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Westlight
Photograph: The William Vale

The 29 best rooftop bars in NYC

Raise a glass to spectacular views and elevated libations at this season's best rooftop bars.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Bao Ong
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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In New York City, “underground” is good. Speakeasy-themed bars. Hidden streets. Secret gardens. The actual underground. But sometimes you want to soar above it all, sipping effervescent libations among the clouds like some kind of fancy bird with an expense account. You want to be uplifted. 

In the city that never stops sprawling, upward expansion has also reached great heights. Many incredible eating and drinking destinations are poised in the sky like treehouses with cover charges. Among these rooftop bars are old New York throwbacks, party destinations, seaside terraces and slick poolside operations practically fashioned for Instagram. They each offer booze, some kind of view and an invitation for you to get high. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best bars in NYC

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The best of the city

  • Restaurants
  • DUMBO

We curated every last detail at the Time Out Market: the food, the cultural experiences, the drinks, the space—everything including the breathtaking view, which is the perfect backdrop for the “best in New York City” experience. Whether you decide on takeout or to dine outdoors, Time Out Market gives you a taste of why New York's culinary scene is the world renowned.

Best rooftop bars in NYC

  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

Westlight is 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, not just another hotel bar.

The Crown
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Chinatown
  • price 3 of 4

If it took a little bit longer to get up to the 21st floor of Hotel 50 Bowery and if the crowd at the bar is a few more people deep than you’re used to after the past year and change, The Crown’s best-in-class view will remind you why you picked this bar, and this city, the moment it comes into focus. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 3 of 4

The 2019 follow-up to Dear Irving, this bi-level cocktail bar offers an “Ode to The Empire State” with spirits made in New York. Located in the Aliz Hotel in Times Square, Dear Irving on Hudson is surprisingly chic given its location. Velvet couches, brass finishes and rounded doorways seem straight out of the set design for a 1960’s James Bond movie. And after a couple of drinks, you might just get into your own espionage.

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  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • Downtown Brooklyn
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This is a real-deal vineyard right in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Vines thrive in dozens of planters across the rooftop’s nearly 15,000-square feet, soaking in the sunshine before fulfilling their destiny as your wine. Beer and cider are also available, but red, white, orange and sparkling wines on tap and by the glass and carafe are the wise move here.

  • Bars
  • East Williamsburg

Although it's only on the 4th floor, LLohi’s panorama stretches wide over surrounding East Williamsburg. Its twinkling backdrop is more understated than some corporate behemoths in the rooftop category, giving the space an incidentally beautiful feel. The “rooftop tax” that tends to inflate prices elsewhere is absent here, too, and LLoHi’s beer, wine and cocktails are a few bucks cheaper than you’ll find at many Manhattan counterparts. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Chelsea
  • price 3 of 4

Gallow Green, The McKittrick Hotel’s very own secret garden, just reopened in time for the best of rooftop season. Sip the Sleep No More (pea flower-infused vodka, elderflower, and rosé cider) and Gallow Green (bourbon, blue curaçao, citrus, and ginger) beneath blooms and vines that feel far afield from the West Side Highway not too far away. 

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Greenpoint
  • price 2 of 4

Night of Joy may not have the sprawling multi-level rooftop or magical views that made you want to move to New York, but the people are what make it one of the best rooftop experiences around. The intimate, quaint space is filled with friendly people looking to meet cute, and cramped quarters play to your advantage here.

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  • Restaurants
  • East Village

New to the top floor of the Moxy East Village, The Ready has polished DIY-house party vibes. String lights glow and beer cans chill in coolers, but more elaborate cocktails and a retractable roof for those less comfortable summer nights remind you this is no place like home. 

  • Hotels
  • Rockaways

The sixth floor of The Rockaway Hotel, which opened last year, has views of the Atlantic ocean and the NYC skyline, plus it’s close to the beach. Take it all in over large format margaritas or mezcalomas with pals, or order standard sizes to sip on your own. Big and small snacks like charcuterie, ceviche and raw bar platters are also on the menu. 

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Williamsburg
  • price 3 of 4

The new iteration of the McCarren Hotel’s rooftop bar opened last fall with aims to approximate a Hawaiian vacation, and this summer’s heat is helping it reach those goals. Order up a few of Talk Story’s tropically-inspired cocktails and sip under a leafy potted plant before the season’s temperatures start to drop. 

