The best rooftop bars in New York

The best rooftop bars in New York

New Yorkers know how to enjoy a strong drink in a memorable atmosphere—and they do so with more style and sophistication than just about anyone else we know. As such, the city certainly doesn’t want for intimate speakeasies or character-driven neighbourhood bars, but it’s New York’s dazzling rooftop lounges where you’ll find us soaking in the Manhattan skyline, creative craft cocktail in hand. Not long ago, New York rooftops were only for warm summer evenings, but a roster of new spaces boasting year-round amenities means you can now enjoy the city’s iconic vistas any time you please. Here are our picks for the best rooftop bars in NYC to get you started:

Ophelia

Experience the undeniable romance of New York City in the 1920s and 30s at Ophelia, a sleek lounge offering year-round, 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline. The opulent terrace is all red velvet booths and black and white tiles, a nod to the rich past of the Art Deco building—once known to attract the likes of Frank Sinatra and Miles Davis. Keep the 20s vibes soaring with Ophelia’s signature Flapper cocktail, a delightful mix of vodka, Disaronno, raspberries, and champagne.

Photo: Deleece Cook

Bookmarks Lounge

You don’t have to be a bibliophile to appreciate the Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel, a glamorous, glass-enclosed patio that’s as cosy as can be. The literary brand is apparent throughout the menu, with on-point drinks like The Tequila Mockingbird taking centre stage. It makes for a charming spot to finally dive into that novel you’ve been carrying around, but we wouldn’t blame you for simply sitting back and savouring the mixologist’s innovative concoctions.

Westlight NYC

Westlight | Photo: Andrew Boyle

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Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge reminds us that imbibing at sky-high NYC bars need not be a stuffy, pretentious affair

Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge

Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge reminds us that imbibing at sky-high NYC bars need not be a stuffy, pretentious affair. A self-proclaimed urban amusement park, at Magic Hour you’ll find adult-themed mini golf, rotating carousel-style seating, an oversized topiary garden, and nightly DJs. It all adds up to a wonderfully hedonistic night out on the town that’s unlike any other New York City rooftop bar you’ve experienced yet.

Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge | Photo: Warren Jagger

Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge | Photo: Warren Jagger

Salon de Ning

For 1930s Shanghai in the heart of Manhattan, head to the 23rd floor of the Peninsula Hotel. Here lies Salon de Ning, an enchanting New York City rooftop bar gazing out to bustling Fifth Avenue. Inspired by Shanghai socialite Madame Ning and her global travels, the fascinating decor features details such as intricate Chinese screens and antique Venetian mirrors. Opt for the Ning Sling, a balanced mix of gin, lychee and passion fruit puree.

Refinery Rooftop

The Refinery Rooftop is a chic combination of exposed brick, shimmering rope lights, and rustic wood details. By day, New Yorkers flock here for chef Jeff Haskell’s lunch menu, featuring delectable items like Grilled Hanger Steak Flatbread and Maine Lobster Mac n’ Cheese. Then there are the cocktails, which include all the classics along with fun rose-inspired in-house specialities. A retractable glass roof means you can enjoy the first-rate Midtown views from the terrace all-year long.

Le Bain

You’ll need to dress to impress if you want to obtain admission, but the effort of gaining entrance to Le Bain is well worth the reward. After all, what other New York City rooftop bar has a swanky summer plunge pool on the dance floor? The on-site crêperie doesn’t hurt, either. Le Bain is very much a place to “see and be seen,” but the posh atmosphere and famed DJs do live up to the much-celebrated hype.

drinks

Photo: Arisa Chattasa

Westlight

For one of the most expansive views of the Manhattan skyline, you’ll need to head to Brooklyn. More specifically, you’ll want to go straight to the 22nd floor of the William Vale Hotel wherein lies the ever-sophisticated Westlight. This stylish restaurant and lounge boast a wraparound terrace, dotted with comfy sofas and stationary binoculars that further elevate the rooftop bar experience. Lavish bites by Andrew Carmellini and smart cocktails like the Mile de Fuego (a mix of mezcal, Tromba reposado, Mike’s hot honey, passionfruit, and lemon) round out the excellent experience.

