With tall buildings everywhere, NYC is the perfect place to upgrade your afternoon drink by adding spectacular views of the city. But you don’t need to be a big city baller to enjoy this metropolitan right of passage, stop in during one of these happy hours at one of the many great rooftop bars in NYC and make your frugal night a little more fabulous. From outdoor bars with elevated patios, to rooftops on luxury hotels, there are tons of options for spending a summer Friday. After all, if there’s one thing that goes well with a Manhattan, it's a view of the Empire State.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to bars in NYC
Best rooftop happy hours in NYC
Mon-Sun 5-8pm; $6 signature cocktails with premium spirits, $6 frozen margaritas and $4 selected beers.
Billyburg’s bar scene skews divey, but this bi-level drinks den offers laid-back boozing sans the stench of stale beer. The vibe is vaguely Victorian, complete with ottomans, throw pillows and antique-looking tchotchkes. Well-priced, simple cocktails—like a citrusy orange-blossom lemonade with rum—feature herbs and house-infused spirits. While the ground-floor bar also stocks beers (including Sixpoint and Kronenbourg) and organic French wines, the real draw is upstairs—scale the steps in the back to find a roof deck with a frozen-margarita station.
Venue says: “Your week night spot for creative, American dining and speciality cocktails on our Rooftop. Summer Friday Happy Hour starts at 3pm every Fri”
Mon-Sun 5-8pm; $7 specialty cocktails, $7 house drinks.
Find French-Mediterranean fare and classically inspired cocktails at this posh tri-level bar and restaurant. Chef Jeff Kreisel (Porter House New York) executes dishes such as lobster tagliatelle, pan-roasted snapper and veal milanese at the 130-seat rooftop restaurant. To drink, choose from quaffs like the Bramble (gin, blackberry liqueur, lemon juice) and the Pineapple Express (pineapple-infused tequila, red grapefruit juice).
Fri 5-9pm; 2-for-1 drink specials on Don Julio margaritas, cosmos & specialty cocktails, $4 beers, $8 tequila shots, $10 cocktails.
Once a strictly private-events space, this bi-level venue from the owners of Village Pourhouse opens its temperature-controlled, weather-shielded roof deck to the public. Drinks, which include cocktails like mojitos, as well as wine and beer, can be sipped while enjoying Hudson River views and items from the grill, including a duo of mini kobe burgers.
Mon-Sun 3-8pm; $3 well shot, $5 Bud/Bud Light, $6 Stella/Corona, $6 wells, $6 Fireball/Jameson shots, $6 house red or white wine & $25 wine bottles.
Enjoy soaring views of Manhattan’s skyline at this glass-enclosed rooftop bar, offering classic cocktails like the cachaça-lime caipirinha and their old-fashioned–inspired Vu Fashion (rye, ginger ale).
Mon-Fri 4-7pm; $5 Sapporo drafts, $7 wines, $8 wells.
This minimalist space, a 100-seat dining room flanked by an outdoor wrap-around terrace, is graciously non-haughty, trimmed with a smattering of Asian shrubs, white-oak waterfall tables and a bar helmed by cheerful servers offering a diverse selection of Far East beers. In addition to their regular happy hour, daily food and drink specials give you something different to look forward to no matter what day of the week it is. On Mondays, enjoy $0.50 wings, and $30 Sapporo pitchers. Tuesday has $5 chips & guacamole, $8 margaritas and $28 margarita pitchers. Wednesday stop by for $7 wine and sangria, $25 sangria pitchers and 30% off wine bottles. Finally, when Friday rolls around, dig into $5 edamame and spring rolls, and a $20 bucket of beer for the day.
Mon-Sun 5-7pm; $1 oysters, $5 vodka + mixer, $7 prosecco,$8 beer + shot, $8 rosé.
You'll find year-round sweeping views of Manhattan and McCarren Park at this rooftop, with cocktails highlighting local craft distillers. With live performances and DJ sets, guests of the hotel as well as locals can enjoy music while watching a sunset or dancing the night away. Cocktails and seasonal bites include spirit-forward cocktails like the Green Beast with St. George Absinthe Verte and the McCarren Margarita with El Jimador Tequila Blanco as well as savory bites like shishito peppers and delicious pork belly steam buns.
Mon, Wed, Thu & Fri 4-7pm; $4 drafts, $5 wells & $7 wine by the glass.
Two-for-one Tue, 2-for-1 wells and drafts all night.
One of the most low-key on our list come from the 1,300 sqft Bushwick warehouse-turned-rooftop space, a welcome respite for those of us who love a nice outdoor buzz but aren’t a fan of velvet ropes. Come for the drinks and stay for one of the many live shows and DJ sets they have regularly, in case happy hour turns to late night and drinking turns into dancing.
Mon-Fri 5-7pm; $5 bottle beer, $7 well drinks/wine by glass.
Nightlife impresarios Thierry Pomies and Peggy Millard (Pink Elephant, Hudson Terrace) are behind this bi-level 5,000-square-foot bar in the Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel. Grab a cocktail on the north terrace, featuring a retractable glass roof, or on the fully exposed south terrace. Cocktails—including the Dragon Flight, made with dragon-fruit–flavored rum, muddled strawberries, club soda and lime—should help settle your stomach once you realize you're boozing in a chain hotel in Times Square.
Mon-Fri 5-7pm; $6 beers, $7 wines, & $8 well drinks, as well as pitcher specials.
Executive chef Nadia S. Day dishes out American small plates (wild mushroom sliders, maple-glazed lamb lollipops) at this 5,000-square-foot rooftop lounge in Hell's Kitchen, with cocktails and boozy ice pops from the Liquid Lab.
Days, times and offerings vary by day (see below).
The venerable Bar 13, a casual two-level club (three, if you count the roof deck), is notable for having a pair of the smallest licensed dance floors in the city. It's also notable for its split personality, with music ranging from frat-boy rock and hip-hop to under-the-radar drum ’n' bass, house and techno. Stop by any day of the week for bountiful happy hour specials, which are as follows:
Mon- Weds: 3-8pm, $4 Bud light, $6 wells, $6 seasonal wine, $6 frozen margaritas.
Thurs: 4-7pm, $6 wells.
Fri: 4-8pm, 2-for-1 Bud light, $6 wells, $6 seasonal wine.
Looking for more rooftop views?
Sports fans without cable will want to make a note of this Chelsea bar that shows everything from Major League Soccer to the NBA finals on its 15 TVs. Offside Tavern also hosts a free Mario Kart tournament every Monday, Geeks Who Drink trivia on Tuesday and the Bodega Cat Comedy Show on Wednesdays. Bartenders sling draft beers including Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner, Captain Lawrence 6th Borough Pilsner and Brooklyn Lager ($7 each), plus craft cocktails like the Full Court Press with lime vodka, fresh pressed lime juice, lemon-lime soda and sparkling water ($10). If you get hungry, bar snacks like crispy mac and cheese wedges ($5.95), southwestern egg rolls ($7.95) and classic nachos ($9.95) should do the trick.
Venue says: “Mario Kart tournament every Monday! Free Harpoon IPA for first 15 people to register through Event Brite and a free tab for the winner!”