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The 10 Best Rooftop Bars In NYC For Summer Drinking

By: Lindsay Rothfeld

When the sun’s out, it’s time to get high … above the city streets. Yes, we’re talking rooftop bars. You might be thinking, “Rooftop in NYC? Oh, you fancy.” But not too fast. Not all rooftops are about swank and pretension (although, many are). That’s the great thing about NYC; there’s a never-ending supply of booze-filled rooftops waiting for you. Whether you’re seeking breathtaking views, bottomless frosé, or chips and guac, this list should surely suffice.

The Ten Best Rooftop Bars to Check Out This Summer

525 Greenwich Street, Manhattan

Sitting at the top of Hotel Hugo, Azul gives you Old Havana vibes with bright colors, festive cocktails, and Cuban cuisine. The view from this spot is absolutely stunning, overlooking the Hudson with blue skies abounding. This urban cantina has a killer drink selection, most of them with a tropical twist. The space itself is somewhat small, and while there are couches for lounging, it can get crowded, especially as summer begins. The menu is very simple but hits the spot. As long as there are chips and guac, everyone’s happy.

Credit: Azul
63 West 38th Street, Manhattan

We have to be honest. The Garden District isn’t anyone’s favorite NYC neighborhood. Streets are crowded with people everywhere, but that’s what rooftops are for! Refinery is an oasis from the hustle and bustle of midtown, with a less pretentious vibe than most rooftop bars but just as beautiful and fun. There’s both an indoor and outdoor area, which is especially nice at night when the dancefloor inside gets heated. It’s a great place for groups or for a 1:1 date night, and even has a pretty delicious dinner menu. Because it’s a central spot for many business folk, it can get crowded post-work, so be prepared for a little delay if you don’t make a reservation ahead of time. Still, it’s worth the wait.

Credit: Refinery Hotel New York
PUBLIC Rooftop and Garden
215 Chrystie Street, Manhattan

You can’t beat the view from the top of the PUBLIC hotel. Open sky for days. The view is visible from the inside through floor-to-ceiling windows, but of course, there’s an outdoor terrace for you to bask in the day/moonlight as well. The vibe here is a little more swanky than other rooftops, so you may want to throw on some heels or a nice jacket. Most notably from this spot, and seen frequently on Instagram, are the neon escalators that bring you up to the bar with bright light emanating from below. #blessed.

Credit: PUBLIC Hotels
Last Light
225 Bowery, Manhattan

There’s something very refreshing about newly-opened Last Light, an 11th-floor bar of Sister City (an Ace Hotel subsidiary). The bar intentionally has branded itself as inclusive and anti-pretension, as the door policy is first-come, first-serve with no reservations offered, and no bottle service upstairs. While prices are steep, as you’d expect from a rooftop bar in NYC, there are happy hour specials Monday-Friday, 3PM – 6PM, during which cocktails are only $10. Can we get an amen up in here? And of course, the views are absolutely stunning.

Credit: Sister City NYC
Summerly at The Hoxton
97 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn

Escape the streets of Williamsburg by popping to the top of the Hoxton hotel. Summerly gives you amazing views of the East River and is a beautiful spot to take in the summer sun. The menu focuses on New England seafood classics—lobster rolls, calamari, clam pizza, etc. But remember, you’re still in Brooklyn, so you’re getting the best of New England and with a hipster flair. The ambiance is chic and modern, without feeling over-pretentious. It’s definitely worth stopping by for some drinks over dusk.

Credit: The Hoxton, Facebook

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111 North 12th Street 22nd Floor, Brooklyn

Small plates, big views. Westlight, at The William Vale in Brooklyn, is very Insta-worthy. On the 22nd floor, you’ll see the entire East-side skyline, including the Empire State and One World Trade Center. There are many beautiful rooftop views across the boroughs, but this one can’t be beat. The menu has a great combination of classic and inventive cocktails, and the cuisine is street-food inspired. The vibe is very romantic, so it’s perfect for a date, day or night.

Credit: Westlight, Facebook
The Crown
50 Bowery, Manhattan

While you don’t need to come donning a crown or tiara to enter Hotel 50 Bowery’s rooftop bar, The Crown, you definitely can’t show up in flip-flops. Think … downtown chic. But you’ll want to look a little more put together when you enter the 21st floor, with skyline views that are a perfect backdrop for your next couple pic. What makes The Crown stand out—the Frosé. It’s not cheap, but it’s beautiful and delicious. The small menu rotates through globally-inspired small bites and Asian-inspired cocktails. There’s a gorgeous, copper-accented indoors area, but outside is where you want to be.

Credit: The Crown NYC
Broken Shaker
23 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan

Rooftop bars sometimes don’t live up to their hype. That isn’t the case with Broken Shaker. There’s something unique about this spot that’s hard to put into words. Maybe it’s the overall quirky vibe of the hotel it’s housed in, The Freehand, or the funky collection of mismatched decorations. Whatever it is, we’re buying what they’re selling. While the bar is certainly going for a Miami-esque, tiki vibe, it’s not shoved down your throat. We’ll admit that the view isn’t as breathtaking as some other rooftops, but the ambiance exudes fun and it’s not just date-friendly, but group-friendly as well. The drinks are off the hook, especially the Mezcal ones. And the food is delicious and very shareable, with Caribbean and Middle Eastern overtones.

Credit: Freehand New York, Facebook
Rooftop Reds
299 Sands Street, Building #275, Brooklyn

Rooftop Reds is a hidden Brooklyn gem, and by hidden we mean it literally, as it’s a bit difficult to find. But once you’re there, you’re not going to want to leave. Located in DUMBO, this is a very unique and fun rooftop bar where some of the wine that’s sold is wine that’s made on that roof. Yes, it’s a vineyard in NYC. On this roof, you’ll find games of cornhole, hammocks, picnic tables, and lots of cheese plates. On weeknights, there are movie screenings, mini-concerts, and rooftop yoga sessions. This might become your new favorite spot. Just know that you must make a reservation ahead of time, but it’s extremely easy to do so. So get on it.

Credit: Rooftop Reds
Cantor Rooftop Garden Bar
1000 5th Avenue, Manhattan

Wanna see art? And then drink? Head to the roof of the Metropolitan Museum to take in sweeping views of Central Park, sip on some cocktails, and nom on some small plates. While this can be a tourist hot-spot, it’s a place you should try at least once. You’ve got culture, you’ve got nature, and you’ve got wine. What else could you possibly need in your lifetime? It is a bit of a trek to get upstairs, as you must navigate to the second floor of the museum, find the elevator to the rooftop, get to the top floor and then walk one flight of stairs. A little exercise never hurt anybody.

Credit: The Met Dining Room, Facebook

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