Rooftop bars are a summer-in-NYC essential: the perfect places to take in glimpses of the City’s skyline—along with some actual drinks, of course. Perennial favorites like Gallow Green, 230 Fifth, Loopy Doopy and Birreria at Eataly faithfully deliver refreshing sips and sights, but in recent years a fresh batch of sky-high bars has arrived on the scene. No matter your drinking style, there’s a lofty lounge to match and a view to go with it. Read on to expand your rooftop repertoire.
Best for: A tropical vacation in the middle of Manhattan
This bar on top of the Freehand New York hotel opened in 2018 to well-deserved fanfare, thanks in part to buzz from its successful sister location in Miami. Look for tiki drinks with names such as Island Time and Big Citrus as well as cocktails with outré ingredients, including fermented bananas, blueberry jam and mole.
Best for: Downtown-meets-Hamptons vibes with expansive views
Chinatown isn’t exactly known for its rooftop bars, but the Crown, on the 21st floor of the Hotel 50 Bowery, just may change that. The bar has spacious seating both indoors and out, so well-dressed guests have plenty of room to enjoy cocktails, snacks, DJ sets and views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
Best for: Posh pre-theater cocktail hour
This Theatre District bar makes its home in a 25th-floor penthouse. Elsie de Wolfe, a 1920s-era socialite and interior decorator, inspired the bar’s name, its art deco look and the drinks. Stop by before your next Broadway show for a cocktail like the aptly named 5th Avenue (gin, Creme de Mure, lemon, sugar)—the address of de Wolfe’s showroom and many homes she decorated—best enjoyed with pinkies up, of course.
Best for: Mellow happy hour and design inspiration
Last Light is many things. Among them: a chill spot to listen to a DJ set; a place to hang out on a patio (as early as 3pm) with a drink called the Glow Stick; and a minimalist space that may inspire you to redecorate your apartment. The bar is located on the 11th floor of the Lower East Side’s Sister City hotel.
Best for: Soaking up greenery and vitamin D with East River views
Lemon’s, atop the Wythe Hotel, draws inspiration from the Italian tradition of aperitivo (a predinner drink and snack). Take part by enjoying an after-work spritzer like the Second Holiday (bergamot, sweet vermouth, peach, lemon and tonic) on the plant-covered terrace while you contemplate a trip to the Italian countryside.
Best for: Creative drinks in photogenic vessels
Bring a big group to the Moxy Times Square’s rooftop to take advantage of this playful bar’s mini-golf course as well as its shareable cocktails—including one you can sip from a disco ball— with the Empire State Building as your backdrop. There are also alcohol-infused popsicles and margarita gummy bears you can keep all to yourself.
Best for: Old-school glamour and new-school cocktails
Ophelia makes its home atop Midtown East’s historic Beekman Tower and retains some of the building’s original 1928 features while playing up the opulence with new velvet seating and soaring stained-glass windows. Sip a cocktail like the Purple Tuxedo (gin, aquavit, absinthe and plum bitters) on the wraparound terrace. You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.
Best for: Outdoor waterfront breezes and indoor crackling fireplaces
This new rooftop bar centers around its luxurious indoor space, which has two fireplaces and provides a setting for enjoying riverfront views no matter the weather. The bar’s expansive deck offers a 360-degree look at the City, making it a worthy spot for refreshments after exploring the surrounding Seaport District.
Best for: Sipping rosé in a hammock
If we didn’t have you at “hammock,” you should note that this spot also stands out for its repurposed digs atop a Brooklyn Navy Yard warehouse, its views of Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn and its standing as NYC’s only vineyard.
Best for: Beachy vibes without the sand
Everything at the Hoxton Hotel’s Summerly encourages a summertime state of mind. The food alone—lobster rolls, corn fritters and crab cakes—should do the trick, but an airy color palette, lounge chairs and Negroni spritzes will certainly seal the deal.