When warm weather rolls around, New Yorkers love to head outside and since the Big Apple is a city that’s all about location, some of its best al fresco spots are situated many stories above ground level at rooftop bars. From must-visit hotspots to low-key date-night hideaways, these are the best rooftop bars in New York City for spectacular cocktails and sweeping city views.
Gallow Green at the McKittrick Hotel
Lush with greenery and twinkling lights, this rooftop bar sits atop the building that houses the “Mckittrick hotel,” where the long-running interactive theater performance Sleep No More takes place. Theater patrons (some still sporting the masks handed out at the beginning of the performance) and bar customers find cozy spots scattered throughout the terrace where they can sip old-school cocktails and take in views of the High Line and Hudson River. Meanwhile, brunch is offered on the weekends, where guests can enjoy live music and specialty craft cocktails.
In order to truly enjoy the best views of Manhattan, you have to leave the island. One of the best spots to peep unobstructed sights of the famed skyline comes courtesy of the rooftop bar at the Z Hotel in Long Island City. (Don’t let the name confuse you, Long Island City is a neighborhood in Queens.) This hotspot in the up-and-coming ‘hood offers Sunday brunch, al fresco yoga on Tuesdays and panoramic skyline views (Hello, Chrysler Building) every single night of the week.
Social Drink & Food at Yotel
Located just a couple of blocks away from Times Square, this newly reconcepted outdoor drinking spot at the Yotel is a bona fide oasis from the hustle and bustle on the streets below. The colorful retreat boasts crocheted yarn art by artist London Kaye, as well as satisfying food (think small plates and pizzas) and a drink menu. The venue also hosts an outdoor film series (May–September), making this a great spot for date night.
Mr. Purple at the Hotel Indigo
Another new option (this Lower East Side “see and be seen” spot opened on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo in the fall of 2015) is Mr. Purple which is gearing up for its first al fresco season. The restaurant and bar features two outdoor terraces which offer sweeping views of the city as well as a menu made up of casual American gruband drinks such as a bottled Moscow Mule and a tequila-based punch. Hang out at the larger terrace on the west side of the restaurant to enjoy your cocktails poolside.
The Refinery rooftop promises sensational views of the Manhattan skyline and Empire State Building. A great places for lunch, chef Jeff Haskell’s created a full lunch menu—including Seared Yellowfin Tuna, Grilled Hanger Steak Flatbread and the Little Gem Caesar salad. By the night, the space really comes to life as crowds gather to enjoy breezy summer nights and signature cocktail developed by the In Good Company mixologists.