For New Yorkers, drinking isn’t leisure: it’s a sport. The top players have haunts in every neighborhood, with options that scale from dicey to pricey. Come summertime, the MVPs know where to find the most coveted NYC drinking experience: rooftops.
Please beware: In Manhattan, most rooftop bars are located inside hotels, which means two things: 1) tourists, and 2) #touristtrap pricing. If you’re watching your wallet, stick to one round of drinks, or visit during happy hour.
If you’re in search of hangs with a view, be prepared to pay a pretty penny. There’s no getting around the cost of real estate in NYC, so embrace the price tag at these popular spots. They’re worth the splurge.
St. Cloud at The Knickerbocker
St. Cloud offers 4,000 square feet of outdoor drinking space—and a menu by famed chef Charlie Palmer that more than makes up for the location.
Conrad New York’s 16th-floor terrace bar offers two highly Instagrammable options: a view of Lady Liberty, and the Loopy Doopy Ice Pop, a.k.a. a boozy popsicle floating in your choice of rosé or Prosecco. (Yasss to rosé all day.)
We recommend: Budget: Chateau Ste. Michelle ‘Mimi’ Chardonnay ($16)Ball out: Prosecco and Blackberry French 75 Loopy Doopy Ice Pop ($24)
If you’re feeling fancy AF, head to the top of The William Vale in Williamsburg. There you’ll find Westlight, where the rooftop lounge’s gorgeous panoramic skyline and sleek, modern décor will satisfy your bougiest fantasies—without breaking your bank account.
Don’t be dismayed by the location of Gallow Green in The McKittrick Hotel: the space, which evokes the whimsy of a forgotten garden, doesn’t need a view. Come for the lush botanicals and moody ambiance, but linger over the hand-crafted cocktails.
Oh, and while you’re there, stay for an interactive theater experience like no other: Sleep No More. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure, Prohibition-era, dance-only reimagination of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. (Are you reeling from that description? The show is 100 times as mind-blowing.)
We recommend: Budget: Montauk Watermelon Session Ale ($9)Ball out: Hakushu Highball ($17)
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge
There are countless rooftops in Times Square, but Magic Hour is the only one that resembles an adults-only carnival. The 10,000-square-foot space features a rotating carousel, a vintage-inspired bar, and a suggestive putt-putt course. (Because who doesn’t love sex-infused mini golf?)
We recommend: Budget: Pinot grigio ($13)Ball out: Three bottles of Dom Perignon Blanc, served in a clawfoot tub ($1,650)…jk we don’t actually expect you to buy this (but a girl can dream!)
Pod 39 Rooftop
Given that it’s located atop a Pod Hotel, you might assume the rooftop bar would be ultra-modern. You’d be wrong. The space resembles a ruin with brick archways, creeping ivy, and herringbone-patterned floors.
We recommend: Budget: Dos Equis ($7)Ball out: Corona “Familiar” ($16)
Cheap beer buckets. Plenty of room for al fresco drinking. You couldn’t ask for more—until you inspect the Australian-themed menu (we’ll skip the avocado toast for the Aussie beef burger this time).
We recommend: Budget: Babe sparkling rosé ($12)Ball out: Bucket of James Boag’s Lager ($35)
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