Best Rooftop Bars in New York City

Credits: MOTT

July 11, 2017

New Yorkers take summer very seriously. And while there's no wrong way to celebrate the arrival of the season, there are a few activities that are nonnegotiable: securing at least one Mister Softee cone (complete with chocolate sprinkles); taking in a free outdoor movie or concert at one of the city's world class parks-turned-entertainment-venues; cutting out of work early on a Friday to beat the rush to the beach, whether on Long Island, down the shore in Jersey, or right there in the city itself.

But perhaps the most time-honored summertime tradition in New York City is escaping the buzz at street level to enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine, or a cold beer well above the city at one its outstanding rooftop bars. Taking in the views of the city while sipping on something cold and refreshing really cannot be done incorrectly. But to help narrow things down for you, we've selected a few of our favorites -- the research for this post was rather enjoyable, we must say!

To start things off, we turn to what many consider the gold standard of rooftop bars in the city: aptly, it's the Meatpacking District's "Top of the Standard." The neighborhood is filled to the brim with classy bars, clubs, and restaurants, but if you plan to visit just one, choose this rooftop classic located right above the famed High Line park. Breathtaking views of Lower Manhattan and the Hudson River, and outstanding cocktails await you, accompanied by live jazz. It's perfect for a special occasion, or simply as an opportunity to get a little dressed up (cocktail attire is required).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the East River in Williamsburg, there's this hotel called the William Vale, that's got a pretty great rooftop bar as well (the bar is called The Westlight). The scene is slightly more casual than what you'll find at the Standard, but the views and ambiance are no less spectacular. It's a more recent addition to the NYC rooftop environment, but it's made a splash, thanks to its innovative drinks and small bites menu. (And the views of Brooklyn and Manhattan certainly don't hurt either.)

For a slightly more relaxing vibe, head to the Lower East Side's The Delancey, which is located on the top level of a multi-floor bar that's great for a night out dancing. The rooftop is filled with palm trees and comfortable outdoor seating, and of equal importance, the happy hour is tough to beat. Thursday to Sunday, from 5:00p to 7:00p, you can enjoy $2-off drinks and bites, while avoiding the Friday-Saturday-night rush.

Getting to a rooftop early to skirt around the late night crowds is undoubtedly a great move, and one that can also be executed to maximum enjoyment at Murray Hill's Pod 39 Rooftop. It's 17 stories above the youthful din that generally encompasses this very-young-professional-favoring neighborhood, and offers wonderful views of the East River and beyond. The open air terrace is the perfect setting to unwind after a long day, while sampling some of its delicious cocktail offerings. And as great as the views and drinks are, the physical layout of the bar itself is just as stunning.

Don't see something from our list that speaks to you? Reach out and tell us what you're looking for, and we'll be happy to help you find your perfect elevated oasis here in the city!