When it comes to summertime drinking in NYC, you've got plenty of options -- especially now that the whole drinking in public thing won’t land you in jail. But if you're tired of beer gardens and rooftops (how dare you!), the best way to booze alfresco is on a boat. Set your sea-sickness aside and hop on board -- we've rounded up every boat you can drink on in NYC right here, in one tidy, ready-to-drink list.
This historic, hand-built fishing schooner is now a much-hyped oyster bar in Tribeca, with a sustainable menu featuring soft-shell crabs, lobster rolls, and of course, lots of oysters. Reservations are recommended for dining, but you can easily snag a seat at one of the two on-deck bars serving up refreshing cocktails, wine, Champagne, and craft beer. Bar Director Lauren Schell (previously of Milk & Honey) is doing inventive drinks and subtle twists on classics, like the Wild's Negroni with gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, and muddled orange and strawberry.
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This floating lobster shack is perfect if you want a totally unpretentious atmosphere for drinking and eating out on the water. North River’s 45-minute cruises offer actually great seafood -- like fried wonton shrimp rolls, fish and chips, and four different varieties of lobster rolls -- as well as a solid bar menu with Mason-jar cocktails, beer buckets, and an ample selection of wine.
Two massive sailboats -- one 82ft, the other 158ft -- sail at various times throughout the week, making this a convenient option whether you want a full-blown meal or a simple cash bar (there are options for both). Manhattan by Sail also offers a number of special sails, like the Lobster & Beer Lovers Sail (which gets you two lobster rolls from Luke’s Lobster and unlimited beer), a Craft Beer Tasting Sail, a Champagne Brunch Sail, and more.
The King of NYC boats is still the rowdiest spot to grab a bucket of beer and a lobster roll, but its backstory is not nearly as known -- the infamous lightship sank while docked in Maryland and remained underwater for over three years before being salvaged and restored into the boating-bar mecca it is today.
A celebration of New England food culture, this historic WWII ship specializes in sunset cruises from Greenpoint to Lady Liberty. The menu includes a three-course dinner with New England classics like lobster corn chowder and mixed-fish seafood boil, and you can wash it all down with a vast selection of craft brews and nautical-inspired cocktails like The Captain’s Widow (gin & tonic with lavender bitters), plus beer, wine, and a decent selection of rum.
The sister bar to North River Lobster Company, this three-story seafood restaurant/lounge on a docked 160ft yacht is a bit more done-up than the rest, with the price-point to match. But while sails may be on the expensive side, the space is meticulously furnished, and boasts a menu including black truffle burrata, Plymouth Rock oysters, 26 different Champagnes, and craft cocktails like the Ibiza Sunrise with Grey Goose, orange, cranberry, and passion fruit.
It's not quite a boat, but this floating clubhouse gets the job done. Situated in the middle of New York Harbor, this classy barge -- an offshoot of the Manhattan Yacht Club -- offers unobstructed skyline views, a full cash bar, small bites, and tons of breezy charm.
Battery Park/Staten Island
Arguably the best boat to drink on in the city, the incomparable Staten Island Ferry will change everything you think and feel about New York's most ignored borough. For starters, the ride is totally free, and for 30 blissful minutes (or an hour, if you just want to ride it there and back -- you do you), you can take in the views while taking down tall boy after tall boy. Is there anything better than that?
1. Grand BanksPier 25, New York
2. North River Lobster CompanyPier 81, New York
3. Manhattan By SailBattery Park City Greenway, New York
4. The Water TableINDIA ST. PIER, Greenpoint
5. Frying Pan205 12th Ave, New York
6. Fish Bar at North River LandingPier 81 - W 41st St., New York
7. The Honorable William WallNY Harbor, New York
8. Staten Island Ferry - Whitehall Terminal4 South St, New York
This seasonal oyster bar perched atop a historic fishing boat at Pier 25 serves an incredible selection of soft-shell crabs, lobster rolls, and of course, lots of oysters. It's best to make a reservation for dining, but you can easily snag a seat at one of the two on-deck bars if you're there for drinks. Refreshing nautical cocktails, wine, Champagne, and craft beer round out the drink menu. Grand Banks is open from May to October.
This floating lobster shack is perfect if you want a totally unpretentious atmosphere for drinking and eating out on the water. Docked in Midtown West, North River offers 45-minute cruises that serve great seafood -- think four different kinds of lobster rolls and a full raw bar -- as well as a solid bar menu with Mason-jar cocktails, beer buckets, and an ample selection of wine.
Manhattan By Sail isn't a boat per se, but two massive sailboats that offer various cruises throughout New York Harbor, from daytime sightseeing sails to twilight wine tastings. The 158ft Clipper City sets sail from The Battery at the tip of Manhattan, and the smaller 82ft Shearwater departs from North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place. The variety of sail options make Manhattan By Sail a great booze cruise no matter if you want a full-blown special (like a champagne brunch) or a commitment cash bar.
The Water Table is one of the few New York booze cruises that sets sail from Brooklyn. An ode to New England food, the historic WWII ship specializes in weekend sunset cruises from Greenpoint to Lady Liberty, on which you'll be treated to a three-course dinner featuring New England classics, nautical-inspired cocktails, craft beer, wine, and a decent selection of rum. The prix-fixe dinners require reservations.
Located at Pier 66 in Chelsea, the Frying Pan is quite literally a bar on a docked boat. The boat is a historic 1929 lightship, and the outdoor bar juts far out into the pier thanks to a long barge. A center bar and grill serves up beer and bar bites like Pat LaFrieda sirloin burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and garlic fries. There's a dance floor at the end of the barge, which gets more and more crowded as the sun sets on happy hour.
The sister restaurant to North River Lobster Company, Fish Bar is a three-story waterfront lounge at Pier 81 on West 41st Street. Housed on a 10,000sqft yacht, the space features a patio, bi-level restaurant, and indoor and outdoor bars. On the booze front, you're looking at cocktails made with herbs grown on North River Landing's rooftop, craft beers, and sparkling wine. As for food, expect elegant seafood plates and next-level lobster rolls.
Anchored at Ellis Island, the Honorable William Wall is Manhattan Yacht Club's seasonal floating clubhouse open from May through October. The downstairs champagne bar is members-only, but the upper deck, which offers unobstructed skyline views, a full cash bar, and snacks, is open to the public.
Technically, the Staten Island Ferry is just a commuter ferry between Staten Island and lower Manhattan. But consider this: it's free and it sells beer, so it also happens to be the only free booze cruise in New York. It's only 30 minutes long -- or an hour, if you ride it there and back.