This Rooftop Bar Makes the Biggest Ice Cream Sandwiches & Cocktails
You’ll likely have to wait in line for the elevator up to this chic, meticulously composed bar. When you reach the 22nd floor, you may have wait in another line. Your reward: the breathtaking westward-facing view for which this bar was named. The roof’s indoor/outdoor space is the ideal vantage for sunset-silhouetted Manhattanscapes in any weather. As temperatures rise, so does your barrier to entry. If you can take advantage of summer Fridays and make it over as early as 2pm, you’ll find a vast wine list, original cocktails by James Beard Award laureate Maura McGuigan, shockingly well-priced draft beer, and fancy tapas.
This charming-top-to-bottom Parisian-style bistro’s rooftop terrace has a full bar, so date night above the Williamsburg rabble is romance itself. But be warned: no reservations at Juliette. C’est la vie, dude. During weekend brunch service on the roof, you can only order from the lunch menu. But a croque madame in the dining room downstairs followed by an open-air cocktail is, pardon my French, fuckin’ magnifique.
Nestled in Redhook’s subway-free sanctuary, the Crab has two full bars replete with specialty cocktails and frozen drinks, a veritable thicket of picnic-table seating, a putt-putt course, cornucopias of fresh seafood, and a postcard-worthy southwest-facing vantage on the Hudson River Bay. Yeah, it’s no joke. Warm evenings and weekends at the Crab are predictably jammed, so your best bet’s a weeknight and/or early evening.
As you stand atop the ornate landmarked building once home to Childs' legendary restaurant, and you peer out over the Coney Island Boardwalk to the Atlantic horizon, sipping wine between bites from a lobster cocktail, you’ll wonder why life isn’t like this all the time. The answer is probably because you’re broke. Just a guess. Anyway, Kitchen 21’s massive space houses four additional restaurant experiences, just make sure you start drinking after you ride the Cyclone.
White noise from the neighboring BQE; wall art by NYC graffiti OGs Rate, False, and Lions; flowers and ivy climbing chain-link fences -- this rooftop bar drips authentic Brooklyn energy. For tap beer or to pay with a card, head down to the inky-lighting and intimate-seating of the main bar, where on Wednesday and Thursday nights, DJs attract a “rock-and-roll” crowd. Happy hour goes ‘til 8 and includes $7 signature cocktails. Every. Single. Day.
I know what you’re thinking, but the last time I went here they had my favorite beer from Other Half on tap, the fried chicken sandwich was legit, and they played Bad Brains’ self-titled album start to finish. The place earned this endorsement. Sixteen craft beers on tap, outdoor and indoor seating, and a full menu of brand-consistent food (e.g. vegan grilled cheese, grass-fed burger, lobster roll), sit just atop everyone’s favorite corporate wellness complex.
Tucked into an industrial zone where noise complaints are unheard-of, this artist haven’s vibes are as carefully curated as the Sunday night rooftop dance party’s vinyl. “If you’re a 9-to-5er, we want you to hate us Monday morning,” laughs owner/bartender/music-wizard Wayne. O-W-L spells fun, bohemian ambiance: through the neon-glowing main bar and up a flamingo-stenciled staircase, the rooftop bar sports two frozen drink machines, Monday night movies, and the potential for stumbling upon a secret show.
I’m a sucker for neighborhood bars. And Bia’s got character in spades: exposed ceiling-beams and brick, a menu of Northern Vietnamese food, humanely priced drinks (including Vietnamese iced coffee with whiskey!), and an unfussy rooftop. One side of the roof offers choice people-watching on the Williamsburg Bridge’s pedestrian walkway. The other is a reminder: Williamsburg is still more than real-estate developers’ sandbox. No food on the roof, but you’re welcome to drink there ‘til the bartenders head home.
Fresh pizza, check. Full bar, check. Glorious skyline/Lady Liberty view … why would I list that if Fornino didn’t have it? Order a custom pie and watch it bake in the open kitchen, or turn around and watch boats glide around the river, sangria in hand. This spot’s location in Brooklyn Bridge Park is a popular tourist and family destination, so anticipate an all-ages crowd.
Stay downstairs for plush couches and signature cocktails, or climb up and wade into the spacious, open-air cabana-style bar area fitted with long wooden tables. The roof’s got a frosé thing and a notably awesome sound system that bumps DJs on Saturdays. The view of Manhattan overlooking The Bushwick Inlet is ridiculous, and the Australian-inspired food menu has a brunch addendum from 11-4pm on weekends.
Is it rife with tourists snapping photos? Yeah. Does a local beer cost $10? Yep. Does it have the best view of any bar on this list? Indeed, it does. In fact, as a born-and-bred New Yorker, I’ll admit that this is one of the most beautiful cityscape vistas I’ve ever seen. Downtown Manhattan, Ellis and Liberty Islands, the Sea Port, the Brooklyn Bridge... I could go on. Go here for the view. No, seriously.
The Wythe Hotel’s rooftop bar offers sophistication and an unobstructed cityscape sans stuffiness. Order natural wine or a new summer cocktails from the welcoming staff in the redesigned outdoor area, or post up with a tap beer and some small plates at the gorgeous marble bar inside. The entry line is subject to cuts around last call at 12:30am, so plan accordingly. One staff member noted: “My favorite time to come up for a drink is when it’s pouring rain.”
Up a few flights, a janky ladder, and beyond the hatch that isn’t really supposed to open waits sun-softened tar, a couple of sixers, a smattering of beach chairs, a Bluetooth speaker, some pizzas, and your favorite people. Maybe it’s your building, maybe it’s a buddy’s -- point is, even if you can’t muster the dough or wherewithal to haul yourself to a bar, you can still spend a memorable, quintessentially Brooklyn night above the fray.
Brooklyn Navy Yard
By reservation only, this wine mecca is “the world’s only commercially viable rooftop vineyard.” Point is, this is a lovely place with a beautiful view where you can drink, or do yoga at sunset, or take a wine class, or watch Will Ferrell movies, and eat pizza. If you’re looking for a different or more refined venue for rooftop shenanigans, here it is.
Sweating, vibing, bumping, grinding, swaying, flowing, moving, cruising, kissing, whispering, drinking, shining, eyeing, ’Gramming, giggling. And a rooftop space to catch your breath before you dive back in.
Near picturesque Cobble Hill’s equally picturesque waterfront, this Mexican restaurant’s impressive rooftop dining area is open year-round. This could be your new Taco Tuesday spot.
Taking its name from a Walt Whitman’s poem, you may not be able to order any booze at this ice creamery, but you can relax on this location’s rooftop Adirondack chairs with delicious, delicious ice cream, so who cares? Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (vanilla with cake chunks), Cookie Au Lait (coffee with ice cream sandwich clusters), The Munchies (pretzel ice cream with Ritz bits, pretzel hunks, potato chip crumbles, and mini M&Ms). Just... come on.