20 NYC Rooftop Bars With Jaw-Dropping Views

What summer in the Big Apple is all about.

The Ready at Moxy East Village
The Ready at Moxy East Village | Photo courtesy of The Ready at Moxy East Village
The Ready at Moxy East Village | Photo courtesy of The Ready at Moxy East Village

You can feel it in the air—summer is upon us, New Yorkers. With Governor Cuomo adopting the CDC’s new guidance for vaccinated Americans, starting May 19, NYC’s indoor dining limits will be increased to full capacity. In addition, with outdoor dining’s midnight curfew already lifted and with indoor dining expected to follow suit on May 31, late-night bar hopping is making its triumphant return for the summer of 2021.

That means there’s no better time to round up the crew and hit up the city’s best rooftops. Grab a cocktail (or two… or three) and have a New York moment while wistfully gazing out into the skyline. After this (simply put: hard-earned) year, we all need—and are deserving of—a reminder that we do indeed live in the greatest city in the world with spectacular views to match.

The Ready Rooftop Bar
The Ready at Moxy East Village | Photo courtesy of The Ready at Moxy East Village

The Ready

East Village

The Ready at Moxy East Village opened just in time for your fair share of late summer nights. Channeling the culture and spirit of the East Village, this spot is designed to emulate a chill backyard garden with a high energy vibe. While scooping locally brewed beers from the coolers, work up an appetite for the made-to-order tacos at the beer pong table.

Available for Reservations
Runaway Roof
Photo courtesy of Runaway BK

Runaway Roof

Bushwick

“Run away to get away” is right when it comes to Bushwick’s Runaway rooftop. Runaway has everything your summer-self could need: bocce courts, movie screenings, rooftop yoga and picnic cuisine. “Succeed by bringing joy” is their goal according to co-owner and general manager Kate Buenaflor, and that they have done after launching mid-pandemic and now reopening for the summer. Nothing says summertime high like keeping your Mountain Lady (gin, tonic, lime, rosemary, and mint) steady in hand, while letting your competitive side flourish on the bocce court.
How to book: Walk-ins welcomed or make a reservation

Glass Ceiling Nomad
Glass Ceiling Nomad | Photo courtesy of Glass Ceiling Nomad

With views of the Empire State Building and retractable roofs over both the main space and patio, you’ll be set for a lovely summer evening at The Glass Ceiling Nomad. This newly-opened space has a deeper purpose: to empower all people and celebrate everyone’s individual experiences while highlighting brands and events led by women and marginalized groups. Complete with unique seating and a botanical modern-comfort vibe, enjoy pomegranate sangrias along with dishes like crispy rice with tuna and wasabi caviar.

Available for Reservations
Sentry Flatiron
The Sentry pool | Photo by Max Touhey, courtesy of JDS Development Group

The Sentry

Kips Bay

Searching for an escape from the masses? Look no further than The Sentry, a new members only rooftop pool and social club. Perched on the 42nd floor of the American Copper Buildings, a season membership pays off with unparalleled views of the city, a bespoke cocktail list, and carefully curated food menu. Cooling off poolside is priceless after all, right? For non-members, The Sentry Flatiron (found on the 18th floor penthouse lounge of Hotel Henri) offers signature cocktails crafted by some of the city’s most lauded mixologists. 
How to book: Sign up for a membership or make a reservation for the 18 floor

Alma

Columbia Street Waterfront District

Stave off the impending heat with one of Alma’s specialty margaritas (a choice between original, skinny, mezcal, spicy, flavored, or frozen). This newly renovated roof deck in Brooklyn boasts spectacular views of the Downtown Manhattan skyline, where you can taste from their pan-regional Mexican fare (emphasis on the short rib enchiladas with gouda cheese). Head downstairs to the cantina for a more casual dining experience and Trivia Night every Thursday from 7 pm-9 pm.

Available for Reservations
Ampia
Ampia | Photo by Travis Keyes for Ampia Rooftop

Ampia

Financial District

Escape to the Mediterranean without leaving the island of Manhattan at Ampia. Seasonal summer cocktails at this expansive FiDi rooftop oasis includes offerings like the Tickled Pink Sangria or the Lady Verde (gin, St. Germaine, fresh lime juice, pineapple, and sage). Pair your drinks with homemade pizza or craveworthy gnocchi and snag an IG moment in front of their new floral-centric art installations, courtesy of street artist OGMillie and Floratorium. Make a reservation for a private greenhouse or enjoy the open air.

Available for Reservations

Berry Park

Williamsburg

After grazing the day away in McCarren Park, cross the street to Berry Park’s beer garden rooftop. Now that the weather’s taking a turn for the better, the spot has begun rooftop-screening sport games (mostly soccer) with three large projectors. Even the most seasoned beer drinker will be impressed by the extensive list of German and Belgian beers (ask about the seasonal specials). Complement your lager or frozen piña colada with an order of fried pickles or a Bavarian pretzel. 
How to book: Walk-in, first come first serve basis

Broken Shaker

Flatiron District

Freehand Hotel’s Broken Shaker has all the rooftop revelry minus the messy. Try one of their expertly concocted cocktails along with a mixture of elixirs, infusions, and fresh-pressed juices. Special attention to the humorously (albeit somewhat traumatically) named Per My Last Email, with Rooibos tea infused vodka and passion fruit liqueur.

