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Photograph: Supplied
Photograph: Supplied

Seven rooftop bars in NYC to try right now

From under-the-radar spots to brand new 2021 can’t miss hotspots, these rooftop bars are the tops

Written by Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner in association with AIX Rosé

New York City is a rooftop city, year round, regardless of weather. Outdoors, indoors, heated, cuddled in blankets, if it has a view, we’re taking advantage. And because this vertical city is all about looking upward, there’s a constant slew of trend-forward, must-try rooftop bars and restaurants that become our favorite go-tos.

New to the rooftop scene in mid-2021, Somewhere in Nolita is run by the taste-forward group behind popular Thai restaurant Wayan and the nearby Japanese-Italian fusion spot, Kimika. An ideal evening spot for food lovers, this garden-esque bar specializes in seafood with a Southeast Asian twist. Think: A Maine lobster roll with claw meat and nuoc cham drawn butter, and fried whole belly clams with salt and pepper spice. Everything pairs will with a chilled glass of rose, particularly at sunset. 

Another newcomer, the newest rendition of the Wythe Hotel’s rooftop combines the French sensibility of the downstairs restaurant, Le Crocodile, with some of the whimsy of partners at Greenpoint’s Chez Ma Tante, for a rooftop experience offering incredible nighttime skyline views. Don’t sleep on the fish and chips, which stars a generous portion of tempura-battered halibut and slinky, crisp fries, to eat indoors or outdoors, all under the twinkling Manhattan lights across the East River.

A must for anyone obsessed with New York’s seemingly endless skyline (guilty), William Vale Hotel’s rooftop appeals to locals and visitors alike. Twenty-two floors up, this stylish rooftop offers sweeping views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, enjoyable at any hour. Food is shareable, and served in small bites, so bring a crew to share burrata, guacamole and a black forest sundae with. 

Boasting a never-before-seen panoramic view of Manhattan, this brand new bar on Roosevelt Island created a new perspective from which to love New York. A crown jewel atop the Graduate Hotel, this design-centric indoor-outdoor rooftop on the 18th floor has panoramic views across the East River, plus a custom designed DJ booth to get the party going.

Offering a more chill vibe than most scenery rooftops, Ophelia is the perfect spot to curl up with a good read and a sophisticated drink, or meet up with someone you want to impress for excellent East River views and conversation. Live DJs amp up the space on weekends, but weeknights bring a relaxed, classy vibe to the restored historic space, which serves up luxe food like truffle ravioli and foie gras with brandied cherries and toast. 

What social media dreams are made of, Harriet’s view directly over the Brooklyn Bridge feels like a postcard, except you can enjoy it IRL. The open air garden is idyllic in the daytime, when you can sip sustainable wines and enjoy the truly pleasant ambiance. Guests at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn can also enjoy the rooftop pool up here, though all guests at Harriet’s can luxuriate in the skyline views and a nice plate of sushi. 

The indoor-outdoor vibe of this Lower East Side bar means that plans can happen here regardless of weather. The views are exquisite, surrounded by city life, and accentuated by an excellent food and bev selection. Large format options allow you to share platters of dumplings or bao, as well as magnums of wine, with a group, making this the perfect spot for a celebration night until very, very late.

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