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Summer drinks in NYC: Rooftop bars, outdoor parties and summer cocktails

Find the best alfresco spots in NYC for summer drinks, including rooftop bars, outdoor spots with activities, and more summertime bars

Paul Wagtouicz
Slushies at La Isla Escondida



The skies are sunny and hot weather is here, which can mean only one thing: the season for summer drinks is upon us. Check out our guide to NYC’s best outdoor bars—including bars near the best parks, rooftop bars and the best spots for day-drinking—as well as indoor bars where you can cool off. We’ve also got the scoop on the season’s best new canned beers, as well as where bands playing summer concerts in New York like to drink.

RECOMMENDED: Summer in New York

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NYC's best rooftop bars

Have a cocktail high above the city and take in spectacular views at one of theses elevated bars

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Ambrose Hall opens

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It's tiki time!

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New York summer drinking guide

Bars

Best rooftop bars

Have a cocktail high above the city and take in spectacular views at one of the best rooftop bars in NYC. Summer drinking in NYC 2013 From trendy Midtown clubs to laid-back Park Slope hidden gems, Time Out has found the best rooftop bars in NYC. Read on for our guide to the city’s coolest elevated drinkeries, and find out where you can sip a cocktail or a beer with a gorgeous view of the city surrounding you. Most popular in Food & Drink 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York resta

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Bars

Best beer bars

Here are the sudsy best beer standouts—from the Bronx to Bed-Stuy—that every in-the-know hops-head needs to try More best beer articles The new Queens suds buzz Brooklyn, watch your back. New beer bars, shops and makers are popping up in Queens. And the easternmost borough—a brewery hub before Prohibition—is roaring back. Queens is giving its fellow boroughs some serious craft-beer competition. Adding to the surge in the past years of suds-focused joints like Sunswick 35/35 and Alewife Queens, the city’s east-of-the-river enclaves have become home to new beer bars, microbreweries and specialty stores. From Rockaway Brewing Co. to Astoria Bier and Cheese, Queens is the new poster child of New York’s beer revolution. RECOMMENDED: This year’s guide to the best beer in NYC The beach-bum brewers: Rockaway Brewing Company After three-and-a-half years of home-brewing in their Rockaway Beach bungalows, Ethan Long and Marcus Burnett—a set designer and an Emmy-nominated cinematographer, respectively— decided to go pro, naming their new business after their summmer-home locale. Their first beer, the mellow English ale ESB got a bump from the community last June when Rockaway Taco and Caracas Arepa started pouring the easy-drinking sipper to shaggy-haired day-trippers at their boardwalk stands. Since moving their workplace off the sandy shoreline, Long and Burnett have gotten plenty of love from their new ’hood: Their creations are in the tap rotation at Long Island City’s Alobar and As

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The expert’s guide to daytime drinking

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Best boat bars

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Bars

Best bars for day-drinking

You’ll find plenty of seats and easy-drinking beers at our favorite NYC bars for day-drinking. Summer drinking in NYC 2013 During summertime, there are few better ways to spend an afternoon than at a bar with some friends, killing a couple of hours during a day-drinking session. We’ve picked five of the best bars for day-drinking in NYC, using two simple criteria: the bars must have plenty of outdoor space, and they must have a good selection of low-alcohol beers. Most popular in Food & Drink 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-

