NYC Rooftop Bars for Every Drinker

Alyson Penn

Given how closely identified NYC is with its skyline, it's no surprise that the five boroughs are packed with rooftop bars. But not all high-altitude watering holes are created equal: they offer a variety of experiences and cater to different sets of drinkers. Luckily, our rundown will help you sort through the sky-high selections. Read on to find the perfect perch from which to imbibe.


For the Partier on a Budget: The Delancey
This tri-level space right next to the Williamsburg Bridge is filled with palm trees and comfortable seating. The place fills up with scene-y 20-somethings who come not to sip expertly crafted cocktails but to down cheapish vodka drinks and mingle with the crowd. If you head to the back of the ground floor (which can be packed on weekends; summer Saturdays usually require a cover charge), you’ll find the staircase leading to the roof. The stairs in the front will take you to the basement, where there are DJs, live music and dancing (the main floor also has DJs on a regular basis). Year-round

For the High Roller: Plunge Bar + Lounge
One of NYC's most exclusive rooftop bars sits atop the Gansevoort Hotel in the Meatpacking District. If you go, you'll be paying for river and downtown views and the chance to drink with a beautiful crowd that sometimes includes famous faces. Unsurprisingly, it can be hard to get in, so try to arrive on the early side—before 10pm on weekends. Inside, you'll find a “models and bottles” crew socializing on stone terraces that look out to the Hudson River. While there is a pool (hence the name), it's separate from the bar, and a taking a dip will really set you back: it's only open to hotel guests. Year-round

For the Power Instragrammer: 230 Fifth
The views from this rooftop bar give iPhone-wielding guests a prime opportunity to rack up the “likes.” The massive patio—full of wooden benches and garden chairs—can hold up to 1,200 revelers, who savor classic cocktails while enjoying unobstructed looks at the Empire State Building, the MetLife building and, yes, New Jersey. In addition to drinks, 230 Fifth offers an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and a full food menu. Year-round

For the Creative Romantic: Gallow Green
Visitors gush about the romantic, lush atmosphere at the rooftop bar atop the McKittrick, a pseudo hotel that houses the interactive theater show Sleep No More. Head upstairs to find a bar that is decorated with floor-to-ceiling green trees, twinkling lights and wooden tables. The bartenders mix group-size portions of alcoholic punch in copper bowls and whip up specialty cocktails—in the past that's included drinks inspired by the show (with its Macbeth and Hitchcock influences), but the list hasn't been published yet for the bar's reopening. Come for a cozy date night or pitch in with a group of friends for the punch. Be sure to either arrive early or, if you've got a passel of friends, make a reservation. Mid-April to sometime in fall

For the Art Lover: The Met Roof Garden Café and Martini Bar
Not only does the Metropolitan Museum of Art possess one of the world's best art collections, it also boasts one of the City's best views. If you head to the fifth floor via the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts gallery, you'll find a place to sip wine or a cocktail while taking in the spectacle of Central Park and the skyline beyond. Bonus: you can admire the temporary exhibitions on the roof and even lounge on the Astroturf lawn. Just keep in mind that this isn't the place for a late night: the bar is only open until 5:30pm on weekdays and 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Unlike at some other bars, however, children are welcome. Mid-May to October

For the Foodie: Birreria
This rooftop bar-restaurant is the cherry on top of Flatiron culinary mega attraction Eataly. Guests here can choose from 10 beers on tap plus three more house brews on cask lines (those who want to stray from the suds might look to the 20-strong list of wines) and relish the views of the Flatiron and Empire State buildings. The garden also has a menu that's more than a cut above typical brewpub fare: you'll find house-made sausages, beer-braised pork shoulder, fried quail and an array of cheeses and salumi. Line up at the elevator near the housewares department for a ride upstairs; just note that it can be a long wait for a table, especially evenings in summer months. Year-round

For Your Inner Child: Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar
In Lower Manhattan, The Conrad New York Hotel's rooftop terrace is a great place to watch a sunset, but for some, the main attraction here will always be the prosecco and ice-pop combo—an alcohol-infused People's Pop served in a draft of prosecco. Flavors change every couple of weeks, but you might come across, say, an amaretto-laced peach popsicle or a frozen vodka, strawberry and lemongrass concoction, either of which is then dunked in bubbly. The bar also serves up refreshing cocktails with names like Sunglasses at Night (bourbon, honey, lemon and basil) and Summer in the City (rum, ginger beer, pineapple juice, lime) that will psych you up for balmy nights. April to early October

