Chances are, you’ll be strolling through New York City at some point this summer, and you’ll be standing there, parched AF, since NYC is forever and always disgustingly hot and humid (Sorry, I know the truth hurts).
You could stop by your local hot dog vendor du jour, and grab yourself a nice, overpriced bottle of water for $4 an ounce (Joking! It’s not THAT bad… yet).
But come on!
That’s SO not what you’re in New York City for.
That’s like going to Olive Garden in Times Square for some “quality” Italian food. Just no,
A much less heinous idea?
Because whether you’ve been strutting around the city and now have a thin film of residual sweat across your brow, or are fresh out of the shower, looking like an uber-fierce, long lost Sex
So grab your neon pink, wine cooler fanny pack (because apparently, that’s a THING now), and swan dive with me into a list of the 10 top rooftop bars in NYC.
Trust me, it’ll be more fun that you can even imagine. Pinkie promise!
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1. VERSA NYC, 218 W 35th Street
Open all day (Sweet baby Jesus, thank the heavens and Gods above. I mean, that’s cool. Whatever):
VERSA NYC isn’t just your average, end of the day, swing by for the happiest hour, type rooftop bar.
Nope, not a chance.
Believe it or not, this stunning, rooftop bar of wonder serves delicious meals all day long.
All the more food to soak up the copious amounts of alcohol you are about to injest.
Whether you’re in the market for a freshly squeezed, carrot, ginger, turmeric juice to start your day off right and clear out all those toxins from happy hours past, or if you’re ready to get your happy hour
OK, just so you’re prepared for your visit:
VERSA NYC is actually located in the Renaissance Midtown hotel. A fact that can be kind of annoying since those type of bars sometimes
VERSA is different and happily welcomes any and all walk-in customers.
They do encourage bookings, especially for large groups, since this place is kind of sort of a big deal, and will make you feel like one too since their patio bar has a retractable roof, and two separate bars, Versa East and Versa West bars, both of which serve different, but equally delicious drinks.
That being said:
More tables are usually available at the beginning of happy hour, say 5ish (happy hour is between 5 and 7 PM), than towards the end of happy hour, between 6:00 and 6:30 PM, when all of the worker bees start to congregate at the bar after successfully escaping the confines of their office prison.
Step inside this oasis of fun and enjoy stunning, panoramic views, delicious food (the NY Strip, pesto pasta, and empanadas are all good), a vivacious atmosphere, divine drinks, an open to all multi-hour, happy hour, and a convenient location (Madison Square Garden and Penn Station just around the corner), and what more could you ask for?
And if you’re not thirsty yet, can I be you? Because I’m over here in my room, on the verge of ordering a round of shots for all my imaginary friends.
What to Order: Try the Casamigos margaritas, Leblon Caipirinhas, the Angry Rabbit (tequila, St. Germain, passionfruit puree, fresh carrot, and lime juices, chilies and cilantro), or the Pineapple Basil (pineapple, basil, and cachaça).
2. A.R.T ( AKA Arlo Rooftop) SoHo, 231 Hudson Street
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The staff was super nice here. Very attentive and friendly, and got me a table way long before the promised time. The rooftop bars I go to in Boston tend to be snooty, so it was a really pleasant surprise! 🧡 * * * #colorstory #artsoho #arlorooftop #arlosoho #arlohotels #helloarlo #soho #manhattan #newyorkcity #newyork #nyc #adventurevisuals #bestplacestogo #borntotravel #citizenfemmehotels #citizenfemme #dametravelerhotels #dametraveler #exploremore #igtravel #instatraveling #postcardplaces #staycurious #stayandwander #theeverygirl #travelgirlsgo
The perfect, rooftop bar in NYC for when the weather is absolutely exceptional.
Well, because while you’re here, you can actually get a tan and a fabulous drink.
Talk about one stop shopping.
Tucked away in the vibrant, ultra-fashionable neighborhood of SoHo, this Arlo Hotel’s rooftop bar offers patrons both an indoor, and outdoor, section.
You and your not-so-sun-worshipping friends (this chick right here) can get your drinky drink on together.
The music, the vibes, and the staff are all totally chill, which makes sense since here is between 4:00 pm and
Three WHOLE hours of amazing drinking!
Yes, the happy hour menu is a paired down selection of their original menu.
