New Heights. 11 Rooftops To Make Summer Hot

UPDATE:You've got more weekend day to really take it all in. So, check out these 11 rooftop bars for views and drinks and fun. This article was originally published on June 10.
We feared it might never, ever happen, but tuck those puffy coats and heavy sweaters away in the back of your closets, because summer is finally here! And the last place we want to be these warm months is tucked into a dark dive bar — give us sunshine, crop tops and poolside drinks! And so, we’ve rounded up the best of the best in rooftop bars across Manhattan and Brooklyn. If you’re into fancy building tops with epic ragers, we’ve got you covered — and if you’re down for chill vibes and foodie-fied expanses, we’ve got some of those, too. From hotel-top taquerias, liquor-soaked watermelon wonders, and even a secret, lush garden, consider this your permanent answer to wondering where to drink all season long.
1 of 11
JIMMY at the James
Stunning downtown views, an incredible patio surrounding the crystal-clear pool and total-sunset, date-night vibes? Yeah, this is one of the best rooftop spots in town for sure. Whether you’re grabbing after-work drinks or starting a Saturday night off right, the ultra-luxe lounge, complete with glass walls and a humongous outdoor deck is perfect for enjoying a mindfully crafted cocktail — all amidst lower Manhattan’s jaw-dropping skyline.
JIMMY at the James, 15 Thompson Street (between Grand and Canal streets); 212-201-9118.

Photo: Courtesy of The James New York
2 of 11
Gallow Green
A lush, exciting garden from the creative gurus behind long-running theatrical installation "Sleep No More" is everything you’d expect it to be: curious, unbelievably special, and magical in a way that most open-air rooftops just aren’t. The Chelsea expanse carries a certain hushed secrecy only a team like this could pull off, and ever-present ivy, dark wood, and wispy lace give the spot an Anthropologie-meets-Selby-backyard vibe that carries straight into the menu. Think old-timey punch bowls, a quiet demeanor perfect for cozying up to someone new, and an intriguing waitstaff that’ll have you casually wondering how quickly you can see the show once again.
Gallow Green, 530 West 27th Street (between 10th and 11th avenues); 212-564-1662.

Photo: Courtesy of Gallow Green
3 of 11
La Birreria
Think Eataly is only for tourists? Yeah, right. Take an elevator from inside the Italian mega-mart to this gorgeous, calming upstairs, and get ready to feast on a selection of bites and beers like you've never had before. Less of a rooftop hang and more of a beer pairing-minded restaurant, La Birreria is the ultimate spot for hops-loving foodies — or anyone who typically inspects behind-the-bar taps closely before ordering a pint. Best part of all? Even if the weather isn’t agreeing with your wish to drink outside, roof paneling can be quickly set into place, meaning even Mother Nature can’t kill your vibe.
La Birreria, 200 Fifth Avenue (between 23rd and 24th Streets); 212-937-8910.

Photo: Courtesy of Virginia Rollison
4 of 11
Dinner on Ludlow
Delancey Street does rooftop nightlife pretty darn well, but the one building-top we can’t quit is Dinner on Ludlow. We’d keep it on the DL — heh, heh — but with decadent food, refreshing drinks, and a bumpin’ soundtrack that turns regular nights into ones you’ll talk about time and again, this mini-party mansion is too good to keep secret. The multi-floor club is a bona fide place to see and be seen. Feel free to bust out your quirkiest outfit — but the best part is, if you want to hide away, there’s room for that in any of their cozy, dimly lit spaces, too.
Dinner on Ludlow, 95 Delancey Street (at Ludlow Street); 212-228-0909.

Photo: Courtesy of DL
5 of 11
Berry Park
We won’t gloss over the fact that rooftop bars can sometimes be synonymous with clubby atmospheres, loud music, and a heels-during-the-day vibe. Not at Berry Park, which has long been one of the best Brooklyn spots to kick back with a brew in the refreshing summer breeze. Whether you’re grubbing on delicious lunch-y eats like chickpea burgers and fried pickles, indulging in their beloved Bloody Mary or, well, screaming at a sports game on one of the TVs, this Williamsburg spot has the best of what Brooklyn has to offer — and of course, a knockout view of New York City’s skyline across the East River.
Berry Park, 4 Berry Street (at North 14th Street),Brooklyn; 718-782-2829.

