New York City is known for its iconic skyline and killer views which are best enjoyed over a cocktail at the hippest rooftop bars in the city. Here’s our pick of the best, to elevate your NYC experience matter the time of year.
Elsie Rooftop Bar
It is apt that Elsie Rooftop Bar, which is reminiscent of a bygone era, is named after the woman who created the first NYC penthouse in the 1920s, Elsie de Wolfe, aka Lady Mendle. You’ll find Elsie Rooftop Bar near Bryant Park on the 25th floor, so expect spectacular views of the Empire State Building, the neon-lit Times Square (try to book in advance to watch the ball drop on NYE), and all the iconic buildings in the concrete jungle at their most glorious.
With inside and outside space, Elsie has great year-round rooftop action. Their signature cocktail Elsie de Wolfe Cocktail is a classic with a modern twist, made from Grey Goose vodka, cucumber, rosé, lemon, and Chandon Rosé sparkling wine. When it comes to the food, the menu is a small selection of light bites crafted by David Burke – favorites include the truffle grilled cheese with caviar, flatbread with prosciutto and melon, and the chef’s famous signature cheesecake pops.
JIMMY, ModernHaus SoHo Hotel
One of NYC’s first and most beloved rooftops, JIMMY has a chic indoor lounge with decor inspired by Picasso’s Blue period and cozy fireplace and a cool outdoor deck with pool (one of only a few in the city). Set on the 18th floor in trendy SoHo, 14 inch windows offer panoramic views of Midtown, the Hudson River, the East River bridges and downtown. The vibe is hip and the parties here are legendary. sculptural stools, and an eclectic mix of tone-on-tone furniture. In warmer weather, the experience spills onto the roof deck, seamlessly going from daytime chaises to evening cocktail seating with unparalleled city views.
Specialty cocktails are the order of the day (and night) here so expect to be spoiled for choice and delighted by their whimsical names. How does one decide between the El Camino (with Milagro Tequila, Tanteo Habanero and Tajin Salt Lemon Charred Habanero), the Blushing Lady, Gin Salty Dog, Pumpkin Spiced Mule, Rusty Nail or the Legal in Vermont? The menu is small but enticing and you share light bites like spicy guacamole and tomato basil flatbread or make a meal out of it with chicken taco or grass-fed dry-aged beef sliders.
Daintree, Hotel Hendricks
Just south of Bryant Park, Daintree Rooftop & Lounge on the top floor of Hotel Hendricks is a swanky, colorful retro-style cocktail lounge, a rarity among the midtown outdoor sect. The vibe here is intimate, tropical (the Daintree is a lush rainforest in Australia’s far north Queensland) and laidback with a healthy injection of NYC chic.
Contemporary takes on classic cocktails — especially the martini, is what Daintree does best. Take your pick from martinis twisted with everything from an oyster on the half shell to Osmanthus blossoms. Try an espresso martini meets margarita aka From Puebla to Manhattan or Daintree’s signature cocktail, the Tropic Thunder with whiskey, pineapple rum, banana, and toasted coconut. The bites are equally as fun; popcorn chicken, grazing plates, prawn cocktails, oyster and lobster rolls.
A.R.T. NoMad, Arlo NoMad Hotel
A highlight of the trendy Arlo hotel in NoMad is the popular A.R.T NoMad Arlo Rooftop on the 31st floor. While it’s on the smaller side, the intimate setting makes you feel like you’re chilling at the best house party ever. And if you’re up for a fearless Instagram photo op, part of the floor is clear glass so you can see all the way down to the sidewalk below.
A favorite warm-weather spot, A.R.T. boasts one of the best frosés in the city – a delicious rosé, cocktail come margarita cocktail. There’s also an endless selection of draft beer on tap and a Middle Eastern-inspired snack menu.
Cantor Roof Garden Bar at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Sure, come for the art, but stay for The Met’s Roof Garden Bar. This seasonal hotspot (it opens in spring through early fall) offers the most epic views of Central Park in every direction. In fitting with its iconic location the space is transformed each spring into a lush garden and also plays host to an annual rooftop artist commission.
It’s really all about the view, but there is a small cocktail selection and usually a seasonal signature cocktail plus beer, wine, cider and light bites. If you’re with the kids, there’s juice, soft drinks, and food for them too.
The Crown, Hotel 50 Bowery
In the vibrant Chinatown and LES neighborhood, the hip boutique Hotel 50 Bowery is home to The Crown, an intimate cocktail lounge with two rooftop patios on the 21st floor. A great year round spot, in winter floor-to-ceiling windowed walls, close the space while still enabling those stunning 360° views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
The craft cocktail menu is extensive and innovative with classics and seasonal favorites like the Old Fashioned, Casamigos Margarita, Hibiscus Gin Mule and Chandon Garden Spritz. Wash them down with elevated globally-inspired small bites like Pan Fried Chicken Dumplings, Tuna Tartare Tacos and Pork Buns.
Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge, 1 Hotel Brooklyn
One of the best reasons to head over to Brooklyn is for cocktail hour at Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge, on the top floor of the eco-designer 1 Hotel Brooklyn Hotel, which sits right under the Brooklyn Bridge and has views to die for. An open-air garden with indoor and outdoor space, the vibe is laid back so you’ll feel like you’re chilling on a friend’s terrace, well a friend with the best views in town.
The curated cocktail lineup covers everything from Hot Toddy to Espresso Martinis, though mix things up with one of their innovative signatures like Japanese Whiskey Carroll Gardens and Prosecco and Grey Goose Purple Haze. You can also nibble on light bites, all made with fresh, seasonal ingredients from local Brooklyn purveyors and sushi by star American-Filipino chef Denevin Miranda.
The Fleur Room, Moxy Chelsea Hotel
The luxe rooftop lounge The Fleur Room on the 35th floor of boutique hotel Moxy Chelsea is encased in glass to showcase panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. At the touch of a button the walls descend, transforming the space into an alfresco sky veranda. Sexy and intimate space, the new concept by Tao Group Hospitality has luxe botanical themed interiors – a nod to the Flower Market – and the showstopping with design highlights include a water droplet chandelier, stunning floral-patterned seating, a glam copper-clad bar and a DJ booth with vintage disco ball salvaged from the notorious 1980s L.A. nightclub Vertigo.
The menu offers creative takes on classic cocktails and comes accompanied by gourmet bar snacks—warm olives with Marcona almonds, king crab club sandwich and truffle grilled cheese toast.