But who cares when you can get $10 cocktails (normally $16), $8 wines (normally $12+), $6 Heinekens (normally $8), and a few discounted, small plates
This casual, club-like, rooftop bar has a fantastic selection of bottle service, as well as an extensive wine list and a wide variety of small plates and bites (Honestly, skip the food. It’s expensive and not that great).
And don’t forget the glorious views of the Hudson River and Freedom Tower skyline!
So sure, you can probably find cheaper drinks elsewhere in the city, but you’re really here for the views and the club vibe (so expect loud electronic music, long lines on weekends, and tables with “reserved” signs).
But it gets better!
If you book a room at the downstairs hotel, you’ll get a $25 bar credit for every night you
Like with most good things in life, this offer is for a limited time, so check to see if this offer is still running first!
What to Order: Try the Frose (frozen rose) or the St. Germain Spritz (St. Germain elderflower liqueur, orange bitters, prosecco, and soda).
3. Sky Room Bar, 330 W 40th Street
Shower first. And while you’re at it, throw on a nice dress since this place is swank, with a capital S.
There’s a no cover charge throughout the week, during happy hour ( between 5 PM and 7 PM).
The fact that I need to specify that there is no cover charge should tell you everything you need to know about this fancy
This isn’t you
This high-energy, bi-level, bar and lounge overlooks 40th Street and offers guests five distinct spaces to choose from: the North Terrace with its retractable roof, the South Terrace with its private cabanas, the Times Square Lounge, the Cube Balcony, and the Candlelight Lounge.
Even if you’re visiting NYC during the dead of winter, you can still enjoy the North Terrace rooftop bar, with its retractable glass roof and panoramic glass walls, walls that offer guests fantastic views of Times Square.
The top-level, South Terrace bar also has plush furniture, soothing lighting, and a lush landscape, all fo which work together to create a luxurious space where guests can truly enjoy Manhattan, amidst views of the Hudson River and the Empire State Building.
This really is the perfect hangout spot if you’re rockin’ a pair of heels and copious amounts of glitter, or if you want to get a little night time sweaty with your sweetie (Or bae. Whatever you cool kids call
The bar and the dance floor stay open late into the night (f you plan to visit during the weekend, definitely make a table reservation). Most nights also play host to a live DJ, but double check Sky Room’s website for an up to date list of their most recent events.
At least during happy hour, the drinks here aren’t obscenely expensive.
What to Order: Try the
4. The Polynesian, 400 West 42nd Street
If you’re looking for a tipple after a Broadway show:
Then the Polynesian, at The Pod Hotel 42, is the perfect place for you.
Overlooking Manhattan’s theater district:
This island-glam, turquoise-hued lounge, and outdoor terrace offer guests sophisticated, Polynesian cocktails and late hours (Open until 1 AM, Sunday through Thursday and until 2 AM, Friday and Saturday) that give you plenty of time to sit back and Tiki it up.
And while the wine list is fairly typical, with a few craft beers thrown in for good measure:
The hand-crafted cocktails are definitely the real draw here since they all have a Tiki theme that pays homage to the cultural heritage of Oceania’s past.
Think bamboo and coconuts everywhere, with ‘large format’ bowls for sharing. that are more commonly known as fish bowls to us not-so-fancy folk.
Don’t try too hard to understand what this rooftop bar is all about.
Just stop by and prepare to be amazed by the crown jewel of all Tiki bars with its landscape murals, exposed wooden beams, enchanting city views, and drinks served in everything from conch shells to boats to skulls.
Delightfully tacky, but in an elevated kind of way.
Now, where did I leave my grass skirt?
What to Order: Try the fruity Barbossa’s Punch, a ceramic treasure chest filled with pineapple rum, apple brandy, grenadine, and curaçao.
5. The Skylark, 200 W 39th St.
Sometimes ya gotta do it all for the Gram.
Ya feel? Or is my not-so-inner Millennial showing?
Seriously though, I swear I’m kidding. I’m not actually that shallow.
If you do want to visit a bar with panoramic views that will literally make you go weak in the knees, then you’ll need to suck it up and trudge through the tourist mayhem of Times Square.
Once you’re thirty floors above it all, drink in hand, with the NYC skyline behind you, it’ll all be worth it.
And while this bar’s open-air, rooftop terrace does stay open well past midnight, try and visit Skylark during sunset for exquisite, westward facing views, and #nofilter selfies, through the main lounge’s
There’s no happy hour at this classically styled cocktail lounge. Just slightly obscene prices that are to be expected since you’re paying for the view, the experience, and the location.