For the Sophisticated Cocktail Connoisseur: Roof at Park South
James Beard Award–winning chef Tim Cushman and his wife Nancy, the team behind a popular sushi spot in Boston, are the co-owners of this handsome bar. The two have decked out the place in convivial style—think orange canopies, multilevel seating and a fireplace for cooler nights, perfect for cozying up to your significant other. The triple-threat combination of expansive Midtown views (hello, Chrysler Building), refined cocktails and delicious Mediterranean eats makes this rooftop hangout a sure bet. Mid-April to November

For the Theatergoer: Haven Rooftop
Go for a pre- or postshow drink, or just take a break from the bustling streets of Times Square, at this lounge and restaurant atop the Sanctuary Hotel. Find a seat among the custom-built cedar wood furnishings with punchy orange and blue cushions, and order a refreshing summery cocktail—perhaps with something from the bistro-style menu as accompaniment. Considering you're near some of the brightest lights in a city full of them, the atmosphere is remarkably intimate. Every Wednesday, Haven offers Moroccan appetizers and $39 pitchers of sangria, mojitos or margaritas. Year-round


For the One Who Also Came to Eat: Pine Bar & Grill
The expansive Pine Bar & Grill, in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, may be in somewhat industrial surroundings, but its rooftop space aims to take you far away (according to its website, that place would be South Beach, in Miami). Inside you'll find a well-appointed dining room where traditional Italian dishes may slightly outnumber digressions like St. Louis ribs, paella and burgers; the alfresco bar and lounge atop the building has splashes of red, dark woods and some tropical plants to complete the vibe. In addition to a good variety of wines and beers, Pine Bar offers signature cocktails, mojitos, martinis and pitchers of sangria. Year-round


For the Adventurous Drinker:Night of Joy
While the downstairs of this Williamsburg bar looks like a no-frills Victorian living room, the real draw is upstairs, where wrought-iron chairs, strung-up lights and hanging lanterns contribute to a relaxed atmosphere. Night of Joy's drink specialties include house-infused liquors like vodkas with bison grass or beet and dill, and jalapeño and black currant tequila. This is definitely a place for adventurous imbibers, but there is also a comfortingly familiar frozen-margarita station. Spring through fall, weather permitting

For the Fifth-Year Senior:Berry Park
This Williamsburg beer hall has roughly 15 (seasonally rotating) beers on tap—mainly German and Belgian drafts. The 3,000-square-foot roof affords views of Manhattan to one side and McCarren Park to the other, and its sheer size makes it ideal for group gatherings. Just don’t come here expecting anything chichi; the concrete floor is piled with wooden tables and umbrellas and not much else. Weekend nights can draw a young, boisterous crowd, especially late, so come early if you want a more relaxed environment. Year-round

For the Literary Minded:Sheltering Sky
The Sheltering Sky is the McCarren Hotel & Pool's eighth-floor rooftop bar and lounge, overlooking McCarren Park and with views of the Manhattan skyline. Illuminated by candlelight at night, the place is decorated with colorful couches and ottomans imported from North Africa—an homage to the Paul Bowles novel that gives the place its name. The rooftop is overseen by Nur Khan, the guy behind such hot spots as the Rose Bar (in Gramercy Park Hotel) and Electric Room (in Dream Downtown). Year-round


For the Trendsetter:Z Roof
The urban-chic Z NYC Hotel is located in one of Queens' up-and-coming neighborhoods, so it's a fitting spot for those who want to be on the cutting edge. The boutique hotel, decorated with a Jazz Age theme, has a rooftop with views of the Queensboro Bridge and across the river to Manhattan. A lively soundtrack of Latin and techno tunes is conducive to dancing, and drink prices won't blow a hole in your wallet. June to September

Staten Island

For the Weekend Warrior:Above Rooftop
Among the many amenities offered by the Hilton Garden Inn New York/Staten Island—Lorenzo’s Restaurant & Cabaret, an intriguing art collection, beautifully landscaped grounds—Above Rooftop makes us the thirstiest. Located adjacent to the hotel, Above is a multilevel club and party space that offers sweeping views of the City and surrounding areas. A menu of light bites (cripsy calamari, shrimp cocktail) keeps revelers fueled for antics on the dance floor; libations like the Above Appletini (Smirnoff Citrus vodka, sour apple schnapps, a candy apple garnish) help with social lubrication. Visit to see a calendar of upcoming DJs and special events. Year-round