Art Ovation Rooftop
Art Ovation Rooftop. Photo credit: Eddie Kirsch

Drink in Sarasota's ever-changing skyline from the city's rooftop bars

Spectacular views can be found up high on Sarasota’s growing rooftop scene.

Looking for spectacular views, Gulf breezes, and crafted drinks and eats?

Then come on down—or should we say, up—to Sarasota’s rooftop bars.

The Sarasota area has welcomed a growing number of rooftop venues. Visitors are attracted to the great views and atmosphere; for hotel-based rooftop bars, the pools that are located right beside the bars make for a great combo. And there’s no better way to take in Sarasota’s ever-changing skyline than from the top of a roof.

Here are the details on what to see, drink, eat, and enjoy at Sarasota’s rooftop bars.

Westin Sarasota’s The Roof Bar and Eats

Located the 19th floor of this relatively new hotel addition to Sarasota, The Roof Bar and Eats is a place to see and to be seen. That said, you’ll probably want to put aside the people watching to take in the gorgeous view of downtown Sarasota, the local marina, and Sarasota Bay.

“During the day, you can see the boats on the water and at night, the lights from the surrounding city are just breathtaking,” says Sharon Yoniski of Lakewood Ranch. “The atmosphere is relaxed and sophisticated.”

The Roof Bar and Eats also features music on some nights, including a DJ and a jazz group a few days a month.

Drinks are always a highlight of a rooftop bar visit, and The Roof Bar and Eats recently debuted a new cocktail menu that includes a Bacardi Ocho Mojito, Blackberry Bramble, and an Elderflower Grapefruit Martini.

The lunch and sundown menus have bar staples like burgers and wings, but you’ll find some surprising diversity on the menu, including a tasty olive tapenade, pupusas, and lamb meatballs. Of course, you’ll find some fish- and seafood-based dishes like fish tacos and crispy calamari.

Art Ovation Hotel’s Perspective Rooftop Pool Bar

If art is your thing, then head on over the Perspective Rooftop Pool Bar at the new Art Ovation Hotel. The beautiful view from this fifth floor bar is just one artsy feature. You’ll also find a colorful mural behind the bar area and a cocktail menu that reflects Florida art history. That all fits into the Art Ovation’s art emphasis, which includes rotating art exhibits, an art-themed gift shop, an instrument loan program for guests, and an Art and Wine event nightly.

The bar also does a solid job with customer service. “One of the bartenders, Randy, really took great care of our group, which made the few hours we enjoyed cocktails and conversation super enjoyable,” says Andy Abramson of Sarasota.

Lee-En Chung of Sarasota says that her lunchtime visit with a friend recently was almost like a well-kept secret. Despite the Florida heat, it felt cooler under an umbrella, and the two of them relished in the gorgeous view that included Sarasota Bay. She ordered a crab tower salad that was filled with crab meat while her friend ordered a blackened grouper sandwich with chipotle aioli.

Your experience at Perspective may be laidback by day, but it perks up at night with a DJ on Friday and Saturday night. “It draws a younger crowd and plays lively top 40 music. It’s a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy a few drinks,” Yoniski says.

During Abramson’s Friday night visit, he described the music as more relaxed at first but more upbeat at night went on, with lots of electronic dance music (EDM).

Daiquiri Deck

If you’ve spent all day at the beach and you’re sunburnt and relaxed, then you’ll fit right in at the Daiquiri Deck.

A favorite among visitors, the Daiquiri Deck has four locations around Sarasota, including St. Armands Circle, Venice, and two locations in Siesta Key. The restaurant is known for its array of daiquiri of selections, which you can get with or without alcohol. From Electric Lemonade to Mango to Deck Diesel, the daiquiris are in frozen ice drink-type machines, tempting visitors while they order dishes like oysters, seafood mac & cheese, and buffalo shrimp.

Chung describes Daiquiri Deck as family-friendly, with multi-generation groups kicking back on the rooftop deck. At the Siesta Key location she visited, there was a great sunset view, Chung adds.

Shore Diner

The Shore Diner in St. Armand’s Circle offers great people-watching from its rooftop deck, along with brunch, lunch, and dinner. Take your pick from classics like Oak Grilled Aged Ribeye, or get more adventurous with Shrimp and Mango Ceviche with Guacamole. If you’re there for brunch, then Chicken ‘n Waffle, a Vegan Scramble, or a Bosc Pear Grilled Cheese may get your stomach grumbling. Shore Diner also has a retail clothing store on the first floor.