Pleasant weather lures New Yorkers out of their cramped apartments, ready to imbibe, socialize, and soak in the sun and cityscape. While NYC offers a flurry of places for cocktails and bites, there’s no better locale to savor fancy beverages and locally sourced fare than a rooftop bar.
Promising plenty of Instagram opportunities, these high-in-the-sky spots are some of the city’s top choices for food and drink with a view. And the best part? They’re all accessible by subway.
1. Ophelia, Midtown East
9 minute walk from 51 Street
Throwback to the Art Deco era at this glam, moody lounge in the Beekman Tower, a skyscraper soaring 26 stories above Midtown. Once called the Panhellenic Tower, the former women’s-only club shakes and stirs 1920s- and ‘30s-inspired cocktails alongside truffle fries, foie gras, and steak tartare. Imbibe on the grand terrace––the elegant space drips with style, revealing a 24-foot pewter bar, cavalcade of red-velvet-upholstered stools, and vintage accessories like flapper hats and French Tarot cards––or quaff your drink on the wraparound outer terrace. As for the view, an expanse of windows frame an incredible panorama of Manhattan, East River, and Roosevelt Island.
2. Harriet’s Rooftop, Brooklyn Heights
8 minute walk from High Street
Far-reaching vistas are the attraction at this waterfront rooftop bar, led by 1 Hotels, perched atop the Brooklyn Bridge outpost. Beyond unobstructed views of the city, East River, and Brooklyn Bridge, the cuisine in this Brooklyn-chic, indoor-outdoor lounge is also a draw. In keeping with the hotel’s ethos, Executive Chef and Chopped champion Denevin Miranda serves sustainable fare sourced locally. “It’s a chef’s dream to have access to such beautiful fruits and vegetables,” he says. The kitchen’s “nutrient-dense ingredients are perfect for creating fresh, healthy, and delicious dishes.” Pair a handcrafted cocktail with a plate of the chef’s Crudo, then sink into one of the bar’s plush sofas or chairs and savor the ambiance while the sun fades behind the Manhattan skyline.
3. The Greens, Pier 17, Financial District
7 minute walk from Fulton Street
This wide-open rooftop bar offers al fresco dining in the Seaport, the historic waterfront district in Lower Manhattan. While winter brings private cabins, the bar transforms to open-air pods in warm weather. Eat and drink with up to eight guests on comfy lounge seating around a table with a beach umbrella, staged on mini-lawns––yes, you get your own private patch of grass. The dramatic skyline, water, and Brooklyn Bridge views surround you. Fruity libations, beer, wine, and bubbly round out the beverage choices. A DJ spinning tunes and a 32-foot widescreen streaming sporting events and movies through Seaport Cinema add to The Greens experience.
4. The Ready Rooftop Bar, East Village
5 minute walk from 14 Street - Union Square
Set in the hip Moxy East Village hotel, The Ready Rooftop Bar features a glass ceiling and walls that retract to reveal a sweeping perspective of downtown Manhattan. The quirky design represents the neighborhood’s bohemian vibe, marked by a bar made from plastic milk crates, colorful murals, string lights, and climbing vines. No matter the time of year, this laid-back spot feels like a backyard party in the center of the city, for locals and visitors.
Tracy Kaler is a New York-based journalist who’s covered travel, food and drink, culture, design, and other lifestyle topics for The Telegraph, Barron’s Penta, Mansion Global, amNewYork, Travelmag, and other publications.