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It's peak rooftop-bar season again. Who doesn't love these seasonal sky-high lounges, where you can sip mint-infused cocktails amidst stop-you-in-your-tracks New York City skyline views? No one we know. So, whether you're a tourist in search of bird's-eye panoramas of the Big Apple, or just looking for a fun alfresco spot to hang with friends, here are the best NYC rooftop bars.
The Ides Bar on the sixth floor of the Wythe Hotel has been around a while, but it's still one of the best rooftop bars to enjoy a well-made craft cocktail — not to mention the fab people-watching and some of the best Manhattan views in the borough, whether it be from the outdoor deck or the indoor space.
What to order: Try a gin-based Sixth-Floor Sling (a take on the Singapore Sling), made with allspice, cherry, apricot, and lime.
Bar SixtyFive has some of the most spectacular skyline views in all of New York City. Located on the 65th floor of Rockefeller Center, the bar is part of the iconic Rainbow Room (which, sadly, is only open for private events). There's an outdoor terrace, but the jaw-dropping views are visible from anywhere in this luxurious lounge.
What to order: The 1915 Gin & Tonic, made with Dorothy Parker gin, lemon, bitters, and tonic.
You'd be hard-pressed to come across a better north-south view of Central Park than the one you'll find at this indoor-outdoor rooftop bar, which sits high above 57th Street in the upscale Viceroy Central Park hotel. Lounge on the rich leather couches while sipping a single-malt whiskey.
What to order: Try the prosciutto and cheese plate, served with warm ciabatta bread.
The indoor/outdoor Magic Hour, a year-round 10,000-square-foot rooftop lounge atop the new Moxy NYC Times Square, has a fun carnival-like vibe. You'll find funhouse mirrors, whimsical Putt-Putt holes, oversized topiary in naughty poses, and a rotating "carousel" with cushioned seats. Imbibed too much? You can always stay in one of the hotel's $99 "crash pads."
What to order: The super-sized drinks are super fun. One of Magic Hour's vodka-based cocktails is served in a large disco ball!
Take in the stunning views of the Chrysler building and other midtown landmarks while on the rooftop bar atop the Hyatt Centric Times Square New York called Bar 54 on ... yes, the hotel's 54th floor. The bar serves seasonal cocktails and snacks like meatball sliders and mushroom flatbread.
What to order: The Peach Therapy cocktail made with aged rum goes down real easy.
Perched atop the William Vale hotel, Westlight is a trendy rooftop bar that has awesome NYC views (one can never tire of looking at the Empire State Building) from its wraparound terrace. It also serves small plates from chef Andrew Carmellini of The Dutch and Locanda Verde.
What to order: You can't go wrong with dumplings — try either the shrimp or charred eggplant.
The Press Lounge, a gorgeous rooftop bar within the Kimpton Ink48 Hotel, is way over on 11th Avenue, but it's so worth the schlep for the eye-widening panoramas of New York City skyscrapers and the Hudson River beyond. There's both indoor and outdoor seating.
What to order: There's a nice selection of wines by the glass, and even a few wines on tap, including a syrah from Mendocino.
Located atop the Hilton in the Fashion District, the Rare View rooftop lounge has hard-to-top 360-degree skyline views. The crowd might include 9-to-5ers looking to let off a little steam and folks having a beer before a concert or game at the Garden.
What to order: The sliders are a can't-miss appetizer. Still hungry? Head to the hotel's ground-floor restaurant Rare Bar & Grill, which serves gourmet burgers.
Located atop 50 Bowery, a boutique hotel in the newly hip Chinatown area featuring artwork from graffiti artist Dake Wong, The Crown has Asian-inspired cocktails and small bites like a lobster banh mi, plus sweeping skyline views from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the indoor bar.
What to order: The Thai basil watermelon margarita is a perfect summer cocktail.
On the edge of Soho is Arlo Roof Top, a sexy cocktail lounge with a VIP area, atop the Arlo Soho hotel. Enjoy a glass of frosé or a handcrafted cocktail (the menu is overseen by Employees Only's Milos Zica) and a few light bites like guacamole and chips, wings, or a mezze platter, while taking in the gorgeous views of the Hudson River.
What to order: The Arlo Picante, made with mezcal, grapefruit juice, and spiced bitters.
The people watching at the indoor/outdoor Mr. Purple, located atop the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side, is a close second to the jaw-dropping views. Soak up both scenes while enjoying a few drinks from the classic cocktail menu, such as dirty martinis and negronis.
What to order: After a few drinks, small bites like beef sliders and calamari hit the spot.
Located within the Ian Schrager-owned Public Hotel on the Lower East Side, this sky-high lounge is simply known as The Roof. After work, take in top-tier views of Lower Manhattan from the oversized windows. Late at night, it morphs into a club-like scene with international DJs.
What to order: The bartenders here make a mean martini.