Westlight NYC

Westlight Bar | Photo: Noah Fecks

The Roof

There’s no better cap to an afternoon spent sauntering through Central Park than The Roof, a covered terrace tucked away at the top of Viceroy Central Park Hotel. With its walnut-and-leather sofas, brass details, and captivating images of the sea and sky by renowned photographer Dalton Portella, the yacht-inspired theme is easily distinguishable yet always classy. Come here to enjoy the leafy views over a bottle of wine (or two.)

Jimmy

For an upscale, 1970’s take on the classic pub atmosphere, head to one of Soho’s most sought-after spots: Jimmy. With 360-degree views, working fireplaces in the winter and a refreshing pool deck in the summer, Jimmy truly has it all. Brunch is always a good idea here, as is Taco Tuesday. Don’t skimp on the cocktails; many feature syrups and bitters prepared in-house from the Chef’s herb garden.

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Located 65 stories above Rockefeller Center, the outdoor terrace at Bar SixtyFive promises quintessential Manhattan vistas—and perhaps the most spectacular look-out to the Empire State Building

Bar SixtyFive

It’s hard to beat New York’s highest cocktail lounge: Bar SixtyFive. Located 65 stories above Rockefeller Center, the outdoor terrace and bar promises quintessential Manhattan vistas—and perhaps the most spectacular look-out to the Empire State Building. Make a reservation for sunset, then stay to watch the sparkling NYC skyline as it lights up before you.

Bar SixtyFive | Photo: Jessica Nash

Bar SixtyFive | Photo: Jessica Nash

The Met Roof Garden Cafe and Martini Bar

It’s no secret that The Met is home to some of the world’s most phenomenal art exhibitions—and no gay New York City trip is complete without a visit. Once you’ve gotten your full dose of art and culture, head to the rooftop for sweeping Central Park views at the Met Roof Garden Bar and Martini Bar. Opening hours follow that of the museum (and it can get busy with tourists), but it remains an alluring spot to sip a martini while enjoying the verdant surroundings.

Kimoto

Kimoto is all about Asian-inspired food and beverage delivered in a minimalist yet elegant setting. The Zen-style rooftop bar features an indoor rock garden, over 300 plants, and fabulous views of the Statue of Liberty. We recommend whiling away an evening with hard-to-find Asian craft beers, lychee-infused cocktails or decadent plum wine. You’ll feel transported from the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle below—all without sacrificing the sparkling Manhattan views you came for.

Garden Lounge

Kimoto Rooftop

Kimoto Rooftop

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While one usually wouldn’t equate wine country with New York City, Rooftop Reds is an innovative working urban vineyard and hidden gem of a picnic spot

Rooftop Reds

While one usually wouldn’t equate wine country with New York City, Rooftop Reds is an innovative working urban vineyard (and hidden gem of a picnic spot) that aims to merge viticulture with the urban agriculture movement. It’s an ambitious project—and we’ll certainly cheer to that.  Learn about upstate wine producers, relax with a bottle of vino over a game of cornhole, or simply stop by for a happy hour and to enjoy the views of Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Advanced reservations are required.

Good Behavior

Good Behavior is a small, tiki-inspired cocktail bar that can get undeniably crowded as the night goes on, but the fun vibes and solid drinks on offer make it a mainstay on any list of New York City rooftop bars. Arrive early for a spot at one of the two outdoor terraces and enjoy the tropical ambience and Empire State views before everyone else arrives.

Photo: Matthieu Joannon

230 Fifth Rooftop Bar

New York’s largest rooftop garden and terrace, 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar is always a fantastic option for a delicious drink in the heart of the city. That said, we particularly love this expansive spot for the boozy brunches—a perfect start to any New York City weekend. Come winter, the swoon-worthy igloos promise an utterly unique way to imbibe outdoors while still staying warm.

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