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Take In The Sunset Mountain Views With a Guided Experience From Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours


Thanks to Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours for sponsoring our tour adventures with your company! All thoughts are my own. 

Whether you visit a new city for the first time or the millionth time, there is always something exciting new to be learned and to see! While I've been to the city of Asheville several times, its usually for a specific purpose that is related to an event held at one of our Lutheran Camps nearby. We might venture into the downtown area for a meal or to visit a brewery, but often we stick to the Asheville South/ Arden sides of the city.

When my sister and I decided to make Asheville our road trip destination this summer, I immediately started to check out various tour options and ways for us to see downtown Asheville. I've never done a tour of downtown, so was curious what was out there. When I came across Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours, I was immediately intrigued! Here is a company that specializes in tours, includes a bit of history (if desired), and takes us to the different locations so that we don't have to walk or travel (and get lost) ourselves! 

View from Capella on 9

Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours should be on your list of things to do when you visit the downtown part of the city on your next road trip. While this specialty tour is meant for 21+, it is a great opportunity for you and your bestie to experience and try something new! Whether it's family traveling together (like my sister & I), a new couple celebrating a special occasion, or even a local couple doing something different and unique in their home city, you won't be disappointed!

Kaye Bentley founded Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours in 2018. Living and working nearby the city, she found herself in Asheville a lot! She loved visiting the unique rooftop bars, restaurants, and loved learning about the archecticture and its role in Asheville's history. She decided that she wanted to share these experiences with others visiting this great city. I am certainly glad she did because I had a fabulous time and learned a lot! In fact, I was lucky enough to have her as our tour guide as other guides were out that specific day! 

Kaye told me that her favorite thing about giving tours is being able to share her city with other people and watch as they take in the amazing views from each bar's rooftop. She loves watching her participants light up when they see, when they hear, when they learn! I love this about her because it means she is passionate about her company and tries to offer a unique perspective that is catered to the group of tour participants she has. She also loves learning about her participants- what interests them, where they are from, etc so that she can help them have the best experience possible in Asheville! 

Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours is very easy to get a hold of and ask questions through their website and social media sites. They graciously allowed and sponsored both my sister and I so that we could attend the evening sunset tour. Tours can hold up to 20 adults, so never fear if your family or group is a large one! 

View from Capella on 9

This particular tour, the Sunset Tour, was held on a Monday evening. The tours are 7 days a week and several are often held on weekends. They are rain or shine and can adjust according to inclement weather. They even run during the winter as space heaters are often abundant on rooftop bars these days! 

There are two other types of tours as well: the Sky's the Limit Tour (afternoon hours) and private tour for special groups. The tour guide even is willing to take photos of you and your loved ones. 

Pillar Rooftop Bar 

After booking your tour on their website, you will receive a confirmation email with a liability release form to fill out.  The evening before our tour, I received an email with information regarding where to meet, what time to meet, etc. The day of, I received a text from the tour guide with the information again and this allowed me the opportunity to ask questions about parking. Be sure to allow yourself extra time to park in downtown Asheville so that you can reach your destination on time! 

We were told which hotel lobby to meet in and what time. Our tour guide showed up with our bus, and it's driver right on time! She greeted us, told us which bars we would be visiting, and had us hop on the bus to head out to our first location! Be sure to be on time as the tour is on a strict time schedule, so timing is key! 

Capella on 9- Drink #1

Our tour consisted of three Asheville rooftop bars: 

  • Capella on 9 at Hotel Capella
  • Pillar Rooftop Bar at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Asheville
  • Hemingway's Cuba Rooftop Bar & Restaurant at the Cambria Hotel
Each location had a special drink just for us, made with a selection of their seasonal ingredients. If you are not a big drinker or perhaps have a health concern, then Mocktails are available upon request as well. I ended up with one cocktail and two mocktails, as I was started to feel the affects of alcohol due to a prior brewery tour earlier in the day. The mocktails did not disappoint though! 

Pillar Rooftop Bar- Drink #2 

The way that Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours works is that the tourist does not know the location of the bars ahead of time. The Rooftop Bars often change based on availability, operation hours, and the needs of the group. 

Each tour is 3 hours long, but it does NOT feel like 3 hours at all. I'd say with transportation to each hotel, logistics of getting up to the hotel rooftop bar via elevator and seating, its probably around 40- 45 minutes at each venue.

Each venue also offers a selection of food choices as well, in case one needs a snack or a meal to complete their beverage. 