Live a little and order one of their $18 cocktails, or more if you need more time to perfect your selfie-taking skills.
And the kitchen?
Yeah, not that fab since the food menu is limited and the kitchen only stays open until 11:00 PM, a time that is geriatric level early by NYC standards.
But real talk?
You’re here for the expansive,
While not listed as a requirement there is a suggested dress code of business/upscale casual.
So you’ll probably wanna dress to impress, and maybe even wear a bit of deodorant.
I know, it’s THAT kind of establishment.
There’s also a door manager and a bag/coat check requirement upon arrival.
Sometimes parts of the bar are closed off for private events, especially during the weekend.
You might want to check at the door, before you enter, to see if the areas with panoramic views aren’t closed off.
What to Order: Skip the cocktails and order a beer instead.
6. Serra by Birreria, 200 5th Avenue
Three cheers for Mario Batali, who not only created the ever-delicious Eataly but who also designed this Instagram lover’s dream of a rooftop bar
And while Eataly itself is always jampacked with tourists and locals alike (I’m sorry but the Buratta is flipping delicious), don’t just dine and dash.
Keep this on the DL BUT:
I’ve got a secret for you. Eataly also has a rooftop bar that hasn’t completely been taken over by tourists, at least not yet.
Known as Serra, which means rooftop in Italian, the second part of the bar’s name actually changes with the season, as does its decor and feel.
Pretty neat right?
So, throughout the winter, this little rooftop oasis is known as Serra Alpina and is transformed into a secluded, Swiss chateau in the Alps.
But come springtime:
This bar instantly blooms to life, transforms into Serra
If you’re looking for a cult of devoted Instagram followers then this is the place to be!
The decor here is always over the top level beautiful, with food that is just as pretty to look at as the walls around you.
Just be sure to book a table in advance since you don’t want to let your followers down on this one.
The drinks are pretty fab, while the food is pretty okay at best.
And the on your toes service you’ve grown accustomed to downstairs doesn’t quite seem to make it to these heights.
Skip the food and devote your time to getting a
What to Order: Skip the food and try the Aperol Spritz with Prosecco, club soda, and Aperol for $15.
7. Ophelia, 3 Mitchell Place
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HONEY & SMOKE JACK DANIELS HONEY, MONKEY SHOULDER, BENEDICTINE, LEMON, THYME, TONIC, PEATED MIST, EGG WHITE (NEW YORK SOUR, DECONSTRUCTED AND REIMAGINED AGAIN) Bonnie & Clyde, the notorious American couple were feared and admired at the same time. The familiar and the unknown will leave you wondering why nobody told you it’s that easy. #rooftopbar #cocktails #nycviews #mixology #bar #nyceats #nyc #rooftop #springcocktails #opheliany #drinks #nightout
This isn’t the first non-Times Square rooftop bar to make this list.
It is one of the only bars to move away from Times Square while retaining the glam feel of Midtown.
Which makes sense since this bar is actually in Midtown.
But, this is Midtown East. And you can feel the difference as soon as you walk in the door.
Just be prepared to doll yourself up first.
Because swank, sophisticated, and chic are just a few of the words that come to mind when describing Ophelia.
And the menu here totally matches the ambiance.
Think complex cocktails with uber-hipster ingredients like ‘smoked Jamaican pepper infused Del Maguey Vida Mezcal’.
Talk about a mouthful.
And the prices? Yeah, they match the ingredients. That’s why you definitely won’t walk away with a cocktail that costs less than $17 (Some cost as much as $28. Yikes!).
But don’t let that high price tag scare you!
Just think of the oh so glorious views since the greenhouse terrace wraps around the entirety of the building, providing guests with astonishing glimpses of Manhattan’s iconic skyline.
The service here is on point since servers are polite and allow you enough time to enjoy your drinks amidst decor that is at the intersection of business, intimate, hip, and modern.
Before you go
Definitely make a reservation and take the elevator with the red carpet since the others won’t get you where you want to go.
See what’s going on before you arrive since there are usually live DJ’s here on the weekends.
What to Order: Try Ophelia’s Ascension ($17 and made with smoked Jamaican Pepper infused del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Maker’s Mark, Sri Lanka Palm Sugar. Aromatic Bitters, and cedar smoke) and while the food is good, be prepared to spend $16 on a hummus appetizer.
8. Le Bain, 848 Washington Street
Ready to party like a rockstar in the ever trendy, meatpacking district?