Photo: Courtesy of Berry Park.
6 of 11
Empire Hotel Rooftop
If you’re about day-to-night drinks more than day-to-night dressing, this is the quintessential spot for you. As good for a first date as it is for power drinks while the day closes, the Empire Hotel’s lush, grassy expanse is perfect for taking in West Side sights while imbibing one of their elegant boozy creations. Listen to the laid-back stylings of in-house jazz performers — or tune out the rest of the world with a perfect view of the sunset — and enjoy a refined, relaxing finish to the afternoon...or a prime start to a long evening.
Empire Hotel Rooftop, 44 West 63rd Street (between Broadway and Columbus Avenue); 212-956-3313.

Photo: Courtesy of China Grill Management
7 of 11
Rooftop Lounge at Pod39
Inventive, fresh-fruit cocktails from Hotel Delmano whiz-kid Sam Anderson matched with Salvation Taco’s eats makes for the ultimate happy-hour haunt. Swing by with colleagues for a perfect post-work hang, or wait ‘til the summer sun is strong to soak up the day drinking — especially because this temple of boozy wonders offers up whole, hollowed-out watermelons filled with booze. Yeah, it’s just that kind of magical dreamland that’ll make the dog days of New York summer feel as good as those two seconds we had of spring.
Pod 39 Hotel, 145 East 39th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues); (212) 865-5700.

Photo: Courtesy of Pod 39
8 of 11
SOAKED at Mondrian Soho
Let’s just put it this way: if you’ve ever followed-through on a three-day cleanse and know what the word “tapbacks” means, this just might be the bar you’ve been waiting for. With cocktails made from cold-pressed, organic juices from The Squeeze and tea cocktails through a partnership with DAVIDsTea, there are plenty of ways to healthfully balance out all the imbibing you’ll be doing (with coconut-water cocktails, too!) atop the highest rooftop in all of Soho. Consider this your much-more-fun, hella-convenient weekend trip to the Farmers' Market. (We know we will!)
SOAKED at Mondrian Soho, 150 Lafayette Street (between Howard and Grand streets); 212)-389-1000.

Photo: Courtesy of Morgans Hotel Group
9 of 11
Upper Elm at King & Grove Williamsburg
We don’t want to say this is where all the cool kids hang out on the weekends, but with mixologist-approved drinks, rad-as-hell DJs, a crisp, refreshing pool — and the best view of the NYC skyline we have ever seen — it’s tough not to. Crazy hip (but not painfully), if you’re in the mood to hear that beloved CHVRCHES track while kicking back with good pals over perfectly made drinks, this is your jam. We’ll definitely see you there this summer...since we don’t plan on ever leaving.
Upper Elm at King & Grove Williamsburg, 160 North 12th Street (between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street), Brooklyn; 718-218-7500.

Photo: Courtesy of Evan Sung
10 of 11
Tequila Park
For Hudson Hotel to name their newly re-conceived outdoor deck with such a bold moniker, they’d have to channel the perfect, classed-up Spring Break-meets-New-York-summer vibe — and man, did they do it well. The fresh-fruit margaritas and delicious tacos are worth making a visit alone, but what we love most about this spot is that it magically morphed from a beloved ski lodge into an outdoor expanse packed with games and foosball tables. Their blissed-out vibe won’t make that stack of reports on your desk disappear, but hands down, it’ll make every visit feel like a laid-back Friday.
Tequila Park, 356 West 58th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues); (212) 554-6217.

Photo: Courtesy of Morgans Hotel Group
11 of 11
Plunge at The Gansevoort Meatpacking
When we think rooftop bars, it’s impossible to not think of NYC’s longstanding best, like the Gansevoort Hotel’s upstairs party palace — which, if we’re being truthful, is pretty much the OG of outdoor imbibing. Just up from the cobblestone roads in this vibey hood is one of the most remarkable views, and a rooftop home to some of the most stylish parties and one of the best pools in the city. We’ve been a fan forever, but with brand new grub — like a deliciously fresh, chopped salad and hot, grilled jumbo shrimp and skewers — we’ve got a whole ‘nother reason to hit this never-ending outdoor joint. (Not that we needed one.)
Plunge at The Gansevoort Meatpacking, 18 9th Avenue (at West 13th Street); 212-660-6736.

Photo: Courtesy of China Grill Management

More from Food & Drinks


R29 Original Series