Drinking a mimosa next to a chimney on the roof or your pre-war building can be nice. But you aren’t going to find panoramic views of the city or a dance floor with a disco ball up there. Fortunately, the 23 places on this guide are all open for the summer. Some of them are relatively civilized spots where you can sit down for a meal and catch up with a cousin who’s forcing you to show them around town, and others have bright pink booths, tropical themes, and swimming pools that you can fall into when you need to get away from everyone around you.
photo credit: Michael Kleinberg
If you want to see what kind of view you could have if you threw a couple hundred million dollars at a penthouse on Central Park South, head to this rooftop bar on the 47th floor of the Park Lane New York. Darling has a central lounge area surrounded by a brightly-lit hallway with carriage-like seating and an enclosed, awning-covered patio with lots of greenery and a DJ playing disco and funk. That patio is where you’ll get the best views as you sip on cocktails ($22-$25) and snack on bites like spicy chicken sliders and basil arancini. Come here when you want to impress someone (and yourself). Darling isn’t just a cool bar for something that’s in a hotel in Midtown—it’s a cool bar period.
photo credit: Kenny Yang
This FiDi bar feels fancy, but you can come here dressed casually, the staff is really friendly, and any photo you take outside could go straight on a postcard. Since this place limits the number of people in the indoor lounge to around 35, it never feels crowded. The real reason to come to Overstory, however, is the huge outdoor terrace, which wraps all the way around in an uninterrupted circle and has a surprisingly large number of tables and chairs. No food is served at Overstory, so come here on a date night after dinner when you're in the mood to be outside.
The Rooftop at the the Rockaway Hotel
If you’re looking to have a nautical moment without leaving the city, the sixth-floor rooftop at the Rockaway Hotel is your best option. This bar has views of the Atlantic just a few blocks from the beach, with an indoor space on one side and an outdoor terrace on the other. We’d tolerate mediocre rooftop fare in exchange for the ocean view—but the food and drinks here are actually great. You’d think a rooftop by the beach would turn into Spring Break pretty quickly, but this place feels like a calm, beachside daytime spot, even when they turn the music up and the bar fills up towards sunset.
When it's warm outside and you want to drink beer, head over to Greenpoint Beer & Ale Co. This brewery sits at the far northern tip of Greenpoint, and you’ll find a big open-air patio on top of the brewery with some picnic tables and a purely decorative stained glass water tower. They serve a bunch of beers that are brewed in house, and there are also some bar snacks like fried pickles, mozzarella sticks, and a hot chicken sandwich. The view won’t change your life (unless you’re really into looking at pricey new housing developments), but, as far as NYC rooftops go, this is one of the most pleasant ones.
photo credit: Eric Medsker
Dear Irving on Hudson
Dear Irving on Hudson is a perfect place to get to know someone who might become more than a friend one day. The views are great, the cocktails are well-made, and there are little "seating stations" (made for two) that will make you feel like you're in your own little bubble as you try to figure out what the day's colors on the Empire State Building mean. This sister bar to Dear Irving takes up both the 40th and 41st floors of the Aliz Hotel Times Square, so there's plenty of space for big groups too. Most of the seating is indoors, but there are multiple open-air balconies.
Neon lights, custom gnome sculptures, and a state-of-the-art sound system all contribute to the EDM-festival feel at Somewhere Nowhere, a two-story indoor lounge and open-air rooftop on the 38th and 39th floor of the Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel. Bottle service and very loud DJ sets start at 10pm—but if you make a reservation before their late-night service starts, it feels a little more wholesome, and you won’t see anyone other than the waitstaff in bodycon dresses. Stop by on the earlier side, and you might be able to catch a live jazz band, some aerial performances, or burlesque for no extra cover charge. The actual rooftop is a bit more sleek than the indoor space (less neon, more neutrals), and it has a pool for you to enjoy cocktails around.
photo credit: Kenny Yang
The Crown is the type of place where you might see someone walk in dressed in a full puffy NASA spacesuit (which is something we've actually witnessed). Pretty much anything goes at this rooftop bar on the 21st floor of the Hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown. This spot has two outdoor areas with a huge indoor space in between where you and a few friends can dance while a DJ spins some Southern hip hop. But, despite all the room, it can still get packed here. Cocktails are $18, or you can get bottle service starting at $500 if your pseudo celebrity friend is paying. The next time you want to be outside with 360-degree views of Manhattan while wearing that outfit you'd put on for the Met Gala (or whatever you feel comfortable in), head to The Crown.
