The weather is tolerable—maybe even nice. You might be asking yourself two questions: “Do I want to be around a lot of people?” and if so, “Where can I drink with them outside?" Only you can answer the first question, but when it comes to the second, we have some ideas. From a huge patio on top of a brewery in Greenpoint to an aircraft carrier converted to a bar in Harlem, here are places where you can drink outside with a big group in NYC.
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When it's warm outside and you want to drink beer with 20 of your closest friends, 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 large NYC outdoor patios go, this is one of the most pleasant ones.
photo credit: Social Drink & Food
Social Drink and Food
Social Drink and Food is a rooftop bar in Midtown that feels kind of like an elaborate hostel, except it’s much nicer and you won’t see any bare feet or Eli Roth with a chainsaw. With its big tables and wrap-around couches, this is a great outdoor spot for big groups, and it’s where you should go to finally get to know all the people you share an elevator with every morning at your Midtown office. You should also check their Instagram for fun group events. On any given day, they might break out foosball tables or host a rooftop movie night on the huge open terrace.
Parklife is a tiny bar with a big outdoor area. It’s about the size and shape of the lot that your apartment building sits on, and, as the name suggests, it does sort of feel like a park. There are a bunch of picnic tables and some patio furniture, and, on a nice day, it’s a pretty ideal place for a mellow hang with about seven (or more) friends. There’s also a little taqueria from the people behind El Atoradero inside, and they do tacos, burritos, and a version of nachos with fries instead of chips. It isn’t our favorite Mexican spot in the city, but if you’re drinking, it’ll do just fine.
Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten
Loreley is a beer garden, but not the pre-clubbing kind like the one you’ll find at The Standard. This Lower East Side place is more traditional, and it feels like the average beer spot you’d find on a side street in Germany. It’s a great place to hang with a group in their big backyard, and if you and your friends get hungry, they have your usual beer-garden-type stuff. (Think pretzels, sausages, and schnitzel fingers, which we assume are traditional.)
Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
Even if you’re one of those people who stays in touch with freshman year roommates and the kid who lent you pencils in homeroom, you can bring everyone you technically know to Bohemian Hall. This beer garden in Astoria is bigger than most NYC parks not named Central, and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon drinking steins of Czech beer and eating bratwursts with a bunch of friends and a thousand strangers.
Union Pool is an OG Williamsburg meeting-people party. It has three distinct spaces, with three distinct vibes. But if you're with a bunch of people and it's nice out, head to the outdoor area, get a round of beers, and grab some tacos. Everyone is generally always having a good time here, and it’s the perfect place to drunkenly meet the next person you’re eventually going to break up with.
The main draw at Harlem Tavern is the big front patio. It might be even larger than the tavern itself, and it’s covered in picnic tables and big umbrellas. This spot is perfect when you're with a lot of people and no one can decide if hanging out will last two hours or six hours. They also have solid bar food and plenty of TVs for watching sports. Try this place for a night out when at least half of your group wants to drink beer and watch some hoops or whatever sport is in season.
Nowadays feels more like a park with non-existent open-container laws than a bar. The massive outdoor space at this Ridgewood spot has picnic tables, fire pits, grassy areas, ping-pong tables, and booths with drinks and food. Most of their tables seat 10, and they take reservations for up to 29 people. This is a casual place to day drink with a group, and they often host fun shows and parties, like one called Mister Sunday. (It happens on Sundays.)
A good deal of natural wine-drinking happens on Bushwick rooftops, usually involving some combination of climbing a fire escape and a janky Bluetooth speaker. At Cherry On Top, things are a little more professional, though hanging out at this spot between the Dekalb and Jefferson L stops does feel a bit like being at a friend’s place. There’s a funky list of wines at reasonable prices (with plenty of glasses under $15 and bottles under $50), and a large rooftop with picnic tables on which to drink them.
