We’re not sure exactly what dining out in NYC is going to look like in a few months, but it’s safe to say that a lot of this summer’s eating and drinking will be done outside. Because of NYC’s Open Streets program, and all of the places offering outdoor dining for the very first time, you now have more options than ever. Even so, there will probably come a time when you need a break from hot asphalt and curious basset hounds, and want to get drinks and food by the water. When that time comes, head to any of these 17 spots.
Celestine serves great Eastern Mediterranean food, it has an outdoor patio on the river with incredible views of the Brooklyn Bridge, and this summer, it’s also offering a pop-up called Bad Trip that’s serving fantastic burgers. We’d happily head to Dumbo for any one of those things, let alone all three, plus animal-style fries and frozen cocktails.
The Honorable William Wall
The Honorable William Wall should be at the top of the list for anyone who considers themselves a less awful-sounding version of a “boating enthusiast.” Not only is it a boat-bar anchored off of Ellis Island, but you can only get there by taking two other boats first. Once you’re onboard, you can order drinks and eat whatever food you bring with you while overlooking Manhattan.
Johnny's Famous Reef Restaurant
Clams by the dozen, lots of fried seafood, $3 beers, and views of the Long Island Sound. You can get all of that at Johnny’s Reef, a classic seafood spot on City Island in The Bronx that’s open daily from 11:30am-10pm (11pm on weekends).
Drinking rosé outside during the summer is an objectively pleasant experience. Drinking rosé on a boat is objectively better. In the unlikely event that you need to be convinced of this, head to Grand Banks. This sailboat docked on Hudson River in Tribeca is open and taking reservations through their website.
The original PJ Clarke’s opened in Midtown East 1884, and you’ll find the same great burgers and checkered tablecloths at their location overlooking a yacht harbor near Brookfield Place. Reservations at this classic American spot are available from 3-10pm every day through their website.
Brooklyn Crab is always great, but it’s best in July and August, when you can sit at outdoor tables covered in steam pots of king crab and corn on the cob, and watch container ships pass Red Hook on their way out to sea. So while it’s disappointing that they haven’t opened until July 1st this year, at least you can enjoy it during the summer.
Drinking on the river in Long Island City typically requires taking advantage of the fact that spiked seltzer looks exactly like water, unless you go to Anable Basin. This outdoor bar is in a hard-to-find location behind some warehouses, which keeps it from getting as crowded as other bars on the river. You can take advantage of that Friday through Sunday with drinks, bar food, and great views of Manhattan.
We like hanging out on the water enough to overlook the fact that drink options tend to be pretty limited. A notable exception is City Vineyard, which makes their own wine, and serves it on their rooftop patio in Tribeca. The big, first come first served space on the Hudson River running path is open on Thursday and Friday from 4-10pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 12-10pm.
In Riverside Park South, Pier I Cafe is open every day, weather permitting. So the next time the weather permits, and you find yourself in the mood for some wine and fried calamari, head to this seasonal, riverside spot on the Upper West Side.
Ellington in the Park
Another seasonal spot in Riverside Park, Ellington In The Park has opened its big, riverside patio for outdoor dining. Bar food ranging from hot dogs with spicy aioli to bacon and Stilton-topped pizzas is available daily from 11am-11pm. Even if you’re not hungry, keep it in mind for drinks, especially when you can watch the sunset over the Hudson River.
The views you get from the awning-covered patio in front of Cecconi’s are pretty great. Not only are you right on the Dumbo waterfront overlooking Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, but you also have a front row seat to one of the most popular Instagram backgrounds in the city. Whichever way you decide to focus your attention, you can enjoy various types of negronis and some tuna tartare. great spot to drink a spritz or any of their six types of negronis. Reservations, including ones for weekend lunch, are available through their website.
Merchants River House
Merchants River House looks like a private club for people who live in Battery Park City, or for anyone who docks their yacht by Brookfield Place a short walk away. But this American spot on the Hudson River running path isn’t private, and you can get an outdoor table overlooking the river any day by making a reservation through their website.
Battello is in Jersey City, so if that’s a dealbreaker for you, feel free to keep scrolling. But if it’s not, then you can take advantage of this Italian spot’s fantastic outdoor dining situation. It’s at the end of a pier on the Hudson River, with phenomenal views of the Manhattan skyline, and live music from 6-9pm Thursday through Saturday. You can make a reservation for dinner or weekend brunch through their website.
An outdoor table is always the best place to sit at Industry Kitchen. So while it’s also the only place to sit at the moment, we’re not complaining. Order a pizza topped with spicy soppressata, and have some drinks while looking out on Brooklyn, or people-watching on the East River running path. Reservations are available through their website.
Part of the view from Industry Kitchen is the East River and Brooklyn, and another part is Watermark Bar. It’s a few steps away, further out on the river by way of being at the end of Pier 15. Sit at one of the picnic tables overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, and have some oysters and caipirinhas any day between 5-10pm, or 12-10pm on weekends.
photo credit: Emily Schindler
Whether or not you’ve been drinking wine out of water bottles in Domino Park for a while now is neither here nor there. Now that Tacocina has reopened, you can do it on the up and up. From 11am-5pm every day, you can place your order through their website, and have some chicken tinga tacos and margaritas at a table overlooking the East River.
From Dumbo, a five-minute Uber or a slightly longer walk along the water in Brooklyn Bridge Park will take you to Fornino. In addition to some good Neapolitan-style pizzas and a full bar, the outdoor seating at this spot on Pier 6 has nice views lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. They accept walk-ins, but you can also make a reservation through their website for a table between 12-10pm any day except Monday.