From trendy midtown clubs to laid-back Park Slope hidden gems, we have found the best rooftop bars in NYC. Read on for our guide to the city’s 10 coolest elevated drinkeries, and find out where you can sip a cocktail or a beer with a gorgeous view of the city surrounding you.
The Pod 39 Hotel’s lovely rooftop bar might hover precariously on the edge of fratastic Murray Hill, but don’t let that stop you from stopping in for a drink or two. The bar, which opened in 2012, offers a glittering view of the Empire State Building and Lower Manhattan, framed by the hotel’s brick facade, twinkling lights and funky archways. Drinks average about $12 here – a steal, by rooftop bar standards – and you can score guacamole and chips from the hotel’s in-house eatery, Salvation Taco.
Add: 145 East 39th Street between Lexington and 3rd Aves in Midtown East
The McKittrick Hotel’s bewitching outdoor bar boasts some pretty gorgeous decor, with vintage train tracks and boxcars, lush greenery, live jazz music and, like the sprawling Sleep No More set that lives below, an ethereal, haunting old-world ambiance. The rooftop bar opened for the season last weekend, and they’re promising plenty of creative cocktails this time around. Expect drinks to run about $15, with punch bowls to share clocking in around $50/$75.
Add: 542 West 27th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Ave in Chelsea
Night of Joy
For a far more casual rooftop drinking experience, try this Williamsburg bar abutting the BQE. Night of Joy trades $16 cocktails, long lines and fancy attire for graffiti decor and patio furniture. They’ve got a stellar happy hour deal from 5 to 8 p.m., with signature cocktails and (VERY LARGE AND STRONG) frozen margaritas running $6-a-pop. You can also score $4 beers and other discount cocktails, plus it’s a lot easier to grab a metal table in the afternoon than in prime Saturday Night Brooklyn time.
Night of Joy is located at 667 Lorimer Street between Jackson Street and the BQE in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
The Crow’s Nest
There’s a common thread that ties together most rooftop bars, namely that they’re usually a lot pricier than their sea-level companions. The same can be said of this East River oasis, where the three-shrimp Shrimp Cocktail runs you $17 and even a bucket of six domestic beers goes for $35. But perched atop the yacht permanently moored around 30th Street, you’re awarded unobstructed views across the estuary and into Long Island City across the way. By day, admire the austere yet beautifully simple United Nations; at night, twinkling lights even make the Ed Koch Bridge look dreamy. You can even see the Chrysler Building peek out from behind the crush of Midtown skyscrapers. Just bring your finance friend and let them pick up the tab.
Add: Water Club at 500 East 30th Street by the East River in Kips Bay
Gaze at the Manhattan skyline from across the East River at this 3,000-square-foot roof deck. After a recent renovation, the aerie features a retractable glass roof, so you can hang out when it’s sunny or raining. Quaff European brews that skew German, like the Schöfferhofer grapefruit Hefeweizen ($7), as you chow down on boozing-friendly eats such as bratwurst with sauerkraut ($6). There’s also a DJ during the weekly boozy Sunday Brunch (2pm).
Add: 4 Berry St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
While the music pounds downstairs, this LES rooftop offers a palm-studded oasis with white chaise lounges. On Saturdays between 10pm and 1am, the spot is often packed with large group reservations (fortune, it seems, favors the popular and organized). Head there on Sundays and Mondays for two-for-one well drinks.
Add: 168 Delancey St, New York, NY 10002
The Ides at the Wythe Hotel
This outdoor terrace bar on the Wythe Hotel’s sixth floor affords sweeping views of the East River and Manhattan, and it’s an ideal vantage point for watching summer sunsets while lingering over a Professor Fritz Briem tall boy ($16) or a quaff made from local small-batch spirits. Sure, the crowd comprises mostly globe-trotting cool kids from outside the five boroughs, but consider that another avenue to finding a guilt-free fling.
Add: 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
When you tire of Williamsburg’s dive bars, head up the stairs of this French bistro for a glass of vin on the wooden terrace that’s dotted with trees. The roof deck is now more conducive to drinkers: The same menu is offered as in the restaurant below, and DJs are occasionally spinning.
Add: 135 N 5th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Getting past the doorman can be tough work at the rooftop bar of the still-trendy Standard Hotel, but your trials will be rewarded with stunning views of the Hudson River and downtown Manhattan. The bi-level boîte boasts an artificial-turfed alfresco bar with garden chairs and large, round pouf ottomans that can easily accommodate upwards of three reclining friends. Don’t just bypass the lower-level room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a Jacuzzi – it hosts appropriately hip parties with top-notch DJs, like the weekly Nouveau York bash (Sun 9pm–3am; free).
Add: 848 Washington St, New York, NY 10014
Satisfy yourself with the excellent views of the Meatpacking District at this rooftop lounge at the Gansevoort. Unless you want to flash the cash for bottle service or cram into the back garden on the bumping weekend evenings, we recommend going midweek to enjoy the vista in peace while nursing a $15 cocktail.
Add: 18 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014