What’s better than sipping on fancy cocktails and dancing the night away under the moonlight? Or maybe brunching through the afternoon more than a couple hundred feet above the ground with some of the best Eggs Benedict, Bloody Marys, and NYC views? Nothing, really. (Except maybe for knocking out these five off-the-beaten-path things you can do in New York City first.)
So rejoice the radicalness of rooftop season by taking on the Big Apple bar scene with these fan favorite outdoor drinking spots. You’ll be people-watching atop terraces and perches—all while sitting close to the clouds, staring out at sweeping skyline views, and raising your glass to some deeply deserved fun. Party hard, grab a seat, and say cheers to these buzzy hotspots and hideaways. Here are the five best rooftop bars in New York City.
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End The Day At One Of These NYC Rooftop Bars
1. The Press Lounge
It’s larger than life and full of personality—one of the Big Apple’s snazziest and most glorious rooftop lounges. Find twinkling lights, fire pits, artisanal cocktails, and unobstructed views on the western edge of Hell’s Kitchen. You’ll be reveling in NYC’s beauty atop a converted printing factory on 11th Avenue, almost two hundred feet above street level—a.k.a. inside the grand Kimpton Ink48 Hotel -- sipping on seasonal cocktails and an extensive wine list, munching on inspirational small plates, and experiencing lots of welcoming service. The luxurious glass walled interior space, the sunken dining table in an old swimming pool, and the unobstructed views of the Hudson you’ll have on site aren’t bad either. No wonder it was named New York’s “Top New Rooftop Bar” by New York Magazine!
Live the high life and feel like you’re on top of the world. Literally. Quick tip though: Anyone with a fear of heights should NOT attempt to drink on this roof.
The Press Lounge is located at 653 11th Ave between 47th and 48th Streets in the Ink48 Hotel.
2. Roof at South Park
If you’re looking to catch up with the buds in a relaxed, less crowded but still lively bar atmosphere, along with plentiful amounts of super strong drink options, umbrellas to block out the scorching sun in the summertime, and fireplaces to warm you up during those winter nights, head on over to this roof. It also offers unobstructed views of the gorgeous NYC skyline.
Seriously, good old modest fun is to be had at this unpretentious bar and lounge above the Park South Hotel. You’ll find a friendly and diverse crowd who all can’t get enough of the creative, spirit-forward cocktails hand crafted to perfection by beverage director, Ted Kilpatrick. Hit the spot with the top-shelf tequila of “Margarita,” the frozen, rum-heavy “Duke’s Martini,” or even the frozen Plymouth gin topped with caviar. Plus, there’s tons of good food as well as stellar views of the Chrysler Building. So totally worth it.
Roof at South Park is located at 125 E 27th St.
3. Le Bain at the Standard, High Line
It’s a sky-high bar that crowns the Standard, High Line in the Meatpacking District--and let’s just say that it’s where all the cool kids are at. Play, pose, laugh, and drink away along with wraparound views of both the Manhattan skyline and Jersey City.
You’ll love all the pitcher-sized libations available, as well as chilling out on one of those coveted chairs or loveseat couches for an evening to remember for sure. Plus, there's a disco, bar, a seasonal plunge pool, and a crêperie. This one’s truly the nightlife spot for all—and it’s way high up in the sky. So sublime.
Le Bain is located at 848 Washington St.
4. Refinery Rooftop
Soak in views of the Empire State Building while downing one of their signature cocktails—i.e. a "Baby Doll,” which is made with vodka, fresh watermelon, lemon, and pineapple. Yum.
Along with a super strong drink list, as well as an all-around fun and relaxed decor and vibe, you’ll love the fact that you’re perched high atop the magnificent Refinery Hotel while German booze master Alex Ott whips you up some of the finest sips in the big city. Using always vibrant ingredients such seedless raspberry jam or spicy curry powder, Ott’s magical treats pair perfectly with the savory menu onsite, which has an array of foodie faves courtesy of Jeffrey Forrest, winner of the Food Network’s reality show Chopped. There’s also bountiful amounts of totally chic décor surrounding the indoor- outdoor space of exposed bricks and braided lights—not to mention a porch swing to snuggle up in on the terrace, as well as a retractable glass roof and a cozy fireplace to keep the crowd coming well into the night. Be entertained and excited along with the effervescent glow of Midtown Manhattan’s most famous 102-story skyscraper.
Refinery Rooftop is located at 63 West 38th Street (between Fifth and Sixth avenues) in New York, New York.
5. Rooftop Garden
After wandering the Met’s revered halls, museumgoers will no doubt love heading on up to the rooftop aerie that overlooks Central Park. Designed by Dan Graham and Günther Vogt, the aptly named garden includes ivy walls, zigzagging hedges, and a synthetic lawn that provides a bit of suburban bliss along with that classic big city bar scene.
Experience utter magic five floors up from the ground along with tons of wine, cocktails, and light bites. There’s even a different art installation featured every year to pair with the beautiful and serene sunset views you’ll be gawking over while sipping on that Corralejo Tequila made of grilled pineapple juice, tarragon, and lemon juice.
Rooftop Garden is located at 1000 5th Ave. in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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This article was written by Pamela Chan.