The Best NYC Rooftop Bars for Golden Hour Hangs
We’re living off chilled cocktails and immaculate views all summer long.
The craving for chilled cocktails, a solid dose of vitamin D, and immaculate views is a bonafide guarantee this time of year—and lucky for us, NYC’s rooftop bar scene thrives during the summer.
On top of exploring the city’s fun weekend activities and checking out cool art exhibits and clubs, sipping on a drink during golden hour at a sky-high watering hole right now is something we’re willing to make a priority. From longtime standbys like 230 Fifth, Magic Hour, and Broken Shaker to vibey newcomers like Serafina In The Sky and Vacations, there’s plenty of spots to take in the panorama of the Big Apple skyline and have your main-character moment. Here’s our roundup of the best rooftop bars in New York City.
Somewhere in Nolita
From the Rivers and Hills Hospitality Group—who previously brought us the Lower East Side Thai spot, Wayla, and the Japanese-Italian mashup, Kimika in Nolita—is a breezy new rooftop at the Nolitan Hotel. Decked out in green booths, twinkling lights, layered rugs, and overhead canopies (to save you from those harsh summer rays), the ambiance mimics hanging out on top of a friend's apartment. Seasonal cocktails like The Mile High Julep (bourbon, coconut rum, ginger, mint) and Mao-chelada (lager, hot sauce, soy) are accompanied by a selection of flautas, tacos, and additional Mexican-inspired small bites.
To celebrate their 22nd birthday, Slate, a popular club/arcade hybrid spot in Chelsea, recently expanded their portfolio to include a second concept in Williamsburg. Set atop the Pod Brooklyn Hotel, 125-seat Slate Rooftop offers a chilled-out vibe with picnic tables, interactive games like Jenga, an expansive patio, and specialty cocktails like the Queen’s Gambit (bourbon, peach puree). Order a round of frosés for the table, while munching on shareable bites like a plate of Slate Nachos or Chicken Wings Confit.
The Summer Club
Whether you’re down for a staycation or just looking for a rooftop destination, Long Island City’s recently debuted outdoor club on the third floor of the Ravel Hotel rewards New Yorkers with revelrous day-long fêtes. Here, the ambiance is inspired by the wild and ostentatious day clubs of Miami and Las Vegas, so, naturally, there’s a lengthy pool to keep you cool between rounds of drinks. Perch yourself on a daybed or underneath a cabana while listening to some of the top DJs from around the world.
Escape the sidewalk haze and city noise without leaving the island of Manhattan at Ampia. Seasonal cocktails at this expansive FiDi rooftop oasis include 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 vibrant floral art installation designed by street artist OGMillie and Floratorium.
After grazing the day away in McCarren Park—make sure to check out the new al fresco food hall McCarren Parkhouse—before crossing a street over to Berry Park’s beer garden rooftop. Now that the weather’s reaching peak form, the spot has begun rooftop-screening sport games (mostly soccer) with three large projectors. Here, 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.
Sweeping views of Central Park South and the city skyline are reason enough to visit the famed Park Lane New York hotel’s rooftop bar, Darling. Perched on the 47th floor, the spot’s swanky penthouse-apartment aesthetic along with a specialty cocktail program and weekly DJ sets add a little extra something. While hanging on the colorful terrace, sip on a specialty drink like the New Wave Paloma (mezcal, shishito pepper-infused liqueur, grapefruit) or Japanese Boulevardier (whiskey, plum liqueur, dry vermouth).
As far as Brooklyn rooftops go, Elsewhere is undoubtedly a summer staple. Embodying that free-spirited energy of Bushwick, this three-story spot includes a spacious rooftop bar, multiple stages, several dance floors, and an arts space. Among the regularly scheduled events, there’s curated happenings thrown by local collectives, tons of DJ sets and live band performances, and a bevy of sublime spots to sip on frozen Red Bull-spiked cocktails while watching the sunset.
Greenpoint Beer and Ale Co.
