With 80- and 90-degree temps still in our future, it's only natural that we need a side of fresh air with our margaritas. Like brunching, drinking on a rooftop bar is something of a sport in New York, which means every upper-level lounge from Midtown to Greenpoint is invariably packed. So if you're going to risk suffering the indignities of long lines, hip crowds, and overpriced drinks, you might as well do it at the best. Whether you’re looking for somewhere sleek and refined with expertly made cocktails, or something a little more low-key, these bars are the superlative NYC spots for rooftop revelry.
Brick architectural details, romantic lights, and colorful, Latin-American-leaning décor make this drinking destination feel more "street fair" than Midtown Manhattan. But look to your right and there's the Empire State Building, and over there -- there's the Chrysler Building. The rooftop bar here is escapism at its finest, and the Latin-American-flavor-focused cocktails certainly help. Try something different, like the pineapple-and-cachaça Upside Down; or bring friends, go classic, and order a pitcher of margaritas.
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Since this unpretentious Aussie bar and restaurant lies in a low-foot-traffic section of Greenpoint, chances are high you'll be able to snag a seat at the cabana-esque bar -- a rare feat at most rooftop-drinking locations. Post up there for a pear cider or spicy paloma, or see if you can settle in at the raised corner table, which offers a view of lower Manhattan that can hardly be beat.
You’ll have to navigate past tourists and through aisles of imported pasta, and then travel up a claustrophobic elevator to get here. And you’ll have to carefully protect your glass of sparkling rosé from flying elbows and flipped hair. But none of that matters when you've got views of the Flatiron Building from one angle, and the Empire State Building from another. That's not to mention the extensive wine list, the unique house-brewed cask ales, or the knowledgable and kind bar staff.
If The Secret Garden were a cocktail bar, it'd be Gallow Green. While the view isn't particularly noteworthy, there's a little bit of magic at this Chelsea spot atop the McKittrick Hotel. Perhaps it's the abundant greenery, the romantic lighting, or the sense of mystery exuded by the hotel and its signature production, "Sleep No More." That all makes Gallow Green one of the best date-night bars, rooftop or otherwise, in the city.
It was only recently that the cocktail den atop the Jane opened to the public, and rooftop drinkers looking for a little getaway should be glad it did: it's the perfect way to escape the New York City of present. The striking interior rooftop bar is like stepping back in time, with its faux-watermarked walls and elegant oak bar -- but instead of bellying up, we suggest you grab a Hemingway daiquiri, journey outside to the nautically themed open-air patio, and gaze upon the Hudson River.
If you're looking to avoid the typical rooftop-bar scene, stop into this unassuming lounge, where the space may be full but not elbow-in-your-ribs packed. Cozy up to the fire pit with a Sazerac, or go Tiki with a frozen overproof piña colada. And don't be shy about asking for help: cocktails here are expertly prepared by bartenders from acclaimed spots like The NoMad -- so while you might find yourself paying $30 for a drink (and that one, in particular, is a martini garnished with caviar), you know your booze is in good hands.
This rooftop bar is about as no-frills as they come. Here you'll find stunning views of a parking lot, zero signature cocktails, and TVs screening various sporting events as the primary décor. But that's fine if all you want is a can of Founders All Day IPA and a sunny place where you can drink it. Even better: The Rock Shop serves as a music venue most nights of the week, so your outdoor-drinking experience will likely be accompanied by a live soundtrack.
On top of Williamsburg's Peruvian food mecca Llama Inn is a brand-new rooftop bar, El Techo, for which Chef Erik Ramirez has crated a casual menu of Peruvian bites like spicy aji panca chicken wings and tequeños (like a spring roll) filled with pork and shrimp. But most importantly, there are six new cocktails available, including a frozen pisco sour, a panca-infused pisco cocktail named Ay Que Calor, and a wine slushy named the Dolly Llama.
Save for the sound of passing cars, you wouldn't know the BQE is just blocks from Night of Joy's whimsical rooftop. Drinkers are separated from the outside world by a fence laced with greenery, and the overall vibe here is convivial -- more "backyard party" than "highway-adjacent bar." That's certainly helped by its daily happy hour: from 5-8pm, signature drinks, including frozen margaritas, are just $6.
