Restaurants with the Best Nighttime City Views

Yes, we know: Le Jules Verne at the top of the Eiffel Tower. But assuming you’re not proposing this time around, here are eight other international top spots to enjoy breathtaking views while you fill your belly.

Restaurant Georges at Centre George Pompidou, Paris: By the time you hit the third set of escalators going up to this museum’s roof, it should be clear you’re on your way straight to the top. Enjoy a drink on the terrace and watch the Eiffel Tower scintillate, then settle into the modern, aluminum-lined space for delicious takes on French classics, like the champagne-poached cod.

Rhodes 24, London: Located in the City of London’s tallest building, Tower 42, the restaurant has held onto its Michelin star since 2005, for Gary Rhodes’ traditional British cuisine, privileging quality products over fancy preparations, and letting the view add the sparkle.

WP24, Los Angeles: Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck has become so ubiquitous, it’s refreshing to see him get back to what he does best: modern, Asian-inflected cuisine that made him famous. Opened in 2010, WP24 was named one of the best new restaurants in America by multiple critics, not least for the spectacular view of the LA skyline from the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel.

A Voce Columbus, New York: The panoramic view of Central Park, accented by the glittering whirl of Columbus Circle, is only slightly more all-encompassing than the delights of chef Missy Robbins’ pasta dishes, which are delicious enough to eat every day and deceptively simple enough to make you think you actually could.

The View Bar, Sao Paulo: The 30th-floor lounge of The View Bar is as exciting inside as the city view is outside, with visitors mingling happily with Brazilian locals over a coupe of champagne, and couples sharing a meal of small plates with local influences.

Michel’s, Hawaii: About to celebrate its 50th year this January, Michel’s at the Colony Surf on Waikiki claims to have the island’s best view, both of the ocean waves and the lights of Honolulu. Live music, fresh fish, and some of the world’s best sunsets make this destination justifiably famous.

Aqua, Hong Kong: Victoria Harbor at night is the focal point of every major building that has access to it for a reason — the multicolored lights and visually thrilling skyline add glamour to rooms that are already luxe. Aqua’s combination of Italian and Japanese food is appropriately international for the setting in the luxury shopping development One Peking Road.

Top of the World, Las Vegas: Located in the Stratosphere (literally; that’s the name of the tall building towering over the Strip) this restaurant prides itself on creating a menu of American classics with unique accents—as unique as the restaurant’s own signature feature, which is the entire space’s 360 degree revolution every 80 minutes.

Drinking with a View in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a place that’s been uninterruptedly, incredibly wealthy since World War II. As such, it’s somewhat of a Disneyland for adults. For generations, people from around the world have migrated to this city of roughly seven million with two simple goals: to make money and to spend it. We’re here to help.

It doesn’t take long to track down hedonism, which mostly comes in the form of after-hours spots crammed with locals throwing around their dollar bills. On his first night in the city, one BlackBook informant was taken to Rick’s Café, a pub with an international crowd. Upon noting the beauty of the waitresses, he was told they could be his for a price, and was then handed a baggie of cocaine.

In case anyone is unduly worried that stories such as this might become endangered as China exerts more power over its prized Special Administrative Region, rest assured that the erstwhile Communist country has no intention of getting all up in Hong Kong’s capitalist grill. As the number of mainland Chinese millionaires grows, so does the number Yuan they spend with abandon across the border.

Luxury apartments—purchased by mainlanders as status symbols but never actually used—stand empty on both sides of Victoria Harbour. The Peninsula hotel’s own hospitality team advised us to visit a mall as an afternoon diversion “to watch Chinese people shop.” Truly.

After dark, the fruits of those infamous shopping sprees can be seen across the city in Hong Kong’s many clubs. There are three main party sectors in town, corresponding roughly to, well, the three main sectors in town, period. Wanchai is where soldiers have always gone for R&R, and it still maintains the sort of slouchy, tropical, mildly seedy colonial vibe typical of such a place. Still, some big-name bars line the outskirts, like Propaganda, Hong Kong’s classic gay bar that, in keeping with the city’s party ethos, is most popular on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

For more obvious glitz, head to LanKwai Fong, also on Hong Kong island, or across the harbor to TsimShaTsui on the Kowloon side. Since most of Hong Kong’s high finance offices are on the island, its clubs often have a restaurant element to cater to the after-work crowd. Azure takes up the top two floors of a skyscraper, with one level devoted to dining and the other to drinking. Almost-neighboring Sevva is also ostensibly a restaurant, but the food and service is so bad that it’s become an infamous symbol of the “only in Hong Kong” trope: only such a wealthy city would allow such bad restaurants to thrive. But it’s pretty and all the right people are there, taking in the view of the city lights and each other.

Hong Kong is indeed a food city, but it almost seems like the more you spend, the less quality you get. One exception is FINDS, which doesn’t have a view, but does offer interesting Scandinavian food.

A short and lovely ferry ride takes you to Kowloon, where Aqua Spirit is the hottest rooftop bar at the moment. But sometimes classic makes for a better choice than trendy, which is why the lobby bar at the InterContinental is our top locale at which to imbibe. It isn’t a rooftop, but it has unobstructed views of the waterfront, and is the best place in the city to catch the nightly light show. The bartenders’ heavy pours here make the experience all the more lovely. It’s crowded, though, so if privacy is in order, The China Clipper on the top floor of the Peninsula is available for discreet encounters. The only way in is to rent out the whole floor, or charter the house helicopter.

Whether you prefer elite or populist, the key to nightlife here is the view of the gorgeous, twinkling city, and its myriad of people, spending and sipping.