It’s summer in NYC, so why not head to one of these awesome outdoor bars? NYC has plenty of gardens, patios and terraces serving up some of the best cocktails for your refreshment. We’ve already told you where to find the best rooftop bars—the non-douchey kind—and floating boat bars, but here’s our picks of the finest outdoor drinking spots for those that prefer to keep their feet on solid ground.
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Best outdoor bars in NYC
An outdoor oyster bar outfitted in dark wood takes center stage in the lush 1,000-square-foot garden at this NOLA-inspired salon. To keep in line with the French Quarter charm, sip Maxwell Britten’s (Freemans, Jack the Horse) cerebral cocktails like The Crandolet (gin, orange-flower water, honey) and the Saint Helena (Aquavit, sparkling wine, chartreuse) under the vine-tangled canopy.
It’s an initially bizarre scene, no doubt—floppy-hatted guests sipping frozen Negronis in the tranquil grounds that once played home to priests and seminarians. But there are few locales as downright lovely—and suited to alfresco boozing—as the High Line Hotel, set inside the centuries-old Gothic red brick that famously housed New York’s General Theological Seminary. The team behind neighborhood trattorias L’Apicio, Anfora and L’Artusi take advantage of said scenery with Alta Linea, an outdoor bar-restaurant in the hotel’s expansive courtyard.
Peter Poulakakos is plenty dedicated to the Financial District—the prolific restaurateur has a whopping 10 projects below Chambers Street including James Joyce homage Ulysses and the Irish gang-themed Dead Rabbit. The setting for his latest, with partners Danny McDonald and Michael Jewell, is a pier that's been closed to the public for 127 years, a retrofitted re-creation of the Gilded Age divided into three levels and anchored by a soaring clock tower. Decked out in nautical relics like pipes from steamship engine rooms, the first floor includes a belly-up bar slinging on-tap dark-and-stormys and Pimm's cups, a raw bar shucking oysters and steaming clams, and an expansive beer hall pouring old-world European suds. Upstairs, the second-floor dining room is split into four, named for a maritime police boat, a firefighter patrol boat, the nearby Lady Liberty and W.R. Grace, the mayor who signed off on the pier. The top tier, an event space reserved for community gatherings (think poetry readings and music performances), overlooks the harbor.
Garage-sale-meets-fraternity-house décor invites an ironic, scruffy crowd to this humble hangout, but the beer-garden grub delivers: wolf down bockwurst hot off the half-barrel grill and gulp a Dentengem’s Witbier. On chilly nights, a glowing potbellied stove takes the edge off.
True to her name, Ivy Mix stirs an incredible cocktail, especially in the company of Julie Reiner. The drink pros made quite the formidable pair at the Clover Club, Reiner’s Cobble Hill cocktail institution where Mix served as head bartender, but they’re testing if lightning strikes twice at this Pan-Latin follow-up. (Spoiler: It does.) In a mystic-cool space fitting for such bartender worship—rigged with Indio candles, cathedral-pew booths and a golden tin ceiling imprinted with crosses—Mix takes the reins on the cocktail menu and proves she’s worthy of the title leyenda (Spanish for legend).
Open seasonally (beginning in the spring), solar-powered Habana Outpost gives your al fresco an eco edge: Its initiatives include rainwater flush toilets and the use of sugarcane and corn utensils. While the food—well-executed rice and beans, grilled Mexican quesadillas—and frozen drinks (margarita, mojito) are reasons enough for a visit, on weekends little ones can also partake in supervised, eco-friendly projects.
This two-tier riverfront restaurant welcomes young singles and parents with children in tow to happily converge under stone archways and twinkle lights. Order from the grill portion of its expansive American menu and toast the sunset on clear evenings, but call ahead when skies seem stormy—the café closes for rain.
Spuyten's minimal draft offerings, as well as its 100-plus bottle list ($5--$45), are focused mainly on tiny European breweries. Sample old-world rarities like the thick, sherrylike Samichlaus lager from Austria or cellar-aged Cantillon lambics of various vintages ($15--$30).