In Travel

Bar Hop Through The Skyscrapers At New York’s Best Rooftop Watering Holes

Cold drinks, killer views and the best way to experience NYC.

There’s only one thing that tops walking through the streets of New York and feeling the city’s pulse. It’s her rooftops.

New Yorkers and tourists alike flock to the dozens of roof terrace bars and pools across Manhattan and the outer boroughs, celebratory cocktails in hand, whether its summer or winter. There’s just something about being up there with a few friends close by – the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and Rockefeller – that you can’t replicate on ground level. Here are the bars that offer New York’s best rooftop drinks.

new york rooftop bars views

The rooftop of Catch. Photo: Catch

Catch is a trendy rooftop in Manhattan’s Meat Packing District. You might just rub shoulders with a celebrity. A-listers often walk through these doors. Retro furniture, industrial lights and greenery fit the funky chic neighbourhood vibe. Lap up some early afternoon rays from atop, sharing a ‘seafood tower’ – a chef’s selection of lobster, king crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels and ceviche. Finished off with a Meatpacking Manhattan.

21 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

Mr Purple

Staying in lower Manhattan on the outskirts of East Village, there’s the Hotel Indigo’s 15th floor, Mr. Purple. You’re going to want to dress your best for him. On a hot summer’s day, pick a sun lounge for the day and see the entire city from the cool rooftop pool. It’s that quintessential NYC view. Their specialty cocktail list rivals your skyline vista, with glasses like ‘coffee old-fashioned’ featuring Knobb Creek Bourbon, part of their small batch collection. This drink comes together with espresso demerara and New Orleans coffee bitters.

180 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

230 Fifth

new york rooftop bars views

Winter igloo bubbles. Photo: 230 Fifth

230 Fifth, NYC’s largest outdoor rooftop in Midtown offers a view that can’t be missed and won’t be forgotten. Start your night with a drink in the classy, upbeat penthouse lounge before making your way up to the terrace – where you’re welcomed by a front-row view of the Empire State Building. The transparent igloo-domed tents keep you comfortable, even on windy, snowy NYC nights. Pop a bottle of Franciscan Estate Chardonnay or Joseph Carr Cabernet Sauvignon and choose one of the feasting platters.

230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Cantina Rooftop

new york rooftop bars views

Soak up the sunshine at Cantina. Photo: Cantina Rooftop

Closer to the Hudson River side of Manhattan, Cantina Rooftop’s Mexican-themed rooftop has enough fairy lights to rival the twinkling skyline view. Hip and colourful in casual-chic, Cantina knows how to throw a chilled margarita. Go smokey, spicy or frozen, depending on your palette. The menu is full of local ingredients such as Oaxaca cheese and Mexican chorizo.

605 W 48th St, New York, NY 10036


new york rooftop bars views

The rooftop patio of Westlight. Photo: Westlight

While these views are a must-see, for those wider, more expansive panoramas of the city, you’ll find it in Brooklyn. It doesn’t get much better than Berry Park, Westlight, and 1 Rooftop Bar.

Join Williamsburg’s cool kids at Berry Park. Gaze out across the Manhattan skyline, from the East River at this roof deck. Sip any one of the European beers and chew a Bavarian pretzel or bratwurst (and fries). For a more Brooklyn brew, try a Boulevardier – with 1776 James Pepper Rye, Campari, and Antica Vermouth. The Huckleberry Lemonade is also a thirst quencher. Come in the day, when the DJ does. Stay all night, just because you can.

A few minutes’ walk around the corner and you’ll find Westlight. With panoramic views out to Brooklyn, Queens and the east side of Manhattan, relax on a low-lying couch or perch at the bar. Try the spicy coconut cashews and fried olives with blue cheese. Wash it down with a classic cocktail, like the Mai Tai – Jamaican Rum, Rhum Agricole, Orgeat Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao and lime. If you prefer beer, try one of their local craft list, like a citrusy Greenport ‘Little Park’ IPA.

22nd Floor, The William Vale, 111 North 12th Street, Brooklyn

new york rooftop bars views

It’s all about balance. Photo: 1 Rooftop Bar

For an iconic Manhattan/Brooklyn Bridge view, head downtown 1 Rooftop in Dumbo. This open-air venue, famous for its hand-crafted cocktails and summer bites, is on the top of 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge. Wander the wrap-around terrace and yes, you’ll see her – the Statue of Liberty. Take a dip in the 1 plunge pool and sip on a Dark & Stormy, a classic Bermudian drink with Goslings black seal rum and ginger beer. To really get in the summer mood, try a Montauk watermelon beer.

60 Furman St, Brooklyn

With rooftops as varied as the drinks they serve, there’s a panoramic view for every magical taste in NYC.

The fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down… or the temperature. Most of NYC’s rooftops are open throughout the year. Unless it’s seriously snowing, nothing stops New Yorkers enjoying their rooftop bar highs!

While rooftops are the essence of NYC summertime day-drinking, it’s only just gone fall. There’s still time to find your little sip and slice of the big apple.

(Lead image: 1 Rooftop Bar. Photo: 1 Rooftop Bar, Brooklyn) 

Published 22 September, 2017