Best rooftop bars

Get high-and stake out the perfect vantage point-with a little help from our list of boozy perches.

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  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Hotel On Rivington

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Hotel On Rivington

    Hotel On Rivington

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Hotel On Rivington

    Hotel On Rivington

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Ava Lounge

    Ava Lounge

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Ava Lounge

    Ava Lounge

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Ava Lounge

    Ava Lounge

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    230 Fifth

    230 Fifth

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    230 Fifth

    230 Fifth

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    230 Fifth

    230 Fifth

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Ravel Hotel

    Ravel Hotel

  • Photograph: David Rosenzweig

    Ravel Hotel

    Ravel Hotel

Photograph: David Rosenzweig

Hotel On Rivington

Hotel on Rivington
This chic, sleek Lower East Side hot spot opened its tri-level, hot-tub-crowned rooftop bar to the public last month, so now you don't have to be moneyed Eurotrash to enjoy its wondrous LES vantage point (but you do have to R.S.V.P: jwoods@hotelonrivington.com). NOTE: It's open Thursday through Sunday.
When to go: Thursday nights, when there's a thick crowd (expect the "I like to pay $20 for a drink" set, popped collars and all), but it's not as packed as the Saturday night cram. Come for the sunset (duh) and stick around to see what seems like every last twinkling light in the New York cityscape. Skip the daytime hours, when smog can obscure your lookout.
Where to enjoy the view: Thor has one of the tallest buildings in this squat 'hood, so you won't be disappointed. Stand on the west side of the rooftop for a panoramic view of Manhattan, or check out the river and its parade of regal bridges on the east side. 107 Rivington St between Essex and Ludlow Sts (212-475-2600, hotelonrivington.com/thor.html)


You'll be making the scene in Miami—or so it'll feel, thanks to wicker furniture and a local crowd with surprisingly low blood pressure.
When to go: Arrive right after work (between 5 and 7pm) to get a table, and wait for the spectacular sunset views. Stay put until it's dark to see Times Square lights come alive.
Best spot to enjoy the view: Peer straight into the mouth of high-strung New York at the southwest end of the deck, which looks down Broadway into Times Square. 210 W 55th St at Broadway (212-247-2000, avaloungenyc.com)

230 Fifth Rooftop Garden
Purple fluorescent lights and lavish upholstery at the largest rooftop in Manhattan will dazzle you—if you can bear the crush of pearl-earringed locals and tourists.
When to go: Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest; go earlier in the week (Monday through Wednesday) if you're looking to avoid the crowd.
Where to enjoy the view: Opt for a seat on a raised deck, since you won't be able to see over the foliage if you're on the lower level. Stick to the north side for an unparalleled view of the Empire State Building—if you get there at sundown you'll see the lights come on. Or hit the eastern edge for the MetLife Building and the western one for a glimpse of New Jersey. 230 Fifth Ave between 26th and 27th Sts (212-725-4300, 230-fifth.com)

Ravel Hotel Rooftop
Just under the Queensboro Bridge, this boutique hotel has a European feel and a prime waterfront location—not to mention a postcard-perfect vision of our beloved skyline. The roof's got the kind of wide-open space and 360-degree view you'll find only outside of Manhattan.
When to go: Wednesday is Latin night and Thursdays are called "Rise at the Ravel," when two DJs spin for the crowd. Or enjoy a leisurely brunch instead—it's served all day Sunday.
Where to enjoy the view: There really isn't a bad seat on the deck, but if you want to do it up like a smart tourist, snag a table at the edge facing Manhattan at sunset. 8-08 Queens Plaza South at 43rd Ave, Long Island City, Queens (347-472-0362, ravelhotel.com)

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