The recipe for a great rooftop bar is pretty simple: delicious cocktails, amazing views and some twinkling lights can create magic just about anywhere. Yet the latest crop of rooftops around New York City continue to up their street cred, with refreshing drinks (pea-flower-infused vodka, anyone?), globally inspired snacks and intimate environs that complement—rather than detract—from a backdrop of the city’s spectacular skyline. It’s enough to put anyone in an empire state of mind. As soon as warm weather is here to stay, head to one of these favorites.
A spring revamp of The Crown (pictured above), on the 21st floor of Hotel 50 Bowery, channels a bohemian vibe and the carefree lifestyle that goes with it. Seriously, don’t even think about checking your email while sipping cocktails like Resting Peach Face and soaking up the unobstructed views of both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, spanning the Brooklyn Bridge to the Empire State Building and One World Trade. If it gets too crowded with others trying to do the same, you can migrate between the two outdoor terraces and plush indoor bar with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Despite its silly name, this 16th-floor Loopy Doopy bar atop the classy Conrad New York is sleek and stylish. An ideal after-work spot to take in the sunset over the Hudson River, Loopy Doopy is known for its ice-pop cocktails: Choose your bubbly base (Prosecco or “rosécco”), then pick a fruity-flavored pop (also made with alcohol) to dunk inside. Visiting with a group? Try the refreshing, shareable Get Down cocktail, made with Absolut Elyx, strawberry, lime and ginger beer. Previously drinks-only, the bar is adding light snacks to its menu for summer.
Take in a different view of Manhattan’s NoMad neighborhood from the relaxed Mondrian Terrace overlooking Park Avenue and 30th Street, part of the boutique hotel Mondrian Park Avenue. Settle into casual outdoor seating on the 15th floor with a bottle of wine and charcuterie board, and you may never want to leave. This summer starting May 17, the space will transform into Rosé Terrace—lavishly decorated to pay homage to the highly sippable pink drink, with a themed drink menu (and Instagrammable backdrops) to match.
The Pool Bar & Observation Deck
Opening May 15, this one-of-a-kind space is about to take off. Part of the new 512-room TWA Hotel, debuting this month at John F. Kennedy International Airport, The Pool Bar & Observation Deck features a 63-by-20-foot infinity pool that will be open year-round (and heated to a balmy 100 degrees in winter). Imagine soaking in the sparkling water while watching planes come and go on the nation’s fifth-busiest runways, sipping an aptly named Mile High Spritz. Even New Yorkers will want to check in for a staycation, though the bar is open to non-hotel guests who book a reservation online.
St. Cloud Rooftop
Even for New Yorkers who avoid Times Square at all costs, a trip to St. Cloud Rooftop at the landmark Knickerbocker Hotel—on the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway—lets you see the bright lights from a new perspective. When it comes to drinks, stick to the classics (we recommend a dirty martini). Cigar aficionados will appreciate the new rooftop cigar lounge, curated in partnership with experts at Club Macanudo, with smoke offerings to pair with whatever you’re sipping.
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge
The vibe at Magic Hour, on the 18th floor of Moxy NYC Times Square, is playful and amusing, with a carnival theme that skews provocative over cheesy. It’s among the largest all-season rooftops in the city, with a fully retractable roof and two main areas: To the east, overlooking the Empire State Building, and to the west, entertainment central. Kitschy cocktails like Doctors Orders (which comes with two 10-ounce boozy “IV bags”) and a miniature golf course called Foreplay make for a fun outing with friends—or a casual first date.
In Williamsburg, 22 stories up at The William Vale hotel, find expansive views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens at lively Westlight. If you’re staying at the hotel, score a VIP reservation to eat your fill of global street food-inspired snacks like spicy coconut cashews and duck carnitas tacos while sipping creative cocktails made with unusual ingredients. This summer, a 23rd-floor space called Turf Club reopens with lawn games and lounge chairs that are made for soaking up every last minute of lazy Sunday afternoons.
The gorgeous new rooftop terrace restaurant Summerly, opening May 15 on the 10th floor of The Hoxton, Williamsburg, brings New England coastal vibes to Brooklyn. If you can’t book it to the beach for the weekend, head here for the next best thing: lots of sharable seafood favorites like lobster rolls, wood-fired clam pizza and surf-n-turf burgers. The drink menu has lots of rosé, as rooftop bars usually do—but also offers other refreshing libations like a tequila-based watermelon Collins, a Negroni spritz and an herbaceous take on a Pimm’s cup.
The wildly eccentric McKittrick Hotel is home to the equally surprising (and delightful) rooftop bar Gallow Green, a whimsical secret garden escape from the city. While it draws inspiration from Sleep No More, the unique theatrical experience downstairs, it’s a completely separate space—open year-round!—that changes with the seasons. This summer, potent plant-forward cocktails with ingredients like pea flower-infused vodka are a refreshing take on classics. Visit for Sunday brunch, where Bloody Marys and Aperol Spritzes flow freely alongside music from the 10-piece MK Groove Orchestra.
The tasteful design of this 29th-floor, indoor-outdoor space capping Viceroy Central Park New York features the aesthetic of a yacht: think ipe floors, brass detailing and custom walnut-and-leather sofas. Small-batch spirits lovers will delight in the expansive collection at The Roof, while beer aficionados can enjoy brews from local makers like Captain Lawrence Brewing Co. While a sophisticated space to lounge any day of the week (it opens at 3 pm weekdays, 1 pm on weekends), it’s particularly relaxing after an afternoon of shopping in Manhattan.
Cantor Roof Garden Bar
It’s not that common for a world-renowned museum to boast a rooftop bar, which is exactly why visitors and New Yorkers alike flock to this one atop the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Though it’s only five stories up, Cantor Roof Garden Bar offers some of the city’s best views of Central Park. Highlights of the new summer menu: “poptails” (spirit-infused house-made popsicles served in Prosecco), frozen Moscow Mules and a meaty lobster roll. In the spirit of The Met, there’s also art: Berlin-based artist Alicja Kwade created the architectural steel-and-stone sculpture that will reside at The Cantor though October.
Harriet’s Rooftop & Lounge
The nature-driven design that 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is known for carries through to the hotel’s 10th-floor rooftop bar Harriet’s, with reclaimed and sustainable materials and a tranquil color palette. Not the spot to drink all your worries away, this urban green oasis has a cocktail menu made for sipping mindfully for maximum enjoyment. Choose from a menu of wellness cocktails made with Lively Brooklyn Juice, such as Nature’s Selection (cucumber, coconut water, greens, Italian bergamot liqueur and cucumber-mint vodka or gin).