Hitting the rooftop bars of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and beyond is an incredibly romantic way to spend steamy summer evenings in Israel. A decidedly more luxurious experience than your average ground-level lounge, rooftop bars often are glamorously located in modern boutique hotels, some overlooking historical landmarks and others overlooking the lapping waves of the Mediterranean.

Ever classy, and just a bit breezier and cooler than down below, many rooftop bars are the picture-perfect location for a killer selfie or Instagram shot of that ice-cold cocktail.

Here is ISRAEL21c’s guide to 10 of the best rooftop bars in Israel.

  1. Mamilla Hotel Rooftop Lounge and Restaurant, Jerusalem
Mamilla Rooftop Lounge and Restaurant overlooks the Old City of Jerusalem. Photo: courtesy

Located high above the upscale Mamilla pedestrian mall next to Jerusalem’s Old City, the luxurious Mamilla Hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar offers both gourmet delight and historical perspective.

As you sip on signature drinks such as the Red Diamond Fizz — a cocktail of sparkling Cava wine, almond syrup, lemon, gin and egg white — and sample appetizers such as roasted bone marrow and grilled foie gras with wild zaatar and white wine chimichurri, don’t forget to look out at the ancient city walls, lit up against the dark Jerusalem sky.

  1. Blue Sky, Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv in all its glory at the Blue Sky Restaurant at Carlton Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy Blue Sky

From Chef Meir Adoni, one of the most influential personalities in modern Israeli cuisine comes the exquisite Blue Sky restaurant and bar. Taking up real estate on the 15th floor of the Carlton Tel Aviv, this upscale spot funnels its appreciation for seasonal Mediterranean cooking into its food and cocktails.

Since drinks always go better with great appetizers, we suggest getting the eggplant carpaccio, served with tahini, date honey, pistachio, feta, coriander seeds, rosewater and fennel flowers; or the Andalusian seared tuna and Jerusalem artichokes to go with your glass of Israeli wine and the view of the Tel Aviv Port and illuminated skyline.

  1. The Effendi Hotel Rooftop Acre (Akko)
Thew stunning view at the rooftop bar of the Effendi Hotel . Photo courtesy Effendi Hotel

In the ancient Crusader city of Old Akko, one man reigns supreme. Uri Jeremias not only owns Uri Buri, one of the city’s best fish restaurants, but he also owns the glamorous Effendi Hotel.

The artfully decorated refurbished Ottoman building feels like a Crusader castle. But head up to the rooftop to see what Akko is really all about: the sea. Out in the open air, with a glass of local boutique wine and a cheese plate with specialty cheeses from the nearby Barkanit Dairy, you really can’t go wrong.

  1. Esperanto, Tel Aviv
Esperanto Bar at the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv. Photo by Amnon Horesh Photography

So of the moment, one of Esperanto’s signature cocktails is a popsicle with a hashtag for a name. #POPSEA is made of Tanqueray gin, fizzy Cava, sauvignon blanc wine, cinnamon-pear syrup and berries. Also located in Tel Aviv’s Carlton Hotel, Esperanto is situated on a large wooden deck facing the gorgeous Mediterranean seafront.

As romantic as its name suggests, it is the place to go from May to October to have an exceptionally classy night out, dining on little bites like labaneh arancini (crispy risotto balls with locally produced labaneh cheese), sipping inventive cocktails like the “Havier Pina”– which features dark rum and grilled pineapple — and chatting with friends while you let the cool sea breeze drown out the reality of your face likely melting off once you’re back down at street level.

  1. Waldorf Astoria Garden Terrace, Jerusalem
The open air garden terrace at the Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy

If you’re looking for fancy, it doesn’t get much classier than the renovated Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Jerusalem. Just down the street from the Old City walls, this historical hotel, known for its ground-level restaurant, The Palace, also has a more hidden away open-air garden terrace on its fourth floor.

Pink and white cabanas, private well-spaced-out tables, lit-up citrus trees and planters filled with fresh fragrant herbs help set the tone for a sensory experience of the delicious food of Chef Itzik Barak and signature cocktails such as the classic gin and tonic using Spanish Gin Mare.

  1. Brown TLV Urban Hotel, Tel Aviv
Photo courtesy of Brown TLV

With its modern relaxed feel, the Brown boutique hotel’s urban rooftop bar is a great little open-air lounge for cuddling up with a date and watching the ever-expanding Tel Aviv skyline as the sun goes down.

Inventive cocktails utilize seasonal fruit and homemade infusions and liquors (yum, limoncello!). “The Rose” is on trend, including rose wine in the mix with dry vermouth, homemade rose syrup, lime and floral St. Germain elderflower liqueur from France, which goes well with the bar’s well-executed little bites.

7.Notre Dame Rooftop Cheese and Wine Restaurant, Jerusalem

A place to rest your sore heels after a day of sightseeing and trekking in historical Jerusalem, the Notre Dame Rooftop Cheese and Wine Restaurant welcomes wary travelers with a glass of well-earned wine and intricately adorned cheese plates.

But it’s the view here that will blow you away. You get 360-degree views of the Old City and all its landmarks spectacularly well from your table.

  1. Poli House Boutique Hotel Rooftop Bar, Tel Aviv
Poli House photo by Yael Engelhart

Combining the club with a well-stocked upscale bar, this Carmel Market adjacent boutique rooftop bar is where hotel guests and locals alike go for bottle service and good vibes.

Custom cocktails combine top-shelf bottles like patron tequila with tropical fruit purees, while small tapas dishes like tuna tartare feature elements such as Persian lemon powder, Uzbeki apricots and yuzu and yogurt foam. Lounge next to the infinity pool and admire the view of Tel Aviv’s legendary Bauhaus buildings and Mediterranean coastline.

  1. Speakeasy, Tel Aviv

See one of Tel Aviv’s most trendy districts from above, at Speakeasy rooftop bar on historical Rothschild Boulevard.

The “easy sangria,” made with homemade berry gin, raspberry sorbet, hibiscus and sweet white vermouth; and the Eastern European inspired “Beat it” (which mixes both Russian and Polish vodka with beetroot, triple sec and lime) pairs well with appetizers on a stick like the house-smoked roast beef with aioli dipping sauce or seafood sashimi with Thai papaya salad. So Tel Aviv.

  1. Kanta, Tel Aviv

Drink and dine at Kanta on renovated Ibn Gvirol Street atop the Gan Ha’Ir mall. There, stories above this upscale street, under a canopy of string-light-lined trees, you can sip cocktails that represent different cities around the globe.

You’ll want to try “Jaffa,” with Ouzo 12, beets, watermelon, lime and mint, for a real local experience. It’s like a boho-chic summer wedding, but with dreamy dishes such as fresh borata with tomato cream and candied Israeli cherry tomatoes, and sweet potato ravioli with lemon butter, thyme and Italian parmesan cheese you won’t want to leave until the morning light.