Rooftop Brunch NYC: The best rooftop restaurants in New York City

Rising mid-morning in New York City wanting for nothing but a good cup of coffee is a rite of passage for all good NYC trips. Enlivened by the sounds of honking taxis and city life we arrive onto the chaos of the street, ready to scoff some smashed avocado into our proudly yawning chops. But where to go in this strange vertical city? Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best rooftop restaurants in NYC that offer a brunch menu, for days when a Dunkin’ Donuts’ Americano on the sidewalk just doesn’t cut it. Read on for our selection of the top 11 places for rooftop brunch in New York City.

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Photo: Maddi Bazzocco

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Diners may prefer to pitch up beside a fire pit on the 8,000-square-foot terrace garden for unobstructed views over the Hudson River and the cool architecture of Manhattan’s West Side

1. Electric Lemon

Located on the 24th floor of the Equinox Hotel high above the Hudson Yards, Electric Lemon is a beautiful place to start the day. The restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer sheltered views but diners may prefer to pitch up beside a fire pit on the 8,000-square-foot terrace garden for unobstructed views over the Hudson River and the cool architecture of Manhattan’s West Side. As for the food, it’s no less magnificent, all of it celebrating Mid-Atlantic farmers and growers across elegant eggy dishes and health food bowls, all weekend from 9AM to 3PM. Lunch and dinner are also served throughout the week.

Address: 33 Hudson Yards 24th Floor, New York, NY 10001, United States.

Main image courtesy of Electric Lemon.

Photo: Electric Lemon

Photo: Electric Lemon

2. Upstairs at The Kimberly

Upstairs at The Kimberly is exactly what you might expect (a rooftop restaurant atop the Kimberly Hotel) but it is no less breath-taking because of it. Climb (or rather ride) to the 30th floor for brunch or dinner, dining on the temperature-controlled rooftop lounge with pinnacle views of the Chrysler building beyond. On cooler days the convertible glass roof and wall descend, sheltering diners so that they can enjoy their classic sweet and savoury dishes (such as benedict and blueberry pancakes) with cocktails poured freely whatever the hour. Brunch is available on weekends between 11AM and 4PM, while dinner is served daily 5PM-11PM.

Address: 145 E 50th St, New York, NY 10022, United States

3. RH Rooftop Restaurant New York

Elevating NYC rooftop restaurants in the Meatpacking District is RH Rooftop Restaurant New York, set atop Restoration Hardware’s stylish furniture gallery. Though you’ll probably want to browse the high-end furniture and décor across the building’s five floors, hangry travellers can ride the glass elevator straight up to the rooftop where chandeliers, marble features and potted trees make for the perfect setting to enjoy an avocado toast or kale Caesar salad with a morning glass of rosé. One nice element of RH restaurant is that on busy days, you can wait for your table at the bar on level three, carrying your drink through as you browse the showroom (if you trust yourself not to spill any!).

Address: 9 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014, United States

Photo: Cottonbro

New York City | Photo: Morgane Le Breton

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Just a quick saunter around the corner from Madison Square Gardens in Midtown Manhattan, VERSA NYC is easily the best-placed rooftop brunch NYC has to offer.

4. VERSA NYC

Just a quick saunter around the corner from Madison Square Gardens in Midtown Manhattan, VERSA NYC is easily the best-placed rooftop brunch NYC has to offer, open daily on the 5th floor of the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, from early until late. Whether sitting indoor or out on the terrace, you’re sure to feel trendy as heck but also rather cosy, thanks to a retractable roof that keeps the cold wind out. The view is also none too shabby, showcasing the Empire State and Midtown skyline. Menus vary depending on the hour but all are American gastro style, such as pasta, salad, burgers and sliders, as well as brunch specials such as the white truffle, cheddar and bacon sausage sandwich. For the Boozy brunch NYC style, opt for the Versa Bloody Mary or the lighter Michelada (Corona lager, hot sauce, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, lime and chilli).

Address: 218 W 35th St, New York, NY 10001, United States

Photo: VERSA NYC

Photo: VERSA NYC

5. Ainslie

A casual one for the Williamsburg-based sweatpants crew is Ainslie, an Italian-American offering from veteran NYC chef John DeLucie. Primarily a wine and beer rooftop garden and deck, Ainslie spoils its customers with an extensive drinks list, inclusive of cocktails, mocktails, 16 rotating craft beers and 20 wines by the glass. To go with the drinks, meals of wood-fired pizza, pasta and cured meats are served all day, preceded by eggs and salads at breakfast and brunch. From noon until 4PM, Ainslie is also a bottomless brunch NYC favourite, serving up all-you-can-drink artisanal cocktails.

Address: 76 Ainslie St, Brooklyn, NY 11211, United States

6. Refinery Rooftop

Standing out among the best rooftop restaurants NYC has to offer in Midtown is the Refinery Rooftop, based above the 5-star Refinery Hotel and open seven days a week. Come for a rooftop brunch on weekends before 3.30 PM, sampling the smallish menu of dishes such as French toast, smoked salmon and eggs benedict, or arriving after sundown for a livelier atmosphere fed by signature cocktails and small bites. Refinery Rooftop also does lunch, with cocktails served throughout the day.

