Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours offers participants sweeping views of the city and the surrounding area with added benefits.
The three-hour tours include a complimentary cocktail (or mocktail) plus a glimpse of Asheville’s intriguing history provided by a tour guide.
“People really like coming on our tours because we give them the lay of the land,” said Kaye Bentley, founder of Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours.
A van provides transportation for the tours on which groups spend time at three bars, giving them plenty of time to eat, drink, socialize and take in the views, she said.
Most of the tours take place in the early evening when the light is soft and the sun is going down for the day. Each tour has a theme designed for the bars that groups visit.
The Rooftop Sunset Tour is especially designed for viewing sunsets at prime locales in the city. Participants can see colorful hues emerging in the sky as the sun makes its way below the surrounding mountains on the horizon.
On the Sky’s the Limit Tour, group members can take in Asheville’s iconic art deco style buildings dating from the 1920s.
And the Bird-s Eye View Tour provides a glimpse of historic areas of the city where electric street cars once carried passengers.
The history of the city included in the tours reflects the appreciation for Asheville and its past, which Bentley developed after moving to the area—as well as her extensive research on the subject.
Vintage photos are included in these presentations by tour guides.
“We show historical photos from the 1800s and 1900s (of what) used to be there, and give an overall history,” Bentley said. “We really try to represent Asheville.”
The tours are arranged in groups of 10 people or less with appropriate precautions taken in this time of the COVID-19 concerns. Staff are routinely screened before they participate on tours.
“We keep current on everybody,” Bentley said.
Bentley also offers tours for smaller groups of four to six people, as well as private ones at an additional cost. Regular tours are $79 per participant and can be book online at https://www.ashevillerooftopbartours.com/.
The rooftop bar tours are offered rain or shine throughout the year.
If the weather is chilly or rainy, the bars provide outdoor warmth such as fireplaces. And participants have the option of going inside and enjoying views from windows.
“We have never canceled a tour,” Bentley said.
After retiring from a 38-year career with the United States Postal Service in McDowell County, Bentley moved to the Asheville area in 2018 and began exploring the city.
“I loved the views from up high when going to rooftop bars,” she remarked.
Bentley’s enterprise has received recognition from the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, which named her 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year. She also earned the Creativity in Business award from the Western Women’s Business Center in 2019.
Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours also received a 2020 traveler’s choice award from TripAdvisor, Bentley noted.
While successful from the onset, the COVID-19 pandemic that emerged this past March created a drastic change for her business, she said.
“We had to close down and staff were unemployed until mid-June,” Bentley said.
“You kind of go into panic mode, and then into survival mode,” she said of the effects of the pandemic.
Since reopening, business has picked up, Bentley said.
“Asheville has really come together,” she added. “We’re noticing a lot more people in the region.”
For more information, visit the website https://www.ashevillerooftopbartours.com/ or call 828-774-7785.