10 Top-of-the-World Revolving Restaurants
The idea of eating a gourmet meal or drinking craft cocktails while rotating in a 360 degree circle might not sound very practical or conventional but when you add a spectacular view to the mix, what’s not to like (unless you have vertigo)?
The popular trend of revolving restaurants and bars in the U.S. began sometime in the early Sixties after the successful launch of such towering creations as La Ronde (above the Ala Moana mall in Honolulu) and the Space Needle (created for the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962). But as the novelty wore off, the mechanical upkeep and maintenance of such ventures proved to be too costly for some entrepreneurs over time and many once-famous icons like Encounter Restaurant at the Los Angeles International Airport have since closed.
But there are still plenty of first rate venues in cities across the U.S. and they continue to offer a unique dining/cocktail experience combined with a stunning scenic vantage point. Here are just a few of the most famous and iconic.
Atlanta is at the top of the list because it is the only U.S. city to currently feature two revolving restaurant/lounges - the Polaris and the Sun Dial. When it first opened in 1967, the Polaris was the signature bar atop the city’s highest hotel at that time - the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Over the years, the Polaris was eclipsed by other towering luxury hotels with scenic restaurants and was shuttered by 2004. But the blue-domed flying saucer-shaped wonder reopened in 2014 with a complete redesign that includes a rooftop area for a fruit and vegetable garden and beehives. The revolving view, which is 723 feet above the street, makes a delightful backdrop to the inspired cocktails and small gourmet dishes being served such as Steak Oscar with crabmeat and kale and blood orange salad.
In 1972 The Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel became Atlanta’s tallest skyscraper and the Sun Dial Restaurant, Bar and View, occupying the 71-73 floors, became a major attraction. Since then One Atlanta Center has become the city’s highest building but the Sun Dial remains a top draw for its spectacular views and cuisine.
Perched 844 feet above the Las Vegas Strip and rotating a full 360 degrees every 80 minutes, Top of the World offers the ultimate in a romantic dinner date. The restaurant offers steaks, seafood and specialty dishes with a French accent and is world renowned for its cuisine. Sharing the same location at the top of the Stratosphere Hotel is the 107 SkyLounge where you can enjoy one of the designer cocktails such as “Lemon in the Coconut” (coconut vodka, lemon juice, honey) as you gaze at the Las Vegas skyline by night.
Restaurants with magnificent views of the New York City skyline are not uncommon but it would be hard to top the scenic splendors of The View. Located in the New York Marriott Marquis, the iconic restaurant is situated 48 stories above the city and is a favorite among locals and tourists for its three course prix-fixe dinner and seasonal tasting menus. The lounge is also an ideal place to enjoy cocktails or dessert as the room makes a 360 degree turn every hour.
Louisville is best known as the home of the Kentucky Derby, the Louisville Sluggers and some of the best bourbon distilleries in the state. But a lesser known but highly recommended attraction is the RIVUE restaurant and lounge. First launched in 2007, the fine dining establishment sits 25 stories above the city in the Galt House Hotel and offers lovely views of downtown and the Ohio River. A raw bar, local fish, broiled steaks, creative salads and decadent desserts are among the offerings and the Sunday brunch is always a hit attraction.
Overlooking Lake Superior in the heart of downtown Duluth, Minnesota is the Radisson Hotel Duluth-Harbourview which is famous for its rooftop restaurant, JJ Astor. The revolving room, located on the 16th floor, offers plush banquettes or comfortable armchairs for casual dining and drinks. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served alongside the panoramic views.
Need a reason to visit downtown Los Angeles at night? Consider the BonaVista Lounge, located on the 34th floor of the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, where you are treated to a rotating view of the city’s skylight while enjoying an intimate, upscale dinner and cocktails. An extra bonus is live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights.
Since the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the Sky Needle has become one of the iconic landmarks of this major port town in Washington State. The observation deck is, of course, a popular tourist destination but the Space Needle’s restaurant, SkyCity, is also worth a visit for its trademark revolving cafe/bar at an elevation of 500 feet. Enjoy Pacific Northwest specialities like Penn Cove mussels, Snake River Farms steaks and morel mushroom risotto along with a wide selection of local and international wines.
Billing itself as “the only rotating restaurant on the west coast of Florida,” Spinners is an extremely popular local and tourist favorite, located on the 12th floor of the Grand Plaza Hotel & Beachfront Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant serves up surf and turf combos, a signature crab cake appetizer with snow pea pods, a Jack Daniels chocolate cake and other specialities while treating customers to superlative views of the Tampa Bay and Gulf of Mexico.
Your best option for getting really high (literally) in Dallas is the Reunion Tower where you can choose between the Cloud Nine Cafe or the Five Sixty Five Restaurant, both of them 50 stories above the street in downtown Dallas. Cloud Nine Cafe is the more informal of the two dining options offering light meals and cocktails while the Five Sixty Five is one of Wolfgang Puck’s creations serving new twists on Asian dishes. Either option offers an amazing rotating view of the city’s skyline.