Address: 63 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018, United States

Photo: Amy Tran

Photo: Cottonbro

7. The Empire Rooftop

You’ve heard of the Empire State but how about The Empire Rooftop? This one is super close to Central Park, right beside the Lincoln Centre for Performing Arts. Go up to the 12th floor of the iconic Empire Hotel any time before 11AM for the dual happiness of Central Park views and healthy breakfasts (inclusive of the Empire Benedict, Breakfast flatbread and applewood-smoked bacon, cheese and egg sarnies). While the food menu is a little on the short side, the drinks menu more than makes up for it, with mimosas, speciality cocktails, beers, wines and coffee to enjoy on one of two terraces or the seasonal sun deck. The rooftop also has a retractable roof and working fireplace to ensure diners are cosy all year round.

Address: 44 W 63rd St., New York, NY 10023, United States

8. 230 Fifth

Join the it crowd for a bottomless brunch in NYC, this time at 230 Fifth on Fifth Avenue, one of the largest and most famous rooftop bars in the city. What makes 230 Fifth so popular is firstly its panoramic views over the Manhattan skyline – with the Empire State Building front and centre – and secondly its inspired buffet menu of international fusion, where mini chicken tacos are served side-by-side with sushi platters and beef sliders. Enjoy it all on the outdoor terrace, huddling under a heater or inside an igloo for warmth on cold days, or heading to the indoor lounge when the skies turn extra icy.

Address: 230 5th Ave, New York, NY 10001, United States

Photo: Maddi Bazzocco

9. Mr. Purple

Mr. Purple is a two-terraced beauty atop the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side, providing hotel guests and walk-ins with trendy fare and a choice between the calmer private deck and larger poolside deck, both on the 15th floor. On either side, diners can enjoy an all-day food menu or – our favourite – the special weekend rooftop brunch menu which includes fruit bowls, bagels and set breakfasts. The brunch cocktails are also sure to satisfy, specifically the Sunrise Mimosa Service if you think you can manage a whole bottle of prosecco topped off with pear, peach and orange juices. Otherwise, classic cocktails like the GG Manhattan and Old Fashioned come updated for the hip young crowd.

Address: 180 Orchard St 15th floor, New York, NY 10002, United States

10. Haven Rooftop

More on offer in midtown, Haven Rooftop is a top choice for bottomless mimosas and modern American fare just moments from Times Square. As you might guess, the view from this Sanctuary Hotel-located rooftop is pretty gorgeous, as is the interior décor of cedar furniture and canvas-hung beams. Dress up a little for happy hour daily between 3PM and 6PM, or come on weekends for brunch classics inside or on the terrace. Specials include the brunch pizza, Haven sliders and lobster roll.

Address: 132 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036, United States

11. STK Steakhouse Rooftop NYC

Last but not least, take your time over something a little meaty at STK Steakhouse Rooftop NYC. Based on top of STK Downtown in the Meatpacking District with fine views over the Hudson River and the NYC skyline, STK Steakhouse does brunch a little differently by focusing on steakhouse classics within a fun DJ-led atmosphere. There’s a bar, a lounge and table seating for dinner, alongside a retractable glass enclosure for top views in colder weather. Come for brunch on weekends between 10AM and 3PM, or follow the DJ’s schedule and arrive after dark for high-energy drinks in the lounge.

Address: 26 Little W 12th St 4th Floor, New York, NY 10014, United States

Photo: Morgane Le Breton

Photo: Roman Odintsov

Other rooftops in NYC worth a mention (outside of brunch menus)

They might not be on the brunch train, but these alternative rooftop dining options are all runaway successes when it comes to lunch and dinner spreads. First on our non-brunch list is Alma for authentic Mexican meals and panoramic views of lower Manhattan sided by a long list of mezcals and tequilas. Then there’s Sushi Lab, adjunct to the Haven Rooftop in the Sanctuary Hotel, drawing customers with omakase sushi sets and tuna tacos in tandem with top Japanese whiskeys and sake. If elevated drinks ‘in the park’ are what you’re looking for, Chelsea’s Gallow Green is the one, recently having redesigned its winter rooftop hideout with private yurts and fireplaces atop the theatrical venue of the McKittrick Hotel.

Those spending happy hour in Williamsburg from 4 PM to 6 PM can try East Hae, a Korean gastropub winning us over with cosy drinks and KFC nibbles to the sounds of DJ sets and other entertainment. Then, on the 22nd floor, Westlight at The William Vale brings classic cocktails and global street-food-inspired dishes to the people of Williamsburg alongside more sweeping views of the NYC skyline. Lastly, it’s Monarch Rooftop where we end things, some 18 floors up in a Midtown penthouse on Herald Square. Find 5,000 square feet of open space and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the Empire State Building, all while enjoying inventive cocktails and tapas from prime position on the lounge’s comfy couches. Bliss.

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New York City | Photo: Florian Wehde

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