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Panorama Room
Photograph: Steve Freihon

NYC's most amazing summer bars

Here's where to imbibe in the sunshine and beat the heat.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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The most amazing summer bars are the bars you visit over the summer. And in New York City, you’ll find them on rooftops, near the water, and sometimes even underground or in semi-secret locations.

They all serve some combination of beer, wine, spirits, cocktails, and that warm weather staple, frozen drinks. And these are the most amazing summer bars of them all, with extra appeal on the sunniest, hottest days and nights in NYC. 

NYC's most amazing summer bars

Pilot
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Brooklyn Heights
  • price 2 of 4

This seasonal boat bar recently reopened for 2022. Its spot on the East River near the southern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park (just a short distance from Time Out Market New York!) is about as close as you can get to the water without a swimsuit, and it boasts beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. Its wine, beer, cocktails and bubbly are all ideally suited to summertime imbibing, and oysters and caviar can turn a visit here into an event. 

  • Bars
  • Roosevelt Island

Panorama Room opened just last summer with sensational views of New York City that even lifelong view-lookers can admire. Hop on the ferry for an extra-festive jaunt to Roosevelt Island for titular tableaus from the 18th floor of the Graduate Roosevelt Island hotel, a large terrace, cocktails and all manner of other expected potables. 

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  • Bars
  • Financial District

A special occasion rooftop if there ever was one, Overstory is elevated on the 64th floor of a handsome Art Deco skyscraper downtown. Its another contender for the best views in town (and winner in the city’s finest ice category) including a broad look at Brooklyn from the distinguished terrace and excellent drinks to match. 

  • Bars
  • Harlem

Though we’ll sip—and chug—suds year-round, there’s something particularly celebratory about a cold one in the summer. Harlem Hops has enough beer varieties to last all season, including harder to find local craft brews. It also serves food, wine, cocktails and spirits to consume at whichever pace you choose. 

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  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing
  • Financial District

Reliably soldering between Manhattan and Staten Island—ferrying, if you will—the Staten Island Ferry is a wonderful, free, moveable vantage point from whence to glimpse NYC. And the beer’s cheaper than what you’ll find at many of its similarly aesthetically situated peers, too. Do not crowd it up during prime commuting times, but do catch the boat for a few suds on the waves outside of rush hour. 

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Staten Island
  • price 1 of 4

Once you’ve made landfall, Staten Island’s own Flagship Brewing Co. is a short trip from the ferry terminal. It has lots of space for larger groups at picnic tables inside and out, tons of brews, karaoke, comedy shows, open mic nights and the occasional new beer release party. 

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  • Bars
  • Midtown West

Even summer devotees wish to escape the peak-season heat once in a while, and Nothing Really Matters is a top place to do so, right underground. Its somewhat obscured position adjacent to the downtown-bound 1 train platform at 50th Street and Broadway has some speakeasy proclivities without getting costumey, the drinks are great and it's an unexpected place to wait for the subway in the rare air of A/C—provided you aren’t in any hurry. 

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

Low key and low rise with a cozy ground floor space and roof deck above, Night of Joy is a no-pressure spot to spend summer days that otherwise seem packed with urgency to Force the Most Fun Right Now. Get there a little early to secure a spot and start in on the fabulous frozen drinks. 

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  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Rockaways
  • price 1 of 4

Whether you’re a once-a-year beachgoer, dedicated weekender or reluctant invitee, summer is the most likely time you’ll end up on or around Rockaway Beach. Excellent eating and drinking options abound, and, even though its under recent new ownership, Connolly’s is a classic. It still serves its signature frozen drinks, and now they’re in paper cups in lieu of the erstwhile Styrofoam. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • The Bronx

The first rooftop restaurant in the Bronx opened in 2019 and grew a following for its verdant, stylish decor, appealing brunch and dinner menus and full complement of signature cocktails, wine, beer and multiple bottles of bubbly to choose from. Get there at golden hour to bask in the sky’s shades of pink, gold and blue.  

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