Essential guide to rooftop bars in NYC
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Summer is coming to an end, so it’s your last chance to take advantage of the warm weather. One of our favorite ways to do so in New York is to soak up the sun on a rooftop while enjoying an ice cold beer or cocktail. Just follow this essential guide to navigating the best rooftop bars in the city that never sleeps.
Glide on up to the 22nd floor of The William Vale hotel in Williamsburg to find the best 360 skyline view of Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn and one of the most upscale rooftop bars in New York. You can be seated on a plush couch indoors, on the outdoor deck, or on a fun bean bag in the grassy area (called the Turf Club). We recommend making reservations ahead of time. Not only are the cocktails refreshing and flashy — like the Giddy Up made with gin, yellow chartreuse, ginger, and celery — but the bar snacks are also out of this world. Chef Andrew Carmellini’s charred eggplant dumplings, duck carnitas tacos, and tequila-cured salmon will top off your rooftop experience.
If you’re looking for a more intimate space, try Mr. Purple in the Lower East Side. Located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo, Mr. Purple boasts an outdoor pool deck with a sparkling view of lower Manhattan including the Empire State Building and One World Trade Center. Make sure to get there early to get in without standing in line. Sip on $16 cocktails while reveling in the bar’s chic ambiance and trending bangers. There’s no dance floor, but you’ll wish there was, especially after trying the Mr. Purple (a drink with Casamigos tequila, cranberry liqueur, allspice dram, apple, and lemon).
At Gallow Green, you can be in tune with mother nature and cozy up while enjoying specialty cocktails and good company. Though the view from the top of the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea is not as spectacular, you’ll feel almost a part of its lauded Sleep No More production, surrounded by lush greenery, romantic fairy lighting, and musical entertainment. Try not to get lost in the rustic walkways with all its nooks and crannies. Take a seat and waitstaff dressed in white will take your order; maybe a classic frose or a Sleep No More made of vodka, elderflower, and rose cider.
Where Spring is advancing- won’t you come inside? The garden is wide open. ???????????? – Join us for brunch on weekends, or nightly for dinner and cocktails. #gallowgreen #rooftop #garden ????: @magsduvalmusic . . . . . #themckittrick #sleepnomore #theheath #manderleybar #highline #chelseanyc #nyc #cocktails #brunchnyc
As a classy day activity, visit the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum in the Upper East Side. You can indulge in a nice glass of wine or a blackberry Mortal Kombat cocktail and admire the seasonal installations — such as Jeff Koons toy dog sculptures — or the sweeping view of Central Park, all at the same time. The bar is only open during museum hours, so be sure to plan ahead.
For a more casual and all-welcoming environment, head to Pod 39 Rooftop Bar in Murray Hill. The 17th-floor, two-story open rooftop above the Pod Hotel is the perfect place for an after-work gathering or an evening date, with its beautiful brick details and colorful, Latin America-inspired décor. Not to mention, it has one of the best panoramic views of the city all the from the East River to the Freedom Tower, Empire State Building, and Chrysler Building. Try Sam Anderson’s tequila-inspired concoctions such as the Salvation Margarita or the Chilean sangria, and order some light bites by April Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco.
Rooftop Reds, New York City’s one and only commercial urban vineyard and winery, sits on the 4th-floor of Brooklyn Navy Yards where you can learn about the winemaking process or just relax in a hammock. The recreational bar also has movie screenings and cornhole, so you’ll never run out of things to do. They have a BYO food policy, allowing you to even pack a picnic to go with your wine and cheese pairings. Even more, bask in the sun without having to worry about crowds; it’s reservation-only and easily booked online!
The Insta-famous Prosecco & Ice Pop cocktail can be found at Loopy Doopy, the rooftop bar on the 16th floor of the Conrad New York Hotel in TriBeCa. Blow off the summer heat with their creative cocktails and enjoy views of not one, but two skylines (New York and New Jersey) in addition to stunning outlooks toward the Hudson River, Statue of Liberty, and New York Harbor. Dress in your best smart casual outfit and hang out by the modern terrace; don’t miss the sunset.
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All this sun (and all those drinks) can tire you out. You can always catch a break and escape the humidity when you’re a member at one of Common coliving homes in New York, close to these rooftop bars and more. Book a tour today.
