The 7 Best Rooftop Bars in Grand Rapids (Ranked by a Local)

best rooftop bars grand rapids

Looking for a spot with a view? I’ve got you.

Sip in style at the best rooftop bars in Grand Rapids. Admire the feminine, graceful curves of DeVos Place. Enjoy the beautiful, newly refaced facade of the Amway Grand Hotel. People watch from above as hordes of people make their way into Van Andel Arena.

(If you’re wondering why so many buildings in town are named DeVos and Van Andel, those are the last names of the two fellas who started Amway. The MLM company is headquartered in nearby Ada – hit me up if you want to be in my downline)

Okay! Onto my favorite rooftop bars in Grand Rapids.

Map of the Best Rooftop Bars in Grand Rapids, MI

The best rooftop bar in Grand Rapids: Knoop

This is my favorite rooftop bar in the city. The menu here changes more frequently than outfits at a Taylor Swift concert, but the small bites are consistently delicious.

The drink menu is large, with plenty of options if you’re a beer or wine kinda person. But Knoop is a craft cocktail joint at heart. The cocktail menu, like the food menu, is mercurial.

The cocktails are delightful and experimental. Mushroom-infused simple syrup? Sure, why not. Duck-fat-washed rye whiskey? I’ll try anything once.

Order a cocktail that features your favorite spirit and sip slowly. Enjoy its bold flavors and the sublime view and splendor of the city.

  • Address: 131 Ionia Avenue SW, 49503, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Website: Knoop

The best rooftop bar for drinks after dinner: Mertens Rooftop

The views here are delightful. Mertens Rooftop is a must-visit if you’re into rooftop bars (who isn’t)?

Mertens Rooftop pours a mean spritz. You can go with the classic, made with Aperol, prosecco, and a dash of bubbles, or can build your own. Choose your own adventure and make it wine-based with Lillet, or get weird with St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur.

Have your bartender stick an orange or other cocktail garnish on there, and you’ve got one of the most Instagramable, summery drinks known to humans. Watch the sunset over the Grand River, the sky a kaleidoscope of colors, and stay until the stars pop into existence.

Pro tip: Mertens Rooftop can be a hopping spot on a beautiful Michigan evening. Grab dinner at the downstairs restaurant first, and you’ll get priority seating. Skip the line and enjoy your digestif.

  • Address: 35 Oakes St SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Mertens Rooftop

The best fancy rooftop bar: MDRD

MDRD is known as an elegant, special-occasion type of restaurant. And that’s definitely true. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

You can skip the meal (and the corresponding hit to your wallet) and just grab drinks at the bar. No reservations required. Admire the stunning views offered by the floor-to-ceiling windows high up on the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

Psst. MDRD is a classy joint. Wear something nice.

  • Address: 187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: MDRD

The best rooftop bar for brunch: The Friesian Gastropub

Fresian is on Michigan Street, about a mile or so from the heart of downtown. So you won’t be enjoying views of the Grand Rapids skyline. Fresian’s vibe is much more like a backyard hangout with string lights.

But! The patio lights are charming, there are propane heaters to keep you warm, and there are plants everywhere.

Sure, you can come for a drink here at night. But the intimate atmosphere lends itself particularly well to brunch. Shakshuka is a breakfast of champions and the perfect dish to pair with a bloody mary. If you’re famished, The Friesian’s chicken and waffles are fire and are hardy enough to satisfy the most voracious appetite.

  • Address: 720 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: The Friesian

The best year-round rooftop bar: IDC (I Don’t Care)

To enjoy the splendid views of the city at IDC, located on the second floor of the Amway Hotel, you’ll need a secret passcode. It’s a speakeasy, after all. I’ve got you though – head over to IDC’s site for the password.

What to order? I’m a whiskey guy, so the rosemary sazerac is my go-to. “Not your mother’s Paloma,” which features cayenne simple syrup, is a summertime delight.

If you’ve got money to spend, get your drink in a super cool disco ball cup. You can take it home with you! (The cup, not the drink.)

Like MDRD, IDC is inside the Amway Grand Plaza. The hotel is lux, and so are the bars and restaurants inside of it – put on your fancy clothes, kids.

P.S. – There’s no kitchen at IDC, so don’t show up hungry.

  • Address: 187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: IDC

The best chill rooftop bar: Rockwell/Republic

While I’m a huge fan of the rooftop bar at Rockwell/Republic, let me issue this disclaimer: it’s on the second story of the building. So if you’re looking for sweeping, panoramic views of Grand Rapids from up high, try another spot on this list.

But if you’re looking for an unpretentious spot where you can enjoy a drink or two al fresco, Rockwell/Republic might be perfect for you. Come on a Wednesday – Rockwell’s famously stiff sangria pitchers are only twenty bucks. Split one with your closest friend (or fiercest enemy).

If you’re hungry, the food menu offers a little bit of everything, including sushi, upscale bar food, Pad Thai, and tacos.

The best outdoor patio for people watching: The Sky Deck (The B.O.B.)

The B.O.B. (big old building) is a foundational Grand Rapids restaurant. It’s four stories tall and over 70,000 square feet. Inside, you’ll find a brewery, a comedy club (Dr. Grins), and Bobarino’s Pizza.

The Sky Deck is part of Bobarino’s, so grab a table and order your crew a pizza. The deck overlooks Fulton and Monroe streets, and it’s one of the most bustling intersections in downtown Grand Rapids. You’ll have a front-row seat for people watching anyone who’s attending an event at the Van. (That’s West Michigan slang for the Van Andel Arena if you’re new to town.)

If you’re into craft beer, you’re in luck. The B.O.B. has an onsite brewery, and all the suds are offered at the Sky Deck. If seltzers are more your thing, they’ve got a few of those, too. Grab a Long Drink or a White Claw for a classic, or a Sunny D seltzer if you’re feeling adventurous.

  • Address: 20 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Bobarino’s