Stay Classy This Winter With a Spiced Pear Tom Collins
Twenty-two stories above Williamsburg in the flashy William Vale hotel, Westlight offers unobstructed skyline views of Manhattan (which can be admired from tables outside or plush couches inside) alongside pricy (but worthwhile) cocktails guided by Maura McGuigan, the general manager. Opt for the Giddy Up -- with gin, yellow chartreuse, ginger, and celery -- paired with tequila-cured salmon and charred eggplant dumplings from chef Andrew Carmellini.
Chef Dale Talde and the Three Kings Group’s latest addition to the Arlo NoMad hotel boasts excellent Empire State Building views and warm-weather appropriate drinks like the Prospect Heights with matcha-infused vodka, mint, and lime -- but the real draw is the ice cold froze.
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 Chilean sangria; or bring friends and go classic with a pitcher of margaritas.
Another rooftop bar from Dale Talde/Three Kings Restaurant Group, The Crown sits atop Chinatown’s Hotel 50 Bowery and offers unobstructed views of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, along with Asian-inspired cocktails (like the East India with gin, Pimm's, lemongrass, ginger, cucumber, and lime), and global street food-inspired bites.
This unpretentious Aussie bar and restaurant lies in a low-foot-traffic section of Greenpoint, so chances are you'll be able to snag a seat at the cabana-esque bar -- a rare feat at most rooftop-drinking locations (though maybe skip it during busy Smorgasburg hours). Post up for a pear spritz or spicy paloma, and vie for the coveted raised corner table for killer views of lower Manhattan.
You’ll have to elbow past tourists, navigate through aisles of imported Italian goods, and travel up a claustrophobic elevator to get to Eataly’s rooftop, 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 boozy popsicle selection, and the knowledgeable 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.
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.
For a zag from the typical rooftop bar scene, stop by this unassuming lounge, where the space is just shy of elbow-in-your-ribs packed. Cozy up to the fire pit with a Sazerac, or go tiki with a frozen overproof piña colada. Cocktails here are expertly prepared by acclaimed bartenders, while bites come from James Beard Award-winner Tim Cushman. You’ll pay $18 for a drink, but at least you’re in capable hands.
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
If you’d like some sushi with your panoramic views, the bar/resto atop the Ravel Hotel is your best bet. The raw fish selection is extensive, the views from Long Island City expansive. The bar is adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge -- a sight that, in this case, might just trump the Manhattan skyline.
Designed in a nod to Old Havana, Azul is the closest you’ll get to a Cuban oasis within blocks of the Hudson. String lights and vibrant block-painted walls complement a menu of cantina-style tacos, tapas, and cold drinks. Come by on Sunday evening for live Cuban music by Grupo Irek, and again on Monday for a sunset movie screening.
Upper East Side
Set atop the historic Beekman Tower, Ophelia boasts East River views once enjoyed by Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra. The newly refurbished space aims to reclaim the venue’s former glory with a new name and a handsome makeover. Roll up to the 26th floor, sip on a Beekman’s Classic Martini (dry with a twist, garnished with herbs de provence) and take in the view once seen by Ol’ Blue Eyes.
Lounge in a hammock or have a seat among the grape vines at “the world’s first commercially viable rooftop vineyard.” Learn more about the process with a tour or a class, or skip the education and plow through wine and cheese pairings while you bask in the sun. Unlike the vast majority of rooftops, this place has yet to draw flocks of after-work Insta-crowds. Visit before they find out.
Hidden away in Industry City, this is NYC’s only vodka distiller. The tasting room is only open to the public for tours and tastings on Fridays and Saturdays, and requires a trek to Sunset Park, but the local vodka, rooftop sunset views, and relatively low prices justify the trip.
This is the antidote to standard, sweaty sports dives. Games of every ball bounce off projector and television screens on the main floor, and upstairs, the roomy rooftop provides skyline views, classic bar food (fried pickles, bratwurst, pretzels), and a breather from double-overtime nail-biters.
Drinking at JIMMY is a glamorous affair. The rooftop spot towers over Tribeca, and lounge chairs line the edges of a shallow, though serviceable, pool. Break out your finest swimwear and share a frosé or other warm-weather novelty cocktail with your new, well-heeled, shallow, though serviceable friends.