Take a Dip With Birria Pizza
Overpaying for a drink is kind of a bummer when the temperature drops below 70. While your weather app still predicts days and days of heat, the views at Westlight atop the William Vale Hotel are worth the elevated bar tab. Snag a seat on the wrap-around deck for spritzes, upscale bar snacks, and skyline selfies.
This Aztec goddess-inspired upscale Mexican restaurant by Speedy Romeo’s Justin Bazdarich serves bomb guacamole and frozen margaritas on a patio separated from the busy sidewalk by a thin, hip-height strip of greenery. Dog-friendly and perfect for people watching, the space can accommodate date night, or larger groups. Ambient noise is low enough to enjoy a conversation.
The telegenic, French-inspired, New Orleans-esque neo-bistro (tldr; Instagram-friendly eatery) across from McCarren Park has one of the best sidewalk cafes in the neighborhood, uncomfortable date with your mom and her ex-boyfriend or not. Yes, they take brunch reservations.
2018 will go down in history books as the year NYC finally got a rooftop bar worth going to Midtown for. This 1920s-era art deco panoramic balcony on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower got a chic upgrade last year, allowing you to sip craft cocktails (like the summery Resurrection, made with vodka, Campari, lime, passion fruit, and hibiscus) and eat avocado toast on a historic and legitimately cool rooftop terrace.
This cocktail and seafood restaurant by the Grand Banks team requires a short ferry ride to Governors Island, but the views, and booze, are worth it. Island Oyster is only open during the warmer months, when wine, beer and tiki cocktails are pair with oysters, lobster rolls and incredibly views of the Manhattan skyline.
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Hidden in plain sight in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Rooftop Reds is currently New York City’s only commercial urban vineyard and winery, meaning they produce wines from grapes grown on their rooftop (supplemented by Finger Lakes vineyards). Visits are reservation-only, so book a spot online, and spend a warm weather sunset atop this unlikely vineyard.
This barbecue joint’s sprawling outdoor patio stays open until it’s too cold to sit outside (in which case, you can slide into the adjacent indoor space). Enjoy your hot days and nights at a wooden picnic table with baby back ribs, brisket, and frozé. Then wipe the brown sugar and sticky honey glaze off your fingers and play a round of cornhole.
You’d normally have to leave the borough for views as sweeping as you’ll see from Hotel 50 Bowery’s 21st floor. The lines here get deep, so prepare to wait for cocktails like the Free Spr-ritz (prosecco, rhubarb, grapefruit essence, violet, cynar), or stick to quicker tipples like wine and beer.
Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park
This Grand Banks spinoff welcomes waterfront drinkers into its nautical space housed on the deck an old ship. Navy-blue stools surround a U-shaped bar, big yellow-and-white striped umbrellas provide shade, and the lower Manhattan skyline glitters across the river. Pair East Coast oysters with a Mariner -- made with gin, St. Germain, absinthe, and lime.
Take one last trip out to the Bronx’s hidden fishing village to hit the large waterfront seating area at this cafeteria-style, fried seafood joint. Load up on deep fried shrimp, lobster chunks, and calamari; grab a $6 frozen daiquiri; and sit at one of the many shareable metal picnic benches looking out over the Long Island Sound.
That outdoor bar your friend who moved to Ridgewood disappeared to all summer? Nowadays. From the team behind the Mister Sunday dance parties, this massive backyard hosts a never-ending celebration -- complete with live music, ping-pong, and cheap drinks (beer starts at $5) -- that may make those sticky summer nights a little more bearable.
Chef Missy Robbins’ sensational pasta restaurant is nearly impossible to get into, but a sizable outdoor seating area open to walk-ins makes trying the legendary malfadini far more feasible. If you do have to wait, grab a seat in the public, Wi-Fi-equipped park across the street.
One of the best square slices in New York is procured from a window at this old-school South Brooklyn red-sauce joint. Bring a crew to order a whole square pie (the fluffy crust is deceivingly light) and pick a spot at one of the outdoor metal benches.
Though this Crown Heights bar has ample indoor space, the outdoor picnic benches and beer garden are the best reason to hang out here. Grab a draft beer or a boozy milkshake and some chili cheese fries and spread out at one of the many outdoor tables.
Just one step away from drinking on an actual boat, the anchored-down Brooklyn Barge lets you imbibe outside without the seasickness. Completely outdoors, this festive barge offers plenty of communal tables and open space, all illuminated by party lights and skyscrapers across the East River at night. Go for the $8 glasses of Long Island wine on tap and $24 pitches of draft beer.
This international Italian mini-chain opened its first New York outpost last summer, claiming one of the best views in Dumbo, if not all of New York. Skip the stylish interior for a wicker seat on the shaded patio, where you can feast on a wide range of pasta, risotto, wood-fired proteins, and pizzas all day long.
If you don’t know about the quaint and impressively quiet backyard hidden behind this tiny French bakery, make it your mission to check it out before the door locks for the season. Grab a seat at the communal farm table or one a few two-seaters, sip an iced matcha, eat a pastry, read a book, and enjoy the much-needed Downtown respite.
If eating pasta at a sidewalk cafe is your thing, look no further than Bar Pitti, the legendary celebrity hangout known for simple Italian food. While you might not catch Kendall Jenner twirling spaghetti in the dining room, the cluster of sidewalk tables on Sixth Avenue are prime for people-watching (and penne alla vodka-eating).
This quaint Italian joint in the West Village, co-owned by powerhouses Jody Williams (Buvette) and Rita Sodi (I Sodi), always has a substantial wait, thanks to its no-reservations policy. While the list of names on the wall (literally, the waitlist is chalked on the entry wall every night) is no shorter in the summer, the addition of romantic two-seater tables on Grove Street makes the hour-plus wait progress a little faster -- plus, you can sneak in some people-watching before indulging in homemade pasta and veggie-focused sides.
Should you find yourself in the mood to ogle New Yorkers’ yachts and slightly less-enviable sailboats, grab an outdoor seat at Boat Basin, a cafe and bar on the west end of Riverside Park, adjacent to the Hudson River boat parking lot you probably didn’t know existed. The menu is basic here (avocado toast, hot dogs, big salads) but you’re really here for the views and the unobstructed breeze, best enjoyed over a shared pitcher of strawberry margaritas or a bucket of Coronas.
South Street Seaport
Summer is pretty much the only season when it’s worth visiting the South Street Seaport, so head down to the lowest tip of Manhattan before the cooler weather hits. Industry Kitchen boasts an impressively large dockside patio, so you can people-watch and boat-watch outdoors while picking through a pot of mussels and sipping a Summer House -- vodka, St. Germain, lemon, strawberry, Prosecco.
Upper West Side
Dim sum outdoors is a rarity in New York, so be sure to take advantage of the patio dining at the Upper West Side offshoot of this popular Chinatown behemoth. The menu offers all the same dumpling and noodle dishes you can get Downtown, in addition to a craft cocktail list full of Chinese-inspired ingredients.