The William Vale Hotel came out of the gate hot with culinary clout: The team behind the Williamsburg hotel’s food-and-drink programs—including Airstream burger joint Mister Dips and the soon-to-open Southern Italian dining room Leuca—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.
ORDER THIS: Well-balanced cocktails from Anne Robinson (Evening Bar, PDT) come in two forms: classics (El Diablo, Negroni Sbagliato) and originals. The latter category is where Robinson flexes her creative muscles, with playful concoctions like the fruit-forward, tiki-lite Sling Sling ($16), which tames the sugar of kirschwasser brandy, Cherry Heering and pineapple and lime juices with bitter Aperol and floral hibiscus, and the College Fund ($14), the liquid love child of an egg cream and hard root beer. A trio of rums—Black Strap, Banks Golden Age and Smith & Cross—echo the warm spice and nuttiness of Boylan soda, softened with a froth of cream.
GOOD FOR: Taking in the best views this side of the East River. Westlight is located sixteen stories higher than the nearby rooftop bar Ides at the Wythe Hotel and offers sweeping views of three boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan). A wraparound terrace—encased with a plexiglass railing and dotted with bright-yellow viewfinders for sky-high people-watching—is fixed with lounge chairs for warmer weather, but when the chill sets in, the best seats in the house are the low-slung leather couches and velvet banquettes set directly in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Sit back and enjoy the show below.
THE CLINCHER: Unsurprisingly, the food is even better than the drinks. Carmellini and executive chef Anthony Ricco (Spice Market) took cues from global street foods for the small-plates menu: Octopus skewers are generously meaty enough to withstand a bold seasoning of rocoto chili ($15), and crispy potato skins are rendered as little yuzu-hollandaise–sauced, caviar-crowned spuds that are a little too easy to pop straight in your mouth; you’ll wish you got more than six for $18. More filling is a dry-aged burger ($17) capped with a savory swath of mushrooms and onion jam. It’s a tad messy, but hey, nobody can judge you all the way up here.