If you are then Le Bain is the place to be.
A self-described ‘discotheque’ on the penthouse floor of The Standard, this place is so fabulous that you can expect a line at the door.
You also may very well get turned away since there is no stated dress code so it’s hard to say what the bouncers are looking for exactly.
What I can say is that shoes are important. Like proper ones, as in, no flip flops or sneakers.
You can also try and dress up in something chic and trendy if you really wanna seal the deal.
Expect it to get pretty loud and pretty sweaty since there are often live DJ’s that get crunk up until 3 AM (WAY past my bedtime).
There’s also a plunge pool during the summer (no need to bring a bathing suit since they have a bathing suit vending machine for men and
Sigh, they had me at crêperie.
So, if you’re willing to strut it out like a boss in the eternal hope that you might get in the door of a penthouse bar with a plunge pool, then this is the NYC rooftop bar for you.
What to Order: Try the Frozen Grapefruit Gimlet ($14 with crushed ice, grapefruit juice, and vodka) or the Paris Spritz (Aperol, St. Germaine, Top Soda, and champagne). Skip the food since it’s overpriced and mediocre at best.
9. 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar, 230 Fifth Avenue
Get ready for the bar with the most breathtaking view of The Empire State Building.
You’ll basically feel like you can touch this NYC icon but don’t since that would result in your imminent demise.
And if you feel like pairing some food with your epic view:
Stop by either Saturday or Sunday and enjoy one of the top brunches in NYC, for just $29 per person.
If you just can’t seem to drag yourself out of bed in time for brunch, stop by for either lunch or dinner and enjoy a wide variety of foods like pizza, tuna tartare, and a kale garden salad (which sounds delicious…if you enjoy grass clippings).
If you plan to dine here, do make a reservation since not shockingly, this rooftop bar and restaurant is uber popular, especially with the tourists.
Be sure to specify that you want to sit at a table of standard height since many of the tables here are only knee-high, and accordingly, could result in both stained trousers and craned necks.
Something that ain’t nobody got time for.
But, if you’re forced to choose between food and drinks, I would prioritize drinking here since the food at this rooftop bar is good, but not amazing.
You’ll be delighted to hear that this rooftop bar is open year round, with an assortment of picnic tables and umbrellas making a guest appearance during the summer, to help protect you from both the sun and rain.
Throughout the winter months (between November and May), you’ll find this bar inundated with transparent, heated igloos that will help you enjoy the exquisite, panoramic views but without freezing to death as you sip on your craft cocktail.
230 Fifth is open 365 days a year, with happy hour between 4 PM and 7 PM throughout the week (you get $6 beers, $7 wines, and $8 well cocktails).
What to Order: Try the Raspberry Mojito (Vodka, White Rum, and muddled with mint and fresh raspberries) or the Jalapeño Margarita (Tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, jalapeño, and topped with a lime wedge), each of which cost $14.
10. Gallow Green, 542 W 27th Street
Get out of the city…or at least feel like you did at Gallow Green, a chic, rooftop lounge with a surreal, green-garden vibe that offers a welcome respite from the urban chaos that is NYC.
Think garden party thrown at an abandoned farm, with fairy lights and tattered flags that hang in between exquisite trellises.
Named after a Scottish field where accused witches were hanged (A
The best seats in the house are actually inside a distressed, antique railcar, whose empty windows are adorned with meticulously destroyed lace curtains.
Now, since there’s a lot going on here:
Definitely go online and peruse through a wide array of activities like weekend brunches (purchase a ticket in advance for $50 per person) and ‘Sunset Sundays’ which include live music on the roof.
And the menu?
Yeah, it’s pretty extensive, with a diverse array of offerings that include a raw bar, lobster rolls, and everyone’s favorite, pizza!
Nom, nom, nom!
And while the food isn’t cheap per se, the prices are affordable, especially when you consider the beautiful views all around you.
The drink list here includes a nice variety of wine, beer, and creative cocktails.
And while the cocktails are $17 a piece (so not a steal):
The ingredients and drink combinations here are pretty neat, with beverages that include things like dragon fruit and graham crackers (not together, obviously).
Looking for something unique to do in NYC?
Well, you’re in luck because Gallow Green sits atop the McKittrick Hotel, a hotel that hosts an amazing, interactive show called Sleep No More.
Look it up and buy tickets. I promise, it’s an experience that cannot be missed.