Get a taste of Down Under at this rustic, Aussie-inspired rooftop bar in an old factory in Greenpoint. Order a James Boag's Lager from Tasmania and try to snag one of the reclaimed wooden booths overlooking the lower Manhattan skyline, and just enjoy the mellow vibe, especially scenic at sunset.
What to order: The Aussie meat pie with mashed potatoes and mushy peas.
Drink large glass steins of Belgian and German beer at this fun rooftop beer bar in Williamsburg. The beer menu has everything from Spaten and Leffe to Palm and Delirium Tremens. The views are sweet, but you might get distracted due to the European soccer matches being shown on the flat-screens.
What to order: If you want to take a break from beer, order a glass of Blackthorn Cider.
This charming little rooftop space, decorated with strung-up lights, is in the Pod Hotel on 39th Street, surrounded by Midtown’s office towers (and you can also see the East River), is always buzzing when the weather heats up. Things kick off at happy hour and go well into the night.
What to order: The signature Salvation margarita, rimmed with guajillo chili salt, is hard to resist.
There are plenty of high-rises around this rooftop bar atop the recently renovated Park South Hotel, the newest addition to the Joie de Vivre NYC hotel collection, but the iconic art deco Chrysler Building gleams more brightly than all others. This is a great spot to enjoy classic cocktails, including martinis and Manhattans, as well as craft cocktails, such as the newly unveiled blue-hued mai tai and a yellow-colored Moscow Mule.
What to order: The Miami Vice is a frozen concoction that's equal parts piña colada and strawberry daiquiri!
While the Lower Manhattan views from 1 Rooftop, atop Dumbo's eco-friendly 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, are definitely Instagram bait, the star of the show is the Brooklyn Bridge. Snap selfies in front of the iconic span while sipping craft beers and cocktails.
What to order: The Dark and Stormy made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum is as good as you'll find in Bermuda.
This new rooftop bar sits atop the Beekman Tower, an art deco beauty built in 1928. Once upon a time, its rooftop bar attracted the likes of Frank Sinatra, and its newest incarnation is an elegantly designed space with ruby red velvet banquettes, a 24-foot-long pewter bar, and handcrafted cocktails, such as Ophelia's Ascension.
What to order: Small plates like Hudson Valley foie gras with dried cherries.
Sitting atop the Dream Downtown, the PHD Rooftop Lounge is a gorgeously designed space with royal-blue leather couches, marble-topped tables, and Hudson River and skyline views, including a stunning vista of the Empire State Building. If you're in midtown, stop by its sister lounge, the PHD Terrace in the Dream Midtown.
What to order: The Blackberry Smash cocktail is made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, blackberries, and fresh lemon juice.
Beat the summer heat with a cocktail or glass of Champagne during happy hour on the rooftop lounge at the Hotel Henri in the Flatiron District. The space is designed with mid-century-modern furniture and lots of foliage, creating an intimate hideaway — but one with views of the Freedom Tower.
What to order: The daiquiri, made with white rum and banana liqueur, is the perfect summer drink.
If you can't make it out to Yankee Stadium or Citi Field to see a game, the next best thing is watching the game from the comfort of a plush banquette on the outdoor terrace at The Ainsworth, a popular midtown sports bar. The 2,500-square-foot space features flatscreens, lounge seating, and a wooden deck floor.
What to order: Try the refreshing Midsummer Mule, made with vodka, blueberries, lavender syrup, lemon, and ginger beer.
The Monarch Rooftop Lounge, on the 18th floor of the Courtyard by Marriott Herald Square, has both indoor and outdoor space and a straight-on view of the Empire State Building. Stop by for a glass of wine or beer after work, and as it gets later, the music gets louder and the crowd gets sexier.
What to order: When you need a bite to eat to tide you over, order the shrimp or chicken tacos.
Get a gander at the Crossroads of the World while on the massive deck at Social Food & Drink at the Yotel New York, a funky budget hotel in Times Square. It's a fun spot to meet up with friends and have a few casual drinks and light bites like lobster rolls and crab cake sliders, all while taking in the lights of Times Square.
What to order: A classic margarita definitely hits the spot.
Just a few minutes' walk from Bryant Park in the up-and-coming Garment District is the Refinery Hotel, which has a sky-high lounge called the Refinery Rooftop. You'll find everyone from fashion industry workers to tourists hanging out, enjoying the Empire State views and cocktails ranging from mojitos to margaritas.
What to order: The flatbreads are super popular — try the roasted mushroom or soppressata.
If you're in the mood for a martini, Castell — a brand-new rooftop bar atop the design-driven AC Hotel New York Times Square — is where you need to be. The indoor/outdoor space features leather, marble, and wood accents. If you're hungry, order small plates, or head downstairs to Boqueria to feast on tapas and sangria.
What to order: The dirty martinis definitely hit the spot.
Don't forget to pin these fun rooftop bars in NYC!