Frolik downtown

This place is so weird, it's hard to know where to begin. It's on a strange, huge deck area jutting off the back of the Motif hotel (formerly the Red Lion). It's on the fifth floor, embedded among the midsections of downtown buildings that suddenly look entirely unfamiliar. The sense of dislocation is augmented by the decor, which is like a Palm Springs/Las Vegas fever-dream: chairs with translucent purple backs, fire strips lined with crystals, all-white patio heaters shaped like gigantic table lamps, shuffleboard. "Frolik is a way of life, a playful energy and vitality that transcends into each moment of the day," the menu deadpans. The drinks are cold; don't eat here. You've never seen any of these people before, and you'll never see any of them again, and it feels like a vacation, the kind you're especially glad to get home from. BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT

Mezcaleria Oaxaca on Capitol Hill

The rooftop deck of the new Mezcaleria Oaxaca has a studiously salvaged look. Some of its features are actually salvaged (cobbled-together scraps of wood for the bar, old metal highway guards for the fence and rooftop that were repurposed from a road in Texas), and some of them are flourishes (exposed wood has been charred for aesthetic effect, some of the final nails have been driven through beer bottle caps, some of the old-looking signs are newly made by painter Sean Barton). But it fits together harmoniously and might achieve an even more pleasant hum after a few glasses of mezcal, the smoky agave liquor that's getting increasing traction these days and is the place's specialty. "We've already converted a lot of tequila drinkers," says business partner Jon Alberts. He used to be a Scotch drinker, but indicated that he's found all the character of Scotches—and maybe even more—in mezcal. The rooftop, with its views of downtown Seattle and its perpetual cranes, will soon have what Alberts calls an "Airstream-like" trailer that will serve tacos, truck-style. For now, kitchen snacks and mezcal will have to do. BRENDAN KILEY

Hard Rock Cafe downtown

Turns out you don't need a closet full of Ed Hardy and a Red Hot Chili Peppers tat to get onto the roof of the Hard Rock Cafe. A friend caught me off guard by recommending it (thanks, Pony Keg!) but made these points after I sour-faced it: "You won't fit in, so no one will bother you, and there are couches, fire pits, and a bar." Sold. You really can just walk right in, march up two stories of hard-rocking memorabilia, and [insert the first 25 seconds of Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train" here]... ROOF DECK! The staff are friendly angels, and there's a postcard view of Pike Place and the water. The beer is normal-priced, but you can also order something called a Purple Haze that's similar to a raspberry Long Island iced tea mixed with the soul of Jimi Hendrix. And watching the sun set to Led Zeppelin while sitting next to a fancy gas fire pit on a contemporary-upscale-quality outdoor couch will make you feel special and important (if not necessarily "hard" or "rock"). EMILY NOKES

Kelly O

Hard Rock Cafe No Red Hot Chili Peppers tat required.

Terra Plata on Capitol Hill

The radiant heaters on Terra Plata's rooftop are made by the Detroit-based Re-Verber-Ray company, and you can feel their Motor City power. On a recent slightly chilly late afternoon, they zapped to life and within minutes transformed the upstairs microclimate to pleasantly scorching late August—all the better to savor Terra Plata's summer Vino Mas Fino cocktail (gin, averna, lemon, sage, and a splash of albariño). The deck itself is like a triangular garden in the sky, lined on two sides with containers of dahlias, tomatoes, squash, purple basil, pyramid trellises for beans, peppers, carrots (or was that young parsley?), and other refreshments for your eyes and mouth. Enjoying a cocktail with a few feet of elevation is also a refreshment of perspective, putting you at eye level with birds—including, on that afternoon, the neon heron on top of the Taylor Shellfish sign and a crow lazily gliding by. The sky seems closer up there. BRENDAN KILEY

95 Slide on Capitol Hill

If the walls could talk, they'd beg for a remodeling job. This flimsy-looking one-story carton of a bar at Harvard and Pike doesn't look like much, but it's been a drinker's bastion since the 1930s. Changing clientele and exteriors every decade or so, this place has been the Harvard Tavern, Forun Tavern, seminal gay discotheques Brass Door and Brass Connection, Paddywacks strip club, hiphop clubs Beat Box and Ghetto Technologies, Star Trek–like gay lounge Blu, the War Room, and Hunter Gatherer Lodge, and it's now something called 95 Slide—which, weirdly, is a sports bar. But walk right past those would-be-loquacious walls and climb the narrow staircase to the rooftop deck that's hidden from the street, has a full bar, and feels like a crow's nest. It's not too big, not too small; not fancy, not divey; it has the city skyline to the west, the buzz of Capitol Hill below. There are heat lamps for cooler evenings and typical American foodstuffs for face-stuffing. DOMINIC HOLDEN recommended