Hemingway's Cuba- Drink #3

During the tour, the tour guide will fill the time with what the group desires to hear. Our group had a local retired history teacher, so it was neat to hear the tour guide and the teacher bounce off of each other in regard to Asheville history & lore. We were also able to ask questions about what we know, what we have heard, and if we just wanted more information. 

Our tour guide focused on Asheville's downtown creation and history. She pointed out several key buildings that were created and built due to the influence and wealth of certain politicians and businessman in the community. Not only did this include history from the early 1900's, but also included some history up through the 80's, as we learned about the rise and fall of Asheville's business boom and economic situation. 

For some, this tour can be considered pricy at $89 per person, but I would say that for its inclusions, it's well worth it. You are able to visit several locations at one time, without having to deal with figuring out your own transportation and logistics. You do not have to worry about booking reservations, waiting for a cleared table, or even determining what to order.  You can have a tour tailored to your needs too: special occasions, birthday parties, family celebrations, and even bachelorette parties! If there are some members in your party who want the history, but the others don't, then that is perfectly okay too! 

For the sunset tour, we visited three locations with a drink at each, we had a bus with driver transport us to each location seamlessly, and we had a tour guide to equip us with the knowledge we desired. The tour guide also has the relationship with each bartender/ bar manager, so we had reservations and were seated right away too! 

I would not say that this is a drinking tour, even though drinks are offered and there is the opportunity to purchase further if you desire. It is a unique way to see the city, learn about the city, and find some amazing views if you happen to go up on a clear day like we did. 

View from Pillar Rooftop Bar

I honestly can't tell you WHAT my drinks were (except the last one- it was a Mojito Mocktail), but each one was amazing. Each rooftop bar viewpoint was great. Pillar probably had the least accessibility in terms of seeing mountains and views due to its location downtown and other customers on the bar, but we still got some great pictures. 

The pièce de résistance was absolutely Hemingway's Cuba Restaurant & Rooftop Bar. Apparently this is a coveted bar and restaurant in downtown Asheville. If you go on your own, you definitely need reservations because it was packed! I can see why! The views are amazing, they offer a great Cuban menu selection, and of course, have outstanding drinks.  Blue Ridge Mtn views line almost the entire rooftop area, so no matter where you are sitting, you are enjoying a great view. This was our last stop, so we decided to get food (as this point it was pushing 7 pm and my belly was saying I was hungry) to go along with our drinks. 

Inside Hemingway's Cuba Restaurant- modeled after Havana Cuba

I ordered something called a Frita Cubana which is a burger patty made with pork, chorizo and beef. It was definitely excellent! Food is not included as part of the Asheville Rooftop Bar Tour experience, so be sure to budget extra if you do want to eat while you are out. The majority of our group got various meal selections at Hemingway's, as that was our last location. 

That evening, sunset was 8:24 PM (posted everywhere near the hotel so that all patrons could know) and we were able to stay up for the sunset views! The pinks, the purples, and the reds were beautiful, and I'm not sure any camera could capture those vibrant colors! 

View from Hemingway's Cuba

I'd say being able to experience sunset on a rooftop bar without having to do ANY of the planning (well, other than to order tickets and determine where to park- but I even asked and was told the best location for that) is worth the cost of the tour alone! Add the unique perspective of the tour guide, the connections that they have developed with the bar tenders and managers of each rooftop, and the fact that you don't have to drive yourself anywhere definitely makes this experience worth it! 

Oh yea- and the history. We learned how Asheville developed from it's sleepy little town as more and more moved to the area for health reasons. We learned how the railroad made industry a booming success. We even learned how the town got it's name! Plus, several of the buildings that exist today were created with specific purposes in mind from business owners at the time. I wouldn't say at archteciture and art deco fascinates me to the core of wanting to know EVERYTHING, but I don't mind learning snippets about buildings and people here and there. 

I'm more into art history and culture- how people lived, how economics impacted their living, etc. This tour gave a good overview but wasn't too much. We were still able to have great conversation with each other without having details thrown to us at every minute! 

If you are planning to visit downtown Asheville, make Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours part of your vacation or road trip experiences! Unfortunately, the kiddos can't attend this tour, but I promise you, you won't be disappointed! Each tour is different, so you probably won't get the same restaurants if you do the tour multiple times, especially since some new rooftop bars are opening soon that the tour company hopes to add into their line-up! 

Hemingway's Cuba view as sunset nears 

Definitely take a chance and spend time touring with Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours on your next Asheville Road Trip adventure! 

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