Where To Hang Out By The Water

When you want a reminder that it’s summer, head to one of these 18 spots.
The crowded Pilot boat.

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

New York City may not have white sand beaches or people carrying surfboards on bikes, but we do have an ocean that’s perfectly nice and a couple of rivers that are, well, rivers. And we also have a lot of good bars and restaurants very close to those bodies of water where you can get henny coladas, dozens of oysters, and a temporary break from summer in the city without actually leaving it. Here are 18 of our favorites.


photo credit: Emily Schindler



$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsDay DrinkingKidsLunchOutdoor/Patio SituationSports!
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

Look out at the water from Brooklyn Crab, and you’ll see giant container ships sitting on water that’ll remind you Brooklyn is certainly not a beach town. Even still, this Red Hook spot definitely feels summery—maybe it’s the fake sand or crab traps, which will take your mind off the fact that you’re next to warehouse parking lots. Order crab legs, popcorn shrimp, and a few pitchers of beer, and then take off your bib and play some cornhole. It’s also on the same block as Hometown Bar-B-Que, if you’re looking for surf and turf.

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Let’s get one thing straight: Pilot is a boat, but it doesn’t actually sail anywhere. The 140-foot sailboat is permanently docked off Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, making it a nice spot to hang out and watch the sunset. The menu is seafood-centric and generally pricey, so we’d recommend sticking to oysters, fries, and drinks—maybe the rum-based Permanent Vacation to start. You’ll probably sit next to someone wearing a vest who just finished work in Midtown, but that’s just part of the experience. 

The large stretch of Long Island City that sits on the East River is mostly made up of public parks, so you’re going to have to fill up a Nalgene with pinot grigio if you’re looking to drink there. Unless you go to Anable Basin, an entirely outdoor bar behind some warehouses at the end of 44th. Its hard-to-find location and excessive amount of picnic tables make it less crowded than other spots with similarly impressive views, so keep it in mind when you and your 15 closest friends are looking for a place to see another river you definitely can’t swim in.

Grand Banks is from the same team behind Pilot, and it’s pretty similar, except that it’s harder to get a table. You won’t have to stalk the reservations page a month in advance, but if it’s a warm Friday night and you realize that you want to be eating shellfish outside, you might as well try finding your own in the Hudson River. In other words, plan ahead, or bring a few friends who won’t mind having their rosé and oysters standing up. The menu is identical to the one at Pilot, with items like burrata, trout, and a lobster roll.

The city has a lot of spots to drink by the water and even more places to drink good wine, but if you want to do them both at the same time, you should go to City Vineyard. They serve solid house wines (made nearby at City Winery) on tap, and the roofdeck next to the Hudson River in Tribeca has lots of tables, bar seats, and couches overlooking the water and FiDi. It’s an ideal spot for day drinking with a group, and it gets packed with West Village dwellers on summer Saturdays, so be prepared to stand (and people watch). It’s also on the pier where you can go kayaking for free, in case you have a glass of wine and think this is the best idea ever. Bring a change of clothes.

The Honorable William Wall certainly isn’t the only place in New York to drink on a docked boat, but it’s the only spot on this list that’s not docked to land. This floating houseboat is anchored off Ellis Island, and you need to take two other boats (and pay $20) in order to get there. But you can make up for having to pay that $20 by taking advantage of the BYO food policy. Sit on the top deck, eat some shrimp cocktail, sushi, or whatever feels boat-worthy, and spend an afternoon closer to the Statue of Liberty than you’ve been since your sixth-grade field trip.

Unless you have a kayak or a thick wetsuit—and a knowledge of how to safely swim in heavily polluted waters—you’ll also need to take a boat to get to Island Oyster. This entirely outdoor spot on Governors Island is essentially just one big, long bar, and it comes from the team behind Pilot and Grand Banks. Grab a couple dozen oysters and a few colorful cocktails, and then take a seat and stare across the water at downtown Manhattan.

A lot of the places on this list are good for several cocktails, maybe some french fries, and very little food, but Celestine is a Mediterranean spot in Dumbo where you should go for a full, sit-down meal with indoor and outdoor water views. There’s a wood-fired oven in the middle of the dining room, servers who are extremely excited to tell you about their small-production wines from Croatia or the Canary Islands, and a menu that might include things like braised lamb croquettes, and a branzino for two. Bring your parents here. Or come for an outdoor date night when a crowded boat bar just won’t cut it.

Note: Rippers is not yet open for the 2024 season. Check their Instagram for updates.

