A late summer or early autumn sunset with a cocktail is a treat — the special show produced by Mother Nature often deserves applause (and sometimes gets it), particularly in the fall when the skies tend to be richer with reds and oranges. It’s a priceless addition to any dining experience. These five restaurants for sunsets are ideal spots for the magic hour when the daylight begins to dip into the sea or duck behind the mountains. Bravo!
Different Pointe of View, Phoenix Arizona
The mountaintop restaurant sits pretty 1,800 feet above the city and is known as the spot to watch the sun sink. With unobstructed views of the city and the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, sunset chasers come here to sip one of the signature sunset sippers — cocktails that are inspired by the shades and colors of the rich Arizona sunset, such as the Crimson Sun (Bacardi Rum, orgeat syrup, fresh raspberries, lime, and Angostura bitters). There’s a summer prix-fixe menu, too. Make a reservation at Different Pointe of View.
Sierra Mar-Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Cap the day with Big Sur-inspired cocktails that are shaken and stirred atop the cliffs at 1,200 feet overlooking the Pacific Ocean—with mouth-gaping sunsets that can be witnessed through floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Or, order a glass or a bottle of wine from one of 14,000 bottles—the restaurant has one of the largest wine selections in North America. And the prix-fixe menu is a traditional four-course offering that changes daily. Make a reservation at Sierra Mar-Post Ranch Inn.
Ocean Terrace Restaurant at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Course, Brewster, Massachusetts
Sip a classic Cape Codder (or Cape Coddah) cocktail at this elegant but unpretentious restaurant housed in a stunning mansion on Cape Cod. Pair your sunset drink with the shellfish platter (oysters, clams, shrimp, lobster tail, house cocktail sauce) or the Chatham mussels (chorizo, tomatoes, scallions, butter wine broth, and grilled crostini). Toast to the beginning of fall and the salty sea. Make a reservation at Ocean Terrace Restaurant at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Course.
Rusty Pelican, Key Biscayne, Florida
Witness the setting sun over Key Biscayne with the Miami skyline as the backdrop at this waterfront spot. The cocktail menu stars five different takes on the classic gin and tonic (thyme, apricot, lemon and basil, passionfruit, and tarragon). Or keep the sunset thing going with the Agave Sunset (Creyente mezcal, passion fruit puree, blue agave, fresh raspberries, and housemade sour mix.) Order the charcuterie and cheese plate (rosemary citrus-marinated olives and homemade lavash, cured meats, artisanal cheeses, and fig jam) for the perfect evening nosh. Make a reservation at Rusty Pelican.
Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge, Tahoe City, California
Come by boat, car, or foot to camp out on the expansive deck that overlooks Lake Tahoe’s west shore, and you’ll get incredible mountain sunsets and the magical alpenglow. Order the SS Refresh, the signature mojito made with Square One cucumber vodka or go for a Tahoe Mule (Tito’s, fresh lime, Bundaberg ginger beer). For a bite, the house specialty (since 1965) is fried zucchini. Diners here also yodel for the BBQ pork ribs, too (brown sugar and cumin-rubbed with chipotle barbecue sauce). Make a reservation at Sunnyside Restaurant & Lodge.
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Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.
Photo credits: Kodiak Greenwood (Sierra Mar).