Summer is a great time to enjoy New York City’s rooftop restaurants and bars, which provide breezes and breathtaking views to go along with great food and drink (and no city has more striking views than NYC). We’ve rounded up the best of them. A word to the wise: check opening hours in advance, because rooftop patios are popular for private parties and might be closed to the public at certain times.
The ground level of Berry Park is a roomy, rollicking sports bar. Upstairs, there’s a relaxed hangout with Manhattan skyline views. During prime time hours it can get crowded up there, but early in the afternoon or late at night you’ll have more room. The beer and cocktails are not too pricey, and the menu is simple and satisfying. Look for artichoke dip with pita chips, spicy grilled shrimp skewers, grilled cheese sandwiches and bratwurst with fries.
There’s a fiesta atop the industrial Stage 48 building in Hell’s Kitchen, where Cantina Rooftop offers small plates of Mexican food, several flavors of margaritas and weekend dance parties. Call ahead: it’s sometimes rented out for private events. Appointed with greenery along with communal and small tables, the roomy space is only four floors up—but sports a pretty view of Midtown Manhattan. The menu includes nachos, tacos, enchiladas and interesting variations on guacamole (with grilled mango, for instance).
The Crown, on the 21st floor of boutique hotel 50 Bowery in Chinatown, offers magnificent, unobstructed views of the Manhattan cityscape (and beyond). There’s a creative cocktail program and a menu of eclectic street food like chunky guacamole, roasted eggplant relish with tortilla chips and a citrusy ceviche of shrimp and calamari—all courtesy of Three Kings Restaurant Group, which includes chef Dale Talde. The smartly dressed crowd, busy capturing Instagrammable moments, evokes a Hamptons party in the sky.
The rooftop of the Empire Hotel, across from Lincoln Center, has been completely revamped for the 2017 outdoor season with cushy new sofas and cozy alcove seating. There are two outdoor patios plus a handsome interior room that spread out over 8,000 square feet. The menu’s received an update as well, with hearty cocktail fare like Korean fried chicken wings, duck confit tacos, deep-fried mac-and-cheese bars and a hot brownie sundae with toasted coconut gelato.
Night of Joy
Night of Joy, a lounge with vintage decor on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint border, features an intimate rooftop patio that’s open in temperate months. Spring and summer are great times to sit under its fairy lights, surrounded by plants and flowers, and slurp a frozen margarita or orange blossom rum lemonade. When hunger strikes, order up one of the gluten-free crêpes: they come with fillings savory (charred fennel, mushrooms, smoked mozzarella) and sweet (mixed berry and lavender with lemon cream).
Refinery Rooftop Bar
Midtown’s Refinery Hotel boasts a glamorous rooftop bar and lounge with an impressive angle on the Empire State Building. There’s a lot of hopeful mingling, cocktails and beers clutched in hands, as well as sundry parties and group gatherings in seemingly every corner. For a table, make a reservation. The American menu is designed for snacking—but you can find enough to put together a meal out of options like juicy meatballs with herbed ricotta, grilled fish tacos, flatbreads and sliders.
Roof at Park South
Big crowds line up to enjoy the Roof at Park South—a stylish, sprawling restaurant and lounge. Once the clamoring masses get in, their rewards include views of the surrounding Gramercy and the Flatiron District skylines, with umbrellas lending shade for those who settle in before sunset. Tim Cushman, a James Beard Award winner, has created an innovative cocktail program and a snack-heavy menu that includes fried artichokes with pecorino cheese, crispy chicken nuggets and Cajun-poached jumbo shrimp cocktail.
The Roof at the Public
Ian Schrager has been a nightlife king since Studio 54’s heyday in the late 1970s. The 2017 opening of the Public, his fabulously designed boutique hotel on the Lower East Side, shows he’s still got the touch. The grassy, bucolic street-level entrance sets the mood for enchantment; continue up to the Roof, a sleek outdoor terrace with great views, lounge areas and communal tables. Barbecues and guest DJs from around the world liven up the weekends.
Sabbia is a lively, seasonal pop-up on the rooftop of Eataly, in the Flatiron District. An elevator whisks guests to a convincing simulation of coastal Italy—kitted out with beach cabanas, striped umbrellas and fishing nets. The maritime theme continues with fresh oysters, grilled branzino and assorted fried seafood. Drink options include several rosés by the glass and dozens by the bottle, alongside craft beers and spirits.
Terrace and Rooftop Bar New York
The fourth-floor patio of the Yotel is a relaxing retreat near Times Square. The sun shines squarely down during the day, even though the Yotel is set amid a canyon of skyscrapers. Sink back into comfortable, colorful sofas with throw pillows, or lean in at picnic tables for pizza, falafel and Mediterranean spreads with pita. The summertime Rooftop Cinema Club features deck chair seating and wireless headphones; book tickets in advance.