As summer approaches, the cold recedes, and the sun shines just a little brighter each day, the rooftop terrace bars of New York City begin to open up again for the season. After a long winter, the urban drinkers of this great metropolis can’t wait to head outside to imbibe. Fortunately, rooftop bars, nestled high above the clamor of the streets, are plentiful. Here’s a list of some of the best and what they have to offer this spring and summer.
Sixty-five floors up at the top of Rockefeller Center, Bar SixtyFive claims to be the highest rooftop bar in New York City. The views are stunning, especially at sunset, with the city spreading out in all directions. Enjoy a drink outside on the terrace – try the Nucky Thompson, a take on a Manhattan with Elijah Craig bourbon, dry vermouth, and Aperol - or mingle with celebrities, tourists, and a well-attired after-work crowd inside and sample some small plates.
This is the perfect spot for those who want to visit Times Square but would prefer to watch the teeming masses rather than elbowing their way through them. Come for a pre-theater three-course dinner, and return after the show to listen to DJs spinning dance music and enjoy cocktails like the Passionate Affair, made with Stoli Vanilla, Lejay Cassis, orange juice and prosecco.=
Every Wednesday night throughout the summer, the rooftop bar of this Lower East Side hotel hosts the Maine Squeeze Lobster Bake. From 5:00 to 10:00, you can crack open a lobster, along with some clams, corn, and potatoes, while listening to reggae in this Parisian garden-inspired setting.
Nighttime isn’t the only time to enjoy rooftop drinks and dining in the city. Every Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Long Island City’s Penthouse 808 offers a Suite Sunday Brunch, where you can dine on dishes including lobster roll, breakfast pizza, and stuffed French toast, while a live jazz band plays. If you’re with a group of friends (or just inappropriately thirsty), try one of the “Volcanic Tiki” drinks, served in a giant tiki head in orders of one or two gallons.
There’s a secret to getting access to this rooftop bar at Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel – make a dinner reservation at Reynard, the restaurant down on the first floor. If you arrive early, talk to the hostess and you can probably skip the line and head upstairs for a pre-dinner drink. Otherwise, be prepared to wait for as long as the bouncer feels necessary. When you finally do make it up to the sixth floor, snack on some appetizers, sip from a range of classic and modern cocktails as well as craft beers, and enjoy the splendid views across the East River of the Manhattan skyline.