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Midtown East
  • price 3 of 4

Rather than a spot for Saturday night revelry, Ophelia is the kind of quiet bar you’d go to read an Elena Ferrante book alone or meet up with someone you had to tell a secret to. But that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best rooftop bars in the city. Fashioned with soaring cathedral windows that look out onto the East River, jewel-toned blue walls and glass showcases filled with vintage oddities, this is one of the most elegant rooftop experiences New York City has to offer.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Kips Bay
  • price 3 of 4

This Broken Shaker has the same electrifying energy as the Miami original, and it’s still one of only a few truly cool places in Gramercy for rooftop drinks. In addition to its indoor bar, the 18th floor terrace area is one of our favorite places to sip tropical cocktails in the whole city. 

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Bookmarks Rooftop Lounge at the Library Hotel
  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

Another Midtown beauty peacefully perched above the frenetic city, Bookmarks’ aesthetic competes with the majestic New York Public Library a stone’s throw below. Part of the Library Hotel, the literary theme is strong with this one. Grab a book and find a nook, or break out the moleskine, follow the old adage “write drunk, edit sober,” and get to work on your own short story. 

  • Restaurants
  • Seafood
  • Red Hook
  • price 2 of 4

Laid back and relaxed, Red Hook’s Brooklyn Crab has three levels of good times, and our favorite is the rooftop. The supersized shack is very on-brand, with nautical decor, buckets of beer, tons of cocktails, fishbowl drinks and a menu overflowing with all manner of oysters, shrimp, lobster, and, of course, crab. It also boasts one of our lowkey favorite views across the East River that’s as enticing as a seafood tower. 

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  • Bars
  • Lower East Side

Located on the 21st floor of the CitizenM Hotel on Bowery, CloudM offers some of the finest views of the Lower East Side, not to mention delicious cocktails. There is ample outdoor space to take advantage of the summer weather. 

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A.R.T. SoHo (Arlo Rooftop)
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • West Village

The “Every Night Should End With A Good Story” mural is definitely a little cheesy, but at A.R.T. SoHo it might just be true. If the views of the Hudson River, table fries, and piña negronis aren’t enough to end the night on a high note, the people you’ll meet will at least be good fodder for your next cocktail party convo.

The Secret Side at The Tillary Hotel
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Downtown Brooklyn

Formerly known as The Distillery, The Secret Side resides in Downtown Brooklyn’s Tillary Hotel, near the Brooklyn courts, the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge and Barclays Center. With drinks, snacks and a beer garden atmosphere, you’re guaranteed to wind down the right way after a walk from Manhattan or a long day of jury duty. 

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Bungalow Bar
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Rockaways
  • price 2 of 4

After an early surf in the Rockaways, take a breather at Bungalow Bar. Serving up brunch fare with cocktails like the espresso martini, here you can treat yourself to some beach day rest and relaxation. We suggest making reservations, because it does tend to get chaotic come warm-weather.

  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • East Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

You don’t go to Our Wicked Lady for fancy cocktails or even a stunning view. But even at a social distance it’s still fun as hell to hang out on its 1300 square foot rooftop, where you can add well or premium booze floaters to your spicy margaritas. 

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Mr. Purple
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

Mr. Purple has occupied the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo since 2015. It has a little bit of a pool area, a lot of square footage, and familiar cocktails, frozen drinks, beer and wine. 

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

Inspired by Old Havana, this Cuban cantina in the Hotel Hugo has 360 degree views of Lower Manhattan. The best part? You don't have to be an overnight guest to have an entree into the action.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Soho
  • price 3 of 4

The recently-renovated rooftop at the ModernHaus hotel is open year-round, but it really shines in the summer sun. Up on the 18th floor, you’ll find one of Manhattan’s few pools, more than a dozen cocktails like the frozen mango margarita and views all around. 

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Flushing

The vista from this Flushing, Queens rooftop lounge is a must-snap for skyline photo collectors. Not only is it positioned for one of the widest shots of the Manhattan skyline you’ll get without a drone, Citi Field appears in the near distance to really put an exclamation point on NYC. Cocktails are fruit forward and there are a couple of no-ABV options to ease back into drinking outside of your apartment. 

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  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Meatpacking District
  • price 2 of 4

This is not the kind of place we suggest for casually rolling through, but on nights when it has an event, it’s one of the best rooftop experiences in town. Expect wrap-around windows that spotlight the New York City skyline like it’s an enormous museum exhibit alongside celebrity sightings and late-night dancing. Things get hot in the jacuzzi.

Want to drink at rooftop bars in other cities?

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