The calling card for Greenpoint’s resident small batch brewery is a widely recognizable stained-glass water tower which sits atop the building, almost like a beacon for beer lovers. Overall, the Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. is known for its non-rowdy crowd of regulars who sip on specialty ales and lagers within the 2,000-square-foot picnic bench-scattered rooftop. Classic bar bites include Beer Battered Frickles (Southern-fried pickles) and a Giant Bavarian Pretzel. Also, stay tuned for upcoming projector screenings of everything from sporting events to award shows via the website.
For those ever-so classic Brooklyn Bridge views, the 1 Hotel Brooklyn’s rooftop is a sure bet. Overlooking the iconic River Cafe and touting panoramic Manhattan views, the industrial aesthetic includes a spread of couches, wide brimmed umbrellas, lounge chairs, and an extensive bar. A menu of specialty cocktails (floral garnishes are a recurring theme) and small bites from chef Denevin Miranda make it a favorite among hotel guests and visitors alike. Take note, a big draw here is the pool, so be sure to pack your swimsuit.
A longtime NYC favorite, Modernhaus Soho Hotel’s 18th floor rooftop covers all the essentials: long bar, pool deck, craft cocktails, and global fare small bites. One of the main draws for JIMMY is that it’s not season-based, instead the establishment opts to be open year-round with working fireplaces and intimate indoor seating for colder weather. But, with the bliss of summertime upon us, swimsuits and sundress have become the regular dress code and pair perfectly with those sunset watching evenings over a Golden Hour cocktail (gin, pear, ginger, prosecco).
East Williamsburg’s Lohi is a pretense-free spot to hit for landscape views of Brooklyn and Manhattan. With happy hour from 5 pm–close on Thursdays and 5 pm–7 pm on Fridays, you can catch a fiscally-responsible buzz sipping on $5 draft lagers or $8 house cocktails (a crowd favorite is Lavender Lane: spiked lemonade, butterfly pea infused vodka and lavender). Be sure to keep tabs on their four-course chef-driven dinner series that’s held monthly.
Boozy nights filled with immaculate sunset views are the specialty at the Sixty Hotel’s 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 before meandering 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.
The popular destination on Hotel Indigo’s rooftop, Mr. Purple, provides both a buzzy and laid-back atmosphere. Two terraces allow a choice between either a more intimate lounging space or a lively rooftop pool and bar with communal tables and a wide variety of banquettes. Pair your Espresso Martini or Spiked Lemonade with an order of Truffles Fries before finishing out with a Melt’s ice cream sandwich.
If it’s been a while since you’ve made a trip over to Roosevelt Island, the Graduate Hotel’s gorgeous drinking spot definitely provides motivation for hopping on the tramway or subway for a quick trip out there. Sporting a cool aesthetic of neon lights melded with vintage velvet touches, the 168-seat rooftop bar and lounge serves up a dramatic look with panoramic views of Queens, Manhattan, and the Queensborough Bridge to match. Drinks-wise, there’s a lengthy list of options including The Looking Glass (gin, Pink Lady apple, white vermouth, lime) to accompany raw bar offerings like oysters or the Seafood Tower.
Channeling vibes of the East Village, this spot is designed to emulate a chill backyard garden that’s poppin’ with your liveliest friends. While scooping locally brewed beers from the coolers, work up an appetite for made-to-order tacos at the beer pong table. Alternatively, hit up $1 taco and $5 margarita happy hour from 4 pm–6 pm Wednesday to Friday and 12 pm–3 pm Saturday and Sunday. All the while, top hits and ‘90s to 2000s throwbacks provide ample opportunity for singing your heart out.
Hidden among warehouses and construction sites sits Rooftop Reds, an urban vineyard and winery. Best laid plan: grab a glass or bottle (there’s beer available as well) from the wine bar and settle into one of the hammocks for an idyllic night. As an added bonus, Thursday movie nights are back which includes a rotating selection of films along with two slices of pizza and popcorn.
Westlight atop The William Vale is one of those famously popular rooftops everyone has to experience firsthand. Take in the 360-degree views of all five boroughs while sipping on a signature cocktail like The Layover (white rum, cantaloupe-coconut syrup) or The Four Winds (whiskey, bourbon, chai, black walnut). Keep up your strength under the sunshine with global street food-inspired small bites like Coconut Curry Cashews or Burrata.