Castell Rooftop is perfect for any type of drinking situation that you can put on your corporate card. It’s at the top of the AC Hotel, and it’s a somewhat upscale cocktail lounge with big windows, nice banquette seating, and an outdoor area with booths and a view of Midtown. Cocktails here can get into the $20 range, but not a lot of people know about this place, so it’s usually pretty easy to get into.
The Refinery Hotel is surrounded by about 1,000 different office buildings, so you’re going to find a lot of people trying to hang out out here after work. You might even have trouble getting a table. If you want to play it safe, make a reservation. This is a pretty casual rooftop with some brick walls and comfy chairs, and there’s both an indoor and an outdoor area. It’s great for groups, so find a bunch of coworkers you don’t mind and bring them up here. If someone’s hungry, there’s a lot of decent bar food: flatbreads, kale salad, etc.
The team behind places like Magic Hour and Tao Downtown opened this East Village rooftop bar. It has retractable glass walls and ceilings, panoramic views of lower Manhattan, and coolers full of beer and wine cans that you can order to keep a big group happy. If you get hungry, snack on some beef brisket barbacoa tacos or fresh churros.
JIMMY at Modernhaus SoHo
If Make Believe and Mr. Purple are the rooftop equivalents of 22-year-olds who just learned that fabric softener isn’t the same thing as detergent, Jimmy at the Modernhaus Hotel is a 30-year-old who separates whites and colors. This rooftop at the Modernhaus Soho hotel has a big indoor area with a fireplace, hardwood floors, and modular sofas. There’s also a patio with a view of lower Manhattan and a pool that could fit roughly one pick-up truck. Yes, you can actually swim in the pool.
Eataly Flatiron’s rooftop restaurant Serra by Birreria is not actually outdoors at all. It’s really more like a greenhouse-style dining room on the 14th floor of a gourmet market with tons of fake flowers overhead. But once you get past this technicality, Serra is a great place to hang out with a group and share a meat and cheese plate or eat some bread with very soft butter. It won’t exactly feel like a rager, but there are some great cocktails here (including a few frozen ones) and a solid selection of Italian beers. We’ve found that Serra will only seat you if you have a reservation, but it’s usually pretty easy to find a table online.
There are plenty of rooftops where you can party in NYC, but Honey’s is the only one we know of that involves dancing in an urban garden above a micro-meadery. This taproom and restaurant in the middle of industrial Bushwick feels like a suitable option for people who have outgrown Mood Ring but still want to have a fun night out. And while you could always stop by for a casual drink with a view here during the week, Honey’s rooftop really comes alive on weekends. Head up the big metal staircase to the rooftop garden after 10pm on a Saturday, and you’ll probably find a DJ booth and a small bar area with people swaying side-to-side between several rows of plant beds.
We especially like this Gramercy spot (at the top of the Freehand Hotel) because it feels like a big, cool cocktail bar that just happens to be on a rooftop. This place serves great drinks, and it looks like a 1960s tropical-themed lounge. There’s a large indoor space filled with potted plants and wicker furniture, as well as a wraparound patio with lots of tables. The only catch is that you might have to wait in line to get in, but it's not like you have to wear the right shoes in order to get admitted.
The rooftop patio at this cocktail bar is one of our long-standing favorite outdoor drinking options in Williamsburg. If enjoying several margaritas under a galaxy of string lights sounds nice, make Night of Joy your go-to place for getting drinks with friends in the neighborhood. There are usually a few big groups celebrating something up on the roof, so it tends to get a little rowdy after 9pm. But on the first floor of the bar, you’ll find a few paisley-printed loveseats, a fireplace that looks like it’s been there since the 1930, and several quiet corners for when you need to hear yourself think.
