Best NYC Rooftop Bars
With temperatures becoming survivable as spring arrives for real, New Yorkers’ thoughts naturally turn skywards to the rooftops. Spring and summer are the time for rooftop parties, rooftop picnics—and rooftop bars. With some of the most incredible urban views in the world, and a short summer in which to enjoy them, it’s time to make the most of it. Here are a few of our favorites.
Rooftop bars in NYC
The boutique Refinery Hotel began life as a hat factory in Manhattan’s Garment District, taking its current form in 2013. The hotel’s rooftop bar, the Refinery Rooftop, has quickly become indispensable to the Midtown bar scene. It’s kept to an industrial aesthetic, with exposed brick and steel and a few rustic touches. Guests enjoy views of the Empire State Building (that old thing!), as well as cocktails inspired by mixologist Alex Ott’s knowledge of biochemistry—black walnut bitters and pumpkin purée feature on the current menu.
Ides Rooftop, the Wythe Hotel
To get the best views of Manhattan, you have to get off Manhattan. And the best and most upscale Manhattan views are found, unsurprisingly, across the East River in furiously gentrifying Williamsburg. The Wythe Hotel nods to Williamsburg’s industrial past—it’s housed in a converted factory built in 1901—but the Ides Rooftop bar’s beautifully-appointed, minimalist, Art Deco-inspired aesthetic looks towards a much fancier future.
The McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea was built in 1939, condemned in the same year, and brought back from the dead as the home of Sleep No More, the unmissable immersive theater performance by London’s Punchdrunk. It’s also the home of rooftop bar Gallow Green. Despite its sinister name, Gallow Green is a lush, canopied green space with beautiful city views—and a change of pace from the eerie Macbeth adaptations going on downstairs.
Sheltering Sky is the rooftop bar of McCarren Hotel & Pool. which overlooks McCarren Park on the north side of Williamsburg. An eighth-floor sanctuary with plush seating and carpeting on a Moroccan theme, hanging lanterns, and a retractable roof, the bar offers a view of the full stretch of the Manhattan skyline. It shares a name with Paul Bowles’ classic novel—although nights at the Sheltering Sky don’t usually end as disastrously as that book.
Met Roof Garden Cafe and Martini Bar
You may have to struggle with the tourists for the chance to be up there, but on Friday and Saturday nights the Met rooftop garden, already an idyllic green space, becomes a martini bar with low-rise views over Central Park. Plus, seeing the art beforehand is like exercise for your mind—which means you can feel much more virtuous about that cocktail. Note that the space is only open during museum hours.
If you need a ride to any of these bars, don’t hesitate to reserve a limo with us.