After trying to read four pages of a book in the glaring sun and realizing that the beach isn’t actually a comfortable place to nap, head over to Rippers. This counter-service spot in Rockaway Beach has picnic tables right on the boardwalk, where you can have burgers and beers every day until 8pm, and there’s also frequent live music and DJs. It’s basically the boat party you’ve always wanted an invite to—on dry land—and a few hours here will make the journey home far more enjoyable.

If you’d like to hang out outside with a big group for several hours, Strong Rope Brewery is your best option. There’s a large indoor area where you could throw someone a birthday in the winter, but it’s the patio that makes it worth a trip to Red Hook whenever the temperature is above 55 degrees. Grab a picnic table out front, order a flight, and watch Lady Liberty until sunset. You can also bring your own food to Strong Rope—Defonte’s and Hoek Pizza are both close by, so plan accordingly.

Sometimes, it’s nice to have one glass of wine by a body of water and then go home and do your skincare routine. Sometimes. But when the urge for six henny coladas and some sea breeze hits, head to Johnny’s Reef on City Island. There’s a massive concrete patio where you can chug frozen cocktails and listen to someone on a motorcycle play loud music from a speaker, and inside there are cash-only counters where you can order things like battered shrimp and steamed lobster tails. Your fried clams won’t taste all that great, but you aren’t here for the food.

Thai Rock has everything you need for a really epic evening—live music, Thai food, and a huge patio on the water near the Cross Bay Bridge. Come after a day in the Rockaways, or just bring a group in the evening when you’d like to feel like you’re somewhere far away from NYC. Order huge blue margaritas or lychee martinis adorned with fruit and flower petals, and food like the Fisherman Ginger, with cod, mushrooms, and sweet-sour mango salad. Or get the Thai Rock burger with basil, and a few rounds of Chang beer, and then watch someone on a jet-ski.

The Frying Pan has a complicated past. It used to be the worst. The barge docked off Pier 66 felt like a frat party, and a night on it might end with someone vomiting on your shoes. But then something changed, and suddenly it wasn’t as hectic anymore. Now, it’s a solid post-work option for drinks on a barge, because who wouldn’t want to get to know their coworkers over a passion fruit cosmo? If you need food, there’s tacos, wings, or a burger.

This classic old-school Italian spot sits right on Sheepshead Bay and specializes in seafood, which means you could eat your raw clams and then toss the shells right back into the water where they came from. (The clams did not come from Sheepshead Bay specifically, but you get the point.) Grab a table outside after a long day at Coney Island or Brighton Beach when you are too sunburnt and sandy to do anything except eat, and get a proper spread—think raw bivalves, fried calamari, and big platters of seafood pasta.

The Baylander in Harlem isn’t a boat. It’s a former navy vessel. And you can drink alcohol and eat burgers on it. It’s a very large, pleasant place to catch a breeze, and it never gets too busy. (Probably because it’s not a boat, but a navy vessel.) While you drink a margarita, you can stare at New Jersey, and see how much traffic there is on the George Washington Bridge. If you’re lucky enough to have a summer birthday, celebrate it here and eat the signature giant pretzel. 

photo credit: Alex Staniloff



OpenTable logo

On the boardwalk at Brighton Beach you’ll find Tatiana, and as the name suggests, things tend to devolve here in the evening—you might watch an elaborately choreographed dance while you eat your branzino. But during the day, come to Tatiana to sit on the boardwalk in your bathing suit, maybe even in-between swims. Bring friends, and share okroshka and caviar while you look out at the water.

This beachside stall in Coney Island is our favorite spot for seafood along the boardwalk. Paul’s Daughter has been around since the ‘50s, and though they have things like pizza and sausage heroes, we come here to eat lobster rolls and drink frozen margaritas for several blissful hours. The lobster roll is bright and herby, and the clams taste fresher than at other spots in the area (but maybe that’s just because you can look at the water while you eat them). There are a few tables and a small bar where you can watch the sunset.

From the outside, The Osprey looks like just another overpriced waterfront hotel restaurant, and that’s because it is. But the food at this Dumbo spot is actually good. It’s not hard to make a reservation, so keep it in mind for dinner after you’ve walked the Brooklyn Bridge in the hot sun, and need pull-apart rolls with salmon rillettes and caviar, now. And if you time it right, you can take a sunset walk in Brooklyn Bridge Park after dinner.

Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested Reading

The Best Soft Serve In NYC image

The Best Soft Serve In NYC

The 18 best options for soft serve in NYC.

a party at Island Oyster on Governor's Island

Here’s where to go after you work up an appetite from all that walking and biking.

The Boat Power Rankings image

New York City’s finest nautical vessels where you can eat and drink, ranked from best to least-worst.

Infatuation Logo


2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store