company, your rooftop bar has a good chance of being the talk of the town.