Salt Lake’s Newest Rooftop Bar is Van Ryder 

Salt Lake has been steadily growing into a formidable metropolis, but I always felt there was still one thing missing—a solid rooftop bar. I’m not talking about a two-story patio or a sports bar with a smoking deck, I mean a real rooftop lounge. A polished bartop and luxurious seating, with elevated cocktails and small bites, that’s what I’ve been searching for. My prayers were answered a few months ago when Van Ryder opened in February. And as spritzer season approaches, it couldn’t have arrived at a better time. 

Van Ryder is a rooftop lounge sitting atop the new Westside hotel Le Meridien. With views of the Vivint Center (soon to be the Delta Center again, but did anyone ever stop calling it that anyway?) and the Wasatch Range, it’s a city slicker’s haven. The bar is reservation only, although they do accommodate walk-ins when able. To make it easier on everyone, I suggest making a reservation before popping in. Upon entering the space, the vibes are immaculate. Modern sofas line the room where floor-to-ceiling windows take full advantage of the skyline. The far side of the room opens up completely to seamlessly blend the indoor space with the patio. The overall aesthetic speaks to Utah’s Western roots, and specifically the renowned cowboy Jack Van Ryder. “The bar pays homage to Van Ryder’s legacy by incorporating elements of his Western aesthetic into its decor,” says Elyse Evans, Director of Libations and Service. 

Photo courtesy of Van Ryder

The menu at Van Ryder is equally appealing, featuring shareable bites and signature cocktails that showcase Utah spirits. “We honor the Old West with smooth and bold flavors keeping our menu effortless and letting the spirits in our cocktails tell the story,” Evans explains. With cocktails like The Butch Cassidy, which combines mezcal, Ancho Reyes, mole bitters, Luxardo and lime, it’s clear that Van Ryder is embracing Salt Lake’s advancing bar culture. My personal favorite libation is the Drifter, a modern take on the Old Fashioned featuring cedar-smoked demerara sugar and two whiskeys from High West. You can’t go wrong with any of Van Ryder’s cocktails, or sip on one of the bar’s many NA (non-alcoholic) options while taking in the view. 

While you might hesitate to share your cocktail with friends, the food menu at Van Ryder implores guests to split and enjoy a smattering of dishes. Small bites include everything from short rib sliders to edamame hummus, while the meat of the menu ventures into social fare. The oysters were a star of my visit, which are tempura fried and topped with caviar, deviled eggs and malt vinegar aioli. Other favorites included the ricotta dumplings, tater tot poutine and crispy Brussels sprouts. Be sure to save room for the flatbread, which is sizable and sliced into shareable pieces. Throughout the menu, guests can spot high-quality ingredients sourced sustainably from local purveyors, something Evans says the chefs pride themselves on. 

Photo courtesy of Van Ryder

Like their namesake roughrider, the folks at Van Ryder have a curious spirit and want to create a unique experience for their guests. On the weekends, the bar hosts live DJs that range from 90’s throwback to Motown nights. Launched just this week, Van Ryder is also hosting Sushi Night Thursdays with a special menu featuring raw items like Salmon Carpaccio, tuna tartare and select sushi rolls. The cocktail menu will also shift toward a Japanese influence with unique sake options and whisky pours. Other events patrons can enjoy throughout the summer include trivia night, movie nights and industry nights. And if you want the space all to yourself, Van Ryder is also available for private rental accommodating anything from corporate gathering to private parties.  

There’s just something about sipping a cocktail on a rooftop that feels right, and it’s about time Salt Lake has an upscale spot to do so. Evans confirms the sentiment, “There’s something special about enjoying a drink or meal with friends while taking in a panoramic of the city.” she says. “It offers a sense of escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, allowing patrons to relax and unwind in a one-of-a-kind setting.” 

Le Meridien Hotel. Photo courtesy of Van Ryder

If You Go

Van Ryder
Inside Le Meridien Salt Lake City Downtown 
131 S. 300 West, SLC 

Le Meridien also hosts a French Canadian restaurant on the ground level, Adelaide. You can find our full review here!

See more stories like this and all of our food and drink coverage. And while you’re here, why not subscribe and get six annual issues of Salt Lake magazine’s curated guide to the best of life in Utah. 

Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans
Avrey Evans is the Digital and the Nightlife Editor of Salt Lake Magazine. She has been writing for city publications for six years and enjoys covering the faces and places of our salty city, especially when a boozy libation is concerned.

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