The town of San Miguel de Allende doesn’t have beaches, so the best location to enjoy fresh lime margaritas and watch the sunset is one of San Miguel's numerous rooftop bars.
Since my partner and I seem to have made a habit of hanging out at them, here's our view of the best rooftop bars in San Miguel, with a few restaurants thrown in for good measure. There's a map of rooftop bars here which includes several more that aren't in this blog post. There are also posts here on the Best Cafes to Work and What to do in San Miguel.
The Big Daddys of San Miguel Rooftops
These are the bars you’ll see referenced in the tour books. For the full San Miguel experience, plan to visit at least one of these while in town. In my opinion Atrio, Quince and Rosewood have the best views, cocktails, and staff.
Luna Tapas Rosewood Hotel
Luna Tapas Bar (Rosewood)
The best known of the San Miguel rooftop bars and thus also the busiest. Drinks are fancy and not cheap, but it's worth it for the view over all of San Miguel from a unique vantage point. Plan to come about an hour before sunset and hang out here until you head for dinner. You'll want to make a reservation on weekends or holidays and if you can't get in, skip over to one of my favorite backups: Nena Hotel, just across the road.
How to Find: Inside the Rosewood hotel, which is a ten minute downhill walk or short taxi from the Jardin (centro). Enter the lobby, turn left before the main courtyard and left again to take the elevator (or stairs) to the top floor. On busy days they have a waiting list on the ground floor and won't let you go up to the roof unless a spot is available.
Tupi DJ Roofbar
Tupi DJ Roofbar
Where as Rosewood is the place to be to watch the sunset when it gets late (past 11pm), Tupi is where you can dance to a DJ under the stars. This is where you'll find the young expat (and sometimes Mexico histper) type crowd. Great DJs come in often from Mexico City.
How to Find: Above Tupinamba Restaurant, right on Zacateros. Pass through the courtyard that runs along the side of the inside of the restaurant and clime the stairs on your left at the back (before entering Mercado de Carmen which has a neat food court with several options for a quick bite).
The closest you can sit to the Parroquia without being inside a drone. More of a restaurant with great Asian fusion food than a bar, but also has a small lounge hangout area. Like Quince, this is a great place to arrive before sunset and see Parroquia light up before you leave. Reservations recommended on holidays and weekends.
How to Find: Right off the Jardin on Cuna de Allende (before Quince if coming from Jardin). Check out the gorgeou tree in the lobby adn then head right and up the stairs in the diagonal corner from where you entered.
One of best bars in Centro with an outstanding view of the parroquia. Come here before sunset for drinks and enjoy watching them ring the bells, followed by lighting up the church. Fun flirty wait staff and upscale food. Prices to match.
How to Find: Located on the street down the right side of the Parroquia (Cuna de Allende). You’ll enter through a courtyard. Head up the stairs on your right beyond the fountain. May require a reservation on busy weekends, but generally available earlier for drinks (before dinner reservation time).
Busy busy popular! On weekends and holidays there's a waiting list at the very front entry of the building. Often has live music downstairs.
How to find: Entrance to Terraza bar is on left about half way into the restaurant.
Photo courtesy of Mama Mia.
Nice chill bar that sometimes has a DJ spinning.
How to Find: Upstairs above El Pueblo Viejo restaurant at Umaran 6 in Centro (turn right inside before you reach the restaurant).
Photo courtesy of Pablo O from San Miguel (via TripAdvisor)
Funky more locals place. Good DJ spinning some nights. This is where to come for late night dancing (if you can get in), and salsa on certain weeknights, but skip the food, although I recently heard they started a brunch on weekends that might be worth a try.
How to Find: A few doors down from Mama Mia
The Hidden Gems
Here are some less mobbed San Miguel de Allende rooftop bars with stellar views and a more laid-back vibe. To be honest, most of these I prefer to the bars above. Once you get sick of hanging one street off the Jardin (main square), you can't go wrong with any of these!
