The Best Rooftop Bars in NYC for Golden Hour Hangs
Late sunsets plus chilled drinks are the specialty at these rooftop bars in NYC.
It’s the time of the year to capitalize on the city’s numerous sky-high perches for afternoons which easily turn into late-night hangs. We’re planning on being outside way too much these next few months and there’s something about an 8 pm sunset plus chilled drink combo that just feels right. Here’s our roundup of the best rooftop bars in New York City (and if you’re more of an indoors person, don’t forget about these cocktail joints and singles spots).
Richard Branson recently launched Virgin Hotels New York City in the heart of NoMad and we’re excited to post up at the hotel’s two outdoor drinking destinations. On the third floor, you’ll find a lively restaurant and bar called Everdene, which sports an expansive terrace and a lively entertainment program most nights of the week. Hotel guests can also take advantage of The Pool Club on the roof for a swim and side of boozy ice pops, specialty cocktails, and light bites.
Inspired by the laid back surf style of Australia and Indonesia, LilliStar is the latest drop from the Moxy Brooklyn Williamsburg. With eleventh-floor views of the Williamsburg Bridge and East River, the space is decorated with hanging lotus flowers, string lights, and plenty of greenery. Seasonal drinks pack a tropical punch like the Wu Wave (lime leaf-infused mezcal, blue curacao, macadamia nut orgeat, yuzu soda) and Papaya Salad Daiquiri (rum, tomato juice, birdseye chile). LilliStar will also host DJs, clothing brands, and record labels throughout the season.
This opulent cocktail destination known for its botanical drinks welcomed a third location (the flagship in Chinatown plus an outpost in LA) this past fall dubbed Apotheke NoMad. The space is separated into two sections: a 74-seat cellar speakeasy and a penthouse lounge featuring floor-to-ceiling stained-glass windows and views of The Empire State Building. Choose from signature apothecary-inspired libations like the Voyage in the Blue (blue spirulina-infused gin, blue borage flower) and Live and Learn (turmeric-infused cachaça, gooseberry).
After grazing the day away in McCarren Park, cross the street to Berry Park’s rooftop beer garden. Now that the weather’s reaching peak form, the spot has begun 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 brews (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 Darling Unlimited (vodka, spiced pear liqueur, ginger) or Here Comes Trouble (reposado, wasabi and lavender honey, blood orange).
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 cocktails while watching the sunset. Also, try out their new membership experience for discounts on tickets, coat check, merch, and more.
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 like a beacon for beer lovers. 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 events like trivia nights and DJ sets.
For 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 rooftop’s 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. Oh, and there’s a pool, so 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. With the bliss of springtime upon us, swimsuits and sundress have become the regular dress code at JIMMY and pair perfectly with a sunset and a Lychee-Rita Slushie (tequila, lychee, lime).
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).
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 frozen Mexican Espresso Martini (cold brew, tequila) with an order of Truffle Waffle Fries before finishing out with a Purple Soft Serve.
The Graduate Hotel’s gorgeous drinking spot definitely provides motivation for hopping on the tramway or subway for a quick trip out to Roosevelt Island. Sporting a cool aesthetic of neon lights melded with vintage velvet touches, the 168-seat Panorama Room serves up a dramatic look with panoramic views of Queens, Manhattan, and the Queensborough Bridge. There’s drinks like The Looking Glass (gin, Pink Lady apple, white vermouth, lime), to accompany raw bar offerings like oysters or the Seafood Tower.
Channeling East Village vibes, The Ready is designed to emulate a chill backyard garden that’s poppin’ with your liveliest friends. While scooping locally brewed beers or canned cocktails from the coolers, work up an appetite for made-to-order tacos at the beer pong table. Alternatively, hit up $1 taco and $9 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.
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 outdoor club on the third floor of the Ravel Hotel rewards New Yorkers with rowdy 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.
Westlight 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 Snap Happy (vodka, rice spirit, snap pea) and Zapotec Highball (sugarcane rum, agave liqueur, butterfly pea flower, lemon). Keep up your strength under the sunshine with global street food-inspired small bites like Coconut Curry Cashews or Shrimp Dumplings.