Take a little detour to The Rogers Garden, a courtyard cocktail garden with an eclectic, thoughtfully-curated rum menu inspired by the Caribbean. This bar is a must-visit, especially if you want to lime in Little Caribbean for a few hours with your friends. This place hosts weekly artisan culinary pop-ups, ranging from oysters to BBQs to island bowls, all cooked fresh to order. For cocktails, we recommend the Miss Ting or Maracas Bay, a nod to the owners’ Trini heritage.
Evil Twin’s first-ever taproom is in Ridgewood, and it’s a great spot for gathering everyone you like in one place—especially when you don’t know how many people are coming. Just note that there’s no food here, but you can bring your own snacks (a whole pizza, for example) or stop by the taco truck parked out front. When it’s warm, you can step outside of the greenhouse-like space and take advantage of the outdoor picnic tables.
If you’re rallying a group for daytime drinking on the Upper East Side, you should be pointing them in the direction of The Jeffrey. We like it for nighttime drinking activities, too, but try to roll in with some friends at 11pm on a Saturday and it’s like Westway when Westway was cool (RIP). So if it’s 4pm and some people in your group want to watch the game and others want to drink beer outside and eat good food, bring everyone here.
The Rooftop at the the Rockaway Hotel
Start planning a beach day with your friends, and be sure to include The Rooftop at the Rockaway Hotel in your plans. This bar has views of the Atlantic from an outdoor terrace just a few blocks from the beach. You’d think a rooftop by the beach would turn into Spring Break pretty quickly, but the friendly service, bright white walls, and plants hanging from the ceiling make this place feel like a calm, beachside daytime spot, even when they turn the music up and the bar fills up towards sunset.
The TL;DR on LloHi is that it’s just a f*cking big rooftop bar in the industrial part of East Williamsburg that could also be correctly categorized as Bushwick. And in a city where big rooftops are rare, that’s a good enough reason to come here—ideally during the day with a group. If no one can decide what to drink, start with a round of chuggable hibiscus mezcal cocktails.
If you want to have an outdoor group hang in Greenpoint, but you don’t want to deal with massive crowds, try The Springs. We aren’t saying it won’t be crowded—but it shouldn’t be that crowded. The huge backyard with trees and couches makes up most of the bar and is Palm Springs-themed, which is just a little bit cheesy. On the bright side, they allow dogs in their backyard, and you probably have at least one friend who will appreciate how photogenic this place is.
Greenwood Park is a great outdoor spot for group hangs or birthdays in South Slope. There are bocce courts outside, lots of space for your friends, and some solid bar food to share. You could definitely have a winter-time gathering here (the outside seats have heaters), but it’s at its best during the warmer weather when you can order a round of frozen cocktails or a pitcher of one of the 20 rotating beers on tap for everyone you're with.
Aircraft carriers are very large. While that’s both obvious and seemingly irrelevant, it’s worth mentioning here because it explains how this bar at the West Harlem Piers has 4,000 square feet of outdoor space spread across multiple decks. With views of the west side of Manhattan, Jersey, and the Hudson River up to the GW Bridge, it’s a great spot to day drink with a big group. But make sure to try some bar food while you’re here, especially the peppery, perfectly-charred cheeseburger, and the crinkle cut fries with Cajun seasoning and spicy mayo.
photo credit: Versa
Everywhere you look at this fifth floor bar in the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, there are places to sit and hang out. An indoor area flows into a huge outdoor space with a retractable roof and terrace filled with tourists taking in views of the Empire State Building. There are multiple bars to order drinks from, and the food is surprisingly decent. You'll be within a few feet of a TV no matter where you are here, so if your group wants 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.
This bar/music venue in East Williamsburg doesn’t have much of a view—it’s just one story high—but it’s still technically on a rooftop. Come here for an outdoor group hang, or a dance party when you don’t feel like dealing with a line or a huge crowd. They occasionally host events up here, like outdoor movies and musical performances, so check to see what’s going on before you head over—there might be a cover.