When you’re in the mood for absolutely jaw-dropping views of New York City – and you don’t mind spending some money for the privilege – it might be time to pay a visit to Bar SixtyFive at Rainbow Room. The Rainbow Room is a luxurious indoor restaurant with massive windows on the 65th floor of the famous 30 Rock – aka 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan. But you’ll want to pass right through the restaurant to the outdoor, rooftop terrace, called Bar SixtyFive.
Are there finely-crafted cocktails? Yes. Is there a tasty menu with small plates like olives, hummus, and crostini? You bet. Is that why people come here? Of course not. You come to Bar SixtyFive because it’s a truly astonishing view of the wild, sprawling metropolis we call home. How many meals will you eat in your life with the Manhattan Skyline, Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey laid out before you? It’s a perfect treat for when your family comes to visit or you need to show some tourist friends the real splendor of home. As Conde Nast says, “Everyone should go at least once.”
Sometimes you’re in the mood for a rooftop with sweeping views that show off the grandeur of NYC. But sometimes, you’re more in the mood for one of the city’s hidden rooftop gems. If today is that kind of day, we recommend the Refinery Rooftop.
Close to Midtown Manhattan (technically the Garment District), not too far from Times Square, the Refinery Hotel sits clustered amongst a spread of high-rises and commercial buildings. And though the Hotel’s rooftop bar is frequently packed (seriously – it gets very crowded), it’s easy to feel like you’ve discovered your own secret little spot with top-notch DJs and amazing views of the Empire State Building.
The Refinery has an industrial-chic vibe you won’t soon forget. And thanks to the retractable glass roof over the rooftop terrace, you can drink, mingle, and party under the sky seven days a week, year-round – whether it’s a frigid January night or a steamy afternoon in July. Don’t forget to grab a quick bite. The menu has plenty of options, including vegan and vegetarian fare.
If you’re looking for Miami vibes in the heart of NYC, you have two options: A) Buy a $200 plane ticket and hope you still have a job when you return, or B) hit or Broken Shaker.
Perched atop the Freehand Hotel on Lexington ave and 23rd street, Broken Shaker was appointed NYC’s best rooftop bar last year by Eater – and for good reason. The music is bumping (but not too loud), the crowd is hip (but not snobby), and the decor / design is downright tropical.
The one caveat here is that lines at Broken Shaker can get very, very long. Even so, it’s worth the wait. Just go with a few friends and plan to spend some time. It’ll all be worth it when you kick back in the sunshine with a mezcal cocktail and some yucca fries with guava ketchup. And don’t sweat the weather – if the outdoor space gets too hot, you can always retreat to the air conditioned indoor lounge.
For sheer range of swanky, modern environments, it’s hard to beat the St. Cloud Rooftop Bar atop the five-star Knickerbocker Hotel. Here, you can find indoor and outdoor seating, as well as 3 opulent “pods” – i.e. private areas that you can rent out nightly. But even if you’re not ready to spring for the $1000 per night charge that would entail, this Times Square hotel rooftop bar still lets you revel in luxury.
Craving a little green space? One section of the St. Cloud Rooftop bar is enclosed by living walls of foliage. Or you can pop over to the exclusive Waterford Crystal Lounge – a wine and cocktail lounge with classy drinks that hover in the $30 range – pricey, but that’s Times Square for you. And if you’re a cigar aficionado, drop by the open-air Macanudo Cigar Lounge. Naturally you can get small plates and light food and drink options here as well – but frankly, it’s the atmosphere, rather than the eats, that keeps most people coming back.
Finally, if you’re ready to duck out of the frenetic bustle of Manhattan, consider dropping in on Our Wicked Lady – a hip new rooftop bar in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Our Wicked Lady is as much a venue and event space as it is a cocktail and wine destination, with live music, DJs, comedy shows, dance parties, movie screenings, karaoke, and more. The bartenders are knowledgeable and the service is friendly and accommodating.
When you’re seeking an easygoing vibe, a welcoming crowd, and a perfect rooftop for basking in the sunshine, this spot is hard to beat. Note that Our Wicked Lady is currently cash-only.
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