Best rooftop spaces in Macau

By Jonathan Evans

In a warm, densely populated city where space comes at a premium, who doesn’t love to drink and dine in the great outdoors? It’s a concept that isn’t lost on the designers and architects of Macau, who have emulated global hospitality trends by installing rooftop spaces that offer fine food, drinks and live music as well as captivating views of the ever-changing skyline. What’s more, many of these terrace temptations are open in the daytime, making it possible to soak up their charm whether you’re there for a midweek break over coffee or a chilled-out Sunday afternoon of people-watching.

Rooftop Macau in perennially fashionable Taipa Village makes an ideal space for supping coffee above the Feira Do Carmo, a sheltered area with Roman pillars that was once a trading hub but is now used for socialising. Downstairs is a hip designer store selling stylish homeware, furniture, stationery, accessories and fashion items, but as its name suggests, many come to Rooftop Macau purely for the café’s breezy top-floor charms  – a fine vantage point for sunset-watching, it can also be hired for private functions.

Photography: Bella Taipa Facebook

Photography: Tapas de Portugal Facebook

Atmospheric Taipa Village is also home to a triptych of smart-casual restaurants, all of which provide desirable terrace space. Tapas de Portugal, in the heart of the village, is an all-day destination serving classic cocktails and Portuguese wine on its secluded second-floor terrace; Bella Taipa, a gorgeous four-storey modern Italian restaurant, makes the perfect choice for both trend-conscious diners and party-hearty drinkers; and for more authentic foodies or discreet drinkers, La Famiglia’s authentic Macanese dining experience is ideal for small-group dining, while sundowners – either Portuguese wine or cocktails – can be enjoyed on the rooftop bar.

Photography: La Famiglia Facebook

Photography: MacauSoul Facebook

Over in peninsular Macau, A Porta da Arte – a similar concept to Taipa’s Quarter Square and Rooftop Macau – is a new, multi-storey space showcasing locally made designer products, with furniture that’s been repurposed to make coffee tables and a terrace bar where customers can sample brews from Triangle Coffee Roaster. For a change of scene, MacauSoul – an elegant wine lounge and jazz bar set up by a retired English couple in a traditional colonial building near the Ruins of St Paul’s – is a classy hideaway for anyone escaping the tourist crowds. It specialises in Portuguese wines, cheeses and charcuterie platters, and has a minimalist balcony space for guests to soak up the street life below.

Photography: A Porta da Arte Facebook

Further out to sea, by Fisherman’s Wharf, Sky Lounge at the impeccably designed Rocks Hotel takes full advantage of its seafront location, with its chic alfresco terrace ideal for toasting the end of the week with cocktails or mixers. 

Photography: Vida Rica Bar

While all of these terraces make excellent spots for smaller groups, perhaps the best views in Macau – if not the cheapest – are to be enjoyed at lofty lookout points atop the city’s prestigious hotels. Vida Rica Bar at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, sports an uber-stylish, Art Deco-influenced design and three interactive bars, and stakes a fair claim as the finest vista of all, with its dramatic nighttime panorama of the illuminated Nam Van Lake near the southern tip of the peninsula.

Photography: 38 Lounge Facebook

Across the water, 38 Lounge, lording over the summit of Altira Macau hotel – the tallest building in Taipa – comes decorated in bold scarlet on the inside, while on the spacious outside terrace, drinkers are wowed by majestic 270-degree views across to the brightly lit peninsula by night. The Ritz-Carlton Bar & Lounge ratchets up the height factor, way up on the 51st floor, enjoying ample natural light by day and an enviable skyline lookout across Cotai in the evening, as live music fills this contemporary design-driven drinking den.

Photography: Sky 21

If you’re looking for pumping beats to accompany your city scenery, try the two-storey SKY 21 at the top of the AIA Tower. The lower floor flaunts an industrial-chic aesthetic as the backdrop to bands and DJs, while the more subdued upper deck makes a mesmerising cocktail-supping spot with its sumptuous view of Nam Van Lake. It’s one of the city’s best-loved night haunts for good reason, with pan-Asian fine dining, a party atmosphere and the best location in the city for a firework display as pyrotechnics light up the Macau Tower opposite.

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