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Bars

Best beer gardens and beer halls

Brewhounds agree that Gotham’s beer garden and beer hall scene has taken off in recent years, but which spots are real beer gardens and which are just bars? The best spring bars in New York City 2013 The best bars for any forecast: Where to drink in rain or shine The joys of spring are many, but predictable weather isn’t one of them. We’ve picked the best spring bars that facilitate good times, no matter the temperature. Take a look at the weekly forecast in the coming months, and you’re likely to see anything from perfectly sunny skies to torrential downpours. The upside is that there are spring bars for every possible scenario. Hunker down with cheap cocktails on a gloomy day, then sip craft beer on an alfresco patio when the thermostat rises. Cold and rainy Cienfuegos This whimsical punch bar—sister to scene-stealers Gin Palace and Amor y Amargo—brightens dreary days with its Havana-style teal walls, regal white armchairs and impressive rum selection. It’s hard to go wrong when ordering, but try the ti’ punch, a classic island drink made simply with rhum agricole, cane syrup and lime ($14), or a superlative dark and stormy ($14). Fantasize about island living while sipping the Honey Badger Punch, which plays up Cuba’s duality of sweet and spicy, and wait out the deluge. The Wayland Fashionistas, plaid-clad hipsters and buttoned-up professionals all share space in this Alphabet City hangout, relaxing in an airy atmosphere amid agrarian kitsch. To pull through the

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Bars

Outdoor bars where you can find a seat

If you’re rolling with a group, head to one of these spacious outdoor bars with plenty of seating. Summer drinking in NYC 2013 It can be tricky to find a bar with enough space to accommodate a group in NYC. Luckily, we found five bars in New York neighborhoods that offer enough seating for large parties, or that have managed to avoid being overrun with crowds—for now, at least. Most popular in Food & Drink 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about ri

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Bars

Bars with outdoor activities and games

Catch a movie screening, play a round of cornhole or bocce, or simply gather with some friends at these outdoor bars with activities. Summer drinking in NYC 2013 These bars don’t just have outdoor seating to offer: there are plenty of watering holes where you can play games or watch a movie when the weather’s nice. Here are four bars that offer alfresco activities, including outdoor film screenings, bocce, cornhole and more. Most popular in Food & Drink 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 bes

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Bars

Where to drink in (or near) NYC parks

No need to brown-bag it if you’re spending a day in a green space—here are five bars in or near the best New York City parks. Summer drinking in NYC 2013 Remember, folks, drinking in New York City parks is illegal—but lucky for you, we have a solution. Head to one of these bars within—or at least very close to—New York City parks, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s rooftop bar, overlooking Central Park, and an outpost of Terroir on the High Line. Most popular in Food & Drink 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cogn

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Bars

Ten top cans for your beer cooler

Upgrade your beer cooler with these picnic-friendly craft-beer cans, including session beers, easy-swilling lagers, IPAs, pils and more. It’s been happening for a while now: Craft-beer producers have been opting for beer cans over bottles. Back in 2011, when Sixpoint first launched its “nanokegs” (beer cans, for the uninitiated), brewery founder Shane Welch explained to TONY the environmental benefits of canning and noted that because they are sealed without any trapped air, the contents are less likely to go stale. Either way, it doesn’t hurt that beer cans are easier to toss into a beer cooler filled with ice or tuck into a brown paper bag. Here are our favorite ten beer cans to tote to a picnic, barbecue or rooftop party this summer. You might also like Shop and drink at these new-breed beer stores Find these beer cans at NYC's best beer stores Read a Q&A with Sixpoint founder Shane Welch on Sixpoint's beer cans Learn about New York's boozy history with beer at the New-York Historical Society's new exhibit Read more about NYC's beer sceneSee the best bars in New York for summer drinks See more in bars

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Bars

The best outdoor bars with delicious eats

Sample delicious bar food at these alfresco watering holes—you’ll find great burgers, succulent clam rolls and more bar snacks. Summer drinking in NYC 2013 Bar food is no longer limited to stale pretzels and limp burgers—there are plenty of great snacks to be found at bars around the city. Here, find five of our favorite outdoor bars with delicious eats, such as the clam roll at Sea Witch—a delicious summer seafood staple—or Bier International’s German sausages. Most popular in Food & Drink 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-wo

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Bars

Beat the heat with these indoor bars

When it’s too damn hot to be outside, head to these four indoor bars that offer a cool respite from hot weather. Summer drinking in NYC 2013 As much as we like outdoor bars in hot weather, sometimes it’s just too gross to be outside. If you’re looking for a bar where you can cool off in the summertime, check out one of these indoor drinkeries—you’ll find frozen drinks, cold beer and all the air-conditioning you could ever want. Most popular in Food & Drink 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100 best New York restaurants you need to know about right now. Most popular in Restaurants 100 best New York restaurants From unimpeachable classics to buzzy newcomers courting the food-world cognoscenti, these are the 100

