It wasn’t too terribly long ago that you’d Google “Best Rooftop Bar in Chattanooga” and be met with a mixture of virtual crickets and a few pixelated photos of the Pickle Barrel (which—it must be said—is still easily one of the best rooftop bars in the city!). In recent years, however, the amount of rooftop bars that have arrived on the Scenic City scene has—well, shot through the roof! So, if you’re looking for a great place to grab a cocktail, enjoy a scenic view, and get elevated above it all, check out our list of Chattanooga’s best roofs—housed here under one roof.
Of note: These rooftops can get crowded—especially in warmer weather. So be sure to plan ahead and consider advanced ticketing or making reservations.
Nearby Miller Park bustles with frisbee-throwers and sunbathers and on Friday nights in summer with great live music at the Nightfall summer concert series, not to mention other live music events throughout the year. And atop the roof, smiling patrons mingle among platters of sidewinder fries, patty melts, and pitchers of beer. If you’re looking for a rooftop with old-school vibes and definitively local charm, the Pickle Barrel is for you.
The Whiskey Thief
Perched on top of the Edwin Hotel high above the south-shore terminus of the Walnut Street Bridge, the Whiskey Thief delivers elevated cocktails at an elevated height. People come here for the views and they stay for the innovative drink menu. (Okay, they stay for the views too!) Though there’s of course no dress code, this is the type of place where it’s fun to play dress up. In other words, it’s swanky and sophisticated. Arrive in your modern-day Gatsby attire. Order anything from a Barrel-Aged Maple Old Fashioned to a seasonal cocktail like the Sorrento (with reposado tequila, mezcal, Italian orange liqueur, triple honey syrup, lime, and pineapple, served on the rocks with black salt). Sit on the balcony at sunset and soak up one of the best views in the city, with the glimmering Tennessee River below, the Walnut Street Bridge filled with hundreds of cyclists and strollers, and the Hunter Museum dripping into the bluff.
Paloma Bar de Tapas at The Westin
Want to sip a cocktail from one of the most iconic (and reflective!) buildings in Chattanooga? The Westin is for you. Located in the West Village, this place gives a whole new meaning to the term “golden hour.” At this time of day, the golden glass of the Westin positively bursts and shimmers in a dazzling show of lights. The rooftop bar within, Paloma Bar de Tapas, is a fantastic place to sip a cocktail, snack on some Spanish-inspired small plates, and soak up the uninterrupted views of Lookout Mountain. Once you’ve had your rooftop fill, you can’t beat strolling through the pedestrian-friendly West Village neighborhood, popping into various bars and restaurants along the way.
High Rail at the Chattanoogan
Fresh on the rooftop bar scene is The Chattanoogan Hotel’s new High Rail bar. The Chattanoogan itself is of course a veritable veteran in the Chattanooga hotel scene. Built in 2001, this hotel has for two decades been a nucleonic hub for Chattanooga visitors hoping to get a great, convenient taste of downtown. In spring 2021, High Rail arrived on the scene to offer a tastefully upscale rooftop bar experience. With string lights, craftwood cabanas, charcoal gas fires, and games like corn hole, the atmosphere is as good as it gets. And the lineup of delicious cocktails and delectable appetizers is somehow just as good. Snag a Southern Belle cocktail and a Southern caprese salad, and prepare to be blown away.
If you’re looking for a rooftop bar in the Historic Southside District, your options are actually somewhat limited. (Outdoor patios, mind you, are a completely different story! Have your pick between the pristine balcony of Stir, the laidback beer garden at Heaven and Ale, the high-octane energy of State of Confusion, and so much more!) But in terms of rooftops, the Southside generally likes to keep its patron’s feet on the ground. The Terminal Brewhouse, however, breaks that trend in the best (and beeriest) way possible. Housed in one of the oldest buildings in Chattanooga, the Terminal combines the best of cozy vibes, locally-sourced grub, and made-on-site microbrews. The upstairs outdoor patio is a fantastic place to people-watch the strollers of the pedestrian-friendly Station Street, sip on an amber Maibock, and snack on some delicious food. Inside tip: Order the Pizza rolls. You will not regret it!