If the line that extends down the sidewalk next to the Wythe doesn't scare you away and you actually find yourself with a coveted place atop the hyped Williamsburg hotel, you're privy to one of the best views of Manhattan. The indoor bar is a sight to be seen as well: a sleek, streamlined beauty, where you can sip on the bar's selection of well-made classic and classic-leaning concoctions.
Long Island City
Would you like your view with a side of sushi? While it's true this spot atop the Ravel Hotel functions as both a restaurant and bar, the reason to be here is the view. The establishment is adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge -- a sight that, in this case, might just trump the Manhattan skyline.
This is not only the newest, but one of the biggest rooftop bars in the city, which means you might have a few weeks before thirsty, fresh air-deprived New Yorkers are hip to its existence. Décor here is like a Lisa Frank fever dream: the 7,000sqft space is littered with Technicolor chairs, banners, pillows, ottomans... you get the picture. But don't let any fear of color shock keep you away from this globally inspired roof deck -- drinks like the Tropical Triple (a piña colada riff with Tiki tincture served in a hollowed-out pineapple) are seriously delicious, and at $23 for a three-person cocktail, it's practically a steal.
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1. Pod 39 Rooftop Bar145 East 39th St, New York
2. Northern Territory12 Franklin St, Brooklyn
3. La Birreria200 5th Ave, New York
4. Gallow Green542 W 27th St, New York
5. The Rooftop at The Jane113 Jane St, Fl 6, New York
6. Roof at Park South125 E 27th St, New York
7. The Rock Shop249 4th Ave, Brooklyn
8. El Techo at Llama Inn50 Withers St, Brooklyn
9. Night of Joy667 Lorimer St, Brooklyn
10. The Ides at Wythe Hotel80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
11. Penthouse8088-08 Queens Plaza S, Long Island City
12. Social Drink & Food570 10th Ave, New York
A hotel rooftop lounge equipped with an extensive bar, cocktail list, and great views of the city.
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.
Atop the Flatiron food emporium Eataly sits La Birreria, an 8000sqft Italian beer garden that pours glasses of amber ale in view of both the copper-capped Metropolitan Life Building and Empire State. It's an impressive setting for sipping cask ale brewed onsite, or any of the local and imported taps on offer (some ten drafts and twenty bottles). Communal tables under the big city sky are perfect for groups, as is the Piatto Misto platter made up of a beer- and apricot-braised pork shoulder and a host of sausages (both Italian cotechino and German bratwurst make cameos). Even in the dead of winter, this rooftop is in full swing as it transforms into an Italian Alps-inspired pop-up Biata. Yes, the roof gets covered, but stringed light, ski lodge aesthetics, and specials like muleld wine make up for it.
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.
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.
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).
The Rock Shop is one of the area's quintessential beer/sports bar/hang out spots, designed for concert-goers and catering to the most laid back crowd... ever (it is Brooklyn, after all).
On top of Williamsburg's Peruvian food mecca Llama Inn is the rooftop bar, El Techo, for which Chef Erik Ramirez has crated a casual menu of Peruvian bites like spicy aji panca chicken wings and tequeños (like a spring roll) filled with pork and shrimp. There are also special cocktails available, including a frozen pisco sour, panca-infused pisco cocktail named Ay Que Calor, and a wine slushy named the Dolly Llama.
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.
The Ides is perched atop the Wythe Hotel, and while the line for this Williamsburg bar may be a bit long -- and dense 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.
Perched above the Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, Penthouse 808 has a vibe that's skewed slightly more Miami than post-industrial LIC. Clocking in at 9,500sqft, the swanky indoor/outdoor rooftop offers unbeatable views of Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge. The fusion menu takes cues from Japanese and Hawaiian cuisines, featuring sushi, robata skewers, and poke.
Spanning 7,000sqft, Social Food & Drink atop Yotel is one of the largest rooftop bars in Manhattan. The indoor-outdoor spot in Hell's Kitchen is littered with technicolor decor that would fit in at an 11-year-old girl's birthday party. The drinks, however, would not. The menu is heavy on summery cocktails, like a tropical rum-based drink for three. As for food, expect small bites meant for sharing and customizable pizzas.