We all love a good rooftop bar–with the breeze, the booze and that picture-perfect sunset glow that renders Instagram filters functionless. But nothing ruins a night out with some sweet summer drinks in NYC like an obnoxious crowd—that’s where the city’s best non-douchey rooftop bars come in. Here are some of the best outdoor bars that boast lofty views and not a jerk in sight.
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Non-douchey rooftop bars
Oh, joy! Here's a bar that straddles the line between divey and Victorian so well, you'll think you're relaxing in a modern-day version of an Oscar Wilde novel.
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 pint of Radeberger 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.
Aussie-born co-owner Jamie Toll couldn't take all those kangaroo attacks (we kid) so he brought a little bit of Down Under to Brooklyn. There's Australian cuisine (meat pies, lamb lollies), plus authentic Oz-bred beers at this pub created by the same folks that brought you Berry Park.
A cocktail bar without a cocky 'tude. Along with the first-rate quaffs, this rooftop number from Tim and Nancy Cushman (the husband-and-wife team behind Boston critical darling O Ya) offers sublime views—you can see the lower Manhattan skyline from here.
You can pretend you're a successful business tycoon as you stare from the newly-renovated top of the Empire Hotel at all the little people below before marveling at the amazing sunset. Then you can buy me a drink because you can afford it.
Expect over-stuffed burritos and frozen margaritas at this friendly uptown bar. If you're not at least happily tipsy when you leave here, you're not doing it right.
The team behind the Williamsburg hotel’s food-and-drink programs is none other than NoHo Hospitality heavy hitters Andrew Carmellini, Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom (Lafayette, the Dutch, Locanda Verde). But a venture across the river wasn’t the only first for the trio—at the hotel, they also debuted their first-ever rooftop bar, Westlight, a stylish glass box capping the neighborhood’s tallest skyscraper. Take the dedicated elevator 22 stories up to the industrial yet swank space—set with black-and-white tiled floors, bright globe lights and a beamed ceiling—to experience a hotel rooftop bar that has all the goods to be a standalone New York cocktail den.
Along with Detroit-style pizza, sandwiches (meatball parm, avocado grinder) and light snacks (meat-and-cheese boards, chips and guacamole), the 31-stories-up casual lounge serves cocktails named after different New York neighborhoods that end in Heights: The Brooklyn Heights comes with tequila, lime, lemon and fresh-pressed watermelon juice, and the Jackson Heights is made with rosemary-infused gin, Thai basil, honey and lemon. The outdoor area has expansive views of the skyline and close-ups of the Empire State Building, and, thanks to a glass floor, views of the street below.