The Greens is the newest addition to Pier 17 at the Seaport District. The rooftop bar is made up of 32 individual mini-lawns that each have umbrellas, love seats, and enough lounge chairs to accommodate up to eight people. Along with food and drinks from R17, they also have a 32-feet wide screen that streams major sporting events. You can reserve a mini-lawn through their website.
This tropical-themed cocktail bar on the 7th floor of the Sixty LES hotel has two outdoor terraces. Those terraces will probably be packed if you stop by on a reasonably warm weekend night—because this is a rooftop on the Lower East Side. The nice thing is, you can always make a reservation to sit in a big pink booth and drink a sake cocktail if you don't want to have to stand in line in order to get in.
If you want to dance on a rooftop while you drink out of a small plastic cup and watch the sunset in Bushwick, Elsewhere is where you should go. This is a big music venue in a warehouse with a few separate spaces, including a large rooftop where you can hang out and dance. That rooftop reopens on May 29th, and we highly suggest you stop by at least once this summer if you want don't want to be full of regret once the weather gets cold again. You can check the DJ schedule and buy tickets on their website.
If you’re looking for a rooftop with a live salsa band, plenty of socially distant tables, and more life-size props than a Disney ride, head to Zona De Cuba in The Bronx. This huge Caribbean restaurant has a colorful dance floor, gaudy chandeliers you’d find at an estate sale, and a booth made from the back of an old-school Chevy. They’re taking reservations for dinner and weekend brunch right now, and you can book a table on their website.
A vineyard, but on a roof. That’s essentially what you’ll find at this rooftop wine bar in Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has rows of grape vines you’ll want to touch. It’s also one of the most unique rooftop experiences you can have in the city. To drink wine at a picnic table, on a bench swing, or in a hammock at Rooftop Reds, you’ll have to make a reservation. They also serve beer, just in case you’re inviting someone who considers wine a sedative.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Westlight is on the top floor of The William Vale hotel, and the view here makes most other rooftops feel like subway stops that sit above ground. It’s the perfect place to celebrate a birthday or the fact that your summer no longer involves explaining the difference between East, West, and Greenwich Village to an out-of-towner. Just make sure to book a table in advance. You aren’t the only one who enjoys sitting on a couch while staring at the Manhattan skyline.
If there’s anything to know about the infamous Mr. Purple, it’s that this LES rooftop typically gets extremely crowded. It’s a staple for the LES party scene, but it’s also on the roof of a nice hotel. You can eat brunch at a table, drink a cold brew martini on a couch, or jump into the pool if you need to cool off. They’re open seven days a week, and you can make a reservation online.
The Soho location of Arlo Roof Top (or A.R.T. for short) has string lights, graffiti art, and a pretty nice view of the Hudson River. Plus, the patio here is huge, and it doesn’t get quite as busy as some other rooftops downtown. So if you want to sip a frozen drink and listen to loud electronic music without having to wait in a line to do it, this place is a great option. A.R.T. Soho is taking walk-ins, but you can also book a table online.
A.R.T Nomad is a laid back rooftop near Midtown that has some nice city views and a few couches where you can sit and drink a good cocktail. When the weather is nice, this is actually one of the best bar options in the area. A.R.T Nomad tends to get busy, however, so be sure to book a reservation. Once you get here, you can enjoy some snacks like labneh and tahini with housemade pita chips.
We understand that an upscale rooftop with bottle service, a circus theme, and a mini-golf course isn’t going to work for everyone. But if you’re looking for a fun place to get drinks with a view, you can try this spot on top of the Moxy Hotel in Times Square. Magic Hour also offers rooftop brunch on weekends, and while you don’t need to make a reservation to enjoy it, it’s probably a good idea.
If you didn’t know that Restoration Hardware (yes, the luxury furniture store) opened a massive rooftop restaurant in the Meatpacking District, surprise. This is it. RH Rooftop is a huge restaurant with chandeliers, shrubbery, and pricey American food. Make a reservation in advance, so you won’t need to pass the time on a couch that costs as much as a new car.