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Summer drinks in NYC neighborhoods

Bars

Long Island City bars near MoMA PS1

After dancing at MoMA PS1’s Warm Up parties, or toasting 5Pointz’s tenth anniversary, tie one on at these Long Island City bars. The proximity between contemporary-art museum MoMA PS1 and graffiti epicenter 5Pointz makes this corner of Queens a top choice for a day out, but on summer weekends, this block in Long Island City really comes alive. 5Pointz presents a program of live painting, poetry, bands, B-boys and beat-boxers to mark its tenth anniversary, while MoMA PS1 reignites the weekly Warm Up parties on July 7 with a headlining set from Todd Terry—culminating with a Thom Yorke DJ set on September 8. Events at both venues tend to finish while the night is still young, so continue the good times with these choice Long Island City bars. The Creek and the Cave This artsy taqueria is home to a restaurant, a performance space, a kitschy downstairs lounge that hosts stand-up and improv comics on weekends and a secluded back patio. We suggest heading directly to the idyllic garden, where you can regroup from a sweaty afternoon at PS1’s Warm Up dance party with a few strong margaritas (pint $7, pitcher $26) and an order of chips and guacamole ($3.95–$5.95). 7-minute walk LIC Bar The dark-wood interior of this century-old local has its allure, but in nicer weather, the back patio offers a haven for enjoying live music, comedy and trivia several nights a week. Order a Stone IPA ($5) and soak up some vitamin D with your crew in the brick-walled space. Those looking to cool off can

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Bars

Brooklyn bars near Prospect Park

We would never condone brown-bagging it in Prospect Park. Show some self-control and enjoy a summer drink before or after at these Brooklyn bars. Whether you’ve seen a Celebrate Brooklyn! show at the Prospect Park Bandshell, picnicked in the Long Meadow or hit up the food trucks at Grand Army Plaza, you’ll want to end on a refreshing summer drink. Try these Brooklyn bars in the immediate vicinity of the park for craft brews in outdoor spaces. Beer Table Hit this snug beer bar for its affordable weekend brunch (Sat, Sun 11am–4pm): Dishes like the baked eggs, served with tomato and greens ($12), are hearty enough to line your stomach for a bit of pregaming. But you can’t go wrong with a snifter ($7) or two of the Beer Table Table Beer, a commissioned beer crafted by rotating brewers. The refreshing beverage is also low alcohol (4.7 percent ABV), so you can indulge before walking a couple blocks over to the park. 7-minute walk Brook-vin If you’ve spent the day hanging outdoors with a few friends, you’ll want to start your evening at this intimate bar. Owned by Aaron Hans (who also runs Big Nose Full Body just across the avenue), the spot features a selection of international and domestic wines by the glass. Choose from six varieties on tap, such as the Gotham Project riesling ($8)—as well as a menu of shareable small plates, which, if you're a party of four, you can taste from a table in the small backyard. 6-minute walk Bearded Lady This cheerful Prospect Heights bar, which wa

