6 NYC Rooftop Bars Where You Won't Have To Wait In Line
Rooftop bars that don't get too busy, so you won't have to wait an hour for your spritz.
When you imagined yourself hanging out on a rooftop this summer, the look didn't include pit stains or one of those dorky neck fans. Luckily, there are plenty of rooftop options beyond Le Bain and Mr. Purple, and we found you a few where you won't have to wait in line outside like you're about to buy a lawnmower on Black Friday. Get yourself a spritz ASAP at one of these low-key, uncrowded bars.
Daintree is a very cute rooftop lounge that gets just full enough to give the bar some life, but not so full that it's impossible get a walk-in spot on one of their pink couches. You should make a reservation if you have a bigger group or want to be absolutely sure you won’t have to wait—but you probably won’t have to wait more than 10 minutes even if you don't. Either way, they don’t do lines. The only thing to keep in mind is that the outdoor terrace is small, so you’ll likely be sipping your martini and looking out at the Empire State building from the inside during peak hours.
5 O’clock Somewhere
Despite being in the middle of Times Square, this bar at the top of the Margaritaville resort has a bright blue couch waiting for you no matter what time you walk in. You won’t feel super immersed in the Buffet Universe up here (that’s saved for the booth inside the replica Statue of Liberty in the restaurant downstairs), but this a perfectly fine rooftop with good vibes and a lot of chill, embodying the Margaritaville spirit if not the aesthetic. Lines aren’t chill and neither are stuffy dress codes, so come here to skip all of that and drink a big colorful drink in your flip flops.
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photo credit: Versa
Everywhere you look at this fifth-floor bar in the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, there are nooks where you can sit and hang out. This place has an indoor area with tons of seating that flows into an even bigger outdoor space with a retractable roof and terrace filled with tourists taking in views of Penn Plaza and the Empire State Building. There are multiple bars to order drinks from, and the food is surprisingly decent. You'll also be within a few feet of a TV no matter where you are here, so if you're in the mood to watch grown people who get paid a lot of money to play with balls for a living, Versa is a good spot to do it.
Social Drink and Food
Social Drink and Food is a rooftop in Midtown that feels kind of like an elaborate hostel, except it’s much nicer, and you won’t see any bare feet. This bar is also huge. On any given day, they might break out foosball tables, a popcorn machine, or a screen for a rooftop movie night on the spacious open terrace. With its big tables and wrap-around couches, this is a useful spot if someone invited everyone at the office for a last-minute hang after work.
The Kimberly Hotel
Upstairs at the Kimberly–with its Midtown clientele–doesn’t seem like the type of place that would have a line, but you could find one here just a few years ago. The atmosphere now is a little calmer, and the place fills up the most at brunch when things feel a little looser, but you’re unlikely to have to wait outside and get sweat stains on your button down before you even get in. Come here for a quiet, casual drink with a decent view after work or dinner. The only line you’ll have to deal with is the one for the (single) bathroom. The wait can get kind of long.
CloudM Rooftop Bar
CitizenM is a large hotel on the Lower East Side that kind of looks like a bank or a supervillain’s lair. At the top of this large, corporate-looking building you’ll find a rooftop called CloudM. This rooftop has a bar, a coffee shop, a bunch of couches, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a big patio with a view of downtown. CloudM isn’t the absolute coolest rooftop in the city, and it isn’t where you go to drink tequila in excess, but it’s a great spot to grab some relatively quiet drinks and enjoy a very nice view. It also works for an early-evening meeting or some drinks with a couple of clients.