The view of Portland from Top of the East, the lounge on the 15th floor of the Westin hotel. Photos courtesy of Top of the East

Nearly every city around the globe offers some form of this sky-high lounge, where the sweeping views take the spotlight. Top of the East, the sleek yet comfy enclosed rooftop spot with panoramic vistas of Portland’s skyline, awe-inspiring sunsets over the Fore River, and glittering Casco Bay and its islands.

Top of the East originally opened in 1963 on the 15th floor of the Eastland Park Hotel, once the biggest hotel in all of New England and where Charles Lindbergh stayed upon returning from his solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. In December 2013, after the hotel switched hands, it was unveiled as the made-over crown of the Westin Portland Harborview, complete with modern furnishings and plush appointments, a kitchen churning out small plates, and a bar mixing up hand-crafted cocktails.

Roosevelt’s Revenge is the bar’s version of a Harvey Wallbanger.

Many of those cocktails nod to the history of the space. Roosevelt’s Revenge – the bar’s take on a Harvey Wallbanger, made with local Ice Pik vodka, Galliano and orange – is a reference to the time former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was denied a room at the original Eastland Hotel because she was traveling with her beloved Scottish terrier, Fala, in tow.

Food-wise, the menu is abbreviated (most orders are tapas-sized), but heavy on regional specialties. The New England Cheese and Charcuterie board arrives with honeycomb, fig jam and grilled breads. Don’t miss the house-smoked salmon mousse, airy and intensely flavored under fried capers, preserved lemon and chive with gaufrettes.

Top of the East is an ideal spot for an early-evening aperitif and snack – preferably during sunset, enjoyed through the floor-to-ceiling windows – before moving on elsewhere for dinner or to swing by later in the night for an after-dinner dessert, when you can dig into delectables such as the blueberry chiffon cake with creme anglaise and candied lemon.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and reservations are not accepted.

Alexandra Hall is a longtime New England lifestyle writer who recently moved to Maine.


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