Like any good idea in New York City, once it’s out, everyone wants in. The proliferation of rooftop bars and restaurants in NYC has been a great thing, as many hotels, restaurants and building owners have realized just how valuable their rooftops really are.
Unfortunately the demand for these watering holes has more than kept up with the supply. Despite more and more rooftops showcasing their killer views, the lines to get to the top and the crowds once you make your assent are definitely NOT to die for.
However some establishments have managed to mitigate the crowd problem better than others, either by expanding their square footage to accommodate more people, staying open longer, or simply keeping a lower profile, in whatever way that is possible.
Here are 6 easy to access rooftop bars we like in NYC:
The Refinery Rooftop is the crowning jewel of the Refinery Hotel, a rooftop bar and lounge featuring over 3,500 square feet of cinematic views of the Manhattan skyline and Empire State Building. A cozy interior space is complete with fireplace, water feature, and wooden ceilings constructed out of wood salvaged from the original building’s water tank. An expansive indoor/outdoor space capped by a retractable glass roof, an outdoor terrace with porch swings and spectacular city views from every direction makes the Refinery Rooftop one of the most dynamic and tasteful (if not a bit lavish) rooftops in the city.
63 West 38th Street
New York, NY 10002
While a tad off the beaten path, PressLounge—the chic rooftop bar perched 16 floors above Hell’s Kitchen’s Ink48 Hotel—is one of the best 360-degree views of both the city and the Hudson River that can be found in NYC. The modern design of the space leaves room for a long, shallow pool and plenty of lounge chairs. Press Lounge is a lesser-known alternative to the Standard or the Gansevoort and arguably may even have a better view.
(Ink48) 653 11th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Named for a Scottish field where accused witches were hanged, the rooftop atop Chelsea’s McKittrick Hotel is like a garden party among the concrete jungle. As the sun sets over the Hudson the already whimsical scene transitions into something out of A Mid Summer’s Night Dream as the trees and wooden rafters, dressed in lights, suddenly come to life—as does a brass band and professional wait staff dressed in white. They even have actors from the downstairs theatre greet patrons with fake British accents in this fairytale atmosphere amidst the reality of New York City. Try their various punches which staff ladle from copper bowls or one of their signature cocktails.
542 W 27th St
New York, NY 10001
While there’s nothing particularly unique—though the ornate Romanesque architecture, framed with brick arches and terra cotta columns certainly adds some depth and pizzaz—Pod 39 is almost more alluring for what it does not have. The line to get up is not annoyingly long, the space is not uncomfortably crowded and the drinks are not obnoxiously expensive. Add a great view of New York’s icons in every direction—east to the river, south to the lower-Manhattan skyline, southwest to the nearby Empire State building, and north to the Chrysler building—and you have the makings of a great rooftop experience. Of course, the views are not enough. Round out the experience with killer tequila cocktails prepared by top-notch mixologists and tacos from April Bloomfield’s Salvation Taco.
145 E 39th St
New York, NY 10016
An Australian restaurant and bar located in Greenpoint, at the corner of Franklin Street and Meserole Ave, Northern Territory’s sleek, yet rustic rooftop is only a few stories up but still boasts a great view of Midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building. A little smaller than its big sister Berry Park, Northern Territory’s inside includes only a few tables and booths as well as a long L-shaped bar that doubles as a dining counter. But hey, it’s the rooftop you’re going for.
12 Franklin St, Brooklyn
New York, NY 11222
McCarren Hotel & Pool
Featuring panoramic views of McCarren Park and the Manhattan skyline, the McCarren Rooftop Bar offers the perfect respite for a relaxing sunset happy hour or more energetic nightlife atmosphere into the evening. With cool cocktails and a hot lineup of events, guests can revel in live music and DJ sets while perched high above the bustling city streets. The cocktail list by Bar Director Francis Verrall highlights local craft distillers to complement a menu of crave-worthy seasonal bites by Executive Chef Kevin Chojnowski.
160 N. 12th St. Brooklyn
New York, NY 11222