Warm weather is here, and that means one thing and one thing only: you need to be drinking, and you need to be doing it at a waterfront bar. So here’s every single spot you can catch the breeze and a brew in NYC -- sunglasses required.
Upper West Side
Boat Basin Café Hudson River at W 79th St Perhaps the ultimate NYC waterfront spot, Boat Basin features casual food, buckets of beer, and a grotto-like interior for comfortable indoor-outdoor drinking on even the hottest summer days.
Pier i Café 500 W 70th St This casual café along Riverside Park South is canopied with umbrellas for perfectly shaded outdoor drinking, plus we’re suckers for its Blue Margarita made with fresh blueberry lemonade.
The Frying Pan Pier 66 at W 26th St Whether you love to hate it or love to love it, this floating frat bar is still the king of waterfront boozing.
Riverpark 450 E 29th St This Tom Colicchio restaurant may be more fancy eatery than bar, but with a drink menu that includes jalapeño-pineapple margaritas and prime East River views, we don’t think you’ll mind.
The Water Club East River at 30th St The name says it all at this upscale restaurant and bar floating atop the East River.
La Marina 348 Dyckman St At the very tip of Riverside Dr (seriously, it’s up there) lies this giant waterfront mecca with stunning Hudson River views and $5 happy hour specials every Monday-Friday.
Watermark Bar 78 South St This casual open-air spot along the East River has badass Brooklyn Bridge views and a menu that includes fried pickle chips and watermelon spiced margaritas.
Pier A Harbor House 22 Battery Pl Statue of Liberty views, fine dining, and an extensive selection of beer, wine, and cocktails are just a few reasons why you should visit this recently converted historic landmark.
Merchants River House 375 South End Ave This casual, family-friendly spot serves up classic American eats and a large selection of drinks alongside the Hudson River.
Battery Gardens 1 Battery Park Tucked into the southernmost corner of Battery Park, this restaurant and bar serves seasonal eats and a large selection of brews against incredible Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island views.
Place to Beach 1301 Boardwalk W This open-air Tiki bar and restaurant has a solid selection of frozen drinks and beers, live music, and panoramic ocean views.
Ruby’s Bar & Grill 1213 Boardwalk W This Coney Island institution is still the place for waterside boardwalk chilling, with reliable beers, cocktails, and American eats. And don’t forget to order the funnel cake -- it’s tops.
Clemente’s Maryland Crab House 3939 Emmons Ave This crab mecca is all about fresh seafood, cold drinks, and waterside views. And if you’re feeling ambitious? Splurge on the all-you-can-eat crab special every Monday & Tuesday.
Il Fornetto 2902 Emmons Ave This marina-adjacent Italian eatery now offers a casual bar and drinks menu perfect for low-key waterfront chilling.
Low Tide Bar 96th St at the Boardwalk With a prime boardwalk location, you can’t go wrong at this reasonably priced spot serving casual beers, burgers, and cocktails.
Brooklyn Bridge Park 334 Furman St There is a whole slew of booze-serving eateries to enjoy at this East River-adjacent park, including Luke’s Lobster (epic lobster rolls), Fornino (crazy-amazing pizza), Brooklyn Bridge Garden Bar (the best place to catch sunset), and Lizzmonade (lemonade meets booze, among other things).
Smorgasburg 90 Kent Ave This mega food and drink market also happens to be waterside, as if you needed another reason to go there.
Grand Banks Pier 25 at Hudson River Park This seasonal oyster bar perched atop a historic fishing boat serves -- what else? -- an incredible selection of sustainably farmed oysters and nautically inspired cocktails like the Iron Mermaid (cachaca, lime, pineapple & bitters).
The River Café 1 Water St This landmark eatery offers sophisticated food and drinks against unobstructed views of Manhattan. But be sure to dress to impress -- there’s a dress code.
Brooklyn Crab 24 Reed St This tri-level seafood shack serves up a bevy of fresh fish entrees alongside specialty cocktails like the Zeilboot (bourbon, mint syrup, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice & soda).
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Christine Fischer is a freelance writer dedicated to a strict diet of Champagne, cookies, and the occasional pizza. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.