Available for Reservations

Elsewhere

Bushwick

Brooklyn’s Elsewhere rooftop is a summer staple. With live events starting up again, head over for live music and DJ sets (schedule available here). The frozen RedBull-spiked cocktails and paletas (mexican popsicles courtesy of La Newyorkina) will keep the heat at bay as you dance into the night.
How to book: Make a reservation for 2-10 people, $10 per person

On the 25th floor of a nondescript building near Bryant Park sits a lavish penthouse bar: Elsie Rooftop. This ornately adorned 1920s-themed bar is designed in the image of Elsie de Wolfe, a world famous interior decorator. Looking for a high-tone spot for a light evening bite? Elsie has you covered with their upscale seasonally focused menu and passion for expert cocktails. Chase your truffled grilled cheese with an Earl Gray old fashioned while basking in the luxury of it all.

Available for Reservations
The Greens
The Greens at Pier 17 | Photo courtesy of Howard Hughes Corp & Endorphin Ventures

The Greens at Pier 17

South Street Seaport

Summertime is synonymous with the great outdoors. The Greens is back to provide us exactly that. Reserve a 10’ by 10’ mini-lawn with a love seat, cabana-style lounge chairs, sun umbrella, and (most importantly) USB ports. Beginning on Memorial Day weekend, Seaport Cinema’s movie nights and Seaport Sound’s live music and DJ sets will ramp up again (schedule can be found here). These coveted spots are a hot commodity, with reservations released every Monday.
How to book: Make a reservation.

Llohi
Llohi | Photo courtesy of Llohi

Llohi

East Williamsburg

East Williamsburg’s Llohi is a pretense-free spot to hit for landscape views of Brooklyn and Manhattan. With happy hour from 4 pm-6 pm Wednesday-Friday, you can catch a fiscally-responsible buzz sipping on $5 draft lagers or $10 house cocktails (crowd favorite is Lavender Lane: spiked lemonade, butterfly pea infused vodka, and lavender). Be sure to keep tabs on their new four course chef-driven dinner series that’s held monthly. 
How to book: Make a reservation

Make Believe

Lower East Side

Looking for a boozy summer night as the sun sets over the city? Located on the roof of Sixty Hotel is the tropical-themed haven Make Believe. Slide into one of the vibrantly pink booths and order the table a round of signature matcha or sake cocktails. Then meander on over to one of the two terraces or the dance floor for a live DJ set. You can expect this rooftop to reach full capacity early on weekend nights, so reservations are recommended.

Available for Reservations
Mr. Purple
Mr. Purple | Photo courtesy of Mr. Purple

Mr. Purple

Lower East Side

Hotel Indigo’s party rooftop, Mr. Purple, provides a vibrant but relaxed atmosphere. The two terraces available allow a choice between either a more intimate experience or a lively rooftop pool plus bar with communal tables and a wide variety of lounging options. Pair your espresso martini or spiked lemonade with an order of truffles fries, finishing out with a Melt’s artisanal ice cream sandwich. 
How to book: Make a reservation here.

Rooftop Reds
Rooftop Reds | Photo by Thomas Shomaker

Rooftop Reds

Brooklyn Navy Yard

Hidden amongst the warehouses and construction sites sits Rooftop Reds, an urban vineyard and winery. Beginning May 21, the rooftop will begin Casual Fridays, an Ă  la carte food pop up hosted by local independent chefs and businesses. Best laid plan: grab a glass or bottle (there’s beer available as well) from the wine bar and settle in among the vines for an idyllic summer night. 
How to book: Make a reservation here

SERRA by Birreria

Flatiron District

Located atop the Eataly Flatiron rooftop, the flower-themed ambiance of SERRA by Birrieria is the perfect recharge after a long winter season. Amidst the blooms, order botanical-infused cocktails and Italian countryside-inspired dishes. Complete your al fresco experience with the Genziana Per Tre, a flight of three gentian root bitters from different regions of Italy.

Available for Reservations

Top Of The Box

Greenpoint

After first debuting last summer, the Top of the Box at the Box House Hotel’s rooftop is back. The massive 10,000 square foot rooftop space can be enjoyed rain or shine (courtesy of a retractable roof) and boasts panoramic views of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island City. For those nights where cocktails a la carte just won’t do, opt for classics by the pitcher or bottle service.

Available for Reservations
Westlight
Westlight | Photo by Noak Fecks

Westlight

Williamsburg

Westlight is one of those ubiquitous rooftops everyone has to experience firsthand. Take in the 360-degree views of all five boroughs while sipping on a signature cocktail like the Mt. Fuji (whisky, vermouth, apple, ginger, lemon, and soda). Keep up your strength under the summer rays with global street food-inspired small bites like coconut curry cashews or burrata.
How to book: Make a reservation here

Zona De Cuba

The Bronx

If you’re looking for a wildly entertaining time, this Cuban rooftop in the Bronx is the place to be. Shade yourself under a palm tree, with a light beer or fruit cocktail, while listening to a live salsa band. Don’t leave without trying the handmade empanadas or shrimp ceviche. Reservations are highly encouraged. 
How to book: Make a reservation here.

230 Fifth Rooftop Lounge
230 Fifth Rooftop | Photo courtesy of 230 Fifth

230 Fifth

Midtown East

With a focal point as prevalent as the Empire State Building, it’s hard to miss 230 Fifth when thinking of Manhattan rooftops. The extensive rooftop patio is capable of seating about 1,000 people and flaunts a contemporary beach vibe that is a favorite of New York visitors. Sample some sashimi from the recently relaunched sushi menu, while safely chatting (... or flirting) to anyone who catches your eye via the 230 Fifth app
How to book: Make a reservation here.

Izzy Baskette is an editorial assistant at Thrillist. 
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