Food & Drink

The Best Rooftop Date Spots in NYC

Jess Novak Published On 05/25/2015 Published On 05/25/2015
Courtesy of Top of the Strand

When it comes to dating in NYC, we've got you pretty well covered, from the best date spots near every Manhattan subway spot to a master list of just generally great NYC date ideas. Well, now we're gonna get you all the way covered thanks to this: a list of the best rooftop date spots in New York City -- sure to make even the most awkward Tinder date tolerable. 

Courtesy of Gallow Green/Paul Wagtouicz

Gallow Green

Chelsea
While the view is unremarkable, the rooftop garden atmosphere gives off a kind of dark, mysterious, woodland vibe, and offers some of the best and most inventive cocktails in the entire city (get the smokey Blind Love and the perversely delicious Trampled Rose). Also, if you’re into the food-as-obvious-sex-metaphor thing (or just delicious snacks) try the house-made fruit popsicles -- the flavors change daily.
 

Top of the Strand

Midtown
This place is famous for a reason. The view is perfect (and just keeps going), plus the atmosphere is relatively low-key (read: date-friendly) for a rooftop bar in Midtown. Try the Needles & Pins, a cucumber dry shake concoction that’s the perfect antidote to the summer haze.

Courtesy of Z Roof

Z Roof

Long Island City
Queens is quite possibly the most under-appreciated borough in New York City, which makes this quite possibly the most under-appreciated rooftop date spot. This might shock you, but if you want a gorgeous view of Manhattan, the best ones aren’t going to actually be in... Manhattan. Of course, you can hit up the bar on the rooftop (or try the awesome brunch deal), but if you want to earn triple date points, call ahead for the picnic package, and you’ll be offered a little seasonal snack basket, board games, and a bottle of Prosecco.
 

Cloud Social

Koreatown
This one just opened up in September, so this is the roof’s inaugural summer. A little less luxe than some of the other spaces on our list, Cloud Social has a casual atmosphere that’s ideal for an early after-work date. Besides, the happy hour is awesome, especially for a rooftop space: $4 for a beer, perfect for a Tinder match who may or may not be as cute as their photo.

Courtesy of The Jane Rooftop

Rooftop at the Jane

Meatpacking District
Previously reservations-only, The Jane Rooftop has been reopened to the masses now. The space is super cool, and there's a bohemian-chic thing going on that you get to tap into. Pro date move: share a glass of rosé as you watch the sun fall over unobstructed views of the Hudson, because obviously.
 

The Ides at the Wythe Hotel

Williamsburg
The panorama you can see from this hotel-topper is pretty much unparalleled. Come early to get a seat, but stay later to witness the sun dropping behind the Manhattan skyline -- and even later for the great people watching later on. Split a half bottle of Champagne with your date and gear up for the show.

Photo courtesy of Sheila Griffin/Night of Joy

Night of Joy

Williamsburg
This small, unpretentious spot is quiet enough that you can actually talk to your companion -- an experience that can feel unique in NYC. The space is simple and relaxed, it's got a great happy hour special, and the bartenders make a bunch of their own infusions and fresh cocktails with botanical ingredients, including a blackberry tequila option that you'll have two of, please.
 

Refinery Rooftop

Midtown
Reserve a table for two in advance, gaze up at the Empire State Building, and order the “Luster” -- it tastes like all the best parts of going to the beach.

Courtesy of Yotel

Yotel Terrace

Hell’s Kitchen
This gigantic outdoor space just started offering the perfect weeknight date night. From Sunday through Wednesday, it's doing film screenings on the terrace, and playing movies that are totally worth seeing on a big screen, like Ghostbusters and Goonies. Plus: your ticket comes with sangria AND a taco. Which really begs the question: why doesn’t every ticket ever sold come with sangria and a taco? (Because they should.)

Courtesy of Jimmy at the James

Jimmy at the James

Soho
The Jimmy might just be the greatest spot in NYC for a daytime weekend date. Here you can lounge poolside, sip a spicy Sid & Nancy cocktail, and order a cheesecake lollipop tree (say those words out loud, slowly, and feel good about it). Like we said, it might just be the greatest spot in NYC for a daytime weekend date.

Courtesy of Cantina Rooftop

Cantina Rooftop

Hell’s Kitchen
This space just opened and it’s great for a low-key date. Being right by the water but without a waterfront view, the Cantina is a tease at sunset, but we’d definitely recommend this spot for brunch—the house margarita is tasty, and the food is genuinely excellent.

Courtesy of The Roof at Park South

The Roof at Park South

Murray Hill
This place is first date gold, Jerry: have a cocktail with a view of the Chrysler building, split one of the Mediterranean snacks, and decide if you want to keep going with dinner at any of the great spots downstairs.

Courtesy of Berry Park

Berry Park

Williamsburg
This is where you're gonna want to go on your next Summer Friday happy hour date (it's a thing, trust us). From 2-5pm, there're $5 drinks on the roof, and at that time, the place is yet to be packed. Chill out with the Campari-based “Ron Burgundy.” You and your date will be in a glass case of emotion. But, like, in a good way.

Courtesy of Pod 39

Pod 39

Murray Hill
This space is straight-up romantic: English ivy climbs around original brick archways, terra cotta columns, cafe lights... swing by at sunset to watch the sun sink behind the Empire State building. The drinks and snacks are from the folks behind Salvation Taco, and are predictably awesome -- if you want to seal the date deal though, order the guacamole.

