What’s better than sharing food and drinks with friends while soaking in some stellar views? Not much, if you ask us! With an average of 220 days of sunshine and year-round summer climate, JAX is the perfect place to settle in on a rooftop and immerse yourself in the clouds and cuisine. Keep reading to find out about some of our faves, along with tips from the local pros (ahem, us):
Take in St. Augustine’s historic sites with a bird’s eye view of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and enjoy the bayfront breeze from above at River & Fort. With two rooftops in an airy, open setting, you’re sure to have a great view no matter where you sit. Their Southern continental-inspired menu features local seafood, steaks, wine and craft cocktails, too. Pro tip: finish the night off with one of their deliciously decadent desserts (our favorite is the key lime crème brûlée!).
One of the newest restaurants to hit the beaches’ dining scene, O-Ku provides a fresh and innovative take on traditional Japanese sushi and cuisine. The beachside location with waterfront and rooftop dining offers traditional sashimi and specialty rolls, sourcing seafood from the finest fish markets in Tokyo and Hawaii alongside local and seasonal ingredients. Catch some glimpses of Jax Beach’s nightlife while indulging in some of the best sushi the region has to offer. Pro tip: the spicy tuna roll is to die for!
Sure, most people go to Coop 303 for their famous fried chicken…but the views from their beautiful rooftop garden are what keeps bringing them back. Located just steps from the ocean in the heart of the Beaches Town Center, Coop 303 offers classic dishes and creatively concocted cocktails with a sleek, modern twist. Pro tip: the perfect time to sample the menu (hello, fried green tomatoes!) is during happy hour, with food and drink specials Monday-Friday from 2-6 p.m.
Like your brew with a view? We do too! Listed as one of the world’s best rooftop bars by MandoeMedia, the Riverside location of Hoptinger offers a modern “Baverican” bier garden which is ranked #1 in value worldwide and #9 overall on the list of 200 of the world’s best rooftop bars. With more than 60 taps devoted to carefully selected craft beer, the best bet is to order a beer flight to sample some of the region’s best brews. Pro tip: pair it with one of their signature bratwursts for the full Bavarian experience.
Some may be surprised to find a restaurant inside a furniture store…but at the region’s heart of shopping and dining, it just makes sense. On the top floor of the luxury home furnishing store, the RH Restaurant and Rooftop offers an ambiance of elegance underneath a glass-and-steel atrium adorned with glimmering chandeliers and trickling fountains. After dinner, enjoy a glass of wine out on the patio among the lush greenery while overlooking the shoppers at St. Johns Town Center. Pro tip: their artisanal prosciutto is a great appetizer to share with the group to get the experience started (who doesn’t love a good charcuterie board?).
Like your steak with a side of history? After Jacksonville’s great fire in 1901, the Cowford Chophouse building opened a year later, making it one of the earliest symbols of Jacksonville’s rebirth. Originally rebuilt as a bank, the building has undergone many changes throughout the years – today, you can find relics from the past mixed with modern design and upscale dining at Downtown Jacksonville’s only steak house and rooftop lounge. Gaze across the St. Johns River and enjoy Southbank skyline views in the heart of JAX! Pro tip: as a ‘must-try’ restaurant, the rooftop fills up fast – try to get there when they open at 4 p.m. to get the best seats along the terrace!
Fresh local seafood, tasty Caribbean fare and a colorful selection of tropical drinks are just a few reasons why Pusser’s in Ponte Vedra Beach is a desired dining destination for locals and visitors alike. Sit on the patio overlooking the lake at the Shoppes of Veranda for a more relaxed vibe or head up to the top deck for some live music and dancing. There’s tons of food and drink specials throughout the week, including $7 firecracker shrimp on Tuesdays or ½ off bottles of wine on Wednesdays, so be sure to take advantage of their daily deals. Pro tip: no visit to Pusser’s is complete without trying their world famous Pusser’s Painkiller… just trust us on this one!
Oceanside Beach Bar & Grill’s motto, “Ocean of flavor, ocean of fun. We have something for everyone!” rings true through their spectacular service and multitude of menu offerings. As one of the only restaurants with a second-floor open-air ocean view in Flagler Beach, this is a place you can’t pass up. Even better? They’re open for breakfast too! Start your day off with a spicy, loaded Bloody Mary or stop by for some bacon wrapped scallops at lunch. Pro tip: no matter what time you choose to dine, be sure to get one of their famous rum buckets – because in JAX, every hour is happy hour!
Located in the heart of Downtown Fernandina, the Salty Pelican is a staple of this charming little seaside town. From seafood to chicken wings, they have great food for any appetite (and drinks too!). The menu is pretty typical for what you’d expect at a beach restaurant, but the chef’s specials are what truly make this place unique – from the Philly cheesesteak spring rolls to the ahi tuna nachos, buffalo-baked penne to the chorizo shrimp nachos, it’s truly a foodie’s paradise. Pro tip: this place can get pretty packed at sunset, so consider starting your day with a bangin’ brunch on the rooftop with breathtaking views of the Amelia River.
Inspired by the flavors of Mexican, Latin American and Florida Coastal cuisine, Casa Reina is one of the newest restaurants to hit St. Augustine’s dining scene. Located on the Bay of Matanzas at the foot of the Bridge of Lions, this is the perfect spot for an intimate dinner on the waterfront or cocktails with friends on their expansive rooftop. Their menu offerings, authentic design elements and waterfront views come together to offer a dining experience fit for a Queen… rightfully so, as “Casa Reina” translates to the “Queen’s House.” Pro tip: save some room after dinner for their cinnamon churros or flan de queso – their desserts are just as delectable as their signature dishes.
The restaurants listed above merely scratch the surface of rooftop offerings in the region… but one thing is for sure: if you’re looking for a vibrant food and drink scene, you’ll find it in Northeast Florida! Enjoy a unique drinking and dining experience through the combination of crafty cocktails, culinary decadence and rooftop views – Find Your JAX and your new favorite spot, too.