Spring in NYC is one of the most beautiful times of year — if for no other reason than it’s at long last rooftop season. With so many rooftop bars in NYC, it can be hard to narrow down your favorite spot to get cocktails with a view (and hard to find one you can get into on a Friday night). From a garden oasis high above the Upper East Side to high-end hotel bars to a refurbished hat factory in the Garment District, here’s a roundup of the best rooftop bars in NYC.
Note: we only focused on Manhattan and not Brooklyn, otherwise, Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel would be #1 on this list.
5.) Met Roof Garden Cafe & Martini Bar
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is arguably one of the best museums in NYC, but did you know you can down a cocktail or two after taking in the impressionism exhibit?
Located on the roof of the Met, the Met Rooftop Bar offers sweeping views of Central Park and is the perfect way to end a tour of the museum, impress the potential sig-other you met on the latest dating app or just unwind after a long day of work. The bar serves wine, cocktails and light bites and, while it’s seasonal and lines can be long, the views and unique atmosphere make it worth it.
Upper East Side: 1000 5th Ave.
Opens in May
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday: 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
Martini Bar opens at 5:30 pm
It can be tricky to find. Make your way to the fifth floor European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries where you’ll find an elevator to take you up to the bar.
If at all possible come on a weekday afternoon, when crowds are the lightest. If not, beprepared to wait (but know that it’s worth it).
4. Salon de Ning At The Peninsula Hotel
The Salon de Ning is a high-end cocktail bar on the 23rd floor the Peninsula Hotel, one of midtown’s upscale, five-star hotels on the corner of 5th Avenue and 55th St., just a block away from The St. Regis and up the street from The Waldorf. With two main terraces, as well as an intimate balcony that can hold no more than six or eight people, this upscale spot offers sweeping views of 5th Avenue and midtown including the Sony Building, the Met Life Building and the G.E. Building and is one of the best upscale rooftop bars in NYC.
The crowd is upscale — a mix of high-end business travelers and midtown’s “fashion meets finance” crowd — so dress appropriately. The cocktail menu features everything from spicy tequila concoctions to Sancerre to their signature drinks, which include The Ningroni (Farmer’s organic gin, Aperol, sweet vermouth), The Westside Manhattan (Woodford Reserve bourbon, mint, peach, ginger ale) and The Ninglet (Hendrick’s gin, St.-Germain, lime). We must warn you though, drinks are pricey. Glasses of wine start at $18 and cocktails average $24.
Midtown: 700 Fifth Ave.
Monday – Saturday: 5:00 pm – 1:00 am
Sunday: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am
While it’s certainly more fun in the spring, the rooftop is open in colder months as well and, with the presence of heaters, is quite cozy.
3.) La Birreria
Mario Batali’s famous Eataly, located in Flatiron and akin to an “Italian Whole Foods” or “Italian Chelsea Market” (but complete with amazing Nutella bar), is also home to La Birreria, one of the best rooftop bars in NYC.
Located on Eataly’s rooftop, La Birreria is a German-style biergarten juxtaposed with classy dining and is open year round — rain, shine or even snow. There are heaters for the colder months and a retractable roof, so don’t worry about freezing or getting wet. Across the street from The Flatiron Building, La Birreria offers spectacular views of the city, including The Flatiron Building and The Empire State Building.
La Birreria serves high-end craft beer — cask ales are even brewed onsite, in collaboration with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Teo Musso of Baladin, well known crafters in the world of beer. Not a beer fan? No worries. Wine and cocktails are also available.
Flatiron: 200 5th Ave.
Saturday – Sunday: 11:30 am – 11 pm
One of our favorite parts of La Birreria is that’s it’s unpretentious, unlike many of NYC’s popular bars, particular the best rooftop bars in NYC.
2.) Magic Hour At The Moxy
Ordinarily, we would advise you stay as far away from Times Square as possible for any non-Broadway related needs. However, with Magic Hour’s “urban amusement park” and views of the Empire State Building,we recommend you book a reservation today for this delightful spot, as we consider it to be one of the best rooftop bars in NYC.
Situated on the 18th floor of The Moxy Hotel, Magic Hour isn’t just a bar but a whimsical spot for entertainment (and delicious drinks). Magic Hour features five distinct areas that will put a smile on your face faster than photos of cute puppies, including a gallery entrance hall with whimsical animals engaged in non-PG activities and a small interior lounge with an urban-industrial feel (likely due to the wire mesh panels). There are not one but two separate outdoor spots: the first overlooks the Empire State Building and has an elegant garden-party vibe, while the second features whimsical flavors, even featuring rotating seating that’s akin to sitting on an antique carousel.
The fifth area of Magic Hour is the most unique: Foreplay, a miniature golf course featuring even more animals in risque poses.
The robust cocktail menu has everything from basic gin & tonics to bottle service, with light bites available as well. Be advised that similar to Salon de Ning, Magic Hour is pricey. It’s more of a tourist destination than locals spot (again, it’s in Times Square), but lines get long so come early or as “off-peak” as you can.
Midtown West: 485 7th Ave.
Monday – Saturday: 4 pm – “Late”
Sunday: 9 pm – “Late”
Make a reservation. If they’re booked, make sure to go early before the late night crowd comes. This is a hot and happening place, so make sure to dress the part.
1.) Refinery Rooftop
The Refinery Rooftop is hands down one of our favorite rooftop bars in NYC: it’s unpretentious, laid back, and serves delicious and affordable cocktails, wine, beer and light bites. Oh, and it also features exposed brick, twinkling lights and sweeping views of The Empire State Building. What else could you ask for?
The Refinery Rooftop is located atop the Refinery Hotel and is a former hat factory, which only lends to the charm. Open year-round, it’s perfect for locals and tourists alike.
The Garment District: 63 W 38th St.
Monday – Thursday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Friday: 11:30 am – 3:00 am
Saturday: 12:00 pm – 3:00 am
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 1:00 am
There is a dress code and lines can get long, especially during happy hour. Make sure to come early (before 6:00) if you don’t want to wait! Light bites are good and an allergy-friendly menu is available.
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