The sweeping vistas of downtown Fort Lauderdale, the sophistication of comfortable seating and tabletop firepits, and bar craftsmen who take such pride in sharing their knowledge of drinks and beers that to call them bartenders is a putdown. That is the foundation of Rooftop, the lounge at the top of the Kopelowitz Ostrow Legal Firm Building, and the newest Hotspot! In the city.
The crowd at Rooftop is casual chic in an in-the-know kind of way. This is not the place for posers, but rather for those who have something to say: be it about politics, entertainment, sexual orientation, fashion, finance, real estate or romance. The attractive guests here are smart or smart listeners. And it is easy to understand why.
From the ambience to the tidbits, the source of the magic at Rooftop comes from the bar where craft cocktails are prepared in a colorful blend of entertainment and flourish. An Old Fashioned cocktail, for instance, gives you a choice of liquor on which to base your drink—as well as the price. Choose 21-year-old Suntory Hibiki Whiskey, which has been long-considered the best blended whiskey in the world and can cost over $500 a bottle, and expect to pay $35 for your cocktail. Less expensive, but no less delicious, are Afrohead 7-year-old Rum ($15), Casamigos Silver Rum ($13), Bulleit Bourbon ($13), and Old Forester Bourbon ($11).
Add sweet syrup in Strawberry, Cassia or Simple flavors, and bitters styled as aromatic, orange or chocolate mole, and ask to have the entire drink served smoked or unsmoked. Now that’s an Old Fashioned.
There is an assortment of hand-crafted mixed drinks as well, with a house favorite being the Ginger Apple Mule ($12) which features New Amsterdam Vodka, Apple, Cassia and Ginger Beer. Have it smoked and your bar craftsman will light a stick of cinnamon. Elegance in a glass.
Another instant fav is the Rooftop Spritz ($12) containing Farmer’s Organic Gin, Strawberry Liqueur and Prosecco. So good.
The lounge also has a sterling selection of unlikely beers including Cigar City Jai Alai ($6), which is actually a Florida ale with notes of grapefruit, apricots and lemon zest. Blake, our handsome bar craftsmen, will give you a complete history if coaxed. And in case all of this scares you, yes, they serve Bud Light ($5).
The entire concept for this alfresco garden oasis in the sky comes from the folks at The Restaurant People (TRP to you), who also own and run such hits as YOLO, Boatyard, and S3—so you know they will also serve great food. In this case, they call them Tidbits, since the servings are tapas-size delectables which, though not cheap, are worth every penny as created by Executive Chef Chris Miracolo.
We selected Cured Salmon ($13) wrapped around horseradish crème fraiche, pickled mustard seed and chives, served atop potato latkes. Three to a serving. And Bangers and Mash ($10), featuring baby pork sausages poised on top of a dollop of mashed potatoes coleannon and glazed with an onion gravy. These were plated on four tiny white ladles. So cute.
Somehow we were able to resist the Stuffed French Toast Waffle ($15), a brioche jammed with bananas and Nutella. But we could not pass up the Lobster Crab Fritters ($12), sitting in a puddle of scrumptious pickled habanero tartar. Two to a serving, and we are not too proud to admit we licked the plate.
So too with the Smoked Tuna Dip ($11), made with blackeye tuna, red onion, celery, jalapenos, and aioli. British digestive biscuits and water crackers kept it all neat and tidy as we scarfed our way tasting every bite. It was a fight to the finish. Our server Brandy had enough info on each dish to have passed her menu test twice.
Rooftop is open Tuesday through Saturday, 4 pm to 2 am; and on Sundays there is brunch and a Rosé Club from Noon to 10 pm. It can be a bit nippy even in Florida in winter, so wear your best tight sweatshirt or casually wrapped scarf and go see how the in-crowd does it on Las Olas these days. Ask for general manager Tony Boukhari or manager Kyle Belanger, and tell them HotSpots! sent you. They’ll treat you right.