One of Gothamites’ favorite things to do in summer in NYC is to take advantage of the city’s top-notch outdoor bars. New York has hosts of picturesque gardens, patios and terraces serving up stellar summer drinks for your refreshment. We’ve already told you where to find the best rooftop bars–you know, the non-douchey kind–and floating boat bars, but here are our Time Out-approved picks of the finest outdoor drinking spots for those that prefer to keep their feet on solid ground.
RECOMMENDED: More of the best bars in NYC
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 cerebral cocktails like The Carondelet (gin, orange-flower water, honey) and the Old King Cole Martini (Old Raj gin, Dolin Dry, orange bitters and Castelvetrano olives) under the vine-tangled canopy.
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).
Endless summer afternoons have been spent at this Astoria beer garden–the oldest one in Gotham–swinging back mugs of cold Spaten Oktoberfest, Blue Moon and Pilsner Urquell and listening to live music. The kitchen dishes out Czech specialties like house-made potato pasta, roasted duck with red cabbage and fried Muenster with fries.
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.
Find the city’s best beer spots
Beer Shop NYC
Sorry, wine—beer is coming for your spot as the new drink to obsess over. Dedicated shops are popping up all over the five boroughs, all with plenty of suds from all over the world on tap. Beer Shop NYC, located on the Upper West Side, is one of the best, offering a varied selection and knowledgeable, helpful staff. Ten taps run through a series of curated kegs every season, and beers ($8-$12) range from light, sour gose to dark, stormy stout. On a recent stop, the taps featured breweries like Finback, Nine Pin and Kent Falls, but because the beers change so often, there’s no telling what you’ll find (and what will be your new favorite). If you’re having trouble choosing your next pint, taste four different beers in a flight ($15). You can also take some home in a growler—prices for these large jugs vary by beer, and all growlers are $5 off on Mondays. Beer Shop NYC also stocks a varied selection of canned and bottled beers in refrigerators in the back of the shop. Organized by region, you’ll find brews produced everywhere from San Francisco to Montauk. Bring home an assortment for your next Netflix binge, or, for an added fee, open up one of those cans or bottles right then and there. Hungry? Mixed nuts, beer corn (popcorn coated with a syrup of reduced beer, like a boozy Cracker Jack), rice crackers, “wicked mix” (a spicy Chex Mix-like blend) and hard pretzels are good nibbles, but they don’t make a full meal, so plan accordingly. The long, thin layout of the shop is coz
Venue says: “Purveyors of The Finest Craft Beer on the Upper West Side... Over Three Hundred assortments of Beer to Stay & to Go”