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Bars

Williamsburg bars near Smorgasburg

After a day rummaging at the Brooklyn Flea market (or Smorgasburg), imbibe at one of these top Williamsburg bars. The Williamsburg Waterfront is a fantastic spot to while away a summer’s day. Smorgasburg’s vendors sling delicious artisanal treats every Saturday, while the Brooklyn Flea market takes up residency on Sunday. It’s also conveniently located next to one of New York’s best bar scenes—finish your day at one of these top Williamsburg bars. Ides This outdoor terrace bar on the Wythe Hotel’s sixth floor affords sweeping views of the East River and Manhattan, and it’s an ideal vantage point for watching summer sunsets while lingering over a Professor Fritz Briem tall boy ($16) or a quaff made from local small-batch spirits. Sure, the crowd comprises mostly globe-trotting cool kids from outside the five boroughs, but consider that another avenue to finding a guilt-free summer fling. 8-minute walk The Counting Room Wash down samples of bacon mayonnaise and other Kings County goodies from Smorgasburg with equally creative tipples at this relaxed local. Cool off with a fizzy Empty Bliss (gin, sloe gin, lemon juice, strawberry-balsamic shrub, prosecco; $12) or the earthy Salt & Ash (grapefruit-infused tequila, Lapsang sweet vermouth, mescal, maraschino, agave, lemon juice; $12). Bar snacks, small plates and other nibbles are available for folks who haven’t had their fill of artisanal edibles. When the light-wood tables and bar upstairs get too busy, head downstairs—there’s a

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Bars

Bars near Governors Island

Make sure you have a post–Governors Island drinking plan before you board the ferry to Brooklyn Bridge Park or the Battery Maritime Building. No summer in New York is complete without a trip to Governors Island, the car-free oasis in Upper New York Bay. After a day spent clambering over installations in the Interactive Sculpture Garden, playing a round of minigolf, or just gazing at the views of the harbor and Statue of Liberty, enjoy a nightcap at one of these bars near the ferry terminals at Brooklyn Bridge Park or the Battery Maritime Building. Near the Battery Maritime Building The Porterhouse at Fraunces Tavern This Revolution-themed bar, the first American spin-off of Dublin’s Porterhouse Brewing Company, lures its worldly crowd with house drafts such as the Oyster Stout ($8) and a selection of international brews, including Victory Prima Pils ($7). Energy is high in the main room, where cowhide-covered booths and glass cases filled with empty beer bottles outfit the old-timey lodge. Patrons can also guzzle grapefruit juleps (vodka, grapefruit juice, grenadine, lime, honey, mint; $12), or sip bourbon (Jefferson’s selection $12) in the neighboring Dingle Whiskey Bar. 4-minute walk Bar Seven Five This swanky bar isn’t the type of place you hit in cutoffs and flip-flops, but the cocktails and decor still scream summer fun. Seasonal drinks ($14) at the Andaz hotel hot spot include Squiggly Line Punch (cranberry and pineapple juices blended with lime and spiked with rum) an

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Bars

Chelsea bars near the High Line

After a day strolling along the High Line admiring the flora, art installations and views of the city, stop at one of these nearby Chelsea bars. The former elevated train tracks were reborn in June 2009 as the High Line park, which opened an extension up to 30th Street last year. With food concessions, a rotating series of artworks, sumptuous gardens, vistas and an outpost of wine bar Terroir, it’s rapidly become a New York favorite. After meandering the length of the 20-block park, take the weight off with a summer drink at one of these Chelsea bars. Chelsea Brewing Company In addition to an ice-skating rink and batting cages, Chelsea Piers also houses a brewery: Sample one of the Chelsea Brewing Company’s seven different quaffs on tap, including always-available options like Checker Cab Blonde Ale and Sunset Red Ale ($6). Relax on the outdoor patio, or grab a seat inside the bar, where you can peek at the brewing process. 5-minute walk The Half King Author Sebastian Junger (The Perfect Storm) is part owner of this pub, which features a rotating selection of art on its walls. The drink list is extensive (and not terribly expensive; all beers are $7), and the location—right underneath the High Line—is ideal. Try to get a spot in front, but if it’s too crowded, fear not: There’s also a brick-walled backyard (adorned with a single tree wrapped in twinkling lights) and an indoor space that’s portioned into three smaller rooms. 5-minute walk Bathtub Gin Cool off in this sleek, d

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Comments

1 comments
Daniela
Daniela

Hi! I just bought Time Out to read about the best new outdoor bars but only to find out that the majority are located in Brooklyn or Queens. Quite disappointed about that. You should have headlined the title differently, then I would have saved $5. Daniela Upper West Side