Nena Hotel Rooftop Bar
An excellent alternate to Rosewood. Awesome views of the Parroquia and downtown. It's located right opposite on same street as the Rosewood Hotel, but on opposite side of the road and the view is from a little less high. Try the margaritas!
How to Find: On the same street as the Rosewood Hotel. Enter the courtyard and go straight pass the fountain, through the lobby and up the stairs to the right.
El Palomar Hotel
It's a climb, but you'll be rewarded with the best view over the whole city. We tend to come here for margaritas or a cocktail and then move on to dinner in town, but they are well rated for food, too (if not cheap).
How to Find: Head up San Francisco from the Jardin and it's 3 blocks up the hill on right side. Enter hotel entry from San Francisco (stone doorway), turn left into hotel and climb, climb, climb!
This is my favorite rooftop for grabbing a quick bite to eat and a beer in centro, with a full bar. They are very reasonably priced and the tacos are to die for. Try the Costra, where your meat is wrapped in grilled cheese and then a tortilla.
You can also order from the Chicago deep dish pizza place downstairs. A key tip: the stuffed pizza is what Americans would call Deep Dish (not the one called Deep Dish).
How to Find: Right next to Tupinamba restaurant (and Tupi rooftop) on Zacateros. Pass through the restaurant with rows of benches and up the stairs painted in rainbow colors at the back to reach the rooftop.
Great wood-fired pizza, beer and wine. Order downstairs by the pizza oven before climbing up to the deck on top of this tiny hotel.
How to Find: Up the hill from the Jardin on Corroe. To reach the terraza go straight past the beer wall on one side, up the stairs, past the 5 or so hotel rooms, around the corner and up more stairs.
Awesome Oaxacan style food (try the mushroom tlayuda- it's like a filled Mexican flatbread). Ask the friendly owner downstairs to tell you about his different mezcals, all brought in from Oaxaca.How to find: it's on Insurgentes. Go through the bar and out to the right, up the stairs to the roof deck.
Ocre Rooftop Bar
A new kid in town, spread out over several levels (don't be misled by the small entrance and keep climbing). Super central and sometimes has live music one level up from street.
How to Find: Super central, on Hidalgo, less than a block from the Jardin.
Bond 007 Rooftop
Bond 007 Gin Bar
More of a bar to hang out than a restaurant. Good mezcal and one of best gin selections in town.How to Find: A short walk away from the Jardin on Hidalgo. Once you find it, keep climbing the stairs from the street and keep climbing past the first bar.
Baja Fish Taquito
Baja Fish Taquito
Great fish tacos close to the jardin, with beer and wine to match.How to Find: A few gentle blocks up the hill on Mesones. Enter and go up the exceedingly narrow stairs on your right.
More Options with Great Food
Here are some more awesome restaurants that have great food options, but don't forget there's also Baja Fish Taquito for tacos and seafood and Chiquita Sunset for pizza (above).
El Pegaso Restaurant
Great food menu with amazing deserts and rumored the best flan in town. Friendly staff and fun decor (the items on the wall are for sale).How to Find: It's on Correo one block away from the Jardin. Entry is left and up the stairs. Nice view away from town to the houses on the hill behind downtown.
MX Sushi & Terraza
Nice sushi and lounge atmosphere.Great fish tacos close to the jardin, with beer and wine to match. Try the MX roll.
How to Find: Enter the restaurant and head up the stairs at the back.
Fancy restaurant with upscale seafood options. Restaurant has the best view as bar is behind it, so not right on the terrace.
How to Find: not to be confused with La 21Unica (a fun downstarirs bar on Jesus /upper end of Pila Seca), La Unica is on Diez de Sollano, a few doors down from The Restaurant. It's not instantly obvious that they have a terrace, so ask at the desk after you enter.
The Best Bar in Town
Of course, if I'm honest my favorite bar is our own back patio. So easy and accessible, and there's always cold beer ready in the fridge.
How to Find: Give me a call and come on over!