Looking for something to keep you warm (and tipsy) outside in NYC this winter? We feel ya! While open container laws might get in the way of making that dizzy snow day in Central Park impossible (don’t worry, we still have a few ideas about where you can sled and then go get a drink), that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the best hot chocolate the city has to offer. And we figured out how to get it exactly where you need it the most: outside in the bitter cold. If that icy weather leaves you shivering, just pick up a cup of spiked hot chocolate on your way to NYC’s bars with fireplaces to keep you warm.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to things to do in winter in NYC
No matter how you feel about the cold, ice-skating makes it so much more worth it—especially at the Standard High Line’s seasonal rink. But be forewarned, if you’re hoping to show off your Michelle Kwan–worthy spins, you might want to save The Super Fly hot chocolate ($14), which is spiked with dark rum and topped with mint whipped cream, until after you get off the ice. Meanwhile, The Winter Garden at the Standard East Village has its own hot cocoa option with whisky and super dark hot chocolate. Um, yum.
Enjoy Artic fun without the way-more-freezing-than-NYC temperatures at this year-round rooftop bar that, come winter, is covered with igloos. These PVC bubble tents can fit eight friends and are first come, first served, but even if you and your squad have trouble scoring one of these popular spots, the hot chocolate spiked with Kahlua or Baileys ($14) or mint hot chocolate with vodka and peppermint schnapps ($14) will warm you up as you enjoy the views on the expansive deck.
3. Belle Shoals
Though this Williamsburg spot closes its outdoor holiday-themed wonderland after New Year’s, the top-notch hot cocoa is still going strong at one of the best prices you’ll find ($8). The creamy, sweet homemade hot chocolate is topped with just enough spicy cayenne pepper to keep your insides warm if you step outside onto the patio. If you want to make a full date of the night, come to Belle Shoals for dinner—the atmosphere inside is warm and fun, and the aforementioned chocolate-y boozy delight is the perfect post-meal treat.
When other rooftop bars shut their doors for the winter, The James hotel’s 18th-floor rooftop bar keeps the staggering views year-round. Bundle up by the fire and sip that mezcal-spiked Mexican hot chocolate ($17) topped with a gooey toasted marshmallow as you appreciate the panoramic views of downtown, midtown and the Hudson River. This place is simply luxurious, so make sure to dress the part if you want to get past the doorman on a weekend.
5. La Birreria
Eataly’s rooftop bar and microbrewery keeps folks coming to Flatiron in both sun and ice storms with its retractable roof and heaters. This winter, the rooftop has been taken over by Italian Alps-inspired pop-up restaurant Baita. Though you’ll be greeted with sights of the city instead of skiers racing down mountains, the Smokey S’More cocktail ($15), made with hot chocolate, tequila cream, mezcal and cookie crumbs, is perfect for booze-loving snow bunnies.