Courtesy of Northern Territory

Northern Territory

Greenpoint
After verifying that your date isn’t vegan (or following breatharianism, or whatever), check out this Australian joint, where you can enjoy all of the fun parts of a rooftop grilling party (gigantic shrimp on skewers, cold beer) without the gross parts (getting soot and grease on your pants, having nowhere to wash your hands). Try the awesome Southern Collins cocktail, and be sure to order the pavlova for dessert.

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Jess Novak believes in spending time outdoors, so long as the outdoors are rooftop spaces that serve cocktails. Stalk her on Twitter @jesstothenovak and Instagram @jtothenovak.

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1. Gallow Green 542 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001 (Chelsea)

Gallow Green, the rooftop bar atop Chelsea’s McKittrick Hotel, is a perpetual garden party, at least during the warmer months when its plush flora is in full bloom. During the winter, the campy space turns into a lodge with plushy chairs and a fireplace. No matter the season, the best time to go is for weekend brunch, where a $35 ticket will get you a three-course meal, a mimosa, and unlimited La Colombe coffee.

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2. Top of the Strand 33 W 37th St, New York, NY 10018 (Murray Hill)

Located on the top of the Strand Hotel, the Top of the Strand is a stylish, garden-like rooftop bar with excellent views of the Empire State Building. It's open 365 days a year, thanks to a retractable glass rooftop, so whether the whether is good or not, you can still enjoy carefully crafted cocktails and great views.

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3. Z New York 11-01 43rd Ave, New York, NY 11101 (Queens)

One of the best rooftop destinations in the city, Z offers incredible Manhattan skyline views, fresh-baked 'za, and custom-crafted twin metal bars slinging signature cocktails.

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4. Cloud Social 6 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001 (Korea Town)

A little less luxe than some of the other rooftop spaces in the city, Cloud Social has a casual atmosphere that’s ideal for an early after-work date. Besides, the happy hour is awesome, especially for a rooftop space: $4 for a beer, perfect for a Tinder match who may or may not be as cute as their photo.

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5. The Rooftop at The Jane 113 Jane St, Fl 6, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

This rooftop bar is located at the top of The Jane hotel, and it offers great views, cold drinks, and a leisurely and fun atmosphere.

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6. The Ides at Wythe Hotel 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

The Ides is perched atop the Wythe Hotel, and while the line for this Williamsburg bar may be a bit long -- and packed with European tourists -- after sunset, the view is worth it. The indoor-outdoor lounge boasts glittering views of Manhattan, and though the buildings are the same as what you'd see from many a North Brooklyn rooftop, the Ides' bartenders mix strong drinks with a professional edge.

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7. Night of Joy 667 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

Stepping into this bar is like walking into your grandmother's place; vintage Victorian throw rugs and ottomans are set up for you to lounge on while sipping lemonade. The difference is that this lemonade, of an orange blossom variety, gets a bit of extra kick from some added rum. It's one of many three-ingredient-max cocktails on a list shared between both floors of this bi-level den. Our advice? Head to the second floor, a rooftop bar with a frozen-margarita station to complement the list of beers available downstairs.

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8. Refinery Hotel 63 W 38th Street, New York, NY 10018 (Midtown)

The Refinery Hotel is the opulent reincarnation of the Colony Arcade Building. Constructed in 1912, its ornate, neo-gothic façade became the vision that welcomed the workday of the generation's milliners. These skilled artists were working at the peak of New York innovation, as showrooms, importers, and manufacturers thrived in this cultural and media center.

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9. The Terrace at Yotel 570 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

Busting onto the rooftop scene, the "largest outdoor hotel space" in NYC can accommodate 400+ (some with semi-private cabanas boasting fire pits), and's handling the drink crush with two enormous bars, which'll serve up 2L growlers of Stella, Sam, and Ich

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10. JIMMY at The James 15 Thompson St., New York, NY 10013 (Soho)

Inspired by 1970s New York and classic pubs, JIMMY is an intimate rooftop escape with sleek upholstered seating, working fireplaces, and warm wood floors. Located on the roof of The James Hotel in Soho, the bar boasts unparalleled 360-degree views of the city skyline. Grab a chaise lounge poolside in the summer or sip the mezcal, honey, lemon, and smoked sea salt Pure & Simple indoors when the weather turns cold.

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11. Cantina Rooftop 605 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

A great spot for a low-key date, Cantina showcases the Manhattan skyline as it's meant to be seen, from a bright and lively rooftop restaurant. The view is excellent at sunset, but we’d definitely recommend this spot for brunch -- the house margarita is tasty, and the food is genuinely excellent, especially the tacos.

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12. Roof at Park South 125 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016 (Murray Hill)

The Roof at Park South is ready and waiting to serve you up fantastic views of the city and a huge bar, over which you'll be receiving drinks like the Baby in a Corner (10yr Scotch, St. Germain, and Zwack 20).

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13. Berry Park 4 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

If it's warm out, you're definitely gonna want to snag a seat on this 100+ rooftop bar, where you can gaze upon awesome views of the NYC skyline, while sipping on a variety of German suds and sharing some small bites.

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14. Pod 39 Rooftop Bar 145 East 39th St, New York, NY 10016 (Murray Hill)

A hotel rooftop lounge equipped with an extensive bar, cocktail list, and great views of the city.

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15. Northern Territory 12 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Check out this Australian joint, where you can enjoy all of the fun parts of a rooftop grilling party (gigantic shrimp on skewers, cold beer) without the gross parts (soot and grease on your pants, nowhere to wash your hands). Try the awesome Southern Collins cocktail, and be sure to order the pavlova for dessert.

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